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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 3/2/2012 9:42:40 PM   
parusski


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Still loving it Capt.

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Post #: 481
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/3/2012 4:43:36 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Arkansas, Union General Samuel Curtis had allowed the lack of action since he crossed the state line to make him careless. He had extended his troops into a more widely spread position, and even allowed his force to be effectively divided by not occupying the town of Bentonville. His opponent, Earl Van Dorn, soon learned of this, since the majority of Arkansas residents were happy to help him throw the Yankees out of their state. Van Dorn decided to march his army to a position behind the Federals, and crush each wing separately. But there was a risk: it was still late winter on the Ozark plateau, and living off the land was impossible. His army would have to carry just the right amount of supplies, for if it brought too many wagons the movement would alert the Northerners. If the rebels could not quickly defeat the Federals and capture their supplies, starvation threatened.

At New Madrid, General John Pope's Union army arrived in front of the Confederate defenses. The Southerners were briefly alarmed, for they hadn't expected any Northern movement until spring. Happily for them, the Confederate fortifications were already strong enough that Pope decided against a direct attack. He would wait for siege guns, and for the repairs of the Union gunboats.

In Tennessee, The Union control of the capital Nashville allowed them to declare a state government. There were now four states, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, which had two men claiming to be the Governor. For Tennessee, President Lincoln chose Senator Andrew Johnson, who had the advantage of having already been Governor in the 1850's. However, he had the disadvantage of being a Democrat and a pro-slavery man. In fact, he had owned slaves before the war, but the Confederates had seized his farm and his slaves when he stayed loyal to the Union and refused to step down from his seat in the U.S. Senate.

The fact that Johnson now had no economic interest would help change his views to favor abolition, and that in turn would open the road, in a little over three years, to the Presidency.




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Post #: 482
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/4/2012 5:22:57 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Amazingly, Major General Henry Halleck, the overall Union commander in the West, relieved U. S. Grant from command. Apparently, the reason was envy: Grant was lionized throughout the North for the victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, and even received much of the credit for the capture of Nashville. That last was not supposed to be in his area of operations. The specific reason given was Grant's failure to report the number of his troops and their positions, although Grant claimed he had supplied that information to Halleck's chief of staff.

If this amateur historian may be allowed a guess, Halleck seems to have suffered from something like George McClellan's issues (and indeed McClellan supported him against Grant). Halleck was an excellent administrator and strategist, and egotistical as a result, but a very cautious field commander. He did not have the aggressive mind-set that was necessary to take and hold Southern territory. He would be nicknamed "Old Brains", but not necessarily as a compliment. After he was promoted to General-in-Chief of the Union armies, Lincoln would describe him "little more than a first-rate clerk".




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Post #: 483
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/5/2012 5:43:00 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Arkansas, things started going wrong with the Confederate plan to destroy the invading Union army. The scouts attached to the Northern force knew their business: one of them was a certain James Butler Hickok, later to be immortalized as "Wild Bill". Although the Southerners had left their supply wagons to the rear to march fast and quietly, the Yankee scouts spotted them. It had already occurred to Union general Curtis that his force was too extended, and this news made him hastily pull his units closer together and re-orient them to face the rebel attack.




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Post #: 484
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/6/2012 5:57:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The USS Monitor had attempted to sail from New York to Hampton Roads in late February, but steering problems had forced her to turn back. On this date, now under tow by another ship, she set sail again. Her new captain, John L. Worden, was unaware that the delay would lead to the worst disaster the U.S. Navy had yet known.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

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RE: Civil War 150th - 3/6/2012 8:29:06 AM   
cjxicerain

 

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thank you for your page

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Post #: 486
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/7/2012 5:42:13 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Arkansas, what little chance Earl Van Dorn had of taking the Union army by surprise had vanished the day before when his advance force had skirmished with a group of Northerners pulling back to a more compact position. Nonetheless, he decided to try a two-pronged attack, at a small village called Leetown, and three miles to the east at a crossroads with the obviously named Elkhorn Tavern. (For once, your humble correspondent can turn field photographer and verify this last.)



In both places, Samuel Curtis' Federals put up a stiff fight. At Leetown, the Southern command structure was decimated: General Ben McCulloch was shot dead, and then his second-in-command general James McIntosh followed soon after. Another commander, Colonel Louis Hebert, became separated from his force and was captured by Northern cavalry. General Albert Pike took command although he was not in the chain for the units involved, and decided on caution, retreating back to the starting point. Not surprisingly, confusion reigned, and different units ended up in different places before Colonel Elkanah Greer, the proper commander in this situation, could take over.



