The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone

April 02, 2015: Barry Cauchon

Angela Smythe has been a friend of mine for several years now and is one of the hidden gems in our research community. I am a strong supporter of her Civil War history work and have previously published her studies on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. These articles can all be found on her website http://www.AntebellumRichmond.com.

Today Angela releases her latest work called The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone. It is a detailed study of the photographs taken by Thomas C. Roche on April 3, 1865 of the deadly aftermath of the Third Battle of Petersburg (VA), one of the last Civil War battles to be fought. Less than one week later on April 9, Robert E. Lee would surrender his Army of Northern Virginia at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox, Virginia formally ending the war between the states.

I will let Angela take it from here.

Click on the link below for Angela’s introduction to “The Garden of Death: The Fallen Sparrows of Fort Mahone”. The link at the bottom of that intro will lead you to their website and the complete essay.

Intro to Fallen Sparrows

Congratulations Angela on another wonderful piece of research presented both graphically and poetically.

Best

Barry

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CHASING SHADOWS 150 YEARS OLD, PART II, “CONVERSATIONS THROUGH THE GLASS”, JOHN WILKES BOOTH AND THE RICHMOND GRAYS by Angela Smythe

May 10, 2014

Barry M. Cauchon

Well, this is it. Angela Smythe has sent me the last installment of her fantastic research. It was five years in the making. Each step was shared here on this blog each year on the anniversary of John Wilkes Booth’s birth (May 10). The final piece of the puzzle is now presented here. Congratulations Angela. I’m proud of you. You are a wonderful friend and colleague and I appreciate that you allowed me to be a part of this exceptional journey.

Barry

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Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old, Part II

“Conversations through the Glass”

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

by Angela Smythe

“I think that’s John Wilkes Booth!”

I remember that moment from almost six years ago as if it was yesterday

My interest as an “armchair historian” was never in the American Civil War. I had no family history, both sides coming here long afterwards. My knowledge base was limited solely to the occasional documentary, reading (and seeing) Gone with the Wind, marveling at Bette Davis’ performance even earlier as the quintessential southern belle in Jezebel, and a glancing knowledge of what I thought were the facts, or what I had been taught were the facts about that war years ago.   A dear friend of mine, the late Dr. Moustafa Chahine, asked me one day over lunch while rehashing our shared history interests “Did I think that Mrs. Lincoln was crazy?”  I said I didn’t really know and he asked me to “Look into it and tell me what I thought.”  So I read a few books and provided my opinion.  He then asked me “Did I think Mrs. Surratt was guilty?”  Again I gave him the same response, which again prompted his earlier one of  “Well, look into and tell me what YOU think.”  In search of that answer; of course any path leads you to the Lincoln Assassination and to John Wilkes Booth.  The more I read about the historic “John Wilkes” the less he seemed to fit the image of “Booth” that I remembered from my now long ago college years.  In hoping to learn about the man behind the myth, I consulted his sister’s memoir, Asia Booth Clarke’s The Unlocked Book where I found her mention of a photograph taken of him in uniform while at Charlestown.  An armchair artist in addition to an armchair historian, this immediately got my attention – Did it still exist?

That was in the summer of 2009. Throughout a path that has lead from a troop train in Richmond in 1859 to a note written in one of Mrs. Ella Mahoney’s library books in 1937, the answer has proved to be yes.  Not only a newly discovered image of him, but of him in THE most iconic image of the American Civil War.

“Conversations through the Glass” completes the 5 year journey from thinking it to proving it.

http://antebellumrichmond.com/conversations.html

Conversations FINAL V11

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays – The Final Word by Angela Smythe

March 30, 2014

by Barry Cauchon

On February 20, 2014, I received a ‘one sentence’ email from my good friend and researcher, Angela Smythe containing the following message Can I do a shout out now: “YO ADRIAN – WE DID IT!”.

With this proclamation, I instantly knew that Angela was telling me she had found something substantial in her research documenting John Wilkes Booth in RG#1.

Over the past five years, Angela Smythe has given me the honor of being the first to publish her ongoing work on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. Angela’s goal has been to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that several images of the Richmond Grays, which featured a man resembling John Wilkes Booth, was in fact, the man himself.

