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The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary

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If we sat around, ESPN-style, discussing the two main armies of the eastern theater, and specifically their respective performances at Gettysburg, the 'matchup analysis', so to speak, would be fascinating. Actually a true matchup analysis would be difficult; we would be more apt to compare/contrast various elements of each army.

Lee vs. Meade: pretty lopsided, even though you have to give the Union commander credit for a competent performance (which would vault him over the battlefield performance of virtually every other eastern theater army commander). Even 'off-his-game', as Lee appears to be here, he is still a first ballot hall-of-famer, without peer.

CSA Corps Commanders vs. USA Corps Commanders - edge to the Nationals here, as Hancock lives up to his name, superbly overcoming Sickles insubordination to plug the Union line with whatever units he could find. Longstreet's fine ACW record is marred by his performance at Gettysburg, Ewell's reputation was ruined by it, A.P. Hill is virtually missing-in-action.

Cavalry - again, edge to the Union; while Stuart is attempting to duplicate his ride around McClellan, the Federal troopers are demonstrating from Brandy Station to the end of the campaign that the once dominant superiority of the Confederate mounted forces is a thing of the past.

So the discussion might continue, perceiving slight advantages here and there, acknowledging the mistakes made on both sides, highlighting brilliant performances, etc, etc.

At some point you would come to a discussion of the respective artillery chiefs. Although the 150 gun cannonade preceding the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimbe assault was under the capable direction of Edward Porter Alexander, the overall command of the rebel guns was under William Nelson Pendleton. It is one of the great mysteries of the Civil War that he held that position from First Manassas until Appomattox (although in the last two years his duties were mainly administrative); he simply was never up to the task. When compared to the performance of the Union artillery chief, we find the biggest edge anywhere on the battlefield.

If you picked an MVP or Man of the Match for Gettysburg, Hancock would be a popular choice, and not without merit. But for my money, no one individual was more important to the decisive Union victory than Brig. Gen. Hunt.

If you are looking for one person who was a difference maker at Gettysburg, it was Henry J. Hunt.

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UNION ARTILLERY

BRIGADIER GENERAL HENRY JACKSON HUNT

Henry Hunt was the great gunner general of the Civil War. He was too stuffy and conservative, too stiff, too "Old Army" to ever be popular with his men, but his prompt action and decisive direction of the artillery arm of the Army of the Potomac had already been crucial to several battles in the two years before Gettysburg.

Hunt had a genius for organization, and his keen knowledge of the science of gunnery drew admiration even--perhaps especially--from his Confederate foes, who ruefully considered the Union artillery the best in the world. Hunt believed in dense salvos of gunfire from massed batteries, amply supplied. At the same time, however, he sternly preached that each gun crew should fire sparingly, taking the time to carefully acquire a target before each shot. Even in the hottest action, he considered a gun firing at a rate quicker than one round every two minutes to be firing wildly, wasting ammunition. (One story told about him was that when one of his artillery officers appealed for more ammunition in the midst of a battle, Hunt scolded him, "Young man, are you aware that every round you fire costs $2.67?") A crew that fired up all its ammunition was probably just anxious to hitch up the guns and head rearward, he thought, so he forbade any battery to retire just because the chests were empty; batteries were required to send the caissons back for resupply and then sit under fire--every man at his post--while they waited for it to return. He liked to focus every available gun on one Confederate battery at a time, and when that one was pulverized move on to the next.

Hunt was born into a military family in the frontier outpost which was Detroit in 1819 (he would be forty-four at Gettysburg). As an eight-year-old boy, he accompanied his father, an infantry officer, on the expedition that established Fort Leavenworth. Orphaned at age ten, he graduated from West Point at twenty and chose the artillery arm of the service. He earned fame for his bravery a few years later in the Mexican War, when he ran his field piece right up to an enemy cannon and destroyed it in a muzzle-to-muzzle duel. By 1856, he was already one of the most distinguished authorities on the gunner's art in the Regular Army, chosen as a member of a three-man board to review light artillery tactics. The report of the board was adopted in 1860 and served as the "bible" for artillerymen on both sides in the Civil War.

After the Civil War began, Hunt made himself conspicuous in its first battle, heroically covering the retreat of the Union army from an exposed position with his four-gun battery at Bull Run. By the time of the Peninsula Campaign the next spring, he was already the new Army of the Potomac's top gunner, commander of its Artillery Reserve. At the end of that campaign, at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862, he directed his massed, well-sited guns "as if he were an organist pulling the stops" according to one admirer, causing such slaughter to the Rebel attackers that the battle was won almost without the aid of the infantry.

Hunt was promoted to brigadier general in September 1862, and made Chief of Artillery by commanding Maj. Gen. George McClellan in the middle of the Maryland Campaign. An immediate indication of Hunt's value to the Union army was the nickname the Confederate veterans gave to the climactic Battle of Antietam on September 17: "Artillery Hell."

At the army's next battle, Fredericksburg, in December, Hunt spent a week or more posting 140 guns in a line on the Stafford Heights on the Union side of the Rappahannock River. It was Hunt's intimidating array which deterred Lee's army from any thought of counterattacking the decimated and otherwise vulnerable blue infantry formations as they staggered away from their disastrous assault on the Rebel stronghold.

The army's next commander, Maj. Gen. Joe Hooker, for some reason had an unfortunate antipathy to Hunt, and stripped him of his command of the guns, leaving him with only administrative duties. This cost the Federal army dearly at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, where the traditional advantages in the quality and volume of fire of the Yankee batteries were squandered through mismanagement, a fact that was missed by nobody. A sadder, wiser Hooker restored Hunt to his active battlefield role on the third day of the battle, but by that time Hooker was already beaten and preparing to retreat.

Thus, as the Army of the Potomac headed toward Pennsylvania in the early summer of 1863, Hunt's value was freshly vindicated and universally acknowledged. When Maj. Gen. George Meade took command three days before Gettysburg, the army had a new chief who was very much like Hunt--thoroughly professional and rather stiff. Although the two generals were not great friends, Hunt appreciated the fact that the new commander was "a gentleman" (unlike Hooker before him), and Meade returned the respect by employing Hunt as a surrogate on the battlefield, a man whose opinion Meade sought often and whose judgment he trusted implicitly.

At Gettysburg

On July 1, after spending the entire first day of the battle in the rear at army headquarters in Taneytown, Hunt received an order from Meade sometime after 7:00 P.M. to move the Artillery Reserve to Gettysburg, an act which effectively committed the Army of the Potomac to battle there. Hunt himself rode to Gettysburg with Meade's small party of seven that night, leaving around 10:00 and arriving on Cemetery Hill at 11:30.

At about 2:00 in the early morning on July 2, Hunt and Meade rode south along the army's line in the moonlight, from Cemetery Ridge to near Little Round Top, then to the army's right, where the Baltimore Pike crossed Rock Creek. Having scouted the excellent defensive ground the army stood on, Meade instructed Hunt to continue to study the terrain and supervise the placement of the army's artillery. By 10:30 that morning, the efficient Hunt had 108 cannon from the Artillery Reserve on hand, as well as an extra supply of ammunition in wagons that even Meade didn't know about, a supply from which all the army's batteries would borrow gratefully in the days ahead.

A little after 10:00 A.M., as he returned to army headquarters from Culp's Hill, Hunt was introduced into one of the great controversies of the battle--between Meade and Third Corps's Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles--over the placement of the Third Corps. Sickles was worried about his corps's position on the army's left, and Meade declined to go over the ground with him personally, sending Hunt instead. Sickles pointed out to Hunt the advanced position he wanted to take, on the high ground along the Emmitsburg Road, about three-quarters of a mile in front of his assigned position. When Sickles asked if he should advance to the new line, Hunt shook his head: "Not on my authority." A cannonade had opened up back on Cemetery Hill which sounded like it deserved his attention, and Hunt rode away, making a point to go by headquarters and tell Meade of the line Sickles proposed. Later, Hunt rode back out to Sickles's line--which Sickles had by that time advanced, without permission--and readied the artillery for the attack which was about to be made against that front. When the Confederate attack commenced, Hunt went to the end of Sickles's line at Devil's Den, where one of his batteries was posted. After conferring with the officer there, Hunt, who had dismounted, was nearly trampled in a bizarre stampede of terror-stricken cattle when he tried to make his way back to his horse. He remained to direct his guns in the desperate fighting on Sickles's sector for the rest of the afternoon.

That night, Hunt worked with General Tyler of the Artillery Reserve and their assistants repairing damage, refilling ammunition chests, and reorganizing decimated batteries, getting the guns ready for service by the next morning. At dawn on July 3, when the Twelfth Corps batteries opened the battle on Culp's Hill, Hunt was there to help direct their fire. When the fighting on the hill eased in late morning, he went to Cemetery Hill to inspect the batteries there, and observed the Confederate artillery buildup in plain view on the ridges to the west, which he allowed to proceed while he accepted what amounted to an "artillery truce."

At 1:00 that afternoon, when Hunt was on Little Round Top resting from his morning's inspection, the 150-gun Confederate cannonade commenced, aimed at the Union defenders on Cemetery Ridge, the target for "Pickett's Charge" scheduled for later in the afternoon. Hunt rode back to the Artillery Reserve to see about fresh batteries and ammunition, then trotted to Cemetery Ridge. While the shells hissed and exploded among his batteries, Hunt moved up and down the line, checking the condition of his guns and crews and making sure they fired slowly and deliberately. After an hour or so, in spite of his efforts at conservation, ammunition began to run low. It occurred to Hunt that if the Union batteries ceased firing, the Rebels might be fooled into thinking the time had come for the infantry assault, so he rode along the ridge ordering his guns to go silent. Soon, about 3:00 P.M., the Confederate batteries stopped firing and the mile-long lines of Pickett's Charge appeared. Hunt did not react quickly, but his batteries which had fired slowly during the artillery duel and still had long-range ammunition in their chests, punished the attackers' flanks mercilessly. (In the middle, where Hancock's batteries were facing them head-on, the Confederates were relatively safe, because Hancock had ordered the guns under his command to keep blasting away during the cannonade to inspirit the infantry. Those were now out of shot and shell.) At the climax of the attack, as the Southerners clambered over the wall and closed in on one of his batteries, Hunt appeared among the guns on horseback, firing his revolver into the Rebels until he went down, pinned beneath his dead horse. Pulled free, he mounted his sergeant's horse and spurred off.

The battle was over soon afterward. Hunt continued as the indispensable chief of artillery for the rest of the war, but the last two years of the conflict offered few opportunities for spectacular employment of artillery. Hunt got along well with Grant, who put him in charge of the Petersburg siege operations starting in the June 1864.

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Everett's Review of Day 3

In the course of the night General Geary returned to his position on the right, from which he had hastened the day before to strengthen the Third Corps. He immediately engaged the enemy, and, after a sharp and decisive action, drove them out of our lines, recovering the ground which had been lost on the preceding day. A spirited contest was kept up all the morning on this part of the line; but General Geary, reinforced by Wheaton's brigade of the Sixth Corps, maintained his position, and inflicted very severe losses on the Rebels.

Such was the cheering commencement of the third day's work, and with it ended all serious attempts of the enemy on our right. As on the preceding day, his efforts were now mainly directed against our left centre and left wing. From eleven till half past one o'clock all was still, - a solemn pause of preparation, as if both armies were nerving themselves for the supreme effort. At length the awful silence, more terrible than the wildest tumult of battle, was broken by the roar of two hundred and fifty pieces of artillery from the opposite ridges, joining in a cannonade of unsurpassed violence, — the Rebel batteries along two thirds of their line pouring their fire upon Cemetery Hill, and the centre and left wing of our army. Having attempted in this way for two hours, but without success, to shake the steadiness of our lines, the enemy rallied his forces for a last grand assault. Their attack was principally directed against the position of our Second Corps. Successive lines of Rebel infantry moved forward with equal spirit and steadiness from their cover on the wooded crest of Seminary Ridge, crossing the intervening plain, and, supported right and left by their choicest brigades, charged furiously up to our batteries. Our own brave troops of the Second Corps, supported by Doubleday's division and Stannard's brigade of the First, received the shock with firmness; the ground on both sides was long and fiercely contested, and was covered with the killed and the wounded; the tide of battle flowed and ebbed across the plain, till, after "a determined and gallant struggle," as it is pronounced by General Lee, the Rebel advance, consisting of two thirds of Hill's corps and the whole of Longstreet's, - including Pickett's division, the élite of his corps, which had not yet been under fire, and was now depended upon to decide the fortune of this last eventful day, — was driven back with prodigious slaughter, discomfited and broken. While these events were in progress at our left centre, the enemy was driven, with a considerable loss of prisoners, from a strong position on our extreme left, from which he was annoying our force on Little Round Top. In the terrific assault on our centre Generals Hancock and Gibbon were wounded. In the Rebel army, Generals Armistead, Kemper, Petigru, and Trimble were wounded, the first named mortally, the latter also made prisoner, General Garnett was killed, and thirty-five hundred officers and men made prisoners.

These were the expiring agonies of the three days' conflict, and with them the battle ceased. It was fought by the Union army with courage and skill, from the first cavalry skirmish on Wednesday morning to the fearful rout of the enemy on Friday afternoon, by every arm and every rank of the service, by officers and men, by cavalry, artillery, and infantry. The superiority of numbers was with the enemy, who were led by the ablest commanders in their service; and if the Union force had the advantage of a strong position, the Confederates had that of choosing time and place, the prestige of former victories over the Army of the Potomac, and of the success of the first day. Victory does not always fall to the lot of those who deserve it; but that so decisive a triumph, under circumstances like these, was gained by our troops, I would ascribe, under Providence, to the spirit of exalted patriotism that animated them, and a consciousness that they were fighting in a righteous cause.

All hope of defeating our army, and securing what General Lee calls "the valuable results" of such an achievement, having vanished, he thought only of rescuing from destruction the remains of his shattered forces. In killed, wounded, and missing he had, as far as can be ascertained, suffered a loss of about 37,000 men, — rather more than a third of the army with which he is supposed to have marched into Pennsylvania. Perceiving that his only safety was in rapid retreat, he commenced withdrawing his troops at daybreak on the 4th, throwing up field-works in front of our left, which, assuming the appearance of a new position, were intended probably to protect the rear of his army in their retreat. That day - sad celebration of the 4th of July for an army of Americans! — was passed by him in hurrying off his trains. By nightfall the main army was in full retreat on the Cashtown and Fairfield roads, and it moved with such precipitation, that, short as the nights were, by daylight the following morning, notwithstanding a heavy rain, the rear-guard had left its position. The struggle of the last two days resembled in many respects the Battle of Waterloo; and if, in the evening of the third day, General Meade, like the Duke of Wellington, had had the assistance of a powerful auxiliary army to take up the pursuit, the rout of the Rebels would have been as complete as that of Napoleon.

Owing to the circumstance just named, the intentions of the enemy were not apparent on the 4th. The moment his retreat was discovered, the following morning, he was pursued by our cavalry on the Cashtown road and through the Emmettsburg and Monterey passes, and by Sedgwick's corps on the Fairfield road. His rear-guard was briskly attacked at Fairfield; a great number of wagons and ambulances were captured in the passes of the mountains; the country swarmed with his stragglers, and his wounded were literally emptied from the vehicles containing them into the farm-houses on the road. General Lee, in his report, makes repeated mention of the Union prisoners whom he conveyed into Virginia, somewhat overstating their number. He states, also, that "such of his wounded as were in a condition to be removed" were forwarded to Williamsport. He does not mention that the number of his wounded not removed, and left to the Christian care of the victors, was 7,540, not one of whom failed of any attention which it was possible, under the circumstances of the case, to afford them, not one of whom, certainly, has been put upon Libby Prison fare, — lingering death by starvation. Heaven forbid, however, that we should claim any merit for the exercise of common humanity!

Under the protection of the mountain-ridge, whose narrow passes are easily held even by a retreating army, General Lee reached Williamsport in safety, and took up a strong position opposite to that place. General Meade necessarily pursued with the main army by a flank movement through Middletown, Turner's Pass having been secured by General French. Passing through the South Mountain, the Union army came up with that of the Rebels on the 12th, and found it securely posted on the heights of Marsh Run. The position was reconnoitred, and preparations made for an attack on the 13th. The depth of the river, swollen by the recent rains, authorized the expectation that the enemy would be brought to a general engagement the following day. An advance was accordingly made by General Meade on the morning of the 14th; but it was soon found that the Rebels had escaped in the night, with such haste that Ewell's corps forded the river where the water was breast-high. The cavalry which had rendered the most important services during the three days, and in harassing the enemy's retreat, was now sent in pursuit and captured two guns and a large number of prisoners. In an action which took place at Falling Waters, General Petigru was mortally wounded. General Meade, in further pursuit of the Rebels, crossed the Potomac at Berlin. Thus again covering the approaches to Washington, he compelled the enemy to pass the Blue Ridge at one of the upper gaps; and in about six weeks from the commencement of the campaign, General Lee found himself again on the south side of the Rappahannock, with the probable loss of about a third part of his army.

Such, most inadequately recounted, is the history of the ever-memorable three days, and of the events immediately preceding and following. It has been pretended, in order to diminish the magnitude of this disaster to the Rebel cause, that it was merely the repulse of an attack on a strongly defended position. The tremendous losses on both sides are a sufficient answer to this misrepresentation, and attest the courage and obstinacy with which the three days' battle was waged. Few of the great conflicts of modern times have cost victors and vanquished so great a sacrifice. On the Union side, there fell, in the whole campaign, of generals killed, Reynolds, Weed, and Zook, and wounded, Barlow, Barnes, Butterfield, Doubleday, Gibbon, Graham, Hancock, Sickles, and Warren; while of officers below the rank of general, and men, there were 2,834 killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 missing. On the Confederate side, there were killed on the field or mortally wounded, Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett, Pender, Petigru, and Semmes, and wounded, Heth, Hood, Johnson, Kemper, Kimball, and Trimble. Of officers below the rank of general, and men, there were taken prisoners, including the wounded, 13,621, an amount ascertained officially. Of the wounded in a condition to be removed, of the killed, and the missing, the enemy has made no return. They are estimated, from the best data which the nature of the case admits, at 23,000. General Meade also captured three cannon and forty-one standards; and 24,978 small arms were collected on the battlefield.

