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RE: Civil War 150th

 
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RE: Civil War 150th - 4/19/2013 5:23:42 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

Near the town of Suffolk in eastern Virginia, Northern artillery had managed to silence one of the two Confederate batteries commanding the Nanesemond River. On this date, a quickly planned but effective amphibious operation was mounted against the other battery, now named Fort Huger. While Federal gunboats engaged the attention of the Southern guns, detachments of the 8th Connecticut and the 89th New York landed on Hill's Point and assaulted Fort Huger from the rear. The recently built emplacements were speedily overrun, and garrison and guns fell into Union hands.

The river to Suffolk was re-opened to Northern supply ships after less than a week. James Longstreet and his force would continue to invest the town and its Yankee defenders, but there was no longer any chance of starving them out.

_____________________________

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 #: 811
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/20/2013 4:03:24 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Washington. President Lincoln officially proclaimed that West Virginia would be admitted as a state of the the Union on June 20.


On the West bank of the Mississippi River, U. S. Grant had the force in place that he would first put across to the Vicksburg side. It was time to give his marching orders:


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, MILLIKEN'S BEND, LOUISIANA, April 20, 1863.
Special Orders, No. 110.

The following orders are published for the information and guidance of the "Army in the Field," in its present movement to obtain a foothold on the east bank of the Mississippi River, from which Vicksburg can be approached by practicable roads.

First.--The Thirteenth army corps, Major-General John A. McClernand commanding, will constitute the right wing.

Second.--The Fifteenth army corps, Major-General W. T. Sherman commanding, will constitute the left wing.

Third.--The Seventeenth army corps, Major-General James B. McPherson commanding, will constitute the centre.

Fourth.--The order of march to New Carthage will be from right to left.

[ . . . ]

Sixth.--Troops will be required to bivouac, until proper facilities can be afforded for the transportation of camp equipage.

Seventh.--In the present movement, one tent will be allowed to each company for the protection of rations from rain; one wall tent for each regimental headquarters; one wall tent for each brigade headquarters; and one wall tent for each division headquarters; corps commanders having the books and blanks of their respective commands to provide for, are authorized to take such tents as are absolutely necessary...

[ . . . ]

Ninth.--As fast as the Thirteenth army corps advances, the Seventeenth army corps will take its place; and it, in turn, will be followed in like manner by the Fifteenth army corps.

[ . . . ]

Eleventh.--General hospitals will be established by the medical director between Duckport and Milliken's Bend. All sick and disabled soldiers will be left in these hospitals. Surgeons in charge of hospitals will report convalescents as fast as they become fit for duty. Each corps commander will detail an intelligent and good drill officer, to remain behind and take charge of the convalescents of their respective corps; officers so detailed will organize the men under their charge into squads and companies, without regard to the regiments they belong to; and in the absence of convalescent commissioned officers to command them, will appoint non-commissioned officers or privates. The force so organized will constitute the guard of the line from Duckport to Milliken's Bend. They will furnish all the guards and details required for general hospitals, and with the contrabands that may be about the camps, will furnish all the details for loading and unloading boats.

Twelfth.--The movement of troops from Milliken's Bend to New Carthage will be so conducted as to allow the transportation of ten days' supply of rations, and one-half the allowance of ordnance, required by previous orders.

Thirteenth.--Commanders are authorized and enjoined to collect all the beef cattle, corn and other necessary supplies on the line of march; but wanton destruction of property, taking of articles useless for military purposes, insulting citizens, going into and searching houses without proper orders from division commanders, are positively prohibited. All such irregularities must be summarily punished.

By order of MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. GRANT.



The last part would be ignored more than once.

_____________________________

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 #: 812
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/22/2013 8:35:05 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years (or maybe a bit less) Ago Today:

U. S. Grant had men, gunboats, and troop transports ready to move across the Mississippi River. But his force was somewhat short on supplies, and the road network on the west bank of the river was poor. On the night of this date, six more Northern steamers were packed with supplies, and sent to run past the Rebel batteries of Vicksburg as Admiral Porter's flotilla had done six days before.

It was clearly a mission for volunteers only. This time there were no ironclads, the Confederates were more prepared, and to top it off each steamer had one or two loaded barges lashed alongside which cut its speed and manuverability. The Rebel cannon opened up as before, and hit after hit was scored. Admiral Porter was not there, but his tactics of hugging the bank close to Vicksburg so that the plunging angle would minimize waterline hits were faithfully followed. And it worked for five of the six vessels, but the Tigress, was well and truly holed. Her crew managed to run her aground before she could go completely underwater, and nearly all made their escape floating on the cotton bales which had been thoughtfully packed around the boilers to protect them from shell fragments.

General Sherman had again put yawls in the water downstream to rescue just such escapees. He later would write that he "saw Colonel Lagow, of General Grant's staff, who had passed the batteries in the Tigress, and I think he was satisfied never to attempt such a thing again." (Incidentally, Sherman gave the date as April 26th, but Grant appears to be more accurate.)

Of the five surviving steamers, only two were still navigable, and half of the barges had been lost. But the supplies they delivered were sufficient. Grant's campaign was soon to begin.

_____________________________

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 #: 813
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/24/2013 4:27:18 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The Confederate Congress passed a "tax in kind" law. Since both troops and civilians did not have enough to eat, and Confederate money was worth less and less as more was printed, it was decided to take the products themselves. After a minimum allowance, each farmer was required to turn over ten percent of all agricultural produce and livestock.

The new law was hugely unpopular. The South had seceded against "Northern tyranny", but the Davis administration was now reaching into people's homes as no American government had ever done. More, the new law did not at first give good results. It was soon discovered that the sheer volume of provisions collected was too much for the Southern transportation networks. Roads were generally not paved, and the Confederacy was not making enough iron to meet the needs of its railroads. A considerable amount of the food simply spoiled before it could be delivered to the soldiers in need.





