Thursday, February 28, 2008

A rare picture and a cool link

Here is an interesting link for Lincoln's funeral train and the cool thing about it is that it provides the railroad timetable for the entire journey. You can click on each city and I think its a pretty cool link.

Also, here is a picture of the President's funeral march through downtown Buffalo. It is the only known pic of the Lincoln funeral procession in Buffalo. Its a great find that I want to share with my readers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Great Shelby Foote line depicting the Battle of Antietam

"It came in gray, with a pearly mist that shrouded the fields and woodlands, and it came with a crash of musketry, backed by the deeper roar of cannonfire that mounted in volume and intensity until it was continuous, jarring the earth beneath the feet of the attackers and defenders."

Wow! What a picture those word portray. I can just see Joseph Hookers men marching towards the cornfield and both sides exchanging musket and cannon fire. This quote is something that I want to be a part of my blog. Great stuff.

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War, a Narrative. Volume 1., New York: Random House, 1958 pg. 688.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Forgotten Battles of the Civil War The Battle of Dranesville: December 20, 1861

After the battle of First Bull Run both armies sat idle along the Potomac. Union General George McCellan and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston drilled their men and provided them with the training needed to serve out four years of hardship. Twenty-five miles lay between the two armies. Johnstons men were encamped at Centerville and the Army of Potomac sat at Virginia Hills near Washington D.C. As the ranks of both sides swelled their respective quartermasters complained that more food was needed to feed these huge armies. The armies that “Little Mac” and Joe Johnston led were the largest ever assembled by the Americans, neither knew of the oppositions struggles and both generals sent out forgers to find supplies.

Five days before Christmas both men (without knowing that the other had done so) decided on a lush area of farmland just west of Dransville, Virginia. At daylight on December 20, 1861 the entire wagon train of the Confederate army was on the move to Dransville. With them were four infantry regiments, an artillery battalion, 150 cavalry men and their commander Brigadier General JEB Stuart. At almost the same time, Union Brig. Gen. E.O.C. Ord left the Federal camps with 5 Pennsylvania regiments, four cannon and a squad of cavalry.

Besides numbers the Union forces had the distinct advantage of a shorter distance between their camp and the farm area of Dransville. Therefore, Ord’s men reached the area before Stuart and by 1 p.m the Union general had received word that a sizeable Confederate force had been spotted in the region. Lt. Col. Thomas Kane, the commander of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Rifles quickly moved his regiment to a hill that commanded the area. (Known as Drane Hill) Kane men protected the vital intersection between the Leesburg Pike and the Georgetown road. Within moments of moving his men the soldiers under Kane exchanged fire with the Confederates.

In a situation similar to the one faced by Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg (ironically Stuart was involved in that situation too) Stuart hurried his men forward without knowing the total tactical situation surrounding him. Meanwhile, General Ord ordered one regiment and his cavalry to protect the right flank of Kane’s men and deployed his remaining three regiments to the left of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Rifles. Both Stuart and Ord set up their artillery and both sides exchanged shells.

Stuart quickly assessed the situation and his trained eye (he also knew the area well) surmised that Drane Hill was the key to the battlefield. Stuarts attacked Kane’s men with the 10th Alabama and the 11th Virginia but the attack failed. Federal artillery kept the rebels in check and soon the field was littered with gray clad Confederates. Moreover, the Federal gunners were able to disable a portion of Stuarts lone artillery battalion and the future Confederate hero knew that if he was going to attack again then it had to be now or never. Stuart ordered another attack and they consisted of the 6th South Carolina and the 10th Alabama. Both regiments were bloodied already but they made the charge gracefully before falling back from the sheets of Northern fire. Their opposition was the 9th Pennsylvania which was a regiment that would go on to be known as the “Bucktails” regiment.

Union reinforcements under Brig. Gen. John F. Reynolds arrived with his first brigade and word reached Stuart that his forces were completely outnumbered. Faced with two failed assaults, Stuart who had already ordered his trains to return to the Confederate army, ordered a withdrawal. The Federals did not contest Stuarts retreat. That night both Ord and Reynolds gathered up the wounded and returned to the Army of the Potomac. The Southerners returned to the battlefield the following morning and buried their dead comrades.

