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November 14, 2013

This Week In The Civil War: The Gettysburg Address

This series marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

By The Associated Press

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 17: Lincoln’s ``Gettysburg Address.’’ Fighting in Tennessee.

President Abraham Lincoln delivered the ``Gettysburg Address’’ on Nov. 19, 1863, at the Gettysburg battlefield, one of the most famous addresses by a politician in American history. The occasion: a dedication ceremony planned near the Gettysburg battlefield to give a better burial site to fallen soldiers than the shallow earthen graves they were initially given after the epic battle in July of that year.

The Gettysburg Address-M. Kunstler (c)

A former Harvard president was designated the featured speaker at the dedication and Lincoln was asked to speak as an afterthought, but would go down in history with his short by memorable speech that opened ``Four score and seven years ago ...’’

Elsewhere, Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside plunged Nov. 16, 1863, into the thick of fighting with Confederate opponents near Knoxville, Tenn. The Confederates struck on the flank of Burnside’s column but Burnside was able to maneuver his troops and get them on the march to Knoxville. The Confederate attack by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet ended with a Union victory and Knoxville firmly in Union control.

NC Student, A ‘Modern Hippie,’ Treasures His 1977 VW Bus


Times-News of Burlington

Elon, NC (AP) Volkswagen announced earlier this year it’s halting production of its van, 63 years in the making.

The iconic vehicle carried a generation of surfers to beaches, hauled Forrest Gump’s girlfriend to San Francisco, and, in ``Field of Dreams,’’ led Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones on a search for a baseball diamond where ghosts still suit up.

The vans have been disappearing for quite some time. Brazil is the last place they’re built, and Volkswagen officials said the country’s newly mandated safety regulations, an insistence on frivolities like air bags and anti-lock brakes, have forced them to sound the death knell for the vehicle.
Not to worry, insists Matt Eastman. As long as he and like-minded aficionados have a say, their beloved ``bus’’ will endure.

``My dad’s pushing me to get a more realistic vehicle,’’ Eastman said, ``but I can’t see myself selling it.’’

Eastman, 22, is a senior at Elon University. He’ll be graduating in December with a double major in media art and environmental studies. Eastman played football at Elon until last year, when knee injuries forced him to give it up.

His VW van is a ‘77 model, just a hair darker than lime green. It’s a Westfalia edition, meaning it’s a camper. It has a stove and refrigerator, and a pop-up camper top. The van is designed to sleep two.

A ‘77 VW bus similar to Eastman’s

Eastman’s camper is a common sight around Elon, cruising much as it did when it was young and disco music was the rage. The reaction of other college students to the vehicle typically goes one of two ways.

``Some people are like, `Oh, yeah!’ “ Eastman said. ``Others are sort of standoffish.’’

Eastman, a native of Tampa, Fla., bought the van when he was just 16. While his friends were longing for late-model Hondas or Toyotas, Eastman pined for an old VW van. ``I began searching the Internet for one when I was 14,’’ he said.

Why, Matt, why?

Eastman shrugged. How do you explain why some people order Rocky Road when everyone else is getting vanilla?

``I’m more of a modern hippie,’’ said Eastman, who sports a beard and wears his hair long. ``I’ve always been interested in the hippie era of the 1960s. The love and romantic aspect of it all appealed to me.’’ Eastman purchased his van through eBay, an Internet auction site. The vehicle was a one-owner, belonging to a German who relocated to Las Vegas and had the van shipped to him. The camper was produced for a German market, back when the Cold War was alive and well. Its odometer reads in kilometers, not miles. The writing on the instrument panel is in German.

Eastman and his mother flew to Las Vegas to inspect the van before he bought it. ``For its condition, it was a lot better price than any of the other vans I looked at,’’ Eastman said.

After placing the winning bid, Eastman had the vehicle trucked to his home in Florida. He and the van have since been pretty much inseparable. Eastman can’t count the number of times he drove the Volkswagen across Florida, from his home on the west coast to the beaches on the east.

``They have waves over there,’’ Eastman said. The fact that the van was a camper appealed to Eastman, an admitted ``free spirit.’’

``I remember thinking, `Wow, I could really go camping in this thing,’’’ he said.

He’s done so plenty of times, pulling his van into numerous campgrounds up and down the East Coast, and also setting camp in remote wooded stretches.

Eastman and his van have encountered their share of adventures. Press him a bit and he’ll tell about the time he was camping in the Georgia wilderness and a raccoon stole the vehicle’s keys. ``I was stuck in the woods for four days,’’ Eastman said. A locksmith was finally summoned before Eastman could continue his journeys.

