Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Great Gettysburg Photo

Originally uploaded by Green Destiny
A beautiful photo at Gettysburg that was taken by a tourist and posted on flickr. I liked it so much that I thought that I would share it with my readers. It is a great view of the sunset near the angle and I love the use of the statue and the cannon. A great view of the "High Tide of the Confederacy".

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fort Battery Wagner

Today, 145 years ago the 54th Massachusetts Regiment attacked an unattainable position at Fort Battery Wagner, South Carolina. The All-black regiment was led by a white colonel named Robert Gould Shaw. Colonel Shaw was killed, along with one-hundred and sixteen of his men. Another hundred and fifty-six were wounded or captured. The regiment's bravery and sacrifice destroyed any stereotypes that white soldiers had about black soldiers. A newspaper write wrote of the regiment "The Fifty-fourth did well and nobly. . . . They moved up as gallantly as any troops could, and with their enthusiasm they deserved a better fate." The 1989 film Glory tells the story of the 54th. After the battle the Confederates did not feel that the black troopers were worth a grain of salt. They unceremoniously buried in a mass grave and Shaw was buried in the burial pit with his soldiers. The poor burial choice reinforced the public's feelings towards the regiment. Black history would never be the same and the race was well on its way to recieve the American citizenship that they so much deserved.

A casualty list for the regiment can be found here:



Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Generals Graveyard: The Battle of Franklin

The Confederate charge at Franklin completely destroyed a Confederate army and became the final major Confederate assault of the war. The cost of the battle is best told by the official casualty numbers, 1,750 men were killed and another 3,800 were wounded. An estimated 2000 others suffered less serious wounds. But the biggest loss for the Confederacy was in its officer ranks which were decimated in the attack.

Fifteen Confederate generals (6 killed or mortally wounded, 8 wounded, and 1 captured) and 53 regimental commanders were casualties.

Divisional Commanders KIA

Major-General Patrick Cleburne

Brigade Commanders KIA

Brig. Gen. John Adams
Brig. Gen. Hiram B. Granbury
Brig. Gen. States Rights Gist
Brig. Gen. Otho F. Strahl

Brigade Commanders Mortally Wounded

Brig. Gen. John C. Carter

Brigade Commanders Wounded

Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault
Brig. Gen. Thomas M. Scott
Brig. Gen. Francis M. Cockrell
Brig. Gen. William A. Quarles
Brig. Gen. Zachariah C. Deas
Brig. Gen. John C. Brown
Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault
Brig. Gen. Ellison Capers

Brigade Commanders Captured

Brig. Gen. George W. Gordon

As Shelby Foote once put it "The flower of the army fell" at Franklin. That may be true but surely no other battle in Civil War history claimed more top commanders than the Battle of Franklin. The leadership of the Army of Tennessee had been shot away. Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham's Corp command suffered the highest number of high command casualties. Its casualty list included; Cleburne, Granbury, Brown, Gist, Carter, Strahl were killed or wounded. Gordon became the seventh officer lost when he was captured. Lt. General Alexander P. Stewart's corps suffered as well and four of its generals were killed or wounded (Adams, Scott, Cockrell & Quarles).

I hope that everybody is enjoying their summers!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just a cut and paste

Many Blogs ago I wrote about General Albert Pike in my Fogotten Generals of the Civil War Series. On July 12, 1861 Pike was involved in a key treaty with several Native American Tribes. Today's blog is just a cut and paste from History Channel.com but I think it is a great read.

Special commissioner Albert Pike completes treaties with the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes, giving the new Confederate States of America several allies in Indian Territory. Some members of the tribes also fought for the Confederacy.

A Boston native, Pike went west in 1831 and traveled with fur trappers and traders. He settled in Arkansas and became a noted poet, author, and teacher. He bought a plantation and operated a newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate. By 1837 he was practicing law and often represented Native Americans in disputes with the federal government.