During the two hour firefight, Ord reported his losses as 7 killed, 61 wounded, and none missing; total, 68. Stuart reported 43 killed, 143 wounded, 8 missing; total, 194. The Federal forces must have numbered at least 5,000; the Confederates between 2,000 and 2,500. Although the Federals had less causalities they paid a higher price in officers. One Lt. Colonel and three captains were wounded during the battle.

One of the more interesting stories of this battle was the plight of Confederate Colonel Thomas Taylor who found himself behind enemy lines as this men engaged the Federals. He remained hidden in the brush as he was surrounded by unknowing men in blue. He doggedly found his way back to his regiment during the evening of December 20th and escaped capture. Moreover, despite his defeat General Stuart labeled the Battle of Dransville as “a glorious success” because he was able to save the entire wagon train placed under his charge by Johnston. General Ord easily and correctly asserted that his men had given the Confederates a payback for the loss at Bull Run and won a victory.

Several Federal regiments had "Dranesville, December 20, 1861," painted on their battle flags in gold colors. It would not be the last time that any of the regiments who fought at Dransville would see the smoke of battle.

Union Order of Battle

Brig. General E.O.C. Ord commanding

1st Pennsylvania Reserve Artillery

6th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry

9th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry

10th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry

12th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry

Confederate Order of Battle

Brig. General James Ewell Brown Stuart commanding

1st Kentucky Volunteers

11th Virginia Volunteers

6th South Carolina Volunteers

10th Alabama Volunteers

Sumter Flying Artillery (four pieces)

1st North Carolina Infantry (100 men)

2nd Virginia Cavalry (50 men)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A.P. Hill the Saviour

History records that Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson called for him on their death beds. Both men were in a state that any last words could have been impossible but if they did call for A.P. Hill it was for a good reason because Hill saved the Confederates from defeat on several occasions.

Their “calls” for Hill were “given” for good reason and I’ve compiled a list of moments that saved the Confederate army from destruction.

August 9, 1862 @ Cedar Mountain, Virginia: Maj. Gen. T.J. Jackson was placed in command of 14,000 men and order by General R.E. Lee to keep Union General John Pope busy. Pope was placed in command of a new army called the Army of Virginia on June 26, 1862. In early August, Pope aggressively marched his men into Culpepper County with the objective of capturing the rail junction at Gordonsville. On August 9, Jackson and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks fought a pitched battle at Cedar Mountain. Back by superior numbers the men in blue easily overcame the graybacks but a Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill’s division repulsed the Union onslaught and won the day. The victory was instrumental to the rebel cause because it shifted Union attention from the Peninsula to Northern Virginia, giving General Lee the initiative.

August 29, 1862 @ Second Manassas, Virginia: Confederate soldiers under both Hill and Jackson were “entrenched” along an unfinished railroad cut near the old Bull Run battlefield. Pope’s men attacked relentlessly but Hill and his men held firm and beat back several attacks. Soon ammunition ran low and Hill quickly asserted that the Union men were massing for another assault. A messenger was dispatched by Hill to inform Jackson of his situation but Jackson responded to Hill that me “must beat” the next attack. Reinforcements and ammo were at a premium but Jacksons only choice was to stand and fight so the rest of Lee’s army could arrive to help. Later, Jackson rode out to Hill and personally told Hill "General, your men have done nobly. If you are attacked again, you will beat the enemy back." As these words were spoken the Union assault began. Hill’s men were successful despite low ammunition and high casualties. When Jackson received a message from Hill that stated "General Hill presents his compliments and says the attack of the enemy was repulsed." A rare smile brightened Jacksons face and he responded to Hill "Tell him I knew he would do it!” Hill held the flank of Jacksons line and had they faltered than the soon to be victory at Second Manassas wouldn’t have occurred.

September 17, 1862 @ Sharpsburg, Maryland: Union troops under General Ambrose Burnside had smashed Lee’s right flank after a fierce contest to cross the lower bridge over Antietam creek. Lee had no more reserves to throw into the fight and both his left and center had been bent back from Union assaults staged earlier. At this point the Confederate army was doomed but if A.P. Hill’s men could reach the battlefield in time then it was possible that the day could still be saved. As Lee watched his men retreat from Burnsides assault he looked to the southwest and noticed a dust cloud. Lee’s heart must have been in his throat because if the dust cloud was the result of Union troops that meant total disaster. If the cloud was a result of Hill’s men then the Army of Northern Virginia could be spared. Lee anxiously asked an aide "Who's troops are those?". His assistant spied the troops through a set of binoculars and after a moment stated "They are flying the Virginia flags.” Lee stretched out his chest and excitedly exclaimed “It is A.P. Hill is from Harper's Ferry!" Hill’s men slammed into Burnside (who was one of Hill’s classmates at West Point) and these fresh Confederate troops beat the men in blue backwards. An aide to Hill later wrote that “the blue line staggered and hesitated, and hesitating, was lost.” Lee’s flank was saved and the legend of A.P. Hill saving the Army of Northern Virginia from destruction was created.