In May, 2010 I started a series on this blog called “STATE YOUR CASE” in which unknown researchers were invited to present their work in an open forum to the public. In return, they would received critiques and comments on their work. Angela was one of three to submit their work and her research caught the eye of several historians and researchers. As for me, I was so impressed with Angela’s methodology and reasoning behind her theory that, even though she did not have 100% proof at the time, she was definitely on the right path and it would just be a matter of time before she found success. Well, sometimes success takes a while. Five years to be exact. But Angela is now ready to present the final evidence in “Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond” and “Conversations through the Glass” to prove that John Wilkes Booth is in these photos. And she has some strong backing from several historians and scholars. I am very proud of her and her ‘stick to it’ attitude that finally solved the puzzle.

If you’d like to read Angela’s previous submittals (always posted on May 10 – John Wilkes Booth’s birthday), please click on the links below.

STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3): Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays  (May 10, 2010)

OUT OF HIDING – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 10, 2011)

BOUND FOR GLORY by Angela Smythe (May 10, 2012)

CHASING SHADOWS 150 YEARS OLD – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 10, 2013)

For now, this is just a “Glimpse” into the culminating article of the Five Part study on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays, “Conversations through the Glass” which will be posted on, you guessed it, May 10, 2014.

Congratulations Angela.

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond by Angela Smythe

“He left Richmond and unsought enrolled himself as one of the party going to search for and capture John Brown. 

He was exposed to dangers and hardships; he was a scout and I have been shown a picture of himself and others in their scout and sentinel dresses.”

Clarke, Asia Booth. The Unlocked Book: A Memoir of John Wilkes Booth by His Sister. New York; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938. Pgs.111-112.

RG#1

RG#1, viewed in positive orientation as a print

Always in search of a recollection or clue that would lead to the picture Asia described, on Friday, Valentine’s Day 2014, news arrived that morning from the most respected source possible, Professor Terry Alford, providing me with such a lead, linked to an improbable source – Izola Forrester’s book This One Mad Act.

Professor Alford, knowing of my 5 years on-going research seeking Asia Booth Clarke’s photograph, kindly provided me with his notes advising me that on page 345 of her book, Forrester commented that her grandmother’s Bible contained three photographs, one of them a group of uniformed men with John Wilkes Booth in the center rear (just as we see pictured in RG#1). Further, that the Historical Society of Harford County’s collection contained Booth family confidante and chronicler Mrs. Ella Mahoney’s copy of this book, complete with her handwritten note on this page in the margin next to this sentence where she remarkably confirmed “I have one of these from the Booth Family”.  

When Professor Alford alerted me to look in this particular book, one which years ago I had abandoned any attempt to read at least one hundred pages before Forrester’s statement appeared, and asked me what I “made of it” in light of Mrs. Mahoney’s confirming written comment, I was flabbergasted to say the least.

While waiting (interminably it seemed over the next few intervening days) for Tom Fink’s kind assistance in locating Mrs. Mahoney’s annotated copy of the book at HSHC, I focused on the tantalizing possibility of what this could mean; that from the most unlikely of sources and out of the most inexplicable place, Izola Forrester had somehow pulled from grandmother’s Bible a vintage print of RG#1, and further, that Mrs. Ella Mahoney, someone with uncontested close contact with the Booth family, had attested in writing that she had been given one herself, by the family.

Potentially, this could mean finding not one but two vintage prints of a photograph that matched the description of the leading candidate I had identified in five years of research to be Asia Booth Clarke’s photograph of her brother, John Wilkes, taken in uniform while at Charles Town with the Richmond Grays in 1859.

While Mrs. Mahoney’s photograph obviously had solid provenance to the Booth family, just how could one have come from Izola Forrester grandmother’s Bible?  Just what, Professor Alford asked, could I possibly make of that information?

“Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond”   answers that question.

Click “Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond” above to take you to the article. Also in PDF below.

Glimpsing a Shadow from Richmond – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (PDF)

 

Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

May 10, 2013

by Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I am proud to present the newest installment of Angela Smythe’s wonderful research work on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. If you have been following her two earlier postings (May 10, 2011 and May 10, 2012) you will know that her work is thorough and engaging. Enjoy this third installment (Part one of two) and please do not hesitate to comment and compliment Angela on her outstanding efforts.