Pike was opposed to secession but nonetheless sided with his adopted state when it left the Union. As ambassador to the Indians, he was a fortunate addition to the Confederacy, which was seeking to form alliances with the tribes of Indian Territory. Besides the agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, Pike also engineered treaties with the Creek, Seminole, Comanche, and Caddos, among others.

Ironically, many of these tribes had been expelled from the Southern states in the 1830s and 1840s but still chose to ally themselves with those states during the war. The grudges they held against the Confederate states were offset by their animosity toward the federal government. Native Americans were also bothered by Republican rhetoric during the 1860 election. Some of Abraham Lincoln's supporters, such as William Seward, argued that the land of the tribes in Indian Territory should be appropriated for distribution to white settlers. When the war began in 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered all posts in Indian Territory abandoned to free up military resources for use against the Confederacy, leaving the area open to invasion by the Confederates.

By signing these treaties, the tribes severed their relationships with the federal government, much in the way the southern states did by seceding from the Union. They were accepted into the Confederates States of America, and they sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederate government promised to protect the Native American's land holdings and to fulfill the obligations such as annuity payments made by the federal government.

Some of these tribes even sent troops to serve in the Confederate army, and one Cherokee, Stand Watie, rose to the rank of brigadier general

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th thoughts

Everybody celebrates the Declaration of Independence, shoots off fireworks and cooks hotdogs on Independence Day but I cannot help but think of other things. Yes I am biased but the twin victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg are rarely thought of as we bite into our ketchup covered hotdogs. Those victories were key to Union victory and set the stage for the end of the most destructive war on North American soil. It saddens me that this day is so focused on July 4, 1776 and we rarely recall the importance of July 4, 1863 when two towns, one in the north and one in the south had the war brought to their doorsteps and the country was saved on their farms. Yes I agree that we need to remember John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin but we also have to remember the heroes that saved the country that they founded and the men of blue and gray who fought over the ideals that they were unable to resolve. Colonel William C. Oates, Colonel Josh Chamberlian, Sam Watkins, Joseph E. Johnston, "Sam" Hood, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, Robert E. Lee, and the countless thousands met in mortal combat for four long years. To think that this day is only about 1776. July 4, 1863 is equally important and deserves its place in our collective memory.

I also added a new link. Check out http://www.echoesofgettysburg.com/index.html for some really cool insight, artifacts and photos of Gettysburg.

ALSO CHECK OUT http://www.cspan.org/lincoln200years/

Friday, July 4, 2008

Today the most famous retreat in American History began

Today, 145 years ago General Robert E. Lee issued these orders which began the long retreat back to Virginia. The Army of Northern Virginia had just been soundly defeated at Gettysburg and the demoralized southern forces picked up the wounded that they could and started for home.

General ORDERS, No. 74.

July 4, 1863.

I. The army will vacate its position this evening. General A. P. Hill's corps will commence the movement, withdrawing from its position after dark, and proceed on the Fairfield road to the pass in the mountains, which it will occupy, selecting the strongest ground for defense toward the east; General Longstreet's corps Will follow, and General Ewell's corps bring up the rear. These two latter corps will proceed through and go into camp. General Longstreet's corps will be charged with the escort of the prisoners, and will habitually occupy the center of the line of march. General Ewell's and General Hill's corps will alternately take the front and rear on the march.
II. The trains which accompany the army will habitually move between the leading and the rear corps, each under the charge of their respective chief quartermasters. Lieutenant-Colonel [James L.] Corley, chief quartermaster of the army, will regulate the order in which they shall move. Corps commanders will see that the officers remain with their trains, and that they move steadily and quietly, and that the animals are properly cared for.
III. The artillery of each corps will move under the charge of their respective chiefs of artillery, the whole under the general superintendence of the commander of the artillery of the army.
IV. General Stuart will designate a cavalry command, not exceeding two squadrons, to precede and follow the army in its line of march, the commander of the advance reporting to the commander of the leading corps, the commander of the rear to the commander of the rear corps. He will direct one or two brigades, as he may think proper, to proceed to Cash town this afternoon, and hold that place until the rear of the army has passed Fairfield, and occupy the gorge in the mountains; after crossing which, to proceed in the direction of Greencastle, guarding the right and rear of the army on its march to Hagerstown and Williamsport. General Stuart, with the rest of the cavalry, will this evening take the route to Emmitsburg, and proceed thence toward Cavetown and Boonsborough, guarding the left and rear of the army.
V. The commanding general earnestly exhorts each corps commander to see that every officer exerts the utmost vigilance, steadiness, and boldness during the whole march.

