Thursday, October 9, 2014

Movie Review: Civil War Life: Shot to Pieces
This You Tube documentary and docudrama presented by Janson Media tells the life of William Francis Bartlett. It starts with perhaps his most heroic moment, the Battle of Ball's Bluff.  He served as a Captain.  His men were ordered to attack, but soon found themselves overwhelmed by the number of Confederates, and after a couple hours of hard shooting, were forced to pull back.  They suffered heavy loses, and made their way back to the Potomac River, where those who could swim made there way to Harrison Island.  Those who could not swim made a stiff defense, until they were able to make there way up river where they found a skiff, and under direction of the Captain and his pistol, made there way across to the island four men at a time.
Bartlett had served at First Bull Run as a Private.  He left his studies at Harvard to enlist.  He was 21 at the time.  He served is 90-day commitment.  
Bartlett's later military involvement was more difficult and costly to his own health.  In the Peninsular campaign he was shot in the knee, which shattered his bone.  His leg was removed three inches above the knee.  He was sent home to recuperate.
He returned to military service with a prosthetic, but as colonel of a different unit, new volunteers.  He trained them and when they were ready he lead them into battle being stationed in New Orleans.  There they were involved in siege of Port Hudson.  This was an attempt to control the Mississippi.  Colonel Bartlett was shot twice while doing reconnaissance.  He took a bullet to the hand and a pellet to his foot.  For a time it was feared he would lose his arm, but his medical care was able to help him preserve it.  After going home for a time, he reenlisted again.  This time he organized a regiment of veteran soldiers who had already completed one enlistment.  They joined Lee in time for the Battle of the Wilderness, and Colonel Bartlett was again wounded, this time shot in the head.  The blow was a grazing blow, and although he again was forced to take some time off, he returned again.
This time he was at the head of a division.  His unit was instrumental in the Battle of the Crater.  The charged into the crater, and found that coming up the other side was difficulty.  Bartlett was laid flat by an exploding mortar shell, in which he lost his prosthetic leg.  He was unable to retreat with others of his unit, and was taken prisoner. 
He ended up in Libby Prison, and suffered terribly for poor nutrition and illness.  He was exchanged after two months, and again went home to recuperate.  The war would end before he would return to service.  However he did return, and helped organize troops to defend Washington.  He now served as a brevet general.
He left military service in 1866.  We was successful at business, working in iron works.  However he never regained full health.  He had married his love, Agnes Pomeroy.  She felt he had done enough, but Bartlett always thought he could provide more service to his country.  He and his wife had four children.  However Bartlett passed away at age 36, succumbing to the after effects of his injuries, and tuberculosis. 

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