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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 10/8/2012 4:57:17 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

At Perryville, Kentucky, Union commander Buell was unhappy with his position, and decided to postpone his attack until the 9th. This gave Confederate commander Bragg the opportunity to get in the first punch. Bragg should have been badly outmatched, but he faced only a little over one-third of the Union army. Because of the trick of "acoustic shadow", the Northern general heard no firing, and did not even realize that a major battle was underway until mid-afternoon. But the men on the firing lines knew all too well.

Private Sam Watkins, who penned perhaps the most famous memoirs of any Southern infantryman, would write:

I was in every battle, skirmish and march that was made by the First Tennessee Regiment during the war, and I do not remember of a harder contest and more evenly fought battle than that of Perryville. If it had been two men wrestling, it would have been called a "dog fall." Both sides claim the victory—both whipped.

I stood picket in Perryville the night before the battle—a Yankee on one side of the street, and I on the other. We got very friendly during the night, and made a raid on a citizen's pantry, where we captured a bucket of honey, a pitcher of sweet milk, and three or four biscuits. The old citizen was not at home—he and his whole household had gone visiting, I believe. In fact, I think all of the citizens of Perryville were taken with a sudden notion of promiscuous visiting about this time...

At length the morning dawned. Our line was drawn up on one side of Perryville, the Yankee army on the other. The two enemies that were soon to meet in deadly embrace seemed to be eyeing each other. The blue coats lined the hillside in plain view. You could count the number of their regiments by the number of their flags. We could see the huge war dogs frowning at us, ready at any moment to belch forth their fire and smoke, and hurl their thunderbolts of iron and death in our very midst.

I wondered why the fighting did not begin. Never on earth were our troops more eager for the engagement to open. The Yankees commenced to march toward their left, and we marched almost parallel to our right...

About 12 o'clock, while we were marching through a corn-field, in which the corn had been shocked, they opened their war dogs upon us. . . The battle now opened in earnest, and from one end of the line to the other seemed to be a solid sheet of blazing smoke and fire. Our regiment crossed a stream, being preceded by Wharton's Texas Rangers, and we were ordered to attack at once with vigor. Here General Maney's horse was shot. From this moment the battle was a mortal struggle. Two lines of battle confronted us. We killed almost everyone in the first line, and were soon charging over the second, when right in our immediate front was their third and main line of battle, from which four Napoleon guns poured their deadly fire.

We did not recoil, but our line was fairly hurled back by the leaden hail that was poured into our very faces. Eight color-bearers were killed at one discharge of their cannon. We were right up among the very wheels of their Napoleon guns. It was death to retreat now to either side. Our Lieutenant-Colonel, Patterson, halloed to charge and take their guns, and we were soon in a hand-to-hand fight—every man for himself—using the butts of our guns and bayonets. One side would waver and fall back a few yards, and would rally, when the other side would fall back, leaving the four Napoleon guns; and yet the battle raged. Such obstinate fighting I never had seen before or since. The guns were discharged so rapidly that it seemed the earth itself was in a volcanic uproar. The iron storm passed through our ranks, mangling and tearing men to pieces. The very air seemed full of stifling smoke and fire, which seemed the very pit of hell, peopled by contending demons.

Our men were dead and dying right in the very midst of this grand havoc of battle. It was a life to life and death to death grapple. The sun was poised above us, a great red ball, sinking slowly in the west, yet the scene of battle and carnage continued. I cannot describe it. The mantle of night fell upon the scene. I do not know which side whipped, but I know that I helped bring off those four Napoleon guns that night...

The battle of Perryville presented a strange scene. The dead, dying, and wounded of both armies, Confederate and Federal, were blended in inextricable confusion. Now and then a cluster of dead Yankees and close by a cluster of dead Rebels. It was like the Englishman's grog—'alf and 'alf. Now, if you wish, kind reader, to find out how many were killed and wounded, I refer you to the histories.