Best

Barry

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“Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”

IntroPix1of2

                       

Part One:

“Chasing a Shadow from Richmond”

by Angela Smythe                                                             

May 10, 2013

 

Several years ago, I began my quest to find the picture Asia saw.  In 2010,  I wrote “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays” (“Hiding”). In 2011 I continued my quest in Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays” (“Out of Hiding”), which examined some of the distinctive facts surrounding one of three 6th plate ambrotypes taken at Charles Town, Richmond Grays (RG) #1.  I concentrated on its most intriguing fact, that shortly after Booth’s return to Richmond from Charles Town in 1859, it had been reproduced and enlarged by a then rarely used early glass plate negative process to make albumen prints.

IntroPix2of2

This rarity for its time and place lead one of its prints in 1911 to be misidentified in Francis Trevelyan Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War as “Young Southerners at Richmond Making Light of War” just before Bull Run.  This error would result in it becoming one of the most widely recognized and reproduced pictures representing the American Civil War, ironically taken during the time which many consider to be that war’s true beginning, John Brown’s invasion of Virginia.

My third installment researching these images, “Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays,” will be presented in two parts.  Part One: “Chasing a Shadow from Richmond” (“Shadow”) tells how within a remarkable journey to reclaim their true identity, these misidentified Virginia Volunteers seen in RG#1 became the face of the American Civil War.

Throughout this photograph’s amazing history, the compelling faces of these young soldiers have entered our national consciousness.  Shadows from the past, they have somehow transcended their own time to now represent a “Band of Brothers” for all time.

For the past 150 years, has John Wilkes Booth’s face been among them, hiding from history in plain sight while proving his fealty to Virginia in the most iconic uniformed group image of his time?  No, he hasn’t been hiding; he’s been there in the shadows all along.

Come and follow RG#1’s “Shadow from Richmond” to see how…

Angela Smythe

May 10, 2013

CLICK ON THE LINK OR PDF BELOW

ChasingShadowsMay8

http://antebellumrichmond.com/chasing-a-shadow-from-richmond.html

*******

My journey accompanying John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays continues in;

“Chasing Shadows 150 Years Old –

John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”

 Part Two:

“Conversations through the Glass”

August, 2013

BOUND FOR GLORY by Angela Smythe

May 10, 2012: Barry Cauchon

Another year has passed since researcher Angela Smythe published her latest findings here on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. In true tradition, she is back again with her most intricate look at the man and the outfit he joined in November of 1859. “Bound for Glory”, in conjunction with her other two previous works, “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight” (published May 10, 2010) and “Out of Hiding” (published May 10, 2011) should be combined into one fine book . . . at least that is what I keep telling Angela. Perhaps one day soon … if we are lucky! I am very proud of her and the work she has generated since she first started this project over three years ago. Way to go Angela! Keep it up…and may we see more in the future!

Best.

Barry

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BOUND FOR GLORY

(click BOUND FOR GLORY above to link to the article)

by Angela Smythe

INTRODUCTION

This article is the third in the continuing series on John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays. The earlier companion pieces, Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 2010) and Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays (May 2011) , both examined period militia images, searching for the group militia picture that Asia Booth Clarke saw which contained her brother:

“He (John Wilkes Booth) left Richmond and unsought enrolled himself as one of the party going to search for and capture John Brown…and I have been shown a picture of himself and others in their scout and sentinel dresses” (Clarke, Asia Booth, The Unlocked Book; A Memoir of John Wilkes Booth by his Sister, New York, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938, pg. 111-112).

“Bound For Glory” is a different search for yet another picture, the true picture of just how Asia’s brother “unsought enrolled himself” on the evening of November 19, 1859. Among the many men who sought to volunteer that night, John Wilkes Booth alone was allowed to join his adopted “Band of Brothers,” the Richmond Grays, when they accompanied Governor Henry A. Wise on a special military train, deployed to the anticipated seat of war at Charlestown.

Bound for Glory:

  • Reconstructs that night’s events using period sources
  • Presents additional information on John Wilkes Booth’s association with the Richmond Grays
  • Examines the overlooked recollection by Richmond Gray John O. Taylor, which
    • Correctly chronicles how John Wilkes Booth boarded the military train that evening,
    • Clarifies previously known facts about that event found in other, more frequently cited, recollections, and provides a complete and comprehensive picture of the November 19, 1859 journey to Charlestown.

“ALL ABOARD!”

and I hope you enjoy the ride….

To see all three articles and much, much more, go to AntebellumRichmond.com.