I must leave to others, who can do it from personal observation, to describe the mournful spectacle presented by these hillsides and plains at the close of the terrible conflict. It was a saying of the Duke of Wellington, that next to a defeat, the saddest thing is a victory. The horrors of the battle-field, after the contest is over, the sights and sounds of woe, - let me throw a pall over the scene, which no words can adequately depict to those who have not witnessed it on which no one who has witnessed it, and who has a heart in his bosom, can bear to dwell. One drop of balm alone, one drop of heavenly life-giving balm, mingles in this bitter cup of misery. Scarcely has the cannon ceased to roar, when the brethren and sisters of Christian benevolence, ministers of compassion, angels of pity, hasten to the field and the hospital, to moisten the parched tongue, to bind the ghastly wounds, to soothe the parting agonies alike of friend and foe, and to catch the last whispered messages of love from dying lips. "Carry this miniature back to my dear wife, but do not take it from my bosom till I am gone." "Tell my little sister not to grieve for me; I am willing to die for my country." "O that my mother were here!" When since Aaron stood between the living and the dead was there ever so gracious a ministry as this? It has been said that it is characteristic of Americans to treat women with a deference not paid to them in any other country. I will not undertake to say whether this is so; but I will say, that, since this terrible war has been waged, the women of the loyal States, if never before, have entitled themselves to our highest admiration and gratitude, — alike those who at home, often with fingers unused to the toil, often bowed beneath their own domestic cares, have performed an amount of daily labor not exceeded by those who work for their daily bread, and those who, in the hospital and the tents of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, have rendered services which millions could not buy. Happily, the labor and the service are their own reward. Thousands of matrons and thousands of maidens have experienced a delight in these homely toils and services, compared with which the pleasures of the ball-room and the opera-house are tame and unsatisfactory. This on earth is reward enough, but a richer is in store for them. Yes, brothers, sisters of charity, while you bind up the wounds of the poor sufferers, — the humblest, perhaps, that have shed their blood for the country, — forget not WHO it is that will hereafter say to you, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my BRETHREN, ye have done it unto me."

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The Story of Wesley Culp

One of the saddest stories of the Battle of Gettysburg is that of an Adams County family.

Wesley Culp was a native of Gettysburg. As a boy, he played in the streets of Gettysburg and hunted in the woods of Culp's Hill, which belonged to his uncle, Henry Culp. When Wesley became a teenager, he took a job with a Gettysburg harness company that manufactured leather harnesses for carriages and wagons. Wesley Culp became a good harness maker and enjoyed his work. In 1858, the owner of the company moved his business to Shepherdstown, Virginia and Wesley decided to move with his employer. Wesley settled into his new home at Shepherdstown and made many new friends there, though he did not lose contact with his friends and family back in Gettysburg.

When the war broke out in 1861, Wesley enlisted with many of his new friends and neighbors in the 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment. This regiment was part of the famous "Stonewall Brigade" commanded by General "Stonewall" Jackson, which saw its first battle at Bull Run. Back in Gettysburg, Wesley's brother William Culp enlisted in the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry, a Union regiment. Luck had it that despite the two serving in opposing armies, Wesley and William never had to face one another on the battlefield though both survived several battles and many close scrapes through the first years of the war. Though William's regiment was not at Gettysburg, the 2nd Virginia Infantry, with Private Wesley Culp in the ranks, was.

"Culp's Hill", the one owned by Wesley's uncle Henry and the same hill on which he had explored, played, and hunted as a young man, was considered by many to be the key position on the Union Army's right flank, the "point" of the fishhook-shaped Union line. When the Confederate army attacked the hill on July 2nd, the 2nd Virginia Infantry was part of the attacking force. It was sometime during the fighting on July 3rd when Wesley Culp was shot and killed on or nearby his uncle's hill. Wesley was buried and his grave supposedly marked by his fellow soldiers of the 2nd Virginia, though the only remains of him ever found was a rifle stock with his named carved into it. His body was never identified and recovered. In an interesting twist of fate, Wesley was carrying a message to be given to another Gettysburg native, Virginia "Jennie" Wade, whom Wesley had known when he lived here. The message was given him by a Union soldier named Jack Skelly, also a native of Gettysburg, who was Virginia's beau and hoped to marry the girl after the war. Alas, Private Skelly was mortally wounded and captured at the Second Battle of Winchester, Virginia, on June 15. Wesley discovered Skelly in a temporary hospital and agreed to take a message to Virginia for him, just in case his regiment got close enough to Gettysburg for him to deliver it. Sadly, the note was never delivered and all three people- Wesley Culp, Jack Skelly and Jennie Wade- died without knowing the fate of the other.

Wesley's brother William Culp survived the war and left the service as an officer. Legend has it that William considered his dead brother a traitor for serving against his native state, and never recognized nor spoke of him again. The Culp family was truly one divided by the war.

Profile - Jennie Wade

Hometown: Gettysburg, PA

Age: 20

Category: Jennie was the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg

Status: killed

Before Gettysburg: Born May 21, 1843, Jennie Wade and her brother lived in their family home in Gettysburg, where she worked as a seamstress with her mother. To make ends meet, they also took care of a 6-year-old boy named Isaac.

July 1, 1863: On the morning of July 1, fighting at Gettysburg erupted and the family fled to the nearby home of Jennie’s sister, Georgia McClellan and her newborn son, on Baltimore Street. Jennie spent most of the rest of the day distributing bread to Union soldiers and filling their canteens with water. It was hazardous work and would soon become even more so. The Union retreat to Cemetery Hill soon placed Jennie and the rest of the household in the direct path of danger.

July 2, 1863: By late afternoon on July 2, Jennie’s bread supply dwindled and it became apparent that more would be needed the next day or the energy level of the troops would diminish drastically. Jennie and her mother prepared more that evening, leaving the yeast to rise until the morning of the third day of battle.

July 3, 1863: At about 7 a.m. on the morning of the July 3, Confederate sharpshooters began firing through the north windows of their house. At 8 a.m., amidst the pings and ricochets of bullets flying through the house, Jennie set about preparing biscuits. At about 8:30 a.m., while Jennie stood in the kitchen kneading dough, she was struck in the back by a Confederate bullet that had traveled through a wooden door, killing her instantly.

Sadly, Jennie’s tragic story does not end there. Jennie was engaged to a Union soldier from Gettysburg named Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly who, unknown to her, had been mortally wounded two weeks earlier in the Battle of Winchester. Private Wesley Culp, a Gettysburg native fighting for the Confederacy, who had gone to school with both Skelly and Jennie, came across Skelly at a field hospital where the wounded soldier gave him a note to pass on to his fiance, Jennie.

Unfortunately, the note never made it back to Jennie. On the same day she was killed, Culp, still carrying the message, died during fighting on his family farm at Culp’s Hill. Skelly lost his battle to live on July 12, just nine days after Jennie Wade and Wesley Culp were killed. Today Jack Skelly and Jennie Wade lie in rest close to each other in the Evergreen Cemetery at Gettysburg, together again.

After Gettysburg: Known as Gin or Ginnie to friends, her name was incorrectly reported in a newspaper as Jennie and she has been referred to as Jennie ever since. After her death, Jennie was buried in her sister’s yard for about six months, then disinterred and moved to a nearby cemetery adjoining the German Reformed Church, until her third and final resting place in November 1865, in the Evergreen Cemetery. The Jennie Wade Monument was erected in 1900 and is one of the most popular and most visited gravesites in the cemetery. An executive order was issued to allow a flag to fly 24 hours a day at her gravesite. The only other woman in the United States that this executive order applies to is the gravesite of Betsy Ross, at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Edited by BobbyLayne

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More than 165,000 soldiers were present for the Battle of Gettysburg, and nearly one-third of that number were killed, wounded or captured.

Yet what endures in the re-telling of the Gettysburg story is the countless acts of individual bravery, dignity, and heroism.

The story of Col. Isaac Avery is especially poignant, in a manner which leaves one awestruck.

Isaac Erwin Avery, 1828-1863

Source: From DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu

Isaac Erwin Avery (20 Dec. 1828-3 July 1863), Confederate officer, fourth son of Isaac Thomas and Harriet Erwin Avery, was born at Swan Ponds in Burke County. He grew up on the family plantation and entered The University of North Carolina in 1847, but he attended for only one year. He then assisted his father in the operation of the plantation and managed a large farm in Yancey County. When the Western North Carolina Railroad was chartered in 1854, plans were soon completed to build a road from Salisbury to Morganton and eventually to Asheville. Avery entered into a business relationship with Charles F. Fisher of Salisbury and Samuel McDowell Tate of Morganton, and they contracted to participate in the building of the road. When the eruption of war in 1861 interrupted work on the road, it had been completed to within three miles of Morganton.

Avery undertook to raise a company as soon as his friend Colonel Charles Fisher was appointed by the governor to organize the Sixth North Carolina Regiment of state troops. With the assistance of his brother, A. C. Avery, he enlisted the largest company in the regiment, the enlistees agreeing to serve for three years or the duration of the war. Avery commanded E Company. After a period of training at Company Shops, now Burlington, the regiment was sent to Virginia and placed in the brigade of General Barnard Bee. As a detached regiment, it participated in the Battle of First Manassas and gave a good account of itself in this first great battle of the war. Avery was promoted to lieutenant colonel after the Battle of Seven Pines; and on 18 June 1862, he was promoted to colonel. His regiment participated in all of Lee's great campaigns of the summer and fall of 1862. Avery was seriously wounded at Gaines' Farm in 1862 and was out of action until the fall. After he returned to the regiment, Colonel Robert H. Chilton wrote in an inspection report: "The Sixth North Carolina Regiment, Co. Avery: Arms mixed, but in fine order, although two-thirds of the regiment are badly shod and clad, and 20 barefoot, the regiment shows high character of its officers in its superior neatness, discipline and drill."

As senior colonel, Avery was in command at Gettysburg of what had been known as Hoke's Brigade, composed of the Sixth, Twenty-first, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh North Carolina regiments. On the second day of the battle he was called upon to lead two regiments in an attack on an enemy position on Cemetery Hill. The attack was made, even though one of the two regiments had been detached from Avery's force.

The attack commenced a little before dusk in smoke so thick that the oncoming figures were sometimes obscured. Avery was in front of the brigade on a white horse, the only mounted man of the command. A ball struck him at the base of his neck on the right side and the impact knocked him from the saddle. The missile had found a vital spot. He was stunned by the fall, his right arm went limp, and he began to bleed. His brigade moved on to storm the heights, and to cling there precariously for a time in a desperate hand-to-hand fight but, because no support came, eventually was forced to withdraw. Colonel Avery died there on the field of battle. As he lay among the wounded and dying, he brought out paper and pencil and wrote,

"Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy, I. E. Avery."

The original note is now in the State Archives in Raleigh.

The regimental historian of the Fifty-seventh Regiment commented, "the writer supposes that others will write the story of Colonel Avery's military life, or perhaps have done so, but I cannot forbear to say here that he was a gallant soldier, a very efficient brigade commander, and had he lived, would have doubtless risen rapidly in rank." His dying message has been widely noted.

Avery's body was brought by his faithful servant, Elijah Avery, in a cart to Williamsport, where it was buried. Some overzealous Confederates, after the war, had it disinterred and removed to a Confederate cemetery. His friends tried without success to trace the removing party so that his remains might be returned to North Carolina for final burial, but he lies, instead, in an unknown grave.

Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery never married.

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Question for guys who were born/raised in the deep south:

Somebody - a writer, might have been Tony Horwitz, but maybe it was Shelby Foote once said, "Every Sothron boy, at one point in his life, has imagined himself marching toward that stone wall in front of the copse of trees".

Really?

I would say I probably have, but not in a romanticized way. More along the lines of how frightening it would have been and the awe and sadness I have for those men.

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Gettysburg Day 3 Part 2

With a fatalistic mood, Longstreet ordered a concentration of Confederate artillery- some 150 guns- for the largest southern bombardment of the war, to soften up the enemy at the point of attack. At 1:07 pm Longstreet's guns shattered the uneasy silence that had followed the morning's fight on the Union right. For almost two hours an artillery duel among nearly 300 guns filled the Pennsylvania countryside with an ear-splitting roar heard as far away as Pittsburgh. Despite this sound and fury, the Union infantry lying behind stone walls and breastworks suffered little, for the rebel aim was high.

Pickett's all-Virginia division waited with nervous impatience to go in and get it over with. 38 years old, George Pickett had graduated last in the same West Point class as George McClellan (who graduated 2nd.) Pickett did will in the Mexican War, but in the present conflict he had enjoyed few chances to distinguish himself. His division did not fight at Chancellorsville and marked time guarding supply wagons during his first two days at Gettysburg. With his long hair worn in ringlets and his face adorned by a drooping mustache and a goatee, Pickett looked like a cross between a Cavalier dandy and a riverboat gambler. He affected the romantic style of Sir Walter Scott's heroes and was eager to win everlasting glory at Gettysburg.

Finally, about 3pm, Longstreet reluctantly ordered the attack. The Confederate bombardment seemed to have disabled the enemy's artillery; it was now or never. With parade-like precision, Pickett's 3 brigades moved out joined by 6 more from Hill's division on their left and 2 others in reserve. It was a magnificent mile wide spectacle, a picture-book view of war that participants on both sides remembered with awe until their dying moment- which for many came within the next hour.

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Gettysburg Day 3 Part 3

Pickett's charge represented the Confederate war effort in microcosm: matchless valor, apparent initial success, and ultimate disaster. As the gray infantry poured across the gently undulating farmland with seemingly irresistible force, northern artillery suddenly erupted in a savage cascade, sending shot and shell among the southern regiments and changing to canister as they kept coming. The Union guns had not been knocked out after all; their canny chief of artillery, General Henry J. Hunt, had ordered them to cease firing to lure on the rebels and conserve ammunition to welcome them.

Yankee infantrymen behind stone walls opened up at 200 yards while Vermont, Ohio, and New York regiments on the left and right swung out to rake both flanks of the attacking force. The southern assault collapsed under this unbearable pressure from front and flanks. 2-300 Virginians and Tennesseeans with General Lewis A. Armistead breached the first Union line, where Armistead was mortally wounded with his hand on a Yankee cannon and his followers fell like leaves in an autumn wind. In 30 minutes it was all over. Of the 14,000 Confederates that had gone forward, less than half returned. Pickett's own division lost two-thirds of its men; his three brigadiers and all 13 colonels were killed or wounded.

As the dazed survivors stumbled back to their starting point, they met Lee and Longstreet working to form a defensive line against Meade's expected counterattack. As he rode among his men, Lee said:

It's all my fault. It is I who have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best way you can. All good men must rally.

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One of the spookiest stories to come out of the charge was reports by Union soldiers of a long, low, mass moan emanating from the Confederate ranks when the first rounds of artillery landed among them and pieces of men went flying up into the air. It was like they'd been punched in the gut by a punch they could see coming.

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While the Battle of Gettysburg for all intents and purposes concluded with the survivors of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble assault stumbling back towards Seminary Ridge and McMillan Woods, one final, sad, tragic episode remained. It was quite simply one of the most senseless waste of troopers seen in the entire war. A cavalry charge versus entrenched infantry equipped with rifled muskets was suicidal; most generals with any common sense recognized that, but sadly, Judson 'kill cavalry' Kilpatrick cared about little besides his own glory.

General Elon J. Farnsworth : Farnsworth's Charge

"Each man felt... that he was summoned to a ride of death." - Captain H. C. Parsons, 1st Vermont Cavalry

A tragic footnote to the carnage of July 3 occurred in the farm fields and woods south of Big Round Top. Elon J. Farnsworth, a newly appointed brigadier general, led his brigade of Union troops to Gettysburg and into his first and last battle.

Farnsworth was born in Green Oak, Livingston County, Michigan, on July 30, 1837, and his family moved to Illinois in 1854. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1858. During the "Mormon Expedition" in 1858 in the Utah Territory, he served as a civilian foragemaster on the staff of General Albert Sidney Johnston. He also worked as a buffalo hunter and scout in the Colorado Territory.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Farnsworth was appointed a first lieutenant in the 8th Illinois Cavalry and he served with distinction; the regiment was commanded by his uncle, John F. Farnsworth.

He was promoted to captain on December 25, 1861, and was appointed Assistant Chief Quartermaster of the IV Corps. In the Battle of Chancellorsville and early stages of the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863, he served faithfully as aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton. On June 29, 1863, just days before the Battle of Gettysburg, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers by Pleasonton. He was appointed as commander of 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac.

General Farnsworth spent the next several days with his brigade on various assignments and flanking duty until the afternoon of July 3, when he was ordered to make what became a hopeless charge into the rear of Confederate General John Bell Hood's Division, resulting in his death. "Farnsworth's Charge" as it has come to be known, was primarily made by the 1st Vermont Cavalry under the command of Lt. Colonel Addison W. Preston. Captain Henry C. Parsons, commanding Company L, 1st Vermont, accompanied Farnsworth that day. Fifty years later, Parsons returned to Gettysburg and spoke on his experiences at the same location where they took place. Following are the highlights of his speech of July 3, 1913:

"It is remarkable that the most deliberate and desperate cavalry charge made during the Civil War passed so nearly unnoticed that the attention of the country was first drawn to it by reports of the enemy. The charge was directly ordered by General Meade and immediately after it was made he sent a congratulatory dispatch, and yet when the report went up that Farnsworth was killed and the regiment that he led all but annihilated, this order was withheld from the Official Report. The friends of Farnsworth attacked Kilpatrick for having ordered a wanton waste of life and he remained silent. If the charge had been on any other part of the field, or at an earlier hour of the day, it would have commanded wide attention. As it was, it was witnessed only by the enemy and by the few men at the batteries.

"After the repulse of Pickett, Meade's attention was drawn to an apparent movement of the enemy's troops towards the right. His left wing was peculiarly unprotected. Law's brigade was firmly lodged on the side of Round Top, and the valley to which Longstreet's eye turned so eagerly was open. An order reached Kilpatrick to hurl his cavalry on the rear of Law's brigade and create so strong a diversion that Lee's plan would be disclosed. At the moment of receiving this order Kilpatrick's forces were widely scattered. Custer was fighting with Gregg, the Reserve was with Merritt, the 5th New York was on the skirmish line, nothing was within striking distance but the 1st West Virginia and the 1st Vermont. The 1st West Virginia was sent across the open fields and against the 1st Texas Infantry and was repulsed after a second charge with great loss. The first and third battalions of the 1st Vermont were sent under cover of all the guns that could be brought into position over fences, through timber and up rocky sides of Round Top directly in rear of Law's brigade. They received the direct enfilading fire of three regiments, and of a battery of artillery. They drew two regiments out of line and held them in new positions, breaking the Confederate front and exposing it to an infantry charge if one had been immediately ordered. So bold was their assault that the Confederates received it as the advance of a grand attack, and finding themselves exposed to infantry in front and cavalry in the rear, were uncertain of their position.

