I shrieked (no doubt unnecessarily startling my friend) and told her that we had to stop and read the sign. Bruce Catton helped inspire my interest in the Civil War. In particular I remember taking Mr. Lincoln’s Army,
After the library opened that day, my friend and I entered the hallowed halls and discovered the Michigan Room that has a photograph of Catton as well as a display of his books. The librarian soon sensed that I had an interest in Catton—perhaps taking multiple photographs gave it away? She kindly directed me to the room that Catton and his brother, Robert, lived in during the academy years. For those interested in Catton's youth in Michigan, I highly recommend his Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood.
While growing up in tiny Benzonia, Catton knew many veterans who had served in the Army of Potomac. As Catton explained “they were grave, dignified, and thoughtful, with long white beards and a general air of being pillars of the community. They lived in rural Michigan in the pre-automobile age, and for the most part they had never been fifty miles away from the farm or the dusty village streets; yet once, ages ago, they had been everywhere and had seen everything, and nothing that happened to them thereafter meant anything much” (Mr. Lincoln’s Army, xi). These men had a profound influence on Catton and inspired his interest in the Civil War. He dedicated his book Never Call Retreat “To the one-time members of E. P. Case Post Number 372, Grand Army of the Republic, who now sleep in the village cemetery at
According to a woman at the Benzonia Public Library, Catton was cremated but there is a headstone in his memory at the
And Catton’s headstone:
A fan had left a handwritten note in June 2010: