Forum Posts

long2821
Feb 07, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
I am curious what books people may be looking forward to in 2021, or that have been recently released. A few on my list that are new are: The Impulse of Victory - Dave Powell - I always enjoy Dave's books and expect this will be another good one. Robert E. Lee and Me - Seidule - I actually just finished this one and enjoyed it. Some upcoming books for 2021 that I have been looking at: Radical Sacrifice - The Rise and Ruin of Fitz John Porter - Marvel - Porter is someone I would like to learn a little more about, although I am curious how biased Marvel will be. I found his Burnside biography very biased. No Place for Glory: Major General Robert E. Rodes and the Confederate Defeat at Gettysburg - Wynstra - Rodes is an overlooked general and does not have much written about him so this might be a good one. Meade at Gettysburg: A Study in Command - Brown - This along with Dr Jen Murray's Meade book, whenever it comes out, definitely have my interest. The Siege of Vicksburg: Climax of the Campaign to Open the Mississippi River, May 23-July 4, 1863 - Smith - This is the next book in Tim Smith's Vicksburg series, I have enjoyed all of Tim's other books that I have read as expect this will be good as well.
3
3
28
long2821
Feb 04, 2021
In Book Club
Kent Masterson Brown's Retreat From Gettysburg offers a different perspective on the battle of Gettysburg. This book is not a battle or command narrative like Coddington, Pfanz, or the like. Rather the focus is on the impact of battle on the army, and the efforts taken to withdraw the Confederate army from the brutal 3 day battle. Professional and arm-chair historians alike are wont to criticize the inability of armies to complete pursuit after a battle, this work illustrates in detail the complicated nature of pursuit after a significant battle. Lee was faced with maneuvering a tremendously long array of wagon trains containing all sorts of critical supplies his army had foraged throughout the movement into the north. Despite not being a battle narrative, Brown invokes the strategy of Clausewitz referring to the proper way to complete a retreat after a lost battle battle as: "In order to keep morale as high as possible, it is absolutely necessary to make a slow fighting retreat, boldly confronting the pursuer whenever he tries to make too much of his advantage...." and describing some of the practices as keeping a "strong rear guard, led by the most courageous general, and support at crucial moments by the rest of the army; skillful use of the terrain; strong ambushes whenever the daring of the enemy’s vanguard and the terrain permit....Object of retreat is to reestablish the "balance of power" between the forces." The remainder of the book provides evidence of how these characteristics were shown in the retreat march. During the retreat there are a handful of engagements, mostly brought on by Federal cavalry including by Kilpatrick, Buford and Dahlgren. Throughout the engagements though it is clear that the Confederates are mindful of continuing the withdrawal and maintaining their movement to and eventually over the Potomac River into Virginia. The retreat reaches a climax once the Confederates arrive at Williamsport to cross the Potomac. Faced with limited means of crossing the swollen river the Confederates stacked up waiting to cross. Once Meade gets enough force into the area he issues a critical message to Halleck indicating the intention to attack on the next morning. Upon performing a more careful reconnaissance and meeting with his senior commanders Meade calls off the attack plan, stating "he would not assume responsibility for provoking an engagement against the advice of so many of his commanders." This would prove to be a fateful moment for Meade and a point that is discussed to the present time as to whether or not the right decision was made. The Confederates do of course eventually cross the river and reach relative safety after fighting one last time mostly against Federal cavalry near Falling Waters, which is most notable for the death of Confederate General J. Johnston Pettigrew. In summing up his work Brown offers a few conclusions, writing that based on the guidelines of Clausewitz, that Lee had successfully restored the "balance of power" in only ten days. Additionally Brown offers the statement "Although a costly tactical defeat for the Army of Northern Virginia, Gettysburg cannot be viewed as the turning point of the Civil War or even a turning point of the eastern theater of war after Lee's remarkable retreat." I was with Brown until this point, thought I am not sure I agree with that conclusion. I have always been a fan of Vicksburg as just as big, if not bigger, turning point than Gettysburg, however to state it was not a turning point seems to disregard some of the significance in my reading. Although I would be interested to hear what others think of the conclusion.