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

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 #: 814
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/28/2013 3:30:36 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Virginia, General Hooker had decided not to wait any longer for his cavalry to raid behind the lines of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. He set three entire corps into motion, swinging around to the west while keeping a part of his Army of the Potomac to face the Southerners at Fredricksburg. The move worked surprisingly well: the Federals managed to cross both the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers, brushing aside the few Confederate pickets they encountered. At about the same time, General Stoneman's Northern cavalry finally manged to get underway.


In Alabama, a second Union cavalry raid under Colonel Streight was finding its way difficult. They were there to tear up railroad tracks and cut off the supplies to Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, but they didn't know the territory very well, and there were not many willing to give directions. Much worse, Confederate cavalry was now in pursuit -- and it was led by Nathan Bedford Forrest.

In Mississippi, however, the third Union cavalry raid was going splendidly. Colonel Grierson had split off 700 of his original 1,700 troopers and sent them circling back to the Union base in Tennessee. The Confederates in the area did not have enough cavalry for a similar split, since they had sent many of their horsemen to reinforce Forrest. Meanwhile, Grierson and the remaining thousand Northerners were riding ever deeper into Mississippi, tearing up railroad tracks, burning Confederate supply depots, and finding the heart of the state was a hollow shell when it came to militia. When they arrived at a town, they were typically opposed by a small, hastily gathered force of older men with whatever flintlocks they could find. A quick charge was generally sufficient to scatter or capture the Southerners, after which rumors of an overwhelming force of Yankees would reach the Confederate commanders.

This was especially worrying to General John Pemberton, in charge of the defense of Vicksburg. From what he could see, U. S. Grant and his Northerners were strung along the west bank of the Mississippi for many miles, ready to cross if Pemberton made a mistake. As it happened Grant was indeed prepared, but only at one spot: a plantation several miles south with the interesting name of Hard Times. Since Pemberton's army was larger than any force Grant could put across at this point, Grant wished to add to Pemberton's confusion still more.

North of Vicksburg, William T. Sherman received a letter from Grant, which was surprisingly a suggestion rather than an order: "If you think it advisable, you may make a reconnaissance of Hayne’s Bluff … The effect of a heavy demonstration in that direction would be good …. But I am loathe to order it, because it would be so hard to make our own troops understand that only a demonstration was intended, and our people at home would characterize it as a repulse….I therefore leave it you whether to make such a demonstration.”

Not for the last time, the friendship between Grant and Sherman served the Union cause well. Sherman immediately began planning for the feint, and wrote back: “You are engaged in a hazardous enterprise and for good reasons wish to divert attention; that is sufficient to me and it will be done." As for the move being called a defeat: “the people must find the truth as they best can; it is none of their business.”

_____________________________

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 #: 815
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/29/2013 2:44:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

North of Vicksburg, W. T. Sherman made his feint. Backed up by eight Federal gunboats, infantry was landed at virtually the same spot that Sherman's men had been bloodily repulsed from on December 29. This time, however, most of the Confederate fire went towards the Union navy rather than the army. The ironclad Choctaw was hit no less than 53 times, but her armor held, and the crew reported no casualties. The gunboats returned the fire, but likewise did no significant damage.



Ironically, the most active fighting on the land was done by a shore party of sailors. After musket fire from buildings near the shore line started hitting the Northern vessels, two dozen men were put ashore to abate the nuisance. The Union Navy had issued revolvers to arm its bluejackets, and they proved useful for house-to-house fighting. The Rebels were sent fleeing from the scene.

Although no serious attempt was made to ascend the bluffs, Sherman's move worked exactly as he and Grant had hoped. The local Confederate commander reported the attack, and Southern reinforcements were sent marching towards the spot.


South of Vicksburg, matters did not go as well for the Union:


At 8 o'clock A.M., 29th, Porter made the attack with his entire strength present, eight gunboats. For nearly five and a half hours the attack was kept up without silencing a single gun of the enemy. All this time McClernand's 10,000 men were huddled together on the transports in the stream ready to attempt a landing if signalled. I occupied a tug from which I could see the effect of the battle on both sides, within range of the enemy's guns; but a small tug, without armament, was not calculated to attract the fire of batteries while they were being assailed themselves.

About half-past one the fleet withdrew, seeing their efforts were entirely unavailing. The enemy ceased firing as soon as we withdrew. I immediately signalled the Admiral and went aboard his ship. The navy lost in this engagement eighteen killed and fifty-six wounded. A large proportion of these were of the crew of the flagship, and most of those from a single shell which penetrated the ship's side and exploded between decks where the men were working their guns. The sight of the mangled and dying men which met my eye as I boarded the ship was sickening.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



It was evident that this was the wrong place to cross the river. The Federals would have to go still further south.



At Brookhaven, Mississippi, Grierson's raid produced an interesting example of warfare by the honor system. At this point, neither side had the facilities to house large numbers of prisoners, nor the means to transport them. They settled for "paroling": making a list of the soldiers they captured, and then letting them go under the promise not to engage in active duty until an equivalent number of soldiers on the other side had been captured and released.


FIRST LOUISIANA HOSPITAL, Brookhaven, Miss., May 2, 1863.

Lieut. Gen. J. C. PEMBERTON, Comdg. Dept. of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Jackson, Miss.


GENERAL: On 29th ultimo the Federal cavalry force under Colonel Grierson entered this place and made prisoners the sick soldiers, their nurses and the other attendants of this hospital. They were regularly paroled and a correct list of them is herewith forwarded. Having been short of provisions since 26th of April and unable to obtain supplies from Jackson in consequence of injury to the railroad I was compelled to send off with leave of absence for twenty days such men as could without difficulty reach their homes. A list of these men is also forwarded. I have to state that the conduct of the enemy toward the hospital and its officers was entirely proper. Nothing was injured or disturbed in the slightest particular. There are here remaining fifty-eight men, paroled prisoners, awaiting your orders.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. B. MAURY, Surgeon in Charge.



