PRESIDENTIAL MILITARY SERVICE
March 28, 2000
In response to Bill Mitton’s question [Letters from Readers, Winter 2000], I don’t know if the following would qualify as “leading troops”, but President Lincoln was with troops under Confederate fire at Fort Stevens in Washington DC during Gen. Jubal Early’s advance on Washington in July, 1864. Early’s troops were advancing along what is now 7th Street. Lincoln went out to Fort Stevens to have a look. Some fairly heavy firing was going on from both sides, and a young lieutenant standing beside Lincoln took a bullet in the face, whereupon Lt. Col Oliver Wendell Holmes grabbed Lincoln and sat him down, saying “Get down, you damned fool.” Shortly after that, Lincoln retreated back downtown and relief troops arrived. A day later and the Confederate Army would have occupied Washington and the war might have ended differently. You might say Early was late.
J. Edgar Williams
Retired diplomat Ed Williams, a member of American Diplomacy’s editorial review board and one of the world’s champion punsters, served as a U.S. Army officer shortly after the end of the Second World War. ~Ed.
MORE ON THE MEN OF THE ASTP
April 2, 2000
I am trying to find a GI from WWll, Private 1stClass Walter V. Burrows. All I know about him was that he was from Bradford PA and that he was an ASTP language student [see Army Specialized Training Program: Gateway to the Foreign Service, by Curtis F Jones, Jan.-Mar. 1998 issue], where he learned Russian & German. He served in the 69th Infantry Division, 273rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, I&R section. I know that he was involved in liberating a PoW camp full of British prisoners in April 1945, and it is on this subject that I would like to speak to him. I understand that he may have received the Bronze Star for his actions in Germany. The 69th has no record of him after the war.
Do you know how I might be able to find him? I was guessing that since he was from PA, he might have attended the same university as you? Any help you could forward would be gratefully received. For your information, I am conducting research on a short term basis for a television documentary about the PoW camp in Colditz. This documentary has already aired in this country (England) however I am presently researching material for the US version which will be broadcast on WGBH. They want some American content added to our film.
Mr. English, I’ll pass your message to Mr. Jones (a member of American Diplomacy’s editorial review board) and we’ll post it in our journal’s “Letters from Readers” segment. Maybe something will come of those initatives. I suspect, however, you’ll have to contact the Pentagon, perhaps more specifically the US Veterans Administration in Washington, to get information on Burrows. Good luck in the search! (By the way, I remember well when living in England more than 25 years ago seeing the weekly TV continuing dramatic series on Colditz; well done and a fascinating topic.)