3
3
19
long2821
Jan 20, 2021
In Book Club
I recently finished the The Assassin's Accomplice. The Lincoln assassination plot is not a topic I often read about, however I found The Assassin's Accomplice to be entertaining and an easy read. Not being familiar with the work I was unsure of the author's position on Mary Surratt and her role, however any doubt was quickly cleared up in the beginning of the book with the quote "Mary Surratt was not only guilty, but was far more involved in the plot than many historians have given her credit for." Focusing in detail on Mary's role, rather than the larger overall Lincoln plot, author Kate Clifford Larson goes to great pains to detail the relationships Mary had with the conspirators and makes clear Mary's role in the plot. This book is not a detailed study of Booth or the Lincoln assassination. Mary as the main character remains in focus throughout the work. The early portion of the book introduces Mary and provides a brief biography of her life prior to her involvement in the assassination plot, including her difficult and abusive relationship with her alcoholic husband who eventually left her widowed. The remainder of the ten chapters introduce us to the various characters directly involved in the conspiracy, all interwoven through relationships with Mary. The Surratt tavern and boarding house are shown to bring together numerous key characters in the story. These characters include Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Michael O'Laughlen, Lewis Powell/Payne, Mary's son John and of course assassin John Wilkes Booth. On a hot July 7th 1865, Payne, Herold, and Atzerodt would share the gallows with Mary. Emerging through the narrative is Louis Weichmann, a friend of the family and later resident at Mary's boarding house. Weichmann was able to observe a number of the interactions between John and Mary Surratt with the various conspirators. Weichmann would later refer to the tavern that John Surratt attended to as a location where "rebel farmers of the neighborhood come to get their letters, to lounge, and to play cards." A number of events are described linking Mary to the assassination plot and Booth as the story unfolds, including leaving a package containing field glasses for Booth at the tavern prior to the assassination, ensuring that the "shooting irons" were ready for Booth on his return, and hiding a photo that contained the phrase uttered by Booth after assassinating Lincoln "Sic Semper Tyrannis". Mary is painted as a rather cool character at key moments, remarking to her daughter Anna, "...come what will. I am resigned. I think J. Wilkes Booth was only an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to punish this proud and licentious people." The somewhat controversial topic of the conspirators being tried by a military tribunal is covered with the author agreeing with the explanation of Attorney General James Speed that the action of the conspirators was a wartime act, intended to advance the Confederate cause, and violated the laws of war. The preponderance of evidence against the conspirators, who were all tried simultaneously, is gone over in detail with testimony from the key witnesses. The value and importance of the Weichmann testimony becomes clear, him being described as "His intimate relationship with John Surratt, his daily interactions with Mary and the rest of the H Street household, and his position on the periphery of Booth’s inner circle of accomplices placed Weichmann in a difficult yet important position within the web of activities that resulted in the murder of Abraham Lincoln." In the end the nine members of the tribunal would deliver execution verdicts for four of the eight conspirators, including Mary, the other four conspirators would receive prison terms. Attempts to stop the execution would fail and we are left with Mary's last words to a clergyman that had attended to her on the gallows, "I am innocent, but God's holy will be done." Mary would be be described by President Johnson as having "kept the nest that hatched the egg" and would be the first woman executed by the United States government.
