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"Generals in Bronze," Details Artist James Kelly's Civil War Interviews
Associated Press ^ | 10/23/05 | NAHAL TOOSI

Posted on 10/23/2005 4:43:13 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta

The book, "Generals in Bronze," comes out Nov. 1, and is already generating tremendous buzz in the world of Civil War buffs.

Late in his life, artist James Edward Kelly tried to publish his memoirs, a book that would have featured his colorful interviews with the many Civil War figures who posed for him. But by then, the Great Depression had set in and publishers told him no one was interested in a war long past.

Seven decades after his death, Kelly's dream is being fulfilled. Civil War historian William B. Styple has written a book that chronicles Kelly's life and includes the artist's interviews with key 19th century figures

I was absolutely fascinated by it because it gives such a feeling of intimacy," said Richard Snow, editor of American Heritage magazine. "It may not add anything momentous to the historical record, but it gives you the pleasure of gossip."

"Generals in Bronze" provides valuable insight into the personalities of the era, thanks in large part to Kelly's meticulous notes. His interviews covered a range of subjects, from Gen. George A. Custer's "boyish chuckle" and his canteen of iced tea to whether Gen. George G. Meade wished to retreat from the Battle of Gettysburg (apparently so).

One general told Kelly how Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's drinking had led him to resign as a captain in 1854. The account claims that Grant remarked: "I'll make my mark yet. I don't propose to remain in the gutter."

"These are things they wouldn't write in their memoirs," Styple, 45, said of the people interviewed. "In those days, they didn't write tell-all books."

Styple, who has been fascinated by the Civil War since childhood, embarked on the project two years ago after finding a large batch of Kelly's interview notes at the New-York Historical Society.

Kelly, born in New York in 1855, had demonstrated an aptitude for art early in life. His work appeared in publications including Scribner's and Harper's. Five of his bronze reliefs adorn the Monmouth Battle Monument in Freehold, N.J.

When Kelly died, he left much of his artwork and notes to his physician, George Ryder. Over the years, Ryder and his descendants gave many of the items to institutions. Styple found 27 boxes of papers at the New-York Historical Society alone.

One Civil War debate that Styple's book might help settle is whether Meade wanted to withdraw from Gettysburg.

According to Kelly's interview with Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, Meade considered leaving but his men did not want to.

Hancock said the Union general remarked: "As you wish gentlemen; but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle in."

Meade turned back Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's forces at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863, a battle that ended with more than 50,000 soldiers in the two sides dead, wounded, captured or missing.

Kelly once asked Gen. James H. Wilson to describe President Lincoln, and after some hesitation Wilson said: "I saw nothing to justify the melancholy way artists represented him; he seemed cheerful, and there was generally a sort of twitter in the corner of his mouth.

He was not a leader of men. ... But he was a philosopher. Lincoln felt his humble birth, and did not seem to assert himself as his position warranted."

Grant sat for Kelly, and while he didn't say much the artist described him as kind. The general reflected on his appearance by musing: "I have got rather fleshy, much to my regret."

"One thing that impresses you about Kelly, he was not going to be denied, he would go about it right," said Clark B. Hall, a lay historian who mainly focuses on cavalry operations during the Civil War. "We all could learn a lot from Kelly."

The artist died at age 77 in 1933. He had no known survivors. When Styple looked for Kelly's grave in St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx, he found that it was unmarked.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: americancivilwar; civilwar; dixie; uncivilwar; wbts
One Civil War debate that Styple's book might help settle is whether Meade wanted to withdraw from Gettysburg.

According to Kelly's interview with Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, Meade considered leaving but his men did not want to.

Hancock said the Union general remarked: "As you wish gentlemen; but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle in."

1 posted on 10/23/2005 4:43:15 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: stainlessbanner; billbears; Constitution Day

New book.


2 posted on 10/23/2005 4:47:12 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Neither the depth of despondency nor the height of euphoria tells you how long either will last. ")
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To: Non-Sequitur; teldon30; .cnI redruM; gobucks; Irish_Thatcherite; neocon1984; Tallguy

*Ping


3 posted on 10/23/2005 4:50:35 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Dr. Scarpetta

"As you wish gentlemen; but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle in."

well, they did alright....


4 posted on 10/23/2005 4:50:46 PM PDT by injin
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To: Fee; tbpiper; Fenris6; RobbyS; R. Scott; onyx; aft_lizard; GeorgiaDawg32; RHS in Fairfield

*Ping


5 posted on 10/23/2005 4:57:37 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: The Iguana; faireturn; LS; woofer; trek; RightWhale; Zeroisanumber; Morgan's Raider

*Ping


6 posted on 10/23/2005 5:09:04 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
The book, "Generals in Bronze," comes out Nov. 1

apparently, available at Amazon since Sept, 01

7 posted on 10/23/2005 5:17:37 PM PDT by lunarbicep (If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it. –Jonathan Winters)
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
"His interviews covered a range of subjects, from Gen. George A. Custer's "boyish chuckle" and his canteen of iced tea..."