But with black men joining the Northern ranks, the system would not work for much longer. Its breakdown would lead to such dark names as Andersonville, Libby Prison, and Camp Douglas.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/29/2013 2:52:27 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 #: 816
RE: Civil War 150th - 4/30/2013 4:59:00 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4164
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
150 Years Ago Today:

At a place called Day's Gap in Alabama, Nathan Bedford Forrest's troopers caught up with the Union cavalry under Colonel Abel Streight. But for once Forrest came off second best; his men attacked the Yankee rear-guard, but were repulsed at a cost of 65 casualties. The Northerners lost only 23. However, Forrest was not the man to quit when Southern soil was being invaded; he re-grouped his men and would continue to harass Streight's raiders through the next three days.


In the area of Virginia called the Wilderness, the march of the Northern army was going remarkably smoothly. They reached a large house named the Chancellor Mansion and set up a large camp around it. Joseph Hooker had ordered that no bands or even drums play during the march, and had the men woken by runners going from tent to tent instead of buglers blowing Reveille. This had prevented the news of his move from spreading until his force was across two rivers. "Jeb" Stuart's cavalry had picked up some Union stragglers the day before, but a telegraph station had closed for the night and prevented the news from reaching Robert E. Lee before this date.

When Lee learned that his opponent was on the march, he quickly figured out the plan. The Southern commander knew he could not afford to have his army caught in the giant pincer that Joe Hooker had set in motion. Lee rapidly gave orders to most of his force to move out, and wired to James Longstreet and his corps to drop the investment of Suffolk and join him.


On the Mississippi River, U. S. Grant had learned from a "colored man" that there was a good landing spot only a couple of miles south from where Admiral Porter had failed to silence the Rebel batteries. (Grant's memoirs do not mention whether his newly arrived guide was an escaped slave or not.) By noon the Northerners were taking advantage of the information:

The embarkation below Grand Gulf took place at De Shroon's, Louisiana, six miles above Bruinsburg, Mississippi. Early on the morning of 30th of April McClernand's corps and one division of McPherson's corps were speedily landed.

When this was effected I felt a degree of relief scarcely ever equalled since. Vicksburg was not yet taken it is true, nor were its defenders demoralized by any of our previous moves. I was now in the enemy's country, with a vast river and the stronghold of Vicksburg between me and my base of supplies. But I was on dry ground on the same side of the river with the enemy. All the campaigns, labors, hardships and exposures from the month of December previous to this time that had been made and endured, were for the accomplishment of this one object.

--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant




Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/30/2013 5:00:29 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 #: 817
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/1/2013 3:20:10 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Now on the east side of the Mississippi River, U. S. Grant lost no time pushing his men forward. Advance pickets had marched through most of the night, encountering scattered patrols, but nothing to stop them until about 5:30 a.m. Then they came across two Confederate brigades under Brigadier General John Bowen, well posted to take advantage of the difficult terrain.

Most of the the Union corps under political general John McClernand came up, but although the Yankees were now greatly superior in numbers, they made slow progress. Sundown arrived with the two sides essentially stalemated. But on a different road, the younger and more aggressive Union general James McPherson arrived. Though he had only a fresh brigade with him, McPherson personally scouted the position, and then directed an attack which turned the Confederate right flank. Soon the Rebels were in retreat, and the Battle of Port Gibson, the first of the Vicksburg Campaign, was won. The Southerners had lost about 780 men including prisoners, while the Northerners had lost about 860.

The affair made McClernand lose even more credit with Grant. The directives from Washington were that Grant was now supposed to reinforce General Nathaniel Banks, who was moving up from New Orleans with a smaller army, for operations against the Confederate stronghold of Port Hudson. Grant had planned to detach McClernand and his force for this assignment, but now it was learned that Banks had wasted a good deal of time capturing small outposts along the Red River, and was still distant from Port Hudson. Grant decided to keep McClernand's force with him, which was insubordinate but wise. (The Southerners had 58,000 men around Vicksburg, though badly scattered, while Grant had about 20,000, though he would soon be reinforced to 33,000 when Sherman arrived.) Also, Banks was about to be reinforced by a thousand Union cavalry under Benjamin Grierson.


Near Chancellorsville, Virgina, the Army of the Potomac was the one on the offensive, but the first action was a Confederate attack. This is less surprising when one considers that the ever-aggressive Stonewall Jackson was commanding the Southern troops in that particular area. For a short time, the Rebels pushed the Yankees back, but soon the weight of Northern numbers told, and regained the ground and then some.

But it was then that "Fighting Joe" Hooker lost his nerve. His plan had been to take up a position and defend it, while Lee spent his army attacking (as he had done at Malvern Hill, and the Union had done at Fredricksburg). However, Hooker now ordered his troops to fall back, forgetting that the terrain behind was heavily wooded, and the better defensive ground was still in front of them. As his subordinate general Gordon Meade exclaimed, "My God, if we can't hold the top of the hill, we certainly can't hold the bottom of it!" Or as another Union general later wrote:

. . .to hear from [Hooker's] own lips that the advantages gained by the successful marches of his lieutenants were to culminate in fighting a defensive battle in that nest of thickets was too much, and I retired from his presence with the belief that my commanding general was a whipped man.
--Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch


The Northern soldiers were now uncertain as to their next move. Above all, the right flank stopped at a position where it was "in air"; that is, not anchored by a river or a hill. Since they were in Virginia, word of this situation quickly reached Jackson and Lee.