1
1
8
long2821
Jan 18, 2021
In Eastern Theatre
J. Johnston Pettigrew has come up a couple of times on the podcast and had been mentioned here on the forum as well. I was aware of his battles, but never really took a look at his service as a whole. There are a couple of older biographies out there about him, but I do not have access to any of them. So I took a look through a handful of different sources I have to see what I could dig up about him in case anyone else is interested. Early Years Pettigrew was born in 1818 in NC. John Gibbon was a cousin. He grew up wealthy and was very intelligent, mastered at least six languages, attended the University of North Carolina at age 14 and graduated valedictorian. President Polk invited Pettigrew to be professor of astronomy at the National Observatory. Growing bored with this role he later travelled extensively in Europe, eventually writing two books, Notes on Spain and the Spaniards in the Summer of 1859 and With a Glance at Sardinia. After completing legal studies he worked for his uncle in South Carolina a prominent Charleston attorney James L. Petigru and was also a state legislator. Petigru was against South Carolina secession and once remarked, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." While in the state legislature Pettigrew would speak out against the re-opening of the foreign slave trade, although this action appears to have been less about slavery specifically than it was an attempt to not further divide the north from the south with secession on the horizon. Beginning of the War Pettigrew was present at Fort Sumter as a member of the South Carolina militia. Despite a lack of military experience he was well regarded and given command of the 12th NC. Jefferson Davis urged a promotion to Brigadier General which he initially declined based on a lack of experience in the field. Following reorganization after Manassas he was promoted on February 26 1862 and sent to the Peninsula in command of a brigade. His promotion to brigadier was before a number of other generals who would go on to prominence including Hood, Cleburne, and Wade Hampton. To the Peninsula On the first day of the battle of Seven Pines Pettigrew's brigade became seriously engaged operating next to Hatton's and Hampton's brigades under the command of W.H.C. Whiting. The division was sent into the woods in an attempted flanking movement, but ran into reinforcements from John Sedgwick that had arrived on the field after crossing the rain swollen river. During the engagement Hatton was killed and Pettigrew was severely wounded, the shot being described as having "passed along the front of his throat and into the shoulder, cutting the nerves and muscles of the right arm." Pettigrew was left on the field unconscious, taken prisoner, and exchanged 2 months later. Home to North Carolina After exchange Pettigrew received a new brigade and was assigned to D.H. Hill's command in the southern Virginia/North Carolina area. His brigade served primarily in North Carolina through May of 1863. During this time the brigade was engaged in operations to take New Bern, as well as an attempted siege of Washington, NC.
1
2
13
long2821
Jan 17, 2021
In Western Theatre
I was catching up on the recording of the live event from yesterday and there was some discussion regarding Cleburne siding with the Confederacy given his Irish heritage and limited time in the states. There are some relevant passages in "Pat Cleburne Confederate General" by Elizabeth and Howell Purdue that I think are enlightening as to Cleburne's thoughts. In a letter to his brother prior to war, Cleburne would write, "I can now stand at my office window and see a foreign nation on the other side of the river. As to my own position I hope to see the Union preserved by granting to the South the full measure of her constitutional rights. If this cannot be done I hope to see all the Southern States united in a new confederation and that we can effect a peacable separation. If both of these are denied us I am with Arkansas in weal or in woe." A short time later he would also write his brother, "I am with the South in life or in death, in victory or defeat. I never owned a Negro and care nothing for them, but these people have been my friends and have stood up to me on all occasions. In addition to this, I believe the North is about to wage a brutal and unholy war on a people who have done them no wrong, in violation of the constitution and the fundamental principals of the government.....We propose no invasion of the North, no attack on them, and we only ask to be let alone." In 1863 he would state in regards to the North's opposition to slavery, "It is merely the pretense to establish a sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties." Cleburne may have only spent a portion of his life in the south, but I think his writings make his allegiance quite clear and demonstrate the strength of his feelings.
3
3
24
long2821
Jan 16, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
With some discussion of the Carolinas campaign coming up on the podcast, these are a couple of books I enjoyed that cover this time frame: -Bentonville: The Final Battle of Sherman and Johnston - Hughes This book is a detailed look at the battle of Bentonville, there are only a few works on this 3 day battle. Bentonville was Joe Johnston's last real offensive gasp as he scrapped together as much power as he could and struck Slocum's wing while it was marching isolated from Howard's wing. Johnston had a rag tag force at this point with a mix match of troops from various commands, as well as a number of senior generals including Bragg, Hardee, A.P. Stewart, W.B. Bate, Hampton and D.H. Hill. Panic by Bragg led to a poor deployment of the limited Confederate reserves on the first day, which likely limited the chances of success for Johnston. Reinforcements from Howard's wing reinforced Slocum and completed the victory on the 3rd day. Following the battle Johnston would write Lee, "Sherman's course cannot be hindered by the small force I have. I can do no more than annoy him. I respectfully suggest that it is no longer a question whether you leave present position; you have only to decide where to meet Sherman. I will be near him." -The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Last Campaign - Wittenberg and Bradley Monroe's Crossroads is the biggest source of bad blood between cavalry commanders Wade Hampton and Judson Kilpatrick. Hampton and his men were able to ambush Kilpatrick outside Fayetteville NC. Kilpatrick was seen fleeing from the initial assault into the nearby swamp in his undershirt, leading to the battle often being referred to as "Kilpatrick's Shirt-Tail Skedaddle". -This Astounding Close - Bradley This book is not about the battles but rather is about the final few weeks of the campaign including the surrender negotiations and the initial movement home of the troops. A great quote from Johnston is included in the book when he wrote early in the campaign, "When I learned that Sherman's army was marching through the Salkehatchie swamps, making its own corduroy road at the rate of a dozen miles a day or more, and bringing its artillery and wagons with it I made up my mind that there had been no such army in existence since the days of Julius Caesar." Included in the book is the back and forth of the surrender negotiations, Sherman's eventual falling out with both Stanton and Halleck over the initial terms, as well as Sherman's troops moving to the Grand Review. Sherman at one point would refer to Stanton, as "mean, scheming, vindictive politician who made it his business to rob military men of their glory."
