"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, October 3, 2011

The History Corner

Just a quick note here...Last week I won another Versatile Blog Award - this time from Marji Laine. Thank you Marji! I hope everyone will go over to her blog - Marji Laine Writer ~ Unravel the Mystery - and say hi. She has a beautiful blog, and I always leave feeling inspired.

Right now, I think we’ll just head over to the History Corner with my better half, Eric Huebner. His post this week is an interesting read. Hope you enjoy it!

Private Lars (Loree) with Frederick Douglass
Gettysburg, PA
Photo by Eric Huebner

The History Corner with Eric Huebner

As you may know, Loree and I are Civil War reenactors with the 9th Indiana Volunteers Company E. We were initially drawn to the regiment as they were from Northern Indiana, but as we learned more about the unit, their amazing record in battle made us truly admire these brave soldiers. In tribute to their service, Loree and I wrote an article titled Among the Bravest of the Brave, the Battle History of the 9th Indiana that was published last spring by the Indiana Historical Society. Of possibly more interest to this audience is the fact that author Ambrose Bierce was a member of the 9th Indiana.
Bierce witnessed terrible fighting during the Civil War and was shot in the head during the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, a bullet remaining lodged in his skull. He survived the ride back to a Federal hospital in Chattanooga on an open flat car in spite of the odds. When he returned home with his head wrapped in bandages, his relationship with his girlfriend ended badly, leaving him scarred emotionally and physically. These experiences set the tone for his writing career for which he became known as "Bitter Bierce."
Bierce wrote for several newspapers and he was one of the first columnists and editors for William Randolph Hearst. His other works ranged from short stories, many about the war or the macabre, to poems, and The Cynic's Word Book or The Devil's Dictionary. Examples from this piece are:
1. Alone, adj. In bad company
2. Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
3. Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy
4. To be positive: To be mistaken at the top of one's voice
5. Year, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
6. Lawyer, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.
7. Bride, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.

Bierce's greatest work can be found in his short stories. The strange tale, Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was possibly his best. A French film version of this story was shown as the final episode of The Twilight Zone and won first prize for Best Short Subject at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. Author Kurt Vonnegut once stated that he considered Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge the greatest American short story and a work of flawless American genius."    

Be forwarned, his stories are not for the squeamish.

Here is a link to the text of that story: http://www.online-literature.com/bierce/175/
My personal favorite, however, is What I saw of Shiloh, the best, no holds barred description of a battle that I have ever read, better even than The Red Badge of Courage. This piece can be found at the same website. Please take a moment and read through a few of his pieces. I believe he was way ahead of his time.

Bierce's life ended in mystery. At the age of 71 he joined Pancho Villa's army and then disappeared without a trace. In 1989 there was a movie about this story titled Old Gringo with Ambrose Bierce played by Gregory Peck. Another movie came out in 2006 called Ambrose Bierce - Civil War Stories with Campbell Scott as Bierce.

Thanks for visiting the History Corner,


If the Civil War, Bierce, or the 9th Indiana are of any interest to you, check out our facebook page (Eric is the administrator) and please hit "like

Between you, me and the gatepost,


Loree Huebner said...

Thanks for the great post, Eric.

I enjoyed the bit on Bierce.

Love you.

Jessica R. Patch said...

Wow! Surviving and a bullet remaining in his head and writing? That's really amazing.

I happened to love The Red Badge of Courage. We had to read it in high school and I wasn't too thrilled about it. But...I fell in love with the story.

Congrats on your award, Loree! :)

Loree Huebner said...

Jessica: I think the bullet was removed once he got to the hospital. It was amazing that he made it to the hospital at all, riding on a flat car.

I find the love story part of Bierce interesting. I heard it told that she broke it off with him...and it makes me wonder if that's what made him bitter. Or was it a combination of the war and the broken heart.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Congrats on the blog award, Loree. You're on a roll! :)

Eric J. Huebner said...

Loree: Bierce was inconsolable for weeks after the break up.

Jessica: Thanks for your comments. The Red Badge of Courage is one of my favorites.

Loree Huebner said...

Sarah: THANKS!! and thanks for dropping by.

