Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
"On the morning of April 6, 1862, Confederates commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston roared into Grant's encampment around Pittsburg Landing, beginning the bloodiest battle of the war. It would be remembered by the name of the little whitewashed church around which some of the fiercest early fighting swirled - Shiloh, a Hebrew word meaning "place of peace.""
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Curtis placed his 1st Division in a defensive posture along Brush Creek. He placed his 2nd Division of men on the right flank of the 1st. For those that don't know this Brush Creek flows through present day Kansas City. Seeing that Curtis was going to receive reinforcements Price hoped to strike before the extra troops arrived. His overall plan was a good as any general could create under the circumstances. To protect his flank and prevent Curtis' reinforcements from arriving too soon, Price placed a division under John S. Marmaduke across Byram's Ford. This would effectively block the reinforcements for the time being but would weaken Price's overall force.At dawn on October 23, 1864 Price attacked and drove the Union forces back. Curtis counter-attacked and he managed to force Price back across Brush Creek. During the next four hours the ground changed hands several times until a small brigade under Thomas Moonlight attacked the Confederate flank via a small ravine. Price ordered his men to fall back and reestablish a new defensive front. General Curtis smelled blood and ordered a attack just as his reinforcements approached Confederate general Marmadukes' division. With the Union army converging on three sides Sterling Price ordered a retreat.
The results of the Battle of Westport were obvious. The overall result was a Union victory and Prices Missouri Expedition failed. The National Parks Service reports that around 1,500 men fell on both sides during the contest. Westport was the decisive battle of Prices Missouri Expedition, and from this point on, the Rebels were in retreat. Also, it marked the last time that a Confederate army invaded a northern state. Moreover, it was the last time that the United States itself was invaded by a "foreign" army. We've been safe ever since. The largest battle ever fought west of the Mississippi and its aftermath made the Battle of Westport the "Gettysburg of the Trans-Mississippi Department".A book written by Paul Jenkins in 1906 sought recognition for the Battle of Westport. The book was a minor success and it fostered interest in the battle and a preservation effort in the Kansas City area. In 1923 the city issued ordinances recognizing the site as a historical monument. This allowed the battlefield's supporters to lobby Congress who made the area a national military park in 1924. This did not protect the battlefield from businesses disturbing the battlefield by building factories and stores in the area. By 1962, two large factories existed on the land the battlefield was seriously endangered.In 1958 the national military park received a new supporter. Former President Harry Truman helped form the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City. This group created and funded several projects on the Westport battlefield but since much of the land was in private hands their efforts have been stymied. Today, the group seeks to restore the battlefield to its 1864 condition and further information is located at http://www.battleofwestport.org/ A wonderful video entitled Saving KC's battlefield is also located at this website. If you are a Civil War buff who is interested in battlefield preservation you have to watch that video. Donations are accepted as well.
As a useless sidenote both Curtis and Price would survive the war but neither man lived for long after its conclusion. Price died in 1867 and Curtis passed on into the next world in 1866. And the rest is left to history.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
"Tell Hill he must come up. Strike the tent."
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Army of Northern Virginia Created June 1862
Gaines Mill* 1-0
Malvern Hill* 0-1
Second Manassas 2-1
The Wilderness 5-3
Cold Harbor 7-3
Petersburg to Appommattox** 7-5
Winning Percentage & Record=58.3%, 7-5-0
Army of Tennessee Created Noivember 20, 1862 under the command of General Braxton Bragg
Stones River*** Tie
Kennesaw Mt. Win
Peachtree Creek Loss
Battle of Atlanta Loss
Ezra Church Loss
Winning Percentage & Record= 20%, 2-8-1
*I didn't include all the Battles of the Seven Days here. I only included the two major battles of the campaign. Some argue that the Seven Days struggle was a tie but I will go with my opinion here.
**This includes the final battles of Petersburg until Lee's surrender. The Battle of Five Forks is included here.
***Some argue that the Battle of Stones River was a victory for the Confederacy. Some other historians argue that it was a tie. I will go with the latter rather than the former.
