Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Robert, John, Ackerman and wellll yea me!




I posted early about the impact that the 11th has had on my life. I reread that this morning, found myself thinking further on. Then in my minds eye I went back to some of the letters that McAllister wrote post Gettysburg. And even into his after action report.

Robert McAllister was a middle aged man thrust by choice mind you into one of the darkest time in our nations history.  We know that from his letters.

At the center of his belief system as it were, was his Christian faith. It matters not that he was of the Presbyterian persuasion, what matters was his deep abiding faith.

This value system as our day and age would put it, helped him to ensure that the 995 officers and men under him would be able to serve, thrive and yes even how in a strange way meet death so they could fight.

But the interesting thing was he didn't pound into his mens heads that they must do this they must do that , he lived it. Though he despised any alcoholic beverage of any kind,ever since birth, he didn't necessarily looked the other way, by his writings he understood that it was well part of other mens lives.

His example of living his faith and that's what he did. He had daily prayer and bible reading. Some joined right in as well with him, but for the most part the 11th kind of had this stand off ishness to it all.

But slowly and surely as time went on, as the war wore on, it slowlycame to be understood that well it would be good for the rest of them that they joined in.. And among them were John, Andrew and William and so many others. Till the whole regiment joined in.

I marvel at that. According to Marbakers regimental history, this all paved the way for two revivals that swept the Army of the Potomac, not once, but twice. Once after Chancelorsville and then Gettysburg.

The interesting thing though is the impact that had on Robert... He rejoiced in it, but he also seemed to be well some what in awe of it. Humbled by it.

It impacted John Schoonover.. And also Andrew Ackerman. And also Dunning. Schoonover so much that he continued it on after he took over and McAllister returned but moved up the command ladder.

Ackerman, from some of the writings, seemed to have accepted it and was beginning to embrace it all till he was killed at Gettysburg. Dunning much the same way though he is gone from the Army after Gettysburg..

So were does the "ME" come in you ask? I noted my discovery of the 11th and McAllister as a whole helped to pull me out of a tail spin that almost cause me to make decisions that would have profoundly impacted me. Most likely have shortened my life, or left me miserable.

Though I didn't fight with him, heck I didn't even live then, but in my own time and way, I did. Its most likely why when I go to Gettysburg now, and stop to pay my respects to the 11th. When I walk up to the monument, time seems to just well part. And for that sliver of time, the 11th, McAllister, John and me, well we are together. All of them.... For you see...... He not only saved all of them.. He saved me......
JIM

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