"The whole number who rode in the charge was about three hundred. Their casualties were sixty-five. Their prisoners were one hundred and twenty. They rode within the Confederate line nearly two miles and the regiment, instead of being annihilated, is reported as having taken part in subsequent engagements.

"The Cavalry under Kilpatrick went into position on the left… about noon of the third day. When the cannonade that preceded Pickett's Charge opened (,) General Farnsworth rode out … and I think Kilpatrick joined him. I was sent for and at that moment saw a long skirmish line moving towards us and crossing the high rail fence that surround(s) the Bushman farm. I was ordered to take a squadron, charge this line as foragers and if I drove them back to ride to cover of the stone house and wait for orders or support. As soon as the cavalry appeared the enemy fell back behind the fences and we rode down, receiving their fire, with the loss of one man and two horses. I immediately ordered Lieut. Watson to take twelve men, to ride out and throw down the fences and expected (a)signal to charge. They rode out under a fierce volley, threw down the fences and reported to me, 'Your order is executed; (George S.) Brownell is dead.' Their skirmish line fell back in confusion, a squadron was sent to my support but the order to charge did not come. We remained some time in this advanced position and saw part of the magnificent movement towards Little Round Top. When recalled, we rode back under fire without loss. Kilpatrick came towards me with spirit: 'Captain, the jolliest fight I ever saw; four men with revolvers riding down a line of infantry delivering their fire and driving them back; you are a soldier.'

"I was at last able to say: 'You are mistaken, I was not there. I did not even see it. Send for Lieutenant (Alexander G.) Watson and thank him.'

"There was an oppressive stillness after the day's excitement. I rode to the front and found General Kilpatrick standing by his horse. He showed great impatience and eagerness for orders. The great opportunity, which was to have hurled his two brigades across the open fields upon the right and rear of Pickett's broken columns had been allowed to pass. As I turned away an orderly dashed by shouting: 'We turned the charge, nine acres of prisoners.' In a moment an aide came down and Kilpatrick sprang into his saddle and rode towards him. The verbal order I heard delivered was: 'Hood's division is turning our left; play all your guns; charge in their rear; create a strong diversion.'

"In a moment, Farnsworth rode up. Kilpatrick impetuously repeated the order. Farnsworth, who was a tall man with military bearing, received the order in silence. It was repeated. Farnsworth spoke with emotion: 'General, do you mean it? Shall I throw my handful of men over rough ground, through timber, against a brigade of infantry?'

"Kilpatrick said: 'A handful! You have the four best regiments in the army!' Farnsworth answered: You forget, the first Michigan is detached, the 5th New York you have sent beyond call, and I have nothing left but the 1st Vermont and the 1st West Virginia, regiments fought half to pieces. They are too good men to kill.' Kilpatrick turned, greatly excited and said: 'Do you refuse to obey my orders? If you are afraid to lead the charge, I will lead it.'

"Farnsworth rose in his stirrups and leaned forward, with his sabre half-drawn; he looked magnificent in his passion and cried: 'Take that back!' Kilpatrick rose defiantly, but repentingly said: 'I did not mean it; forget it.' For a moment, nothing was said. (Then) Farnsworth spoke: 'General, if you order the charge I will lead it, but you must take the awful responsibility.' I did not hear the low conversation that followed, but as Farnsworth turned away, he said: 'I will obey your order.' They shook hands and parted in silence. I recall the two young generals at that moment in the shadow of the oaks and against the sunlight, Kilpatrick with his fine gestures, his blond beard, his soft hat turned up jauntily and his face lighted with the joy that always came into it when the charge was sounded. Farnsworth- heavy browed, stern and pale but riding with conscious strength and consecration… two men opposite in every line of character, but both born to desperate daring.

"The direction of our guns was changed… (and) the artillery duel began. A shell shrieked down the line of my front company a few feet above their heads, covering them with leaves and branches. We rode out in columns of fours with drawn sabres. After giving the order to me, General Farnsworth took his place at the head of the 3rd Battalion.

"As the 1st Battalion rode through the line of our dismounted skirmishers who were falling back, they cried to us to halt. As we passed out from the cover of the woods, the 1st West Virginia were falling back in disorder on our left. A frantic horse with one leg torn off by a cannon ball rushed towards us for protection. We rode rapidly to the left and then to the right, across a depression at the left of a stone wall. The sun was blinding and Captain (Oliver T.) Cushman, who rode at my right, shaded his eyes and cried: 'An ambuscade!' We were immediately upon the enemy, and the deadly (Confederate) volley was fired, but it passed over our heads. It was the most concentrated volley I ever heard. Taken by surprise, they had shot over us. With the head of the column we cleared the fence at the right and formed under cover of a hill. The 3rd Battalion under Major (William) Wells, a young officer who bore a charmed life and was destined to pass through many daring encounters… moved out in splendid form to the left of the 1st Battalion, and swept in a great circle to the right around the front of the hill and across our path, then guiding to the left across the valley and up the side of the hill at the base of Round Top. Upon this hill was a field enclosed with heavy stone walls. They charged along the wall and between it and the mountain directly in the rear of several Confederate regiments in position and between them and the 4th Alabama. It was a swift… charge over rocks, through timber, under close enfilading fire. The rush was the war of a hurricane. The direction towards Devil's Den. At the foot of the declivity the column turned left, rode close to a battery, receiving the fire of its support, and swept across the open field and upon the rear of the Texas skirmish line. Farnsworth's horse had fallen; a trooper sprang from the saddle, gave the General his horse and escaped on foot. Captain Cushman and a few others with Farnsworth turned back. The 1st Battalion was again in motion. The enemy's sharpshooters appeared in the rocks above us and opened fire. We rode obliquely up the hill in the direction of Wells, then wheeling to the left between the picket line and the wall. From this point, part of my men turned back with prisoners. The head of the column leapt the wall, into the open field. Farnsworth, seeing the horsemen, raised his sabre and charged as if with an army. At almost the same moment his followers and what remained of the 1st Battalion cut their way through the 15th Alabama, which was wheeling into position at a run and offered little resistance. We charged in the same direction but on opposite sides of the wall that parallels Round Top and within two hundred paces of each other.

"Sergeant (George H.) Duncan, a black-eyed, red-cheeked boy, splendidly mounted, standing in his stirrups, flew past me with his sabre raised and shouted: 'Captain, I'm with you!' and threw up his left hand and fell. My horse recoiled over his dead body, my men swept past and I was a moment alone on the field. The enemy ran up crying 'Surrender!' as if they did not want to shoot me, but as I raised my sabre a gun was planted against my breast and fired; my horse was struck at the same moment and broke frantically through the men, over the wall and down the hill. Corporal Waller overtook me from the left and riding close supported me on my horse. As we rode on he told me how Farnsworth and Cushman fell together.

"I doubt if an order was given beyond the waving of a sabre after the first (order). The officers rode at the front and the men followed and as the officers fell the men pressed on more furiously. In that charge the private in the last file rode as proudly as the General. Farnsworth fell in the enemy's lines with his sabre raised, dead with five wounds, and received a tribute for gallantry from the enemy that his superiors refused. There was no encouragement of on looking armies, no cheer, no bravado. There was consecration and each man felt as he tightened his sabre belt that he was summoned to a ride of death."

H. C. Parsons, July 1913

(Speech is in the Library Files of Gettysburg National Military Park; courtesy of Mr. David Sterling)

Another account, this one by Civil War Cavalry Author J. David Petruzzi:

Kilpatrick wanted his charge, his glory on his end of the line. He had received word of the massive cavalry clash going on east of the field between Gregg’s and Stuart’s horsemen, and he felt if he could break the Rebel right flank, Meade could roll up Lee’s army and end the war on this ground. Kilpatrick even envisioned himself as President one day, and this scheme could be just the glorious assault to win the White House for him.

Walking over to the group, Major John W. Bennett of the 1st Vermont was asked by Farnsworth what he thought of the chances of success. “You have been up front all day,” stated Farnsworth. “What do you think?” Before Bennett could answer, Kilpatrick yelled, “The whole Rebel army is in retreat! I have just heard from the right, and our cavalry there is gobbling them up by the thousands. All we have to do is charge, and the enemy will throw down their arms and surrender!”

Calmly, Bennett replied to Kilpatrick, “Sir, I don’t know about the situation on the right, but the enemy in our front are not broken or retreating.” He then described how a mounted charge had no chance for success through the trees and rocks. Kilpatrick shook his head and snorted with disgust. Bennett and Farnsworth mounted their horses to look the ground over further. As they rode, Farnsworth told Bennett he could “not see the slightest chance for a successful charge.” Bennett agreed.

Returning, Kilpatrick ordered Farnsworth to mount the assault. Angrily, Farnsworth responded, “General… shall I throw my handful of men over rough ground, through timber, against a brigade of infantry? The 1st Vermont has already been fought half to pieces; these are too good men to kill!” Having enough, Kilpatrick glared at his brigadier and responded, “Do you refuse to obey my orders? If you are afraid to lead this charge, I will lead it!”

His honor and courage thus called into question by the goading Kilpatrick, whom Sheridan would call “a hell of a damned fool,” the gallant young general affirmed that no one would lead his men but him, rising in his stirrups and crying out, “Take that back! I ask no man to lead my troops forward!” Rebuffed, Kilpatrick backed off, saying simply, “I didn’t mean it. Forget it.”

After an eerie silence, with troopers gawking at the generals’ exchange, Farnsworth said in a solemn and firm voice, “General, if you order the charge, I will lead it; but you must take the responsibility. I will obey your order.” “I take the responsibility,” Kilpatrick replied, as Farnsworth rode off to prepare for his grim fate. The argument between the two was so loud that men of the 1st Texas infantry claimed to have heard it from 200 yards away down the hill. Knowing a charge of some sort was imminent, they readied themselves to receive it, with Law shifting his forces to meet the assault. He sent for reinforcements from the 9th Georgia to double-quick the half-mile to their front from the south, and they would arrive just in time.

Shaking hands with his officers and bidding them a prophetic farewell, Farnsworth organized the assault. Preparing, the Vermonters were stoically silent, as “each man felt, as he tightened his saber belt, that he was summoned to a ride to death.”

With federal artillery whistling overhead and bugles blaring, Farnsworth, leading the column, crashed his troopers down the rocky hill and into the ranks of Law’s 15th Alabama brigade, some of the finest riflemen in Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s corps, and who were supported with two batteries of artillery. The terrain, unsuited to a mounted charge, quickly threw the brave troopers into disarray. Farnsworth had divided the 1st Vermont into three battalions for the charge; the third was commanded by Major William Wells (pictured). Farnsworth chose to ride alongside Wells, who, after observing the ground, had remarked himself that he would “rather charge into Hell than in there.” The 2nd section was dismounted behind a stone wall to support the charge.

Repulsed by the Confederates firmly entrenched behind rock walls and fences, Farnsworth’s column galloped near the Slyder Farm (west of Big Round Top) and toward a D-shaped farm field enclosed by high stone walls. His silk neckerchief flapping as he galloped, the “boy general” raised his saber and charged with his small party toward the 15th Alabama. Aiming his pistol, he demanded the surrender of Lieutenant John B. Adrian, in charge of the Confederate skirmish line. Suddenly, a dozen southern riflemen opened on him, killing his horse and wounding him in several places. Blood strewed from his shoulder, stomach, and a leg. Adrian approached Farnsworth, who still held his pistol and was struggling to stand up. The lieutenant asked his surrender, but Farnsworth refused. He died where he fell.

There, the young general had been shot down, the only known Federal officer of general rank to be killed behind enemy lines during the Civil War. Proving his courage, Farnsworth was felled in a futile charge which he knew to be suicidal, but which he himself led.

You feel a lot of different emotions when you visit a Civil War battlefield. Admiration, pride, sadness...it is an experience that leaves you in awe of what happened there. I have been to the D-shaped field beside Big Round Top several times (it was significantly cleared in 2006, restoring the battle sight lines). Each time I go there, I simply feel anger. It was such a stupid charge, and should have never been ordered.

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Lt. Alonzo Cushing

Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing was 22 years old when he commanded Battery A of the 4th United States Artillery at Gettysburg. Born in Wisconsin in 1841, he moved with his family to New York and attended West Point, graduating with the class of 1861.

Cushing's battery was at the focus point of the Confederate attack on July 3rd. The intense bombardment preceding the charge left Cushing wounded by shell fragments, many of his men also wounded, and only two of his battery's six guns working.

Rather than withdraw the remnants of the shattered battery, he obtained permission from General Webb to move his remaining pieces up to the stone wall, where he and the handful of survivors of the battery fired canister into the advancing Virginians of Pickett's Division (Lewis Armistead's brigade).

The legend that Cushing fired the last double-shotted gun seconds before being struck in the mouth with his fatal wound is a small exaggeration. First Sergeant Frederick Fuger (who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg) fired the shot after laying the dying Cushing on the ground.

Cushing is buried at West Point next to John Buford, the cavalryman best known for his 'defense in depth' delaying action along the Chambersburg Pike at Gettysburg on Juy 1.

POST SCRIPT - Cushing will receive a belated award of the Medal of Honor. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin nominated him for the medal in 2002 and, following a lengthy investigation, the U.S. Army approved the nomination in February 2010. In order for the medal to be awarded, it must next be approved by the U.S. Congress. It was announced on May 20, 2010 that Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor, 147 years after his death.

The story of Alonzo Cushing is one of the best known acts of heroism at Gettysburg. The exploits of his brother William the following year was perhaps even more remarkable. What an extraordinary family!

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Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead

A shy man, Lewis Armistead lived a life fit for a novel. Indeed, his friendship with Union General Winfield Scott Hancock is one of the central plot lines in the historical novel The Killer Angels, and the movie based on it, Gettysburg. His friends playfully called him "Lo" short for Lothario. Although in no way was he like his nickname since he was a widower and career soldier.

Armistead had his greatest moment in the Civil War when he led a brigade with Pickett at Gettysburg that reached "The High Water Mark." This is the location recalled by the Confederates as well as Union soldiers that recalls the deepest penetration by the Confederacy at Gettysburg.

Although Armistead's men were immediately pushed back and he was mortally wounded, he gained praise for his heroism and is remembered as a hero at Gettysburg. As a general in the Confederate army, Armistead was seen as a good leader with little flair for the surprise element.

He fought with General Lee at The Seven Days Battle and was chosen to lead the bloody senseless assault on Malvern Hill. But it was at Gettysburg that Armistead sealed his legacy.

Armistead was born to a military family in New Bern, North Carolina in 1817. He was married twice, first to Cecilia Love and secondly to Cornelia Jamison. He had two children, one girl and one boy. Armistead was educated at West Point where he had a less than stellar career. He was the protagonist in the infamous plate broken over the head incident with Jubal Early that led to his expulsion.

If not for the Unions desperate need for officers he would have at least been delayed in leading men. He saw action in many Civil War battles the most important being Gettysburg. At Gettysburg, Armistead fought bravely and competently with General Pickett and the rest of the Confederate army.

A Masonic to the core, Lewis Armistead encountered fellow Masonic member Captain Henry H. Bingham of the Union army after being wounded charging the "Angle" at Gettysburg. This storied encounter with the enemy was fit for a novel and subsequent silver screen. Stories like this are what made the Civil War not only a tragic American story but also a term of endearment for both sides.

At Gettysburg, the two sides fought desperately and the loss of men on both sides was catastrophic. Yet near the end of the siege, there came over the battlefield a sense of American unity. The recounts of the battle have story lines in them that portray an enemy helping an enemy. Although there are other instances of this American perspective on many bloody battlefields, none were more poignant than the scenes at Gettysburg.

After The Battle of Gettysburg was over and the Union army had repelled the Confederates, Armistead was taken to a Union field hospital where he died from his wounds received in the battle. Shot three times while charging the Union forces at the wall, Armistead most likely died from pulmonary embolism or a combination of septic shock and heat exhaustion.

A monument was erected commending the spot where Lewis Armistead made his gallant penetration - not far from the guns and monument commemorating Alonzo Cushing.

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The remainder of Everett's speech was a debate with himself over the nature of the war and the political ramifications of it. That is probably left, as a topic, for the wrap up of the thread. But his conclusion should be given now.

Upon finishing his two hour speech from memory, where he described in fair detail the events of each day, the names of countless officers, the political history of the event, the nature of the war and the historical significance of the entire episode to that point and its meaning to the future, Everett closed with the following:

And now, friends, fellow-citizens of Gettysburg and Pennsylvania, and you from remoter States, let me again, as we part, invoke your benediction on these honored graves. You feel, though the occasion is mournful, that it is good to be here. You feel that it was greatly auspicious for the cause of the country, that the men of the East and the men of the West, the men of nineteen sister States, stood side by side, on the perilous ridges of the battle. You now feel it a new bond of union, that they shall lie side by side, till a clarion, louder than that which marshalled them to the combat, shall awake their slumbers. God bless the Union; — it is dearer to us for the blood of brave men which has been shed in its defence. The spots on which they stood and fell; these pleasant heights; the fertile plain beneath them; the thriving village whose streets so lately rang with the strange din of war; the fields beyond the ridge, where the noble Reynolds held the advancing foe at bay, and, while he gave up his own life, assured by his forethought and self-sacrifice the triumph of the two succeeding days; the little streams which wind through the hills, on whose banks in after-times the wondering ploughman will turn up, with the rude weapons of savage warfare, the fearful missiles of modern artillery; Seminary Ridge, the Peach-Orchard, Cemetery, Culp, and Wolf Hill, Round Top, Little Round Top, humble names, henceforward dear and famous, — no lapse of time, no distance of space, shall cause you to be forgotten.

"The whole earth," said Pericles, as he stood over the remains of his fellow-citizens, who had fallen in the first year of the Peloponnesian War, — "the whole earth is the sepulchre of illustrious men." All time, he might have added, is the millennium of their glory. Surely I would do no injustice to the other noble achievements of the war, which have reflected such honor on both arms of the service, and have entitled the armies and the navy of the United States, their officers and men, to the warmest thanks and the richest rewards which a grateful people can pay. But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country there will be no brighter page than that which relates THE BATTLES OF GETTYSBURG.

By any measure, this speech from start to finish was a magnificent performance. It may have been measured by historians as one of the greatest orations even delivered on American soil. The greatest speaker at one of the greatest times gave a great moving gift to the listeners that day. Everett knew of this potential and tried to seize it.

After the applause died down and Everett took his seat, the crowd witnessed a rather tall lanky feeble looking man in a black coat and hat walk to the podium in a gate that was neither powerful nor spectacular. To this day it's rather amazing that any man with the features, voice and lack of prominence in a room as Abraham Lincoln had could be elected President, but those times were different and even though he had a very awkward speech manner once he got going his speeches were powerful, unyielding, unstoppable, and downright prophetic.