The Union losses totaled 4,276 (894 killed, 2,911 wounded, 471 captured/missing) while the Confederate losses were 3,401 (532 killed 2,641 wounded 228 captured/missing).

Bragg's Confederates had won a tactical victory, inflicting more casualties on the Federals than they sustained, and gaining ground. But scouts and cavalry had discovered just how badly they were outnumbered; the Northerners still had over 50,000 men to only 13,000 effectives left for the Southerners. That night Bragg decided to retreat. He would eventually have to withdraw from Kentucky entirely, and the third part of the only strategically coordinated Confederate offensive of the war had been stopped.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 691
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/9/2012 8:17:28 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

George McClellan's Army of the Potomac was still on the northern side of that river. Not even a personal visit from President Lincoln had prodded him to go after Lee's Army of northern Virginia. In the meantime, Stonewall Jackson's troops were re-occupying the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley and merrily wrecking the sections of the important Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that ran through the area. But no bluecoats seemed to be stirring.
Lee wondered about this lack of action, and decided he needed more information on the size and positioning of the Union army. And he had just the man for the job: J. E. B. Stuart. On this date, Stuart set off to repeat his accomplishment in the Virginia Peninsula of riding around McClellan's entire army. In case the Yankees were ready to fight, this time Stuart brought nearly 2,000 cavalry along with him.

_____________________________

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 #: 692
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/10/2012 8:28:41 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

J.E.B. Stuart and has troopers had already got further into Union territory than Lee's army did during all of the Antietam campaign. On this date, his force arrived in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, 13 miles (21 km) north of the Maryland state line (and the famous Mason-Dixon line). Chambersburg had been a "stop" on the Underground Railroad, and would have the misfortune of being overrun by Confederates three times during the war.

Word of Stuart's raid had spread quickly over the telegraph, but had not reached a number of places which had no telegraph wires. In Washington, General-in-Chief Halleck wired sternly to McClellan that "not a man should be permitted to return to Virginia". This was much easier ordered than done, since man for man, Stuart's troopers could whip any Union cavalry in the east. In the meantime, there was no Union force of any significance at Chambersburg, and in fact most of the town officials had fled. It was left to a local judge to surrender the town to the Confederates.

Stuart's men had no compunction about taking food, forage, and new clothing from the citizens of Pennsylvania, unlike Maryland which they still hoped to bring into the Confederacy. Some of the Rebel troopers attempted to pay with Confederate money, but others helped themselves at pistol- or saber-point. However, as during the raid on John Pope's headquarters, they failed to destroy the key railroad bridge in the area. It turned out to be an iron structure rather than a wooden one, so neither torches nor axes had any serious effect.




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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 #: 693
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/12/2012 5:19:33 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

"Jeb" Stuart's cavalry successfully evaded most of Union infantry attempting to trap him. Arriving at White's Ford, the same spot Lee's army had used to cross into Maryland, the Rebels scared off the single Yankee regiment guarding it, and went back across the Potomac River into Virginia. During the three days, the Confederate troopers had covered 130 miles (209 km), seized 1,200 fresh horses and 500 firearms, and captured 30 local officials with a view to exchanging them for Southern civil prisoners. On a more troublesome note, they had also taken eight black men and boys, who were likely enslaved.

Far from "not a man should be allowed to return to Virginia", the Rebels had lost just one man wounded and two missing as they had ridden completely around McClellan's army for the second time. Lincoln remarked that if McClellan let it happen a third time, he would be gone. As things turned out, McClellan would already be gone by the third attempt.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 10/12/2012 8:15:39 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 #: 694
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/16/2012 1:11:20 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The raiders of the Great Locomotive Chase were understandably worried. Their leader, James Andrews, had been hanged and so had seven others. On this date, six of the remaining Northern men managed to escape from the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia. Andrews had unsuccessfully attempted to escape, but these six were more fortunate. Helped by local blacks, they made it to the Union lines and safety, where they would eventually become some of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor.

