Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums
timschochet

The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary

Recommended Posts

I've decided to revisit this thread from time to time, in order to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of key events and explore them in greater detail as they come up.

Unfortunately, nothing much occurred during February of 1862. Next month, however, we get one of my favorite sea battles ever, the Merrimac vs. the Monitor. And in April, there's the Battle of Shiloh.

So keep an eye out for this thread in the coming months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Pretty sure the Death Star got blowed up twice, Mr. Foote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Pretty sure the Death Star got blowed up twice, Mr. Foote.
:lmao: Edited by SofaKings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Excellent. The Battle of Shiloh is a VERY underappreciated battle and for once luck was on the side of the Union. Up until then that had been a very rare commodity indeed. Troops in the wrong place that turned out to be the right place, the resiliency shown at the Hornet's Nest, the horrors of the Bloody Pond. If you want to visti a pristine battlefield, you NEED to make a trip to southern Tennessee and visit this gem. Look forward to your links on this battle - I have read probably a half dozen books dedicated to this battle alone. Phenomenal battle with an improbable result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Excellent. The Battle of Shiloh is a VERY underappreciated battle and for once luck was on the side of the Union. Up until then that had been a very rare commodity indeed. Troops in the wrong place that turned out to be the right place, the resiliency shown at the Hornet's Nest, the horrors of the Bloody Pond. If you want to visti a pristine battlefield, you NEED to make a trip to southern Tennessee and visit this gem. Look forward to your links on this battle - I have read probably a half dozen books dedicated to this battle alone. Phenomenal battle with an improbable result.

Please add whatever you want to! I regard Shiloh as one of the 4 key battles of the Civil War (the others being Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Siege of Vicksburg). If the Confederacy had won any of these 4 battles, the history of the war would have been quite different. Edited by timschochet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Thursday and Friday (March 8, 9) mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles in American history: The Monitor vs. the Merrimac, also called the Battle of Hampton Roads, also called the C.S.S. Virginia vs. the U.S.S. Monitor, also called the "Battle of the Ironclads."

This battle, one of my favorites of the Civil War, changed naval history. In a nutshell, here's what happened: the Confederacy created the first ironclad battleship and sent it into a Union harbor, where it slowly destroyed it's foes like some great metal monster: bullets and cannonballs bounced off it, and the U.S. navy was helpless. It was the Death Star of the Confederacy. But the next day, the Union unleashed it's own ironclad battleship, the Monitor, which was smaller and faster. The two titan ships fought a momentous draw which turned out to be a victory for the Union, as the Merrimac-Virginia was never able again to assert it's superiority of March 8, 1862.

I have detailed this battle earlier in this thread, but over the next couple of days I will be linking some articles on it to provide greater detail. I plan on doing the same with key battles all this year, beginning next month with the Battle of Shiloh.

Excellent. The Battle of Shiloh is a VERY underappreciated battle and for once luck was on the side of the Union. Up until then that had been a very rare commodity indeed. Troops in the wrong place that turned out to be the right place, the resiliency shown at the Hornet's Nest, the horrors of the Bloody Pond. If you want to visti a pristine battlefield, you NEED to make a trip to southern Tennessee and visit this gem. Look forward to your links on this battle - I have read probably a half dozen books dedicated to this battle alone. Phenomenal battle with an improbable result.

Please add whatever you want to! I regard Shiloh as one of the 4 key battles of the Civil War (the others being Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Siege of Vicksburg). If the Confederacy had won any of these 4 battles, the history of the war would have been quite different.

Well Gettysburg and Vicksburg are 1a and 1b...but I agree the other two are right up there. Chatanooga was a bit important as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/monitor-merrimac.htm

Monitor and Merrimac. At the moment when the Confederates evacuated Manassas a strange naval battle occurred in Hampton Roads. The Confederates had raised the sunken Merrimac in the Gosport navy yard and converted it into an iron-clad ram, which they called the Virginia, commanded by Captain Buchanan, late of the United States navy. She had gone down to Hampton Roads and destroyed (March 8, 1862) the wooden sailing frigates Congress and Cumberland, at the mouth of the James River, and it was expected she would annihilate other ships there the next morning. Anxiously the army and navy officers of that vicinity passed the night of the 8th, for there appeared no competent human agency near to avert the threatened disaster.

<a class=http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/monitor-merrimac/hampton-roads-map_small.jpg' alt='a>'>

MAP OF HAMPTON ROADS

Meanwhile another vessel of novel form and aspect had been constructed at Greenpoint. L. I., N. Y., under the direction of CAPT. JOHN ERICSSON, who used Theodore R. Timby's invention of a revolving turret. It presented to the eye, when afloat, a simple platform, sharp at both ends, and bearing in its centre a round Martello tower 20 feet in diameter and 10 feet in height, made, as was the rest of the vessel, of heavy iron. It presented a bomb-proof fort, in which were mounted two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The hull of this vessel was only 8 1/2 feet in depth, with a flat bottom, and was 124 feet in length, and 34 feet the greatest width at top. On this hull rested another, 5 feet in height, that extended over the lower one 3 feet 7 inches all around, excepting at the ends, where it projected 25 feet, by which protection was afforded the anchor, propeller and rudder. The whole was built of 3 inch iron, and was very buoyant. Its exposed parts were guarded by a wall of white oak, 30 inches in thickness, on which was laid iron armor 6 inches in thickness.

A shot to strike the lower hull would have to pass through 25 feet of water, and then strike an inclined plane of iron at an angle of about 10°. The deck was well armed also.

Such was the strange craft that entered Hampton Roads from the sea, under the command of LIEUT. JOHN L. WORDEN, unheralded and unknown, at a little past midnight, March 9, on its trial trip. It had been named Monitor. It had been towed to the Roads by steamers, outriding a tremendous gale.

<a class=http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/monitor-merrimac/monito6.jpg' alt='a>'>

INTERIOR OF THE MONITOR'S TURRET

Worden reported to the flag officer of the fleet in the Roads, and was ordered to aid the Minnesota in the expected encounter with the Merrimac in the morning. It was a bright Sabbath morning. Before sunrise the dreaded Merrimac and her company came down from Norfolk. The stern guns of the Minnesota opened upon the formidable iron-clad, when the little Monitor, which the Confederates called in derision a " cheese-box," ran out and placed herself by the side of the huge monster.

She was like a pigmy by the side of a giant. Suddenly her mysterious citadel began to revolve, and from it her guns hurled ponderous shot in quick succession. The Merrimac answered by heavy broadsides, and so they struggled for some time without injuring each other. Then the Monitor withdrew a little to seek a vulnerable part of her antagonist, while the Merrimac pounded her awfully,

<a class=http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/monitor-merrimac/monito4.jpg' alt='a>'>

Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac at Hampton Roads

sometimes sending upon her masses of iron weighing 200 pounds at a velocity of 290 feet per second. These struck her deck and tower without harming them, and conical bolts that struck the latter glanced off as pebbles would fly from solid granite. The Merrimac drew off and attacked the Minnesota. Seeing the latter in great peril, the Monitor ran between them. A most severe duel ensued, and as a result the Merrimac was so much disabled that she fled up to Norfolk, and did not again invite her little antagonist to combat. Worden was severely injured by concussion in the tower of the Monitor, and for a few days his life was in peril. This class of vessels was multiplied in the National navy, and did good service. A comparison of the appearance of the two vessels may be made in looking at the engraving of the New Ironsides and Monitor. The New Ironsides was a powerful vessel built in Philadelphia. It had a wooden hull covered with iron plates four inches in thickness.

Her aggregate weight of guns was 284,000 lbs., two of them 200-pounder Parrott guns. She had two horizontal steam-engines, and was furnished with sails. At her bow was a formidable wrought-iron ram or beak. She was accidentally set on fire and destroyed at her moorings at League Island, below Philadelphia, Dec. 15, 1866.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.civilwarhome.com/CMHHampton%20Roads.htm

:"

"About the 6th of March, 1862, the Merrimac being ready to go out, the Norfolk papers published an article to the effect that she was a failure, and would not be able to accomplish anything. It was intended, of course, to deceive the enemy, who we knew regularly received our papers. The United States squadron then in Hampton Roads consisted of the following vessels, viz.: The Congress and Cumberland, lying off Newport News, and the Minnesota, Roanoke and St. Lawrence, at anchor below Old Point. There were also below Old Point the store-ship Brandywine, the steamers Mt. Vernon and Cambridge, and a number of transports and tugs. These, however, took no part in the subsequent engagement. The Congress was a sail frigate of 1,867 tons, old measurement, mounting 50 guns, principally 32-pounders, with a crew of 434 men; the Cumberland was a large corvette (a razee) of 1,700 tons, old measurement, mounting 22 9-inch Dahlgren guns, with a crew of 376 men; the Minnesota was a large steam frigate of 3,200 tons, old measurement, mounting 43 guns, 9-inch and 11-inch Dahlgrens, with a crew of about 600 men. The Roanoke was similar to the Minnesota, and the St. Lawrence to the Congress.

"Newport News is on the left bank of the James river, six and one-half miles above Old Point, and twelve miles from Norfolk. The enemy had a large number of guns mounted there to protect the mouth of the river, with a large garrison. At Sewell's point, three and one-half miles from Old Point, the Confederates had a powerful battery to protect the entrance to the Elizabeth river, which also in a measure commanded the approach to Newport News; but the main ship channel is at a distance of two or two and one-half miles from it. At Sewell's point was mounted the only 11-inch gun we had in the Confederate States.

