The Scheier Brothers on “Civil War Women: Nurses, Leaders, Soldiers, and Spies”
The Scheier Brothers described the contributions of dedicated northern and southern women during the war.
Benjamin and David Scheier, veterans of the Union Army, are composite characters based on actual soldiers’ memoirs, diaries, and other historical records and reflect the experiences and attitudes of soldiers of the era.
The brothers related what everyday life was like, as seen from the perspective of those who served. David told how women served in the Civil War, not always as nurses, but also as women in disguise who fought alongside their husbands. In time, David revealed that “his” name is Sarah, and that “he” is actually Benjamin’s wife, one of the hundreds of married and single women who hid their gender and honorably served as soldiers. Sarah has many tales to tell about women who served as soldiers, nurses, and as spies.
Robert Silverman and Diana Newman, the creators of Benjamin and David Scheier, are Civil War living historians with experience teaching and serving as docents at museums. Robert is a veteran and also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey Foundation. They reside in Long Branch, NJ.
They created the characters of Benjamin and David Scheier for the purpose of presenting history in an easily accessible and historically accurate way. The Scheier Brothers presentations follow several themes, ranging from the everyday lives of soldiers, to the participation of women, and especially New Jersey women, in the Civil War, and also Civil War mascots. The brothers visit in character; punctuated with period photographs, art, and humor. They may even sing a song or two if time permits.
May 2015 Newsletter
Don Wiles on “Transport to Hell: SS Sultana, An American Tragedy”
SS Sultana (Library of Congress)
The worst maritime disaster in America occurred April 27,1865, north of Memphis on the Mississippi River. A steamship that was being used to transport returning Union prisoners of war from Confederate prisons to their homes in the Midwest area of the country exploded and sunk. There are a lot of mysteries and questions about the SS Sultana tragedy. The new technologies of steamboat engines, the making of repairs, the greed and conspiracies of Army officers and the Sultana officer, the amount of prisoners put on the ship, the operation of the ship on the flooded Mississippi, the government investigations, the trial to fix blame, the rescue and recovery efforts of the Navy and civilians, why was there no outcry from Americans, how could they ignore approximately 1700 dead from this disaster and now the question of sabotage.
A subject of the Civil War that had been forgotten from the time it happened up to the 1960s (one book was written in 1892). Several books and articles have now been researched and written starting in the 1960s. And now the Sultana’s location has been found and the possible excavation of the remains may be in the future. After 150 years a lot of questions are still unanswered.
An ancestor of Don’s was a prisoner in Andersonville and was on the Sultana and survived. Hear his unique story.
Don Wiles is a member of Old Baldy CWRT and is an amateur historian whose main interest is Gettysburg. His interest in the Sultana was generated by his interest in his family’s genealogy. Don is retired from 50 years as an Illustrator for industrial and commercial companies. He worked at the Kennedy Space Center doing illustrations for the Astronauts, NASA and companies during the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Soyuz, Shuttle, and various Satellite programs. He also did an illustration of the missile cruiser CG 64 Gettysburg for the commissioning in Philadelphia. Don lives in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
April 2015 Newsletter