Three times in less than two months put Hill in position to save the Army of Northern Virginia and he did so with earnestness and zeal. Both Cedar Mountain and Sharpsburg had solidified Hill’s reputation as a Confederate savior and perhaps put him on the lips of both Jackson and Lee as they lay dying. These actions made General Hill a member of the pantheon of Confederate heroes and backed up Lee’s thesis that “I consider A.P. Hill the best commander with me. He fights his troops well and takes good care of them.” Hill would go on to receive a promotion to Lieutenant General but a mysterious malady would plague him for the rest of the war. (James Robertson once stated that Hill was suffering from Syphilis obtained during his early army days.)


The Official Records

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

Perhaps the best webpage on any Civil War general

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents Day

Here is a funny story I heard about William T. Sherman and Braxton Bragg. It also fits as a joke for Presidents Day. Before the war Sherman and Bragg were friends. Braxton helped get Sherman a job at the Lousina Military Institute prior to the firing on Fort Sumpter. Upon resigning his post at the Institute on Feb. 17 Sherman bide farewell to the men that his future army would battle against. The tearful farewell was followed by a tea party with Mrs. Braxton Bragg, Sherman and Bragg himself.

During the get together Bragg complianed that Confederate President Jefferson Davis did not put him in command of the new Confederate army. Davis went with Beauregard instead.

Mrs. Bragg remarked to Sherman "You know, my husband is not in favor with the new President."

To this Sherman replied "I didn't know that Bragg knew Mr. Lincoln."

Mrs. Bragg responded "I didn't mean your President, but our President."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some cool stuff

Today is Feb. 17, 2008 but on Feb. 17, 1862 a few key events occured that changed naval warfare forever and put one man on path to become the commander of all the Union armies.

First, future U.S. President U.S. Grant was promoted to Major General. He would soon become the commander of all the union armies and thirty-eight months later would bring the Army of Northern Virginia to its knees.

The U.S.S. Merrimack was commissioned as the C.S.S. Virginia and this vessel would change naval warfare forever. The age of the wooden ships was at an end.

This part of my blog has nothing to do with Feb. 17, 1862 but rather a Lincoln quote that I found in Shelby Foote's Civil War narrative. I am still plugging away at Volume One and I hope to finish by the end of the month. The following quote of Lincoln appears on page 535 and it is a statement about the people of New Orleans who were angred by the "aggressive" occupation by Union forces which were led by General Ben Butler. I like this quote because it shows Lincolns desire to stick to his guns despite difficult odds.

Lincoln wrote:

"I am a patient man, always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of repentance. Still, I must save this Government if possible. What I cannot do, of course, I will not do; but it may as well be understood once for all, that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Numbers Game??

Everyone points to the Vicksburg and Gettysburg campaigns as the turning point of the Civil War. SO many people support this view that it is hard to argue against historians like Bruce Catton and James McPherson. Moreover, the supporters of this view have the numbers to back up their thesis. By late May 1863 the Confederate armies were at their strongest and with over 301,000 men serving in their ranks. By the end of the Gettysburg and Vicksburg campaigns the Rebels had suffered (Killed, Wounded, Missing & Captured) 59,338 men. Over 31,200 men were listed as captured, killed, wounded or missing during the Vicksburg campaign. Also, we know Lee’s bloody casualty list at Gettysburg in which 28,063 men were killed, wounded, captured or missing. These were losses that the Confederacy could not afford and it sapped the fighting strength of their armies. Although many men would return to the ranks in prisoner exchanges and recovery from the medical ward, the Confederate armies never had the same offensive capabilities that they had possessed prior to the summer of 1863. This doomed the Confederacy and eliminated any chance of foreign recocignation.

