BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Jim Perry, where did you get the title for your book, "A Bohemian
Mr. JAMES PERRY (Author, "A Bohemian Brigade"): Well, that's because
the Civil War correspondents named themselves--called themselves the
Bohemian Brigade. Th--that--they thought of that as sort of they were
bohemians surrounded by professional soldiers. And they--they were a
little mischievous, the--the Civil War correspondents, and they
thought of themselves as a Bohemian Brigade. And in all their
writing, they refer to themselves--they call themselves, `The
bohemians did that. The bohemians did'--so it's a natural title for
LAMB: What's `the jolly congress'?
Mr. PERRY: The jolly congress w--was a group of--of Europeans that
came to cover the war, and th--two--two--two reporters and then a lot
of professional soldiers that came to observe the war. And
they--and--and they traveled around in a group, just like the people
I'm talking about here, and they called themselves the jolly congress:
one, The Times of London, The Illustrated London News and four or five
soldiers over here to observe the war.
LAMB: I noticed periodically were some Jim Perryisms in this book...
Mr. PERRY: Uh-oh.
LAMB: ...little asides. Well, in your--in your preface, you say,
`With the arrival of celebrity journalists pontificating on
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: `...we have a new class of highly paid reporters who think of
themselves as the peers of the people they interview and talk about.'
Mr. PERRY: Well, it--my point in this book is--this all began here.
This is where it began, in the Civil War, for--for two basic reasons.
One was the telegraph, of course. This was the first instant-news war
in history, and--and that wa--the--the--the problem is very much like
the Internet today, when you think about it. They--they could file
and--immediately, and--and it was the rush to get--be the first. They
would take these immense, long rides across broken countryside on
horseback to get to the nearest telegraph station, file it. Then the
other was, of course, steam--steam powering the new presses, steam
powering locomotives. You could get on a train and go back to your
own office pretty quick--pretty quickly and file the story that way,
if you couldn't get on the telegraph, and the Army wasn't too keen
on--on--on making it--the telegraph easily available to reporters.
They preferred to reserve it for themselves as much as possible.
LAMB: `I have happily denied making mistakes that were there for all
to see. I have done my own fair share of pontificating. I belong to
my own Bohemian Brigade, the national political press corps, and I may
even have been rowdy once or twice.'
Mr. PERRY: Oh, I said that just to--to cover myself, I think.
LAMB: You mean, you've never been rowdy?
Mr. PERRY: Yes, I'm afraid so, probably. I mean, if you spend
your--30 years with Jack Germond and Bob Novak, people like that,
occasionally, you know, there are evenings which--nothing serious,
though. We were all...
LAMB: How many years...
Mr. PERRY: We were all hard-working.
LAMB: How many years did you write for The Wall Street Journal?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I worked--I worked for Dow Jones for--I started in
'62 with the old National Observer--you may remember the old National
Observer, weekly publication by Dow Jones--and when it--when it--when
it went under, when it was closed down in 1977, I moved over to The
Wall Street Journal, covering politics for the next 20-some years.
LAMB: And in 1997 you got the Fourth Estate Award.
Mr. PERRY: Yeah, that was nice. That's...
LAMB: What does that mean, to people who don't know about it?
Mr. PERRY: Well, it's--it's one of the few--few awards there are for
a career in journalism. I mean, most awards, like the Pulitzer, are
for individual stories or a series of--or--and this is for a
th--th--in the--and--the--in honor of a--of an entire career. You
ha--have to be--there aren't very many young men getting this award.
This tends to be--I mean, David Broder's won it and Walter Cronkite
and people like that.
LAMB: When did you retire from The Journal?
Mr. PERRY: '97.
LAMB: What's it like, being retired?
Mr. PERRY: I still do some work for them, though. I still
occasionally do stories for The Journal.
LAMB: Is there anybody in this book--and you've got lots of reporters
you talk about from the Civil War--that you think is kind of like Jim
Mr. PERRY: I like to think--I--I like to think, now that--yes,
there's one I'd--I'd like to think of. His name is Charles Page, and
he was a--he had a--an amazing man. He--he worked with the Treasury
Department, and when his desk was cleared, he was allowed to take the
field as a--as--as--as a war correspondent for the--for the New York
Tribune, and he was very good. He was a wonderful fea--he was the
best feature writer in the Civil War, I think. I'm the only one who's
ever written a book about these correspondents who--who--who's been a
reporter himself, so I think I get a better feel for who these people
are. I know these--I know these characters--I mean, they're familiar
LAMB: Where did you get the idea to do the book?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I'd done an earlier book on military history, and I
kept bumping into war correspondents in that, Richard Harding Davis
and others, and--and the more I thought about it, the more I thought
`Gee, I'd like to do a book about them.' And then it taunted me--it
all began with the--the modern journalist as we know him today--began
here in the Civil War, mostly with the North, though there were--there
were Southern war correspondents as well, but we don't know much about
LAMB: What did General Sherman think of...
Mr. PERRY: Sherman hated this--hated--hated correspondents and
actually court-martialed one of them, and what is today, you can--in
all of history, it's the greatest challenge to freedom of the press, I
suppose, particularly as far as war correspondents would go, that ever
happened, tried him. The man could have been hung--Thomas Knox.
LAMB: Tell us about General Sherman, to start with.
Mr. PERRY: Well, General--the--the--the press--one of the worst
things the press does is pile on. You know, this is an old tradition
of--and it's a--it's a bad one, of--of--of reporters getting together,
ganging up and--and piling on, and they did this with Sherman. And
the--they--they said he was insane. There--there is a--there is a
piece that ran in the Cincinnati Commercial that--General William T.
Sherman Insane, it says, the headline is, and it went on to say
that--and, you know, he was a little bit crazy. He did have a history
of--of serious--serious breakdowns, and he was having one at this
point, but they all--they finally piled on him then, he had to go
home, spent some time recuperating, came back, restored himself and
was--performed very well at a number of battles.
But then--then there was a--there was a battle at Chickasaw Bluff or
Chickasaw Bay, or up above Vicksburg, and--and it wasn't his fault
that it turned into something of a disaster, but they all--a couple of
the reporters particularly, I named--one of my favorites, actually, is
Frank Wing--not Frank Wing, but Frank Wilke, and--and this guy Knox
wrote stories, both--you could tell that they're colluding, because
the stories are so similar. They start off by saying that--that
Sherman and his officers have been rifling their mail. They're trying
to s--a--and they had. Sherman's chief of staff named Hammond had
been rifling their mail. And then they go on to say that--that--they
go right--say right in the story, `If Sherman and his people spent
more time fighting the Confederates and less time trying to--to make
life miserable for journalists, he might have won that battle,' and it
went on and on and on in that--then they finally concluded he was
insane. They said he was insane again, the man's insane.