Interesting, as iced tea was not invented until the 1904 worlds fair at St. Louis, MO.

Oddly enough by an Englishman pushing tea, his hot tea was not selling well, but a nearby stand was doing good selling flavored shaved ice. He purchased some ice for his tea, proved a roaring success to the crowds, and the American icon of iced tea is now history.
8 posted on 10/23/2005 6:17:24 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: Dr. Scarpetta

If any is interested in the civil war, here is link to collection of old "Confederate Veteran Magazine" issues. Some great articles from those who were there.

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/topic/military/CivilWar/confvetmagazine.htm

Also an interesting letter from General W. T. Sherman to his brother in 1862. Seems the idea of ethnic cleansing is not a new one.

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/topic/military/CivilWar/shermanscheme.htm


9 posted on 10/23/2005 6:25:47 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: Dr. Scarpetta

Just when I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy anymore books for a couple years.


10 posted on 10/24/2005 2:31:00 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Tax-chick
One general told Kelly how Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's drinking had led him to resign as a captain in 1854. The account claims that Grant remarked: "I'll make my mark yet. I don't propose to remain in the gutter."

Well considering his presidency, he just apparently surrounded himself with men from the gutter

11 posted on 10/24/2005 7:23:11 AM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: billbears

President Grant had bad judgment, unfortunately.


12 posted on 10/24/2005 5:04:35 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Neither the depth of despondency nor the height of euphoria tells you how long either will last. ")
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To: chesley; bourbon; LibertarianInExile; Nasty McPhilthy; injin; McCainMutiny; MacDorcha; JohnPigg; ...

Southern Ping!


13 posted on 10/24/2005 9:33:46 PM PDT by stainlessbanner (Gone Cotton Baggin')
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To: Ursus arctos horribilis

Sherman, Grant, and Abe liked the colonization idea for Southerners (black, white, or Cherokee/Seminole)


14 posted on 10/24/2005 9:39:35 PM PDT by stainlessbanner (Gone Cotton Baggin')
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To: stainlessbanner

Thanks! One more book I will have to add to the collection...

FReegards!


15 posted on 10/25/2005 6:07:06 AM PDT by RebelBanker (Deo Vindice)
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To: stainlessbanner

Thanks SB . . . perfect timing for my Christmas list. Even though I havn't been good. ;^)


16 posted on 10/25/2005 7:35:58 AM PDT by w_over_w (Bam, bam, bam-bam-bam . . .LET'S GO ASTROS!!)
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To: Tax-chick

Bump. Sounds very interesting.


17 posted on 10/25/2005 7:38:57 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Hypocrite opportunist. Don't infect me with your poison.)
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To: injin
"As you wish gentlemen; but Gettysburg is no place to fight a battle in."




Wish Lee would have thought that.
18 posted on 10/25/2005 9:28:15 AM PDT by smug (Tanstaafl)
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To: smug

Lee should have listened to Longstreet .
He was either too puffed up or too head in the clouds
about Providence. He paid the cost....


19 posted on 10/25/2005 11:28:15 AM PDT by injin
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To: stainlessbanner
Sherman, Grant, and Abe liked the colonization idea for Southerners (black, white, or Cherokee/Seminole)

When did any Southerners get deported? Some instigators of the rebellion ran away from the country leaving their Confederate cannon fodder to rebuild the region, but I never heard of any such abuses from the "evil Yankees".

If Sherman was such an ogre why did an honorable Confederate like Joe Johnston serve as a pallbearer at the great man's funeral?

I'll take Joe Johnston's opinion of the man.

20 posted on 10/26/2005 1:48:13 AM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Ursus arctos horribilis
Interesting quote from General Gordon in the 1896 Confederate Veteran Magazine:

"The decision made by the arbitrament of war was that slavery should no longer exist, that the right of a State to secede should no more be asserted; that there should be on this continent the one great republic and one flag over all forever. But the question of which side was right in the conflict was not settled. No result on the field of battle can ever settle a question of right, and I can no more consent to deny my children the privilege of believing that their father was right than I can consent to write dishonor in my mother's dust."

Too bad General Gordon didn't have Free Republic in 1896 or he would have known that the Civil War wasn't about slavery at all!

21 posted on 10/26/2005 2:02:11 AM PDT by Colonel Kangaroo
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