Sunday, October 2, 2011
Civil War Sunday - Beer and The Little Woman
I published my post yesterday before I decided last-minute to sign up, so I did not post a welcome yesterday.
In this blog, I write about anything that I am inspired to write about, with two scheduled exceptions. Every Wednesday, I have a Wildflower Wednesday where I post pictures of wildflowers. I am someone trying to learn about wildflowers so we can learn together. (Here in upstate NY, the flower season will be ending soon. So that is going to be changing in the next month to - well maybe you can help me decide)
Every Sunday, I post something related to one of my interests, the United States Civil War of 1861-1865. (Some would argue we are still fighting it.) Since we are now commemorating the 150th anniversary of the war, I should have a lot of material.
I do not intend to "recreate" the war as we come up on the 150th anniversary of each event. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Virginia in July for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas, (First Bull Run) but I won't be able to visit too many anniversary events, or reenactments.
To me, the real interest of the Civil War is the people, many of them everyday people who would never have been destined for fame if not for them being (so to speak) in the right place at the right time.
I like to explore the Civil War from some less-than-usual angles. If you do this, you will be surprised to see where the Civil War pops up in daily life. You don't even have to visit the South, or view a single battlefield.
You just have to visit a beer and wine store in downtown Portland, ME. Or walk the streets of a college town about 30 miles away.
I ended up bumping into the Civil War at every turn.
Maine has a thriving beer industry. The above brand, Shipyard, is a Maine brand of beer. One of their commemorative bottles honors a Maine native, Joshua Chamberlain.
He's the man on the middle label, dressed in a Federal uniform.
This was his house in Brunswick.
His actions at the Battle of Gettysburg may well have directly lead to the Union victory at Gettysburg in July of 1863. The Union victory stopped a Confederate invasion of the north. After the war, he returned to Maine and served for four years as its Governor. After that, he became president of the college he had once taught in, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. (Longfellow also has a connection with Bowdoin College and this house, a story for another day.)
Meanwhile, there was a woman whose husband was teaching at Bowdoin College. They moved into this house on the campus and the woman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, ended up writing a book that changed the course of history. It was published in installments between 1851 and 1852.
This white house is where the book Uncle Tom's Cabin was written.
Harriet Beecher Stowe and her husband attended a church which is still standing, not too far away. The church is open to visitors (the house is not).
Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the White House on November 25, 1862. There is a legend that Abraham Lincoln greeted her, saying "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."
Just one more Civil War connection - the Lee's Surrender blanket I bought elsewhere in Brunswick, a blanket that taught me a valuable lesson about research.
A man on a beer label and a" little woman". You'll be surprised what can change history.