My television viewing habits of late have focused on a lot of the “what if” historical programs and documentaries that present alternative endings to events in humanity.
Sunday I watched a couple of what if shows concerning war. First, I scared myself by looking at what today’s world might be like were Adolf Hitler and his Nazis triumphant in World War II.
I probably would not have gotten very far in a Nazi world despite the fact my mother’s maiden name, Stangle, is very German. Who could guess my fate in such a society considering I was born a Ginger with fire engine red hair plus skin so pale you could read by my forehead with no trouble during a cloudless, full moon night.
Two hours later, my curiosity about the Civil War peaked while viewing a documentary tracing the lifestyles of people in Georgia, New York and Los Angeles today if the South had won the War Between the States. Long story short, every restaurant in America would most certainly know how to make a proper glass of iced sweet tea.
These shows got me to thinking, which by all accounts is a dangerous venture according to the three darling Carroll children. I asked myself a couple of what ifs.
What if Abraham Lincoln or George Washington had the opportunity to reach the masses like President Trump through Twitter? I know Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” or Washington’s “Farewell Address” go well beyond the 280 characters allowed by Twitter, but it would be fun to see how both statesmen tweeted during some of history’s greatest moments.
Imagine Abe with a Twitter account. Oh, what excitement the following tweet, if discovered in Abe’s personal account, would have delivered to Knox County professional and amateur historians alike.
“@ThomasLincoln and I in #VincennesIndiana this day March 10th in the year of Our Lord 1830 and I saw a ginormous printing press and met publisher @ElihuStout who typifies the hard-working folk of #RealNewsNotFake profession. Later along Market Street tasted best ever ice cold soft drink #DoubleCola.”
Captain Joseph Bowman kept a phenomenal daily journal in the field under the most horrid weather conditions during the march of George Rogers Clark and his militia from Illinois to Vincennes. Bowman’s journal is significant since it describes how Clark and his army cleverly captured Fort Sackville from the British on Feb. 24, 1779, marking an important victory for the Colonists during the American Revolutionary War.
“@GeorgeRogersClark and us guys right now inside #Fort Sackville after capturing #VincennesIndiana from @HenryHamiltonTheHairBuyer and his troops. Celebration is huge and food pretty good. @GeorgeRogersClark and me toasted victory with delightful ice cold #DoubleCola.”
It does not take much imagination to envision Bowman writing in his journal during this celebration and retweeting what he wrote later on that historical day.
“Met with @GeorgeRogersClark and he told me great things have been effected by a few men well conducted but today he gave official order to delay march back to #FortKaskasia until invention of either #Mapquest or #TheWeatherChannel.”
If Capt. Bowman and Abe Lincoln could entertain Twitter accounts, then surely it is no great leap of faith to imagine William Henry Harrison having one. The one-time Vincennes resident and later ninth President of the United States I am sure had plenty of reaction to both national and local affairs.
“@AnnaElizabethHarrison named our new home #Grouseland but I told her it was to be #Joustland for the friendly sporting events I planned to host in #VincennesIndiana between #TeamZacharyTaylor and #TeamTecumsehTippecanoe. Then saw pair of cute birds and decided #Grouseland just right.”
Later on, I am certain you would find in Harrison’s Twitter account plenty of messages about his campaign and election as U.S. President in 1840. Heck, there might even be one or two concerning his inaugural activities.
“@VicePresidentJohnTyler advises me to edit inauguration speech to less than hour due to impending snowstorm. @ThePrezWilliamHenryHarrison advised @VicePresidentJohnTyler what could an extra 45 minutes hurt and to chill out a little by drinking a #DoubleHotChocolate.”
Sorry but my favorite soft drink can’t be everywhere, folks.
It’s interesting to speculate on Twitter accounts for Abe Lincoln, Capt. Bowman and William Henry Harrison, but there’s one other I would love to come across. This Twitter account could enhance both the history and literary influences by Vincennes.
Of course I am referring to Alice of Old Vincennes. Most people say she is a fictional character whose story just happens to intertwine with the capture of Fort Sackville, but what if Alice Roussillon really lived in Vincennes at the time and got included in the prose without permission by author Maurice Thompson.
My dear wife says it is always better to have a woman’s opinion on matters of importance, and I concur as the son of a strong, single mother. A few tweets from Alice during the days of Fort Sackville in Vincennes would be quite informative I must say.
“@RealAliceOfOldVincennes trying to figure out this whole #AmericanRevolutionaryWar still sewing and plan to fly soon #ColonistsAndHoosiersRule flag over #FortSackville. @HenryHamiltonTheHairBuyer brags British will hold on to #FortSackville but my intuition says otherwise.”
“@LtFitzhughBeverley and I met in the moon light on #WabashOuabacheRiver last night. He reports British defeated and #FortSackville captured in two days.”
What if the British had held on to the fort and eventually won the Revolutionary War?
Well, then you could tweet your sweet #VincennesIndiana goodbye.
Doug Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.