Thursday, November 17, 2016

Shelby Foote born, this day in 1916

Again, this isn't the "this day in 1916" blog, but we are noting things of interest that occurred in 1916, in part of our effort to develop the warp and woof of the Punitive Expedition era, if we dare call it that.

Therefore, we've noted a few, and very few at that, birthdays that relate to 1916. As most births aren't national news at the time of the birth, this is being done on a very limited basis.

Anyhow, today we do note that this date is the 1916 date of birth for Shelby Foote, who is best remembered for his epic three volume history of the American Civil War, his magnum opus, and a truly great work.  He also wrote a few novels that are not well known to readers today, but which are generally well regarded.

Foote was of Southern birth but strove to remain objective in his history of the Civil War.  Ironically, his own military record was peculiar in that he joined the Mississippi National Guard in 1940, rising to the rank of Captain, only to be court martialed in 1944 for falsifying a record pertaining to a Jeep when he borrowed it to visit a girlfriend, whom he later married, who lived two miles beyond the military limits in Northern Ireland, where he was then stationed.  Returning to the United States his new wife divorced him after coming to the United States in a warship convoy and he soon thereafter joined the Marine Corps as an enlistedman.  The war ended before he saw combat.  Therefore, while he was steeped in the Civil War due to growing up in the South, and was familiar with the military himself after having served in the Army and the Marines, he never saw combat in the largest war the United States had fought after the Civil War.

Foote had a soft, classic Southern accent that became well known to Americans for his role in Ken Burns' famous documentary, The Civil War, which Foote played a prominent role in.

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