I have to ask this question…could historians be wrong? Could a different combination of back to back campaigning in the eastern and western theatres doomed the Confederacy? Lets use the Seven Days and the Shiloh campaigns as our thesis to prove that the historians got it wrong. Facts: The battle of Shiloh was fought for two days in April 1862 and the Seven Days campaign occurred between June 26-July 1, 1862.

At Shiloh the rebels had 1,723 men killed and 8,012 wounded. This is a grand total of 9,735 men. Moreover, 1,229 men were missing or captured during the two day struggle in Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. This makes the total Confederate causality list at Shiloh to read 10,964. That’s peanuts when compared to Gettysburg but I would like my readers to stick with me because I still have to add the causalities for the Seven Days. I do not want to imply that having more or fewer casualties’ means anything but my point here is that these campaigns severely sapped the Confederates of their armies and even the most polished Civil War historian rarely discusses its significance or tallied the numbers.

After the Seven Days battles were over the Confederates put together their casualty list and it reads as follows; 3,478 killed, 16,261 wounded, 875 missing, and I was unable to find a statistic for captured. This gives the Army of Northern Virginia a grand total of 20,614 killed, wounded and missing.

If you total both campaigns that occurred from April-July 1, 1862 you get an astounding statistic. Nearly 31,578 were killed, missing, wounded and captured during nine total days of combat. That’s an astonishing statistic but it does pale in comparison to the combined rebel losses at Gettysburg/Vicksburg. However, the Vicksburg campaign took place from May 1-July 4, 1863 and that is a month long siege in which most of the rebel causalities were captured during Pemberton’s surrender. The campaign itself took sixty-five days.

If you combine the 65 days for the Vicksburg Campaign and three days for the Battle of Gettysburg you get a grand total of 68 days. In total 59,338 men were rebel casualties and that led to an average of 872 men a day. Meanwhile the two days at Shiloh and the Seven Days Campaign led to 31,578 total and 3,508 men a day. Obviously nine days is a lot shorter than sixty-eight days but you get my point here. For fun I combined the totals off all four campaigns and divided them by the total days of combat. 31,578 + 59,338 = 60,916 men! If you average it out using the 77 total days of combat we reach an astonishing 791 men a day!!!

The Seven Days and the Battle of Pittsburg Landing cost the Confederacy dearly. But the numbers stand up to the Vicksburg/Gettysburg campaigns when you realize that these were men that the Confederacy could not afford to lose. At least in the case of Gettysburg, the Seven Days and Shiloh, were the Confederates were on the offensive, the casualty list bled the Confederacy to death. Perhaps some historians are correct in their belief that Vicksburg/Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War. However, these four campaigns doomed the Confederacy to destruction and one could argue that that is the case for all of the rebel campaigns, I think that the bloody fields of Tennessee and Virginia didn’t ruin the cause or were the turning point but they were the first major campaigns in which the Confederacy suffered the loss of men that they could not replace.

Before I close for today you might be asking “What were the Federal casualties?” The North lost 10,162 men at Shiloh and 9,796 during the Seven Days. They were on the defensive most of the time and did not suffer as many casualties as the Confederates. The totals for both campaigns (counting the missing) reach a grand total of 26,011 men. Therefore, the Confederates lost 5,567 more men than the Federals did due to their almost constant offensive activities during the Seven Days & Shiloh campaigns.

Online Sources used

Book Sources:

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom The Civil War Era. The Oxford history of the United States, v. 6. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War, a Narrative. New York: Random House, 1958.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln

Not much of a blog today but this is Feb. 12 and one hundred and ninety-nine years ago Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States was born. I wanted to wish "Honest Abe" a happy 199th birthday!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Family Relations

Family relationships between generals has always fascinated me. Here is a listing of a few connections between men who served in the Civil War.

Union General George G. Meade, who defeated Lee at Gettysburg was the brother-in-law of Confederate General Henry A. Wise

Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson was the brother-in-law of Confederate General Daniel Harvey Hill

Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill was the brother-in-law of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. Before the war, Hill fought for the hand of Ellen Marcy but lost to Union General George B. McCellan

Union General Phillip St. Cooke was the father-in-law of Confederate General JEB Stuart. During General McCellan's 1862 Virginia Campaign, Stuart made a imfamous ride round McCellan's forces. In vain pursuit was Cooke, an old-line solider who swore alliegence to the Union. "He will regret it but once," Stuart said, "and that will be continuously." Cooke's nephew served with Stuart from 1861-1864 and wrote one of the greatest memoirs of cavalry officer in the Confederate army.