And it's--it's no wonder, at this point, that Sherman, who--who is not
very pleased with them to begin with, begins to think the--`I--I'm not
gonna be able to--I can't put up with this anymore. I'm just not
gonna be able to do it.' So he actually had poor Knox arrested, and
scared the poor man to death. He--he--he wrote a letter at one point
and groveled to Sherman, saying he'd all--he'd been all wrong, but
sorry about it, and he didn't talk to the right people, and--but the
trial went ahead, full dress officers in complete uniforms, swords and
sashes, general in command, and--and he was--he was mostly found not
guilty of the charges, and Sherman was absolutely incensed, absolutely
incensed. He wrote a wonderful letter, which I can find here in a
minute, up--expressing his distaste for this--for this business, and
he wrote one to Knox, who had asked to be reinstated, and he said, to
come--`Come with us with a musket, come with us and join us in--in
combat, come with us anywhere, but as a newspaper reporter, never.'
And it's still one of the most stunning letters from a general to a
reporter I've ever seen.
LAMB: You--you had an interesting statistic in the book that the
North had 15,000 miles of telegraph...
Mr. PERRY: Yeah.
LAMB: ...and the South had 1,000 miles.
Mr. PERRY: Well, right. They didn't have very much, and they--but
they--they did tend--the Southern newspapers did tend, in the latter
part of the war, to defe--depend on something called the Confederate
Press Association, which--which supplied them with a very small amount
of cable--telegraph news every day, maybe less than 1,000 words, which
some of these Northern reporters would--they'd take that long to write
their leads, probably, but...
LAMB: Did you count the number of reporters there were?
Mr. PERRY: Well, the--no, it's almost impossible. It's hard to
define just what a reporter was. I mean, there--some regiments would
have an officer or somebody with them, sending material home to the
local newspaper, and historians rely on those a lot, but I--I suppose
for the North, if you wanted to--there were well over 200, surely.
Mr. PERRY: The South, maybe 50 to 75.
LAMB: Again, the Perry asides...
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: ...the Jim Perry asides. `But Storey'--and you explain this a
minute--`was serious about the news, and he was one of the first
editors in the country to recognize the importance of the telegraph in
relaying it. Storey is supposed to be the man who told his reporters
in a famous line that could apply to any number of cable news shows
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: ...quote, "Telegraph all the news you can get, and when there
is no news..."
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: "...send rumors."
Mr. PERRY: Send rumors. They did a lot of that. They did a lot of
that, and they--the--the--the competition was ferocious. You can
remember how many newspapers there were. I mean, New York had 18
daily newspapers at this time, you know, and four or five of them were
ser--seriously covered the war, mainly the--the--Horace Greeley's New
York Tribune, James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald and Henry J.
Raymond's New York Times. New York World was--had some serious
correspondents in the--in the field, and there--there were--they we so
eager to get information, the telegraph made it so easy to do--when
you can look right at the beginning of the--right at the beginning of
the war, I have here--Bull Run, the f--Bull Run, The Great Union
Defeat, and here's the headline in the New York Herald, The Great
Battle, `Brilliant Union victory,' it says, `capture of Bull Run's
batteries, the l--re--rebels routed and driven back to Manassas.'
That's what happened in the morning. But they filed...
LAMB: What was their …
Mr. PERRY: ...they filed so quickly, that they didn't get into--they
didn't--they didn't get what happened later in the day. The
Washington Journal ran this headline by telegraph, Great Battle Near
Manassas Junction, you know, `The enemy forced to retire, three mass
batteries taken, desperate conflict,' by telegraph. It's a
secret--they filed--they filed prematurely. They filed so early
that--that they couldn't handle it.
LAMB: How long would it take--let's say that The New York Times or
the Herald or one of the world--or one of these papers would publish
an article that was written near a battle. How long would it take for
the general on the scene to get that report back?
Mr. PERRY: Well, that would vary, I think. Some of them probably
wouldn't--wouldn't see the newspaper with the report till days later,
probably. But they--they--they read the papers, I mean, they were
very serious about reading them, and particularly they were--they were
very concerned about their own reputations, and they were also
concerned about the papers providing information that would be useful
to--to the other side, of course.
LAMB: Another Perry aside here: `George Alfred Townsend was the only
war correspondent who seemed to understand that there was money to be
made on the lecture circuit (a source of an astonishing amount of cash
for a number of modern-day celebrity journalists).' Is there too much
celebrity journalism today?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I think so, sure. I mean, it--it's inevitable, I
suppose, in this day and age, but yeah, I--I think the--the good
reporters in this book--and I s--I--I single out two,
principally--Charles Carlton Coffin of The Boston Morning Journal and
Whitelaw Reid of the Cincinnati Gazette--were hard-working
correspondents who went about their business without con--without any
concern for being celebrities, although Reid eventually ran for vice
president and became quite a celebrity himself, but as a politician,
not as a journalist.
Now Horace Greeley was a celebrity. You know, he--he--he was. I
mean, he was known all over America. There--every--nobody in America
didn't know who Horace Greeley was.
LAMB: Who was he?
Mr. PERRY: Well, he was the editor and the publisher--and the owner
and publisher of the--the--the--the--of the New York Tribune, and an
erratic, strange character who--who was more interested in ideas than
in news. And--but he--he had so--he--he had a pa--his paper was
almost comparable to a national newspaper except it didn't circulate
in the South, where his views on slavery were anathema, of course, but
he was very fam--`Go West, young man,' you know, everybody knows it.
And then James Gordon Bennett was probably pretty well-known. He was
the--I think probably the greatest genius we've ever had in American
journalism. He founded what the modern newspaper is, warts and all,
lots of warts in his case. But he was very interested in covering the
news, so--had no interest in anything else and he wanted--unlike
Greeley--and then the other--the other--the other major publisher and
proprietor was Henry J. Raymond at the--of The New York Times, a
mo--a more sedate figure, although there were some unusual things
about him as well, but those three hated each other, they despised one
another and were highly competitive.
LAMB: What were they in it for, to begin with, and how old were they
when they first got into journalism?