20,000 people (roughly) just sat through what any one of them would have considered the greatest speech they ever heard. 4 and half minutes later, none of them realized that, the fact was they did hear the greatest speech ever given - it just wasn't the one they thought it was.

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The Gettysburg Address - Part 1

And so we come to it. A little out of time sequence to be sure, but we should keep this topic together. There have been myths that have surrounded the speech and the manner which Lincoln wrote it. Many are told that he barely wrote anything at all, jotting down a few notes on the train to the event using the back of a used envelope to record those words. Others say that Lincoln didn't even want to go as he had other pressing matters then to deal with a funeral dedication during a war. Others say he scribbled those notes one time, made no changes, didn't even really bother to think about them, and just spoke them.

Another legend tells us that after Lincoln was done with his speech, he turned to his body guard and said something to the effect of, "that speech like a bad plow won't scour," meaning it won't work at all. Others will say that Lincoln was expected to speak much longer then he did, but that isn't the case. The keynote was Everett. Lincoln's comments and length of them were to fit in as a traditional final oration int he funeral stylings of the day. When you hear that photographers didn't get a picture because they expected him up there more, the fact is they were likely just lazy and a little spent after listening to Everett and frankly should have known better.

No, from what has been put together the history of Lincoln's speech is rather boring. He was invited close to the last minute. The organizers of the event, knowing that there would be 5 or 6 governors there and whole host of other dignitaries, decided that they should make sure the President was at least invited. When he accepted the invitation and asked to say a few words (or agreed to say a few words, depending on what story is en'vougue) the organizers changed plans slightly to account for him.

Lincoln wanted to speak at Gettysburg. Even though the Union forces won that battle the war was still not going as well as he needed it to go. Support for the war effort wasn't great, his political chances were dying, and he needed something to rally the troops yet again. Throughout the war everything Lincoln did was designed to gain and maintain support for the war and rally the troops. He was as calculating in that respect as the people we see in politics today and attack for their political movements.

And so, at the dedication of the battlefield at Gettysburg and the memorial to the fallen soldiers, Lincoln decided to try to rally his country once again. He just needed the right words.

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Gettysburg Day 3 Concluded

Lee urged his men to rally, and rally they did- some of them, at least. But Meade did not counterattack. For this he has been criticized down the years. Hancock, despite being wounded in the repulse of Pickett's assault, urged Meade to launch the 20,000 reserves of the 5th and 6th Corps in pursuit of Lee's broken brigades. But a heavy load of responsibility weighed on Meade's shoulders. He had been in command only 6 days. For 3 of them his army had been fighting for the nation's life, as he saw the matter, and had narrowly saved it. Meade could not yet know how badly the enemy was hurt, or that their artillery was low on ammunition. He did know that Stuart was loose in his rear, but had not yet learned that a division of blue troopers had stopped the southern cavalry 3 miles east of Gettysburg- thus foiling the third part of Lee's three-pronged plan for Meade's undoing.

Meanwhile 2 Union calvary regiments on the left flank south of the Round Tops charged the rebel infantry in anticipation of orders for a counterattack, but were badly shot up by the alert enemy. In late afternoon a few units from the 5th and 6th Corps advanced over the scene of the previous day's carnage in Devil's Den and the wheat field. They flushed out the rear guard of Longstreet's 2 divisions, which were pulling back to a new line. Meade apparently did have some idea of attacking in this vicinity next day- the 4th of July- but a heavy rainstorm that began shortly after noon halted the move.

Meade's lack of aggressiveness was caused by his respect for the enemy. He could scarcely believe that he had beaten the victors of Chancellorsville. Meade also explained later that he had not wanted to follow "the bad example [Lee] had set me, in ruining himself attacking a strong position." "We have done enough," he said to a cavalry officer eager to do more. Everywhere among the troops there was astonishment, combined with elation, that the long-suffering Army of the Potomac had actually won a big victory. As one commander wrote:

The Glorious Success of the Army of the Potomac has electrified all. I did not believe the enemy could be whipped.

And the next day's Philadelphia Inquirer headline read:

VICTORY! WATERLOO ECLIPSED!

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Respect for the enemy was certainly one reason Meade decided against an aggressive attack on Lee's retreating army. However there were several other factors which led to this decision. Here are some facts on the situation along with some of my own opinions.

- Gettysburg badly damaged the Army of the Potomac including 3 of 8 corps commanders killed, 3 infantry corps basically wiped out, and Meade's chief of staff and primary organizer wounded in the battle. Meade's army was not in sufficient condition to launch an effective pursuit of the Lee's army, and in fact it was far from it. The book "Retreat from Gettysburg" by Kent Masterson Brown, which I'll discuss further, clearly illustrates this.

- There was also the fact that the army was exhausted. Many troops were forced to march in 100+ degree heat just to make it to the battlefield 3 days earlier, with little rest in the 3 days. Meade himself had very little sleep for a week to this point.

- Another major factor working against the AoP were the torrential rains that followed the battle. The roads were quagmires, and the rebel troops had the advantage of passing through them first.

- Meade had no reason to think that Lee would make a forced march directly from Gettysburg to the Potomac River. And even if he knew, it was not as if Lee was going to stand back and let Meade decimate him where Lee could choose his battlefield. It must be looked at strategically and logistically, and that meant taking time to plan for it. Lee was still ready and able to engage in a hasty and ill-considered advance.

And this leads to further discussion on the book I mentioned.

This book is an excellent read on Lee's retreat. Lee was a very skillful general who set up excellent rear guard to hold up the Union infantry. Brown points out that Meade had no idea if Lee would stop in South Mountain and make an interim defense. And as I mentioned earlier it was too much to expect Meade to think Lee would make a direct dash for the Potomac River. Meade only caught up with his infantry, because Lee couldn't cross the flooding Potomac River. By that time Lee had trenches built and had ferried some ammunition over the Potomac from Winchester. Also, Meade did not know the rebel artillery was virtually out of long range ammunition. Retreat from Gettysburg clearly shows Lee was a master at a fighting retreat, with excellent rear guard action. Lee's army, while badly damaged from Gettysburg, could still be considered a great army on the offense in the position Lee would put them in. At that time there was no army in the world that could successfully assault a Lee army in a defensive position, especially just days after a huge battle with no preparation.

In the end, historians would question Meade because many would never question Lee and the consequences of his actions. Given the totality of the circumstances, the epic scope of the battle just fought and the fact that Meade was on the ground with an eyeball on the conditions, unlike Halleck and Lincoln, I'll accept his judgment.

Bobby Layne - would love to hear your thoughts on this as well. You are much more knowledgeable on this subject than I am.

Edited by ceo3west

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This book is an excellent read on Lee's retreat. Lee was a very skillful general who set up excellent rear guard to hold up the Union infantry. Brown points out that Meade had no idea if Lee would stop in South Mountain and make an interim defense. And as I mentioned earlier it was too much to expect Meade to think Lee would make a direct dash for the Potomac River. Meade only caught up with his infantry, because Lee couldn't cross the flooding Potomac River. By that time Lee had trenches built and had ferried some ammunition over the Potomac from Winchester. Also, Meade did not know the rebel artillery was virtually out of long range ammunition. Retreat from Gettysburg clearly shows Lee was a master at a fighting retreat, with excellent rear guard action. Lee's army, while badly damaged from Gettysburg, could still be considered a great army on the offense in the position Lee would put them in. At that time there was no army in the world that could successfully assault a Lee army in a defensive position, especially just days after a huge battle with no preparation.

One of the attributes that define the greatest generals in history are their fighting retreats, and unfortunately, because they are retreats, they never get the play in history that successful attacks do. Three of these immediately come to mind: MacArthur's retreat to the Bataan Peninsula after being surprised by the Japanese attack. Rommel's retreat to Tunis after the defeat at El Alamein, which as I mentioned before, parallels Gettysburg in many ways, and of course Lee's retreat after Gettysburg. In each of these excellent examples, all of which are still studied with great intensity at military colleges, these brilliant generals skillfully managed to extricate their troops from the imminent threat of being destroyed, and managed to delay the planned timeline of their opponents. In Lee's case, he recognized after the Gettysburg defeat was that the key to ultimate victory for the South depended on making the North sick and tired of fighting. The only way to achieve this was to keep his army intact and a continual threat. Against all odds, Lee almost succeeded with this strategy and as we shall see in future posts, really did nearly tire the North out.

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The book "Retreat from Gettysburg" by Kent Masterson Brown

:eek:

Deals with the retreat in more detail than any other book; also gives you a better feel for the logistics involved for both armies.

We think about Gettysburg and remember 90,000 and 75,000 effectives or 51,000 casualties. Well, think about an army marching four abreast, with a wagon or two for every regiment, thousands of wagons containing ammunition and rations and supplies. On average, each corps on the march was 12-20 miles from head to tail of the column. It was a cumbersome thing to move an army during the ACW.

In addition to the horses with the artillery, cavalry, and horses and mules used to pull supply wagons and ambulances, there were thousands of saddle horses carrying officers and couriers. Every one of those tens of thousands of animals needed 14-20 pounds of hay and 3-12 pounds of grain, usually oats, corn or barley (depending on their duties) EVERY SINGLE DAY. 1,500 dead horses were left behind at Gettysburg.

Both armies had a herd of cattle they were driving while they marched, another encumbrance ACW students seldom remember. Don't get me started on potable water supply. The wells and streams around Gettysburg had been drained; neither side could have stayed there much longer even if they wanted to, and water for the horses (and men) was a dilemma that required a plentiful solution every day. While in camp, a teamster would set out to discover the nearest creek or pond and routinely water the horses there. On the march, water needed to be located at the end of each day. If the water was any distance from camp, as it often was, the timing of the watering was critical. Without the horses, the guns were immobile. Half of the horses were usually sent to water at one time. This meant that in an emergency some movement might be achieved, but with only half the horses present, the battery was at a definite disadvantage.

/logistics rant

Lee's pontoon bridges had been destroyed by Union cavalry on July 3, which necessitated a delay of several days. That fact alone has been sufficient for historians and armchair generals to call Meade's actions after Gettysburg into question.

Remember the requirement for Meade and the AoP to cover Wash. & Balt. Meade had to first move AoP south along the east side of the mountain front to do that, and to protect his trains and supply depot at Westminnster before he could march across the mountains to confront Lee at Williamsport.

I also question the failure of Halleck, Stanton, and even Lincoln in not ordering French at Harper's Ferry to move a force upriver along the southside to block Lee's ability to cross at Falling Waters & Williamsport.

'What-if's' may be a fun way to try to change one's perspective about the events back then, but Meade, et al, didn't have the privilege of having a second chance.

I think losing Reynolds, Hancock, and even Sickles at GB was a real blow as those three were easily the most aggressive corps commanders in the AoP.

Essentially, I believe it would have taken practically all of Meade's AoP troops, all led by agressive commanders at all levels, to even have a small chance of defeating Lee in his trenches. Those ragged Confederates may have been battered, but they were not beaten, and they still had great faith in their leaders.

Throughout the ACW, commanders and leaders on both sides dreamed of a Cannae, the perfect battle in which a vanquished foe is completely annihilated, the army effectively destroyed. It never happened.

Grant bagged three armies - the first (Donelson) can be attributed to faulty leadership on behalf of the rebels, the second (Vicksburg) because of the threat of starvation as much as anything, and Appomattox, which followed nine months of siege and trench warfare. John Bell Hood came as close as anyone to wrecking his own army through careless aggression. Those examples, the closest anyone came to utter and complete victory/defeat during the war, are in no way analogous to Meade following Lee in 1863.

I think anyone who feels the war could have ended two years sooner is attempting to view history through the wrong end of a telescope. The Army of Northern Virginia wasn't finished, not by a country mile. They were no longer capable of mounting an offensive invasion, but Lee's defensive skills and mastery of engineering would ensure this conflict would be played out to the last full measure.

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Thank you all again for your insight. Very interesting stuff. :goodposting:

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The Gettysburg Address - Part 2

Stepping to the podium, Abraham Lincoln had a lot on his mind. The war that everyone, on both sides, initially thought would be short, still raged these almost 4 years later (and would for another year or so). Support in the North wasn't great and his political fortune wasn't large anymore. Ole' Honest Abe wasn't the universally respected man he used to be 10 years earlier as a lawyer and honest man. The world he lived in changed dramatically - and he assisted in that change.

And so, he prepared to give his remarks. There are by any reputable account, 4-5 manuscripts of what he said that day. What he said on the spot was transcribed differently by several stenographers. What is considered his "delivery text" doesn't exactly match what he said as best we can tell and so he must have in some respects departed from that text. There are later revised texts that he worked on, as did others, but there are numerous of those as well.

The AP reporters on the scene have generally accepted solid accounts of the speech. It is said that Lincoln actually went to those reports when reconstructing his version of hte speech later on. In that, his later version mirror the AP accounts fairly well. Then there is the Nicolay Text. Being his close secretary and assistant, Nicolay would have been in a unique position to capture the actual speech. The tex credited to him is considered the first draft of the speech however Nicolay also later wrote in his accounts that it was the actual text Lincoln held when delivering the speech. The reasons supporting thatversion of events are pretty strong:

1. Nicolay said it, and he is a credited expert on source on the subject.

2. The first page has the Executive Mansion letterhead on it which reporters at the scene admitted to seeing on the text Lincoln held.

3. The second page is in pencil and several reports say witnesses saw Lincoln making final edits and changes the morning of in pencil.

4. The sheets have fold lines akin to the folded document witnesses saw Lincoln take from and replace in his pocket.

But there are counter-arguments as well.

1. The text does not have three important phrases that newspaper accounts prove he did actually speak. Lincoln wasn't a huge fan of improv in his speeches and he had worked on this one quite diligently so would he have done so in such a short speech?

2. The transistion between page one and page two isn't as clean as reports make the verbally delivered speech. The grammatical transitions are not Lincoln's usual style and he would have to purposely plan to change the written text to fit a proper style when speaking, instead of just fixing it in writing.

3. There are edit marks that do not match in many respects what accounts report was said.

In the end, it is unlikely that this was the actual text delivered. Nicolay does not prove to be a liar or self promoter. Instead, his boss proves to be a hard working writer that changed his paper often.

So what happened to the text Lincoln had in his hands? After the event it was given to AP reporter Joseph Gilbert but he did not possess it for long. We know it didn't stay in Gettysburg because David Wills, the host, wrote Lincoln requesting it so that it could be placed in the historical record of the event. Lincoln presumably answered Wills by providing a copy (perhaps written from Loncoln's memory and the newspaper accounts he could reference) because that copy was published after delivery to Wills. Everett even goes so far as to argue it is what was said. The actual document would have been sent to Boston to be used for printing and the document itself is long lost to history.

Then there is the Hay Text or the second draft. Hay was Lincoln's other personal assistant - and tangentially, one of the most interesting figures in American history that no one knows. He was one of our finest diplomats and also personally witnessed the assasination of three of his closest friends who also happened to be President - Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. Standing next to Garfield when he was shot? Robert Todd Lincoln - Abe's son. Back to Gettysburg.

John Hay published his version of the speech in the 20th century and the results were trying to figure out how one of hte previously mentioned versions got into his possession. There are some changes in the text itself that act like editors notations or corrections which Lincoln could have done as he was making the copy ala the Wills copy. In the end it is likely that Hay text was actually just a copy Lincoln wrote for Hay for his personal records.

In the end, no one can ever say for sure the exact speech that was given, which is amazing on its face. This is, without question, the greatest speech ever delievered by an American President. Yet we have no perfect copy or text of the speech. In that is another powerful reminder of the speech and what it represented because the ideals of it transcended the actual words in some respects. The overall vision pierces you no matter the manner in which Lincoln cites certain words, or Hay copied them or reporters changed them. Lincolns words were so powerful and unstoppable that perfection isn't even necessary - an amazing thing to think of in today's world of parcing every word with and without context.

And so we come to the words he used as best we can recall them. It is a speech every citizen of this nation should have memorized, because it speaks to every single notion of America that is good, pure and worthy of respect. And due to its powerful message it destroyed any chance at history that Everett had, and silenced his speech before it even was given a chance to matter. No, Everett gave a Gettysburg address, but Lincoln, in the end, gave The Gettysburg Address.

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The Gettysburg Address - Part 3

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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Union Army General George Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg just four days after he assumed command. Because Meade was a Pennsylvanian, President Lincoln thought he would "fight well on his own dunghill."

Meade is generally viewed as humorous crank, but he was not insensitive to his own advancement. Less than three months before his elevation to command of the Army of the Potomac, Meade wrote his wife: “Since our review, I have attended the other reviews and have been making myself (or at least trying to do so) very agreeable to Mrs. Lincoln, who seems an amiable sort of personage. In view also of the vacant brigadier-ship in the regular army, I have ventured to tell the President one or two stories, and I think I have made decided progress in his affections.”

Although Meade field-marshaled the Union victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1-3, he was criticized severely after he failed subsequently vigorously to pursue the defeated Confederate Army. Meade said the army had driven "from our soil every vestige of the presence of the invader" - leading Mr. Lincoln to exclaim: "Drive the invaders from our soil! My God! Is that all?" President Lincoln ordered General Meade, as Robert Todd Lincoln later recalled the order: "You will follow up and attack General [Robert E.] Lee as soon as possible before he can cross the river. If you fail, this dispatch will clear you from all responsibility and if you succeed you may destroy it."

Mr. Lincoln was clearly overwrought at the failure of the Union army to overtake and destroy Confederates retreating from Gettysburg. He walked "up and down the floor [at the telegraph office in the War Department], his face grave and anxious, wringing his hands and showing every sign of distress. As the telegrams would come in he traced the positions of the two armies on the map..." Historian Gabor Boritt suggests that President Lincoln sent Vice President Hamlin to convey his concerns directly to Meade.

General Henry W. Halleck, who was then Union general-in-chief, wrote Meade: "You are strong enough to attack and defeat the enemy before he can effect a crossing. Act upon your own judgment and make your generals execute your order. Call no council of war." Meade never caught up with Lee in time to prevent him from recrossing the Potomac. Mr. Lincoln was completely distraught at a cabinet meeting on July 14. "'And that, my God, is the last of this Army of the Potomac! There is bad faith somewhere. Meade has been pressed and urged, but only one of his generals was for an immediate attack, was ready to pounce on Lee; the rest held back." Lincoln complained to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles as they walked across the lawn from the White House: "Our Army held the war in the hollow of their hand & they would not close it."

