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Posted By: Dave Gaddy on: 06/08/2003 15:58:29 EDT
Subject: RE: new book on telegraph

Message Detail:
Good points, all, Bill. But, again pardon my skepticism, but a key is your statement that "even in 1863 Bates wrote with amturity far greater than most modern day 20 year olds." Do we know that he wrote in 1863? You probably know the problems associated with Mary Chesnut's "diary," and the number of re-writes. E.P. Alexander's memoirs, as edited by Gary Gallagher--they were a hodge-podge of pieces, revisions, etc. in manuscript, edited as "Fighting for the Confederacy." So do we really have Bates' contemporary work? This is a bit like Biblical scholarship, establishing authorship, date and circumstances of composition, etc.
Another point is that with age and reflection often comes the ability to sort out and appreciate things in a different light. If he were aided by a contemporary diary, letters, etc., we should expect his matured and mind-jogged reflections to carry the added weight of those four decades or so of living and professional life (with Western Union). If (as I pointed out) Bates changed what the diary said, which do we believe? We shall see. Cheers.
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