Kim Crawford, Author, Historian, Journalist
16th Michigan Infantry During the Civil War
November 20, 2019
Kim Crawford returns to discuss his book "The 16th Michigan Infantry", and it's a classic. Kim was here previously to talk about Jacob Smith, the first white settler and generally acknowledged founder of Flint. Now, he moves us forward about 50 years to the American Civil War, and the role the 16th played. The story includes soldiers from around the state, but it all starts with Flintstone Colonel Thomas Stockton.
It's a fascinating look at this incredibly historic unit, fighting a war whose outcome would shape the next century and a half. The characters in this drama represent some of the major players: Rebel Colonel James Longstreet, Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, American General U.S. Grant, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and President Abraham Lincoln.
The story also includes some of the seminal events in American history, including the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, battles at Malvern Hill, and Fredricksburg. Most famously of all all the battles they participated in, though, was a place called Gettysburg, on a hill called Little Round Top, where the fate of the Republic hung in the balance and relied, in part, on the actions of the Flintstone-founded men of the 16th Michigan. After the battle, President Lincoln delivered perhaps the great speech in American history, at an event commemorating the battle:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
It's almost too big to wrap your head around, but Kim does it with skill, grace, and a true historian's gift for story. It's a monumental tale, and book, and the storyteller is a 30-year veteran writer of The Flint Journal, Flint, and most especially our heritage. Fish and Kim break it down in an unforgettable way on this episode of "Fish and The Flint Chronicles".
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