"Everything being ready, it was determined by Commodore Buchanan to make the attack on the 8th day of March. The last signal inserted in our signal books was, 'Sink before you surrender!"

"At 11 a.m., March 8, 1862, the signal was made to sail, and the Beaufort cast off from the navy yard wharf, in company with the Merrimac and Raleigh, and stood down the harbor. The weather was fair, the wind light, and the tide half-flood; the moon was nine days old.

"Nearly every man, woman and child in the two cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth were at the same time on their way to Sewell's point, Craney island, and other points where they could see the great naval combat which they knew was at last to take place. Some went by land, others by water. All the batteries were manned; all work was suspended in public and private yards, and those who were forced to remain behind were offering up prayers for our success. A great stillness came over the land.

"Flag-Officer Forrest, who commanded the navy yard, accompanied by many of his officers, went down with us in the tugboat Harmony as far as Craney island, four and one-half miles below Norfolk. Everything that would float, from the army tugboat to the oysterman's skiff, was on its way to the same point, loaded to the water's edge with spectators. As we steamed down the harbor, we were saluted by the waving of caps and handkerchiefs; but no voice broke the silence of the scene. All hearts were too full for utterance; an attempt at cheering would have ended in tears, for all realized the fact that here was to be tried the great experiment of the ram and ironclad in naval warfare. There were many who thought that as soon as the Merrimac rammed a vessel, she would sink with all hands enclosed in an iron-plated coffin. The least moved of all were those who were about to do battle for the 'cause' they believed in. On board the Merrimac the officers and men were coolly employed in the multifarious duties that devolved upon them, while the men of the Beaufort and Raleigh were going into battle with the same insouciance they had exhibited in the battles of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City.

"The James river squadron, consisting of the Patrick Henry, Jamestown and Teaser, under the command of Capt. John R. Tucker, had been previously notified by Commodore Buchanan that the Merrimac would go out on the 8th, and Tucker was directed to come down the river as close to Newport News as he deemed prudent, so as to be ready to dash by the batteries and join our division when the battle commenced. The commodore could not have given the order to a better man. Eager to engage the enemy, Tucker, the most chivalric and bravest of men--ably seconded by his gallant captains, Barney, Webb and Rochelle--was only too ready to fly the Confederate flag in Hampton Roads. At daylight on the 8th he was at anchor off Smithfield point, some ten miles above Newport News, and in full view of the enemy, as afterward reported by Lieut. George U. Morris, who in the absence of Captain Radford fought the Cumberland.

"As we got down toward the mouth of the Elizabeth river, about 12:30 p.m., the Beaufort took a line from the port bow of the Merrimac to assist her in steering. Being very near the bottom she steered badly. We turned up the James river. The Congress and Cumberland were lying off Newport News, and were riding to the last of the flood tide. They had their boats at the booms, and 'washed clothes' up; evidently not expecting anything unusual to happen. In fact, Captain Radford, of the Cumberland, was at this time attending a court-martial on board the frigate Roanoke. The Cumberland could not have been better defended than she was by her executive officer, Lieut. George U. Morris. The Congress was lying immediately off Newport News point, and the Cumberland was a few cable lengths higher up. As soon as our vessels turned up the James river, they saw that our attack would be upon them, and they got ready for it.

"At 1:30 p.m. we cast off the line from the Merrimac, and all three vessels steamed for the enemy. The Beaufort maintained her position on the port bow of the Merrimac, and exactly at 2 p.m. she fired the first gun of the day, at the same time hoisting the battleflag she had used at Roanoke island. The Merrimac now hoisted the signal 'close action,' and from that time she made no signal, nor did she answer one, until the close of the action. As we approached the enemy, firing and receiving their fire, the Merrimac passed the Congress and made for the Cumberland, which vessel was either just turning to the ebb tide, or had her broadside sprung across the channel."

Sinking of the Cumberland

Commander Catesby Ap. R. Jones says (Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XI ):

The action commenced about 3 p.m. by our firing the bow gun at the Cumberland, less than a mile distant. A powerful fire was immediately concentrated upon us from all the batteries afloat and ashore. The frigates Minnesota, Roanoke and St. Lawrence, with other vessels, were seen coming from Old Point. We fired at the Congress on passing, but continued to head directly for the Cumberland, which vessel we had determined to run into, and in less than fifteen minutes from the firing of the first gun. we rammed her just forward of the starboard forechains. The noise of the crashing timbers was distinctly heard above the din of battle. There was no sign of the hole above water, but it must have been large, as the ship soon commenced to careen. The shock to us on striking was slight. We immediately backed the engines. The blow was not repeated. We here lost the "prow," and had the stem slightly twisted. The Cumberland fought her guns gallantly as long as they were above water, and she went down bravely with her colors flying. One of her shells struck the side of the bow port and exploded, the fragments killing two and wounding a number. One aft 9-inch gun was loaded and ready for firing, when its muzzle was struck by a shell which broke it off, and fired the gun. Another gun also had its muzzle shot off and was broken so short that at each subsequent discharge its port was set on fire. The damage to the armor was slight. The fire appeared to have been aimed at our ports. Had it been concentrated on the water-line we would have been seriously hurt, if not sunk. Owing to the ebb-tide and our great draft we could not close with the Congress without first going up stream, which was a tedious operation, besides subjecting us twice to the full fire of the batteries [at Newport News], some of which we silenced.

We were accompanied from the yard by the gunboats Beaufort, Lieut. Comdg. William H. Parker, and Raleigh, Lieut. Comdg. J. W. Alexander. As soon as the firing was heard up James river, the Patrick Henry, Commander John K. Tucker; Jamestown, Lieut. Comdg. J. N. Barney, and the gunboat Teaser, Lieut. Comdg. W. A. Webb, under command of Capt. John R. Tucker, stood down the river, joining us about 4 o'clock. All these vessels were gallantly fought and handled, and rendered valuable and effective service. The prisoners from the Congress stated that when on board that ship it was seen that we were standing up the river, that three cheers were given under impression we had quit the fight. They were soon undeceived.

Destruction of the Congress

The narrative first quoted continues as follows:

"The Beaufort and Raleigh engaged the Congress and shore batteries, and the firing was fast and furious. We took up a position on the port quarter of the Congress, and used the rifled gun with effect. The Merrimac rammed the Cumberland, striking her just forward of the starboard fore-channels---firing and receiving a heavy fire in return--and stove her bow in so completely that she at once commenced to go down. As she took the bottom, she turned over on her beam ends. She made a gallant defense, her crew fighting the guns to the last, and went down with her colors flying. This was at 2:40 p.m. precisely. Boats went off from Newport News to save the drowning men.

"The Merrimac reversed her engines immediately upon ramming the Cumberland, and had some difficulty in extricating herself--indeed her bow sunk several feet. When free, she proceeded a short distance up the river to turn round; having clone which she stood for the Congress. As soon as the Congress observed the fate of her consort she slipped her cable, set the fore-topsail flying, and with the assistance of a tug ran on shore below Newport News. At this time I observed the James river squadron coming gallantly into action. They were under a very heavy fire while passing Newport News, but got by without receiving much damage. All of our vessels now directed their fire upon the Congress. The Beaufort took position on her starboard quarter, and kept it until she surrendered. The fire on this unfortunate ship was terrible. She returned it with alacrity, principally from her stern guns, and was assisted by the batteries on shore.

"We saw now the frigates Minnesota, Roanoke and St. Lawrence coming up from Old Point to the assistance of the Congress, towed by powerful tugs. They were under a heavy fire from the batteries on Sewell's point in passing, and received some damage. The Minnesota received a rifle-shot through her mainmast, 'crippling it,' according to her captain's report. Strange to say, all three of these vessels ran aground--the Minnesota about one and a half mile below Newport News, the Roanoke and St. Lawrence farther down. The Minnesota was near enough to take part in the engagement, and the St. Lawrence fired a few broadsides. The Roanoke and the St. Lawrence were soon pulled off by the tugs, and made the best of their way back to Old Point. They took no further part in the action. The Minnesota remained aground.

"The Congress made a gallant defense, and did not surrender until one hour and twenty minutes after the ramming of the Cumberland. Her decks were running with blood, and she bore the brunt of the day. At 4 o'clock she hoisted a large white flag at her main truck. . . . When I saw the white flag, I immediately lowered a boat, and sent Midshipmen Mallory and Foreman to take possession of the prize. My aide, Midshipman Ivy Foreman, hauled down the Congress' flag and brought it to me.

"The firing having ceased, the Merrimac signaled me to 'come within hail,' which I did. Commodore Buchanan then ordered me to 'go alongside the Congress, to take the officers and wounded men prisoners, to permit the others to escape, and to burn the ship.' I went alongside her in the Beaufort, and sent an officer to direct her commander to come to me, at the same time sending my men aboard to help get the wounded men to the Beaufort I did not think it proper to leave my vessel myself, as I had but two young and inexperienced midshipmen with me, and I saw an enemy's gunboat not very far off. In a few minutes Lieut. Austin Pendergrast came down the side of the Congress, accompanied by an officer whom I took to be the surgeon or paymaster of the ship. This officer proved to be Capt. William Smith, who had been in command until a few days before, when he had been relieved by Lieut. Joseph Smith. Lieutenant Smith had been killed, which left Pendergrast in command. Captain Smith was a volunteer, as I afterward learned.