3
6
24
long2821
Jan 14, 2021
In Civil War Pics
I believe there will be some discussion coming up on the end of the Carolinas campaign on the podcast. Here is a photo of Sherman and his key subordinates for the campaign. The caption of the photo is incorrect. Left to right we of have O.O. Howard, John Logan, William Hazen, Sherman, Jefferson C. Davis, Henry Slocum, Joseph Mower, and Frank Blair. Absent from the photo is Alpheus Williams who at one time commanded the XX Corps during the campaign but was somewhat controversially replaced by Mower. Howard, Hazen, Sherman, Davis and Slocum were West Point graduates. Mower had experience in the army prior to the war but did not attend West Point. Logan and Blair were politicians, although Logan did have experience from the Mexican War. Howard - Right wing commander - would forever claim the I Corps broke first at Gettysburg 😀 Logan - aka "Black Jack", briefly received command of the AoT after McPherson's death at Atlanta, but would be replaced by Howard. Logan was disappointed and looked to leave the army, but ended up in command of the XV Corps. As a token of gratitude, Sherman would allow Logan to lead the AoT in the Grand Review in Washington. Despite Logan demonstrating solid fighting throughout his career, Sherman would later write in his memoirs on promoting Howard over Logan, "I regarded both Generals Logan and Blair as "volunteers," that looked to personal fame and glory as auxiliary and secondary to their political ambition, and not as professional soldiers." Hazen - Led a division under Logan, noted for his service at Stones River in defending the Round Forest and also led the assault on Fort Pulaski at Savannah. Sherman - well known of course, he is shown here without a lit torch to burn factories and railroads. Jefferson C. Davis - Not the leader of the Confederacy. Served from the very beginning of the war being in the artillery at Fort Sumter. Shot and killed "Bull" Nelson in Kentucky in 1862 but stayed in the army. Then received further notoriety for the Ebenezer Creek incident. Sherman however continued to back Davis. Slocum - Previously commanded the XII Corps in the east, but came west with Hooker and Howard. No friend of Hooker but rose to command the left wing of the army in the Carolinas campaign. Slocum's troops would be primarily involved in the attacks at both Averasboro and Bentonville. Slocum likely did not realize the size of the force he was initially facing at Bentonville, not realizing Joe Johnston consolidating his troops to attack Slocum's isolated wing. Mower - Worked his way up the ranks serving in the west seeing action at Wilson's Creek, Corinth, the Red River campaign and Vicksburg. Sherman promoted Mower from a division in the XVII Corps to command the XX Corps over the head of Alpheus Williams. Mower would initiate significant fighting on the 21st at Bentonville from the right flank. Blair - Commanded the XVII Corps, brother of Montgomery Blair the Postmaster General. Worked closely with Nathaniel Lyon to keep Missouri in the Union in 1861 and organize the Federal force there. Served in various commands in the west including through the Vicksburg campaign. It was Blair's division that led the Forlorn Hope during the May 22 assault at Vicksburg. He left a seat in the House of Representatives to continue to serve in the army. Not shown is cavalry commander Judson Kilpatrick - Kilpatrick was known for overstating his successes and downplaying his setbacks. Sherman was noted to have referred to him as "a hell of a damned fool". Kilpatrick would carry on a fierce rivalry with the forces under Wade Hampton during the campaign which carried on up through the surrender negotiations at Bennett Place. Hampton's force would get the jump on Kilpatrick at Monroe's Crossroads, which became known as Kilpatrick's Shirttail Skedaddle after Kilpatrick was observed fleeing into the woods in his night clothes during the initial attack.
