1905: War of 1812

Parades figure prominently in many of the film clips. One of the most remarkable shows a contingent of veterans marching briskly along a New York City street in 1905. In itself, it is not a particularly dramatic scene. But what it represents is extraordinary. The parade is actually the funeral procession for the last veteran of the War of 1812, Hiram Cronk, who had just died at age 105. A motor car brings up the rear carrying, it appears, several more infirm Civil War veterans. It is as if the 18th century were touching the fingertips of the 20th before our very eyes.

Source: Fergus M. Bordewich, “Civil War Veterans Come Alive in Audio and Video Recordings: Deep in the collections of the Library of Congress are ghostly images and voices of Union and Confederate soldiers,” Smithsonian Magazine (October 4, 2011).


2005: Shoes on the Danube Bank


The Arrow Cross militia – the military wing of the National Socialist Party of Hungary – gathered 3500 people, 800 Jewish, on the banks of Danube River. The militia forced the estimated 3500 to remove their shoes, then executed all those gathered; their bodies fell into the river and were swept away. A plaque in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew reads: “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.”

Source: Photograph by Nikodem Nijaki.

1861: The Sin of Rebellion

I believe, generally, there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, and the sin of rebellion is no exception. True here as very often, the blood of the innocent must mingle their blood with the guilty.
Charles Pendleton Bowler, U.S. Federal soldier, to one of his brothers, Nodiah Potter Bowler, on August 14, 1861.SourceThe Bowler Family Papers at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia (44 items total).

Bowler was an undergraduate student at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio on the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War. A company of soldiers was raised from Oberlin College (led by three professors), which Bowler joined on April 17, 1861. The unit became the Seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company C. Bowler was promoted to sergeant. Less than a year after writing the above letter to his brother, Bowler was killed at the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Virginia on August 9, 1862.

SourceItinerary of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1864, edited and compiled by Lawrence Wilson, First Sergeant Company D (New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1907) (pg. 420).