In the Kentucky-Tennessee theater, Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith had re-united, but their combined forces were still no match for the still-growing Union army under Don Carlos Buell. Smith especially was almost in despair over the possibility of losing artillery and transport wagons because he could not retreat them fast enough. He need not have worried -- Buell's pursuit was very slow, partly because he could not make up his mind whether to protect Nashville, or to march eastward. By historical irony, the population of eastern Tennessee was the area of the state most loyal to the Union, but it was also the area that the Confederate army largely occupied. The pro-Northerners in the area had been suffering badly under both official repression and vigilante attacks, and Lincoln was very anxious to liberate the area. Buell, however, was slowly concluding that he needed to hold what the Union already had in Tennessee.

He had forgotten the political dimension of the war. Mid-term elections were only three weeks away, and standing pat wasn't good enough. The Lincon administration needed victories.

_____________________________

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 #: 695
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/18/2012 11:09:46 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Kentucky, John Hunt Morgan was not happy with the Confederate retreat, and quite possibly jealous of "Jeb" Stuart's accomplishments in the East. Morgan took 1,800 cavalrymen and Texas Rangers, close to the same number of men on Stuart's latest raid, and set out to ride around the Union Army of the Ohio as Stuart had ridden around the Army of the Potomac.

On this date, Morgan and his men reached Lexington, Kentucky, which happened to be where Morgan had grown up. He set up a double-sided attack, with men coming in from both sides of the Union camp just outside town. There was one problem with this plan: the field of action was small enough so that some of the Southern bullets and cannon balls went over the heads of their Yankee targets and hit Morgan's forces on the other side. A confused melee began to break out, until Morgan personally charged into the middle and commanded the Federals to surrender, and the Rebels to cease fire. Both orders were obeyed.

_____________________________

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 #: 696
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/22/2012 1:59:31 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Late October 1862:

The Confederacy only controlled the stretch of the Mississippi River between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, but they were making good use of it. Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Halleck, and Abraham Lincoln saw clearly that the capture of Vicksburg would be as powerful a blow against the South as any they could deliver. The problem was that Grant had 45,000 men at his disposal, which was not enough to both move against Vicksburg and deal with the 30,000 man army of Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price. The Rebels had entrenched themselves at Holly Springs, Mississippi, and were drawing supplies from the railroad and Confederate sympathizers in Union-held Memphis. (General Sherman winked at cigars and liquor for Van Dorn's personal use being smuggled in, but tried hard to intercept anything militarily useful, like medicines.)

Into this situation came an Illinois politician turned general named John McClernand (below). With the help of his contacts, especially the Governor of Illinois, he convinced Lincoln that he could raise thousands of new troops, and seize Vicksburg while Grant held off the Confederate army. (In this way he would essentially be promoted to independent command.) Lincoln gave the go-ahead, annoying General-in-Chief Halleck because this had not gone through the War Department. Halleck would prove to be right, and the Union would learn another lesson of the cost of not having unity of command.




Jefferson Davis knew the value of unity of command, and to achieve it he sent John C. Pemberton (below) to take over the Department of Mississippi and all Confederate troops in the area. He promoted Pemberton to Lieutenant General, to the unhappiness of Earl Van Dorn, who no longer had an independent command. Especially galling was that Pemberton was originally a Northerner, having been born in Philadelphia. He had two brothers fighting for the Union, but had gone with the South because of his Virginia-born wife.




Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 10/22/2012 5:46:32 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 #: 697
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/23/2012 4:44:21 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Kentucky, John Hunt Morgan and his troopers had successfully ridden around the Union army, though it had taken them six days to do it. Nonetheless, no further men were enlisting in the Confederate ranks, and Braxton Bragg decided it was time to withdraw completely. He and his army moved south through the Cumberland Gap, bringing the "Confederate Heartland Campaign" to an end. On the other side, he found a telegraphic summons to Richmond waiting for him. He knew he would have to answer some tough questions about the failure to hold what his army and that of Edmund Kirby Smith had captured.