3
7
49
long2821
Jan 11, 2021
In Book Club
I know I am ahead of the schedule, but I just finished Through the Heart of Dixie, so wanted to provide my thoughts now. I enjoyed the book, this is probably not something I would have picked up but when I saw it on the list for the book club I decided to check it out. Despite having read various books that include information about the Atlanta campaign and the March to the Sea I never took a step back to look at how much the the march has impacted society and memory. Generally my focus leans more toward impact on the war or the individuals involved in the action. Even being a sports fan I had no idea of the connection of the Calgary Flames name to the march. Of the items I found interesting were: -The attempts by future writers to compare actions in war to the march as a justification, with this going on into both World Wars. -The overall lack of addressing the emancipation of slaves in the various narratives, monuments and markers, films, novels, and other works. -The severe differences in narratives of the conduct of the Federal soldiers. Some presenting the activities as only that which was necessary, with some exceptions, while other narratives made it sound as though the entire south was burned to the ground. -The differences in treatment of the populations of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. James Connolly mentioning at one point about their acts, "not under orders, but in spite of orders." The men "had it in" for South Carolina and took it out in their own way." Sherman then later writing Slocum "a little moderation may be of political consequence to us in North Carolina." -The number of mentions of Masonic connections in having properties saved was not something I had considered previously. -The concept of emancipation potentially being a double-edged sword for slaves with emancipation possibly leading to hunger, destruction and mistreatment. All of this leading to some slaves simply choosing to stay put, such a horrible position to envision someone being in. -How soldier narratives turned light hearted and nostalgic in the period after the war. Slocum referring to the March at one point as "one great picnic from beginning to end". -The mention of how memory can be linked to the eventual outcome of the conflict or agreement with the cause was a good point and not something I had specifically considered. -The descriptions of how the recovery of Atlanta and Columbia were occurring at different rates and progressing in different ways. Having been to both cities I am aware of the differences and mindset of those areas now, but had not considered quite how the two cities handled their rebuilding in the early years after the war. -I had no idea of the volume of poems, songs, and various written works that included the March, with these popping up even before the war was over. -While not really funny I was amused by the joke referenced that Sherman "lit a Georgia mansion every night to tell his wife he would be home for Yom Kippur." Looking forward to what others think when they read the book as well.
1
4
26
long2821
Jan 11, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
With there being some coverage on the podcast coming this week of the Mud March, I wanted to recommend my favorite Fredericksburg book, "The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock" by Frank O'Reilly. Frank has worked at the Fredericksburg park for years and is a great story teller. Anyone that has seen Frank give a presentation will likely remember his booming voice without a microphone. In the book I thought Frank did a good job covering both ends of the field at Fredericksburg, where some authors focus too much on Marye's Heights. Burnside's difficulties with the administration, his efforts to oust some of his subbordinates and the Mud March are also covered. In regards to the Mud March there are some vivid descriptions in the book of the difficulty faced by the soldiers as they marched through the mud: "Burnside awoke to raindrops pattering on his tent. A staff officer in Humphreys’ division noted that the rain commenced at 7:00 P.M. Baldy Smith wiped the first droplets from his forehead and said he was "devoutly thankful, for I knew the campaign was ended."" "The Union army awoke on January 21, after a comfortless night, to discover "every thing [was] one sea of mud." Roads had become slick, then muddy, and in a short time, they were transformed into a pool of "liquid mud."" "Teamsters, "noted the world over for their proficiency in profanity," used "their whole catalogue of oaths, with many new combinations invented for the occasion." But, as a worn-out onlooker noted, "it was no use."" Here is one of Frank's presentations from the park Youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzhNjthfWuQ
3
3
18
long2821
Jan 10, 2021
In Western Theatre
