Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Disturbing Phone Call For The Abraham Lincoln Blog

Last night my telephone rang.  Caller ID showed a number I was unfamiliar with, but I answered the phone anyway.  The caller was a person who wanted to discuss one of my blog posts and offer some "corrections" or "clarifications" to it.  

I was shocked by the call for several reasons.  First, I have an unlisted number.  When I questioned the caller about how he found out the number, he told me the method he went about in finding it.  It actually took some effort on his part, but he did indeed discover it.  Secondly, I was troubled that a reader of my blog would somehow think it was acceptable to call me.  It was unsettling at best and even slightly creepy.  I'm not a public figure such as an author or professor who can easily be tracked down via a publicist or book agent.  Third, this was an egregious violation of my privacy.  After the 30 or seconds or so of being dumbfounded, I immediately ended the call and told the person to never call again.

I appreciate the fact that the person in question took the time and effort to read an article here.  I earn no money from my writing with the exception of a rare lecture or two I give locally.  I write for the pleasure of it and I'm thrilled that so many visitors (more than 410,000 and counting) have dropped by.  But it is entirely unacceptable for this person or any other reader of this Lincoln blog to phone me, unless I request them to as happens when I am hired to lecture somewhere.  All readers can find my email address on my Blogger profile which can be accessed by clicking on the "About Me" link on the homepage of this blog.  Everyone is welcome to email me at any time.  Comments or questions can be added to the individual posts as well.

There are ways to reach me should anyone wish to do so.  But to violate my privacy in the way which this person did last night is unacceptable.  I know 99.99% of my readers wouldn't dream of doing so to begin with, but I was so bothered by this incident that I felt the need to write this article anyway.  I've taken some steps now to hopefully prevent such an incident in the future. 

OK.  Enough preaching.  We now return you to articles about Abraham Lincoln.   Thank you for your indulgence. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bushwhacking On Russell Fork, Kentucky

Echoes of the American Civil War reverberate across our nation's landscape more than 150 years after it began in April 1861.  Most Americans, even ones who aren't interested in history, have heard of the great battles of Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg, and many others, in which massive armies fought one another to determine the path of our nation.   What is far less known, however, is the fact that guerilla warfare played a large role in at least some states during the war.  "Bloody Bill" Anderson" and Quantrill's Raiders were the most notorious of these guerilla fighters infamous for committing atrocities against civilians, especially in Missouri.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky is another of the states which eventually saw the outbreak of guerilla warfare committed by "Bushwhackers" as men from both sides eventually began to be called. The bushwhackers typically did not belong to any organized army of either side, instead fighting as irregulars for their particular cause. 

In the early days of the Civil War, Kentucky was the setting for battles between organized armies as both the Union and Confederacy desperately tried to sway the state to their cause.  In fact, Abraham Lincoln himself, a native Kentuckian, realized the strategic importance of the this border state as can be seen in his famous line "I must have Kentucky."   The eastern region of Kentucky saw some of the earlier ground fighting of the Civil War when in November 1861 into early the next year around the town of Pikeville.  In fact, Major General George B. McClellan wrote General Don Carlos Buell, begging him to not abandon the Pikeville region.  Southern sympathies ran high in that region of Kentucky and Union command realized the importance of keeping possession of this rugged region.

Finally in 1863, this area of Kentucky, the Big Sandy region, remained firmly in Union hands.  With the formation of the new state of West Virginia, the former western region of Virginia, this area of the Union no longer had to worry about being on the border of a hostile enemy nation.  Small Union forces were left in place, but with no civil government in place in and around Pikeville, Kentucky, fighting began degenerating into guerilla warfare, or "bushwhacking."

Today, Pike County Kentucky hosts one of the fastest growing Civil War re-enactment commemorations in the Kentucky Commonwealth, if not the nation.  Elkhorn City, KY is the host for "Bushwhacking On The Russell Fork", an annual event held every Memorial Day Weekend to commemorate the events of the Civil War which took place in the region.  This event sees battle recreations, speeches by re-enactors, a Civil War ball, a parade, and services for the Unknown Soldier.   Below is a link for more information:

I was contacted by Mr. Jay Shepherd of the Pike County Convention and Tourism Bureau.  He asked if I would be willing to publicize their upcoming event.  I ordinarily decline such requests because I receive so many of them.  In this case, I chose to publicize it because it commemorates a little known, but important, series of events which helped Abraham Lincoln to maintain control of Kentucky for the Union.  Disclaimer: I have received no compensation of any type for this publicity. 

While I've not attended this annual event personally, I can tell you that I've been to that region of Kentucky and it's beautiful.  If you're close to the area, why not pay Elkhorn City a visit for this Civil War Event?

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