The van is an attention-getter.

Eastman once left the van for a day at a shop in Florida for some minor tinkering. Mechanics there specialized in repairs to high-end foreign vehicles.

Eastman said when he returned to get his van, the shop’s owner told him that while mechanics there were doctoring on everything from Ferraris to Porsches, customers were far more interested in talking about the aged Volkswagen that was being serviced.

Exactly how many miles Eastman and his van have journeyed together is anyone’s guess. Translating kilometers to miles has never been Eastman’s forte. Once he graduates, Eastman plans to return to Florida to work and save money. Sometime next summer he and his camper are off on a cross-country jaunt, with California their ultimate destination.

Eastman, who blogs about the environment at, said he wants to inspect firsthand the damage to the West Coast that’s resulted from the March 2011 radiation spill at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. He believes damage may be worse than the public believes. Eastman hopes to make a career working in environmental journalism and filmmaking.

``I’d like to help us change the way we perceive the environment,’’ he said, ``help us realize it’s something we cherish, not something we use.’’ As part of his studies at Elon, Eastman has shot an independent documentary about the rain forest in Costa Rico, living in a sustainable tree house community while doing the work. He spent two weeks this past summer in Alaska, where he produced a video about the dangers of wildfires.

Of how he came about his independent ways, Eastman said much comes from his mother. His parents are Mike and Loretta Eastman.

``My mother is a free spirit,’’ Eastman said. ``My father is a cop.’’

After mulling his declaration for a moment, Eastman chuckled before deciding, ``My father, he’s pretty much a free spirit, too.’’

Eastman is happy to show his van’s interior to anyone who’s curious. The walls are decorated with broken-down cardboard boxes that once contained cases of Bud Light beer.

``I did the wallpaper myself,’’ Eastman said, chuckling again.

1869 Account Of Yellowstone Was Disbelieved, Nearly Lost


Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Bozeman, MT (AP) Imagine writing the first accurate description of the wonders of Yellowstone, its dramatic waterfalls, geyser basins and hot springs, yet being almost forgotten by history. That is what happened to David E. Folsom, a 30-year-old mining engineer, who made a daring expedition from Montana territory to Yellowstone in September 1869 with friends Charles Cook and William Peterson. The three went to investigate outlandish but persistent rumors circulated by prospectors in the gold mining camp of Diamond City, near Helena. The three miners went on the four-week adventure, even though a planned military escort from Bozeman’s Fort Ellis canceled and everyone else who’d signed up dropped out rather than travel into what might be hostile Indian country.

The three friends not only witnessed and measured the wonders of Yellowstone, but also were the first to write about them for the wider world. After several of the nation’s major magazines rejected the story, apparently skeptical of the incredible discoveries, their report was published in June 1870 by a small Chicago magazine, Western Monthly. That led to two well-known government expeditions, the Washburn-Doane-Langford expedition of 1870 and the Hayden scientific expedition in 1871, whose dramatic descriptions prompted Congress to create the world’s first national park in 1872.

Folsom’s earliest draft describing Yellowstone, written in longhand in pencil on lined paper in 1869, was recently delivered by Folsom’s great-grandson, David A. Folsom, to Montana State University’s Renne Library Special Collections.

``This is a pretty cool thing,’’ said Kim Allen Scott, university archivist. ``We’re pretty excited about it.’’ Folsom’s 1869 handwritten manuscript begins: ``The headwaters of the Yellowstone, although occasionally visited by small parties of prospectors and mountain men, and being within a few days ride of Virginia City, is still to the world of letters a terra incognita.’’

Thomas Moran’s 1893 Golden Gate

The three miners measured the height of Yellowstone Falls with a rope tied to a rock, fished in Yellowstone Lake, made the first fish chowder in Yellowstone history, and described the geyser basin. They met Shoshoni Indians and described them in unflattering terms typical of frontiersmen.

That the Folsom manuscript has survived 144 years seems a minor miracle. The only two other copies made at the time burned up: one in a fire at the Chicago publisher’s in 1870, and the other in a 1916 fire that gutted the chemistry building at Montana State University (then College) and office of chemistry professor Victor Chesnut.

Folsom gave his copy of the Chicago magazine to the infant Montana Historical Society, and it also burned in a disastrous Helena fire in 1874. Scott wrote of ``A Missing Piece of a Yellowstone Puzzle’’ in 1999 for Yellowstone Science. He described the discovery of four pages of the missing Folsom-Cooke-Peterson story, and speculated that it ``may not be the last word,’’ since a missing memo book carried on their Yellowstone exploration had yet to be found.