Speaking of Kirby Smith, he resumed his command of the Department of East Tennessee, which he had relinquished to join Braxton Bragg on the Heartland Campaign. Smith now considered himself as having an independent command again, and refused to obey any more orders from Bragg.




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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 #: 698
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/24/2012 8:23:05 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

As Braxton Bragg traveled to Richmond facing possible loss of his command, the axes began to fall on the Northern side as well. General William Rosecrans was ordered to relieve Don Carlos Buell in Kentucky. (U. S. Grant was delighted to see Rosecrans off, and in fact later wrote in his memoirs that he would have relieved Rosecrans from duty with his forces that day if the orders from Washington had not come through.) Buell was ordered to report to Indianapolis for further orders. The orders never came.

George McClellan was a trickier problem. Lincoln was growing angrier with McClellan by the day, but it was unwise to fire the politically-connected general with mid-term elections only days away. But when McClellan wrote that he could not move forward because the horses in his army were fatigued, Lincoln fired back an impatient note:

I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?



_____________________________

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 #: 699
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/30/2012 4:37:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Union Major General Ormsby Mitchel, commander of the Department of the South, died. The Department of the South consisted of the areas of the "cotton states" that the North had managed to capture. Mitchel was on the Island of Port Royal off South Carolina, when he contracted yellow fever.

It was not unusual for general officers to die in the Civil War, in fact, they had a 50% higher likelihood of being killed in action than did a private. (The custom of the time was for them to lead their men on the battlefield, where they made obvious targets for the enemy.) What made Mitchel's death extraordinary was that he died of disease, which generals did not often do since their food and accommodations were usually rather better than those of the rank and file. Also, being the head of an entire department, he was arguably the highest ranking Union general to die in the Civil War.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 10/30/2012 4:46:57 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 #: 700
RE: Civil War 150th - 10/31/2012 5:14:52 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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End of October 1862:

Ulysses S. Grant had received some new troops, though not enough to defend everything in his area of command. However, Grant was a firm believer that the best defense is a good offense, and he knew that Vicksburg and its sector of the Mississippi was more valuable to the Confederacy than anything he could lose by leaving it unguarded. Also, he had needed to assign Sherman to the Memphis area, too far away to cooperate easily, and he wanted his friend back with him. Grant began to put together a plan to take Vicksburg.

In the east, George McClellan had finally started to move his Army of the Potomac, possibly finally goaded into action by Lincoln's message about fatigued horses. But the movement was slow even by McClellan standards: it would take him nine days to get his entire force across its namesake river. This was plenty of time for Robert E. Lee to move the Army of Northern Virginia. Although the Southern army was significantly smaller, Lee divided it to cover the two best approaches to Richmond, counting on being able to re-combine once he knew which way McClellan was moving. It was bold, but Lee believed he had to take risks to win against superior manpower. As it turned out, Lee was actually over-thinking the problem: McClellan hadn't yet decided where to go after he got his army south of the Potomac.

What all this meant was that there would be no significant Union victories in the immediate future. With the mid-term elections taking place on November 4, the Lincoln administration was worried, and for good reason.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 10/31/2012 8:21:24 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 #: 701
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/2/2012 5:19:15 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

U. S. Grant's men marched out of Bolivar, heading south for Holly Springs and the army of Earl Van Dorn. In the meantime Sherman was preparing his forces to move out of Memphis, so that he could swing around to the west and capture Vicksburg while Van Dorn was pinned down. It wouldn't quite work out that way . . .




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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 #: 702
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/4/2012 3:21:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Ulysses S. Grant's first campaign against Vicksburg seemed off to a good start. His forces entered La Grange and Grand Junction, just shy of the border out of Tennessee, on their way down the east bank of the Mississippi River.

The mid-term elections were held in the North. It had been clear that popular sentiment had turned against the war, which had seemed almost won in late May. But still, the magnitude of Republican party losses came as a staggering blow to the party. The Democrats picked up 28 seats in the House (for a new total of 72), and the Republicans lost 22, which brought them down to 86. This was now less than the 93 seats needed for a clear majority.

