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The Yankees' Secret Weapon
09-22-2017, 04:03 PM
Post: #1
The Yankees' Secret Weapon
I was pleasantly surprised to see that once-maligned researcher and author, Dr. Thomas Lowry, is back in business and snuck in a new book in April of 2016. The Yankees' Secret Weapon: Even Lincoln Didn't Know is selling on Amazon for $12.99.

Those with squeamish stomachs may choose to avoid it...

"Civil War soldiers faced many threats: bullets, cannon balls, bayonets, scurvy, dysentery, malaria, mumps, and measles. Yet, Robert E. Lee’s immortal Army of Northern Virginia lost 70,000 men to an invisible threat, one not understood until forty years after the guns fell silent. That menace was hookworm, which bled the Deep South dry, not just during the war but for generations before and after.

"Now for the first time, a book-length exploration of this menace clearly shows its effects not just in the American South but throughout the world. Full justice is done to the Hookworm Heroes who raised half the country from being enfeebled “poor white trash,” to the productive and healthy men and women of the South today.

"A biologist’s view of Pickett’s Charge casts a whole new light on both commanders and the men who faced the Union guns, opening a window of knowledge to both Civil War buffs and general readers. Twenty-four photographs. Fully indexed."
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09-22-2017, 05:25 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Who is Dr. Thomas Lowry, and why was he once maligned?
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09-22-2017, 07:42 PM (This post was last modified: 09-22-2017 07:46 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #3
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Thomas P. Lowry, MD, was well-known in the Civil War/Lincoln field for his writings on various topics that do not usually get covered in the more academic tomes -- more human interest research than what "true scholars" are supposed to write about. Since he is part of the amateur historians (like most of us), some of the professional historians ignored him. I heard him speak several times and found his topics interesting and refreshing. I also found him to be a very gracious and friendly gentleman with a good speaking style.

Dr. Lowry retired from the medical field after practicing psychiatry in California for about forty years. He and his wife moved to the DC suburbs to continue their work in the CW field and practically lived at the National Archives. They are well-known for their cataloging of thousands of courts-martial cases.

About 5-6 years ago, Archives personnel accused him of altering a date on a Lincoln Presidential Pardon of a soldier convicted of desertion. They said that the document's actual date was April 14, 1864, but that the "4" had been changed to a "5." Ironically, that change would make it seem that the kind-hearted Lincoln pardoned the young man shortly before his own assassination.

Tom professed innocence, but later confessed -- and then recanted the confession, saying that he was coerced into the confession of guilt. One of the archivists who did the investigation is a member of our Surratt Society. The outcome was that Dr. Lowry and his wife were banned from ever entering the National Archives. I believe that statutes of limitation kicked out any further punishment. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of summarizing the case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_P._Lowry

You can also go here to read Tom's side of the story: https://tomlowry.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/hello-world/
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09-22-2017, 07:58 PM
Post: #4
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Interesting. One of my specialties is researching Civil War soldiers. I'll see what I can find about the pardon.
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09-23-2017, 09:56 AM
Post: #5
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
The pardon in question was for Patrick Murphy, but there was another questionable one somewhere in the story also -- last name something like Hambrick??

The interesting thing is that Patrick Murphy was mentioned in Basler's works dating back to the 1930s, complete with the correct date of 1864, but none of the Lincoln scholars who were reading Lowry's work caught the error.
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09-23-2017, 01:18 PM
Post: #6
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
For more about Thomas Lowery go here .....

http://rogerjnorton.com/LincolnDiscussio...y#pid63136

and here http://rogerjnorton.com/LincolnDiscussio...omas+Lowry

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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09-23-2017, 02:41 PM (This post was last modified: 09-29-2017 03:20 PM by Steve.)
Post: #7
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
If the accusation is true, it seems like it was a really pointless thing to forge when Lincoln signed several similar orders on April 14, 1865, like this one to discharge Maine Private Thomas Geary:

   

(I checked and Pvt. Geary was in fact not discharged but continued to serve in his unit until it was mustered out on July 15, 1865.)