Davis, Burke. Jeb Stuart; The Last Cavalier. New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc. 1957

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War, a Narrative. Volume 1., New York: Random House, 1958.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Invasion that never was

Everybody remembers the Confederate invasions that resulted in the Battles of Gettysburg and Antietam. A handful of others can recall rebel forces under Jubal Early battling at Monocracy and Fort Stevens. However, I doubt that you can find many people who can recall the invasion that never was. This campaign that never occurred will be the focus of todays blog.

As the Army of the Potomac was being trained by Union General George B. McClellan his adversary saw an opportunity to strike. In late September 1861 after the Union defeats at Wilson’s Creek and Bull Run, Confederate General Pierre G.T. Beauregard was planning an offensive. Beauregard wanted to make a sudden trust across the Potomac and divide the Union, east and west, by seizing the trop of territory lying between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie. This would force the Union army to come out from behind its Washington entrenchments and give battle to the men in gray. It was in this location, Beauregard believed, that the decisive battle of the war would take place and total victory for the Confederacy would result. Even the over-confident Beauregard admitted that the odds were long but they were shorter than they would be any time hereafter. It was time to strike while the iron was hot and Beauregard felt that it had to happen as soon as possible. Beauregard believed that if the Confederates remained passive and allowed the North to recover its morale than the war was lost.

His conference to discuss this plan with Confederate President Jefferson Davis occurred on October 1, 1861 in Fairfax, Virginia. His co-general, Joseph E. Johnston nodded with approval as Beauregard hammered out his plan to Davis. Their only disagreement came when Johnston felt that 60,000 men would be needed to accomplish Beauregard’s plan. The Cerole felt differently and told Davis that only 50,000 men would be needed for his invasion plans. Davis was faced with the problem of finding 10- to 20,000 reinforcements for the invasion.

Manpower wasn’t the only thing that was worrying the Mississippian President. The Federal navy had scored victories at various points on the Confederacy’s coast and it was difficult for Davis to pull men from those areas to satisfy Beauregard’s thirst for invasion. The governor of almost every Confederate state was calling of Davis for reinforcements already and Davis foresaw a backlash to any request that would fatten the Virginian armies. The South was threatened in just about every coastal area and wherever Davis looked, the situation was such that to strip one area to aid another in success could lead to a disaster on the weakened front.

Beauregard, continued to urge his plan on the new President and even went so far to state that desperate men must take desperate chances. Whatever territory was lost could be regained with a decisive victory on northern soil. In the end, Jefferson Davis vetoed Beauregard’s plans and the Creole could only shrug in disappointment. This ended the talk of a fall 1861 offensive and put he Confederates into a dispersed defensive posture.

When I read about this fascinating situation in Shelby Foote’s book I was astounded. I never knew of a planned invasion such as this other than reading once that some rebel generals wanted to attack after Bull Run. If one examines Beauregard’s plans they can see that he was right but they were farfetched. I don’t think that the newly formed Confederate army could have supported such an invasion but I do believe that if they could have the war would have ended differently. Moreover, the Creole was correct in some of his assumptions.

If they didn’t strike soon then the war would be lost. In the end is what exactly occurred. The full weight and restored morale of the Federals clamped down on the Confederacy during the campaigns of Donelson, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta and so forth. In the end we will never know if Beauregard was correct in his belief that an 1861 invasion was the best chance for the Southern cause. I guess it is easy to examine this thru the lens of the wars final result that we are all aware of.

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War, a Narrative. Volume 1., New York: Random House, 1958.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Forgotten Battles of the Civil War: The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky Aug. 29-30 1862

The goal of this series is to point out to the reader that so many Civil War battles are forgotten. The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky is no exception to that rule. What amazes me is that the battle was the most complete southern victory of the war and yet when you think of the Battle of Richmond you feel that Virginia is being discussed.

The battle was the second largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. One of the things that intrigued me was the opinion of many historians who refer to the battle. They state that it was the most decisive and complete Confederate victory of the entire war. When I heard about this I thought “Bigger than First Mannasas or Chickamauga?” After studying the battle in preparation for this blog the answer to my question is “yes”.

