Tag Archives: Silas Soule

while I was gone

That’s also the title of a terrific, underrated novel by Sue Miller, which kept me up reading a few nights during my long interregnum from this blog. Few writers — maybe Tolstoy or Lynne Sharon Schwartz –  combine as well gripping suspense and an incredible amount of thoughtfulness about marriage.

I’d kept thinking I would do an entry when I was finally free of my the 19th century — but like Marx or Baudelaire, I’m finding that exit is taking far longer than I’d hoped.

Part of the delay happened because my responsibilities at my paid blog gig changed, in a way that takes up more of my time and brain space than I like. (See the posts following this one for details.)

But the loong gestation was perhaps more the nature of the material itself — including two frigging new characters that nosed in insistently, kind of at the last minute. Just as I was about to write, “Dissent from soldiers was confined to diaries then,” along came..

Benjamin Grierson (left), longtime commander of the Buffalo Soldiers, and Silas Soule (below right),  who came from one of those fine raging-abolitionist families (his brother named after William Lloyd Garrison).

I’d thought of pasting, and will at the end of this post, Soule’s testimony to an Army inquiry about Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre, which he answers in classic soldier’s understatement.

Were these families, women and children, scalped and mutilated?

Yes, sir. They were.

Soule was far less understated in a letter to a fellow soldier:  “I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized.

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