Irish, The Man!! (Dr. Ernest Butner)
"Greater love hath no man..."

       On or about the 18th of January, 1997 an individual came into WebAmerica's Civil War Chat Room and introduced himself as Irish. After a very short period of time it became obvious to all that "Irish" was not just a Civil War Buff, but someone who was really special. And special he was, as we later found out.
       He was a veteran of both WWII and Korea and had originally planned on making the military a career. He was in the Navy and assigned to amphibious assaults for most of WWII. According to him, his most harrowing experience was at Tarawa where he had to wade 150 yards through waist deep water under withering enemy machine gun fire. After he was wounded at Iwo Jima he was transferred to destroyers, and fought in the Philippines and at Okinawa. He was very proud of the fact that his ship, the destroyer USS Rowe, led the battleship Missouri into Yokohama harbor for the signing of the Japanese Surrender document. When the Korean War broke out he was right in the middle of it and was severely wounded at the landing at Inchon. Losing his left arm as well as his dream of a military career, Irish returned to college, and through many years of hard work, eventually gained a history professorship at Pepperdine University near Santa Monica, Ca. He specialized in Military History, and taught it for nearly fifty years. Irish, was indeed a special man.
       As 1997 progressed, Irish was in the chat room often, helping (never lecturing) anyone who had an interest in the war. Remember, Irish was not just an expert on the American Civil War, he was an expert on all wars. Many was the time when he would make an analogy of a battle tactic used by Frederick the Great, Napoleon, or even Genghis Khan that had direct applications to the American Civil War. He was very much at home in his discussions regardless of the age or knowledge of the one he was chatting with. Apparently, he also loved to write, for he wrote many short essays for this website. Even though he only had one arm he was a prolific typist.
       Well folks, Irish died on the 8th of January 1998. A great shock to all of us. He was cremated and his ashes were sent to the Gilbert Islands. He wanted them to be spread among the coral reefs where so many of his friends met their death for the cause of freedom. He did not have a funeral, because he abhorred them. There was a small memorial with the bag pipes that Irish (Ernie was his name) loved so much. What he did express in a couple of rare occasions when he thought of death, was that he hoped his friends would have a wake, and remember him as a lively person. He enjoyed his life to the maximum and lived it with a great deal of enthusiasm. If anyone wants to know a little more about him, he is mentioned several times in a book called "76 Hours: The Invasion of Tarawa" by Eric Hammel and John Lane. Although they claim he was a marine in the book, he was a tried and true sailor.
        His son-in-law reported to us that "many folks from around the world have been in touch. It is so amazing because Ernie (Irish)always considered himself such an ordinary man. He said that he believed in one rule for life and that was to treat people like you would want to be treated. He believed that and he lived it. He never really thought of himself as being special in any way. He could sit down with generals and discuss tactics and strategy or sit down at the local pub and talk about small town civic problems with the folks around here. This is a little town, and he made himself at home."
       My friends, it is difficult for me to express my feelings about this man, having never met him face to face, but I will try. He was, to me, as hard as "nails" when he had to be, and as "soft as a Powder Puff" when he was allowed to be. Even though he had but one arm, he was the full measure of a man!!

The Day Irish Left Us    This is the discussion in the Civil War Chatroom the day we were notified of Irish's death. Very, very moving.
From Mrs. Irish A great message to all of you from Irish's (Ernie's) widow.

Now for all you Civil War Buffs that didn't know Irish and just want to know a little more about the "War," here are the essays that he wrote for the room. Most are just a single page, but all are thought provoking. Even though they are also located elsewhere on the website, I wanted to bring them all together for this page. I told you he loved to write.

You'll have to use your "Back" function to get back
to this page. I don't have the essays linked.



Key Moments in the War        This is the opening salvo of a series of articles that are being written to try to show the key decisions that were made that affected the outcome of the war. A really good "What If?" discussion that allows you to draw your own conclusions.
Lincoln Vs Davis A fine comparison of these two presidents.
Joe Johnston

Was he the South's finest general? How did he match up against Lee? Not often you get to see two generals who fought for the same side compared. This is the second in a series of articles to allow you to ponder the age old question of "what if?"

Napoleonic  Arithmetic A great analytical look at the battle of Gettysburg. This one is gonna start you thinking.
The Battle of Nashville Did you know that Thomas was accused of having a case of the "slows" at this battle? Wasn't Lincoln that said it, it was Grant! Thomas dang near got fired over this one. You gotta read about it to appreciate it.
McClellan, A Historian's View  Think you know about "Little Mac?" Better think again. Take a look.
Bragg and Artillery "During the 1840's there were some very fine artillery commanders in the U.S. Army. They were: Captain Samuel Ringgold, Captain Randolph Ridgely, and Lieutenant Braxton Bragg... " Want to know more? Come on in!
Fredricksburg "Irish, Here's a good topic for discussion. If you had been in command of the AOP on Dec 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg. What would you have done, attack head on like Burnside, try to flank, like Hooker did in the Spring or retreat and wait till spring. Or something else altogether?" The answer is here!
Longstreet Napoleon Bonaparte once said that "The ancients had a great advantage over us in that their armies were not trailed by a second army of pen-pushers.".... Good thoughts on Longstreet!
Napoleon On American Battlefields This is a great insight as to how the Civil War generals should have conducted the war. They all studied Napoleon at the "Point."