Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Old Soldiers

Today we have another great image of two old Civil War soldiers. This picture was taken in 1913 at the Gettysburg reunion. Looking at these two men, while they are shaking hands, I am wondering if their might still be just a touch of bad blood between them.


  1. This is not meant to criticize, but I see it often. Do people not know the use of the words--"There (place), Their(ownership) and They're( they are)". When I'm reading, this sticks out like a sore thumb. I didn't even finish High School and I know the difference.

  2. PJM:

    I agree. The looks on their faces seem to illustrate the old adage, "Nobody forgets where the hatchet is buried."

  3. This photograph is thoroughly expressive! It does look like there is something amiss here...

  4. PJM,

    I've really been enjoying the pictures of the Civil War Vets. Some of my family in the Great State of Texas still refer to it as The War of Northern Aggression when our northern kinfolk show up to family events. Tongue firmly planted in cheek of course!

  5. There's definitely MORE than a "touch" of bad blood between these guys. The both look uncomfortable.

    Maybe they were asked to pose for this photo.

  6. Anon:

    Lighten up with the grammar and syntax corrections, will you??

    I happen to have an advanced degree in English, and I'm not nitpicking; and I find your comment inapproprate.

    Why don't you stick to the subject of the blog and stop trying to impress everyone with your so-called "knowledge."

    This is not the proper forum.

  7. Debbie:

    It WAS the War of Northern Agression, I agree.

  8. Actually they look like they might be brothers of related some how.

  9. Oops, I better correct my post before the grammar POLICE come and get me

    Actually they look like they might be brothers or at least related some how.

  10. You're right! My husband's immediate reaction was "Those guys certainly are NOT ready to forgive and forget!"

    And those of you who believe the War of Northern Aggression (started when the South fired on Ft. Sumpter!) was not racially motivated need to read some Alexander Stevens' speeches. He was the CSA's only VP (the rest of the cabinet played musical chairs) who stated that "Our new goverment (CSA) is... founded on the great truth...that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery is his natural and normal condition.This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosphicla and moral truth" Sounds just a *tiny* bit racist, huh?

  11. I don't like to over analyse photos especially when they are obviously posed. I don't think there is so much bad blood about the war as the immediate discomfort of having to pose close together. If there was that much lingering animosity, they wouldn't bother to pose.

  12. After perusing this photo some more, I decided that maybe what we are seeing here is not long buried animosity, but perhaps it's fashion envy. The soldier on the right is thinking: "I gotta' lose this stupid looking neck beard and grow a swell goatee and moustache like my buddy here."

  13. I'm not trying to be the devil's advocate here, but I enlarged the picture and I think they both just look very somber.

    If this was just a photo op between the two, and they truly did have issue with one another, I would think their clasped hands would look stiff. Their hands look relaxed and are genuinely clasped. The gentleman on the left even has his arm across the other man's shoulders, completely unnecessary if just a photo op. He's looking at the camera, in the gruff way typical of folks back then. Remember they didn't always have many teeth left in their old age so they didn't typically have photos showing big teethy grins.

    If nothing else, I don't see anger or resentment in their eyes, especially not the gentleman on the right. He's looking the other way, not like he sees something of interest, but as if he is thinking of something, of another time or of something that was said.

  14. +JMJ+

    "We can shake hands, but I don't know you well enough for that arm over my shoulder!!"
    --That's what he's thinking!

  15. Heather,
    The man may have been asked to put his arm around the other man's shoulder *because* it was a photo op. I have no idea what two total strangers were thinking 100 years ago in a posed photo, and I am not going to try. People look at my wedding picture (in which I am not smiling and wearing a dark dress) and say I "looked radiant" when I actually had the coldest feet and felt panicky. In other words, they applied their own expectations to the photo of a bride.

  16. Remembering the Gettysburg Reunion of 1913
    By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

    The State of Pennsylvania hosted the 1913 reunion at the insisting of state Governor John K. Tener. Tener also encouraged other states to arrange rail transportation for the participants. Down South in Dixie, the United Daughters of the Confederacy helped raise money for the transportation and uniforms for their Confederate veterans.

    The soldiers of Blue and Gray, Black and White, came with heads high and full of war stories. It is written that the hosts did not count on Black Confederates attending the meeting and had no place to put them, but the White Confederates made room for their Southern brothers. Black Union veterans also attended this event.

    It is written that nearly 700,000 meals were served that included fried chicken, roast pork sandwiches, ice cream and Georgia watermelon. The temperature soared to 100 degrees and almost 10,000 veterans were treated for heat exhaustion and several hundred more were hospitalized. The United States Army was also present in support and the old men loved the attention.

  17. Anon,
    I understand why you had to post your original comment. To accept bad grammar without comment amounts to tacit acceptance of the corruption of the English language. It would also be appropriate for you to comment on Smartgirl's incorrect use of the semicolon and conjunctive "and" in an attempt to join a third independent clause to an already complete sentence. I would also gladly read any comment you might make concerning the fact that she misspelled the word "innappropriate". Should you have occasion to comment on any error I may make in this forum or any of my posts or websites, I would accept it with gratitude in spite of what those with advanced English degrees may think.