At Elkhorn Tavern, things went somewhat better for the Southerners. Sterling Price's force had more than a two-to-one advantage over the Yankees in the area, and slowly pushed forward. Price was also wounded, but he was luckier and remained in action. His Union opponent Colonel Eugene Carr, took three wounds himself but also remained in the field. Curtis sent what men he could spare as the day wore on, finally arriving himself just as the sun went down and the Southern attack was halted.

The rebels had, however, taken Elkhorn Tavern and the crossroads, and their superior numbers had inflicted roughly a thousand casualties, almost 10% of the Northern force. At least one of Curtis' subordinates urged him to retreat however he could, since their supply road was cut. But Curtis refused, and even predicted victory the next day.

Although almost no one had yet realized it, it was the Confederates who were badly short of supplies. The wagons that had been ordered to follow at a distance, while the Southern infantry marched ahead, had received mistaken orders to turn around. By morning, the reserve ammunition would be out of reach.


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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/7/2012 5:44:36 AM >

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RE: Civil War 150th - 3/7/2012 8:09:05 PM   
british exil


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Capt. I've been following your thread for quite a while. And every day I wonder where do you get or gather your information from.
If it's from books then you must have quite a pile at home. If it is from one book please mention the title as it would make a fine read.

Mat

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Post #: 488
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/7/2012 8:27:34 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

If it's from books then you must have quite a pile at home. If it is from one book please mention the title as it would make a fine read.


I do have a little collection, but I also confess to making use of Wikipedia. The two main books are "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era" by James M. McPherson (which contains an extensive study of the run-up to the war and is why I started this with the seceding states), and "The Blue and The Gray" by Henry Steele Commager, which is a marvelous compilation of first-person accounts and diary entries from the time.

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Post #: 489
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/7/2012 9:38:55 PM   
parusski


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quote:

"The Blue and The Gray" by Henry Steele Commager


I just located this book on Amazon, not sure how I've missed it. So I think I will purchase the book.

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"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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Post #: 490
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/8/2012 5:51:53 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Arkansas, Union commander Curtis played to his strength. Though he had fewer men, Union artillery was generally superior to what the Confederates had. (Most of the Confederate cannon were captured from the Yankees, and Southern powder was usually inferior to what the Northern factories produced.) Twenty-one Northern guns under Colonel Franz Sigel were lined up against the Southern position, and shortly after 8:00 am, the cannonade began.


It proved more effective than the Union commanders could have guessed. The Southerners had fewer guns on hand to reply with, and they soon ran low on ammunition. With the Confederate artillery effectively silenced, Sigel ordered his guns to be turned on the rebel infantry in the woods nearby. In most cases the trees would have given some protection, but now a combination of wood splinters and stone chips from the rocky ground made for effective shrapnel. Between hard marching and fighting, short rations, and the hammering they received, the Confederate troops reached the limit of their endurance. When Sigel sent his infantry forward in a spirited charge, the Southern lines broke.

The resulting confusion actually worked to the Confederates' advantage, for the Union pursuit took the wrong road while the the main body escaped. Still, the Battle of Pea Ridge was the largest Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi, and the greatest victory won by an outnumbered Union force. Union losses came to 203 killed, 980 wounded and 201 missing. Van Dorn listed 800 killed and wounded, and from 200 to 300 captured. He did not mention that thousands of Missourians and Cherokee deserted, leaving him with a considerably smaller army.




However, on the east coast of the country, the South won a smashing victory. The ironclad CSS Virginia was finally ready, and accompanied by the James River Squadron of five smaller gunboats, she sailed into the anchorage at Hampton Roads. There were five Northern warships in the roadstead: the sloop-of-war USS Cumberland, frigates Congress and St. Lawrence and the steam frigates Roanoke and Minnesota. The latter three got under way when they saw Virginia approaching, but all soon ran aground in the shallow waters.

Virginia headed directly for the Union squadron, holding her fire until well within range of Cumberland. Both Cumberland and Congress replied, but their shot bounced off, doing little harm. Virginia had also been equipped with an iron ram below the waterline, and she used it on Cumberland. The Northern frigate sank rapidly, threatening to take Virginia down with her until the ram broke off.