I have been reading "To The Manner Born" a biography of the fiery, cantankerous, W.H.T. Walker. He is...a character....in good and bad ways, perhaps the subject of another post. But I just read the portion of the book related to Cleburne's emancipation proposal given in January 1864. This incident has been mentioned on the podcast as well. We know of course that the proposal did not go over well, and likely ended Cleburne's potential for promotion. Yet Cleburne was essentially proven right when a similar proposal was eventually adopted by the Confederacy in 1865. It is still striking to read some of the reactions to the proposal. Senior leaders in the army were called to the meeting by Hardee, where Cleburne presented his proposal. I don't think many of the attendees knew the reason going into the meeting. Included in attendance were Patton Anderson, W.B. Bate, Joe Johnston, Hardee, W.H.T. Walker, A.P. Stewart, Carter Stevenson, and T.C. Hindman. Some of the reactions to the proposal are rather strong: -Bate "hideous and objectionable" -Anderson wrote that the plans "would shake our government, both state and Confederate, to their very foundations." -Stewart thought the proposal was "at war with my social, moral and political principles." One of Cleburne's own staff officers read a statement against the proposal to the group. Hindman was in favor of the proposal, though would not put anything in writing. Hardee likely in favor as well. Walker later wrote Bragg that the proposal was at odds with "all the teachings of my youth and the mature sentiments of my manhood." Walker gathered the reactions he could from the participants and sent them to Jefferson Davis in an effort to get the proposal scuttled, which he did. One copy of the paper was preserved, which is how it eventually became known. After all of these years it can be easy to lose sight of how strongly some of these men felt about their beliefs and how set they were in what they were doing. A full copy of the proposal is here: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/patrick-cleburnes-proposal-arm-slaves
5
0
21
long2821
Jan 10, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
S.D. Lee received some due praise this week on the podcast. I read this older biography, General Stephen D. Lee by Herman Hattaway, of the general recently. Lee had a unique history in the war. He was on Beauregard's staff during the time of Fort Sumter and participated in the surrender negotiations with Major Anderson. After joining the famed Hampton Legion in his native South Carolina he became captain of artillery, rising through the artillery ranks serving in prominent roles at both Second Manassas and Antietam. Following Antietam he went west ending up under Pemberton at Vicksburg, setup the defenses at Chickasaw Bayou and played a prominent role attempting to hold the critical crossroads at Champion Hill. Lee was one of a few generals to advise against surrender before Pemberton capitulated in July. After his parole he took command of cavalry in Mississippi with Forest ending up under his command. Given the prickly personality of Forrest, Lee appears to have gotten along with Forrest about as well as other senior leaders. This is a common theme with Lee that I took from the book. Lee was able to to work in multiple environments and get along reasonably well with both his subbordinates and his commanders, having served in artillery, infantry, and cavalry and been in both the Eastern and Western theaters. Ultimately rising to Lieutenant General and joining Hood's army in command of a Corps, Lee went through quite a rise through the ranks. The author describes Lee as "going about his job methodically and quietly." and this seems an appropriate description. Later in life Lee would also become superintendent of the Vicksburg National Military Park helping to preserve and protect the battlefield.
2
0
21
long2821
Jan 07, 2021
In Book Club
For those that have started reading, or already completed, Black Iron Mercy, what do you think of it generally? Not looking for spoilers, just general impression of the work. I have listened to the descriptions in the podcast, but admittedly I am on the fence about buying this one. I have a strong preference for non-fiction and rarely read fiction. I have read a few of Jeff Shaara's works, but otherwise not read any other fiction in the past several years.
2
4
58
long2821
Jan 06, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
Given the new podcast focus on Vicksburg, there is a timely post on ECW today about Tim Smith's recent Vicksburg work The Union Assaults at Vicksburg. The book provides a great deep dive on the failed May 19 and 22 assaults at Vicksburg. I enjoyed the read and recommend the book, though might not recommend if you have not read anything else about Vicksburg. The overall campaign is quite significant in scope and time, so it would probably help to take a look at the the high level before diving into the May 19 and 22 assaults. There is much to unpack in the campaign moving through Grant's attempts to get across the Mississippi to Vicksburg, the eventual crossing below Vicksburg, battles at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River Bridge and then eventually Vicksburg itself. The best overall work, in my opinion, is the Ed Bearss trilogy if you can get your hands on it and really want to dive deep. Savas Beatie is doing a reprint. The originals can be expensive, I had to get a used set online. In smaller works former park historian Terry Winschel has some collections of essays published in book form, Donald Miller's recent Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy, and Michael Ballard's Vicksburg Campaign are good. Warren Grabau's Ninety-Eight Days is an interesting look bringing Grabau's background as a geologist to the campaign study. Grabau has some great topographic maps in the book and worked with Bearss in his time researching and writing the book.