Civil War scholar Eric J. Wittenberg wrote: “Lincoln and Meade did not know each other. Unlike his predecessors in army command, the general and the commander in chief had no personal relationship. This made effective communications all the more difficult. The fact that nearly all of their communications were either by telegraph or letter left room for misinterpretation and misconstruction, and that only made a difficult situation worse.”

Letter from President Lincoln to Major General George G. Meade

This letter was written on July 14, 1863, the day that Lincoln learned that Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had escaped back across the Potomac and had successfully avoided further battle with Meade's army.

Executive Mansion,

Washington, July 14, 1863.

Major General Meade

I have just seen your despatch to Gen. Halleck, asking to be relieved of your command, because of a supposed censure of mine. I am very--very--grateful to you for the magnificent success you gave the cause of the country at Gettysburg; and I am sorry now to be the author of the slightest pain to you. But I was in such deep distress myself that I could not restrain some expression of it. I had been oppressed nearly ever since the battles at Gettysburg, by what appeared to be evidences that yourself, and Gen. Couch, and Gen. Smith, were not seeking a collision with the enemy, but were trying to get him across the river without another battle. What these evidences were, if you please, I hope to tell you at some time, when we shall both feel better. The case, summarily stated is this. You fought and beat the enemy at Gettysburg; and, of course, to say the least, his loss was as great as yours. He retreated; and you did not, as it seemed to me, pressingly pursue him; but a flood in the river detained him, till, by slow degrees, you were again upon him. You had at least twenty thousand veteran troops directly with you, and as many more raw ones within supporting distance, all in addition to those who fought with you at Gettysburg; while it was not possible that he had received a single recruit; and yet you stood and let the flood run down, bridges be built, and the enemy move away at his leisure, without attacking him. And Couch and Smith! The latter left Carlisle in time, upon all ordinary calculation, to have aided you in the last battle at Gettysburg; but he did not arrive. At the end of more than ten days, I believe twelve, under constant urging, he reached Hagerstown from Carlisle, which is not an inch over fifty-five miles, if so much. And Couch's movement was very little different.

Again, my dear general, I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee's escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so South of the river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do not expect you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it.

I beg you will not consider this a prosecution, or persecution of yourself As you had learned that I was dissatisfied, I have thought it best to kindly tell you why.

Abraham Lincoln

The President finished penning this letter, but decided to sleep on it. The next day he folded it into an envelope in his desk, and never sent it.

Meade, according to historian Fletcher Pratt "was an able tactician, as witness the fact that every time he clashed with Lee, he had the better of it. But he lacked offensive spirit and, above all, any power of improvisation; demanded engineering certainties, which are usually unobtainable in war; kept saying he had not wished for the command and would be content to quit it."

Edited by BobbyLayne

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It is an interesting contrast that the day before Lincoln wrote of his bitter disappointment with Meade, he wrote the following to U.S. Grant:

Executive Mansion,Washington, July 13, 1863.Major General GrantMy dear GeneralI do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do, what you finally did -- march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed. When you got below, and took Port-Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join Gen. Banks; and when you turned Northward East of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.Yours very trulyA. Lincoln

Such a remarkable man! These two letters illustrate, IMO, what an emotional genius Lincoln was. He understood human nature; he shows great restraint in dealing with Meade, and freely admits that Grant was right. That is uncommon leadership!ASIDE: Tomorrow I am going out to Shelter Island to spend a month long vacation. I may monitor the thread but likely will not post again until after Labor Day, since my ACW library is summering in midtown.

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While Lee's army was at it's zenith as it rolled north from the rappahannock I think that some underestimate the AoP's willingness to fight. There was a lot of pent up rage left over from Chancellorsville. When Hooker moved the AoP back over the river many corps commanders opposed the move. They thought that they had Lee in a good position and wanted to attack. So heading north you had several of the AoP's corps which had not seen much fighting at Chancellorsville. This included the I Corps and its famed Iron Brigade that really performed superbly on D1 at Gettysburg.

I think a fascinating argument is why did Lee move north? A few arguments:

Pro

-maybe the Euro's will come in if South wins a big battle(this tack seems to be taken for every one of Lee's moves)

-Penn. Governors race, maybe lead to a victory for the dems if Lee can make PA inroads.

Con

-not really a good reason to head north Wrong

-no clear objective Wrong

-lost some control of ANV with the death of Jackson and the enlargement of the command structure Certainly. If Jackson had been alive, Gettysburg probably would have been a VERY different battle.

-Lee loses communication with Stuart after Brandy Station Has nothing to do with why he went North

Those kind of issues are fascinating.

This is an interesting question, and I took two classes, prelude to the Civil War and The Civil War by an excellent professor who understood this war more than anyone I've ever met or read. Several of his students have published books, but he doesn't. He remains the greatest lecturer I have ever seen. And although he teaches at a Southern University, he is not biased, he's from Pennsylvania.

Why did Lee move North?

Because it kept the Union from campaigning in Virginia. Allowed the farmers to grow their crops unmolested. Additionally, allowed the Confederate army to live off forage in the North, instead of draining resources in the South. Do you know why they were in the Gettysburg area? Because they made shoes in Gettysburg. And many of the poor Southerners who composed the Army of North Virginia walked barefoot. And still terrified the industrial North. And fought their armies to a standstill for the larger part of the war.

Yes, foreign intervention was a far off hope, but more important was the lack of the support in the North for the war. Most Northerners didn't care at all about racial relations, and just wished the war would be over. If Lee could live in the North, the Northern War effort would be greatly demoralized.

This professor even made the argument that Gettysburg was not the turning point in the war. Lee retreated to Virginia, he was not destroyed. He accomplished his goal of keeping the Union out of Virginia. Later, he would fight Grant for a year over the approaches to Richmond. If not for Vicksburg and other battles in the West, it would have been hard for the Union to maintain morale and popular support. But Grant won at Vicksburg, and that kept the Union war machine going.

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While Lee's army was at it's zenith as it rolled north from the rappahannock I think that some underestimate the AoP's willingness to fight. There was a lot of pent up rage left over from Chancellorsville. When Hooker moved the AoP back over the river many corps commanders opposed the move. They thought that they had Lee in a good position and wanted to attack. So heading north you had several of the AoP's corps which had not seen much fighting at Chancellorsville. This included the I Corps and its famed Iron Brigade that really performed superbly on D1 at Gettysburg.

I think a fascinating argument is why did Lee move north? A few arguments:

Pro

-maybe the Euro's will come in if South wins a big battle(this tack seems to be taken for every one of Lee's moves)

-Penn. Governors race, maybe lead to a victory for the dems if Lee can make PA inroads.

Con

-not really a good reason to head north Wrong

-no clear objective Wrong

-lost some control of ANV with the death of Jackson and the enlargement of the command structure Certainly. If Jackson had been alive, Gettysburg probably would have been a VERY different battle.

-Lee loses communication with Stuart after Brandy Station Has nothing to do with why he went North

Those kind of issues are fascinating.

This is an interesting question, and I took two classes, prelude to the Civil War and The Civil War by an excellent professor who understood this war more than anyone I've ever met or read. Several of his students have published books, but he doesn't. He remains the greatest lecturer I have ever seen. And although he teaches at a Southern University, he is not biased, he's from Pennsylvania.

Why did Lee move North?

Because it kept the Union from campaigning in Virginia. Allowed the farmers to grow their crops unmolested. Additionally, allowed the Confederate army to live off forage in the North, instead of draining resources in the South. Do you know why they were in the Gettysburg area? Because they made shoes in Gettysburg. And many of the poor Southerners who composed the Army of North Virginia walked barefoot. And still terrified the industrial North. And fought their armies to a standstill for the larger part of the war.

Yes, foreign intervention was a far off hope, but more important was the lack of the support in the North for the war. Most Northerners didn't care at all about racial relations, and just wished the war would be over. If Lee could live in the North, the Northern War effort would be greatly demoralized.

This professor even made the argument that Gettysburg was not the turning point in the war. Lee retreated to Virginia, he was not destroyed. He accomplished his goal of keeping the Union out of Virginia. Later, he would fight Grant for a year over the approaches to Richmond. If not for Vicksburg and other battles in the West, it would have been hard for the Union to maintain morale and popular support. But Grant won at Vicksburg, and that kept the Union war machine going.

Totally agree. Vicksburg to me was the turning point of the war - it just hasn't been glorified the way Gettysburg has. Not to diminish Gettysburg, but control of the Mississippi enabled the Union to break the back of the Confederacy. When Vicksburg fell, it was merely a matter of time.

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Gettysburg: Aftermath Part 1

The glad tidings reached Washington the day after Pickett's repulse, making this the capital's most glorious 4th of July ever. "I never knew such excitement in Washington," wrote one observer. When word arrived 3 days later of the surrender at Vicksburg, the excitement doubled. Lincoln appeared at a White House balcony to tell a crowd of serenaders that this "gigantic Rebellion" whose purpose was to "overthrow the principle that all men are created equal" had been dealt a crippling blow. In New York the jubilant diarist George Templeton Strong wrote:

The results of this victory are priceless. The charm of Robert Lee's invincibility is broken. The Army of the Potomac has at last found a general that can handle it, and has stood nobly up to its terrible work in spite of its long disheartening list of hard-fought failures. Copperheads are palsied and dumb for the moment at least. Goverment is strengthened four-fold at home and abroad.

Strong's final sentence was truer than he could know. Confederate Vice-President Stephens was on his way under flag of truce to Union lines at Norfolk as the battle of Gettysburg reached its climax. Jefferson Davis had hoped that Stephens would reach Washington from the south while Lee's victorious army was marching toward it from the north. Reports of Stephen's mission and Gettysburg's outcome reached the White House at the same time. Lincoln thereupon sent a curt refusal to Stephen's request for a pass through the lines. In London the news of Gettysburg and Vicksburg gave the coup de grace to Confederate hopes for recognition. As Henry Adams wrote:

The disasters of the rebels are unredeemed by even any hope of success. It is now conceded that all idea of intervention is at an end.

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Gettysburg: Aftermath Part 2

The victory at Gettysburg was purchased at high human cost: 23,000 Union casualties, more than 25% of the army's effectives. Yet the cost to the South was greater: 28,000 men killed, wounded, or missing, more than a third of Lee's army. As the survivors began their sad retreat to Virginia in the rain on July 4, thousands of wounded men suffered torture as ambulances and commandeered farm wagons bounced along rutted roads. 7,000 rebel wounded were left behind to be attended by Union surgeons and volunteer nurses who flocked to Gettysburg.

Robert E. Lee was profoundly depressed by the outcome of his campaign to conquer a peace. A month later he offered his resignation to Jefferson Davis. "No one," wrote Lee, "is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire. How can I fulfill the expectations of others?" Thus said a man whose stunning achievements during the year before Gettysburg had won the admiration of the Western world. Of course Davis refused to accept his resignation. Lee and his men would go on to win further laurel. But they never again possessed the power and reputation they carried into Pennyslvania those palmy midsummer days of 1863. Though the war was destined to continue for almost 2 more bloody years, Gettysburg and Vicksburg proved to have been its crucial turning point. Some perceptive southerners recognized this. As Josiah Gorgas wrote in his diary:

Events have succeeded one another with disastrous rapidity. One brief month ago we were apparently at the point of success. Lee was in Pennsylvania, threatening Harrisburg, and even Philadelphia. Vicksburg seemed to laugh all Grant's efforts to scorn...Port Hudson had beaten off Banks' force...Now the picture is just as sombre as it was bright then... It seems incredible that human power could effect such a change in so brief a space. Yesterday we rode on the pinnacle of success- today absolute ruin seems to be our portion. The Confederacy totters to its destruction.

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I'll have one more post regarding Lee's retreat from Gettysburg. Then it's back to the West, and the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga.

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The Gettysburg Address - A Tangent

The Peloponnesian War Funeral Oratory

The parallels between Lincoln's speech and Pericles's Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War as described by Thucydides are something that Gary Wills has wrote about extensively.. (James McPherson notes this connection in his review of Wills's book. Gore Vidal also draws attention to this link in a BBC documentary about oration.) Pericles' speech, like Lincoln's, begins with an acknowledgment of revered predecessors: "I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that they should have the honour of the first mention on an occasion like the present"; then praises the uniqueness of the State's commitment to democracy: "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences"; honors the sacrifice of the slain, "Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonour, but met danger face to face"; and exhorts the living to continue the struggle: "You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue."

Pericles' speech as recorded by Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the most unique speeches of ancient times. Unlike the funeral orations and traditions of that day, which were used to honor hte fallen dead in public, this speech reads as a memorial to Athens itself. Pericles takes the opportunity to honor one fallen hero and connect it to eh potential fall of, at hte time, the greatest nation the earth had seen. The speech itself has been translated several times, but like Lincoln's, even through slightly different words the overall power remains. And so, here it is, Pericles' great speech and one of the influences on Lincoln that great day. It's slightly longer then Lincoln's but you can see, at it's rather obvious, the paralells...

...Though most that have spoken formerly in this place, have commended the man that added this oration to the law, as honourable for those that die in the wars; yet to me it seemeth sufficient, that they who have showed their valour by action, should also by an action have their honour, as now you see they have, in this their sepulture performed by the state; and not to have the virtue of many hazarded on one, to be believed as that one shall make a good or bad oration. For to speak of men in a just measure, is a hard matter: and though one do so, yet he shall hardly get the truth firmly believed. The favourable hearer, and he that knows what was done, will perhaps think what is spoken short of what he would have it, and what it was: and he that is ignorant, will find somewhat on the other side which he will think too much extolled; especially if he hear aught above the pitch of his own nature. For to hear another man praised finds patience so long only, as each man shall think he could himself have done somewhat of that he hears. And if one exceed in their praises, the hearer presently through envy thinks it false. But since our ancestors have so thought good, I also, following the same ordinance, must endeavour to be answerable to the desires and opinions of every one of you, as far forth as I can.

I will begin at our ancestors: being a thing both just and honest, that to them first be given the honour of remembrance in this kind. For they, having been always the inhabitants of this region, by their valour have delivered the same to succession of posterity, hitherto in the state of liberty. For which they deserve commendation, but our fathers deserve yet more: for that besides what descended on them, not without great labour of their own they have purchased this our present dominion, and delivered the same over to us that now are. Which in a great part also we ourselves, that are yet in the strength of our age here present, have enlarged; and so furnished the city with every thing, both for peace and war, as it is now all–sufficient in itself. The actions of war whereby all this was attained, and the deeds of arms both of ourselves and our fathers in valiant opposition to the barbarians or Grecians in their wars against us, amongst you that are well acquainted with the sum, to avoid prolixity I will pass over.

But by what institutions we arrived at this, by what form of government and by what means we have advanced the state to this greatness, when I shall have laid open this, I shall then descend to these men’s praises. For I think they are things both fit for the purpose in hand, and profitable to the whole company, both of citizens and strangers, to hear related. We have a form of government, not fetched by imitation from the laws of our neighbouring states; (nay, we are rather a pattern to others, than they to us); which, because in the administration it hath respect not to a few, but to the multitude, is called a democracy. Wherein, though there be an equality amongst all men in point of law for their private controversies; yet in conferring of dignities one man is preferred before another to public charge, and that according to the reputation, not of his house, but of his virtue; and is not put back through poverty for the obscurity of his person, as long as he can do good service to the commonwealth. And we live not only free in the administration of the state, but also one with another void of jealousy touching each other’s daily course of life; not offended at any man for following his own humour, nor casting on any man censorious looks, which though they be no punishment, yet they grieve.

So that conversing one with another for the private without offence, we stand chiefly in fear to transgress against the public; and are obedient always to those that govern and to the laws, and principally to such laws as are written for protection against injury, and such unwritten, as bring undeniable shame to the transgressors. We have also found out many ways to give our minds recreation from labour, by public institution of games and sacrifices for all the days of the year, with a decent pomp and furniture of the same by private men; by the daily delight whereof we expel sadness. We have this farther by the greatness of our city, that all things from all parts of the earth are imported hither; whereby we no less familiarly enjoy the commodities of all other nations, than our own. Then in the studies of war, we excel our enemies in this. We leave our city open to all men; nor was it ever seen, that by banishing of strangers we denied them the learning or sight of any of those things, which, if not hidden, an enemy might reap advantage by; not relying on secret preparation and deceit, but upon our own courage in the action. They, in their discipline, hunt after valour presently from their youth with laborious exercise; and yet we that live remissly, undertake as great dangers as they. For example; the Lacedæmonians invade not our dominion by themselves alone, but with the aid of all the rest. But when we invade our neighbours, though we fight in hostile ground, against such as in their own ground fight in defence of their own substance, yet for the most part we get the victory. Never enemy yet fell into the hands of our whole forces at once; both because we apply ourselves much to navigation, and by land also send many of our men into divers countries abroad. But when fighting with a part of it, they chance to get the better, they boast they have beaten the whole; and when they get the worse, they say they are beaten by the whole. And yet when from ease rather than studious labour, and upon natural rather than doctrinal valour, we come to undertake any danger, we have this odds by it, that we shall not faint beforehand with the meditation of future trouble, and in the action we shall appear no less confident than they that are ever toiling; procuring admiration to our city as well in this as in divers other things. For we also give ourselves to bravery, and yet with thrift; and to philosophy, and yet without mollification of the mind.

And we use riches rather for opportunities of action, than for verbal ostentation: and hold it not a shame to confess poverty, but not to have avoided it. Moreover there is in the same men, a care both of their own and the public affairs; and a sufficient knowledge of state matters, even in those that labour with their hands. For we only think one that is utterly ignorant therein, to be a man, not that meddles with nothing, but that is good for nothing. We likewise weigh what we undertake, and apprehend it perfectly in our minds; not accounting words for a hindrance of action, but that it is rather a hindrance to action to come to it without instruction of words before. For also in this we excel others; daring to undertake as much as any, and yet examining what we undertake; whereas with other men, ignorance makes them dare, and consideration dastards. And they are most rightly reputed valiant, who though they perfectly apprehend both what is dangerous and what is easy, are never the more thereby diverted from adventuring. Again, we are contrary to most men in matter of bounty. For we purchase our friends, not by receiving, but by bestowing benefits. And he that bestoweth a good turn, is ever the most constant friend; because he will not lose the thanks due unto him from him whom he bestowed it on. Whereas the friendship of him that oweth a benefit, is dull and flat, as knowing his benefit not to be taken for a favour, but for a debt. So that we only do good to others, not upon computation of profit, but freeness of trust

In sum it may be said, both that the city is in general a school of the Grecians, and that the men here have, every one in particular, his person disposed to most diversity of actions, and yet all with grace and decency. And that this is not now rather a bravery of words upon the occasion, than real truth, this power of the city, which by these institutions we have obtained, maketh evident. For it is the only power now, found greater in proof than fame; and the only power, that neither grieveth the invader, when he miscarries, with the quality of those he was hurt by, nor giveth cause to the subjected states to murmur, as being in subjection to men unworthy. For both with present and future ages we shall be in admiration, for a power not without testimony, but made evident by great arguments; and which needeth not either a Homer to praise it, or any other such, whose poems may indeed for the present bring delight, but the truth will afterwards confute the opinion conceived of the actions. For we have opened unto us by our courage all seas and lands, and set up eternal monuments on all sides, both of the evil we have done to our enemies, and the good we have done to our friends.