What does all this mean? What is my point here? I think that a lot of people put the Army of Northern Virginia ahead of the Army of Tennessee. The record of each army invites this as you see one army enjoying seven or more victories and the other enjoying only two victories. To put it simply the Army of Northern Virginia had just one commander as its leader from June 1862 until April 1865. This propelled Lee into becoming one of the greatest generals of all time. Meanwhile, the Army of Tennessee endured the commands of Bragg, Johnston, Hood, Taylor, Stewart and Johnston again. So from Nov. 1862 until April 26, 1865 the western army of the Confederacy had six command changes. However, despite having more defeats and lack of manpower the Army of Tennessee held out longer before surrendering at the end of April 1865. Both armies fought bravely but one had the discinction of having many more of its needs fulfilled. In many ways both armies were like two children. One child got all the latest gadgets, new clothes and was allowed to stay out later. The stepchild (Army of Tennessee) got the smaller room, the "hand-me-downs" and had to be home by curfew.
Over the years many books have been written about the army and I will include best of the best at the end of this blog. Personally, I have always had a special place in my heart for the Army of Tennessee. It was a good fighting force with men who sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears for the Confederacy. Just like the Union Army of the Ohio the Army Tennessee is rarely remembered except for its defeats at Franklin and Atlanta. I will write more about this army in a future blog. Until then goodbye.
Great books on the Army of Tennessee:
Connelly, Thomas Lawrence. Army of the Heartland; The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1862. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967.
Connelly, Thomas Lawrence. Autumn of Glory; The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971.
Daniel, Larry J. Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
Hood, John Bell. Advance and Retreat Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States Armies. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.
Hughes, Nathaniel Cheairs. The Pride of the Confederate Artillery The Washington Artillery in the Army of Tennessee. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997.
Horn, Stanley Fitzgerald. The Army of Tennessee. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953.
Johnston, Joseph E. Narrative of Military Operations, Directed, During the Late War between the States. New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1874.
Sherman, William T. Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. Library of America, 51. New York: Library of America, 1990.
Watkins, Samuel R. Co. Aytch: A Side Show of the Big Show. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Woodworth, Steven E. Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West. Modern war studies. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 1990.
Woodworth, Steven E. Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
A great website on the Army of Tennessee and the Union army of the Cumberland is located here:http://www.aotc.net/Bragg_home.htm#AoT
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
In 1982 Jay felt saddended over the end of the camping season and sought solace in his music. The return to normal life after spending a few months in the woods where intrapersonal relationships flourished bothered Jay. Mr. Ungar felt that technology and capitalism had made life stale and impersonal so he attempted to create a piece of music that best represented that feeling of loss. This is how the Ashokan Farewell was created. After spending time plucking away at his violin strings Jay produced a song that moved him so much that even he was speechless. He later stated "By the time the tune took form, I was in tears. I kept it to myself for months." The song was completed when Ungar worked with several other people to produce a guitar, bass and sting portion. He used the song on his next record in 1983 but the tune wouldn't reach national attention for another seven years.
In 1990 Ken Burns released a documentary about the Civil War that took him nearly five years to complete. Burns sought a picture that utualized the photographs and music of the period. However, for the shows theme song he picked Ungar's Ashokan Farewell and used it throughout the film. The recording is heard twenty five times throughout the eleven hour film. In fact, the Ashokan Farewell plays for a grand total of 59 minutes and 33 seconds! The song outplays any other tune that Burns used which is surprising because it is not vintage Civil War era music.
Monday, October 8, 2007
The Federal toll:The Wilderness, May 5-7: 17,666 Spotsylvania, May 10 and 12:Petersburg, June 15-30 16,569 These total 61,315, with rolls of the missing incomplete.During the Battle of Cold Harbor the 25th Massachusetts lost 70% of its fighting force which amounted to 310 men. What the Mrs. Lincoln didn't realize is that beating Robert E. Lee was no easy task. Sacrifices had to be made and Grant felt that the best way to win was to attack the Army of Northern Virginia and win the war off attrition. His enemy was protecting itself behind entrenchments and only assumed the offensive a short distance from its defensive shields. In his report Grant stated that the offensive was the only course of action that he could take because the enemy was unwilling to attack him directly. The ever aggressive Lee backed down from the offensive and sought to protect his dwindling forces. The Confederate commander hoped that bloody repulses would fuel anti-war sentiment in the north and hopefully the north would give up. Grant had no choice but to attack.This blog isn't meant to defend U.S. Grant but if you look at the losses sustained it should shock you. To think that over 60,000 men were lost in just two months of fierce struggle is hard for the mind to comprehend. General Meade wrote his wife "The papers are giving Grant all the credit of what they call successes; I hope they will remember this if anything goes wrong."
10,920 Drewry's Bluff, May 12-16 4,160 Cold Harbor, June 1-3: 12,000