There was some good news, for at this date U. S. Senators were chosen by state legislatures instead of being directly elected. From the "reconstructed" governments of the captured Southern states, the Republicans actually managed a gain of five seats in the Senate. But they now needed allies, such as the Constitutional Union party, to get anything done in the House, and indeed the House would defeat the Thirteenth Amendment the first time it was submitted. In Lincoln's own home district of Springfield, Illinois, the Republican incumbent Congressman was defeated by John T. Stuart, one of Lincoln's former law partners but now a Democrat. When asked how he felt about the results, Lincoln managed to reply with his trademark humor; “Somewhat like that boy in Kentucky, who stubbed his toe while running to see his sweetheart. The boy said he was too big to cry, and far too badly hurt to laugh.”

The Republicans had learned one valuable lesson, however. The Union soldiers at the fronts had not been able to vote, and they tended to support the administration which was fighting the rebellion as they were. Clearly, absentee balloting needed to be permitted in the future.




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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 #: 703
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/5/2012 4:59:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

For Lincoln, the one silver lining in the dark cloud of the election results was that George McClellan could now be dismissed: the political damage had already happened. And it was clear than McClellan needed to go. He had missed multiple chances to destroy Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Antietam, and had wasted the entire month of October. (Which had had unusually good "campaigning weather" in 1862.) Rumors had begun to circulate that there was a plan to prolong the war enough that both sides would be weary enough to accept a compromise. And though the Army of the Potomac had finally crossed the river, there had been plenty of time, which Lee had not wasted, for the Confederates to take up good defensive positions.

Therefore, just one day after the election:

Major General McClellan, Commanding &c.:
General: On receipt of the order of the President, sent herewith, you will immediately turn over your command to Major General Burnside, and repair to Trenton, N.J., reporting, on your arrival at that place, by telegraph, for further orders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant
H. W. Halleck
General-in-Chief





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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 #: 704
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/5/2012 11:08:02 PM   
Anthropoid


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Your devotion to the thread is commendable and inspiring Harlock!

Good stuff

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The x-ray is her siren song. My ship cannot resist her long. Nearer to my deadly goal. Until the black hole. Gains control...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkIIlkyZ328&feature=autoplay&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CocLGbd6tpbuQRxyF4FGNr&playnext=3

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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/5/2012 11:42:46 PM   
radic202


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And it is starting to seriously plug in to my game time. Haven't read so much on a Forum since this he started this thread. I am diligent in checking this every single day. Heck I am not even American and loving this part of US history so much. Now please do a vote-face and make a thread on The war of 1812 for us Canadians..........LOL! Thanks so much for greatly enriching my historical knowledge!

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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/7/2012 8:26:55 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In an embarrassing meeting late in the evening, Major General Ambrose Burnside relieved George McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Interestingly, both men thought this was a really bad idea. Burnside did not believe himself up to the task of commanding an entire army, and McClellan apparently held the opinion that only he could save the Union. But Lincoln's orders through General-in-Chief Halleck were positive.

Like many officers in the Civil War, Burnside favored elaborate facial hair -- his style helped give rise to the term "sideburns". But generals who make fashion statements are often found wanting in military ability: the inventors of the Cardigan sweater and the Raglan sleeve between them bore much of the responsibility for the Charge of the Light Brigade. Burnside was no exception to this concept, for he would prove to quite possibly be the worst commander of the Army of the Potomac that it would ever have.




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/7/2012 8:28:01 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 #: 707
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/8/2012 5:25:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Benjamin Butler's military governance of the New Orleans area had made him reviled throughout the South. His hanging of William Mumford, his arming of black recruits, and above all his order for treating the women of New Orleans as "ladies of the town" if they insulted U. S. soldiers, had earned him the epithet of "Beast" Butler. (He was also known as "Spoons" Butler, for it was rumored that he helped himself to the silverware of New Orleans' finer houses.) When he withdrew his troops from Baton Rouge, allowing the Confederates to re-occupy the Louisiana state capital, the administration in Washington decided it was the last straw.