Such is the city for which these men, thinking it no reason to lose it, valiantly fighting have died. And it is fit that every man of you that be left, should be like minded to undergo any travail for the same. And I have therefore spoken so much concerning the city in general, as well to show you that the stakes between us and them, whose city is not such, are not equal; as also to make known by effects, the worth of these men I am to speak of; the greatest part of their praises being therein already delivered. For what I have spoken of the city, hath by these, and such as these, been achieved. Neither would praises and actions appear so levelly concurrent in many other of the Grecians, as they do in these: the present revolution of these men’s lives seeming unto me an argument of their virtues, noted in the first act thereof, and in the last confirmed. For even such of them as were worse than the rest, do nevertheless deserve, that for their valour shown in the wars for defence of their country they should be preferred before the rest. For having by their good actions abolished the memory of their evil, they have profited the state thereby more than they have hurt it by their private behaviour. Yet there was none of these, that preferring the further fruition of his wealth, was thereby grown cowardly; or that for hope to overcome his poverty at length and to attain to riches, did for that cause withdraw himself from the danger. For their principal desire was not wealth, but revenge on their enemies; which esteeming the most honourable cause of danger, they made account through it both to accomplish their revenge and to purchase wealth withal; putting the uncertainty of success to the account of their hope; but for that which was before their eyes, relying upon themselves in the action; and therein choosing rather to fight and die, than to shrink and be saved, they fled from shame, but with their bodies they stood out the battle; and so in a moment, whilst fortune inclineth neither way, left their lives not in fear, but in opinion of victory.

Such were these men, worthy of their country. And for you that remain, you may pray for a safer fortune, but you ought not to be less venturously minded against the enemy; not weighing the profit by an oration only, which any man amplifying, may recount, to you that know as well as he, the many commodities that arise by fighting valiantly against your enemies; but contemplating the power of the city in the actions of the same from day to day performed, and thereby becoming enamoured of it. And when this power of the city shall seem great to you, consider then, that the same was purchased by valiant men, and by men that knew their duty, and by men that were sensible of dishonour when they were in fight; and by such men, as though they failed of their attempt, yet would not be wanting to the city with their virtue, but made unto it a most honourable contribution. For having every one given his body to the commonwealth, they receive in place thereof an undecaying commendation and a most remarkable sepulchre; not wherein they are buried so much, as wherein their glory is laid up, upon all occasions both of speech and action to be remembered for ever. For to famous men all the earth is a sepulchre: and their virtues shall be testified, not only by the inscription in stone at home, but by an unwritten record of the mind, which more than of any monument will remain with every one for ever. In imitation therefore of these men, and placing happiness in liberty, and liberty in valour, be forward to encounter the dangers of war. For the miserable and desperate men, are not they that have the most reason to be prodigal of their lives; but rather such men, as if they live, may expect a change of fortune, and whose losses are greatest if they miscarry in aught. For to a man of any spirit, death, which is without sense, arriving whilst he is in vigour and common hope, is nothing so bitter as after a tender life to be brought into misery.

Wherefore I will not so much bewail, as comfort you, the parents, that are present, of these men. For you know that whilst they lived, they were obnoxious to manifold calamities. Whereas whilst you are in grief, they only are happy that die honourably, as these have done: and to whom it hath been granted, not only to live in prosperity, but to die in it. Though it be a hard matter to dissuade you from sorrow for the loss of that, which the happiness of others, wherein you also when time was rejoiced yourselves, shall so often bring into your remembrance; (for sorrow is not for the want of a good never tasted, but for the privation of a good we have been used to); yet such of you as are of the age to have children, may bear the loss of these in the hope of more. For the later children will both draw on with some the oblivion of those that are slain, and also doubly conduce to the good of the city, by population and strength. For it is not likely that they should equally give good counsel to the state, that have not children to be equally exposed to danger in it. As for you that are past having of children, you are to put the former and greater part of your life to the account of your gain; and supposing the remainder of it will be but short, you shall have the glory of these for a consolation of the same. For the love of honour never groweth old: nor doth that unprofitable part of our life take delight (as some have said) in gathering of wealth, so much as it doth in being honoured. As for you that are the children or brethren of these men, I see you shall have a difficult task of emulation. For every man useth to praise the dead; so that with odds of virtue you will hardly get an equal reputation, but still be thought a little short. For men envy their competitors in glory, while they live; but to stand out of their way, is a thing honoured with an affection free from opposition. And since I must say somewhat also of feminine virtue, for you that are now widows, I shall express it in this short admonition. It will be much for your honour not to recede from your sex: and to give as little occasion of rumour amongst the men, whether of good or evil, as you can.

Thus also have I, according to the prescript of the law, delivered in word what was expedient; and those that are here interred, have in fact been already honoured; and further, their children shall be maintained till they be at man’s estate at the charge of the city; which hath therein propounded both to these, and them that live, a profitable garland in their matches of valour. For where the rewards of virtue are greatest, there live the worthiest men. So now having lamented every one his own, you may be gone.

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Gettysburg: Aftermath Concluded

Lincoln believed that the victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg had set the Confederacy tottering. One more push might topple it. "If General Meade can complete his work...by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army," said the President on July 7, "the rebellion will be over. But Lincoln was doomed to disappointment. Although Lee was in a tight spot after Gettysburg, the old Gray Fox once again gave the blue hounds the slip.

It was a near thing, however. A Union calvary raid wrecked the Confederate pontoon bridge across the Potomac, and days of heavy rain that began July 4 made the swollen river unfordable. The rebels were compelled to stand at bay with their backs to the Potomac while engineers tore down warehouses to build a new bridge. The tired soldiers fortified a defensive position at Williamsport and awaited Yankee attack. But no attack came. Having given Lee a 2 day head start from Gettysburg, Meade did not get his reinforced army into line facing the Confederates at Williamsport until July 12.

In Washington an anxious and impatient Lincoln awaited word of Lee's destruction. As the days passed and no word arrived, the president grew angry. When Meade finally telegraphed on July 12 that he intended "to attack them tommorow, unless something intervenes," Lincoln commented acidly: "They will be ready to fight a magnificent battle when there is no enemy there to fight." Events proved him right. A pretended deserter (a favorite southern ruse) had entered Union lines and reported Lee's army in fine fettle, eager for another fight. This reinforced Meade's wariness. He allowed a majority of his corps commanders to talk him out of attacking on the 13th. When the Army of the Potomac finally groped forward on July 14, if found nothing but a rear guard. The slippery rebels had vanished across a patched-together bridge during the night.

"Great God!" cried Lincoln when he heard the news. "What does it mean?...There is bad faith somewhere...Our Army held the war in the hollow of their hand & they would not close it." Lincoln's estimate of the situation at Williamsport was not quite accurate. An attack on the strong Confederate position might have succeeded- with heavy casualties- or it might not. In either case, the destruction of Lee's veteran army was scarcely a sure thing. When word of Lincoln's dissatisfaction reached Meade, the testy general offered his resignation. But Lincoln could hardly afford to sack the victor of Gettysburg, so he refused to accept it.

But Lincoln's temper soon recovered, as promising news continued to arrive from the West. We turn to these battles now.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 1

In Tennessee, all through the spring of 1863, the Lincoln administration had been urging Rosecrans to advance in concert with Grant's movements in Mississippi and Hooker's in Virginia. THis would achieve Lincoln's strategy of concurrent pressure on all main Confederate armies to keep one of them from reinforcing another. But Rosecrans balked like a sulky mule. The memory of the New Year's Eve bloodbath at Stones River convinced him that he must not attack without sufficient resources to insure success. His delays enabled Bragg to send reinforcements to Mississippi, an action that increased Lincoln's exasperation. But when Rosecrans finally made his move on June 14, his careful planning produced a swift and almost bloodless success. Each of the 4 northern infantry corps and one calvary corps burst through a different gap in the Cumberland foothills south of Mursfreeboro. Having confused Bragg with feints, Rosecrans got strong forces on both Confederate flanks in the Duck River Valley. Despite constant rain that turned roads to mud, the Yankees kept moving. One blue brigade of mounted infantry armed with 7 shot Spencer carbines got in the rebel rear and threatened to cut their rail lifeline. At the beginning of July, Bragg decided to fall back all the way to Chattanooga rather than risk a battle.

In little more than a week of marching and maneuvering, the Army of the Cumberland had driven its adversary 80 miles at the cost of only 570 casualties. Rosecrans was annoyed by Washington's apparent lack of appreciation. On July 7 Secretary of War Stanton sent Rosecrans a message informing him of "Lee's army overthrown, Grant victorious. You and your noble army now have the chance to give the finishing blow to the rebellion. Will you neglect the chance?" Rosecrans shot back: "You do not appear to observe the fact that this noble army has driven the rebels from Middle Tennessee...I beg in behalf of this army that the War Department may not overlook so great an event because it is not written in letters of blood."

Southern newspapers agreed that Rosecrans's brief campaign was "masterful." Bragg confessed it "a great disaster" for the Confederates. His retreat offered two rich prizes to the Federals if they could keep up the momentum: Knoxville and Chattanooga. The former was the center of east Tennessee unionism, which Lincoln had been trying to redeem for two years. Chattanooga had great strategic value, for the only railroads linking the eastern and western parts of the Confederacy converged there in the gap carved through the Cumberlands by the Tennessee river. Having already cut the Confederacy in two by the capture of Vicksburg, Union forces could slice up the eastern portion by penetrating into Georgia via Chattanooga.

For these reasons Lincoln urged Rosecrans to push on to Chattanooga while he had the enemy off balance. From Kentucky General Burnside, now commanding the small Army of the Ohio, would move forward on Rosecran's left flank against the 10,000 Confederate troops defending Knoxville. But once again Rosecrans dug in his heels. He could not advance until he had repaired the railroad and bridges in his rear, established a forward base, and accumulated supplies. July passed as General-in-Chief Halleck sent repeated messages asking and finally ordering Rosecrans to get moving. Finally, on August 16, he did.

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Tullahoma Campaign: prelude to Chickamauga

From Bragg's report:

"We were now back against the mountains, in a country affording us nothing, with a long line of railroad to protect, and half a dozen passes on the right and left by which our rear could be gained. In this position it was perfectly practicable for the enemy to destroy our means of crossing the Tennessee, and thus secure our ultimate destruction without a battle. Having failed to bring him to that issue, so much desired by myself and troops, I reluctantly yielded to the necessity imposed by my position and inferior strength, and put the army in motion for the Tennessee River."

After the battle of Murfreesboro (31 Dec 62 - 02 Jan 63) Rosecrans established his winter camp there. Bragg withdrew south and prepared a defensive line north of Tullahoma which was to block any Federal advance toward Chattanooga. Rosecrans prepared thoroughly for the coming battle by stockpiling supplies and training the troops by means of constant skirmishing. His biggest problem were his inferior cavalry forces.

The solution to this problem was tossed into his lap by a volunteer Col. named John T. Wilder, a mechanical engineer and foundry owner from Indiana, who came to Rosecrans with a revolutionary idea: take infantry, mount them on horses, arm them with the brand new 7-round Spencer repeating rifle, and use them as mobile shock troops who would ride ahead, dismount, and use their tremendous firepower to attack the enemy in the rear with the force of a much larger body of conventionally armed infantry. Rosecrans listened and gave Wilder the approval to round up the horses.

Wilder contracted with Christian Spencer for the delivery of 1400 rifles and made an arrangement with his bank so that the members of his brigade would pay the purchase price ($35 dollars per rifle, a princely sum in those days) in installments out of their monthly pay. Later the government assumed this debt.

From the Official Records it is not possible to document the process by which Wilder got Rosecrans' approval for the acquisition of these rifles, because there is simply no communication there signed by Rosecrans which even mentions them. Nor by Thomas who must have been involved since Wilder was in his corps. A search of the records does reveal that, starting on 25 Aug 1862 Rosecrans began to importune the War Department for "revolving arms," by which he was referring to the 5-shot .56 cal. Colt revolving rifle. Even earlier, on 6 Aug 1862 he had asked for "repeating rifles."

He could have been referring either to Henrys or the Colt, but at that date there were very few Henrys. The Colt dramatically increased the rate of fire of the man using it, but it had grave defects. The loose powder and ball were packed into the chambers of the cylinder and covered with grease in order to keep the flash, which escapes from the front of the cylinder of all revolvers (even modern ones), from igniting the powder in the neighboring chambers. If one of the unfired chambers should be thus set off, that began the potentially lethal (to the bearer) phenomenon of chain fire. This problem was also inherent in the handheld revolvers, but they were normally used by the cavalry and not used as heavily as infantry rifles were.

In addition, the caliber of the Colt revolving rifle was large, the powder charge likewise, and the escaping flash could severly burn the arm which was beside it. That meant that the bearer either had to hold his elbow as far as possible away from the cylinder or support the rifle on some object.

Significantly, Rosecrans' last entreaty for "revolving arms" is dated 1 Feb 1863. The silence thereafter on the entire question of repeaters indicates that Spencer established contact with Wilder and/or Rosecrans shortly after that date, and Rosecrans decided to play his cards close to his chest. Most strangely, the Spencer repeaters are not specifically mentioned in any of the after-battle reports.

The only indirect reference to them is in Wilder's report when he writes of pouring a "tornado of death" and "leaden hail" into enemy ranks. This general omission could only be the result of an understanding among those writing the reports.

Meanwhile, the pressure from Washington for action steadily increased. However, Rosecrans (like Buell) had little patience and diplomatic skill for dealing with such interference and responded with sarcasm to sarcasm. When Grant crossed to the east side of the Mississippi below Vicksburg on 1 May 63, the volume of messages demanding an attack reached a crescendo due to the fear that Bragg "unoccupied" would be able to send still more reinforcements to Johnston (which were not sent, by the way).

Rosecrans refused to budge until he was ready. That he turned out later to have been right did not further endear him to Halleck. At the risk of his military career Rosecrans was carefully preparing a plan to utilize the revolutionary tool which Wilder had put in his hands. The plan was both audacious and complex involving 4 separate attack columns, and it went off like clockwork, in spite of incessant rain and bad roads, thanks to the months of preparation and planning.

map

On the Federal right Stanley and Granger's cavalry demonstrated toward the fortified town of Shelbyville which shielded Bragg's main foraging area in Middle Tennessee. In the middle McCook and Thomas threatened the passes, and on the left Crittenden gestured toward McMinnville. However, Crittenden didn't get very far before becoming literally stuck in the mud caused by the rain which began the 24th and continued for 15 straight days, the most which had fallen in that period since records had been kept. Stanley's movement on 23 June toward Shelbyville was a feint (rendered more convincing by the presence of most of Rosecrans' cavalry), because Rosecrans had no intention of directly attacking the fortifications. Crittenden's feinting at a feint was supposed to be recognized as such, thus diverting attention back to Stanley on the Federal right in front of Shelbyville, whereby it's not clear if his fake feint had any effect. In the middle, McCook's movment toward Liberty Gap was also a demonstration, and a few days later his forces moved east to join those of Thomas. In his report Rosecrans described his orchestrated deceptions as follows:

"The plan was, therefore, to move General Granger's command to Triune, and thus create the impression of our intention to advance on them by the Shelbyville and Triune pikes, while cavalry movements and an infantry advance toward Woodbury would seem to be feints designed by us to deceive Bragg and conceal our supposed real designs on their left, where the topography and the roads presented comparatively slight obstacles and afforded great facilities for moving in force."

While this was going on, Thomas with the 14th Corps waited quietly in the middle. If I had been Bragg, I would have been asking the staff : "Where is Thomas?" Early on 24 June he unleashed the main thrust. First Wilder's newly mounted "lightning" brigade (with the firepower of a division) stormed through Hoover's Gap and overwhelmed the pickets of Stewart's division which were supported by a small unit of Wheeler's cavalry. Never before in the history of warfare had so much firepower in the hands of so few covered 12 miles so quickly. Wilder was thus able to establish himself on Hardee's flank and await Thomas's infantry. While he waited, he held off a counter-attack by Stewart's entire division. When Thomas arrived, he said to Wilder that his action had prevented 2000 casualties.

Hardee, just to the west of Hoover's Gap, knew only that an enormous amount of firepower had suddenly appeared on his right flank. For some reason for two days he sent no messages back to Bragg (whom he despised) about the fighting, and then he retreated without orders into Tullahoma. This isolated Polk's corps in Shelbyville which therefore also withdrew into Tullahoma, albeit as ordered by Bragg.

Wilder also spearheaded the drive into Manchester which turned Bragg out of Tullahoma. Wilder's battle report:

On the morning of the 26th, we again moved forward, my command, on horseback, debouching into the valley of Garrison Fork, and filing over the chain of hills between that stream and McBride's Creek, flanking the rebel left, and causing it to hastily fall back before the infantry column of General Reynolds, who was advancing on the line of the Manchester pike. We then moved up McBride's Creek to the tableland, and marched rapidly around the head of Noah's Fork for the purpose of turning the strong position of Matt's Hollow; but on arriving at the Manchester pike, after it reaches the tableland, we found that the infantry column was passing, having met no enemy, they having retreated in the direction of Fairfield. We camped that night 6 miles from Manchester, and at daylight next morning moved forward, cutting off a rebel picket post, and were in Manchester before the few rebels there knew of our approach.

On 28 June Hardee and Bishop Lenoidas Polk (who constantly fomented rebellion against Bragg) advised in guarded and less guarded terms to abandon Tullahoma because Rosecrans was now solidly placed in Manchester and poised to make another flanking maneuver to the east and cut Bragg off from Chattanooga. The next day Bragg's army began its withdrawal to Chattanooga. On 3 July the Federals effected the crossing of the Elk River to the south of Tullahoma, and on the next day the pursuit was called off, as Bragg was safely across the Cumberland plateau on his way to Chattanooga. By a coincidence, the Tullahoma campaign and the battle Gettysburg (which overshadows it) ended on the same day, and the siege of Vicksburg on the following day.