Next, the Virginia turned on Congress. Seeing what had happened to Cumberland, the captain of the Congress deliberately ran aground. Now, none of the Union warships could move, but the guns of both Congress and Minnesota could reach Virginia, as could some of the Union shore batteries. It seemed to make no difference. By this time, the James River Squadron had arrived, and added their guns in the bombardment of Congress. After an hour of brutal punishment, the Congress ran up the white flag. However, a Union battery on the north shore opened fire on Virginia while the remaining crew of Congress were being ferried off. An angered Captain Buchanan had hot shot fired into the Northern ship, setting her ablaze. He also unwisely climbed out on top of Virginia with a rifle, and received a ball in the thigh from a Union sharpshooter.

Taking stock, Virginia was found to be moderately damaged. Shots from various enemy guns had holed her smokestack, which lowered her already poor speed. Two of her guns had been knocked out, and armor plates had been loosened.

The biggest prize in the Union flotilla was Minnesota, now helplessly aground. The tide was falling, however, meaning Virginia was unable to get close enough to be effective, and darkness was coming on. Virginia steamed away, expecting to make repairs and complete the destruction of Minnesota the next day. With two ships lost, 260 men killed and over 100 more wounded, not until Pearl Harbor would the U.S. Navy have a worse defeat.

During the night, the flames finally reached the Congress' magazines, and she blew up. Had there been any Confederates nearby, the explosion might have shown them an extraordinary new ship now in the anchorage. The USS Monitor had arrived.


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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/9/2012 5:03:28 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 491
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/9/2012 5:25:48 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:



At Hampton roads, Captain Worden of the Monitor was informed that his primary task was to protect Minnesota, so the Monitor took up a position next to the grounded frigate. The officers then took a leisurely breakfast on top of the turret.

On the Confederate side, with Flag Officer Buchanan wounded, Exec Lieutenant Catesby ap Roger Jones took command of the CSS Virginia. He was equally determined to destroy the Minnesota. This time only three ships of the James River Squadron followed the Virginia. It mattered only a little, for the day would belong to Virginia and Monitor alone. It was a clear and fairly calm day, so both sides were able to see each other well before they reached gun range. (Giving Monitor's men time to end breakfast and go to battle stations.) Not surprisingly, Jones initially believed the Monitor to be a repair raft alongside Minnesota, but the first salvo of Monitor's 11-inch guns told him he had a formidable opponent.

As the duel got underway, it became clear both ships were handicapped by decisions made on shore. The Virginia only had explosive shells in her magazines, since there had been no word of having to face an ironclad. With solid shot, there is a chance her two biggest rifled guns could have penetrated the Monitor's armor. On the Union side, it had been dictated that Monitor's guns be loaded with no more than 15 pounds of powder, a half-charge. The big 11-inch Dahlgren-type cannons were still fairly new, and turreted guns had never been used. This meant that neither ship could punch through the other's armor, though the sheer impact of the shot from Monitor's guns cracked some of the supporting beams on board Virginia.


After two hours of hammer and tongs battle, the Virginia made an error and ran aground in the shallow waters. The Monitor realized this, and manuevered to a position where only the weaker guns of the Confederate vessel would bear, and proceeded to pound away. Knowing that repeated blows in the same area would eventually break through their armor, Jones called for desperate measures. The safety valves on the boilers were tied down, and turpentine was thrown into the fires to get all possible steam through the engines. The needles on the pressure gages climbed past the danger mark, but the extra speed to the propellers pulled the Virginia free.

Now, Captain Jones tried to ram the smaller Union vessel, even though Virginia's bow ram had not been replaced. The result did rather more damage to the ramming vessel, opening up a considerable leak in the bow. A little later on, Captain Worden attempted to return the favor. Again, more damage was done to the ramming ship. A shell from Virginia struck the pilot house of Monitor and exploded, temporarily blinding Worden. Monitor drew off to get her commander to sickbay. The executive officer, Lieutenant Samuel Greene, took over and Monitor headed back towards her opponent. But in that time, Virginia's crew concluded that they had driven Monitor away. Although Minnesota was still aground, the falling tide meant that she was out of reach. Furthermore, Virginia had suffered enough damage to require extensive repair. Believing the victory was theirs, the Confederates set course back to Norfolk.

