Brazen Spoons

There is this wonderful undercurrent in Generals in Bronze of the tract McClellan promised to write but never did - the "Secret History" of the ACW.

Sculptor James E. Kelly (1855-1933) found a destitute Matthew Brady in Manhattan near the end of his life being supported by Alfred Pleasanton and a certain New York priest. (Do you like melancholy? This is the book for you.)

Brady (right) tells Kelly about the allocation of $25,000 by Congress for his work. Wikipedia describes it this way:

During the war Brady spent over $100,000 to create 10,000 prints. He expected the U.S. government to buy the photographs when the war ended, but when the government refused to do so he was forced to sell his New York City studio and go into bankruptcy. Congress granted Brady $25,000 in 1875, but he remained deeply in debt.
Received wisdom, to be sure.

Brady told Kelly that he had entered a deal to split the $25,000 50/50 with that member of Congress who acted as the motive force behind the legislation. He was bitter about it and Kelly does not name the man.

But Kelly's editor Bill Styple does in a footnote. It was one Benjamin Butler. "Spoons" himself.

More Bronze here.