At the price of 560 casualties Rosecrans swept forward 80 miles to the Tennesse river. The Union was now poised to take definitive control of the all-important trunk line from Virginia to Memphis and to open the door to the deep South. First Rosecrans had to fight a battle at Chickamauga and hold onto Chattanooga, both of which he did before ceding his place to Thomas, who put the finishing touch on the campaign at the battle of Chattanooga.

The Confederate commanders' reports written in early July indicate that they didn't yet understand what exactly had happened to them at Hoover's Gap. Only Cleburne refers to a "continual fire" which he couldn't answer because he didn't have enough ammuntion. However, if Bragg had had a real intelligence service, he should have had an inkling. According to Wilder in a paper he read in 1907 before the Ohio Commandary, his men first tried out the Spencers in "a number of skirmishes with the cavalry of the enemy," so some reports about something disturbing and new should have filtered back to Bragg's headquarters before the battle. If they did, they weren't understood. The gathering of intelligence and its evaluation require both human and financial resources which the Southern commanders often lacked. The Confederacy snapped up most of the cavalry officers at the beginning of the war, but the Union got most of the engineers, and in the long run, that made the difference.

This campaign did not and still does not receive much attention and has little attraction for those who thrill to high body counts. All the more reason for discerning students of history to give this masterpiece of planning and execution its due consideration.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 2

Rosecrans repeated the deceptive strategy of his earlier advance, feinting a crossing of the Tennessee above Chattanooga (where Bragg expected it) but sending most of his army across the river at 3 virtually undefended points below the city. Rosecrans's objective was the railroad from Atlanta. His 60,000 men struck toward it in 3 columns through gaps in the mountain ranges south of Chattanooga. At the same time, 100 miles to the north Burnside's army of 24,000 also moved through mountain passes in 4 columns like the figures of a hand reaching to grasp Knoxville. The outnumbered defenders, confronted by Yankee soldiers in front and unionist partisans in the rear, abandoned the city without firing a shot. Burnside rode into town on September 3 to the cheers of most citizens. His troops pushed patrols toward the North Carolina and Virginia borders to consolidate their hold on east Tennessee, while the rebel division that had evacuated Knoxville moved south to join Bragg just in time to participate in the evacuation of Chattanooga on September 8. With Rosecrans on his southern flank, Bragg had decided to pull back to northern Georgia before he could be trapped in this city enfolded by river and mountains.

"When will this year's calamities end?" asked a despairing COnfederate official on September 13. Desertions from southern armies rose alarmingly. "There is no use fighting any longer no how," wrote a Georgia deserter after the evacuation of Chattanooga, "for we are done gon up the Spout." Jefferson Davis confessed himself to be "in depths of gloom...We are now in the darkest hour of our political existence."

But it had been almost as dark after Union victories in early 1862, until Jackson and Lee had rekindled southern hopes. Davis was determined to make history repeat itself. Lee had turned the war around by attacking McClellan; Davis instructed Bragg to try the same strategy against Rosecrans. To aid that effort, 2 divisions had already joined Bragg from Joseph Johnston's idle army in Mississippi. This brought Bragg's numbers almost equal to Rosecrans's. In view of the low morale in the Army of Tennessee, though, Davis knew this was not enough. Having once before called on Lee to command at the point of greatest crisis, the president tried to do so again. But Lee demurred at Davis's request that he go south in person to take over Bragg's augmented army. The Virginian also objected at first to Longstreet's proposal to reinforce Bragg with his corps.

Instead, Lee wanted to take the offensive against Meade on the Rappahannock, where the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac had been shadow-boxing warily since Gettysburg. But this time Davis overruled Lee and ordered Longstreet to Georgia with 2 of his divisions (the 3rd, Pickett's had not yet recovered from Gettysburg). The first of Longstreet's 12,000 veterans entrained on September 9. Because of Burnside's occupation of east Tennessee, the direct route of 550 miles was closed off. Instead, the soldiers had to make a roundabout 900 mile excursion through both Carolinas and Georgia over 8 or 10 different lines. Only half of Longstreet's men got to Chickamauga Creek in time for the ensuing battle- but they helped win a stunning victory over Longstreet's old West Point roomate Rosecrans.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 3

With help on the way, Bragg went over to the offensive. To lure Rosecrans's 3 separated columns through the mountains where he could pounce on them individually in the valley south of Chattanooga, Bragg sent sham deserters into Union lines bearing tales of Confederate retreat. Rosecrans took the bait and pushed forward too quickly. But Bragg's subordinates failed to spring the traps. Three times from September 10 to 13 Bragg ordered attacks by 2 or more divisions against outnumbered and isolated fragments of the enemy. But each time the general assigned to make the attack, considering his orders discretionary, found reasons for not doing so. Warned by these manuevers, Rosecrans concentrated his army in the valley of West Chickamauga Creek during the third week in September.

Angered by the intractability of his generals- who in turn distrusted his judgment- Bragg nevertheless devised a new plan to turn Rosecrans's left, cut him off from Chattanooga, and drive him southward up a dead-end valley. With the arrival on September 18 of the first of Longstreet's troops under the fighting Texan John Bell Hood with his arm in a sling from a Gettysburg wound, Bragg was assured of numerical superiority. If he had been able to launch his attack that day, he might have succeeded in rolling up Rosecrans's flank, for only one Union corps stood in the way. But Yankee calvary with repeating carbines blunted the rebels' sluggish advance. That night Virginia-born George Thomas's large Union corps made a forced march to strengthen the Union left. Soon after dawn on September 19, enemy patrols bumped into each other just west of Chickamauga Creek, setting off what became the bloodiest battle in the western theater.

Bragg persisted in trying to turn the Union left. All through the day the rebels made savage division-size attacks mostly against Thomas's corps, through woods and undergrowth so thick that units could not see or cooperate with each other. Rosecrans fed reinforcements to Thomas who held the enemy to minimal gains, at harsh cost to both sides. That evening Longstreet arrived personally with two more of his brigades. Bragg organized his army into two wings, gave Longstreet command of the left and Leonidas Polk of the right, and ordered them to make an echelon attack next morning from right to left. Polk's assault started several hours late- a failing that had become a habit- and made little headway against Thomas's stubborn defenders fighting behind breastworks they had built overnight. Exasperated, Bragg canceled the echelon order of attack and told Longstreet to go forward with everything he had. At 11:30 am Longstreet complied, and charged into one of the greatest pieces of luck in the war.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 4

Over on the Union side, Rosecrans had been shifting reinforcements to his hard-pressed left. During this confusing process a staff officer, failing to see a blue division concealed in the woods on the right, reported a quarter-mile gap in the line at that point. To fill this supposedly dangerous hole, Rosecrans ordered another division to move over, thus creating a real gap in an effort to remedy a nonexistent one. Into this breach unwittingly marched Longstreet's veterans from the Army of Northern Virginia, catching the Yankees on either side in the flank and spreading a growing panic. More gray soldiers poured into the break, rolling up Rosecrans's right and sending one-third of the blue army- along with 4 division commanders, 2 corps commanders, and a traumatized Rosecrans whose headquarters had been overrun- streaming northward toward Chattanooga 8 miles away. Here were the makings of the decisive victory that had eluded western Confederate armies for more than two years.

Recognizing the opportunity, Longstreet sent in his reserves and called on Bragg for reinforcements. But the commander said he could not spare a man from his fought-out right, so a disgusted Longstreet had to make the final push with what he had. By this time, however, the Federals had formed a new line along a ridge at right angles to their old one. George Thomas took charge of what was left of the army and organized it for a last-ditch stand. For his leadership this day he won fame as the Rock of Chickamauga. Thomas got timely help from another northern battle hero, Gordon Granger, commander of the Union reserve division posted several miles to the rear. On his own initiative Granger marched toward the sound of the guns and arrived just in time for his men to help stem Longstreet's repeated onslaughts. As the sun went down, Thomas finally disengaged his exhausted troops for a nighttime retreat to Chattanooga. There the two parts of the army- those who had fled and those who had stood- were reunited to face an experience unique for Union forces: the defense of a besieged city.

Edited by timschochet

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 5

Longstreet and Forrest wanted to push on next morning to complete the destruction of Rosecrans's army before it could reorganize behind the Chattanooga fortifications. But Bragg was more appalled by the wastage of his own army than impressed by the magnitude of its victory. In 2 days he had lost 20,000 killed, wounded, and missing- more than 30% of his effectives. 10 Confederate generals had been killed or wounded, including Hood who narrowly survived amputation of a leg. Although the rebels had made a rich haul in captured guns and equipment, Bragg's immediate concern was the ghastly spectacle of dead and wounded lying thick on the ground. Half of his artillery horses had also been killed. Thus he refused to heed the pleas of his lieutenants for a rapid pursuit- a refusal that laid the groundwork for bitter recriminations that swelled into an uproar during the coming weeks. "What does he fight battles for?" asked an angry Forrest, and soon many others in the South were asking the same question. The tactical triumph of Chickamauga seemed barren of strategic results so long as the enemy held Chattanooga.

Bragg hoped to starve the Yankees out. By mid-October he seemed likely to succeed. The Confederates planted artillery on the commanding height of Lookout Mountain south of Chattanooga, infantry along Missionary Ridge to the east, and infantry on river roads to the west. This enabled them to interdict all of Rosecrans's supply routes into the city except a tortuous wagon road over the forbidding Cumberlands to the north. Mules consumed almost as much forage as they could haul over these heights, while rebel calvary picked off hundreds of wagons. Union horses starved to death in Chattanooga while men were reduced to half rations or less.

Rosecrans seemed unequal to the crisis. This disaster at Chickamauga and the shame of having fled the field while Thomas stayed and fought unnerved him. Lincoln considered Rosecrans "confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head." The Army of the Cumberland clearly needed help. Even before Chickamauga, Halleck had ordered Sherman to bring 4 divisions from Vicksburg to Chattanooga, rebuilding the railroad as he went. But the latter task would take weeks. So, on September 23, Stanton pressed a reluctant Lincoln to transfer the understrength 11th and 12th Corps by rail from the Army of the Potomac to Rosecrans. This would handicap Meade's operation on the Rappahannock, protested the president. Meade could not be prodded into an offensive anyhow, replied Stanton, so these corps should be put to work where they could do some good. Lincoln finally consented, and activated Joe Hooker to command the expeditionary force. Stanton summoned railroad presidents to his office. Orders flew around the country; dozens of trains were assembled; and 40 hours after the decision, the first troops rolled out of Culpepper for a 1,233 mile trip through the Union held territory over the Appalachians and across the unbridged Ohio River twice. 11 days later more than 20,000 men had arrived at the railhead near Chattanooga with their artillery, horses, and equipment. It was an extraordinary feet of logistics- the largest and fastest movement of such a large body of troops before the 20th Century.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 6

There was no point putting the new men into Chattanooga when the soldiers already there could not be fed. And there seemed to be no remedy for that problem without new leadership. In Mid-October, Lincoln took the matter in hand. He created the Division of the Mississippi embracing the whole region between that river and the Appalachians, and put Grant in command "with his headquarters in the field." The field just now was Chattanooga, so there Grant went. On the way he authorized the replacement of Rosecrans with Thomas as commander of the Army of the Cumberland.

Within a week of Grant's arrival on October 23, Union forces had broken the rebel stranglehold on the road and river west of Chattanooga and opened a new supply route dubbed "the cracker line" by hungry bluecoats. Although Rosecrans's staff had planned the operation that accomplished this, it was Grant who ordered it done. A Union officer later recalled that when Grant came on the scene "we began to see things move. We felt that everything came from a plan." The inspiration of Grant's presence seemed to extend to the 11th Corps, which had suffered disgrace at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg but fought well during a night action October 28-29 to open the Cracker line. By mid-November, Sherman had arrived with 17,000 troops from the Army of Tennessee to supplement the 20,000 men Hooker had brought from the Army of the Potomac to reinforce the 35,000 infantry of of Thomas's Army of the Cumberland. Though Bragg still held Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, his immediate future began to look cloudy.

This cloudiness stemmed in part from continuing internecine warfare within Bragg's command. Soon after Chickamauga, Bragg suspended Polk and 2 other generals for slowness or refusal to obey crucial orders before and during the battle. The hot-blooded Nathan Bedford Forrest, bitter about failing to follow up the victory, refused to serve any longer under Bragg and returned to an independent command in Mississippi after telling Bragg to his face:

I have stood your meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the part of a damned scoundrel...If you ever again try to intefere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life.

Several generals signed a petition to Davis asking for Bragg's removal. Longstreet wrote to the secretary of war with a lugubrious prediction that "nothing but the hand of God can save us or help us as long as we have our present commander."

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Excellent stuff Tim, with a campaign that gets, like BL said, overshadowed by the biggies of Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

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Excellent stuff Tim, with a campaign that gets, like BL said, overshadowed by the biggies of Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

Book recommendations for anyone who wants to learn more about Chickamauga:

This Terrible Sound: The Battle Chickamauga by Peter Cozzens (1996)

If you have a good used bookstore nearby, look for:

Chickamauga: bloody battle in the West by Glenn Tucker (1961)

Tucker is a bit overshadowed because Bruce Catton was so much more popular in the 50s, but he has a terrific writing style, well-researched, just a superb historian. His 1958 classic, They Met at Gettysburg, is a little easier to find.

I was going to post Shelby Foote's description of Chickamauga, but left my volume in the city. It's quite an amazing passage. They fought in fairly thick cedar woodlots, and it is often called the soldiers battle, because the generals had very little control over events. There wasn't a whole lot of tactics; divisions marched to the sound of the guns, went in a brigade at a time, and blazed away until one side got tired of taking it, at which point they either charged or retreated. Foote's description is just amazing....he captures this war weary feeling he imagines the average soldier had at that point, and after awhile you just loaded and fired and repeated without thinking of anything other than your resolve to stand your ground.

There are a gazillion great anecdotes about Chickamauga, but without my library handy I don't want to muck this up with misinformation. It's a really fun battle to study - difficult at first, but you just have to keep one thing in mind: Rosecrans had to hold the Lafayette Road (Rossville Gap, modern highway 27) and the Dry Valley Road (McFarland's Gap), because if they couldn't, then the escape routes were lost.

Longstreet's attack was a thing of beauty. Sure he lucked out that Wood got moved out of position by "the fateful order of the day", but give him full credit: he stacked up his assault four brigades deep (two wide), so when they punched through, they had plenty of power to roll up the flank of two Union divisions.

Lee's "Old War Horse" was at his best when he had time to carefully plan and prepare an attack. At Second Manassas they hit Pope square in the flank and swept the Union army nearly three miles. On July 2 at Gettysburg, faulty intelligence and Sickles move forward thwarted his plans, but throughout his postwar life he maintained that the combat around Little Round Top, Devil's Den, the Wheat Field and the Peach Orchard was the 'best 3 hours of fighting ever done by any troops on any battlefield.' Here in his home state, he led the Army of Tennessee to its most significant (although ultimately hollow) victory of the entire war. The following spring at the Battle of the Wilderness, his staff found a sunken road and hit 40,000 troops under Hancock square in the end, 'rolling up their flank like a wet blanket.'

Longstreet was hated after the war, in part because he became a Republican, but mostly because he dared to do what no other Confederate officer did: he criticized Robert E. Lee. For that, Early, Gordan, Pendleton, Trimble and all the rest of the Lost Cause authors crucified him. They turned him into the biggest villain of the war.

He was not without his faults; every time he got attacked in the postwar era, he would respond in a visceral and public manner (and sometimes the accusations were so absurd, you wish he would have just said nothing); but when I think of Longstreet, I remember those four great assaults: 2nd Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga and the Wilderness. To me, those four devastating attacks, all on the 2nd day of a battle, are what define his ACW career.

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I agree with what you wrote about Longstreet, BL, and I wanted to add that if you consider that he had just come from a long, winding train ride, and thrust into a battle in an area with which he was not familiar, it's even more amazing.

I can also just see Bedford Forrest, can't you? Totally contemptuous of the chain of command, not trusting anything but his own judgment- no matter what you think of the guy, what a legend.

But the one person in this battle that intrigues me the most is George Thomas.

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I agree with what you wrote about Longstreet, BL, and I wanted to add that if you consider that he had just come from a long, winding train ride, and thrust into a battle in an area with which he was not familiar, it's even more amazing.

Not to mention he almost got captured after they detrained at Caltoosa, GA. I forget the details, but they ran into a Federal Cavalry patrol, and in the darkness, bluffed their way through.

I can also just see Bedford Forrest, can't you? Totally contemptuous of the chain of command, not trusting anything but his own judgment- no matter what you think of the guy, what a legend.

He was a bad mofo, and that story is classic Forrest. Of course it's only one side of the story, but he is without question one of the most fascinating characters in a war full of interesting men.The Army of Tennessee was the Confederacy's Rubik's Cube. While the vacuum of leadership is obvious in hindsight, I don't know if I can find too much fault with the way Davis handled it. What I mean is, you had a cabal of officers in rebellion, and even newcomers D.H. Hill and Longstreet were anxious to display their ambition. Polk was in over his head; Hardee was a very capable corps commander, but that was probably his upward limit. Joe Johnson was the obvious choice to replace Bragg, but he had already refused the position (I think he always harbored the unrealistic notion that he would get his old job back...but no way was he going to succeed R.E. Lee, under any circumstances). Beauregard, for all his grandiose visions and lack of battlefield tactics, was probably the ideal leader for the AoT if his health wasn't so shaky.Connelly's two-volume work published in the late 60s remains the definitive work on the Army of Tennessee (which is unfortunate - it's as dry as sawdust). Depressing story; brave men, woeful leadership, and the polar opposite of the elan of the Army of Northern Virginia. The defeatist attitude ran through the ranks, but it all started at the top, because they were led by a man who had no vision of what they could be or what they could accomplish.

But the one person in this battle that intrigues me the most is George Thomas.