When Monitor returned, she discovered the foe apparently running away. Greene sent a few parting shots towards the Confederate vessel, but considered that his orders required him to stay by the Minnesota, and so did not pursue. Thus each ship could argue that it had forced the other to retreat.

Newspapers on both sides claimed the victory. The Union papers always referred to the Southern ship as the Merrimac, her name before she had been captured and extensively reconstructed, and the phrase "Monitor and Merrimac" became the popular name for the encounter. There would be no rematch, however, and neither ship would survive the year.

The debate over who won the encounter continues to this day.


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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/9/2012 5:27:39 AM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 492
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/11/2012 7:01:28 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the East, the Confederate forces were pulling back. Harpers Ferry had changed sides again, with Union troops under General Nathaniel P. Banks moving in after the Southerners pulled out. By this time, Harpers Ferry was showing the signs of war in spades. An officer of the 10th Maine would shortly write, "It is really, or rather was, a town of some note, but the ruin, absolute devastation now in its place is beyond anything I ever dreamed or saw or heard tell of."

The Confederate army had also gone south from Manassas, to dig in on more defensible ground. Union generals George McClellan and Irwin McDowell had a look for themselves, and though they had argued over the First Battle of Bull Run, they entirely agreed here. Assaulting the Southerners' "works", as fortifications were often called, looked like a costly proposition. They did not know how many of the enemy cannon were actually "Quaker guns", or simple logs painted black to look like artillery from a distance.


The plan to land the Army of the Potomac at Fort Monroe and march to the "back door" of Richmond now looked like a much better idea. On this date, President Lincoln issued War Order No. 3, which relieved McClellan of his position as General-in-Chief of the Union armies, so that he could concentrate on leading the Army of the Potomac in the filed. The order also expanded General Henry Halleck's position, changing his portfolio from the Department of Missouri to the Department of the Mississippi, now including Kansas and much of the area around the Ohio river. It also created a new department covering Western Virginia and eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. The politically connected general John Fremont was named to head this new department, where it was hoped that his lack of competence would do minimal damage. The bad news was that this was an effective demotion for generals William Rosecrans and Don Carlos Buell, who still retained field commands but were no longer heads of departments. Also left out was U. S. Grant, though happily not for long.

In the South, rather than reshuffling, it was time for some plain old-fashioned firing. Jefferson Davis relieved General John B. Floyd from command for the disaster at Fort Donelson. He was technically still a Major General of Virginia Militia, but his health would soon fail and he would die in August 1863.


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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/11/2012 7:06:18 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 493
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/13/2012 5:30:14 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The advancing Confederate force in New Mexico took the town of Santa Fe. Unhappily for them, the Unionists had been previously warned, and so the Rebels captured only a little in the way of supplies there. (They had, however, received twenty-four wagons of supplies from a small Union outpost to the west whose indifferent commander had surrendered to the demand of four Southern sympathizers.)

With Henry Halleck receiving a larger area of responsibility, he could afford to be less jealous of the success of other. U. S. Grant was restored to command.

At New Madrid, Missouri, the siege guns that Union General John Pope had ordered up opened their bombardment of the forts. Confederate commander John McCown had been surprised by the winter march of Pope's army, and now he was amazed that heavy guns could have traveled over the muddy roads and brought into action. Most of his troops were on Island No. 10, and with Union cannon now commanding the river, he could not easily reinforce the New Madrid forts. He decided to evacuate after sundown, and luckily for him, the night was dark and rainy. The Federals noticed nothing, even when the Southerners spiked the cannons in the two forts.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 494
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/14/2012 8:37:50 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At New Madrid, Missouri, Union commander John Pope received some good news. Two Confederate deserters waving a white flag came into the Federal lines and informed them that the town and its two forts had been abandoned. More, Flag Officer Andrew Foote and his gunboat flotilla began to arrive.

But it wasn't enough yet. Island No. 10 was still securely in Rebel hands, and it blocked the Mississippi to any further Union advance. More, the fleet was not fully ready for action. Some of the "Pook's Turtle" ironclads were still under repair, and Foote himself was still recovering from his wound sustained in the duel with with Fort Donelson.