"These two officers surrendered the ship to me and delivered up their arms. I told Pendergrast my orders, and requested him to get his officers and wounded men on board the Beaufort as quickly as possible. He said there were 60 wounded men on board the frigate, and begged me not to burn her. I told him my orders were peremptory. While we were engaged in this conversation the wounded men were being lowered into the Beaufort, and just then the Raleigh came alongside me. I sent her to the starboard side of the Congress to help in the work. I had scarcely given the order when a tremendous fire was opened on us from the shore. Medical Director Shippen, U. S. N., says it was from the Twentieth Indiana regiment. The fire was from artillery as well as small-arms. At the first discharge every man on the deck of the Beaufort, save Captain Smith and Lieutenant Pendergrast, was either killed or wounded. Lieutenant Pendergrast begged me to hoist the white flag, saying that all his wounded men would be killed. I called his attention to the white flag which was flying at his mast-head, directly over our heads.

"The lieutenant then requested permission to go on board the Congress with Captain Smith to assist in getting the wounded down. This I assented to. In the first place, I was glad to have their assistance; and secondly, I was not willing to confine them in my cabin at a time when the bullets were going through it like hail; humanity forbade it. I would not have put a dog there. I now blew the steam whistle, and my men came tumbling on board. The fire still continuing, we cast off from the Congress and opened fire on the shore. The sides and masts of the Beaufort resembled the top of a pepper-box, from the bullets which went in one side of her, and out at the other. Being much encumbered with the prisoners I ran alongside the tugboat Harmony, and delivered them to Commodore Forrest. We then steamed immediately back, and joined the other vessels in the attack on the Minnesota, which vessel was still aground.

"Between 7 and 8 p.m. we hauled off in obedience to signal, and anchored between Sewell's point and Craney island. At midnight the Congress blew up. According to the report of Lieutenant Pendergrast she had been on fire from the beginning of the action; and Medical Director Shippen, who from his station would be likely to know, says: 'We were on fire in the sick-bay, in the main hold, and under the wardroom near the after magazine. Some of these fires were extinguished; but the most dangerous one, that near the after magazine, was never extinguished, and was the cause of the explosion which during the following night blew the ship to pieces."

"The results of this day's operations were the total destruction of the frigate Congress and the corvette Cumberland, and the partial crippling of the steam frigate Minnesota. The loss in killed and drowned on board the Cumberland, as reported by her commander, was 121; and the surgeon reported 14 wounded, which makes 135 casualties. I find it difficult to ascertain from Lieutenant Pendergrast's report how many men the Congress lost in all. He gives the total number of killed and missing as 136 .... There is reason to fear that some wounded men were left on board to be consumed by the flames, who would have been taken off by the Beaufort and Raleigh, under the flag of truce, had they not been fired on by the troops on shore. The fire of these troops killed their own wounded men as they were being lowered over the side, and rendered it impossible for us to continue the work. The Minnesota lost 3 killed and 16 wounded, and there were some casualties reported among the other vessels. The loss in the Federal fleet in killed, drowned, wounded and missing must have amounted to nearly 400 men.

"On our side, the Merrimac lost 21 killed and wounded, the Patrick Henry 14, the Beaufort 8, the Raleigh had Lieutenant Tayloe and Midshipman Hutter killed--how many men I do not know, nor have I any information as to the number of killed and wounded on the Teaser. The Jamestown had no casualties, though she was in the thickest of the fight. Our total loss, however, did not exceed 60. On the Merrimac, Commodore Buchanan and Lieut. R. D. Minor were wounded. Captains Webb, of the Teaser, and Alexander, of the Raleigh, were slightly wounded. Lieut. Catesby Jones succeeded to the command of the Merrimac."

In all descriptions of this battle, the Merrimac has so completely overshadowed her consorts that but little of the honor of the day has fallen to them, but that they greatly assisted in the successful result cannot be denied. When the Merrimac went up James river to turn--a "tedious operation," according to Lieut. Catesby Jones--the gunboats Beaufort and Raleigh were left alone to contend with the frigate Congress and the shore batteries under the signal, "Close action." Secretary Gideon Welles in his report for 1862 says:

Having thus destroyed the Cumberland, the Merrimac turned again upon the Congress, which had in the meantime been engaged with the smaller rebel steamers [the Beaufort and Raleigh], and after a heavy loss, in order to guard against such a fate as had befallen the Cumberland, had been run aground. The Merrimac now selected a raking position astern of the Congress, while one of the smaller steamers [the Beaufort] poured in a constant fire on her starboard quarter. Two other steamers of the enemy also approached from James river, firing upon the unfortunate frigate with precision and severe effect.

Lieutenant Pendergrast, of the Congress, says: "The smaller vessels [the Beaufort and Raleigh] then attacked us, killing and wounding many of our crew." The captain of the Minnesota, Van Brunt, also speaks of the damage done his vessel by the wooden Confederate steamers Patrick Henry and Jamestown. It is useless to deny the important services of our wooden gunboats on this occasion; and although it is possible that the Merrimac alone could have accomplished all that was done, certain it is that if these gunboats had been sent in on the next day, March 9th, with the signal for "close action," the Minnesota would have been destroyed beyond a doubt.

On the night of the 8th, the Confederate squadron remained at anchor off Sewell's point. Commodore Buchanan and his flag lieutenant, Robert Minor, were removed to the hospital on shore. The remainder of the wounded received the attention of Surgs. Dinwiddie Phillips, John Mason, Randolph Mason and Algernon Garnett. These gentlemen had belonged to the medical corps of the old navy, a corps of educated, courteous gentlemen which can, perhaps, be equaled, but never excelled.

"About 11 p.m.," as Commander Jones narrates, "one of the pilots [of the Merrimac] chanced to be looking in the direction of the Congress, when there passed a strange looking craft which he at once proclaimed to be the Ericsson [Monitor]. We were therefore not surprised to see the Monitor next morning at anchor near the Minnesota."

The Merrimac and the Monitor

ERICSSON'S Monitor, as described by Professor Soley, "consisted of a small iron hull, upon which rested a large raft, surmounted by a revolving turret. The hull was 124 feet long and 34 feet wide. The raft projected at the bow and stern, its total length being 50 feet greater than that of the hull. Its overhang amidship was 3 feet 8 inches wide, gradually increasing toward the bow and stern. The raft was 5 feet deep, and was protected by a side armor of five 1-inch iron plates backed with oak. The deck was covered with two -inch plates, over timber laid on heavy wooden beams. The turret was armored with eight 1-inch plates, and its roof was protected by railroad iron; in it were two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The pilot house, in front of the turret, was built of square iron bars, notched together, with a bolt through the corners. On the top of the pilot house was an iron plate, 1 inch thick, set in a ledge without fastenings."

When the victors of March 8th retired that night, they hoped to accomplish a great work on the following day. The Minnesota was aground, the Roanoke and St. Lawrence had retired below Old Point, and the enemy was known to be greatly demoralized. How much, was not realized. No mortal man could have surmised what was afterward learned, but the Confederate naval officers intended to destroy the Minnesota, and then see what could be done with the other vessels. The Monitor had been heard of, but only in rumor.

Shortly after 8 a.m. on the 9th, the squadron got under weigh, and the Merrimac proceeded toward the Minnesota, closely attended by the Patrick Henry. The Monitor now made her appearance. James Barron Hope said she looked like a "cheese-box." She engaged the Merrimac for some time, the wooden vessels looking on. It was a naval duel, though the Merrimac occasionally fired at the Minnesota, and received her shot in return. It appeared to be a battle between a giant and a pigmy, but it should be remembered that the Merrimac was very hard to manage and drew twenty-two feet water, whereas the Monitor was readily handled, and drew but ten feet. In point of fact, it was not necessary to maneuver the Monitor at all; for as her turret revolved, all she had to do was to stand still. This, indeed, is one of the strong points of this class of vessels, fighting in rivers or shallow water. They can always bring a gun to bear as long as the turret will revolve.

After some time the Merrimac succeeded in ramming the Monitor, but her prow had been broken off in ramming the Cumberland the day before, and she did no harm. The Monitor in turn attempted to run close to the stern of the Merrimac in the hope of disabling her rudder, but was not successful. Toward 12 o'clock the Monitor steamed down toward Old Point, and the Merrimac, after waiting awhile, turned in the direction of Norfolk, where she went into dock the same day. The Merrimac and Monitor both used shells alone on this day. Had they used solid shot, which they were always afterward prepared to do, the result would probably have been more decisive. The action as it was is well described by Capt. Catesby Jones in the publication previously mentioned:

"The Monitor commenced firing when about a third of a mile distant. We soon approached, and were often within a ship's length; once, while passing, we fired a broadside at her only a few yards distant. She and her turret appeared to be under perfect control. Her light draft enabled her to move about us at pleasure. She once took position for a short time where we could not bring a gun to bear on her. Another of her movements caused us great anxiety; she made for our rudder and propeller, both of which could have been easily disabled. We could only see her guns when they were discharged; immediately afterward the turret revolved rapidly, and the guns were not again seen until they were fired. We wondered how proper aim could be taken in the very short time the guns were in sight. The Virginia [Merrimac], however, was a large target, and generally so near that the Monitor's shot did not often miss. It did not appear to us that our shell had any effect upon the Monitor. We had no solid shot ....