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Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

May 10, 2011: Barry Cauchon

Last year on May 10th, 2010 Angela Smythe presented a paper here called Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays . It presented a very plausible case that several well-known photographs contained images of John Wilkes Booth. One year later, Angela has completed her work and followed up with this supplement “Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”. Here is Angela’s summary of the piece along with the posting I featured here under my feature State Your Case #3 last year.

Enjoy.

Barry

Subject: “Out of Hiding – John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”

Author: Angela Smythe (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

In Asia Booth Clarke’s The Unlocked Book: A Memoir of John Wilkes Booth by his Sister, Asia wrote, “[h]e left Richmond and unsought enrolled himself as one of the party going to search for and capture John Brown … and I have been shown a picture of himself and others in their scout and sentinel dresses.”

Does Asia’s picture still exist?

“Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays” (“Hiding”) released on May 10, 2010, sought to determine if several ambrotypes of the Richmond Grays, a pre-Civil War Virginia militia group, taken during the John Brown deployment, might contain John Wilkes Booth and if one of them could be the picture which Asia saw.

“Hiding” examined five pictures and determined that one individual in three particular pictures (original media ambrotype, designated in “Hiding” as RG#1, RG#2 and RG#3), could be Asia’s picture. “Hiding” compared these ambrotypes with known images of Booth and documented Booth’s presence with the Richmond Grays at Charles Town during the John Brown militia deployment in 1859. “Hiding” concluded by suggesting the need for additional research into these pictures and facts pertaining to John Wilkes Booth’s participation in this deployment as a means of confirming his possible inclusion in these pictures.

This supplement continues where “Hiding” left off. It provides additional and newly discovered documentation on RG#1, RG#2 and RG#3, lending even further support to the theory proposed in “Hiding” that John Wilkes Booth could be present in these pictures, and that one of them could be the very one which his sister Asia saw and wrote about in her manuscript.

The results originally presented in “Hiding”, expanded upon by those now presented in this supplement, indeed suggest that after 150 years, the possibility of John Wilkes Booth being hidden amongst these Richmond Grays, is now finally “Out of Hiding”…

Link for “Out of Hiding” .
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 May 10, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Subject: Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays
.
Author: Angela Smythe (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
.
Proposition: To determine if several photos of the Richmond Grays, a pre-Civil War Virginia militia group, taken during the John Brown deployment, contain John Wilkes Booth. Angela Smythe has taken this subject and painstakingly researched it presenting a very viable case for you to consider. The investigation starts by examining the most likely and widely known group images taken at that time and place. Next the investigation  turns to those Richmond Grays who have been documented at Charles Town during the 1859 deployment and an assessment of the Charles Town pictures, including visual comparison to other known pictures of some of the participants. Finally, careful consideration is given to whether John Wilkes Booth could possibly be in one or more of these pictures.
.
NOTE: For reasons of copyright requirements, Angela’s article is hosted on a secured website. The link is listed below (see Hiding_In_Plain_Sight . I encourage you to comment on her work and give honest, fair feedback for her to consider. To do so, you will need to return to this site by clicking on the link at the bottom of her article. Once back here, you can then leave your comments in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
.
INTRODUCTION BY ANGELA

For the past 10 years, I have supported the earth-orbiting Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Project (AIRS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Dr. Moustafa Chahine, our Science Team Leader is often asked about his opinion on climate change based on our satellite’s measurements, and he always replies that as an objective observer, he can only be a witness and his role is not, nor should it be, that of judge, jury, prosecutor or defense counsel. It is a wonderful explanation of what true research is all about, being a witness; and that is what I have tried to accomplish with “Hiding”.  I have written what I have seen.  It is up to the jury, the readers of “Hiding”, to determine for themselves if John Wilkes Booth has been hiding in plain sight.
.
Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight?
John  Wilkes  Booth and the Richmond  Grays
.
In  November of 1859 John Wilkes Booth accompanied the Richmond Grays during  their militia deployment to Charles Town in the aftermath of John Brown’s Raid at  Harper’s Ferry. This fact was known even in  Booth’s own lifetime.  His participation and presence have long been verified by first-hand narratives  and confirming documentation.
In The Unlocked Book, Booth’s sister Asia recounts seeing a picture of him with others dressed in their uniforms during  the 1859 Charles Town militia deployment.  A tantalizing possibility  arises, one which  begs an  important question.  Does Asia’s  picture, or any others taken of Booth during this time, still exist?
For the answer to this question… (click the link below to see the full article with supporting photographs).