About a year and a half ago, Scott said, he was surprised to get an email from a retired David A. Folsom from San Diego, who’d read the ``Missing Piece’’ article online. He described the three-dozen handwritten pages handed down to him, plus letters from early Yellowstone officials to his great-grandfather. As they corresponded, Scott became more excited.

``He didn’t quite realize what he had,’’ Scott said. ``I couldn’t believe it was true, that this long lost document was coming to the surface.’’ In September, David A. Folsom and his aunt, Martha Folsom Saudek, granddaughter of the mining engineer, traveled from California to Bozeman to deliver the papers to MSU. Scott said the library paid $5,000 for the documents, though they could have been sold for many times more. Scott called it ``an incredible gift of generosity’’ from the Folsom family.

``Historians agree it was these three expeditions that are what led to establishment of the first national park,’’ Scott said. ``So it’s quite a contribution to history.’’ The documents will be available to historical and environmental researchers and posted online for the public, along with the MSU Library’s growing Yellowstone collection.

Scott said MSU’s archive now includes original reports from two of the three key expeditions—Doane’s journal and Folsom’s manuscript. The papers are kept in a fireproof vault.

Amazing Story Of 17th Century Gem & Its Princess Savior


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Villanova, Pa. (AP) For decades, a giant 17th-century Italian masterpiece has been slowly losing its luster on an obscure library wall on the Villanova University campus.

Also fading—from memory—has been the artwork’s fascinating backstory. It begins with an American-born Italian princess and a papal palace, twists through World War II, and ends up on the Main Line with the help of an ambitious priest.

But now the century-long, operatic tale of the princess, the priest, and the painting is getting a bright and uplifting new finale.

The school and a University of Delaware conservator are working to give new life to Triumph of David, the epic 12-by-20-foot piece by Pietro da Cortona, one of the most important painters in Rome in his time. They hope the two-year restoration will brighten an oil painting that has not only been degraded and discolored by the passage of time but suffered damage during the 1944 Battle of Nemi on the Italian front.

``If a da Vinci has a scratch in it, do you throw it away?’’ asked conservator Kristin deGhetaldi, a doctoral student at the University of Delaware who is leading the $100,000 project.

``There are not a lot of oil paintings associated with Pietro’s circle in the U.S., and the sheer size of the painting makes it very unique,’’ she said.

Also worthy of a revival is the Baroque tale of how a canvas depicting David presenting Goliath’s head to King Saul—accompanied by 10 other Italian paintings from a castle outside Rome—made it in the 1950s to Villanova, where it has been hanging ever since in the Falvey Library.

Triumph of David by Pietro da Cortona

The story begins in the ashes of the American Civil War. Jennie Berry was born in northern Georgia in 1861, the daughter of a former Confederate colonel. After traveling and studying in Europe, she married a successful Nashville businessman who died several years later, leaving her a very wealthy widow and what one account called ``a `jet-setter’ before jets.’’

In 1901, when Berry was 40, she married Don Enrico Ruspoli, the 23-year-old son of an Italian prince. They purchased the historic Castle Nemi outside Rome that had belonged, at various times, to many of the great papal families.

Don Enrico Ruspoli died just eight years later, and he left most of his property, including the castle, to his brother. But Berry, now known as Princess Eugenia Ruspoli, maintained she had supplied the funds for the castle with the agreement that should her husband die, she would retain possession.

A bitter court battle led to a 1916 agreement in which the princess obtained the title and all the house’s contents. Meanwhile, she had returned to the United States after Don Enrico Ruspoli’s death and lived in New York but still traveled frequently to Italy.

At the outbreak of World War II, Ruspoli shipped antique furniture, paintings, and sculpture to her sister Martha Berry, who founded Berry College in Rome, Ga., which now owns most of Eugenia Ruspoli’s collection. But Triumph of David was still inside the castle when it was heavily damaged by a bomb in 1944. The painting also suffered water damage.

One last plot twist brought 11 of those paintings to Villanova.

Ruspoli, a philanthropic socialite, knew many prominent clergy, and it was through a Vatican connection in Washington that she met the Rev. Daniel P. Falvey, Villanova’s librarian who was in the process of building a new facility. Falvey, who started the Friends of Villanova Library to raise funds for the project, convinced Ruspoli that the rising building would be an ideal home for her family treasures, and she donated them just months before she died in 1951.

``I think she decided that Villanova was an appropriate place’’ for the painting, said a granddaughter, Elena Corso, who lives in New York.

Since 1956, Triumph of David has hung in a wing of the library now known on campus as ``Old Falvey.’’ But experts said three earlier restorations did more harm than good.