When we saw that our fire made no impression on the Monitor, we determined to run into her, if possible, which we found a very difficult feat. Our great length and draft, in a comparatively narrow channel, with but little water to spare, made us sluggish in our movements, and hard to steer and turn. When the opportunity presented, all steam was put on;but there was not sufficient time to gather full headway before striking. The blow was given with the broad, wooden stem, the iron prow having been lost the day before. The Monitor received the blow in such a manner as to weaken its effect, and the damage to her was trifling. Shortly after, an alarming leak in the bows was reported. It, however, did not long continue .... "

The fight had continued three hours. To us the Monitor appeared unharmed. We were therefore surprised to see her run off into shoal water where our great draft would not permit us to follow, and where our shell could not reach her. The loss of our prow and anchor, and consumption of coal, water, etc., had lightened us so that the lower part of the forward end of the shield was awash.

We for some time awaited the return of the Monitor to the roads. After consultation, it was decided that we should proceed to the navy yard, in order that the vessel might be brought down in the water and completed. The pilot said if we did not then leave, that we could not pass the bar until noon of the next day. We therefore, at 12 m., quit the roads and stood for Norfolk. Had there been any sign of the Monitor's willingness to renew the contest, we would have remained to fight her. We left her in the shoal water to which she had withdrawn, and which she did not leave until after we had crossed the bar on our way to Norfolk.

Thus ended the fight between the Merrimac and Monitor. It may be added that the Merrimac's damages were slight, and in her encounter with the Monitor she had not a man killed or wounded.

Evacuation of Norfolk

Commodore Josiah Tattnall now took command of the squadron, and Lieut. J. Pembroke Jones relieved Lieutenant Minor as flag lieutenant. On the 11th day of April the squadron proceeded to Hampton Roads to engage the enemy. The United States squadron at anchor below Old Point consisted of the Minnesota (flagship) and some other frigates, the Monitor, the Naugatuck (ironclad), and a large number of smaller vessels and trans. ports. In the course of the day the steamer Vanderbilt --a vessel specially designed to ram the Merrimac--arrived.

The Confederate vessels took possession of the roads, cut out three vessels from under the enemy's guns, and defied the enemy to battle. The United States vessels remained ignominiously at anchor under the guns of Old Point. At sunset, finding that Flag-Officer Goldsborough would not fight, Commodore Tattnall made signal to anchor off Sewell's point.

On the 8th of May, the Merrimac being at the navy yard, the United States vessels (including the Monitor) attacked the batteries at Sewell's point. Upon hearing the guns, the Merrimac proceeded to the scene of action. Upon her drawing near, the enemy incontinently fled, and took refuge under the guns of Fortress Monroe.

Norfolk was evacuated by the Confederates on May 10, 1862, and on the same night the Merrimac was set on fire and blown up by her commander. The officers and crew landed on Craney island and proceeded to Drewry's bluff, some eight miles below Richmond. Flag-Officer Tattnall applied for a court-martial. It is sufficient to say he was acquitted, the opinion of the court being that "the only alternative was to abandon and burn the ship [the Merrimac] there and then."

The other vessels of the squadron had been previously dispatched to Richmond. Capt. John R. Tucker, in command, hearing that the enemy's ships were ascending the river, immediately commenced preparations to defend the city. The Jamestown and some other vessels were sunk in the channel. The guns of the Patrick Henry and Jamestown were with incredible labor carried up and mounted on Drewry's bluff, and manned by the crews of those vessels. On the 15th of May the ironclads Galena, Monitor and Naugatuck, with the gunboats Port Royal and Aroostook, the whole under the command of the indomitable Commodore John Rodgers, U S. N., attacked the battery. The enemy's squadron was driven off with considerable loss, the Galena being seriously damaged. Commander Ebenezer Farrand, C. S. N., commanded the combined forces on the bluff. The officers and crew of the Merrimac had arrived two days before, and manned some of the guns. But the credit of this defense, which saved the city of Richmond, belongs fairly to Capt. John R. Tucker, Commander J. N. Barney, the officers and crews of the Patrick Henry and Jamestown, and to Major Drewry and his brave soldiers. Palmam qui meruit ferat. Lieut. John Taylor Wood, in command of a company of sharpshooters, manned the banks of the river near Chapin's bluff, and considerably annoyed the enemy, as did Capt. John D. Simms with a company of marines.

Conclusion

The battle between the Merrimac and Monitor has been much discussed, and both sides have claimed the victory. The honors of the day may be technically awarded the Monitor (in consequence of the Merrimac's leaving for Norfolk), for she remained on the field and saved the Minnesota. The Merrimac should undoubtedly have destroyed that ship before leaving the roads. It was a lost opportunity, for the Monitor when she withdrew was a whipped ship.

In support of this assertion may be cited the following:

1. The omission of the name of Lieut. Dana Greene, who succeeded to the command of the Monitor after Captain Worden was wounded, from the official report of his captain.

2. The report of Captain Van Brunt, of the Minnesota, who distinctly says, "The Monitor stood down for Fortress Monroe."

3. The shameful letter of Ericsson to Captain Fox in relation to Greene.

4. The panic pervading the Northern cities, incited by the secretary of war, Mr. Stanton, who actually ordered the Potomac river to be obstructed fifty miles below Washington.

5. The suggestion of President Lincoln to "obstruct the Elizabeth river, to keep the Merrimac from coming out."

6. The rejection of Captain Worden's claim for prize money by the naval committee of Congress in 1883.

7. The earnest request of General McClellan that the Merrimac should be neutralized.

8. The employment of the steamer Vanderbilt to ram and destroy the Merrimac, what the Monitor had failed to do.

9. The fact that the Monitor declined to engage the Merrimac on the 11th day of April, 1862.

10. The further fact that the Monitor ran away from the Merrimac on the 8th day of May, 1862.

No further proofs are required. The Monitor was a whipped ship on the 9th of March, the only day she dared encounter the Merrimac; and what is more, the defeat was generally conceded by the United States authorities at that time. The claim of a victory for the Monitor was an afterthought, and only asserted when the Merrimac had been-destroyed by her own commander. The destruction of the Merrimac by her commander on the night of May 10, 1862, came upon the Confederacy like a clap of thunder. Commodore Tatnall's intention was to lighten the ship, by throwing overboard coal and stores, to a draft of eighteen feet, and then proceed up the James river to Harrison's bar, forty miles below Richmond. After the ship had been thus lightened, the pilots suddenly declared the ship could not be taken there. The ship being now no longer an ironclad as to her hull--the lightening had brought the eaves of her shield above water, and there were no means to bring her down again to her proper draft of twenty-two feet--nothing remained but to destroy her.

But what service would she have been at Harrison's bar or anywhere else, when one shell at her unprotected water-line would have sent her to the bottom as quickly as an iron pot sinks! In point of fact, when the Merrimac was left without support by the evacuation of Norfolk, there remained but one of two things to do, viz., to blow her up, or to attack the enemy's fleet below Old Point, and proceed to the York river and destroy McClellan's transports. The latter course might have resulted greatly to Confederate advantage. It is possible, now, to see some such results as these: That Flag-Officer Goldsborough's vessels would have proceeded to sea without waiting to be attacked; Fortress Monroe would have surrendered; McClellan's plan of campaign would have been frustrated, and the Chesapeake bay and the mouths of the Potomac, Rappahannock, York and James rivers would have been controlled. But Commodore Tattnell has been fully justified in the alternative course he adopted.

The moral effect of the Merrimac was most wonderful. The United States authorities were panic-stricken. Many of those high in command completely "lost their heads." The dread of the Merrimac extended among the seaboard cities from Boston to Washington. Never in the history of the world has the effect of a single ship been so marvelous! As she revolutionized the navies of the world, one can understand the sensation created in Europe. But the terror inspired by the Merrimac at the North, the wild speculations as to what she could and would do, and the universal panic, must ever remain a marvel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While not part of the sesquicentennial, I thought this a good place for this article:

‘Significant’ South Carolina battle flag back in state

George W. Wise carried the battle flag of the 19th South Carolina regiment into battles from middle Tennessee to Atlanta during the ugliest days of the Civil War.

It was shot out of his hands in Murfreesboro in 1863, and he probably dropped it when he lost his left arm in a battle at Shelbyville. But Pvt. Wise never really let go of that flag. When the war ended, Wise carried the tattered, bullet-riddled banner home.

...

Even missing an arm, he kept fighting until the end of the war.

The flag he carried into battle will be conserved, probably at a cost of somewhere between $7,000 and $15,000. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have paid for the conservation of eight flags in the Relic Room collection so far, and put up half the $50,000 purchase price for the 19th South Carolina flag. The other half came from revenue generated by the Relic Room through ticket sales, gift shop sales and licensing fees — in other words, not tax dollars.

:thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saturday is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Secessionville

<snip>

Historians don’t consider it remotely as important as Shiloh or Antietam. In fact, outside of Charleston, the James Island battle is basically a footnote to history.

But if it had gone the other way, Secessionville today might be considered one of the most significant moments in the War Between the States.

“It’s definitely overlooked,” said John Jowers, chairman of the Fort Lamar Stewardship Committee. “If the federals had taken Charleston, the war would have been over a lot faster.”

Secessionville not only gave the South a much-needed victory, and a boost to flagging Charleston morale, it helped keep the city safe from Union attack for more than a year.

The North would wait more than a year before concentrating its efforts on Morris Island.

“It’s really a pivotal event,” said Jowers, whose great-grandfather, George Edward Jowers, fought at Secessionville. “If Charleston had fallen, the South would have lost an important port and Columbia would have likely fallen. It would have divided the Southern states.”

If it had gone the other way, though, Secessionville would be a much better-known moment in U.S. history.