According to the text of Basler, Lincoln reviewed 67 cases with his endorsement on April 14, 1864. There were notes written by Lincoln on 2 pardons:

(Pardon of John C. Clevenger) -

To Joseph Holt 

Pardon---proof being insufficient, except for short absence without leave. A. LINCOLN
April 14. 1864

Annotation
[1]   AES, DNA WR RG 153, Judge Advocate General, NN 1204. Lincoln's endorsement is written on the court-martial record of John C. Clevenger, First New Jersey Cavalry, sentenced to two years' imprisonment for absence without leave and for forgery. This is one of sixty-seven cases reviewed by Lincoln on April 14. His endorsements are routine pardons, commutations, remissions, or approvals of sentence with the exception of the two reproduced.

(Pardon of Patrick Murphy) -

To Joseph Holt 

This man is pardoned, and hereby ordered to be discharged from the service. A. LINCOLN
April 14. 1864

Annotation
[1]   AES, DNA WR RG 153, Judge Advocate General, MM 761. Lincoln's endorsement is written on the court-martial record of Private Patrick Murphy, Company E, Second California Volunteers, sentenced to be shot for desertion and violation of the Twenty-Third Article of War. The court asked clemency, as the accused was insane.

UPDATE (9/29):
For any reader interested in Pvt John C. Clevenger, I found a copy of the Adjutant General's Office General Order No. 187, April 27, 1864 which goes more in-depth into the case:

https://archive.org/stream/generalorders...2/mode/2up

(Clevenger's case is mentioned on pages 4, 5, and 10 of the order)
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09-23-2017, 07:39 PM (This post was last modified: 09-23-2017 09:26 PM by Steve.)
Post: #8
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Here's an image of the pardon in question, cropped from the court martial report. Notice something. There's a big notation below Lincoln's signature that says "G. O. 167 A.G.O." and dated "1864". If this was a case of forgery, what kind of idiot forger would think this was the document to alter, but leave the other date right below it?

   

Does anybody have information on General Order 167 of the Adjutant General Office which the notation refers to?
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09-24-2017, 03:39 PM (This post was last modified: 09-24-2017 06:40 PM by Darrell.)
Post: #9
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
(09-23-2017 07:39 PM)Steve Wrote:  Here's an image of the pardon in question, cropped from the court martial report. Notice something. There's a big notation below Lincoln's signature that says "G. O. 167 A.G.O." and dated "1864". If this was a case of forgery, what kind of idiot forger would think this was the document to alter, but leave the other date right below it?

Does anybody have information on General Order 167 of the Adjutant General Office which the notation refers to?

Steve, I think the General Order you're referring to is in the publication linked below.
Try a "find on page" search using "No. 167" as its about 3/4's of the way down the page.
(Pages 3 and 4 of that order is about Private Patrick Murphy's case.)

https://ia600306.us.archive.org/7/items/...01unit.pdf
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09-24-2017, 04:48 PM
Post: #10
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
I'm still a newbie on the forum, so I don't know quite what to make of Tom Lowry. That said, I found one of his presentations on c-span and thought it was both informative and entertaining. It focused on reactions to Lincoln's assassination, primarily by Union soldiers who made intemperate comments.

At times, Dr. Lowry had the audience in stitches with his delivery of the soldier's reactions. My favorite was Patrick Kelly of a New York artillery regiment. Upon hearing of Booth's deed, Kelly said: "It's a good thing Lincoln was killed. Now we will have a better man, a man who is a drunkard and a Rebel." (Another New Yorker, Sgt. Max Puhan, was also looking forward to Lincoln's successor. He exclaimed: "Hip, hip, hooray, Lincoln is dead, whisky will be cheap now, and Andrew Johnson is our next president.)

https://www.c-span.org/video/?190117-2/d...ry-justice
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09-24-2017, 06:41 PM (This post was last modified: 09-30-2017 10:40 PM by Steve.)
Post: #11
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Thanks Darrell! This is so helpful. Yes it is the correct Pvt. Patrick Murphy who was pardoned by Lincoln. It is Adjutant General's Office Order No. 167 dated April 20, 1864. I've included images of the relevant pages of the order for others to see:

First page:

   

Page 3 (first page to mention Murphy):

   

Page 4 (second page to mention Murphy):

   

Page 10 (page that mentions Lincoln's pardon of Murphy):

   

Last page:

   

