Sunday, November 28, 2004

I Have Returned

I've returned feeling refreshed after a two-week travel break with very limited access to the internet. If you must know, I spent a week on Rarotonga and a night on Aitutaki Lagoon. Perhaps at some point I'll post a few pictures. Having just returned to Manila, perhaps it's appropriate to mention a link I found concerning the whereabouts of the son of the late General Douglas MacArthur, who remains an American icon here in the Philippines despite the fact that the generation here who still remembers him with fondness is rapidly dying off. I bring it up because I've begun to suspect that my ancestry is linked in some obscure way with that of the MacArthur clan and may somehow account for some of the circumstances that have brought me here at this point in time. It's all still quite mysterious to me, but I am beginning to think there may be something to this hunch. Douglas MacArthur's father, Arthur, was a Civil War hero, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, where as a teenager he served as a first lieutenant with the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Nearly forty years later, as a lieutenant general, he commanded the U.S. Army forces that captured Manila during the Spanish-American War. Arthur MacArthur's father, Arthur MacArthur Sr., was a lawyer, politician and judge in Milwaukee and in Madison, Wisconsin throughout the Civil War era before accepting a position as a federal judge in Washington D.C. during the Grant administration. Visitors to my webpage might take note of the chain of command I outlined, extending from the 27th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry upward to the command of the VII Army Corps. Arthur MacArthur Sr. was elected lieutenant governor of Wisconsin in 1855 and served briefly as governor in 1856. During the Civil War my great-great grandfather's commanding officer served under and alongside two fellow German officers who were brothers of Edward Salomon, a German immigrant who was elected lieutenant governor of Wisconsin in 1861, but served as governor of the state during the Civil War from 1862 to 1863..

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Brazos Santiago

I mentioned that my great-great grandfather's final posting in the Civil War was on the island of Brazos Santiago at the mouth of the Rio Grande. The terrain of that locale was well described when American troops were first stationed there during the Mexican War. Links on that page include an enlargeable map, a more recent photograph of the remains of CampBelknap and a sketch from 1846 of the town of Camargo on the Mexican side of the river. The channel of the Rio Grande is at the far left edge of the map. French troops still occupied that town when Germans from the 27th Wisconsin visited at the end of the war, a rare chance for European grandsons of troops who once fought at Waterloo to get acquainted. A severe hurricane destroyed all of the facilities on the island of Brazos Santiago in 1867 and they were never rebuilt, so it was only used by the military in that brief historical window of twenty years from the birth of the Republic of Texas until the alleged demise of the Confederacy. Another Civil War site has a Harper's Weekly cover from 1863 that featured Brazos Santiago. A map of the Confederacy linked on that page looks strangely reminiscent of last week's red and blue electoral map. I haven't yet found an occasion for mentioning Robert E.Lee, but I'm told that a link to his portrait will earn a reciprocal link and a snappy salute from the sons of the South.