In fairness, it should be noted that his administration was the most efficient the city had ever known up to that point. His patrols of black soldiers, though they enraged the whites, also reduced street crime to lower levels than anything before. And his maintenance of the city sewers and willingness to quarantine ships very likely saved thousands of lives from the summer yellow fever epidemic. But Louisiana now supposedly had a "reconstructed" government, and Lincoln had to pay attention to the popular will if there was to be anything even approaching democracy. Even more, he wanted an advance up the Mississippi River to coordinate with the advance down towards Vicksburg.

On this date, Lincoln selected Major General Nathaniel Banks to replace Butler in charge of the Union forces in Louisiana. Banks had done poorly against Stonewall Jackson in the famous Valley Campaign, but he was even more politically connected in Massachusetts than Butler. (He had been Governor just before the war.)

Knowing that the people's hatred was a major factor in his dismissal, Butler revenged himself on the inhabitants of New Orleans with one last barbarous act: he ordered all the breweries and distilleries in the city closed.





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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/8/2012 8:29:05 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 #: 708
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/8/2012 6:53:48 AM   
nicwb

 

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Love it ! I had read about the order proclaiming that women of New Orleans showing disrespect were to be treated as "ladies of the town plying their avocation." and "spoons" but not about the brewery revenge. You gotta hand it to Butler he knew how to hit where it hurts !

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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/13/2012 3:15:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Mississippi, General Grant's cavalry reached the railroad depot and town of Holly Springs. What had been a reconnaissance-in-force became a capture, for the Confederate army under Earl Van Dorn had evacuated. Grant decided, as Van Dorn had before him, to make Holly Springs his center of operations, for the rail line allowed him to accumulate supplies.


Grant's advance had not failed to get the attention of the Davis administration in Richmond. Also on this date, General Joseph Johnston went to Secretary of War Randolph's office to get his new orders. Johnston had been considered likely to die after being doubly wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines. Amazingly, in spite of being bled by surgeons who believed it would prevent fever, the 55-year-old Johnston had slowly made a full recovery. Now he reported for duty, and as one of the four most senior generals in the Confederacy, he could not easily be passed over for command. Secretary Randolph had proposed him to command the mid-western theater between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River -- which was exactly where Grant was operating.

Johnston had counter-proposed (wisely) that he be assigned the area on both sides of the Mississippi. (As long as there was no enemy interference, it was an easy matter to ferry men and equipment back and forth across the river.) But Randolph stopped him and read aloud a letter from President Davis. The Confederate commander-in-chief had just rejected that very plan.

Both Grant and Johnston would find their authority stopped at the water's edge -- but the war did not.




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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 #: 710
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/14/2012 3:51:29 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

President Lincoln reluctantly approved General Burnside's plan for the capture of Richmond. The idea was to shift Burnside's army to the east of Lee's army and quickly cross the Rappahannock River (the next major river south of the Potomac) at the town and rail junction of Fredricksburg, Virginia. This would give a rail line open towards Richmond, while Lee was still split between the eastern Blue Ridge mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.

The key was speed and secrecy: if Lee discovered what was up and marched his army to a blocking position, crossing the Rappahannock could be very costly. For this reason, Lincoln would have preferred a direct attack against the Rebel army on open ground. (With McClellan gone, it was now realized that the 120,000-man Army of the Potomac considerably outnumbered the 85,000-man Army of Northern Virginia.) Lincoln ordered Burnside to move quickly.





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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 #: 711
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/15/2012 4:03:51 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

If General Joseph Johnston had been unhappy about Jefferson Davis rejecting the plan to combine the two banks of the Mississippi, it paled beside Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph. Frustrated after eight months of being "the clerk of Mr. Davis", on this date Randolph submitted his resignation. (He was apparently also suffering from the tuberculosis which would kill him in less than five years.) President Davis would need yet another Secretary of War.