My great-great-grandfather was stationed at Fort Lamar during this battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hunley Legend Altered By New Discoverysnipets

For nearly 150 years, the story of the Hunley’s attack on the USS Housatonic has been Civil War legend.And it has been wrong.Scientists have discovered a piece of the Confederate submarine’s torpedo still attached to its spar, debunking eyewitness accounts that the Hunley was nearly 100 feet away from the explosion that sent a Union blockade ship to the bottom of the sea off Charleston in 1864.Instead, the Hunley and its eight-man crew were less than 20 feet from the blast. And that changes everything about the story — and possibly even provides a clue as to why it sank.“I would say this is the single-most important piece of evidence we have found from the attack,” said Maria Jacobsen, senior archaeologist on the Hunley project.Basically, Hunley conservators found a piece of the torpedo’s copper shell, peeled back from the blast, when they removed a century of hardened sand and shell from the submarine’s 20-foot spar. The torpedo was bolted to the spar, contradicting the conventional wisdom that the torpedo was planted in the side of the Housatonic with a barb like a fishing hook, slipped off the spar and then detonated by rope trigger when the sub was a safe distance away.Instead, the Feb. 17, 1864, attack off Charleston was a dangerous, close-quarters assault that risked the sub and crew....The blast left a hole in the Housatonic so large that accounts say a couch floated out of the breach sideways.But what did that blast do to the Hunley and its crew, which were also above the blast and less than two dozen feet away?“This is a riveted iron structure. How well would it hold up against shock waves?” Jacobsen said.That is a question that may not be answered soon. The Hunley’s hull is still covered with a shell of hardened sand — concretion — that scientists are leaving in place to protect the metal until the conservation process begins. When that concrete-like casing is removed (current plans are to do so next year), scientists at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center should get a better idea of what, if any, damage the blast caused the sub.It could have buckled hull plates, allowing enough water into the sub to sink it. But the crew, under enormous pressure to break the blockade, had no way to test the effects of shock waves from the blast on the sub....McConnell said that there is one tantalizing clue that suggests a shock wave hit the Hunley hard. Dixon’s pocket watch is stopped at almost the exact moment the Housatonic crew said the Hunley attacked. Did the blast actually stop a clock?“I think we are now narrowing our focus some to look at what effect the concussion of that blast might have had,” McConnell said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the 1240-short ton (1124 metric tons)[3] screw sloop USS Housatonic on Union blockade duty in Charleston's outer harbor. Soon after, Hunley sank for unknown reasons, killing all eight of her third crew.

HA-HA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While it's not Sesquicentennial related, I though those that check on this thread would find this of interest.

Charleston's 300 year old Powder Magazine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Today's Post and Courier

Charleston's Worst Christmas

The call of duty that December 150 years ago wasnt a video game theme sealed with a bow. Life and death struggles played out in broad daylight, and on Broad Street. Fighting wasnt confined to marshy retreats and bloody thickets just outside of town; the old city was shelled for most of Christmas Day. Houses were destroyed by fire. Civilians trying to keep warm died of battle wounds. It was Charlestons worst Christmas. The 1861-1865 Civil War had turned in the Unions favor at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July, and ended during a meager holiday season that found townsfolk and Confederate defenders often scrambling for cover in a blockaded city almost under siege.

<snipped>

A total of 150 shells were launched at Charleston from midnight to 1 p.m., with 16 falling short. Six buildings and a cotton press on Church Street were destroyed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Today's Post and Courier

Charleston's Worst Christmas

The call of duty that December 150 years ago wasnt a video game theme sealed with a bow. Life and death struggles played out in broad daylight, and on Broad Street. Fighting wasnt confined to marshy retreats and bloody thickets just outside of town; the old city was shelled for most of Christmas Day. Houses were destroyed by fire. Civilians trying to keep warm died of battle wounds. It was Charlestons worst Christmas. The 1861-1865 Civil War had turned in the Unions favor at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July, and ended during a meager holiday season that found townsfolk and Confederate defenders often scrambling for cover in a blockaded city almost under siege.

<snipped>

A total of 150 shells were launched at Charleston from midnight to 1 p.m., with 16 falling short. Six buildings and a cotton press on Church Street were destroyed.

Can't say they didn't have it coming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But what's significant about Charleston is that it survived. Other cities like Atlanta were burned to the ground, but Charleston, the city that started the whole ruckus, was largely untouched by Sherman's army. The people who lived there certainly suffered, but their homes were largely undamaged when the war ended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That link is crap, as is the paper. Here's the entire article:

Up on the Charleston rooftops there was rattle in the wee hours of Christmas morning 1863, but it was louder than click, click, click. The call of duty that December 150 years ago wasnt a video game theme sealed with a bow. Life and death struggles played out in broad daylight, and on Broad Street. Fighting wasnt confined to marshy retreats and bloody thickets just outside of town; the old city was shelled for most of Christmas Day. Houses were destroyed by fire. Civilians trying to keep warm died of battle wounds. It was Charlestons worst Christmas. The 1861-1865 Civil War had turned in the Unions favor at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July, and ended during a meager holiday season that found townsfolk and Confederate defenders often scrambling for cover in a blockaded city almost under siege.

Slaves in South Carolina must have sensed hope; Abraham Lincoln on the first day of 1863 issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Union soldiers camping on or near Folly Beach, including African-American troops, enjoyed a Christmas meal.

But within Charleston it was mostly despair, and an admirable charitable response featuring a Christmas dinner at the Soldiers Wayside Home.

The Christmas of 1863 brings no gifts for the boys and girls, read a Charleston Courier editorial. The sounds of battle have frightened away from our bleeding Southern land the bearer of painted toys, the candies and plums, and their parents and elders will have to be content with wholesome food of simple quality, seeing that hams and turkeys, mince pies and plum puddings are things the contest we are engaged in compels them to do without.

Life went on. A Christmas raffle was held every night in December at Charlestons Tivoli Gardens. The prize: poultry.

The Soldiers Relief Association at its regular weekly meeting was busy collecting gloves and scarves for a picket boat at Green Pond. A Dr. Bachman was thanked in the Courier for donating bushels of rice, rice flour, corn meal, lard and a ham.

I wont say it was a palpable sense of doom, but it was a city with the enemy closing in, said Kyle Sinisi, a Citadel history professor. Its a city thats been evacuated south of Broad, with evacuation heading up toward Calhoun. Theres a daily threat of bombardment.

As rarely in American history, urban residents were in sustained military danger. W. Chris Phelps in his 1999 book The Bombardment of Charleston, 1863-1865 wrote that Union batteries, upon spotting a fire in town, would train their guns on it so as to spread more fires.

The Christmas surprise shelling included an early morning onslaught from or aside Morris Island aimed, as usual, at the St. Michaels steeple. A shell started a fire on Broad Street near Church Street, engulfing Burkes stationary store.

There were casualties. William Knighton, 83, was sitting by the fire on his hearth when he had his right leg shot off below the knee while his sister-in-law, Mrs. Plane, had her right foot severely crushed by a fragment of shell, the Courier reported. Both died of their injuries within a week.

A total of 150 shells were launched at Charleston from midnight to 1 p.m., Phelps reported, with 16 falling short. Six buildings and a cotton press on Church Street were destroyed.

The empty chair

The Christmas of 1863 will long be remembered by those who passed the day in the city of Charleston, the Charleston Mercury reported. For hours before the eastern sky was streaked with the first grey tints of morning, the cold night air was rent by other sounds than the joyous peals from the belfry and the exploding crackers of exhilarated boys.

The Courier monitored the Siege of Charleston with a daily count. One Hundred and Sixty-Seventh Day, read the Dec. 23 report.

But Charleston, contrary to a few book titles, was not technically under siege. Rivers and a railroad remained open, Sinisi said.

Blockade runners brought valuable goods, but not necessarily material that stayed in the Charleston area, Sinisi said.

Charlestonians tried to make the best of it that Christmas week. Just received rum was for sale at a market on St. Philip Street. A store and dwelling at 157 Cannon St. (now a parking garage) sold for $5,000.

All Confederate soldiers with or without furloughs were invited to dinner free of charge at the Wayside Home from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 25. The dining hall was dressed with evergreens, and more than 400 soldiers attended. A simple shortage of utensils forced many to wait in line.

Christmas concepts such as small decorated trees, feasting and caroling were spreading in popularity throughout the U.S. in 1863. Thomas Nasts Christmas illustrations during the Civil War, including a somewhat modern-looking Santa Claus, are widely credited with cementing American holiday traditions.

But Lowcountry yuletide joy was in limited supply.

They had the tradition of the empty chair, said University of South Carolina history professor Don H. Doyle. For those who had died or for those who were away in battle, it was a way of recognizing the men in service. There must have been a lot of empty chairs around the dining tables of South Carolina that Christmas.

The Charleston Couriers Dec. 25 editorial went on: Many will dine on the scanty fare of every day. Many will celebrate it afar from their homes, and the memory of the manner in which they have passed this day for a long series of years will aggravate their present ills and add grief to their sorrow.

Hope for emancipation

Confederate Capt. A.B. Mulligan, a Charleston grocery operator, had it a bit better. His letter sent from a North Carolina camp late in 1863 is included in a My Dear Mother & Sisters collection published in 1992: All is quiet now. On Christmas night we attended a tableau at Richlands and I enjoyed it finely. There were a great many handsome and interesting young ladies in the neighborhood.

The record of slave thoughts about the pressing Union troops is beyond thin, Sinisi said. But word of Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation spread quickly.

