Today, I was looking over a list of Union Civil War Generals. The list included their dates of birth and death.
I wondered how many of these men could have possibly owned a car, possibly a Model T.
48 Union Generals were alive during some part of the Model T Era.
33 lived into the 1910's; 6, into the 1920's; 2, into the 1930's.
The Civil War and Model T's. With all that has been written on these two classic facets of Americana, I was curious if anyone had ever come across any stories/photos of Model T's and aged Civil War commanders (Union or Confederate)?
Hopefully they were doing better financially than to be restricted to the low price range. Sure,a Ford was made of the best materials. But I prefer to picture them, in, say one of the Three P's. Something more comfortable than a bouncing field tent.
Thinking that any of them old enough during the Civil War to attain the rank of general were likely past driving age by the time Ford began producing Model Ts. Of course, I could be wrong.
I agree with Dave, particularly when you consider that they were not lifelong drivers. They would have had to learn to drive a car pretty late in life by definition. IMHO not too likely.
I do know that more than one Indian Chief that was a savage, pun intended, fighter in the last of the Indian Wars wore suits and drove automobiles near the ends of their lives. And,having some American Indian ancestry, I don't have to follow the PC BS.
I would assume some of them did but most would have been set in their ways by that part of their life. Heck I am set in my ways at 54. Not sure they would have trusted the reliability over their horses.... I am not that set in my ways, I just don't want a Tesla driving me just yet!!
My grandpa was born in 1868 and loved the Model T, and owned several. His wife's side of the family had several officers and soldiers who served on both sides during the war between the states.
In the early teens, several older family members came to my grandpa when they decided to "learn automobile driving" as he was considered an expert in "technical" skills.
My Dad and Uncle recalled to me years later, the frustration among some, resulting in "swearing" and the conviction that automobiles were without souls nor capable of harness by God fearing men!
This reminds me of my 93 year old mother in law who will repeatedly ask my wife what time "that Netflix movie" will be coming on.
Dave Barker is correct, for the most part, the generation which produced Civil War generals on both sides was born in the 20's and 30's. Those who survived the war, and into the Model T era were by then in their eighties.
Thank you Davey Jules, for opening this topic of speculation, which led me to check lists of Civil War generals, and their biographies. I didn't find any driving Model Ts, but I sure found a lot of fascinating stories !
OK then, let's open the discussion to all soldiers from either side, rather than just Union Generals.
That's a whole different proposition. A younger Civil War vet, one who say was 18 when the war ended in 1865, would have been born in about 1847, so he would have been a youngster of about 62 when the T came out. There were probably a whole boatload of them driving cars, T's and others.
A generation after the generals, Civil War vets doubtless included many automobile drivers, and even more folks who were a little too young to participate in the war. Wyatt Earp (1849-1929) and his wife used to travel by car from Los Angeles to Vidal, between Blythe and Needles, where they had a mine. Somewhere I read that the car was a Model T, but I haven't found any reference I can cite.
I did find this picture of him with a Packard which probably belonged to his friend Bill Hart.
Henry Ford and the Civil War
With the car czar's birthday having just passed, we turn to historian Brian Egen for this perspective:
"Henry Ford and the Civil War" seems like an odd association – primarily because it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that he put the world on wheels and to which he is most categorically remembered. For those Civil War veterans who lived into the automobile era it is very likely that most of them, who marched and treaded miles during their service, rode and possibly even owned a Ford Model T. With over 15 million of them made and a vehicle relatively affordable for the masses, it became a part of everyday American life.
However, Henry’s connections to the Civil War can be more directly associated than simply creating an automobile that veterans came to know years after the fighting ceased. July 30, 2014 marks the 151st anniversary of Henry Ford’s birth. Born to William and Mary (Litogot) Ford just three weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg in a modest farm house in Dearborn, Michigan, Henry’s parents were all too familiar with the war as it touched them personally.
Henry’s two uncles, John and Barney Litogot, enlisted the previous August in the famed 24th Michigan Infantry. Like countless thousands of Michiganders, these two farm boys were swept up in the conflagration of the Civil War and voluntarily joined to preserve a “more perfect union.” Approximately 90,000 Michigan citizen soldiers would serve during the Civil War -- over 14,000 of them, including John Litogot, would never return home. Having been killed on December 13, 1862 at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Henry’s mother Mary would have mourned the loss of her brother John while she was in the first trimester of pregnancy. Assuredly the family worried for the safety of her remaining brother Barney as news of the Army of the Potomac’s actions came back to Michigan. Such news would eventually reach home just prior to Henry’s birth that Barney was wounded in the arm during the first day’s fight at Gettysburg.
To learn more of the Litogot Brother’s story and to see photographs, please follow this link to The Henry Ford blog written about Henry Ford’s two uncles in the Civil War: Ford Uncles
Another point to put into perspective is the average life expectancy in 1911 was about 50. When Little Rock hosted the United Confederate Veterans Reunion in 1911, it is said the average age of the participants was about 75. When you look at photos of the event, most of them had a pretty ancient look about them. No doubt there were some exceptions, but given the lives they lived, being 70+ in 1911 was probably more akin to being 85+ today.
I'm not so sure I agree with the idea that "being 70+ in 1911 was probably more akin n to being 85+ today." The significantly shorter life expectancy in 1911 was largely due to a much higher infant mortality rate. IMHO, once a person made it through childhood there was not as great a difference in aging as we tend to think there was today.
Just my $0.02 worth.