Near Culpepper, Virginia, Burnside put the first part of his plan into motion. The Union artillery opened up on the Rebel positions across the Rappahannock, while the Federal cavalry "demonstrated" at several crossings. The Confederates pulled back to less visible positions, which allowed the Northern infantry to start its march to the east and towards Fredericksburg.

But the Union cavalry had done its job a little too well. They actually managed to seize a railroad bridge across the river. When no crossing followed, Robert E. Lee guessed that it was a feint. He wired the Colonel in command of the garrison at Fredericksburg, "It is reported that the enemy is moving from Warrenton today, and it is probable that he is marching upon Fredericksburg." Orders followed to destroy all of the bridges near the town, and reinforcements were on the move that evening.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/15/2012 8:19:41 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 #: 712
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/15/2012 6:58:34 AM   
nicwb

 

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Funny thing - whilst a number of Lincoln's war cabinet stand out - for me very few of Davis's do.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/15/2012 8:29:26 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

whilst a number of Lincoln's war cabinet stand out - for me very few of Davis's do.


You are not wrong -- Davis insisted on being the man in charge, and was not good at delegating. More, and what is a little difficult to understand, he was highly suspicious of potential political rivals, although he was limited to a single six-year term.

Lincoln, on the other hand, was a master at working with temperamental, ambitious, but talented men. Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" (which I use for some of my source material) is an excellent study of this. The book was also apparently used for much of the background of the latest Spielberg movie, "Lincoln". I've not seen it yet, since it's only in limited release at the moment and the only theaters would be through miserable miles of traffic. But the word is that it will be a strong contender at next year's Oscars.

(in reply to nicwb)
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RE: Civil War 150th - 11/19/2012 8:38:38 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

"The British soldier can stand up to anything except the British War Office."
--George Bernard Shaw

In this case, the Union War Department showed much the same tendency. General Burnside's plan had been to have his engineers build a pontoon bridge at Fredericksburg, allowing his army to cross in overwhelming force before the Confederates could move sufficient troops to stop him. In spite of Robert E. Lee's correct guess, the first part of the Northern plan had worked. Nearly the entire mass of the Army of the Potomac's infantry was now facing Fredericksburg from across the Rappahannock River, and only a fraction of Lee's army had managed to take up position there.

But the vital pontoons had not arrived. In classic bureaucratic style, they had been moved to Washington rather than to where Burnside had requested. Burnside ordered the nearby fords across the Rappahannock to be scouted, but autumn rains had swollen the river to the point where infantry and artillery could not cross. Lee and the Confederacy had been given invaluable time to reinforce and build their defences.




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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 #: 715
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/21/2012 8:36:12 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Since the Northerners couldn't yet force a crossing at Fredericksburg, General burnside tried another way. He unlimbered his artillery on the north side of the Rappahannock, then sent a message across to the mayor demanding the surrender of the town, or he would shell it. He gave a sixteen-hour deadline.

The interestingly-named Mayor Montgomery Slaughter protested. The railroads leading out of Fredericksburg had been badly damaged, and most of the sixteen hours he had been given were at night. He could not evacuate the women, children and other civilians in time, and he could not prevent the Confederate troops from entering the town and resisting any attempt to occupy it. (Lee was wisely digging in on the heights to the far side of Fredericksburg, so at that point there were few Southern soldiers within the town limits -- but that could change in a moment.)

The Yankees realized those were valid points. It was decided to let the deadline lapse, and begin negotiations with a view to spare Fredericksburg as long as the Confederate troops stayed out. Nonetheless, most of the town's population began to hastily pack up and leave. They knew that the space between two hostile armies was a highly unsafe place to be.


From Peace to War: in Richmond, James Seddon became the fourth Secretary of War of the Confederacy. He had been a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference in February of 1861. (Coincidentally beginning on the same date as the convention in Montgomery, Alabama that had set up the Confederate government.)




