The final designs for the “Faces of the Invalid Corps” cards just went out and we will receive the first physical set of cards in about two weeks. I cannot wait to actually hold them in my hands. Shortly after that we anticipate sending out surveys to mail the Kickstarter rewards.
Now for the bad news. Sadly, we are behind schedule on the film itself. We’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the Invalid Corps film Kickstarter. Our team had hoped to complete the project by this time, however, many personal challenges, including a new job for me, have made that impossible. But we are moving forward.
There is a wonderful book called, “Gone for a Soldier: The Civil War Memoir of Private Alfred Bellard.” What is unique about his story is that it follows his journey into battle, to being injured, to joining the Invalid Corps, and even includes the actions of his regiment at the Battle of Fort Stevens. The book has fallen out of print and the rights reverted to the family.
Even after several discussions with the publisher, we were having difficulty in finding them. You can read sections of the book and see illustrations from Bellard’s diary and letters all over the internet but when we inquired further, although many cite the source as the Alec Thomas Archives, we could not find anyone who had the rights to use the material. This is where a friend and supporter of the film who happens to be a private investigator donated time over several weeks to hunt down the rights owners and their descendants. (Yes, we here on the Invalid Corps team will stop at nothing to give you the best documentary possible…even using a P.I.) 😉
This resulted in me having a wonderful chat with Roseanne who is thrilled to find so much interest in her family’s legacy. I am excited to share with you that we will be using some of Alfred Bellard’s story, quotes, and illustrations in the documentary.
The Kickstarter is officially over!
This it! We’re down to the last 24 hours of the Kickstarter for the “Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens,” if you haven’t, please take a moment to go donate. If you have, thank you for helping us bring this amazing story to the screen.
For these last few hours we’re asking you to please pass along word of this project – Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…even just word-of-mouth. We’d love to have as many people as possible be aware of this; not just because of the crowdfunding but because of the many stories out there that still haven’t been heard.
The Civil War is the story of our country’s first major internal challenge and it is a history of our country’s people. It is that latter that both surprises and elates us. It captures the imagination of historians, genealogists, reenactors, and families. This isn’t just a story about long ago battles and famous generals, but a story about families and individual people and their choices of how to live, and what they were willing to die for. The Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens documentary film has been couched as a lost disability and veterans’ history but it is more than that. It could be your family history too.
I had a discussion with author and musician Shawn Humphrey about this project and out of the blue he says, “I think one of my ancestors may have been a part of that.” After a bit of research it comes to light that James Mulvaney was listed as “absent/sick” in Washington, DC on March, 16, 1864. Mulvaney was not formally mustered for the 9th Veterans Reserve Corp. until August 16, 1864, but what is clear is that he was present in Washington, DC when the attack occurred. Now Shawn is on a hunt to discover what his ancestor may have been doing at the time. Was he a part of the defense of the city? Was James Mulvaney actually on the walls at Fort Stevens?
Perhaps the biggest surprise came last week when a family member, my uncle and his wife, sent me a package with information about her great great grandfather:
Meet Jonathan Lyman of Company K of the 8th Regiment of the Invalid Corps (Veteran Reserve Corps).*
So yes, even I, who was born more than 10,000 miles away, on a different continent, have a connection to the Invalid Corps. 🙂
This documentary is called, The Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens, but in truth, it is about the men themselves and all of our connections to this history. Veterans’ stories and disability history seem sanitized, academic terms for what this really is: family history.
So today, this last day of our crowdfunding, please help share the message and spread the word this one last time and ask people, “Who is in your family?”
The answer may surprise you.
*Special Thanks to Uncle Gary and Aunt Erma for sending such wonderful detailed information about Jonathan Lyman!
A quick Update from our Invalid Corps and the Battle of Fort Stevens Kickstarter. We’ve reached 90%! We are thrilled and humbled by the support we’ve received. And now we have 13 more days to reach the full amount. Considering the closeness to our goal, we thought it prudent to unveil our first Stretch Goal.
Our first Stretch Goal is a simple one, and one we hope is in relatively easy reach: $8,000. We hope to entice more people to support this project and/or to consider backing at a higher level. Why? Because at its heart, the Invalid Corps documentary is about the content and the stories of these men. Additional funding will allow us to begin to pay for direct production and have higher production values – To get this done right.
It means being able to afford things like a professional sound editor; some compensation for musicians (we have a composer so this project will have an original score but musicians have to eat too); and being able to send a full crew out for additional interviews with historians and descendants of Invalid Corps members. As for those who may be wondering, what additional reward that may entail, I give you the paragraphs below. 🙂
Mail has always been very important to soldiers. During the Civil War, these fragile notes are what connected families and in many ways have continued to connect military families, even today. These letters tell a much more intimate story than our textbooks of generals and battles. And of course, as we know, many soldiers carried letters in their pockets, to be forwarded to loved ones if they were killed in action.
About 45,000 pieces of mail per day were sent through Washington D. C. from the eastern theater of the war, and about double that in the west, through Louisville. According to Bell Wiley’s “Billy Yank,” a civilian worker with the U. S. Sanitary Commission, who visited a number of units, reported that many regiments sent out an average of 600 letters per day, adding up to more than 8 million letters travelling through the postal system per month. Franklin Bailey wrote to his parents in 1861, that getting a letter from home was more important to him than “getting a gold watch.” (via Dave Gorski at CivilWarTalk.com)
In recognition of the role that letters played, with this first stretch goal, we will send each backer (at the $25 and up level) an actual piece of PHYSICAL mail. They’ll receive a custom postcard of Invalid Corps imagery via the US Postal Service. Sent the same way families mailed letters more than 150 years ago, this is our “letter,” in thanks.
Don’t forget to visit our Kickstarter! We need your to help get the word out about this documentary.
Just a quick update. We’re thrilled to announce that we were just selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick! I had to take a quick screencap of the email because I didn’t believe it for myself. Thanks for all the support folks! Let’s keep going! Please continue to spread the word: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dayalmohamed/the-civil-war-invalid-corps-and-the-battle-of-fort
And yes, I had to post a Kickstarter Staff Pick Logo!