Doubtless many slaves knew about the well-publicized Union progress and could see prospects for emancipation brightening by Christmas 1863, though every extra day spent in slavery was an ordeal, said University of South Carolina history professor Thomas J. Brown.

Doyle points out that the Civil War by late 1863 had become an abolition war.

That meant that wherever the Union troops were going, many of the slaves would abandon their masters and fall in behind the Union lines, Doyle said. Of course, it was a proclamation and not a fact that they were free, and depended on Union troops actually providing protection for slaves to come over across the lines. But that idea must have been very much alive in the minds of slaves.

Roast beef, plum pudding

Things were more upbeat for Union soldiers who had been gradually closing in on Charleston. Christmas Day of 1863 in the Lowcountry included pleasant & agreeable weather, according to a letter from Robert L. Coe to his beloved parents. Coe was stationed with New Yorks 112th New York Volunteer Infantry at Folly Beach.

Lt. Colonel Charles B. Fox was with the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, the African-American sister regiment to the 54th Massachusetts unit featured in the 1989 film Glory. In a letter to his wife, Fox said he was within sight of the shapeless ruins of Fort Sumter at Christmastime. Though suffering from insufficient food, bad water and diarrhea, the 55th had beefsteak and mutton chops for Christmas dinner.

Charles Macreading Vincent, a Union soldier from Marthas Vineyard writing home to Massachusetts, said his Christmas meal in South Carolina was the best I have seen since I entered the service of Uncle Sam. Menu: Roast beef, turnips, potatoes, tomatoes, horse radish and pepper sauce. Then come on a great plum pudding and mince pies, and a dessert of apples, raisins and nuts.

Some Union soldiers received 1863 Christmas gifts mostly books or basic clothing from Tad Lincoln. The presidents 10-year-old son was struck by the needs of military personnel upon a camp visit with his father and started up a collection.

Charlestonians on the worst Christmas in Charleston history got a less merry sentiment from the staff of the Courier:

We wish to send for all readers a happy enjoyment of Christmas as happy as can be desired or expected under the shadow of the war-cloud which overhangs our land and drops down blood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The latest article on the Hunley

Naked Hunley revealing Civil War subs last secrets

The H.L. Hunley doesnt look nearly as old as she once did.

Amazing what a face-lift can do.

Clemson University scientists have spent the past four months scraping away a heavy layer of encrusted sand, sediment and shell from the hull of the Civil War submarine that built up over the 136 years it lay hidden beneath the Atlantic floor.

Now, for the first time in more than 150 years, the Hunleys bare skin is visible. And its iron hull doesnt look that much older than, say, the Cold War-era sub Clamagore.

In fact, the results of the Hunleys deconcretion so far are picture-perfect, which means the sub looks exactly as artist Conrad Wise Chapman depicted it in an 1863 painting.

Chapman was extremely precise, said Paul Mardikian, senior conservator at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center. Its as if we have been looking at a fuzzy image and are just now getting the picture in focus.

Just as in the Chapman painting, the Confederate sub appears to have been mostly black the natural color of iron in water. The sub was not painted, but Mardikian said there is some evidence of a coating probably used to waterproof the hull, which has dozens if not hundreds of seams where pieces were fitted together.

Mardikian hopes this clear look at the Hunleys hull will provide archaeologists with some insights into the subs construction, adventures and eventual sinking. But they are just now beginning to uncover the subs forensic hot spots, as he calls them.

The Hunley is made of two different types of iron cast and wrought. Cast iron is made from molds while wrought iron is heated and worked with tools. Cast iron tends to be more brittle. The main hull is exclusively comprised of wrought iron, and that is the 70 percent of the fish boat now visible.

The biggest discoveries so far are two dents just below the subs dive fins, which may be damage incurred during recovery efforts the first two times the Hunley sank in Charleston Harbor.

Theyve also found the letters CN stamped into the iron. Right now, scientists assume the letters are the mark of the foundry where the iron was forged.

The most startling revelation is how much damage the unforgiving sea inflicted on the sub. The starboard side of the boat has been heavily sanded down by years of saltwater currents running along its side. Two holes in the subs starboard side were almost certainly caused by these vicious currents running along the hull.

Like an eraser, this erosion may have wiped away important evidence that could explain what caused the sub to sink in the winter of 1864.

Now, Mardikian and his team are moving on to the cast-iron pieces of the sub its bow, stern, keel blocks and two conning towers. These are the places they expect to find more detailed information about the Hunley.

Wrought iron does not retain its surface as well as cast iron, which is more likely to preserve the fingerprints of history. But cast iron is also more fragile. The scraping of these pieces will be much more delicate and time-consuming.

There is no room for error for working on a one-of-a-kind artifact like the Hunley, said Nestor Gonzalez, associate director of Clemsons Lasch Center.

The trick, Mardikian explains, is to not do any damage to the historical record imprinted on the hull. Where the concretion ends and the iron begins is sometimes hard to detect.

You have to be careful that you are not removing something you are trying to preserve, Mardikian said.

The forward conning tower will be the most nerve-wracking work of all. Testimony from the crew of the USS Housatonic, which the Hunley sank on Feb. 17, 1864, suggests that the Union sailors fired dozens of small-arms shots at the sub, concentrating mainly on its cast-iron forward conning tower.

Conservators wanted to hone their deconcretion skills on the sturdier wrought iron, and now will move on to the more delicate work of scraping the cast-iron pieces. Mardikian has already started working on the subs bow.

In the coming weeks, the crew will move to that forward conning tower. There, they could learn what caused the only port-side hole in the sub, or they could come away no closer to answering the question that has perplexed Civil War historians for 150 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

150 years ago today:
The Burning of Columbia

snipped form wiki

On February 17, 1865, Columbia surrendered to Sherman, and Wade Hampton's Confederate cavalry retreated from the city. Union forces were overwhelmed by throngs of liberated Federal prisoners and emancipated slaves. Many soldiers took advantage of ample supplies of liquor in the city and began to drink. Fires began in the city, and high winds spread the flames across a wide area. Most of the central city was destroyed, and municipal fire companies found it difficult to operate in conjunction with the invading army, many of whom were also fighting the fire. The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town. On that same day, the Confederates evacuated Charleston. On February 18, Sherman's forces destroyed virtually anything of military value in Columbia, including railroad depots, warehouses, arsenals, and machine shops.

Controversy surrounding the burning of the city started soon after the war ended. General Sherman blamed the high winds and retreating Confederate soldiers for firing bales of cotton, which had been stacked in the streets. Sherman denied ordering the burning, though he did order militarily significant structures, such as the Confederate Printing Plant, destroyed. Firsthand accounts by local residents, Union soldiers, and a newspaper reporter offer a tale of revenge by Union troops for Columbia's and South Carolina's pivotal role in leading Southern states to secede from the Union, whereas other accounts (as documented in, for example, James W. Loewen's Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong) portray it as mostly the fault of the Confederacy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We now have an index of posts, thanks to BobbyLayne:

The Mexican American War

The Wilmot Proviso

The Southern Perspective

Northern perspectives

The Compromise of 1850

The Fugitive Slave Act

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

Political map of the United States (1854)

The Birth of the Republican Party

Abraham Lincoln

Was Abraham Lincoln religious?

Lincoln's 1854 Peoria speech

Bleeding Kansas

The Brooks-Sumner Affair

Lecompton Constitution

John Brown in Kansas

Dred Scott

Election of 1856

The Lincoln/Douglas Debates

1858 Illinois state election results

Dixie (song)

The Pattern 1853 Enfield

Harper's Ferry

Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

The 1860 Democratic Convention

A history of Charleston

1860 election results

The 1860 Republican Convention

The Election of 1860

A state does not have the right to secede

The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion

The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals

The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided

Secession

Montgomery

Jefferson Davis

The Confederate Constitution

Confederate States of America - Inaugural Address of the President of the Provisional Government

Lincoln's Cabinet

Lincoln's Journey

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address

Federal Arsenals

Fort Sumter

Civil War Snapshot- Abner Doubleday

Introduction to Civil War weapons - infantry, cavalry and artillery

ACW army structure & Introduction to basic offensive/defensive tactics

Battlefiedl functions of leaders

Upper South Reaction to Fort Sumter & Lincoln's Call for 75,000 Volunteers

Artillery and cavalry tactics

The Secession of Virginia

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee's Views on Slavery

Rifles of the Civil War

Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee

The Baltimore Riots

Battlefield Tactics - Infantry

Lincoln vs. Taney

American Civil War Zouave Regiments

Ex Parte Merryman

Missouri

Kentucky

West Virginia

George Brinton McClellan

McClellan vs. Lee

Happy new year, everyone! I'm really not planning on starting this too heavily for a few days, but I thought it would be fine to at least have an introduction post.

This thread will be similar to the World War II thread, an exhaustive examination, narrative, and discussion of the American Civil War. Because I believe the roots of this war are just as important as the war itself, the narrative is actually going to begin around the end of the Mexican-American war, and attempt to review all important events that led up to the battles themselves. Obviously, this will take a great amount of time, and we're not going to rush things. One thing I am hoping for is that many of the aspects of this struggle will result in much discussion and debate. Certainly everyone who is interested in this subject has their own opinions on just about everything, and I certainly welcome as much discussion as possible. Also, as Ozymandias has done in the World War II Thread, if anyone wants to join me in the narrative, you are very welcome.

For my narrative, I will be relying mainly on two sources: James MacPhearson's one volume Battle Cry of Freedom, and Shelby Foote's three volume The Civil War. Of course there are literally hundreds of other sources, dozens of which are on the internet. But as with the World War II thread, I prefer not to cut and paste, because the whole point of doing this is to offer my own opinion and get others.

