Sunday, 18 January 2009

A FitzHenry in the Land of Lincoln

In the United States the media is buzzing with anticipation about Tuesday’s Presidential Inauguration. Personal politics aside, the election of Barack Obama is an historic moment for our country. When Mr. Obama takes the Oath of Office, it will give some closure to “the unfinished work” Abraham Lincoln spoke about in his famous Gettysburg Address. If it hadn’t been for the American Civil War, would such an historic moment be at hand? The sacrifices made on the battlefield almost 150 years ago are shaping our history even today. With this in mind, my thoughts turned to one FitzHenry that would have called Abraham Lincoln, “Mr. President.”

I have written about Edwin Sawtell FitzHenry and his service in the Civil War previously. Please refer to the blog posts: When Family Meets History, Edwin Sawtell FitzHenry: After the Civil War and FitzHenry Footnote. I recently, however, received some new information that helped my research tremendously. Edwin was one of those deviants and variants Jo warned us about. He enlisted in the 6th regiment of the U.S. Calvary as Edwin S. Henry not FitzHenry. That little, but very significant piece of information, opened the door for discovery. In my next series of posts, I am going to explore Edwin’s service in the Civil War in greater detail. I am also going to highlight a Civil War blog that is a jewel for anyone seeking information on regular calvary regiments in the Civil War.

On January 20th the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court will give the Oath of Office to the first African American to hold the Office of President. With one hand resting on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, Mr. Obama will personify what Lincoln himself sought to achieve. As the nation’s thoughts are transfixed with the promise of a new administration, I’m going to be thinking about the service and sacrifice of Edwin S. (Fitz)Henry, enlisted man.

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