Mr. PERRY: Well, clear--clearly--Bennett was the oldest of the
bunch. But Bennett came from Scotland, where he had pretty good--he
was probably the best educated of all the--of all the great
proprietors. He--he trained as a--as a Catholic priest in Scotland,
came over here and--and was well into his middle age at the time of
the Civil War.
Greeley was moving along in years, too. Raymond was much younger, and
they're interesting--interesting charact--wonderful characters.
I--I--I love--I love characters and eccentrics, and the Civil War is
just filled with them, and...
LAMB: Back to this comment on celebrity journalists: `George Alfred
Townsend was the only war correspondent who seemed to understand there
was money to be made on the lecture circuit.' Who was he?
Mr. PERRY: George--he was a young boy from Delaware who--who--who
got in the business, did some reporting for the--the New York--the New
York Herald early on, and--and thought he'd go to England, go over to
England and lecture around--you know, he--he put up posters and
said--hire a lecture hall, and--and did so, and--and made quite a bit
of money on it. People in England were quite interested in hearing
his accounts of the Civil War. You can see his work today if you go
out to Antietam, the South Mountain, where in his--in his later years,
he built a monument to the Bohemian Brigade. They have a picture of
it there at the end of the book. And it stands there today.
LAMB: Did you go out to see the monument?
Mr. PERRY: I took the picture.
LAMB: You did?
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: How many journalists are celebrated here at this monument?
Mr. PERRY: Well, he doesn't have a full list, but there are probably
75 or so there. It's an ugly thing. It's--in it--it's--it's kind of
off the beaten track. and every now and again, tourists will show up
and wonder, `What in the world is this?' But it's the only monument
there is to the Bohemian Brigade.
LAMB: How did you go about doing this book? Where'd you find your
Mr. PERRY: Well, I started out first by reading what others had
written about them, and there's one--you have to give a lot of credit
to a--to a scholar named J. Cutler Andrews, who wrote a book called
"The North Reports the Civil War," and he also wrote a smaller book
called "The South Reports the Civil War"--it's a huge, huge book, 800,
900 pages. It just lists in encyclopedic fashion every reporter,
virtually, that was involved in the Civil War, and--and he spent his
lifetime, virtually, as an academic and--and tracking all this down.
So you really have to rely a lot on him, but then finding you have to
get to the memoirs, first of all. The--these fellows did babble a
lot. They loved to talk about each other, and--even in their stories
and in their memoirs, and there are a lot--a lot of them wrote memoirs
after the war.
And then, of course, you go down to the Library of Congress, into
the--into the newspaper room down there, and start cranking your way
through the microfilm and reading what they wrote.
LAMB: How many newspapers can you find at the Library of Congress
Mr. PERRY: All--all of the ones that I'm concerned with here are
there, some on microfilm, some still--the Boston Jour--the Journal,
for example, is still--is still bound--bound copies of it, in huge big
books, you know, and you have to--it takes a couple of days for them
to dig those out of the files and--and then you have to take notes on
them. On the microfilm, you can push a button and it'll take a
picture, you know, it'll--it'll reproduce what you're looking at.
LAMB: And how many battlefields did you go to?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I--I've been to a lot of these battlefields. I'm
an old history buff, and I've been to most of the Civil War
battlefields, but I did go to Antietam and Gettysburg and, of course,
I went down and--I've been down to all--all the ones around Richmond,
and--a good bit of this war was fought right near us,
right here in--right in--right in Virginia.
LAMB: Was there a difference between the war was covered in the East
and the way it was covered in the West?
Mr. PERRY: Yeah. Yeah. The--the--I think the Western
reporters--the Western reporters were more true bohemians; they--they
were more mischievous, they--they had more fun, I think. They
were--there--there were more rogues out there, perhaps, than there
were in the East, although there were rogues everywhere. But,
yeah--and the soldiers themselves are--often been said, were
different. The Western army was--was--was more relaxed, they were
bigger, they're stronger, and--but the journalists were the same.
They had--they--they took a--they--they thought of themselves as
either Easterners or Westerners.
LAMB: How old were most journalists?
Mr. PERRY: Well, they varied. Most of them were quite young,
an--and strange--they all went to--most--a lot of them went to
college, an--and they tended to go to small liberal arts colleges,
like Trinity and Beloit and Miami of Ohio and Amherst, places like
that--Union; only one of them right--that I could find actually went
to an Ivy League school, a very good one named George Smalley, who
stroked the first Yale crew in the first race against Harvard on Lake
Winnipesaukee, and he went on to Harvard Law School as well, so he's
quite dis--quite--quite a distinguished academic background. But they
tended to be a--my favorite reporter, the nicest one in here, is a
very young man named Henry Wing, who was kissed by Lincoln--that was
what he was most famous for--and he was only 18 when he--when he went
off to cover the war. And that was after serving with the Connecticut
regiment, and he was wounded at Fredericksburg, and--so he's had
a--he's had an amazing career.
LAMB: What were the years of the Civil War?
Mr. PERRY: Well, 1860 to 1864.
LAMB: What was the relationship--if you decided you wanted to be a
reporter and represent a newspaper--what could you do? How--where
could you go?
Mr. PERRY: Well, you--it wasn't very hard, I mean, because they were
so desperate to find anyone to send into the field, but you would have
to get in touch with the managing editors of the--of the papers, and
say you were interested in doing this, and if you--would be helpful,
of course, if you had a journalistic background, but they--they
would--there was lots of criticism, particularly of the New York
Herald, for sending these useless, hard-drinking characters out into
the field who did no good to anybody. So, you know, that was--it
was--it was a raffish crowd.
LAMB: Well, what was the relationship to the--like the--the generals,
I mean, how--you know, let's say I was working for the New York
Herald, and I wanted to go cover Antietam...
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: Could I just go there?
Mr. PERRY: Oh, no, no, no. There would--they--they--most--mo--most
of the coverage was directed out of the wa--the--the offices in
Washington, and where they would have a--just like today--they would
have a bureau chief, and they--they would be assigned--they would be
assigned very particularly to cover a corps or regiments or armies,
and they--you know, there's quite...
LAMB: Well, did you sleep with the troops?
Mr. PERRY: There's about--well, they tried--the smart ones tried to
stay near the general's tent, because they could see more what was
happening from that vantage point then they could out--out in
the--out--out somewhere else with the troops, so they--they did tend
to hang around--you can see that makes sense, of course.
LAMB: Who is this gentleman by the name of Raymond?
Mr. PERRY: Henry J. Raymond of the--the--The New York Times,
founded The New York Times, the founder of the--of The New York Times,
and a--a very good journalist.