In Ohio, a recently retired Congressman named Clement Vallandigham delivered a speech to a rally of "Peace Democrats", men who were loyal to the Union but opposed the war (and the Republicans). This was a direct challenge to General Ambrose Burnside, who was now the commander of the Department of Ohio. Burnside had issued General Order No. 38, which among other things forbade "declaring sympathies for the enemy". In his speech, Vallandigham denounced the Emancipation Proclamation, saying "War for the Union was abandoned; war for the Negro openly begun". He described the war as "Wicked and cruel", and advocated an armistice -- which would have left the South its independence.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/1/2013 3:21:51 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 #: 818
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/2/2013 3:49:16 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4164
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

South of Vicksburg, U. S. Grant discovered that his son not only wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, but but was determined to:

On leaving Bruinsburg for the front I left my son Frederick, who had joined me a few weeks before, on board one of the gunboats asleep, and hoped to get away without him until after Grand Gulf should fall into our hands; but on waking up he learned that I had gone, and being guided by the sound of the battle raging at Thompson's Hill--called the Battle of Port Gibson--found his way to where I was. He had no horse to ride at the time, and I had no facilities for even preparing a meal. He, therefore, foraged around the best he could until we reached Grand Gulf.
[ . . . ]
My son accompanied me throughout the campaign and siege, and caused no anxiety either to me or to his mother, who was at home. He looked out for himself and was in every battle of the campaign. His age, then not quite thirteen, enabled him to take in all he saw...
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant



A brigade of Union cavalry under General John Buford finally made it to the south side of the North Anna river. It wasn't the full cavalry corps under George Stoneman that had been originally planned, but it was enough to begin the work of destroying bridges and alarming the local Confederates. But given that the news was already out that the Army of the Potomac was on the move, it would have no effect on the already-begun Battle of Chancellorsville. (The effect in Richmond was another story.)

In Louisiana, however, a Northern cavalry raid ended in complete success. Colonel Benjamin Grierson and his thousand troopers made it safely into the Union lines at Baton Rouge. It was arguably the most spectacular raid of the war, for Grierson's force had ridden across the entire breadth of the Confederacy, losing only a handful of men. and they were largely responsible for the near-complete confusion of the Confederate commanders in Mississippi.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com


Near Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee made perhaps the boldest gamble of his life. He split his already divided army into a third part, in the presence of a superior enemy. One part was kept at Fredricksburg to hold back a Yankee crossing there, one part faced the main body of the Northern army, and the last part under Stonewall Jackson made a march through a little-known track, to attack the exposed Union right flank. It shouldn't have worked, for the 26,000 men under Jackson could not move unobtrusively. The path they took was close enough that the Northerners detected them. But amazingly, there was no effective Union response, so much so that some histories claim that Hooker never heard about the Southerners' march.

In fact, Hooker sent a message at 9:30 a.m. to Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard on his right flank: "We have good reason to suppose the enemy is moving to our right. Please advance your pickets for purposes of observation as far as may be safe in order to obtain timely information of their approach." About an hour and half later, Howard sent back that his command was "taking measures to resist an attack from the west." But in fact, almost nothing had been done. This was extraordinary when one considers that two years into the war, both Johnny Reb and Billy Yank had learned to "dig in", creating rifle-pits and waist-high barriers, in as little as half an hour.

While this was going on, Union general Dan Sickles, commanding III Corps, spotted a piece of high ground to the south called Hazel Grove. Sickles advanced his men and occupied it, effectively cutting Jackson's force off from Lee, but spreading the Northern army out.

And in the late afternoon, Jackson's men hit the Federal flank like a thunderbolt. Many of the Northerners were sitting down to an early dinner with their rifles stacked, and the "Rebel Yell" sent them fleeing for their lives. One division under Major General Carl Schurz managed to shift into a north-south line to resist the attack, but his men were soon flanked on either side by the Confederate onslaught, and had to retreat. Nearly all the remainder of the Union XI Corps was already scattering to the winds.

As darkness fell, Stonewall Jackson was aware that his men had done a good deal of damage, but not scored a knock-out blow. He pushed the advance onward, trying to destroy as much of the Union army as possible. But then occurred a grim lesson in the dangers of night-time combat. As he and his escort returned from personally scouting the Union positions, they came across advancing Southern troops, who simply saw riders coming from the direction of the Northern force.

The Rebel infantry delivered an initial volley, which surprisingly only killed one of the horses in Jackson's party. The rider called on the Confederate soldiers to cease firing. But Major John D. Barry of the 18th North Carolina then did his cause tragically poor service, denouncing the call as a lie and ordering his men to "pour it to them." This they did, and three bullets hit Stonewall Jackson, two in his left arm and one in his right hand. Four members of his staff were killed outright. To add insult to injury, the noise brought Federal artillery fire on the area. The resulting chaos meant that it was not until after midnight when the seriously wounded Jackson was finally brought back to corps hospital.



Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Attachment (2)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/2/2013 8:31:25 PM >

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 819
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/3/2013 3:52:05 AM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4164
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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150 Years Ago Today:

Dr. Hunter McGuire, age 27, found himself the primary surgeon examining Stonewall Jackson. What he found was bad: Jackson had been hit by .69 caliber flintlock balls, even worse than the standard .58 caliber musket most widely used in the Civil War. The bones in the left arm were hopelessly shattered, and McGuire amputated it near the shoulder.

With sunrise, the battle of Chancellorsville raged as the Northerners tried to re-form their lines, and the Southerners tried to press the momentum of the day before. Union genenral Dan Sickles had arguably been foolish to occupy the high ground at Hazel Grove the day before, but now Hooker foolishly ordered him to abandon it. When Sickles' men retired, a highly intelligent Confederate Colonel of artillery named Edward Porter Alexander immediately saw the value of the position. (Alexander would later write one of the most useful of the memoirs on the Southern side.) The artillerist concentrated over thirty cannon there, and for one of the very few times in the war the Southern guns had the mastery of the Northern guns.