It is my opinion that of all of the events which have shaped the United States of America, who we are and what we will become, this is the pivotal and defining moment. It really astonishes and saddens me that many, if not most Americans graduate from high school with only the most basic awareness of what this striuggle was all about. My own children are not going to be so uninformed.

Interesting, given what's going on in SC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, given what's going on in SC.

Yes, interesting that when you read that inaugural address, the idea of sovereign states and states' rights is brought up several times and scarcely a mention of slavery although there is talk of free trade and the rural economy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And away we go...

Fort Sumter Part One

Fort Sumter stood on a man-made granite island 4 miles from downtown Charleston at the entrance of the bay. With brick walls 40 feet high and 8 to 12 inch thick, designed to mount 146 big guns, this new fort when fully manned by 650 soldiers could stop anything trying to enter or leave the harbor. But at the beginning of 1860 Fort Sumter was empty except for workmen completing the construction of its interior. Most of the 80 odd soldiers of the U.S. garrison at Charleston occupied Fort Moultrie,an obsolete work a mile across the bay from Sumter on an island easily accessible from the mainland and exposed to capture from the rear.

The Carolinians had expected to get Moultrie along with Sumter and all other United States property in Charleston for the asking. Even before seceding, South Carolina officials began pressing the Buchanan administration on this matter. After declaring its independence, the Republic of South Carolina sent commissioners to Washington to negotiate for the forts and the arsenal. Their quest was backed by hundreds of militiamen in Charleston who vowed to drive the Yankees out if they did not leave voluntarily.

The garrison at Fort Moultrie was not commanded by a Yankee, however. Major Robert Anderson was a Kentuckian, a former slaveowner who sympathized with the South but remained loyal to the flag he had served for 35 years. (In one of those many great ironies that seem to be so prevalent in the American Civil War, Anderson had been an instructor of artillery at West Point. His prize student and protege? None other than Pierre Beauregard, the man he would face in the battle of Fort Sumter.)

A man haunted by a tragic vision, Anderson wanted above all to avert a war that would divide his own family as well as his state and nation. Yet he knew that if war came, it was likely to start on the spot where he stood. Carolina hotspurs were straining at the leash; honor and his orders would require him to resist. Once the flag was fired upon and blood shed, there would be no stopping the momentum of war.

Like Anderson, President Buchanan keenly desired to prevent such a calamity- at least until he left office on March 4. One way to forestall a clash, of course, was to withdraw the garrison. Though urged to do so by three southern members of his cabinet, Buchanan refused to go this far. He did promise South Carolina congressmen on December 10 not to send the reinforcements Anderson had requested. In return, South Carolina pledged not to attack Anderson while negotiations for transfer of the new forts were going on. The Carolinians also understood Buchanan to have agreed to not to change the military status quo at Charleston in any way.

While Buchanan dithered, Anderson acted. Interpreting ambiguous orders from the War Department as giving him authority to move his command from weak Fort Moultrie to powerful Fort Sumter if necessary to deter an attack, Anderson did so with stealth and skill after dark on the evening of December 26. Having made this move to preserve the peace, Anderson awoke next morning to find himself a hero in the North for thumbing his nose at arrogant Charleston and a villain to angry southerners who branded the occupation of Sumter a violation of Buchanan's pledge. "You are today the most popular man in the nation," wrote a Chicagoan to Anderson. Leverett Saltonstall of Boston praised Anderson as the "one true manin the country. While you hold Fort Sumter, I shall not despair of our noble, our glorious Union." But the Charleston Mercury charged that Anderson's "gross breach of faith" had inaugurated civil war, while Jefferson Davis, not yet resigned from the senate, rushed to the White House to berate a "dishonored president."

I think the bolded is pretty interesting, I had never heard that part of the story. So SC seceded and Buchanan, instead of maintaining the Union, started negotiating the handover of forts?

Fort Sumter, Continued

Meanwhile, Seward continued to tell Confederate commissioners that Sumter would be given up. One of the three emissaries that Lincoln sent to Charleston to appraise matters, his old friend Ward H. Lamon, seems to have told Carolinians and Anderson himself that evacuation was imminent. Hawks and doves within the administration were clearly on a collision course. The crash came on March 28. That day Lincoln learned that General Scott wanted to evacuate Fort Sumter. His grounds for urging this was political. "The evacuation of the fort," wrote the General, "would instantly soothe and give confidence to the 8 remaining slave-holding States, and render their cordial adherence to this Union perpetual."

Lincoln called his cabinet into emergency session after a state dinner that evening. "Blank amazement" registered on most faces as an obviously nettled president read to them Scott's memorandum. The general (a Virginian) was advising unconditional surrender to the Confederacy. Whether or not influenced by Seward (as most cabinet members assumed), Scott's politically motivated recommendation rendered suspect his initial opinion that reinforcement of Sumter was impossible. The cabinet reversed its vote of two weeks earlier. Four of the six members now favored resupply of Sumter.Lincoln instructed Fox to ready ships and men for an attempt to reinforce the fort.

This backed Seward into a corner. His assurances to southern commissioners, his peace policy of voluntary reconstruction, his ambitions to be premier- all appeared about to collapse. To recoup his position, Seward acted boldly- and egregiously. He intervened in the Fort Pickens reinforcement (also ordered by Lincoln) and managed to divert the strongest available warship from the Sumter expedition, with unfortunate consequences. Then on April 1 he sent an extraordinary proposal to Lincoln. In mystifying fashion, Seward suggested that to abandon Sumter but hold Pickens would change the issue from slavery to Union. Beyond that, the secretary of state would "demand explanations" from Spain and France for their meddlings in Santo Domingo and Mexico, and declare war if their explanations were unsatisfactory. Presumably this would reunite the country against a foreign foe. "Whatever policy we adopt," Seward pointed out, "it must be somebody's business to pursue and direct it incessantly." He left little doubt whom he had in mind.

Lincoln's astonishment when he read this note can well be imagined. Not wanting to humiliate Seward or lose his services, however, the president mentioned the matter to no one and wrote a polite but firm reply the same day. He had pledged to hold, occupy, and possess federal property, Lincoln reminded his secretary of state, and he could not see how holding Sumter was any more a matter of slaver or less a matter of Union than holding Pickens. Ignoring Seward's idea of an ultimatum to Spain or France, Lincoln told him that whatever policy was decided upon, "I must do it." A chastened Seward said nothing more about this and served as one of Lincoln's most loyal advisors during the next four years.

Three days later Abraham Lincoln made what up to that point was the most momentous decision of his life, and one of the most important decisions any American president has ever made: he gave the go-ahead for the Sumter expedition.

Seward seems to have been part of the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fort Sumter, Continued

Jefferson Davis was, like Lincoln, under great pressure to "do something." Seward's dream of voluntary reconstruction was Davis's nightmare. "The spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out under this do-nothing policy," complained a Mobile newspaper. "If something is not done pretty soon...the whole country will become so disgusted with the sham of southern independence that the first chance the people get at a popular election they will turn the whole movement topsy-turvy." Other Alabamians agreed that war was the best way "of avoiding the calamity of reconstruction...South Carolina has the power of putting us beyond the reach of reconstruction by taking Fort Sumter at any cost...Sir, unless you sprinkle blood in the face of the people of Alabama, they will be back in the old Union in less than 10 days!"

Even if the 7 lower-South states held together, the Confederacy's future was precarious without the upper South. After talking with Virgina secessionists, the fire-eater Louis Wigfall urged a prompt attack on Sumter to bring the commonwealth into the fold. The hot-blooded Edmund Ruffin and Roger Pryor, vexed by the lingering unionism in their native state of Virginia, echoed this exhortation. "The shedding of blood," wrote Ruffin, "will serve to change many votes in the hesitating states, form the submission or procrastinating ranks, to the zealous for immediate secession." If you want us to join you, Pryor told Charlestonians, "strike a blow!" Rhett and the Charleston Mercury was willing. An editiorial read:

Border southern States will never join us until we have indicated our power to free ourselves- until we have proven that a garrison of 70 men cannot hold the portal of our commerce. Let us be ready for war. The fate of the Southern Confederacy hanges by the ensign halliards of Fort Sumter.

Therefore to Abraham Lincoln's challenge, Shall it be Peace or War? Jefferson Davis replied, War. A fateful cabinet meeting in Montgomery on April 9 endorsed Davis's order to Beauregard: reduce the fort before the relief fleet arrived, if possible. Anderson rejectedd Beauregard's ritual summons to surrender, but remarked in passing that he would be starved out in a few days if help did not arrive. The Confederates knew that help was about to arrive, so they opened fire on April 12 at 4:30 am.

So there you have it, that's what caused the war. To say it was a mistake is tragically insufficient. The ridiculous thing is that by all appearances SC could have survived as a republic and done just fine, they did not have to drive the Union from Sumter, they had already driven them off land at Moultrie. They could have let the fort be resupplied with non-armaments and they would have had a de facto confederacy, they could have participated or not participated in the US as they saw fit, maybe sort of like Puerto Rico they could have lived in a grey commonwealth like existence. But their mistake was in insisting that the confederacy form a government and then handing things over to Jeff Davis. I still have no idea why they felt they had to do this.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, given what's going on in SC.

Yes, interesting that when you read that inaugural address, the idea of sovereign states and states' rights is brought up several times and scarcely a mention of slavery although there is talk of free trade and the rural economy.