LAMB: How old is he in this picture?
Mr. PERRY: He's pretty young, I would guess--in his 30s, probably,
LAMB: Where did he start?
Mr. PERRY: He started working for--he started working--let's see
now, he started working with--with Greeley, and an
interesting--interesting man. He--he's--he's--the most interesting
thing about him is, he died at a very young age; he was only in his
30s, and he'd been out with some people and he--and he stopped on his
way home to--to--a visit to his mistress, and he had a stroke, I
guess, there, and they--some people never--to this day, not known that
they dumped him on his own doorstep, where he was found later that
night by one of his daughters, and died shortly thereafter--very sad.
LAMB: And he started The New York Times in what year, and what kind
of a paper was it then?
Mr. PERRY: I mention--I can't remember now. It's in there.
What--he started it before the Civil War, and he had a good bit of
money, unlike some of these others that--he ha--he had--he started out
with--with a fair amount of cash on hand, and so it was a good start.
LAMB: What kind of a paper was it in the beginning?
Mr. PERRY: Well, it started out--started out pretty much--because he
had the cash on hand to do it, it started out as a--as a--as a--as a
real--as a serious--serious newspaper and widely recognized as such.
It's unusual, in--you know, in that day and age. Mostly it started on
out a--just on a--on a--on a prayer and a wish, you know. They had no
money to start.
LAMB: Who's this gentleman, right here?
Mr. PERRY: Oh, that's--that's Bennett, James Gordon
Bennett--cross-eyed, not liked by very many people, but--he
was--was--but--but tough, I mean, a tough, tough, tough journalist,
and of cour--and a publisher who--who--who realized that news was the
important thing, and--and telegraph was the--was the way to get it
fast, and that's--that's--that's what he did.
LAMB: How big were the papers in those days, how many pages?
Mr. PERRY: Oh, they--the little Boston Morning Journal, for
instance, was only about four pages long, and some of the--some of
these regional papers could the--the big New York papers would run 12,
14, 16, 20 pages, sometimes. Lots of ads, of course.
LAMB: What did a journalist make in those days?
Mr. PERRY: I don't have a--not very much. S--tha--that was, of
course, the cause of some of them--out West, particularly--some of
them began to speculate in--in cotton and make--make money on the
side, but--and then of course, they wrote books and they--they had
other sources of income, and--afterwards, but there wasn't--there
wasn't a whole lot of money that--my favorite, Frank--Frank Wilke,
was--was--was most mischievous of all these correspondents, and worked
for the Chicago Times, and the pub--a lot of these publishers
co--self-styled themselves as `colonel,' and he worked for a Colonel
Fortin. And he--he--they--they were so cheap, and this was when they
worked after--that when the pencils would wear down--their
number--they used number five Faber pencils--they weren't--and
this--this guy invented a tongs that you could attach to the stub so
you could keep using it after it was almost worn out, and so it
wa--these--the--he didn't make huge bunches of money when you were
working for a publisher like that, I don't believe.
LAMB: In those days, how did a correspondent take notes?
Mr. PERRY: In--in a notebook, with a pencil.
LAMB: What--what was the size of the notebook?
Mr. PERRY: About normal size, that we use today.
LAMB: It was the...
Mr. PERRY: There's a picture in there of--of--of--somewhere in
there, there's a picture of--of Coffin with his notebook--I mean, not
a picture, but a drawing of--the newspaper's an interesting thing.
Though pho--photography had--had been invented, newspapers could not
have the technology to print photographs. So--so there are no
photographs in any of these newspapers of the Civil War, just drawings
that--they used drawings, and that's all they could use.
LAMB: But there were photographs, as you say, back then. Where were
Mr. PERRY: Well, they would be in books--you could publish them in
books, I suppose, and then they would have--you know, they would have
shows in which they would display their photographs, but you couldn't
get it on the press. You couldn't--the process of printing the same
photograph over and over again overnight in thousands of copies
LAMB: Who's Henry Villard?
Mr. PERRY: Henry Villard was a--a very distinguished--very
distinguished guy. If you've ever been to Le Cirque restaurant in New
York, you've been to his home. There's a famous restaurant in New
York, Le Cirque 2000. He was a German boy--came over here as a very
young man, 17, 18 years old, spoke only German, spoke not a word of
English, was taken in by--by German communities in New York City,
Milwaukee, Cincinnati, otherwise. Came to--came to--came to--become
f--when he became fluent in English, he began writing for American
newspapers, and he was--Villard's--he--Villard was--was the ace
correspondent for--for Bennett, the Herald, at the start of the war.
He covered the election, Lincoln's election, and he became very
distinguished, and--but he did become mixed up in the Sherman episode
in which he--his role is not--I mean, he was chiefly responsible for
that headline in the Cincinnati Commercial that Sherman was insane.
He's the one that had pleaded with the publisher of that paper to say
so. I--I don't think that was a great moment for him.
LAMB: Go back to--was it Thomas Knox that was the...
Mr. PERRY: Court-martialed.
LAMB: Court-martialed. Did he go to jail?
Mr. PERRY: No. No, he didn't.
LAMB: He never went to...
Mr. PERRY: No, he never did.
LAMB: Did anybody ever go to jail, a reporter, in the whole war?
Mr. PERRY: Ah...
LAMB: For anything?
Mr. PERRY: Actually go to jail--no, I can't think of any that
actually spent much time behind bars. The--they tried to do the same
thing--the Confederates tried to do the same thing to a reporter for
the Memphis paper, which I think is a very odd--the Memphis Appeal was
a great newspaper, covered the whole Civil War, even though it was
driven out of Memphis. It became num--known as the Moving Appeal
because it went to Mississippi, then to Georgia, then to Alabama, and
it kept publishing, and--and Braxton Bragg, a Confedrate general, had
him arrested for the same sort of thing, but his paper hired a lawyer
and fought the case, and the judge ruled that it--the army had acted
improperly, and he was released. The Herald did nothing--nothing to
help Knox, and they left him hanging there at that trial, and no
effort was made to support him or provide him with a lawyer or
LAMB: Do you find any time, when you were reading back in those--at
that time period, that people were concerned at all about the First
Amendment, like you hear so much about today?
Mr. PERRY: Not a whole lot, except--except the great in--instance
which we just said, and--and the Southern justice, the courts in the
South upheld--upheld this reporter on the Memphis Appeal, and...
LAMB: That was the only place that you found it?
Mr. PERRY: Right. It wasn't--there were terrible things they did.
Meade--Meade hated reporters, too.
