Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vicksburg 1863 and Winston Groom

       I'm currently reading Vicksburg 1863 by Winston Groom and so far it has been an excellent read. I also have a copy of Shrouds of Glory by the same author. Shrouds of Glory deals with the Nashville Campaign and is also a descent read although I'm not in total agreement. Groom seems to agree with Hood's attack at Franklin. I can see Groom's point as well as Hood's reasoning behind the attack, but in hindsight one can't help but admit it was a horrible mistake. 
       At one point in Vicksburg 1863, Groom mentioned a rumor that a local potter had made chamber pots with pictures of notorious Federal General Benjamin Butler in the bottom. He goes on to admit that he hasn't found any evidence to support this. That is the reason I decided to post this blog. We'll get to that part later. 

Benjamin "Beast" or "Spoons" Butler

       Next to Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Butler was possibly the most hated man in the Confederacy. When he arrived in New Orleans, a crippled veteran of the Mexican War named William Munford had torn the United States flag from the Federal mint. Butler charged Munford with treason and hanged him. Citizens who refused to sign the loyalty oath had their homes confiscated and used by his officers. His brother got rich off of steeling from the citizens of New Orleans which earned Butler the nickname "Spoons" for all the silverware he had stolen. 
       The most infamous thing Butler ever did was to issue an order that stated if any woman insulted or showed contempt toward a Union officer, she will be regarded as a woman of the town. Shock waves would be heard across the Atlantic from this proclamation. The way the order read, it sounded as if he was giving his men permission to rape southern women. Jefferson Davis branded Butler an outlaw and ordered if the man was captured to have him hanged on the spot. British prime minister Lord Palmerston declared that any Englishman should blush that Benjamin Butler was a member of the Anglo-Saxon race.

William Munford

       This brings us back to the statement Groom makes about the chamber pots. My wife noticed me smiling and asked me what I was reading. I told my wife I have actually seen these chamber pots. 

One of the chamber pots Mr. Groom can't find any evidence of.


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