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< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/21/2012 9:01:04 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 #: 716
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/23/2012 8:29:32 PM   
british exil


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Were there battles or skirmishes during Thanksgiving, or did the civil war have a break during Thanksgiving?

Mat

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Post #: 717
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/23/2012 11:42:39 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

Were there battles or skirmishes during Thanksgiving, or did the civil war have a break during Thanksgiving?


As it happened, there was no national Thanksgiving holiday in 1862. But fear not, Lincoln would proclaim it in 1863, so I'll be blogging about it in a little over a year. (This year, the fourth Thursday of November happened at the earliest possible day in the month, but in 1862 it was the 26th.) There had been one-off proclamations of "a day of thanksgiving" by presidents and state governors since Washington, but it was never made a repeating institution until Lincoln.

You are correct, though, in noting that there was an interesting pause in the major fighting at this point. Burnside was held up across the river from Fredericksburg because of delays with the pontoons for the pontoon bridge he hoped to build. In the west, Grant's advance was slowed by two factors: first, the need to repair the railroads to support his army. (The terrain on the east side of the Mississippi was swampy and unsuitable for marching, so his forces were advancing too far inland to be supported by riverine transports.) Even more, his advance had brought a flood of black runaways into the Union camps, encouraged by the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. He could neither return them nor allow them to starve, but there was no formal system for housing and feeding them. The steps taken to resolve this dilemma, of which there will be more in a subsequent post, would eventually lead to the Freedmen's Bureau.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 11/24/2012 12:28:06 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 british exil)
Post #: 718
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/24/2012 12:16:02 AM   
british exil


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Thanks Capt.

I really enjoy your posts, just spend a few youtube tours of the Gettyburg and Antietam Battlegrounds. Hard to believe that so many men fought and died on such "small" areas.

Please keep up your hard work.

Mat

_____________________________

"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill

WitE,UV,AT,ATG,FoF,FPCRS

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 719
RE: Civil War 150th - 11/25/2012 2:38:45 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Late November 1862:

U. S. Grant was having trouble advancing further towards Vicksburg. For one thing, the Tallahatchie River was high from the autumn rains, and his Confederate opponent John Pemberton had burned the bridge Grant wanted to use. (Pemberton had also entrenched a position just on the other side of the river, making things even more difficult for the Yankees.) But there was another problem, which Grant describes in his memoirs:

It was at this point, probably, where the first idea of a "Freedman's Bureau" took its origin. Orders of the government prohibited the expulsion of the negroes from the protection of the army, when they came in voluntarily. Humanity forbade allowing them to starve. With such an array of them, of all ages and both sexes, as had congregated about Grand Junction, amounting to many thousands, it was impossible to advance. There as no special authority for feeding them unless they were employed as teamsters, cooks and pioneers with the army; but only able-bodied young men were suitable for such work. This labor would support but a very limited percentage of them. The plantations were all deserted; the cotton and corn were ripe: men, women and children above ten years of age could be employed in saving these crops. To do this work with contrabands, or have it done, organization under a competent chief was necessary. On inquiring for such a man Chaplain Eaton, now and for many years the very able United States Commissioner of Education, was suggested. . . I gave him all the assistants and guards he called for. We together fixed the prices to be paid for the negro labor, whether rendered to the government or to individuals. The cotton was to be picked from abandoned plantations, the laborers to receive the stipulated price (my recollection is twelve and a half cents per pound for picking and ginning) from the quartermaster, he shipping the cotton north to be sold for the benefit of the government. Citizens remaining on their plantations were allowed the privilege of having their crops saved by freedmen on the same terms.

At once the freedmen became self-sustaining. The money was not paid to them directly, but was expended judiciously and for their benefit. . .



(Note that the idea of blacks going into business for themselves seems to have still been out of the question.) The flow of cotton northward became even greater -- which meant that even more traders and speculators began to appear in the vicinity. This would provoke Grant into one of the greater stains on his record.

_____________________________

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)
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