LAMB: General Meade.
Mr. PERRY: General Meade, the--the victor at Gettysburg, despised
reporters, and had an even bigger temper than Sherman, probably, and
there--The Philadelphia Inquirer had a reporter named Edward Crapsey,
and Crapsey had tried to do an analytical piece--what we call an
analytical piece today--on what was the relationship between Grant and
Meade--Grant at this time was a generalissimo in charge of everything,
and Meade, of course, was in charge of the Army of the Potomac--and
how--how this relationship worked, and--and he--he did that, and did
it very professionally.
But then he went on to say that there was a time, after--after--after
the--the Wilderness, after the battle of the
Wilderness--when--when--when Meade wanted to do what all the other
generals had done, which is retire, retreat, and Grant inter--he said
Grant intervened and said, `No, we will not--we will go on. We
are--this is--never again are we going to go back,' and the--the
si--saved the--saved the--saved the army from--but Meade saw that
as--as some reflection upon his--on his courage and his--and his--you
know, and--and got furious--got furious, and had Cra--poor Crapsey was
arrested and put on backwards on a--on a mule and ridden around the
camp with a--with a big sign on his back, saying, `Libeler of the
press,' and just disgraceful performance, and--and some of the
journalists became very upset by this, and--and Me--Meade for weeks
and months thereafter was never mentioned in the papers.
They boycotted him. They just simply wiped him out,
because they were so furious at this.
LAMB: What part of the United States are you from originally?
Mr. PERRY: Upstate New York.
LAMB: What's the town?
Mr. PERRY: Elmira. I was born there; I grew up in Philadelphia,
actually, but born in Elmira.
LAMB: Can you remember when you first got interested in this
Mr. PERRY: Mmm--well, my stepbrother was a writer, William H.
White, the fellow who wrote "The Organization Man," and he--he--he
came out of the war, came out of the Marines and went to Fortune
magazine, and I actually did a little research for him on his--on his
book, and then when I was in the Marines, I worked for Leatherneck
magazine, very brief--as an 18-year-old PFC, and then when I went to
college--I went to college in Hartford, Trinity College in Hartford,
and--and became a stringer for the--for the Hartford Courant and
worked on the college paper, and then took a job at The Hartford
Times. They offered me $45, and the Hartford Courant offered me $35,
so I went for the big money at that time. And so it--actually, my--my
stepbrother really was the guru in all this, and...
LAMB: If someone's never heard the name William H. White, tell us
more about him. How is he related to you?
Mr. PERRY: My stepbrother.
LAMB: But in what--what way?
Mr. PERRY: Well, my--my mother and his father were married, both
second marriages for both, and I was the product of my mother's first
marriage, and he was the product of the...
LAMB: So he's younger than you.
Mr. PERRY: He's older. He's--he's dead now. He died a year or so
LAMB: When did he write "The Organization Man?"
Mr. PERRY: Oh, back in '56, maybe, somewhere along in there.
LAMB: And what impact did that have on...
Mr. PERRY: Well, it was a huge best-seller, of course, and I was
extremely impressed. By that time, I--I had been working for
newspapers for six years or so, and so I--but he was the best
reporter, I think, I ever knew, and--and worked--an immensely hard
LAMB: The book's--what was the premise on the book?
Mr. PERRY: Well, it was---there was an anal--analysis of--of the
corporate executives, young corporate executives, and--and how they
had--how they had--had--no longer were interested in entrepreneurial
endeavors, and had become creatures of the organization, a
sociological study with some huge amount of reporting in it.
LAMB: And what did he do most of his life, then? What kind of...
Mr. PERRY: Well, he be--he went on to urban studies after that and
became really quite famous for--for studying street life in big
cities, Tokyo, New York, everywhere.
LAMB: How did you find your way to The Wall Street Journal?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I was in--I was working in Philadelphia. I was
working for The Philadelphia Bulletin, and I'd always wanted to come
to Washington, and the--and the Dow Jones started up the National
Observer, and I became a stringer for them, and then they--they asked
me if I'd like a job, so I--so I came down here to--came down here in
'62, to Washington in '62, been here ever since.
LAMB: And when did you enjoy yourself the most, as a political
Mr. PERRY: I--I had that--I had a sort of a play recess for--in
London for three years, and--six months at one time and two and a half
the next, and--and that was wonderful fun. I just loved that.
LAMB: How do you like writing books?
Mr. PERRY: Oh, I love it. Wonderful.
LAMB: Which--which book is this?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I've been--this is the fifth book with my name.
But I--I've--I've actually--I--I--I was a ghostwriter for a couple of
books, one of which I'm not supposed to mention. But--you
LAMB: What kind of a book was it?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I was--it's just--it--it's just I had to rewrite
a--it was a book about World War II. It was--it's still--I still see
it once in a while. Well, at any rate, I've--I've written mostly
political books. And I'm basically just a political writer. And...
LAMB: You say that there was only black correspondent in the Civil
Mr. PERRY: Yes, a very interesting man, Thomas Chester of the
Philadelphia Press. And there's just a wonderful, wonderful scene.
I--I got--I--I have to--a wonderful scene at the end--at the end of
the war, when he--he--he came from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. And he
was hired by what--by the Philadelphia Press, which was not a very
But--but he--he--he's one of the most--one of the most dramatic
stories, I think. Richmond has--Richmond has just--has just fallen,
and Chester is--is in Richmond. And he date--the story is datelined,
`Hall of Congress, Richmond, April 4th, 1865. Seated in the speaker's
chair, so long dedicated to treason but in the future to be
consecrated to loyalty, I haste to give a rapid sketch of the
incidents which have occurred since my last dispatch.' Here's the
Civil War's only black reporter, seated in the speaker's chair of the
LAMB: In Richmond?
Mr. PERRY: In Richmond. And at this point, in comes a con--a young
conf--a Confederate officer, sees him a--sees him seated in the chair,
and two other reporters have observed this, one--one of them being
my--my--my--my favorite reporter, Coffin. And he says--this--this
Confederate--this Confederate soldier says, `Come out of there, you
black cuss.' `Mr. Chet--Mr. Chester rated--raised his eyes, calmly
surveyed the intruder and went on with his writing.' Later when the
guy approached him, Chester got up, gave him one quick punch on the
nose, toppled him back down on the floor and continued with his story.
I mean, that's a won--isn't that amazing? The--the--the only black
reporter. It's just so dramatic.
LAMB: Were there any women reporters?
Mr. PERRY: None. None in the field, no.