Here's a link directly to the first page of the order, for people who can't read the above images. Just click the "flip right" button on the bottom to reach the pages I mentioned above with the information about Murphy and the pardon:

https://archive.org/stream/generalorders...4/mode/2up

Since California Civil War service records are available online, I checked Pvt. Murphy's record and he was discharged on October 2, 1864. Here's a link to the National Archives press release on the incident with an image of the original pardon written on the court martial record sent to President Lincoln:

https://www.archives.gov/press/press-rel...11-57.html

A few of interesting postscripts to the tale of Pvt. Patrick Murphy:

1. According to his service record he was born around 1829 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.

2. He was actually innocent of the 2nd charge he was convicted on (the one he plead not guilty on), the "Langford" who enlisted in May 1863 in the 6th California Infantry was actually a Henry Langford who never deserted from his unit during the war.

3. After he was discharged, Pvt. Murphy was erroneously placed on the list of deserters again despite his pardon! I don't know if that was a clerical error or a local commander who didn't approve of the pardon.
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09-25-2017, 12:40 AM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2017 07:11 PM by Steve.)
Post: #12
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
Since I'm interested civil war soldier stories and based on Gene's recommendation, I decided to order a copy of Lowry's 1999 book despite wondering if anything else was altered.

I have to say, I'm not interested in buying a book about hookworms. But I did look on Amazon and found another book he released last year that is more to my interests and that I may consider buying if everything else in the 1999 book seems above board:

Was Grandpa a Freeloader?: Civil War Pension Claims North & South by Thomas Power Lowry

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/194568700...1OMlH75-0L

"Today, politicians wage vicious war over entitlements and welfare, but there was a time when citizens expected nothing from the Federal government except mail delivery. The Civil War changed all that. Beginning with small payments to seriously wounded soldiers, the system expanded step by step until age alone could bring a pension. In 1890, 37 percent of the entire Federal budget was in direct payments to veterans or their widows. At least a million Union soldiers applied for pensions, and a huge new structure was built just to house the army of clerks and examiners who shuffled papers and verified records. (It is now the National Building Museum.) This story of the pension industry begins with the author’s own great-grandfather who was a multi-millionaire, yet collected a Civil War pension. His widow was still collecting her share as Franklin D. Roosevelt began the New Deal. The whole pension system became a Perfect Storm, in which at least five factors reinforced each other. The first, of course, were the veterans themselves with their disabilities, both real and imagined. Then there was George Lemon, whose national newspaper agitated in every issue for increased benefits. Politician “Black Jack” Logan’s wild-eyed oratory gave further momentum to the call for more benefits. The Republican Party rode to decades of success by promising veterans bigger checks, and finally there was the Grand Army of the Republic, the greatest lobbying group in American history. One of the strangest conflicts in veterans’ industry was: Who was the oldest living Civil War veteran? In an analysis based on the original records, the author shows that almost all of them were complete frauds. The strange and often amusing tales of their self-promotions and political sponsors are little gems in our nation’s story. To give visual immediacy to the words on paper, one whole chapter is devoted to photographs of the hideously wounded men who survived the war. As for the South, with the Confederacy gone, each state took its own path in providing pensions or lack thereof. An analysis of dozens of Virginia pensions tells much of suffering and local politics. Based entirely on original historical records, Was Grandpa a Freeloader? opens a light-hearted but factual vista onto a largely forgotten half-century of the story of our nation."
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09-25-2017, 07:38 PM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2017 07:42 PM by Steve.)
Post: #13
RE: The Yankees' Secret Weapon
(09-23-2017 09:56 AM)L Verge Wrote:  The pardon in question was for Patrick Murphy, but there was another questionable one somewhere in the story also -- last name something like Hambrick??

The interesting thing is that Patrick Murphy was mentioned in Basler's works dating back to the 1930s, complete with the correct date of 1864, but none of the Lincoln scholars who were reading Lowry's work caught the error.

The other pardon that Lowry claimed was made on April 14, 1865 was for a Bradford Hambrick. However, that pardon was not forged or altered in any way. Here's an image of the April 27, 1865 letter the Adjutant General's Office sent to Maj. Gen. George Thomas informing the Department of the Cumberland of Lincoln's pardon of Hambrick:

   

The fact that the Hambrick pardon was genuine makes the whole affair even more baffling, especially if Lowry was indeed the forger.

Perhaps... I'm beating a dead horse with this 6 year-old story?
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