In North Carolina, Union General Ambrose Burnside wished to advance from the coast up the Neuse River. Thirty-seven miles (60 km) upstream lay the small city of New Bern, with a significant railroad junction. Burnside had marched 11,000 of his men and sailed his gunboats towards it. But the men encountered rain and mud (not for the last time in Burnside's career) and the gunboats had to deal with a barricade of derelict vessels that the Confederates had thoughtfully sunk in the river.

On this date, the forces were finally in place. The Southerners had built up a line of "breastworks" manned by about 4,000 men, but many of them were poorly-armed militia. Nonetheless, they managed to hold off the Yankee advance for a time. The position had also been selected so that it was shielded from the river by trees, so the Northern gunboats could not deliver accurate supporting fire.

After some sharp fighting, a Massachusetts regiment temporarily overran an old brick kiln the Rebels were using as part of their fortifications. A spirited counter-attack by the North Carolinians drove them back, but they had stayed long enough to see a dog-leg in the middle of the Confederate line which was lightly manned. With this information, another Union charge broke through, capturing nine guns.

Soon, the entire Confederate line was being rolled up. The retreat started well, but with green militiamen among the troops, it was virtually inevitable that it became a rout. The Southerners fell back behind the sheltering trees, and fire from the gunboats completed the panic. The force took nearly a week to re-form, thirty-five miles (56 km) away.

Because they had done most of the attacking, the Union troops took more casualties: 90 killed and 380 wounded against 64 killed and 101 wounded for the Confederates. However, the Northerners had only one man missing, while the Southerners listed 413 missing or captured.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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RE: Civil War 150th - 3/14/2012 9:11:01 PM   
nate25


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Capt. Harlock,

I really enjoy this post. Please keep it up.

Way back when, in another lifetime (25 yrs. ago), I was color sergeant for the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry. We re-enacted dismounted for the most part.

This unit had the distinction of the farthest northern penetration of any C.S. unit, raiding into Byesville, Ohio. That was a big yearly thing for us.

Wish I'd of stayed in re-enacting. A lot of fun and learning.

Thanks,
Nate

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RE: Civil War 150th - 3/17/2012 4:14:11 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac began the sea voyage to Fort Monroe on the Virginia coast. There were already 12,000 Federals manning the fort under Major General John Wool. (Wool would be quickly transferred when it was realized he was technically senior to McClellan; the Union had no rank higher than Major General at the time.) The force would grow to an amazing 121,000 men, 15,000 horses, and 44 artillery batteries. In the area, the Confederates had at that point a mere 11,000 men. And yet, McClellan would remain convinced that he did not have enough.

The Achilles Heel of the campaign was, surprisingly enough, over two hundred miles away: the Shenandoah Valley. With its rich farmland and natural defenses, it was the ideal place to keep the Confederate army ready for a counter-attack. It could be thought of as a giant gun aimed at the rear of Washington, D.C. McClellan and Lincoln (who was rapidly gaining an excellent grasp of the principles of warfare) had discussed the danger, and about 50,000 Union troops had been left under Irvin McDowell and Nathaniel Banks to seal the Shenandoah Valley and protect the capital. Lincoln worried that it might not be enough, but McClellan preferred to have at least some of those extra troops with him -- and he would arrange to make it happen.

On the Confederate side, Joseph Johnston was in overall command. In addition to the 11,000 local troops under John Magruder, he had about 60,000 men in various places, most of them to the north of Richmond. Much would depend on how fast each side could move.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to nate25)
Post #: 497
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/18/2012 8:42:25 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Judah Benjamin had resigned as Confederate Secretary of War, but he was a personal friend of Jefferson Davis (beside being a competent administrator). Davis appointed him Secretary of State, in which position he would serve for the remainder of the Confederate government's existence.

The position of Secretary of War was not so stable. Benjamin had been the second man in the post. Davis now chose George Randolph to be the third, but Randolph would only last until November, when tuberculosis would force him to step down.




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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 498
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/22/2012 5:22:50 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Beginning of Spring, 1862:

It was now beginning to be campaigning weather across much of America. In the Shenandoah Valley, Sonewall Jackson had received a few reinforcements, bringing his force up to about 4,500 men. This was still not enough to take on the Union units who now occupied the Northern end of the valley. But now Jackson received word from his cavalry commander, Colonel Turner Ashby, that the Southern horsemen were chasing a division of Federals under General James Shields back north. Jackson quickly guessed that the Yankees were being pulled out of the valley to reinforce the Army of the Potomac for a drive on Richmond. And he determined to do something about it.