2
11
27
long2821
Jan 04, 2021
In Western Theatre
There was mention that Chickasaw Bayou might be covered on the podcast this week. There is a great tour from Tim Smith that was recently posted to Youtube. The video provides some perspective of the ground and gives an idea of the heights that the Federal forces were facing after debarking from the boats. Credit to Pemberton and S.D. Lee here for getting their limited force deployed in good defensive ground and stopping a much larger force. One subtlety in regards to Chickasaw Bayou that can get lost is the connection between Forrest's and Van Dorn's cavalry raids going on around the same time. These cavalry operations not only destroyed the Federal depot at Holly Springs, it cut Grant's communication with Sherman for a time, and forced Grant to re-deploy some of his force to chase the cavalry. This movement then allowed Pemberton to re-deploy some of his limited force to stop Sherman.
1
2
28
long2821
Jan 03, 2021
In Western Theatre
I caught up on the podcast this week and enjoyed the content. Along with the discussion of the significant role of Sheridan's force in stopping the Confederate advance, I think Hazen's brigade deserves significant credit as well for holding the round forest position. Interestingly the monument to Hazen's brigade at Stones River is also the oldest Civil War monument standing in it's original location. During the podcast there was discussion of how the Federals were being pushed back to their supply line, which is a key point. In this way I see similarities between Stones River and Shiloh. In both instances the Confederates initiated the attack with success, however as the Confederates advanced the Federal line was shortening and moving towards a position of strength. In the case of Stones River it was the rail and supply line, at Shiloh it was the river encampment, naval guns and reinforcements. One anecdote from the 29th at Stones River I thought was important in reading Edge of Glory. Rosecrans had ordered Crittenden to send a force across Stones River, before Rosecrans was aware of the Confederate division there. Tom Wood and John Palmer under Crittenden questioned the order, and requested Crittenden call off the movement, but Crittenden wanted the order followed. After some of Wood's division was repulsed, the advance was stopped and Rosecrans rode to the area. Rosecrans in this instance approved of Wood's questioning the order to advance and sustained him. Yet, at Chickamauga it was Wood who would pull his division out of line on the 20th, following orders, leaving a gap that Longstreet would punch through. The way these various engagements tie themselves together and the tangled relationships between the characters is something I always enjoy reading.
4
2
41
long2821
Jan 03, 2021
In Civil War Book Enabling
Related to the podcast this week, I would recommend The Edge of Glory by William Lamers for anyone that would like to dig deeper into Rosecrans. The author wrote from a number of personal papers from Rosecrans from public archives as well as in the hands of family descendants. It is the most complete look at the general that I have personally read. Rosecrans was an interesting character, outspoken, and definitely dug a hole for himself at times with his relationships. Among others he had difficulties with Grant after Iuka, with Secretary Stanton, and some disputes with Garfield after Chickamauga. Near the beginning of the book the author provides his description of Rosecrans including, "He possessed virtues and excellencies, some to an heroic degree. He was blessed with a brilliant, resourceful mind, and prodigious energy. No general, North or South, surpassed him in personal leadership, or in his courage in taking necessary risks on the battlefield. His patriotism and personal probity could not be questioned. But in excess his virtues sometimes became faults. He made enemies unwisely and needlessly. A perfectionist, he was critical and impatient of slipshod performance in others, yet he had himself some difficulty in delegating responsibility. He was no compromiser. He could be short of temper and long of tongue. Generally he was kindly and courteous to his inferiors, and sometimes brusque with his superiors." As to the subject of the podcast this week at Stones River, one anecdote I enjoy that is cited in several places, including this book, is regarding Rosecrans interaction with a Colonel in Crittenden's Corps that was being left to guard a ford as Rosecrans shifted Crittenden's Corps to reinforce his crumbling right: "Rosecrans becoming concerned about his now exposed left rode to Crittenden's remaining brigade. ""Will you hold this ford?" "I will try, sir", answered Colonel Price. "Will you hold this ford?" Rosecrans asked again. "I will die right here," he said. "Will you hold this ford?" "Yes, sir," Price replied. Rosecrans nodded. "That will do." " Overall I found it to be a good read and worth tracking down a copy.
3
2
15
l

long2821

More actions