LAMB: Were there rep--any women reporters in the country then?
Mr. PERRY: Well, there were some women reporters, I think, working
in Washington--yeah, sure. But no--no battlefield cor--no women
LAMB: You mentioned earlier that Henry Wing got a kiss from the
president of the United States.
Mr. PERRY: That's right. Well--well...
LAMB: What was--what were the circumstances?
Mr. PERRY: Well, Grant in his last great campaign just simply
disappeared with his army. And they--and they were desperate in
Washington--at the White House and at the War Department to know where
he was. And Wing, with extraordinary courage and difficulty, ro--rode
from the Army and through--through--through the back country. It
a--it was just filled with all kinds of deserters and--and just
difficult people of all kinds, confederate patrols. Managed to get
his way all the way through to--he came--he approached Washington,
found a Union--finally found a Union outpost. And he wanted to file a
story about telegraph, and they wouldn't let him. It was an--an Army
And finally, they heard in Washington that--here he was. There was a
reporter here at this Army station and--who knew where Grant was. And
so Dana--the--the--the--that the word--Richard--that Charles Dana said
had him arr--ordered him to be arrested. And he--that wasn't what he
wanted to hear, he--you know. So he finally--so he cut a deal. He
was going to cut a deal that--if he was allowed to send 150 words or
200 words, or whatever it was, he--he would--to--to his own paper, he
would come to Washington and report on what he knew.
And Lincoln heard about it. And--and--and Lin--Lincoln heard about
it, and fina--sent--finally he se--sent--said, `None of this arresting
him, we'll send a train down.' So they--so they--you could. You send
a train and attender and--and a few soldiers. And they
sent--sent--sent the train down, picked him up, brought him back
to--brought him back to--to the White House. And he came in--at this
time, he was just a--he--he was--was--he was just covered with dirt
and grime. And--and he noticed someone--the whole Cabinet's there.
The whole--the whole--Lincoln's whole Cabinet was sitting there. And
he walks in the room, and--and--he knows most of these people, but
he--he's in such disreputable appearance that they don't recognize
him, but he finally tells his story. And--and then when it's all
over, he--he says that--he says, `I have a--I have a message from
General--General Grant for you.' And he--before he left, Grant had
taken him aside, and he said, `If you actually get through and if you
see Lincoln, tell him, this time, there's to be no turning back.'
And so the--the two of them are together. I mean, Wing's a very short
guy and--and--and--and Lincoln's this extraordinary tall man.
And--and--and he tells this story to--to Lincoln. He says, `General
Grant wants me to tell you "This time, there's to be no turning
back."' And Lincoln was--is so, so overwhelmed by this that he
kisses--he kisses Wing on the forehead.
And then, even--even--even more dramatic, he--he had to leave his
horse in--in some--in--in some--in--in a--in a little--in a little
vale, sort of near the woods. And he said, `I--I--Mr. President, I
worry about Jess'--Jess being the horse. And so--so--`Tell me about
Jess,' says--says President Lincoln. He says, `Well, I--you know,
I--I said I'd come back to get him, and I never lie to horses, Mr.
President.' And--and--and--and Lincoln said, `I think--I think, Henry,
we have to do something about that.' So the next day, they--they sent
a train down there with some soldiers in--in the car, and they pick up
Jess and--and th--you see--there he is. He's--he's grazing in
this--just where he'd been left, and they bring him back to
Washington. And some of the other reporters were so impressed
they--they collected the--they collected a little fund and bought the
horse for him.
LAMB: In my lifetime in this town, there was a Congressman Odgen
Mr. PERRY: Yeah, the same family. That's Whitelaw Reid's
LAMB: Whitelaw Reid was--what role did he play?
Mr. PERRY: Whitelaw Reid was--was a--was a--started with
the--started with the--the Cincinnati paper. And--and he wrote the
great--the great monumental account of--of--of--of--of--of Shiloh,
and--which was quite--which was quite the--quite controversial because
he--he was a wonderful reporter. I think he's the second best
reporter with Coffin, but he was grumpy. He had to--he--he--he
always--and the first day was a bit of a disaster for--for the Union
Army. And when he wrote this huge 12,000-word story, he--he just kept
going over and over again, saying how they'd been surprised
and--and--they'd been surprised and they shouldn't have been by the
Confederate attack. And they had been. They--but--but--you know,
Grant--they didn't want to--to admit that. And they seemed very upset
by that. So the story became quite controversial.
And--and--but it--he--he did that of--he did that constantly. He--he
wou--he would--even at the very end, the fall of Richmond, he's still
grumbling about things aren't the way they ought to be, and they
should do this better, you know.
LAMB: Could you go to the South if you were a Northern reporter
Mr. PERRY: Oh, no.
LAMB: You couldn't get into the ranks down there at all?
Mr. PERRY: No, no, no, no. Reporters in the Civil War were--were
not considered to be neutrals at all.
(Graphic on screen)
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 605 Third Avenue New York, NY 10158
Mr. PERRY: You--and there is a--a--we have in a--in a chapter in the
book--I have a chapter in the book about two Northern reporters who
were captured trying to run past Vicksburg, and have a terrible time,
spend two years in the--in the--in--this is Brown and--and--and...
Mr. PERRY: ...Richardson and Brown. And--and then end up in one of
the very worst prisons--Salisbury--in Salisbury, North Carolina, where
things--where things were just appalling, this--the conditions were so
bad. And--they were treated just like captured soldiers. I mean,
they were--they were--they weren't considered just to be
non-combatants at all. So they--they escaped, these--these--these two
reporters, and made their way north and--three--over 300 miles it took
them. And they--they finally--they finally...
LAMB: Twenty--200--340 miles in 27 days.
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: How did they finally get back?
Mr. PERRY: Well, they--they--sometimes they were on horseback,
sometimes they were on foot. And they--they were helped occasionally
by--by--by what--by what--by loyal Union supporters that they
encountered. But it was an extraordinary experience for both. And
they both wrote books immediately, of course. So things haven't
change entirely. So...
LAMB: I--by the way, I have another Perry aside I--I found in this
book. This is right around Whitelaw Reid's comment--which I'll read
after this. But you say here, `It was a little unfair to blame the
worst sins of the press on the public. And even so, simply substitute
today's gossipy and irresponsible Web sites on the Internet for the
Civil War telegraph, and it becomes shockingly clear how little
reporting the news has changed in 140 years.'