In the meantime, the rebel horse artillery had sent a shell near General Shields, and a shell fragment had broken Shields' arm. The Union commander was taken away for treatment, but unknown to the Southern cavalry, the bulk of his division stayed behind.


In the Arizona/New Mexico Territory, the Union side had command problems. There were no generals in the area, so overall command was held by Colonel Edward Canby. At the critical Fort Union, a new colonel named John Potts Slough had arrived. The fact that he had received his commission a few weeks earlier than Colonel Gabriel Paul made him the fort's new commander, even though Slough had no previous military training, and Paul was a West Point graduate. Canby had ordered that the full garrison protect Fort Union until he decided when to move out from the south and hopefully trap the Confederate force now moving north from Santa Fe. Slough interpreted the orders creatively, and moved 1,400 men to an advanced position outside the fort.


In Tennessee, the Union advance had continued until it nearly reached the state's southern border. General Albert S. Johnston, the overall Confederate commander in the West, was not willing to give up the entire state. He ordered all the Southern forces he could scrape together to concentrate at Corinth, Mississippi, with the intention of attacking into southern Tennessee and destroying U. S. Grant's army of about 49,000 men. Johnston even ordered Earl Van Dorn's army to abandon Arkansas to join him, but they wouldn't make it in time. Still, the Confederate force grew to 55,000 men.

Over the state line, the Union troops went into encampment while Grant set about combining the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Ohio. (These were not meant to be the names of the States; it was now established practice that Union Armies would be named after rivers.) He had brought his friend William T. Sherman out of a leave of absence caused by a nervous breakdown to command one of his six divisions. This division and four of the five others took up a spread-out position in the vicinity of a log church named "Shiloh", which is Hebrew for "place of peace".



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 8/8/2012 5:10:42 AM >

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Post #: 499
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/23/2012 5:22:34 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the Shenandoah Valley, Stonewall Jackson received a report that there were only four regiments of Union troops at Kernstown, which controlled the key road to the town and railroad junction of Winchester. Although it was a Sunday, Jackson felt he had to take advantage of the opportunity. He marched his troops to the area with a speed that began the legend of his "foot cavalry", and by 4:30 pm, the attack was launched.

At first, things seemed to go well for the Southerners. The attack had taken the Yankees by surprise, and they were pushed back. But Turner Ashby, Jackson's head of cavalry, had carelessly not verified the report on Union strength. There were at least triple the number Jackson had been led to believe. More and more bluecoats arrived, and eventually Jackson's force was outnumbered by about two to one.

The Confederates fought fiercely -- perhaps a little too fiercely. By 6:30 pm the Stonewall Brigade began to run out of ammunition. One soldier was making his way to the rear when Jackson confronted him and demanded to know where he was going. The soldier explained that his cartridge box was empty. "Then go back and give them the bayonet!" shouted Jackson, but it does not seem to have done much good.

General Richard Garnett of the Stonewall Brigade concluded that he must either retreat or have his men slaughtered. He pulled back, but the move exposed the regiments to his left. Before long, the entire Confederate line was wavering. Jackson was furious and ordered Garnett to rally his men, but the noise of battle drowned the efforts of voice and drums.

Finally, due to a brave but costly stand by the 5th and 42nd Virginia regiments, the Confederates withdrew to a safer position and night fell. Union casualties were 118 killed, 450 wounded, 22 captured or missing, Confederate 80 killed, 375 wounded, 263 captured or missing. Jackson also lost two cannons, with the South needing every gun it could get.

But Jackson had achieved one of his major objectives. When the news of the battle reached Abraham Lincoln, he worried about the aggressiveness of the rebels in the Shenandoah Valley. He canceled the movements of some of the troops that McClellan was hoping for, and asked to review the dispositions of the troops defending the area of Washington.


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 500
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/26/2012 4:23:35 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In the New Mexico territory, Union Colonel John Slough went from liberal interpretation of his orders to remain at Fort Union to outright violation. Slough sent Major John Chivington on an advance with over 400 men, about a third of the Union force, to Glorieta Pass, which controlled the approach to the fort. Chivington's men found an took prisoner several Confederate pickets posted to guard a body of about 300 Southerners camped at Apache Canyon, behind the Pass.