Yes, life expectancy was lower, but it was skewed by infant mortality. Childhood diseases killed many babies and young children and brought down the overall average.
That may be, but when you look at how weathered they are there is a sharp contrast to the equivalent 70 year old today, surely the harder lives people lived back then took its toll. Even at that, picking up something as new as an automobile in ones 70's would be a hurdle. Not saying it didn't happen, but I would think it would be an exception.
I wish I could remember where I read this but it reported that those born before 1875 were for the most part not auto drivers. Those born after were far more likely. I remember this because my grandfather who was born in 1877 owned his first car before 1912. His father was born in 1845 and never learned to drive.
These people were not generals, but were veterans of the Civil War. My great grandpa lived to 1916. The only stories of him were about his horse and buggy, how he hitched it up in Los Angeles and rode down Santa Monica Blvd all the way to the beach and had a picnic lunch with his grandsons and then rode home getting in about dark. However, it is quite possible that he might have ridden in a car because he lived in the city and cars would have been used during the last few years of his life.
Another person I met in the 1940's was Captain Mingue who Lived in Montrose California and used to come to our school for assembly. I was in first grade in 1942 and he came about Memorial day. He lived to be around 100 years old. There were few or no horse and buggys in Montrose in the 1940's. At least I didn't see any except in parades.
My great-grandmother, Clara Emerson (1848-1954) was a child during the Civil War. When we used to go visit her at Pratt, Kansas, she would always ask if we had come in the wagon or the Model T. She was probably very familiar with Model T's since her son, Frank, was the first Model T dealer in Coldwater, Kansas. Frank sold Model T"s, Buick cars, and International trucks. After Ford gave him an ultimatum to stop the sales of any cars besides the Ford, Frank was only a dealer of Buick cars and International trucks. I do not know exactly what years Frank was a model T dealer, but when his wife accidentally ran over and killed their son, Gordon, in 1912, she was driving a Model T.
I'm pretty sure some of those high ranking guys were quite young. Especially as the war dragged on and lives were lost. 30 yrs. old at war's end puts you at 75 by 1910. Very very possible.
I work with a guy whose neighbors father was a civil war vet. The son is 92 years old and his father had him when he was 78. The woman he married was 22 years old. He is my hero.
There are actually 3 children of Civil War parents in TN (or were last year). Ken tried to get him some survivor benefit by his father was on the side of the south so he can't get it.
As those Civil War vets reached their expiration dates at the turn of the last century, it was not uncommon (especially south of the Mason/Dixon) for them to marry a much younger gal- it was an accepted win-win scenario: the old soldier got some comfort in his waning days, and the young lady got a full U.S. govt. war widowers pension for a few months (hopefully..) of combat duty.
Picture of my GGD. (I've posted it before but may be interesting to those who missed it.) He was born in 1835 and served in Civil War. Enlisted in New York State along with two brothers that were prisoners in Andersonville. He moved to Michigan after the war and settled near Fowlerville, MI. Don't have a date for picture but can guess by the cars.
George Custer was a General Officer at age 23. He would have been only 60 in 1909 when the first Ts appeared. Had he lived, he could have driven cars for decades, Dave.
In a hundred years someone will be pondering how many WWII vets rode in driverless cars. Not many. How about Korean War vets? Some. Vietnam Nam vets? A bunch.
John, Custer was an anomaly, and known as the "Boy General". Born 1839, he would have been 70 in 1909. He was only a few years younger than many of the high-ranking officers on both sides.
Custer's wife Elizabeth was only 3 years younger than George and she lived until 1933. She rode in several automobiles, but apparently didn't care for the "dual-tone" horns some of the higher-priced models featured.
She called them "Little (&) Big Horns"...
Everyone is talking about officers as the thread title asked when it started but many young boys who were 12 years old joined as drummer boys and served.
The last surviving soldier from the Civil War was:
Albert Henry Woolson
born Feb. 11, 1850
died Aug. 02, 1956
He was 109 years old.
He enlisted shortly after his father Willard succumbed to injuries he received at the battle of Shiloh. Albert was the companies drummer boy. A member of Company C 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery. His company never saw action.
Although Albert was the last surviving UNDISPUTED veteran of the American Civil War there were three men who claimed to be surviving Confederate soldiers who lived longer. One was disproved and the other two were never verified as Civil War veterans.
I guess I didn't add to the article that his birth date for Albert was also in dispute. One says 1847 the other 1850. So I guess he was between 106 and 109 either way he was an old fart!
And for the South:
The last confirmed surviving Confederate soldier was:
Private Pleasant Riggs Crump
of Talladega County Alabama
Born: December 23, 1847
Died: December 31, 1951
Just shy of his 104th birthday
Member of the 10th Alabama Infantry Regiment Company A
He saw action at the Battle of Hatcher's Run and participated in the siege of Petersburg before witnessing the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
As many as 12 other men came forward claiming to be Confederate survivors but they all were disproved via military records and birthdates. It was believed that these fellas came forward making their claim so they could get the military pension during the great depression in order to feed their families.
(Notice his birth date and date of death both fell on the Eve of major holidays.)
I don't mean to be a pain, but:
1. The dates of his life you posted indicate he was 8 days past his 104th birthday, not "Just shy" of it.
2. What major holiday is Dec. 23 the eve of?
I guess I should proof read better on my dates two postings two mistakes on longevity but I'm consistent!
On December 23 Festivus is celebrated but you are correct I messed up.
The book Tin Lizzie by Stern gives a good account of who/was still alive as for Vets when the model T was born.Bud.