At 9:15 a.m., a Rebel cannonball hit a wooden pillar that Joe Hooker happened to be leaning against. The shock knocked him unconscious for over an hour, and there is good reason to think that he was suffering from a concussion for the rest of the day.

In spite of their superior numbers, the Yankees were steadily pushed back by the Rebel artillery, fighting spirit, and better leadership. When the two parts of Lee's army linked up at the now-burning Chancellor mansion, he arrived on his horse Traveller and:

Lee's presence was the signal for one of those uncontrollable bursts of enthusiasm which none can appreciate who has not witnessed them. The fierce soldiers, with their faces blackened with the smoke of battle, the wounded crawling with feeble limbs from the fury of the devouring flames, all seemed possessed with a common impulse. One long unbroken cheer, in which the feeble cry of those who lay helpless on the earth blended with the strong voices of those who still fought, rose high above the roar of battle and hailed the presence of a victorious chief.
— Charles Marshall, An Aide-de-Camp to Lee


But back at Fredricksburg, the Union scored an unexpected success. General Sedgwick had received orders to try a supporting attack against Marye's Heights and the famous stone wall that had caused disaster to the Northerners in December. Two morning charges in fact led to much the same result, being driven back with numerous casualties. But during a truce to recover wounded, the Union soldiers could see how thinly manned was the Confederate line. When the truce expired, a third determined charge overran the Southern defenses, and the Rebels had to make a fighting retreat.

Lee learned of the threat to his rear, and hastily sent reinforcements. The Federals had lost priceless time when Sedgwick formed his men into a marching column, not realizing there would be more fighting. The Confederates profited by the delay, and quickly dug in at New Salem Church, where they brought the Union advance to a halt.
The day's carnage had caused a total of at least 21,300 casualties, making it second only to Antietam as the bloodiest day of the war.


Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com


The troopers under Nathan Bedford Forrest managed to surround Abel Streight's Union cavalry at Cedar Bluff, Alabama. Although he had only half as many men, Forrest invited Streight to parley for terms, and had some of his men march in a large circle, only part of which was visible to Streight. After seeing a seemingly endless stream of Confederates, Streight blurted out, "How many men have you got?" Forrest replied, "I've got enough to whip you out of your boots." Streight hesitated for a bit longer, but when Forrest called out "Mount up!" the Northerner surrendered his force.


Matters were somewhat bloodier near Suffolk, Virginia. James Longstreet had seen his wagons loaded with forage safely on their way towards Richmond, and now ordered his troops to follow. The Yankees were apparently not willing to wait, and made a determined sortie which captured a line of Rebel trenches at a significant cost in casualties to both sides. When the Northerners paused to consolidate, the Southerners simply continued their withdrawal.


Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/4/2013 7:47:20 PM >

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/3/2013 3:57:36 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


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Thank you Capt. Your work here is extraordinary.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/3/2013 9:31:32 AM   
Orm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

Thank you Capt. Your work here is extraordinary.

Indeed. I read this thread with appreciation.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/3/2013 11:45:40 AM   
nicwb

 

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+1

Love the small details that you include.

I have always wondered if Jackson's death really marked the first of the major set-backs for the Confederacy.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/4/2013 7:44:53 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Year Ago Today:

Near Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson seemed to be recovering well from the amputation of his left arm. He even asked the surgeon how long it would be before he could return to command. Although he would have preferred to remain near the front, Lee prevailed to have him evacuated to a place called Guiney Station, which was a rail-head allowing him to be speedily moved if the Yankees should threaten to capture the South's second most famous general.

On the Union side, Joseph Hooker still clung to his plan to have Lee attack him. His 75,000 men were now well entrenched, and his position allowed rapid reinforcement from one flank to the other. But Lee was focused on the Northern advance from Fredricksburg. The Southern commander again sent reinforcements to attack in that area, leaving a force to face Hooker a mere one-third the size of the main Union body. But as Lee had somehow guessed, the Yankees made no forward move.

Instead, the day's fighting fell on the Federal troops under Sedgwick. Lee had planned for an envelopment on three sides, forcing the Yankees back against the Rappahannock river and eventually leaving them unable to retreat in time. But only the wing under Jubal Early managed to deliver a powerful attack; the other two under Lafayette McLaws and Richard H. Anderson were uncoordinated and not strongly pressed. Lee showed a (for him) rare display of anger against the pair, and noted down Early for promotion.

The fighting had caused the Northerners to give up the vital ground of Marye's Heights. The bulk of the troops were now cut off from the force occupying Fredricksburg, and Sedgwick sent requests for reinforcements to Hooker. Instead, the Union commander actually requested Sedwick to send two of his brigades to him, though by any reasonable standard he already had more than enough. Segwick informed his boss that he might well have to withdraw. This lead to a very confused exchange of messages, because some of the couriers turned out to be speedier than others. By the time Hooker had decided that Sedgwick should hold his position, the Yankees were already beginning the retreat across the river.

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com




Attachment (1)

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/4/2013 7:53:21 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

I have always wondered if Jackson's death really marked the first of the major set-backs for the Confederacy.


In this humble amateur historian's opinion, the capture of New Orleans was the first major blow. It did serious damage to the Southern economy, and also helped persuade the European powers (many of whom had consulates in the city) not to recognize the Confederacy. But Jackson's loss was most certainly a severe one; there are many who believe that Gettysburg would have turned out very differently had he been there.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 12:19:38 AM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

In this humble amateur historian's opinion, the capture of New Orleans was the first major blow.