R. E. LEE,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

President Garfield was shot yesterday

Yesterday was the 127th Anniv. of the assassination of a Civil War veteran who was serving as our nation's president. James A. Garfield was murdered by Charles Guiteau as he was waiting for a train to take him to Williams College where he was scheduled to make a speech. Like Lincoln, President Garfield had not bodyguards and he was shot from behind at point blank range. One of the witnesses to the assassination was Robert Todd Lincoln who was the only surviving son of our beloved 16th President. Guiteau was apprehended and his purpose for murdering Garfield hinged on his belief that the Republican Party was divided over Garfields presidency and only his murder would solve the problem. President Garfield lingered for several months and died on September 19, 1881. Doctors had been unable to locate and remove the bullet that drove itself deep into his back and infection and other issues led to his demise. Ironcally, inventor Alexander Graham Bell probed the wound with a "metal detector" but the metal bed frame made the device useles. Nobody thought to try it again on different type of bedframe.

Most historians and medical experts now believe that Garfield probably would have survived his wound had the doctors attending him been more capable. Several inserted their unsterilized fingers into the wound to probe for the bullet, and one doctor punctured Garfield's liver in doing so. This alone would not have brought about death as the liver is one of the few organs in the human body that can regenerate itself. However, this physician probably introduced Streptococcus bacteria into the President's body and that caused blood poisoning for which at that time there were no antibiotics. Vice-President Chester A. Arthur who had hired a substitute to serve in his place during the Civil War replace Garfield as President. After a State Funeral, Garfield's body was taken to Cleveland where another short funeral was held. He is buried in Mentor, Ohio which is just east of Cleveland.

Guiteau's trial was a national sensation and he even tried to plead insanity so he could avoid the death penalty. He was so vain that he provided a New York newspaper writer with a autobiography and followed that with a personal ad for any lady under thirty years old! He even claimed that the doctors had killed Garfield by their poor medical techinques and that he was only guilty for shooting Garfield. Guiteau's insanity defense, his brash attitude and his unwilingness to take responsibilty for his crime led to his conviction and his death sentence. His only appeal was rejected and on June 30, 1882, Guiteau was hanged to death. Even before his death, Charles Guiteau continued his brash, vain, over confident style. He recited a poem as his "final words" and even requested that music be played during his "speech". The request for the strings was denied but below is Charles Guiteau's final words.

The Prisoner's Last Words
(June 30, 1882)
I am now going to read some verses which are intended to
indicate my feelings at the moment of leaving this world. If set to music they may be rendered very effective. The idea is that of a child babbling to his mamma and his papa. I wrote it this morning about ten o'clock:

I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lordy.
I love the Lordy with all my soul,
Glory hallelujah!
And that is the reason I am going to the Lord,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lord.
I saved my party and my land,
Glory hallelujah!
But they have murdered me for it,
And that is the reason I am going to the Lordy,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lordy!
I wonder what I will do when I get to the Lordy,
I guess that I will weep no more
When I get to the Lordy!
Glory hallelujah!
I wonder what I will see when I get to the Lordy,
I expect to see most glorious things,
Beyond all earthly conception
When I am with the Lordy!
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am with the Lord.