``It went through some tough times. That being said, it’s survived very, very well,’’ said deGhetaldi, who is being helped by interns and a Villanova chemistry professor and art historian.

It is still definitely worth saving, she said.

Cortona was known primarily as an architect, but his most important work is the ceiling fresco of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, said Carl Strehlke, adjunct curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cortona also did preparatory drawings for some of the tapestries depicting the story of the Emperor Constantine that hang in the Philadelphia museum.

Strehlke said it was difficult to know the value of the Villanova painting in its present state.

Over-paint and varnish have degraded and dulled the original vibrant colors and, in places, left big black blotches. DeGhetaldi pointed out a brilliant blue robe on a figure of a dancing woman, which she had restored to its original hue. In the middle was a small grayish patch that she had left untouched to show how the colors had faded.

Cortona was known for ``vibrant blues, lovely colors, beautiful skies. That’s not what we have here,’’ deGhetaldi said.

After removing or reducing the over-paint and varnishes, restorers will retouch and apply a more stable finish.

While most restorations take place in the bowels of museums, the Cortona is being cleaned and repaired in its home in ``Old Falvey,’’ where anyone can watch and ask questions or follow the project via a webcam and blog.

When the painting is finished, the room will be remodeled into a student lounge with an atrium where the restored painting will hang.

With the rest of the princess’ gifts fading away in storage, deGhetaldi said she would like to see what other treasures might be there.

``It’s fun,’’ she said. ``Like going into an attic, and you don’t know what you will find.’’

BBB: Tips For Donating To Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Arlington, VA – As the public’s attention and hearts are focused on the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises donors to take steps to avoid being taken by questionable solicitors or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts. The typhoon that hit the Philippines over the weekend, described as the most powerful in the world this year, has destroyed an entire town. More than 10,000 are feared dead.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance cautions donors to avoid the following five giving mistakes when making disaster relief donations:

1. MAKING A DONATION DECISION BASED SOLELY ON CHARITY’S NAME - Charities ranging from well-known emergency relief organizations to organizations experienced in reconstruction will likely be soliciting for various relief assistance efforts. Make sure the appeal specifies how the charity will help. If it does not, visit the charity’s website. Also, watch out for charity names that include the name of the disaster – it could be a start-up group with little experience or a questionable effort seeking to gain confidence through its title.

2. COLLECTING CLOTHING AND GOODS WITHOUT VERIFYING THAT ITEMS CAN BE USED - Unless you have verified that a charity is in need of specific items and has a distribution plan in place, collecting clothing, food and other goods may end up being a wasted effort. Relief organizations often prefer to purchase goods near the location of the disaster to help speed delivery and avoid expensive long distance freight costs. Also, sending non-essential items may actually slow down the charity’s ability to address urgent needs.

3. SENDING DONATIONS TO INEXPERIENCED RELIEF EFFORTS - Good intentions alone are not enough to carry out relief activities effectively. If the charity has not previously been involved in disaster relief, or does not have experience in assisting the overseas nation(s) that have been impacted, this likely will hamper their ability to work well in the affected areas.

4. RESPONDING TO ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA APPEALS WITHOUT CHECKING - Don’t let your guard down just because the appeal is online. Don’t assume that since a third-party blog, website or friend recommended a relief charity that it has been thoroughly vetted. Check out the charity’s website on your own.

5. DONATING WITHOUT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK - Find out if a charity meets recognized accountability standards. If you want assurance that the charity is transparent, accountable, and well managed, see if it meets the BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 “Standards for Charity Accountability” by visiting The following 25 organizations are BBB Accredited Charities (i.e., meet all 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability) that have announced on their website that they are accepting donations for typhoon relief activities. Donors are encouraged to visit the charities’ websites to find out more about the nature of the assistance they are providing. Some organizations are engaged in immediate relief while others are focused on longer term recovery efforts. Visit if the organization you are considering is not on this list:

Adventist Development and Relief Agency International
AmeriCares Foundation
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
American Red Cross
Catholic Relief Services
ChildFund International
Children International
Direct Relief International
Episcopal Relief and Development
Feed The Children
GlobalGiving Foundation
Habitat for Humanity International
Heifer International
International Medical Corps
Lutheran World Relief
MAP International
Mercy Corps
Operation USA
Oxfam America
Plan International USA
Save the Children Federation
The Salvation Army
United States Fund for UNICEF
World Food Program USA
World Vision

BBB Wise Giving Alliance does not rank charities but rather seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments by providing objective evaluations of national charities based on 20 strict standards. The outcomes of the evaluations are available online at BBB Wise Giving Alliance is an affiliate of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.




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