Hiding_In_Plain_Sight 

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DISCLAIMER: A Little Touch of History does not endorse or challenge the validity of the content presented here. The theories are published here solely for the purpose of giving aspiring researchers a place to present. I will not be taking sides or giving any personal comments publicly on their subjects. The authors have confirmed that the work is their own, and in publishing it here, take sole responsibility for any claims made.

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Thank you.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

Published in: on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at '12:01 am'  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3): Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

May 10, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Subject: Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays
.
Author: Angela Smythe (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
.
Proposition: To determine if several photos of the Richmond Grays, a pre-Civil War Virginia militia group, taken during the John Brown deployment, contain John Wilkes Booth. Angela Smythe has taken this subject and painstakingly researched it presenting a very viable case for you to consider. The investigation starts by examining the most likely and widely known group images taken at that time and place. Next the investigation  turns to those Richmond Grays who have been documented at Charles Town during the 1859 deployment and an assessment of the Charles Town pictures, including visual comparison to other known pictures of some of the participants. Finally, careful consideration is given to whether John Wilkes Booth could possibly be in one or more of these pictures.
.
NOTE: For reasons of copyright requirements, Angela’s article is hosted on a secured website. The link is listed below (see LINK TO STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3) . I encourage you to comment on her work and give honest, fair feedback for her to consider. To do so, you will need to return to this site by clicking on the link at the bottom of her article. Once back here, you can then leave your comments in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
.
INTRODUCTION BY ANGELA

For the past 10 years, I have supported the earth-orbiting Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Project (AIRS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Dr. Moustafa Chahine, our Science Team Leader is often asked about his opinion on climate change based on our satellite’s measurements, and he always replies that as an objective observer, he can only be a witness and his role is not, nor should it be, that of judge, jury, prosecutor or defense counsel. It is a wonderful explanation of what true research is all about, being a witness; and that is what I have tried to accomplish with “Hiding”.  I have written what I have seen.  It is up to the jury, the readers of “Hiding”, to determine for themselves if John Wilkes Booth has been hiding in plain sight.
.
Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight?
John  Wilkes  Booth and the Richmond  Grays
.
In  November of 1859 John Wilkes Booth accompanied the Richmond Grays during  their militia deployment to Charles Town in the aftermath of John Brown’s Raid at  Harper’s Ferry. This fact was known even in  Booth’s own lifetime.  His participation and presence have long been verified by first-hand narratives  and confirming documentation.
In The Unlocked Book, Booth’s sister Asia recounts seeing a picture of him with others dressed in their uniforms during  the 1859 Charles Town militia deployment.  A tantalizing possibility  arises, one which  begs an  important question.  Does Asia’s  picture, or any others taken of Booth during this time, still exist?
For the answer to this question… (click the link below to see the full article with supporting photographs).

LINK TO STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3)

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DISCLAIMER: A Little Touch of History does not endorse or challenge the validity of the content presented here. The theories are published here solely for the purpose of giving aspiring researchers a place to present. I will not be taking sides or giving any personal comments publicly on their subjects. The authors have confirmed that the work is their own, and in publishing it here, take sole responsibility for any claims made.

———————-

Thank you.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

UPCOMING POSTINGS FOR ‘A LITTLE TOUCH OF HISTORY’

April 25, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Here is my proposed schedule for the next few weeks on “A Little Touch of History”.  Enjoy.

  • April 26 to 30STATE YOUR CASE (No. 2) – John Elliott: “When did Booth break his leg”?
  • May 1 — May birthdays for Lincoln Friends and Foes
  • May 2 to 8AN AWESOMETALK WITH Betty Ownsbey, author “Alias Paine”, the Lewis Powell biography 
  • May 9 — Open
  • May 10 to 14STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3) – Angela Smythe “Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays”
  • May 15 — Open
  • May 16 to 22AN AWESOMETALK WITH G.C. Rivera, the Unique and Surprising Mr. P.

Note: Schedule may change without notice.

On a separate note, I had planned to interview Gloria Swift, the museum curator at Ford’s Theatre. However, Laurie Verge has informed me that Gloria has now taken a position with Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia. I met Gloria back in March and she is a wonderful person. I truly wish her well in her new posting at Fort Pulaski.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com