Fascinating guy. He should have received command of the Army of the Ohio (which became the Army of the Cumberland), but 1) he was a Virginian, and 2) Rosecrans was a McClellan's no. 2 at the time. His family owned several dozen slaves; his father died when he was 13, and he was 15, he was forced to hide his mother and sisters in the woods around their plantation during Nat Turner's uprising.Lt. Thomas received three brevet promotions in the Mexican War, serving in a legendary artillery battery under Zachary Taylor. The Captain who commanded the battery? None other than Braxton Bragg.After Atlanta, he definitely got the tougher assignment between himself and his old friend Sherman. Hard to believe, but they almost canned him because they (Lincoln, Grant, Stanton) thought he moved to slow. He always had poor relations with Grant, and never promoted himself or wrote postwar memoirs, so he doesn't get as much credit as those who spent their postwar years blowing their own horn.Oh, and the Rock of Chickamauga stuff....well-deserved, no question, but in reality he it was also the same thing he accomplished at the Round Forrest almost 9 months earlier when he saved Rosecran's butt at the Battle of Stones River.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 7

Twice before- after Perryville and Stones River- similar dissensions had erupted in the Army of Tennessee. On October 6 a weary Jefferson Davis boarded a special train for the long trip to Bragg's headquarters where he hoped to straighten out the mess. In Bragg's presence all 4 corps commanders told Davis that the general must go. After this embarrassing meeting, Davis talked alone with Longstreet and may have sounded him out on the possibility of taking the command. But as a sojourner from Lee's army, Longstreet professed unwillingness and reccommended Joseph Johnston. At this the president bridled, for he had no confidence in Johnston and considered him responsible for the loss of Vicksburg. Beauregard was another possibility for the post. Although he was then doing a good job holding off Union attacks on Charleston, Davis had tried Beauregard once before as commander of the Army of Tennessee and found him wanting.

In the end there seemed no alternative but to retain Bragg. In an attempt to reduce friction within the army, Davis authorized the transfer of several generals to other theaters. He also counseled Bragg to detach Longstreet with 15,000 men for a campaign to recapture Knoxville- an ill-fated venture that accomplished nothing while depriving Bragg of more than a quarter of his strength. Indeed, none of Davis's decisions during this maladroit visit had a happy result. The president left behind a sullen army as he returned to Richmond.

With Longstreet's departure in early November the Confederates yielded the initiative to Grant. As soon as Sherman's reinforcements arrived, Grant set in motion a plan to drive the rebels away from Chattanooga and open the gate to Georgia. As usual the taciturn general's offensive succeeded, but this time not in quite the way he had planned. Grant rejected the idea of a frontal assault against the triple line of trenches on Missionary Ridge as suicidal. He intended to attack both ends of Bragg's line to get on the enemy's flanks.

Believing that Thomas's Army of the Cumberland was still demoralized from their shock at Chickamauga and "could not be got out of their trenches to assume the offensive," Grant assigned them the secondary role of merely threatening the Confederate center on Missionary Ridge while Sherman's and Hooker's interlopers from the Armies of the Tennessee and the Potomac did the real fighting on the flanks. By this plan Grant unwittingly applied a goad to Thomas's troops that would produce a spectacular though serendipitous result.

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Alright, I'm kind of a ;), and I play war games. Not computer games, but board games. The designers of these games are great students of history and do tons of research. Since Bobby Layne and Tim were talking about Generals, I thought I would list how some of the generals are handled in what is probably the most popular Civil War game today: For The People

A little explanation will be needed. These games were once played with hexes and counters. Now they favor area movement and cards to move the action. Both players draw from the same deck, and get a set number of cards each turn. There are CSA specific cards, Union specific cards, and cards that both can use.

There are an equal number of cards in the deck with values of 1, 2 and 3. Cards can move leaderless forces, place political control markers, initiate amphibious assualts, be played for events, etc.

For example, one card is 3/ Trent Affair. This is a CSA card, only they may play it for the event, which is: Increase CSA Strategic Will by 5. Strategic Will, or SW, is kind of like Victory points, it affects who ultimately wins or loses.

But, for purposes of this discussion, it is a 3 value card. The vast majority of movement and battle involves activating Generals to lead forces. Since this is the highest value card, it can move any General in the game. Contrast with a card like 1/ Kansas Admitted to the Union. This card is a Union event that gives them a strength point (about 6,000 men) in Missouri. But it can only move a general with an activation value of one. These generals are rare. But 1/3 of the cards in the deck are 1 strength.

Essentially, the Union starts out with a lot of 3 value generals, who they can only activate with 1/3 of the cards in the deck. The CSA generals are generally 2 value generals, who can use 2/3 of the cards in the deck. This changes to be more favorable to the Union later in the war, but it is a significant advantage for the CSA in the early game, and due to the overwhelming Union manpower advantage, they need it.

I'll give examples of 2 generals who start the game on the board, and explain the ratings.

Beauregard: 1-1 (2) P5

Fremont: 0-0 (3) P8

The first number is offensive combat modifier. Beau gives a +1, Fremont gives nothing. Second is Defensive combat modifier, same thing.

The 3rd number is most important, it is what it costs to activate that General. Beau can be activated on a 2 OR 3 card, Fremont only on 3.

The 4th number has to do with Army command. The higher the number, the more likely that general is to be put in charge of an army. If you put a lower political value General in charge of an army when there are higher ones on the board, you suffer fairly severe SW penalties. Range is from 1-10.

Anyway, here is the list by turn. Some Generals are not available until later turns, this is a gamey thing combined with when they really took command and started significant operations. And yes, there is a lot of abstraction, the Union had Cav earlier than Winter of 62, but this is a large scale game.

Start: Spring 1861

CSA

Beauregard 1-1 (2) P5 (Manassas)

J Johnston 1-2 (2) P8 (Winchester, VA)

AS Johnson 1-1 (2) P10 (Nashville)

Polk 0-0 (3) P5 (Memphis)

Price 0-1 (2) P4 (Fayetteville, AR)

Union

McDowell 1-1 (3) P6 (D.C., AOP)

Butler 0-0 (3) P8 (Ft. Monroe, VA)

Fremont 0-0 (3) P8 (St. Louis)

Turn 2: Summer 1861 (New Generals are placed with existing forces, and don't have specific starting spaces)

CSA

Bragg 1-0 (2) P8

Smith 1-1 (2) P6

Stuart* 2-2 (1) P1 (* means cav, always costs 1 to move for CSA, 2 for Union, and has P1 value. They can only command small forces, and are usually attached to armies)

Union

Banks 0-0 (3) P5

Buell 1-1 (3) P6

Burnside 0-1 (2) P6

Halleck 1-1 (3) P6

McClellan 0-2 (3) P10

Pope 1-0 (2) P5

Rosencrans 1-1 (3) P5

(The most important Generals this turn are Pope and Burnside, they are more mobile than any other Union General currently on the board)

Turn 3: Fall 1861

CSA

Pemberton 0-1 (3) P3

Van Dorn 1-0 (1) P5

(Van Dorn is now the most mobile general on the board, briefly)

Turn 4: Spring 1862

CSA

Robert E. Lee 3-3 (1) P8

Forrest* 3-3 (1) P1

Morgan* 2-1 (1) P1

Wheeler* 1-1 (1) P1

Union

Curtis 0-1 (3) P5

Stoneman* 1-1 (2) P1 (First Union Cav, this is huge because Armies without Cav, like the AOP, fight at a big disadvantage)

Turn 5: Summer 1862

CSA

Jackson 3-3 (1) P2

Longstreet 2-3 (2) P2

(The lower political numbers make it very hard for the CSA to put Jackson or Longstreet in charge of an army)

Union

Pleasonton* 1-2 (2) P1

Turn 6: Fall 1862

Union

Hooker 0-1 (2) P5

Turn 7: Spring 1863

Union

Grant 3-3 (1) P8

(Grant generally marks the end of the CSA heyday where Lee has been running over hapless Union generals.)

Turn 8: Summer 1863

CSA

AP Hill 1-1 (2) P1

Ewell 1-1 (3) P1

Union

Meade 1-2 (3) P5

Hancock 1-1 (3) P1

Reynolds 1-1 (2) P1

Turn 9: Fall 1863

None

Turn 10: Spring 1864

CSA

Hood 1-0 (1) P3

Union

Sherman 3-3 (1) P5

McPherson 2-1 (3) P1

Schofield 1-1 (3) P1

Turn 11: Fall 1864

CSA

Hardee 1-1 (3) P5

Union

Sheridan* 3-2 (2) P1

Turn 12: Spring 1865

CSA

Early 1-1 (1) P2

Union

Thomas 2-3 (3) P2

Turn 13 Summer 1865

None

Now, I'm most interested in what you think of the values, not when they come in. Yeah, if the Union got all their generals on turn 1 with the superior forces they had they'd win every time. But there was a lot of confusion and politics on both sides, and some not so great generals were in command at key times.

Another important thing to understand is: A lot of these generals will be in armies. Army's use the Commanding general's rating, and 2 subordinates, usually. So a historical Army of the North Virginia would have a +8 on attack(Lee 3, Jackson 3, Stuart or Longstreet 2). While Grant could have a +8 on offense too, possibly (Grant 3, Sheridan 3, Thomas or Meade 2.) But the generals also had independent commands, so the ratings are relevant there.

Anyway, I know it's a long post, but I thought it might be interesting in context.

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Chickamauga and Chattanooga Part 8

Hooker carried out the first part of his job with a flair. On November 24 he sent the better part of 3 divisions against 3 Confederate brigades holding the northern slope of Lookout Mountain. The Yankee infantry scrambled uphill over boulders and fallen trees through an intermittent fog that in later years became romanticized as the "Battle Above The Clouds." With surprisingly light casualties (fewer than 500), Hooker's troops drove the rebels down the reverse slope, forcing Bragg that night to evacuate his defenses on Lookout and pull the survivors back to Missionary Ridge.

During the night the skies cleared to reveal a total eclipse of the moon; next morning a Kentucky Union regiment clawed its way to Lookout's highest point and raised a huge American flag in sunlit view of both armies below. For the South these were ill omens, though at first it did not appear so. On the other end of the line Sherman had found the going hard. When his 4 divisions pressed forward on November 24 they quickly took their assigned hill at the north end of Missionary Ridge- but found that it was not part of the ridge at all, but a detached spur separated by a rock-strewn ravine from the main spine. The latter they attacked with a will on the morning of November 25 but were repeatedly repulsed by Irish-born Patrick Cleburne's oversize division, the best in Bragg's army. Meanwhile Hooker's advance toward the opposite end of Missionary Ridge was delayed by obstructed roads and a wrecked bridge.

His plan not working, Grant in mid-afternoon ordered Thomas to launch a limited assault against the first line of Confederate trenches in the center to prevent Bragg from sending reinforcements to Cleburne. Thomas made the most of this opportunity to redeem his army's reputation. He sent 4 divisions, 23,000 men covering a 2 mile front, across an open plain straight at the Confederate line. It looked like a reprise of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, with blue and gray having switched roles. And this assault seemed even more hopeless than Pickett's, for the rebels had had 2 months to dig in and Missionary Ridge was much higher and more rugged than Cemetery Ridge. Yet the Yankees swept over the first line of trenches with astonishing ease, driving the demoralized defenders pell-mell up the hill to the second and third lines at the middle of the crest.

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Alright, I'm kind of a :lol: , and I play war games. Not computer games, but board games. The designers of these games are great students of history and do tons of research. Since Bobby Layne and Tim were talking about Generals, I thought I would list how some of the generals are handled in what is probably the most popular Civil War game today: For The People

A little explanation will be needed. These games were once played with hexes and counters. Now they favor area movement and cards to move the action. Both players draw from the same deck, and get a set number of cards each turn. There are CSA specific cards, Union specific cards, and cards that both can use.

There are an equal number of cards in the deck with values of 1, 2 and 3. Cards can move leaderless forces, place political control markers, initiate amphibious assualts, be played for events, etc.

For example, one card is 3/ Trent Affair. This is a CSA card, only they may play it for the event, which is: Increase CSA Strategic Will by 5. Strategic Will, or SW, is kind of like Victory points, it affects who ultimately wins or loses.

But, for purposes of this discussion, it is a 3 value card. The vast majority of movement and battle involves activating Generals to lead forces. Since this is the highest value card, it can move any General in the game. Contrast with a card like 1/ Kansas Admitted to the Union. This card is a Union event that gives them a strength point (about 6,000 men) in Missouri. But it can only move a general with an activation value of one. These generals are rare. But 1/3 of the cards in the deck are 1 strength.

Essentially, the Union starts out with a lot of 3 value generals, who they can only activate with 1/3 of the cards in the deck. The CSA generals are generally 2 value generals, who can use 2/3 of the cards in the deck. This changes to be more favorable to the Union later in the war, but it is a significant advantage for the CSA in the early game, and due to the overwhelming Union manpower advantage, they need it.

I'll give examples of 2 generals who start the game on the board, and explain the ratings.

Beauregard: 1-1 (2) P5

Fremont: 0-0 (3) P8

The first number is offensive combat modifier. Beau gives a +1, Fremont gives nothing. Second is Defensive combat modifier, same thing.

The 3rd number is most important, it is what it costs to activate that General. Beau can be activated on a 2 OR 3 card, Fremont only on 3.

The 4th number has to do with Army command. The higher the number, the more likely that general is to be put in charge of an army. If you put a lower political value General in charge of an army when there are higher ones on the board, you suffer fairly severe SW penalties. Range is from 1-10.

Anyway, here is the list by turn. Some Generals are not available until later turns, this is a gamey thing combined with when they really took command and started significant operations. And yes, there is a lot of abstraction, the Union had Cav earlier than Winter of 62, but this is a large scale game.

Start: Spring 1861

CSA

Beauregard 1-1 (2) P5 (Manassas)

J Johnston 1-2 (2) P8 (Winchester, VA)

AS Johnson 1-1 (2) P10 (Nashville)

Polk 0-0 (3) P5 (Memphis)

Price 0-1 (2) P4 (Fayetteville, AR)

Union

McDowell 1-1 (3) P6 (D.C., AOP)

Butler 0-0 (3) P8 (Ft. Monroe, VA)

Fremont 0-0 (3) P8 (St. Louis)

Turn 2: Summer 1861 (New Generals are placed with existing forces, and don't have specific starting spaces)

CSA

Bragg 1-0 (2) P8

Smith 1-1 (2) P6

Stuart* 2-2 (1) P1 (* means cav, always costs 1 to move for CSA, 2 for Union, and has P1 value. They can only command small forces, and are usually attached to armies)

Union

Banks 0-0 (3) P5

Buell 1-1 (3) P6

Burnside 0-1 (2) P6

Halleck 1-1 (3) P6

McClellan 0-2 (3) P10

Pope 1-0 (2) P5

Rosencrans 1-1 (3) P5

(The most important Generals this turn are Pope and Burnside, they are more mobile than any other Union General currently on the board)

Turn 3: Fall 1861

CSA

Pemberton 0-1 (3) P3

Van Dorn 1-0 (1) P5

(Van Dorn is now the most mobile general on the board, briefly)

Turn 4: Spring 1862

CSA

Robert E. Lee 3-3 (1) P8

Forrest* 3-3 (1) P1

Morgan* 2-1 (1) P1

Wheeler* 1-1 (1) P1

Union

Curtis 0-1 (3) P5

Stoneman* 1-1 (2) P1 (First Union Cav, this is huge because Armies without Cav, like the AOP, fight at a big disadvantage)

Turn 5: Summer 1862

CSA

Jackson 3-3 (1) P2

Longstreet 2-3 (2) P2

(The lower political numbers make it very hard for the CSA to put Jackson or Longstreet in charge of an army)

Union

Pleasonton* 1-2 (2) P1

Turn 6: Fall 1862

Union

Hooker 0-1 (2) P5

Turn 7: Spring 1863

Union

Grant 3-3 (1) P8

(Grant generally marks the end of the CSA heyday where Lee has been running over hapless Union generals.)

Turn 8: Summer 1863

CSA

AP Hill 1-1 (2) P1

Ewell 1-1 (3) P1

Union

Meade 1-2 (3) P5

Hancock 1-1 (3) P1

Reynolds 1-1 (2) P1

Turn 9: Fall 1863

None

Turn 10: Spring 1864

CSA

Hood 1-0 (1) P3

Union

Sherman 3-3 (1) P5

McPherson 2-1 (3) P1

Schofield 1-1 (3) P1

Turn 11: Fall 1864

CSA

Hardee 1-1 (3) P5

Union

Sheridan* 3-2 (2) P1

Turn 12: Spring 1865

CSA

Early 1-1 (1) P2

Union

Thomas 2-3 (3) P2

Turn 13 Summer 1865

None

Now, I'm most interested in what you think of the values, not when they come in. Yeah, if the Union got all their generals on turn 1 with the superior forces they had they'd win every time. But there was a lot of confusion and politics on both sides, and some not so great generals were in command at key times.

Another important thing to understand is: A lot of these generals will be in armies. Army's use the Commanding general's rating, and 2 subordinates, usually. So a historical Army of the North Virginia would have a +8 on attack(Lee 3, Jackson 3, Stuart or Longstreet 2). While Grant could have a +8 on offense too, possibly (Grant 3, Sheridan 3, Thomas or Meade 2.) But the generals also had independent commands, so the ratings are relevant there.

Anyway, I know it's a long post, but I thought it might be interesting in context.

Something is horribly wrong with the numbers for McClellan...you'd think his defensive rating would be higher, his offensive rating lower and his activation number impossible to calculate.

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McClellan 0-2 (3) P10

Something is horribly wrong with the numbers for McClellan...you'd think his defensive rating would be higher, his offensive rating lower and his activation number impossible to calculate.
As for offensive, you can't get lower than 0. Defense, I think 2 is about right, 3 is the highest. Activation, you can't get any slower than 3.

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I haven't done six-sided hex war gaming in more than 30 years. I believe timschochet has some Avalon Hill experience, though maybe not ACW related. I used to war game D-Day and the other WWII battles growing up.

John Tiller (Talonsoft) did a decent ACW PC based series called Battleground. The main titles were Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Most of the CDs had smaller battles as well - Wilson's Creek, South Mountain, Stones River, etc.

That series was discontinued but a similar series by HPS, but it is an ACW campaign series. Talonsoft sold the Battleground series to a small software company in Staten Island, and they repackaged the five titles into a single release. I believe there is a sizable gaming community which has done customized mods and add-ons for both series.

The other ACW pc game I have is Sid Meijer's Gettysburg, but I never got around to trying it. Might still be in the cellophane.

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I haven't done six-sided hex war gaming in more than 30 years. I believe timschochet has some Avalon Hill experience, though maybe not ACW related. I used to war game D-Day and the other WWII battles growing up.John Tiller (Talonsoft) did a decent ACW PC based series called Battleground. The main titles were Bull Run, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Most of the CDs had smaller battles as well - Wilson's Creek, South Mountain, Stones River, etc.That series was discontinued but a similar series by HPS, but it is an ACW campaign series. Talonsoft sold the Battleground series to a small software company in Staten Island, and they repackaged the five titles into a single release. I believe there is a sizable gaming community which has done customized mods and add-ons for both series.The other ACW pc game I have is Sid Meijer's Gettysburg, but I never got around to trying it. Might still be in the cellophane.

Yeah, I played the football games (Paydirt and Bowl Bound) and Third Reich. I never got around to Civil War games.

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