Brandi said...

Congratulations, Loree! And thank you, Eric , for the History Corner segment. I've heard of the Devil's Dictionary, but had no clue what it was referring to. Now I know. In a way, I like Bierce's witty sarcasm, but it is sad that the events of his life led him down such a dejected path.

Loree Huebner said...

Brandi: Congrats on your award too! I understand what you mean by in a way, you like Bierce's witty sarcasm. It's odd. He really had a knack for stringing words together in a fascinating way. His personal life killed his loving spirit but ruled his writing.

Thanks for popping in, Brandi!

troutbirder said...

Most interesting. The Civil War definitely changed most of its survivors. Some for the better. Others not...

T.O. Geezer said...

At 71 and joining up with Poncho Villa is amazing! I think I've seen that movie?

Have a Great Week Loree! :-)

BTW, thanks for your comment on my "Don't Mess With Old People!" post. ~Ron

Deana said...

I love reading about history and the people who lived through it. Thanks for the post Eric and Loree:)

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm amazed by how much history you guys know! Very cool. Weird he disappeared but it sounds like he had a great, full life (except for being shot in the head, of course).

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wow, I'm not usually a history buff, but I found this quite interesting. . . and sad.

"5. Year, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments." just send a chill. What a sad life this man must have lived.

Loree Huebner said...

troutbirder: War does change lives. I think that the aftermath was hard for him. Lots of battlefield memories and a hard break up.

When you read his battle descriptions in some of his stories, you see what he saw. Gruesome as it is to read, it's exactly how I would picture it.

Geez: Amazing what you can do at any age!

Deana: I also love reading about historical times and the people who lived it.

Jessica: He did live a good life as a writer and editor. I think his memories always stuck with him to the end. You can read it in his writing. Then he went to Mexico and was never heard from again. Ha! Now that's a story!

Eileen: The dictionary is quite telling of his feelings and thoughts. "Bitter Bierce" I agree with you on #5.

troutbirder, Geez, Deana, Jessica, and Eileen - thank you all for stopping in and commenting!

Carol Riggs said...

Congrats on your Versatile Blogger award, woo! Ha, love that Devil's Dictionary--especially the definition for bride, #7!!!

Loree Huebner said...

Carol: Ha! It's got some funny definitions to it. Thanks for popping in!

Eric J. Huebner said...

With Bierce, I focus on how his life experiences affected his writing. His command of the language was excellent and his dark sarcastic style make him unique.

Sarah, Brandi, Trout, Ron, Deana, Jessica, Eileen, and Carol - thank you for taking the time to comment. I enjoyed hearing from all of you.

Stacy Henrie said...

Congrats on the award! I love the picture and the post by your husband. I keep nudging mine to guest post - maybe one of these days. :)

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Congrats on the award, Loree! You are on a roll, lol! :-) Tell Eric that I appreciated his interesting bit on Bierce. I hadn't heard of him before. Blessings!

Loree Huebner said...

Stacy: Thanks. Keep nudging the hubby.

Gwen: Thanks. Eric appreciates you taking the time to comment.

Stacy and Gwen, thanks for stopping by and chiming in!

Eric J. Huebner said...

Gwen and Stacy: Thanks for your support and comments.

J.L. Campbell said...

Fascinating story. I'll bet there is lot of speculation as to what happened to Bierce. Liked the definitions. :)

Jayne said...

Oh my gosh, The Cynic's Word Book is hysterical. In all the Civil War reading my husband had done I wonder if he's ever come across this. I'm sending him the link right now!

Great piece! ;)

Loree Huebner said...

JL and Jayne: Glad you enjoyed the piece. Thanks for stopping in!

Jayne said...

Loree- Do you know if Ed Bierce, the historian, is a relation of Ambrose Bierce?? (Asks hubby.)

Loree Huebner said...

Jayne: Sorry- I just saw your extra comment today - No relation.

Ed Bearss is a famous Civil War historian. The name is pronounced like "Bierce" but it's spelled different. Hubby and I are thinking about going on one of his Civil War tours. Having Ed lead you through a battlefield would be just awesome...