Like the Battle of Antietam this battle was really three battles. Kingston, Duncannon Lane and in the Richmond Cemetery were these three theatres of combat. In midsummer of 1862 the Confederates sought to rebound from their disastrous defeat at Shiloh. Regaining control of central Tennessee and Kentucky was vital to the Southern cause and Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith knew this to be true. Smith moved 19,000 men from Knoxville toward Cumberland Gap. Meanwhile, Bragg moved 30,000 men from Chattanooga to central Tennessee in preparation for his invasion of Kentucky. The idea of two large invasion forces was logical one and it brought the South an important victory which was unexploited.

As Smiths men marched into Kentucky the rebel cavalry under the command of Col. John S. Scott routed a small Federal force on August 23. Untrained and undisciplined Union forces stationed at Richmond, Kentucky were under the command of Brig. Gens. Mahlon D. Manson and Charles Cruft. The overall Union commander in the area was Major General William (Bull) Nelson who ordered Manson to move his forces from Richmond to Lancaster. Unfortunately, Manson didn’t receive Nelsons message and many Union soldiers would pay for this error.

Instead, General Manson moved his men toward Rogersville (just south of Richmond) and this placed him in the path of a rising Confederate commander named Patrick Cleburne. Brigadier General Patrick Cleburne was an Irish immigrant who had just begun to show the qualities that would earn him the title “Stonewall of the West”. He was a smart, gifted fighter who had the complete confidence of his men and fellow commanders. William Hardee once said “When his division (men) defended, no odds broke his lines; where it attacked, no numbers resisted its onslaught.” The Battle of Richmond would become the proving ground of “Old Pat”, as his men affectionately him.

On August 29, 1862 Cleburne and Manson skirmished and the confederate commander pulled his men back to wait for reinforcements. By this time Gen. Smith had arrived on the battlefield and instructed his aggressive, Irish general to wait for Brigadier General James Churchill’s division to arrive.

As the Confederate assault began Manson noticed that Cleburne was attempting to turn his right flank. To counter this, Manson moved men from his center and left flank to reinforce and extend his right flank. This was a wise move but it weakened his lines elsewhere and the ever aggressive Cleburne quickly took advantage of Manson’s miscalculation. As the entire rebel line advanced, with cavalry attacking Manson’s flanks, General Cleburne was wounded. As he rode around the field directing his men and giving orders a rifle ball entered his left cheek, shattered his lower teeth without touching the bone and passed out through his open mouth. Cleburne was carried from the field and would survive to fight another day.

Meanwhile, General Manson and his men were in desperate trouble. The rebels were hitting him all along the line and his left/center, weakened by reinforcing the right gave way. Within minutes the entire Union line disintegrated and the men in blue began to run. The Federals were routed and the men in butternut nipped at their heels for four miles. As Nelson arrived on the field, Federal troops fell back in disorder to the edge of Richmond. Nelson rallied 2,200 men just south of the town, but three volleys from a wide Confederate advance broke this defense. Scott's cavalry rode west to cut off their retreat, and virtually all of Nelson's army was captured. The Battle of Richmond was over and the Union army was completely defeated.

The battle itself was a disaster for the North but when one glances over the causality list you get a sense that the battle is unlike any other Southern victory. The Confederates had fewer causalities (killed, wounded, captured, missing) than their foe. When you take into account that the south was the attacker these numbers become even more fascinating.

General Nelson’s loss was 206 killed, 844 wounded, and 4,303 missing, for a total of 5,353. Smith’s loss was 98 killed, 492 wounded, and at least 10 missing, for a total of 600. Supporters of the South couldn’t ask for a more complete victory from a tactical standpoint but in the end it went unexploited. Failure by both Bragg and Smith to coordinate their forces in the campaign that ended at Perryville made the Kentucky offensive a Southern defeat. But that was in the future and the Battle of Richmond paved the way north for the marching rebels. Even though victory would come again to the Union, this defeat was more complete than any other Union setback of the entire war. This includes Chickamauga, First Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Kennesaw Mountain and Chancellorsville.

More information on this battle can be found at

A book on the battle can be found here, it looks really good.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Useless fact but interesting

Confederate General Henry Wise was a goveneur of Virginia and served under Robert E. Lee during the infamous Cheat Mountain campaign of 1861. The result of the campaign was the loss of Western Virginia to the Federals and the area would become the state of West Virginia in 1863. But Lee and Wise had another connection that I did not know about. Wise had a brother-in-law who defeated Lee at Gettysburg.......his name......George G. Meade!