That's a fair call. I think I really meant the first of the major set backs leading to the end of the Confederacy - more along the lines of Churchill's "beginning of the end"

quote:

there are many who believe that Gettysburg would have turned out very differently had he been there.


Again not an unreasonable assumption. Ewell was certainly no Jackson. A bit more energy on the first day may have seen the Federal position at Gettysburg made untenable.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 1:50:10 AM   
flanyboy

 

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Ahh but would it have mattered? Had Lincoln done nothing, unless the AOTP was totally destroyed Gettysburg wouldn't have brought in the British and elections were still over a year away, Vicksburg still would have fallen, the Union would have had unassailable fortifications in DC and the Confederates likely wouldn't have been able to maintain a position in the North after a major battle for long.

So in the end, does a victory keep them off the road to defeat? Likely not and no I am not of the lost cause variety but I think unless Lee totally destroyed the AOTP or half of it or something it's unlikely one battle on northern soil changes the confederacies fortunes. Sending Jackson to the west to fight Grant (assuming he were alive) would have been more useful than a victory at Gettysburg.

quote:

ORIGINAL: nicwb

quote:

In this humble amateur historian's opinion, the capture of New Orleans was the first major blow.


That's a fair call. I think I really meant the first of the major set backs leading to the end of the Confederacy - more along the lines of Churchill's "beginning of the end"

quote:

there are many who believe that Gettysburg would have turned out very differently had he been there.


Again not an unreasonable assumption. Ewell was certainly no Jackson. A bit more energy on the first day may have seen the Federal position at Gettysburg made untenable.


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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 2:13:12 AM   
tocaff


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Not wanting to date myself, but I remember a parade in Washington DC when I was a kid. It honored Civil War veterans and they attended. Of course this was back in the 1950s, still.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 2:42:18 AM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

Ahh but would it have mattered? Had Lincoln done nothing, unless the AOTP was totally destroyed Gettysburg wouldn't have brought in the British and elections were still over a year away, Vicksburg still would have fallen, the Union would have had unassailable fortifications in DC and the Confederates likely wouldn't have been able to maintain a position in the North after a major battle for long.

So in the end, does a victory keep them off the road to defeat? Likely not and no I am not of the lost cause variety but I think unless Lee totally destroyed the AOTP or half of it or something it's unlikely one battle on northern soil changes the confederacies fortunes. Sending Jackson to the west to fight Grant (assuming he were alive) would have been more useful than a victory at Gettysburg


True enough Flanyboy -its all pure speculation (but that's what makes it fun )

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 2:54:49 AM   
flanyboy

 

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You know I've never heard of the speculation of Sending Jackson west either. That would make for a really interesting campaign. I've heard numerous people speculate on how Lee would have done if he was sent, but realistically he would not have gone, sending one of his Lt's would ahve been more likely and sending Jackson pre Vicksburg falling could have been a pretty interesting development.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/5/2013 5:32:40 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Ohio, General Ambrose Burnside picked up the gauntlet that Clement Vallandigham had thrown down on the first of the month. Vallandigham was arrested, and brought before Burnside's military tribunal. The incensed supporters of the Democrat Vallandigham responded in turn by setting fire to the offices of the Dayton Journal, a pro-Republican newspaper.

In Virginia, John Buford's brigade of Union cavalry was reaching exhaustion the men, and even more of the horses. Buford ordered a return to the rest of Stoneman's cavalry corps, who were accomplishing rather little. On their way back, Buford and his troopers noted that some of the much of the damage they had done was already being repaired. (At this point, the Northerners had not yet learned how to permanently wreck the iron rails of railroad tracks.) They set about tearing up the tracks and burning the trestles once more.


Near Chancellorsville, Joseph Hooker called a council of war. He still had 40,000 men who had barely been engaged through the four days of fighting. Nearly all of his sub-commanders voted to counter-attack. But Hooker overruled them, and ordered the Army of the Potomac to retreat back across the Rappahannock River. As it happened, had Hooker stayed he might well have realized his plan of of a defensive battle, bleeding the Southern army: Lee had made plans to attack the next day. But on this fifth day, the Battle of Chancellorsville effectively came to an end.

Both sides had been hit hard. The Union had lost 17,197 men in total: 1,606 killed, 9,672 wounded, and 5,919 captured or missing. Confederate losses were 13,303 in total: 1,665 killed, 9,081 wounded, 2,018 captured or missing. Chancellorsville is considered by most to be Lee's greatest victory. Outnumbered nearly two-to-one, he had maneuvered his forces superbly, and not only brought the Union advance to a halt, but pushed it back. It came at a Pyrrhic cost, however: while the Union had sustained more casualties in absolute terms, the Confederates had lost a higher percentage of their men. (Note the numbers of killed and wounded were fairly close.) And one of those casualties would prove to be irreplaceable.


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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/6/2013 2:43:55 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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Early May, 1863 (the exact dates are difficult):

George Stoneman's Union cavalry corps made its way back into the Northern lines. The raid had accomplished very little in the way of damage, but they had thrown a major scare into Richmond:

Immediately after dinner my husband lent Mr. Washington one of his horses and they rode off together. I betook myself to my kind neighbors, the Pattons, for information. There I found Colonel Patton had gone, too. Mrs. Patton, however, knew all about the trouble. She said there was a raiding party within forty miles of us and no troops were in Richmond! ... They seemed to be mustering in citizens by the thousands. Company after company was being formed; then battalions, and then regiments. It was a wonderful sight to us, peering through the iron railing, watching them fall into ranks.
        Then we went to the President's, finding the family at supper. We sat on the white marble steps, and General Elzey told me exactly how things stood and of our immediate danger. Pickets were coming in. Men were spurring to and from the door as fast as they could ride, bringing and carrying messages and orders. . . After a while Mrs. Davis came out and embraced me silently.
        "It is dreadful," I said. "The enemy is within forty miles of us - only forty!" "Who told you that tale?" said she. "They are within three miles of Richmond!" I went down on my knees like a stone. "You had better be quiet," she said. "The President is ill. Women and children must not add to the trouble." She asked me to stay all night, which I was thankful to do.
[ . . . ]
        Early next morning the President came down. He was still feeble and pale from illness. Custis Lee and my husband loaded their pistols, and the President drove off in Dr. Garnett's carriage, my husband and Custis Lee on horseback alongside him. By eight o'clock the troops from Petersburg came in, and the danger was over. The authorities will never strip Richmond of troops again. We had a narrow squeeze for it, but we escaped.
-- Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie



Morale was worse, if anything, in Washington. Over the wires came the news of the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville. When Lincoln learned of the magnitude of the defeat, he exclaimed, "My God! My God! What will the country say?" His fears were more than justified. There was a storm of criticism and near-despair, such as the mercurial Horace Greely of the New York Tribune: "It is horrible -- horrible; and to think of it, 130,000 magnificent soldiers so cut to pieces by less than 60,000 half-starved ragamuffins!"

(It is interesting to note that estimates of troop strength had gotten considerably more accurate since the tenure of George McClellan.)


Below Vicksburg, U. S. Grant edged closer to outright disobedience of orders:

While at Grand Gulf I heard from [General Nathaniel] Banks, who was on the Red River, and who said that he could not be at Port Hudson before the 10th of May and then with only 15,000 men. Up to this time my intention had been to secure Grand Gulf, as a base of supplies, detach McClernand's corps to Banks and co-operate with him in the reduction of Port Hudson.

The news from Banks forced upon me a different plan of campaign from the one intended. To wait for his co-operation would have detained me at least a month. The reinforcements would not have reached ten thousand men after deducting casualties and necessary river guards at all high points close to the river for over three hundred miles. The enemy would have strengthened his position and been reinforced by more men than Banks could have brought. I therefore determined to move independently of Banks, cut loose from my base, destroy the rebel force in rear of Vicksburg and invest or capture the city.

Grand Gulf was accordingly given up as a base and the authorities at Washington were notified. I knew well that [General-in-Chief] Halleck's caution would lead him to disapprove of this course; but it was the only one that gave any chance of success. The time it would take to communicate with Washington and get a reply would be so great that I could not be interfered with until it was demonstrated whether my plan was practicable.
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 5/6/2013 4:55:55 AM >


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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/7/2013 4:43:56 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

An hour after midnight, Stonewall Jackson awoke feeeling feverish and in pain from his left side. He instructed that wet towels be applied to the area, which had helped with the pain before. But this time it did not. By sunrise, he was breathing heavily, and when surgeon McGuire was brought in, the doctor found the general also had a quickened pulse. He diagnosed pneumonia.


In Ohio, Clement Vallandigham was found guilty of violating General order No. 38 by the military court after a trial lasting all of two days. The sentence was exile. Since he seemed to be warmer towards the Confederacy than the Union, that was where he would now be sent.


Being a general in the Civil War was a dangerous business, particularly for the Southern generals. Now yet another met his end, but this time not from Yankee action. Major General Earl Van Dorn had set up his headquarters in a large house (now titled Ferguson Hall) in Maury County, Tennesse. On this date, while Van Dorn was taking care of paperwork, one Dr. James Peters entered the room and shot him in the back of the head. When Dr. Peters was arrested by the Confederate authorities, he claimed that Van Dorn had been carrying on an affair with his wife. This was entirely plausible, since Van Dorn had a reputation as a womanizer. Dr. Peters would never be put on trial for the killing.





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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 - 5/8/2013 2:56:17 AM   
Skipjack_


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Captain H, this thread is now on my daily reading list. I went on battlefield tours years ago (Gettysburg, Antietam, Bull Run) - the details you give are great! Totally new info to me.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/9/2013 8:32:01 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

General Joseph Johnston had been "kicked upstairs" to command the Confederate Department of the West, which covered the territory from the Allegheny Mountains to the east bank of the Mississippi River. It was not a position to Johnston's liking: he was an outstanding army leader, but did not have the political/diplomatic skills to be a really good theater commander. On this date, his wish for field command was partly granted: he received a telegram from the Secretary of War in Richmond to "Proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces there, giving to those in the field, as far as practicable, the encouragement and benefit of your personal direction."

There were three important problems: First, Johnston was not relieved as the commander of the Department of the West. He was still responsible, above all, for the situation in Tennessee, where the Union Army of the Cumberland and the Confederate Army of Tennessee had been staring at each other for months. (Which highly displeased both Lincoln and Davis.) Second, the travels involved in administrating such a large swath of territory had brought on a partial relapse from his wounds at Seven Pines. Johnston wired back: "I shall go immediately, though unfit for field-service."

Third and possibly most important of all, Johnston was given only three thousand extra troops to begin his movements. (His instructions had said "More may be expected", which was not exactly encouraging.) The great majority of the Southern forces in the area belonged to Vicksburg commander John Pemberton. Though Johnston technically had authority over Pemberton, he was already finding it difficult to make Pemberton do what he wanted. Pemberton was also receiving orders directly from Jefferson Davis, who instructed him that his highest priority was to hold Vicksburg, while Johnston believed Pemberton should take his entire force, march out of Vicksburg, and beat U. S. Grant.

And by coincidence, on this date, the threat from Grant became even greater. After having completed their feint above Vicksburg, William T. Sherman and his corps completed their crossing of the Mississippi River. Grant now had about 33,000 men, enough to give him superiority at the points of contact. And he could choose where those points of contact would be.