Mr. PERRY: I think that's true. A lot--a lot of--a lot of stuff
went on--went on the--went on the telegraph that shouldn't have, and a
lot of it totally unreliable. There is--and my favorite--my favorite
in the whole book and--it was the battle called Pea Ridge in Arkansas
there are only two reporters there. And--Knox and a reporter from St.
Louis. And--and Pea Ridge is an important battle because it--it
pretty much preserved Missouri for the Union cause, a great--a great
And these--these two reporters get on their horses and go 200 miles
to--to where they can file their stories. And Knox fil--files a very
short piece, just 200, 300 words, with a map. And it turns out that
the day before, two other reporters had holed--had holed up in a hotel
room and made up the story of the battle--the two of them--and
to--and--and had--and had ran--one of them ran for, oh, most of the
whole page, and they'd never been there. They hadn't seen the battle
at all. But they--they heard enough. They had a few reports on the
battle. They got--they talked to some people who'd--who knew the--who
knew the geography of where--where it was. And--and it was a--they
put it all together. Th--look, the Times of London called it the
greatest battlefield story of the war, and they hadn't seen a thing.
They hadn't seen a shot fired at--at all.
LAMB: Physically, you talked about having a pad and a--and a number
five pencil. Is that the way most of the notes were taken?
Mr. PERRY: Yeah. And I--I must have been a--one of--but--but--but
the--the--the ...(unintelligible) the one who set the type, must have
been immensely skilled because a lot of this writing must have been
very difficult to--to decipher.
LAMB: Were there typewriters then?
Mr. PERRY: No. There were no--there was--they'd write--they just
wrote it in pencil and--and--and--and they delivered it that way.
LAMB: And so if you were in the field and you were going to send it
back to New York on a telegraph....
Mr. PERRY: The--you--you'd--you'd wr--write...
LAMB: Morse code, yeah.
Mr. PERRY: I think they were--there--I think probably--they
probably--wrote more legibly than we do today, I suspect. They'd
almost have to.
LAMB: Did you find a notebook anywhere stuffed away?
Mr. PERRY: Never saw a notebook, no.
LAMB: Did that surprise you?
Mr. PERRY: Yeah, not particularly. No, the--no diaries either. It
was--it was really disappointing. None of them kept a--kept a
day-to-day diary that--that was of any use.
LAMB: You said you couldn't find much from the South at all.
Mr. PERRY: Well, because so many of the cities were overrun by the
Union armies, and the papers disappeared in their runs, which is to
say they--day-by-day--a lot of them just don't exist. Besides which,
the reporters--unlike the--these Northern reporters we're talking
about--they didn't write about each other very much, or hardly at all.
And--and only one actually wrote a memoir, and there's nothing in it
of any interest. And...
LAMB: And a dedication here, `For the women who keep an eye on me,
Peggy and Greta and Kathie.' Who are they?
Mr. PERRY: Well, Peggy's my wife, and Greta and Kathie are my two
LAMB: Either one of your daughters in this business?
Mr. PERRY: No, neither one. Nope.
LAMB: What about your wife?
Mr. PERRY: No, she's n--she's not. Kathie's is in--is in a--she
does fused glass in terms of arts and crafts. And Greta--Greta, of
all things, is of all things a project manager for a construction
Mr. PERRY: Here. Here--here in--in Washington.
LAMB: In town. If you go back to the--what happened in the Civil War
and the telegraph, and even your friend Dan Rather endorses this book
by saying, `This book tells the story of the sometimes painful birth
of the modern war con--correspondent.'
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: How much is the same from Civil War reporting and how much has
Mr. PERRY: Well, what--what's really changed, of course, and
began--we have to really go back a little bit. The first--the first
war correspondent was a guy named George Kendall for The New Orleans
Picayune who covered the war with Mexico and did a really good job.
He was a--he was a fine reporter. And then we--he became quite
well-known and, I mean, President Polk rel--relied on his reports.
And then we go to Russell--William Howard Russell, the most famous war
correspondent of all, who--who became famous for covering the war in
the Crimea, where he exposed the--the--the competency of the
Bri--British army in equipping and giving medical advice, and led
to--led to the toppling of the--of Lord Aberdeen's government. And he
came over here--I--I open the book with his visit to the United States
at the beginning of the war. And--and he was a celebrity. I mean, he
was truly a celebrity journalist. There he is with his dog at his
feet writing. And everybody knew him, and the American--people in the
United States, and particularly people who read newspapers, were
extremely, extremely excited at the fact that he was being sent by the
most famous newspaper in the world, the Times of London, here to--to
cover the war.
But he--he--he was--his--his piece on Bull Run--which he never got to
in time to actually observe the battle; he just saw the
retreat--is--it--it's patronizing. I mean, he--he--he would patronize
America, saying how bad their troops were and how bad their armies
were. And the regular army could be easily defeated by Indian native
tribes, tribal soldiers. And so the--the--everybody got so mad at
him, that he finally had to leave. And--so that brings us up
to--to--then, of course, we get all these people trying to be Billy
Russells on the n--on the Northern side, but they had a good bit--a
bit of independence in what they wrote. I mean, they could get their
stuff in the paper.
These days, if you talk to anybody that's covered the Persian Gulf or
Somalia or Grenada or things like that, they--they can't get to the
war. I mean, you know, the--the censorship and the--is so difficult
today. And once...
LAMB: But could they...
Mr. PERRY: ...once they got there, with land satellite, with their
whole ability to--to--to hook up to a satellite--of course, they
can--they can send things from anywhere. But the problem--problem
today is--is getting there in the first place, al--allowing the Army
to--to take you to battle. This--this, of course, was fought on home
soil--native soil, which makes a huge difference.
LAMB: What impact, do you think, the reporting had on the war?
Mr. PERRY: The Civil War?
LAMB: The Civil War.
Mr. PERRY: Oh, a tremendous impact. I mean, this was--these papers
were read by dozens of--handed around. You know, this was the
bloody--th--this was the bloodiest war we ever fought, you know,
in--in terms of casualties. I mean, huge--and the one thing that
makes the--the reporting so important, too, is that the armies--both
sides did not report casualties. They--they didn't give out lists of
who were killed and who was wounded. So that was done by the
reporters. Reporters--reporters collected the casualty lists and
published them. So people would read them--particularly, a reporter
was covering their own unit, whatever it might be, because he would
tell them who had been killed and who'd been wounded.
LAMB: Who's Cadwalader?
