Tonight was the third night in the series I’m facilatating at the Winnsboro library. In this session, we discussed When the Devil Came Down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans. As was true in earlier sessions, the meeting room was packed, the discussion was lively, and the audience receptive. It seems that Ben Butler made an impression on all of us. As Hern’s book says, “He was a man who left few people indifferent.” We discussed various points made by the book about Butler, and read and discussed several key passages. Then, I used an Elmo Digital Visual Presenter (see this link to take a look: http://www.elmousa.com/presentation/index.html that two school teachers brought with them to show them an early New Orleans map, pictures of Butler, and a photograph of a chamber pot with Butler’s picture pasted in the bottom.
During the break, we ate some of the finest gumbo I’ve ever tasted. Afterwards, we talked some more about Butler, and using the Elmo, we showed some period Civil War photographs of Confederate ancestors that two participants had brought, as well as original hand-written letters. One letter was written on original Confederate stationary!
I’ve three more presentations remaining in this series. The next one deals with the Red River Campaign. Several in the meeting said they had seen the interview (about my writing and my new book) in the Monroe News Star. You can see that interview yourself here: http://www.thenewsstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070305/NEWS01/703050313