Chivington could not be faulted for lack of initiative. He advanced on the Rebel camp, but was repulsed at first by artillery fire. Regrouping his men, he sent them to either flank, and this time forced the Confederates to fall back. The fall-back position was soon dealt with by more flank attacks, and then a northern cavalry charge netted a number of prisoners. Not knowing if there were Confederate reserves nearby, Chivington decided to break off and
camp for the night, and send for reinforcements. The Southerners had much the same idea.

Union losses were 5 killed, 14 wounded, and 3 missing. The Confederates lost 4 killed, 20 wounded, and 75 captured, a big chunk out of a 300-man force. The question was who could reinforce faster, and with more men.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 501
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/27/2012 5:12:58 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

A civil engineer named Charles Ellet, Jr., had been trying to interest Union Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles in building a squadron of steam-powered vessels who primary attack would be ramming the enemy ships. Wells had sent Ellet away, and refused to meet again. Not one to quit easily, Ellet had brought his proposal to Secretary of War Stanton. On this date, Stanton authorized Ellet to "provide steam rams for defense against ironclad vessels in the western waters". This would lead to a small fleet that was essentially private rather than run by the Navy.

It would also lead to one of the most unusual actions of the war: a clash of fleets on the Mississippi River. For the Confederates had come up with much the same idea.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/27/2012 8:59:05 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 502
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/28/2012 3:55:58 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

It was becoming clearer and clearer that the South needed more troops. Jefferson Davis bit the bullet and proposed a conscription bill, the first in American history. This was a very disturbing act to many a Southerner; for suddenly the Confederate government was asking for powers, bypassing the states, that the Union had never asked. (Though it was only a matter of time before the North followed suit.)


In New Mexico, both sides had been reinforced to over a thousand men each. Union commander Colonel Slough split his force, sending his main body to hold Apache Canyon while his cavalry and some light infantrywent to the left, trying to get into the Confederate rear. Two things went wrong: first, his main force was now outnumbered, and second, the Rebels had already moved through Apache Canyon to Glorieta Pass.

Nonetheless, the Yankees attacked the advanced position of the Confederate force. For a time, their artillery gave them the edge, but more and more Rebels came into the fight. Eventually, the Southerners made a determined infantry charge, and the fighting became hand-to-hand. Survivors would claim that, man-for-man, it was some of the most desperate combat of the war. The Federals bought enough time for their guns to evacuate, but they were pushed back.

But one part of the Union plan went spectacularly right. The end run force under Major Chivington found the Southern supply train a few miles to the rear. Chivington waited at least an hour to attack, possibly suspecting it was too easy. Eventually he did, and easily scattered the guards, capturing a cannon. He then ordered his men to kill or drive off the 500 horses and mules, and set the eighty-odd wagons to the torch. This they did with a will.



The dream of a Confederate Arizona Territory literally went up in smoke. Without their supplies, the Rebel force had no real option but to retreat back to Santa Fe, and eventually all the way back to Texas. Casualties were remarkably even: the Union lost 46 killed, 64 wounded, and 15 captured or missing, while the Confederates lost 46 killed, 60 wounded, and 17 captured or missing.



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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 3/28/2012 4:02:49 PM >


_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 503
RE: Civil War 150th - 3/29/2012 8:23:17 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

On the Mississippi river, Island No. 10 had stopped the Union advance. Two bombardments had failed to make a significant impression on the fortifications. Union commander John Pope had told his superiors he would capture the place by April 3, but prospects now looked poor. On the naval side, Flag Officer Andrew Foote called a second council. Running a gunboat past the Confederate guns was still risky, but nothing else seemed to be working. Commander Henry Walke, captain of USS Carondelet volunteered to take his boat through. Foote approved, and Carondelet was quickly made ready for the run. Reinforcing material such as anchor chain was draped over her armor plating, and a coal barge was filled with coal and hay and lashed alongside. To lower the sound of her engines, the steam exhaust was diverted from the smokestacks. Then it was a question of waiting for a cloudy, or better yet foggy night.





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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 504
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/1/2012 3:13:52 PM   
ckammp

 

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Bump.

This interesting thread deserves to be on the first page.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/1/2012 4:40:48 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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April Fool's Day, 1862:

To get President Lincoln to agree to his plan to move the Army of the Potomac to the peninsula southeast of Richmond, George McClellan had promised to leave sufficient troops behind to make Washington secure. In a dispatch he wrote just before he set sail, he reported that there were 55,500 men from the Army of the Potomac in the area, plus the regular Washington garrison of 18,000 men, giving a total of 73,500.