Mr. PERRY: Cervanis Cadwalader, the--he--he's--he--he's the most
controversial figure, probably, in the book. He--he became very close
to Ulysses Grant, and he wrote his memoirs well after the war. And
he--and described in them this bender that Grant had go on in a boat
going up the Yazoo River, but--that he wrote that he was there and saw
it, and it wa--and he was the one who--who tried to--who--who saved
Grant from disgrace on that night. He finally got him off the boat
and back to his--back to his headquarters. And...
LAMB: This is Yazoo, Mississippi.
Mr. PERRY: Yeah. And--and that--there are historians to this day
who still differ on whether that's an accurate account or not. Some
claim he wasn't even on the boat, he made this all up. I've--I
took--take the other side. I believe the story's accurate, basically
accurate, that he was there. He did see all this. He--the fact that
he was very close to Grant and that--that at Grant's--in Cadwalader's
papers at the Library of Congress, there's a letter from Grant that
says that Cadwalader--he--he saw more of Cadwalader during the war
than all the other reporters put together, and that Cadwalader had
written accurate, factual material, and that if other reporters had
done the same, there wouldn't have been any problem with the press
coverage of the war.
And his best friend was--was Colonel Rollins, who was Grant's chief of
staff, and in fact, they actually shared a house together after the
war. Cadwalader named his son Rollins for--for--for--for Grant's
chief of staff. So it seems inconceivable to me that--that
ke--that--that he would have made this story up out of the whole cloth
because either it's--either he's lying entirely or--either it's true
or it isn't--and it's my feeling that basically it's true. But--but
historians do differ on it.
LAMB: You had this small item in there, that his memoirs were edited
not until 1955 by Ben Thomas.
Mr. PERRY: Well, what--what--what the--that's right. Weren't
LAMB: Yeah. But the same fellow that wrote a lot of people's...
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: ...favorite one-volume bio of Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. PERRY: Right.
LAMB: How did--how did that...
Mr. PERRY: He takes--he--he--he--he agrees with this. Shelby Foote
agrees with this account of it. Bruce Catton's not so sure. But--so
ti--ti--it remains. It depends--if--if you're really a big Grant
partisan--and I--I--I'm a great admirer of Grant--you tend to come
down on the side that Cadwalader's making this up. And if you--if
you're--if--if you're being a little more rational, a little
more--about it, you'd think like he must be--there must be something
to it. At any rate...
LAMB: But I...
Mr. PERRY: ...I put it in there with the caveat that--with--there
are those who say that this is not--this is not the way it happened.
LAMB: You cite Bruc--Bruce Catton in the book and Shelby Foote and
Benjamin Thomas and--some others.
Mr. PERRY: Well, James McPherson--James McPherson.
LAMB: James McPherson. And...
Mr. PERRY: And writer Lloyd Lewis' great biography of Sherman, which
was really the out--the biggest eye-opener to me; a wonderful,
LAMB: Who do you tend to think does the best work on--on the Civil
War of all?
Mr. PERRY: I still--I'm still a Bruce Catton man. I mean, i--you
tend--you know, it tend--if--if--if your sympathies are with the
North, to this day, you can't really approach this totally
objectively. If your sympathies tend to be the--with the North, you
kind of tend to be a Catton man. If your sympathies tend to be with
the South, you tend to be a Shelby Foote man. I mean, I--I think--I
think I rely more on--on Catton than--than--than--than anyone, but
they're all good.
LAMB: You--you point out that there are 850,000 troops in the South
and two million in the North.
Mr. PERRY: That were under arms at one time or another.
LAMB: Yeah. Now what difference did that make in the war itself?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I mean, the North because of its--its immense
reserves of manpower and industrial might, of course, it finally was
overwhelming. And eventually, you know, it's always said that the
North had no good generals. But in the West, they did have good
generals. I mean, you think of Grant and Sherman and Sheridan and
Admiral Foote and people like that. I mean, and--and when they
finally came in control, it--they were fine.
LAMB: Did you find a--a next book in this book?
Mr. PERRY: No, not in this book. No, no. I'm not going to do the
Civil War again. No.
LAMB: What's next?
Mr. PERRY: I might do a battle history. I--I--I--what--what--I
really have always been a big fan of the American Revolution,
and--which is the second bloodiest war we ever fought in terms of the
men under arms. And--and I'd like to do a--the last campa--I think I
might like to do a book on the--on the last campaign that led to
Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown. But we'll see. I'm not sure about
LAMB: And did you find out anything new about Gettysburg?
Mr. PERRY: I only found that the--what's the--that the--the
correspon--correspondents--the correspondents wrote wonderful things
at Gettysburg. I mean, I just love that Coffin's--he was--Coffin was
a religious man, a deeply religious man who didn't smoke or drink.
And--and he wrote--he wrote a piece that echoes Lincoln's Gettysburg
Address. It's the most amazing thing. `The invasion of the North was
over, the power of the Southern Confederacy broken. There at that
sunset hour, I could discern the future. No longer an overcast sky,
but clear, unclouded, starlight; a country redeemed, save baptized,
consecrated anew to the coming ages. All honor to the heroic living,
all glory to the gallant dead. They have not fought in vain.'
It goes on. I mean, it does ring--I mean, that does ring--has a
little ring of the--the Gettysburg Address to it. It's not as good,
LAMB: If you had your choice, would rather have been a correspondent
then or now?
Mr. PERRY: Oh, I think--I--I think--I--well, I'd think I would might
have been a correspondent when I was a corespondent. I--I'm not sure
I'd want to be one right now as political writer because, you know,
it's changed so much. And--but during the years I did it, I--I--I--I
think I'd just assume have done it then as any other time.
LAMB: What do you dislike the most about now?
Mr. PERRY: Well, I--it--it--it's--I just fell--I dislike the--the
sort of anger--there's a lot of anger out there and meanness and--we
talk about piling on. In this book, there's a lot of piling on that
goes on, and there's a lot of bad editing or no editing that--that
goes so because of just the way the business has expanded. And with
the Internet and all these--all of these ways that news gets reported
today. We had it more to ourselves back then, just like the Bohemian
brigade did. And I think we felt better about it when it was all in
our own hands.
LAMB: Where did you--this cover your idea?
Mr. PERRY: No, it's not. At--the picture at the bottom that shows
the--that the headquarters of The New York Herald in the field.
And--but they did that. And then the--they found the picture up
above, which is, I think, an artillery unit in the Civil War. But I
like it. I think it's fine.
LAMB: Our guest, Jim Perry, many years with The Wall Street Journal
and author of "A Bohemian Brigade." Thank you.
Mr. PERRY: Thank you.
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