  18. George: You just throwed a little more seasoning into the pot of soup. I am glad that you are so good with the English language.
    Perhaps the Civil War could have been prevented with better communcation. But you get completely off subject.
    The subject is the civil war, not a lesson in composition.
    You seem to go barking up the wrong trail.

  19. anon,
    Grammar was the subject of two previous posts. I simply responded to those. Yes, it was off subject, but that train left the tracks before I got on board.
    As for the soup analogy; I love a good spicy soup, whether in the kitchen or the classroom. (By the way, you are mixing metaphores.)
    And in response to "barking up the wrong trail" I completely agree. I did, I do and I shall. Whenever I see the "trail" of poor useage of the English language (more accurately the American or North American language, as England has proprietary rights to the English language)I will make whatever comment necessary in an attempt to stem the tide of lassitude when it comes to safeguarding our heritage. Now you can comment on my post if you wish, as I have used four metaphores! Like, Dude, that ain't right.

  20. The battle for precise language has no end.
    I get attacked a lot on my local newspapers website for picking on writings by young people. Apparently, we need to respect their freedom of expression and praise them for participating in the discussion. So criticism is not allowed, self esteem must be maintained.
    The high school students and young adults use atrocious grammar, freestyle punctuation and text message abbreviations. They Also Favor This Typing Style Which They Call "Rap". They claim it is just style and freedom of expression, but it's hard to determine what they are actually saying. The point of writing (especially in a public forum) is to communicate thoughts clearly to others. The problem is that I rarely see clear writing or good grammar from young people so I wonder how many actually have the ability.

  21. I agree that this is not the place to be correcting grammar especially to the owner of the blog. PJM puts in many hard hours to keep us informed and entertained and just because he makes the odd mistake who really cares. I for one do not.
    I also got a little offended by the fact that Anon did not even comment on the photo, the theme or the site, but just pointed out the error.
    I like the photo but cannot think of what they are thinking or feeling. It does look like the gentleman on the right is looking at the other and thinking that he should cheer up.

  22. Freshie:

    Thank you, you said it better than I did.

    PJM puts in his personal time to provide us with these wonderful old photos, and this is not the forum for correcting his grammar.

    Thank You

  23. George and Anon:

    First of all, when two independent clauses are separated by a conjunction, the conjunction is preceded by a comma. However, when one of the aforesaid independent clauses contains a comma, then the comma preceding the conjunction becomes a semicolon.

    Secondly, I was fully aware that the first sentence in my post of Wednesday, November 4, contained three independent clauses. Since this is an informal forum, I did not bother correcting it.

    Like you, I detest the vernacular that I hear around me every day - whether it is in conversation or in the media. Your comments regarding the teaching and emphasis of proper English in schools are sadly true. I spent thousands of dollars to send my daughter to a private school so that she would be taught proper grammar, punctuation, and syntax, and I also made her study Latin. I can assure you that it has paid huge academic dividends.

    However, I stand by my previous comments. I do not believe that this blog is the proper forum for correcting the author’s (or anyone else’s) grammar and punctuation. PJM spends his personal time posting these wonderful old photos for our enjoyment, and readers’ comments should be primarily directed to same.

    If the two of you wish to correct everyone’s grammar (and discuss the Latin etymology of every big word you encounter), I respectfully suggest that you save those topics for cocktail and/or dinner parties. Our perhaps you should pursue careers as English teachers. In either case, I’m sure you’ll both be big hits.

  24. I still think this photo was posed, and the two subjects had probably never laid eyes on each other before.

    That's why they looked uncomfortable.

  25. My final comment for this picture:
    PJM, I sincerely enjoy what you do. I love old photos, having worked and played behind a camera all my life. I thank you for your time and efforts to keep us coming back time after time. I am here every day, whether or not I comment.

    I have not commented on gramatical errors for some time, but did respond to anon's comments on this one. As for the offense taken by those who are willing to let gramatical errors slide; fine, let them slide. I cannot. I have made similar comments well over a hundred times all over the internet. More often than not, the authors thank me for the observation and correct the post. If I see an error I will point it out. Those who object should consider not reading the comment if it is so abrasive.

    And finally, the now infamous three-clause sentence by Smartgirl would have been fine if the "and" had not followed the semicolon. This was not an independent clause with a coma followed by a third clause. It was two independent clauses separated by a coma and a conjunctive "and". Therefore, either a new sentence would be required, or if joined by a semicolon should not have a conjunction.

    If it is so easy to have tempers fly because of a little three-letter word "and", no wonder we go to war so often. I have enjoyed our discussion. Debate has long been a favorite pastime. Care to discuss politics?

  26. Correction:
    "This was not an independent clause with a coma followed by a third clause" should have read:

    "This was not an independent clause with a coma followed by a second clause."

  27. When I toured the Gettysburg battlefield, our tour guide mentioned fistfights between the veterans at the 50 year tribute. Not sure if true but he had authored books on the battle so he was knowledgeable and did not seem the type to needlessly embellish a story. Plenty of true material. Maybe there is some record of this happening. I love your pictures and enjoy your informative and often witty descriptions that accompany.


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