The trouble was that McClellan had used "creative" math. Among other things, two units had been counted twice, and the "area" that he was using ran from the Shenandoah Valley all the way to Baltimore. There were actually about 50,000 men total, and only about 30,000 men in position to defend the capital. How McClellan expected this to fool the Secretary of War and the Commander-in-Chief is something of a mystery; both men were able to count, and they would soon do so.


At Island No. 10 on the Mississippi, Union Flag Officer Andrew Foote pulled an effective prank on the Confederates. He put together a raiding party of 50 infantrymen, conveyed by 50 sailors in lifeboats with muffled oars, for a daring raid on the island's guns. As they approached the island, nature played a trick of her own. A bolt of lightning illuminated the boats, and the Southern pickets opened fire.

Happily for the Federals, the Rebel sentinels quickly saw they were outnumbered. The bluecoats stormed ashore, the boys in gray retreated, and for a precious thirty minutes, there was no further interference. The six guns of Battery No. 1 were spiked, and the Union raiding party was back in the boats and pulling for the Northern camp before any further Southern troops arrived. The odds of successfully running a Northern gunboat past Island No. 10 had been increased.

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 506
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/4/2012 5:45:47 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

On the peninsula, McClellan and his immense army moved out, beginning the eighty-mile march on Richmond. A few Confederate pickets were seen, but they scattered or surrendered at the sight of the Federal ranks. At the end of the day, the Army of the Potomac had made thirteen miles, about one-sixth of the distance to the Confederate capital. The Rebel prisoners informed the Union officers that "Prince John" Magruder (nicknamed because of his aristocratic bearing and fondness for theatrics) had no more than 8,000 Confederate troops, mostly concentrated at the historic place of Yorktown.

But there was an indication of trouble ahead. Alan Pinkerton's agents had reported "good, natural roads" leading north, but the spring rains turned them into quagmires. The heavy seige guns would have to be brought up by rail.


In southern Tenessee, the Confederate army under Albert Johnston was advancing into position to attack Grant's force. There had been considerable confusion and traffic jams leaving Corinth, Mississippi, and so only the advance units trickled in to the spot selected. General Beauregard was nearly in despair; the Southerners knew that another Union army under General Don Carlos Buell was moving to join Grant, and they had to attack soon. But amazingly, Grant had written to Buell that there was no need for haste, and Buell's force was marching leisurely.


At Island no. 10, there was no moon, and after dark a thunderstorm began. The time had come for the USS Carondelet to make her way downstream. She went quietly past the disabled Confederate Battery No. 1, but when she was level with the Battery No. 2, her smokestacks blazed up. (The re-routing of steam had cause the buildup of soot to dry out, and it caught fire.) The Rebel cannons opened up, but the storm served the Yankees well, and the shots went wide. Carondelet arrived at the Union position downstream unscathed.





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_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 507
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/4/2012 6:29:03 AM   
warspite1


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Wow I don't know if this is old news to you guys in the states, but this is the first time I have seen this.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17604991

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England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/4/2012 8:35:35 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

I don't know if this is old news to you guys in the states, but this is the first time I have seen this.


I blush to confess it was news to me too. I tend to be wary of statistical methods ("There are Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics") but with the Civil War, there is not much choice. The records of the Confederate side especially were spotty, largely due to the hasty evacuation and fire of Richmond. The Union also lost a number of documents in the Great Chicago Fire.

An interesting if grim point: WWII is considered the war in which the greatest number of United States servicemen died, the death toll of 400,000 surpassing the previous estimated Union death toll of 360,000. If Prof. Hacker's methods are accurate, the Civil War mark now surpasses the WWII mark.



_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

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Post #: 509
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/4/2012 11:40:11 PM   
parusski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Wow I don't know if this is old news to you guys in the states, but this is the first time I have seen this.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17604991


I have read estimates like this before and I really believe it is true. Think about how many Americans died in our Civil War as a percentage of the population, if the new figure is correct then 2.4% of the pre-war population died in the war. Compare that to WW2, which saw .307% of the population killed in the war. That is really something to ponder, that 8 times more civilians died during the civil war than ww2.

_____________________________

"I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast."- W.T. Sherman

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