Brian C. Pohanka's
in the uniform of an Irish Brigade soldier on the set of "Gods
and Generals." Photo by Jim Wassel, courtesy of Brian Pohanka,
Brian C. Pohanka
was known as a Civil War historian, writer, speaker, battlefield preservationist,
film consultant, and re-enactor. For all his notable and innumerable
accomplishments, he was perhaps most widely recognized for his commentary
in the "Civil War Journal" series on the History Channel;
as an extra in films such as "Cold Mountain" and "Glory,"
and as captain of the 5th New York (Duryée Zouaves) Volunteers
Infantry, Company A, living history organization.
Despite the publicity he received for his work, Brian was a private
person who did not seek the limelight. A humble man who marched to the
beat of his own drum and stood behind his beliefs, Brian was among the
Civil War battlefield preservationist pioneers of the late 1980s whose
efforts would found what is known today as the Civil War Preservation
Trust. A student of not only the Civil War, but also the Great War (World
War I) and the Battle at Little Bighorn, Brian unselfishly shared his
knowledge and time with those who were not even among his peers. His
loyalty to the soldiers he admired was reflected in his ceaseless service
towards honoring their memory.
Though his studies seemed to focus on war, suffering, and death, Brian
loved life and all living things, great and small. His nature was inward
and often not easily understood. For at heart he was idealistic, gentle,
kind, empathetic, spiritual, and compassionate. By bravely facing his
own long-term illness without bitterness or complaint, Brian demonstrated
the true soul of a chivalrous and noble soldier who fought to the end
for his ideals.
Memorial Tribute to Brian C. Pohanka
Soul of an Idealistic, Noble Soldier: Page
1 includes an introduction to the pages in this memorial tribute
and covers Brian's comments on Civil War-related topics. Page
2 focuses on Brian's World War I studies. Page
3 shares Brian's thoughts on psychology, the fine arts and literature,
his travels, and nature. Page 4 concludes
this memorial tribute to Brian Pohanka.
Containing Content Contributed by Brian
Words by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain - Quotations by Chamberlain
and a picture of him as Brigadier General. Also included on this page
is a photo of Petersburg National Battlefield.
Memorial Day Quotations - Quotations
by Civil War soldiers and historian Brian Pohanka on the event of Memorial
Day are featured in this tribute to Civil War veterans.
"The Blue and the Gray"
by Francis Miles Finch - A poetic, memorial tribute to the soldiers
who fought for the Union and the Confederacy.
Hiram Duryea reflects on
the Battle of 2nd Manassas on Memorial Day, 1907 - Hiram Duryea,
former commander of the 5th New York, honors Duryée's Zouaves
in a Memorial Day tribute that recalls August 30, 1862: Day three of
the Battle of Second Manassas (Bull Run).
Monuments to New York Regiments
at Manassas National Battlefield Park - Photos of monuments
to Duryée's Zouaves, the 10th New York Infantry, and the 14th
Brooklyn (84th New York). Also included is text from inscriptions on
"Memorial Day" by
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. - An address delivered May 30, 1884,
at Keene, N.H., before John Sedgwick Post No.4, Grand Army of the Republic.
Thoughts on Life, Dreams, and Pursuits
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. - Quotations and photos of the
former Civil War soldier and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also included is a photo of his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.
Friends of Oliver Wendell Holmes,
Jr. - Includes brief bios on William Lowell Putnam, Charles
F. Cabot, Paul Joseph Revere, Edward Hutchinson Robbins Revere, Nathan
Hayward, Henry Lyman Patten, Henry Livermore Abbott, and William Francis
Bartlett. Photos are included for some of these soldiers.
Battle of Olustee (Ocean Pond) - On February 20, 1864,
the 54th fought alongside two other black regiments: the 8th U.S. Colored
Troops and the 35th U.S. Colored Troops. This was the largest Civil
War battle in the state of Florida, and a terrible defeat for the Union
Biography of Henry Lee Higginson - Page
1 of this abridged version of Henry Lee Higginson's story tells
of his boyhood days, through his Civil War years. Page
2 describes his many contributions to humanity after the war.
The Life Story of Henry Lee Higginson
- Part I: In his youth, Higginson desired
to be a musician. But as with many of his aspirations, that dream failed
to materialize. Part II (Page 1, Page
2, Page 3, Page
4): Henry enlisted as an infantryman, then served as a cavalryman,
and as many other soldiers, experienced the glory and tragedies of war.
It was through the loss of many of his cherished friends that Henry
developed his philosophy of "practical idealism." Part III (Page
1, Page 2, Page
3, Page 4): Following the Civil War,
Henry fulfilled his friend Charles Russell Lowell's ideal in becoming
a "useful citizen."
Friends of Henry Lee Higginson
- Higginson's circle of friends included: Charles Russell Lowell, James
Savage, Stephen Perkins, Robert Gould Shaw, James Jackson Lowell, and
Dr. Edward Dalton. This page includes brief bios and photos of these
Henry Lee Higginson and the 1st MA
Cavalry at the Battle of Aldie - On June 17, 1863 the Union
forces of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick clashed with the Confederate forces
of J.E.B. Stuart in Aldie, Virginia. This hot fight resulted in a loss
of 198 of the 294 soldiers from the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. For Major
Henry Lee Higginson, this would be the fiercest of all contests in which
he and the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry would engage during the Civil War.
1st MA Cavalry Remembers
Comrades at the Battle of Aldie - In 1891, members of the 1st
MA dedicated a monument in memory of their fallen comrades at Aldie.
Read Major Charles Davis's dedication address and details from the Battle
Henry Lee Higginson's Soldiers
Field Address - On June 5, 1890, Higginson presented Harvard
College a gift of 31 acres of land he purchased. In his address, Higginson
requested that the land be called "The Soldier's Field," and "marked
with a stone bearing the names of some dear friends,—alumni of the University,
and noble gentlemen,—who gave freely and eagerly all that they had or
hoped for, to their country and to their fellow men in the hour of great
need—the war of 1861 to 1865 in defence of the Republic."
Higginson's Thoughts on Charles
Lowell and Stephen Perkins - In 1907, Edward Waldo Emerson's
Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell was published, citing
in it a letter from Henry Lee Higginson to Emerson. In this letter Higginson
shared his thoughts on his friends since childhood—Lowell and Stephen
Perkins—who died during the war.
Henry Lee Higginson: "A Great Private
Citizen" by M.A. DeWolfe Howe - In March 1920, four months after
Higginson's death, an article about him by Mark DeWolfe Howe was published
in the Atlantic Monthly. Excerpts from this article and accompanying
comments are contributed by historian Brian Pohanka.
Remembering Henry Lee Higginson by
John T. Morse, Jr. - Less than a year after Higginson's death,
his friend John T. Morse, Jr. published his account: "Memoir of Henry
Lee Higginson." Excerpts from this writing are featured here, with comments
by Brian Pohanka.
Brian Pohanka's Thoughts about Henry
Lee Higginson - Historian Brian Pohanka explains why Henry Lee
Higginson "was a wonderful man, one of my favorite people."
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