_____________________________

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 - 5/10/2013 5:09:43 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In 1863, the effective treatments for pneumonia were unknown (the first report of bacteria in the respiratory passages would not be until 1875) but the progression of the disease was only too familiar to medical science. Dr. David Tucker, the leading authority on pneumonia in Virginia, had been called to Guiney Station to treat Stonewall Jackson. But by sunrise on this date, it was clear that the battle would be lost: Jackson's strength was gone.

The doctors did not believe in witholding the truth. They informed his wife Anna, who had come to Guiney Staion to be with her husband, and she told him. He denied it for only a few moments, then accepted the prognosis.

In the afternoon, he went into a delirium, and called out orders to "push up the columns!" At about 3:15 pm, he seemed to become calm, and then said, "Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees." He died a few moments later. His wife Anna and the attending doctors emerged from the house, and the news was spread by telegraph across Virginia, and then to rest of the South.

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Post #: 836
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/11/2013 3:19:41 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

The shock of the death of Stonewall Jackson was greater than that of any other general, North or South, during the entire Civil War. In Richmond, all businesses were closed by 10:00 a.m., and flags flew at half-staff. In the afternoon, "the saddest train that ever came into Richmond" arrived with Jackson's body. For the last two miles of the journey, the locomotive and single car had to move slowly, as the line was flanked by the largest crowd Richmond had yet seen.

The coffin was removed by pallbearers and placed in a hearse. The Confederate Congress had recently authorized a new national flag, and though it would not be formally adopted for another two weeks, the first one made in anticipation of being flown over the Capitol building was instead used to drape the casket.

Though this death was easily the heaviest blow, it was not the only one the South would suffer. (One ironic instance is that General Richard Garnett served as one of Jackson's pallbearers, and was killed in action within two months.) Such senior commanders as Albert Sydney Johnston, A. P. Hill, and "Jeb" Stuart also fell, while notably fewer Union generals were lost. It is possible that the Southern tradition of gallantry caused their generals to take greater risks than their Northern counterparts. But your humble amateur historian believes that the most important reason was simply the chances of war. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Farragut all exposed themselves to enemy fire, and had narrow escapes.

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RE: Civil War 150th - 5/11/2013 4:35:31 AM   
flanyboy

 

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If Longstreet had perished at the Wilderness much in the same way Jackson had in almost the same spot after a similar decisive flank attack that nearly swept the Union army from the field he well may have been remembered very fondly and a close 2nd to Jackson in the heart of the south, his post war politics certainly soured his reputation in the South.

Would have been interesting to see the South's reaction to a Longstreet death mid war.

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Post #: 838
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/11/2013 7:11:32 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

he well may have been remembered very fondly and a close 2nd to Jackson in the heart of the south, his post war politics certainly soured his reputation in the South.


A very sound point. If Longstreet had become a casualty on the battlefield, it would have been much harder to blame him for the defeat at Gettysburg, as Jubal Early and others tried to do. (And not only would Longstreet not have joined the Republican party, he wouldn't have converted to Catholicism, which also cost him popularity in the primarily Protestant South.)

_____________________________

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Post #: 839
RE: Civil War 150th - 5/12/2013 2:24:04 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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150 Years Ago Today:

In Mississippi, to the southeast of Vicksburg, Grant's army again made contact with the Confederates:

"McPherson encountered the enemy, five thousand strong with two batteries under General Gregg, about two miles out of Raymond. This was about two P.M. Logan was in advance with one of his brigades. He deployed and moved up to engage the enemy. McPherson ordered the road in rear to be cleared of wagons, and the balance of Logan's division, and Crocker's, which was still farther in rear, to come forward with all dispatch. The order was obeyed with alacrity. Logan got his division in position for assault before Crocker could get up, and attacked with vigor, carrying the enemy's position easily, sending Gregg flying from the field not to appear against our front again until we met at Jackson."
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


Actually, the Battle of Raymond had not gone nearly that smoothly for the Union. Confederate general John Gregg had come up with a good plan for ambushing a Federal advance force at Raymond, Mississippi. But he was not expecting to fight McPherson's entire XVII Corps, about 12,000 men. (The two Southern brigades totaled about 4,400 men.)

There was a good deal of dust, and very soon, even more gunpowder smoke, so it took some time before either side realized the heavy odds against the Rebels. In the meantime, whenever a Northern unit attempted to advance, the Southerners charged and drove them back. After several hours, the Union general (who was one of the rising stars of the Northern armies) managed to get some of his troops around either flank of the Confederate position.

The Southerners retreated, and did not stop retreating until they were all the way through the town of Raymond and out the other side. One Yankee regiment took advantage of the hasty retirement by helping themselves to a picnic which the ladies of the town had prepared in anticipation of a Southern victory.

Union losses were 68 killed, 341 wounded, and 37 missing, while the Confederates lost 100 killed, 305 wounded, and 415 captured.

Hearing the results of the battle, Grant decided to go all the way to the state capital of Jackson. Though the Mississippi state government had wisely withdrawn to a safer location, Grant had practical reasons rather than political ones:

"When the news reached me of McPherson's victory at Raymond about sundown my position was with Sherman. I decided at once to turn the whole column towards Jackson and capture that place without delay. Pemberton was now on my left, with, as I supposed, about 18,000 men; in fact, as I learned afterwards, with nearly 50,000. A force was also collecting on my right, at Jackson, the point where all the railroads communicating with Vicksburg connect. All the enemy's supplies of men and stores would come by that point. As I hoped in the end to besiege Vicksburg I must first destroy all possibility of aid. I therefore determined to move swiftly towards Jackson, destroy or drive any force in that direction and then turn upon Pemberton."
--The Personal Memoirs of General U. S. Grant


_____________________________

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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