Wow, that's fascinating, you're right, I thought I was going to see at least a couple mentions in there, but no.

The articles of secession of SC, and at least also Mississippi, do make several mentions of slavery though.

From Davis' speech:

The right solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the United States, and which has been solemnly affirmed and reaffirmed in the Bills of Rights of the States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, undeniably recognizes in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government.

Davis took some effort at the beginning to establish some legal ground for what he was doing by hanging his hat on the DOI and the USC. The DOI I get, and that is philosophical, though arguably (IMO) the DOI is incorporated by reference into the USC it merely establishes the human right to form one's own government. The argument about the grounds found in the Constitution are tougher though, I'm not really sure I get where the Constitution says the States can leave what they once formed. Now, of course there was a confederacy before there was the Union after the Revolution, so in a way to abrogate the Constitution could mean to return to what was before.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The garrison at Fort Moultrie was not commanded by a Yankee, however. Major Robert Anderson was a Kentuckian, a former slaveowner who sympathized with the South but remained loyal to the flag he had served for 35 years. Abraham Lincoln made what up to that point was the most momentous decision of his life, and one of the most important decisions any American president has ever made: he gave the go-ahead for the Sumter expedition.

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The garrison at Fort Moultrie was not commanded by a Yankee, however. Major Robert Anderson was a Kentuckian, a former slaveowner who sympathized with the South but remained loyal to the flag he had served for 35 years. Abraham Lincoln made what up to that point was the most momentous decision of his life, and one of the most important decisions any American president has ever made: he gave the go-ahead for the Sumter expedition.

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

I don't know, lots of what-if's.

I think that it would have been better not to have had the war, there was so much suffering and destruction. There are pictures of Southern towns and cities that have rubble and destruction that truly look like WW1 or WW2.

There's a lot of judgmentalism going on these days, but I don't hear much from the cultural/historical critics of the confederacy as to whether it would have been better for the war to have not been fought at all. Would it not have been sufficient or better to avoid the damage and devastation and death, even at the cost of slavery continuing for x-number of years? And OTOH maybe the South saved itself a lot of grief, even with all that, it's hard to imagine the civil rights struggle being played out a state by state basis, it could have been brutal, the nation would have been very different. No easy calls here, now or then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The garrison at Fort Moultrie was not commanded by a Yankee, however. Major Robert Anderson was a Kentuckian, a former slaveowner who sympathized with the South but remained loyal to the flag he had served for 35 years. Abraham Lincoln made what up to that point was the most momentous decision of his life, and one of the most important decisions any American president has ever made: he gave the go-ahead for the Sumter expedition.

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

Did Lee make some kind of statement to the effect he would have handed Ft Sumter over to the So.Carolina militia? I ask because that seems to run totally counter to my understanding of Lee. Lee was very honor bound. If anything, if he was commander of Ft. Sumter, he would have resigned his commission and left the fort in the hands of his second in command.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a lot of fun with this thread. It was an enormous effort, even though most of the narrative was directly copied from original source material. But I think everyone involved enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a lot of fun with this thread. It was an enormous effort, even though most of the narrative was directly copied from original source material. But I think everyone involved enjoyed it.

Tim, honestly, this is a real great piece of work, my hat's off to you (and Yankee and Bobby Layne who also contributed), it's actually interesting reading. Have a great weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

Did Lee make some kind of statement to the effect he would have handed Ft Sumter over to the So.Carolina militia? I ask because that seems to run totally counter to my understanding of Lee. Lee was very honor bound. If anything, if he was commander of Ft. Sumter, he would have resigned his commission and left the fort in the hands of his second in command.
No, what you say Lee would have done is the type of thing I was wondering about.

Anderson was in favor is secession, but wouldn't abandon the union.

Lee didn't favor secession, but wouldn't abandon his state.

If their thinkings were swapped, how different would things have gone?

Edited by Mjolnirs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

Did Lee make some kind of statement to the effect he would have handed Ft Sumter over to the So.Carolina militia? I ask because that seems to run totally counter to my understanding of Lee. Lee was very honor bound. If anything, if he was commander of Ft. Sumter, he would have resigned his commission and left the fort in the hands of his second in command.
No, what you say Lee would have done is the type of thing I was wondering about.

Anderson was in favor is secession, but wouldn't abandon the union.

Lee didn't favor secession, but wouldn't abandon his state.

If their thinkings were swapped, how different would things have gone?

I think this just goes to show the difficult choices people had. If Anderson had been in Kentucky, maybe he would have fought for the South. But since he was in uniform, and on duty, and had an assignment, he did what he did to carry out his orders.

Further up Tim has the rundown on the domino effect of Southern states that followed in line after the SC secession. I don't know about other states but in Louisiana things were not cut and dried. There was a faction opposed to the secessionists called the cooperationists. The idea was that there would be a Southern convention (IIRC) and then there would be a sort of negotiated exit from the Union or a renegotiation of the terms for being in the Union and a good number of Louisianans wanted that. Another good sized group of people wanted the secession put before the popular vote before it could took effect. The final vote was very much for secession but before that things were much closer in terms of approach, more like only 52% of the delegates were secessionist.

Our wonderful governor at the time, Moore, preempted all that by basically forming state militias to move on the US forts here, sort of like Fort Sumter. Basically, the people at that point were faced with a fait accompli, and maybe that's what the confederate leaders were gunning for, basically forcing the peoples of the states to jump in and effectively have to defend their homes and their states. I don't know if that's when Lee made his choice, I suspect it was when VA made its decision to get in. I think Lee in that respect was much like most citizens in that respect.

So I guess the answer is that if Lee had been in charge of the fort he would have stayed there and fulfilled his duty, and if Anderson was in KY at the time he may have very well stayed and fought for his home state.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

War's over, fellas.

Give it another 10 years and there they won't even be teaching about the Civil War in history classes in schools.

Edited by lod01

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

War's over, fellas.

Give it another 10 years and there they won't even be teaching about the Civil War in history classes in schools.
Yes, yes.....I'm sure this is the direction we're heading.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

War's over, fellas.

Give it another 10 years and there they won't even be teaching about the Civil War in history classes in schools.

For the 150 years since the end of the war the "Lost Cause" theme dominated what was taught in schools. Hopefully that will stop in the next 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never heard of this:

Douglas set off a tremendous political upheaval with the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854. Nebraska Territory, west of Missouri, was then being settled, and Congress needed to provide territorial organization for the region. The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery there (because it was north of the 36°30' compromise line), and the Compromise of 1850 had reaffirmed this.

At this time, various proposals for a transcontinental railroad to California had been offered. One was for a southern route, from New Orleans; another was for a central route, from Chicago. Douglas owned Chicago real estate, expected to boom if the central route was adopted.

Southern leaders proposed a deal: they would support the central route if slavery was permitted in the new Territories. Douglas agreed. In the first version of the Act, Douglas allowed for the Territories to choose slave or free status at statehood, but the Southerners demanded immediate permission for slavery there (an implicit repeal of that part of the Missouri and 1850 Compromises). Douglas discovered a "clerical error", and revised the Act to suit.[15]

This action was initially highly unpopular in the North. Douglas joked that he could travel from Washington back to Illinois by the light of burning effigies of him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_A._Douglas

My god that's horrible this man helped drive a country to civil war so he could profit off a railroad RR.

What also gets me is that if this is true NO got screwed out of the transcontinental.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Imagine if Anderson had thought along the lines of Lee. Would he have handed the fort over? How different would history be?

Of course, what if Lee had thought along the lines of Anderson? How would Lee in charge of the Union Army changed history?

Did Lee make some kind of statement to the effect he would have handed Ft Sumter over to the So.Carolina militia? I ask because that seems to run totally counter to my understanding of Lee. Lee was very honor bound. If anything, if he was commander of Ft. Sumter, he would have resigned his commission and left the fort in the hands of his second in command.
No, what you say Lee would have done is the type of thing I was wondering about.

Anderson was in favor is secession, but wouldn't abandon the union.

Lee didn't favor secession, but wouldn't abandon his state.

If their thinkings were swapped, how different would things have gone?

What I was trying to say (it could have been written better) was that even if Lee was in charge of Ft. Sumter at the time and even if VA had succeeded from the union, Lee would have resigned from the U.S. Army to join the CSA without having handed over the fort to the CSA. As a U.S. officer, he would feel honor bound to act under orders in the best interest of the U.S. Gov't. His honor would not permit him to hand over the fort while he was acting as a U.S. officer and, once he resigned, he would not have the authority to hand it over (through subterfuge - i.e., acting like a U.S. officer even though he formally resigned).

It would have been interesting if Lee accepted the role as Chief of the U.S. military rather than resigning. For one, his actions as a field officer at the start of the war was not noteworthy (having lost battles in W. VA) and being of Virginian aristocracy, I could see some subordinates questioning his motives (although this would likely be short-lived as the people who knew him would attest to his sense of honor).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am reading a book now called Immortal 600.It is about 600 confederate officers that were prisoners of war that were used as human shields during the bombardment of Charleston.It is pretty interesting if you are a history buff.When reading you have to remember it was written in 1905 by a survivor of the prison camp.He uses terms that I find reprehensible and makes me ashamed of my southern heritage,but it was a different time in history.It was one of the first times if not the first time the US used human shields in war time.What I do find amazing is that almost 50,000 Americans died as pows.

https://archive.org/stream/TheImmortalSixHundred_201605/The_Immortal_Six_Hundred_v3#page/n15/mode/2up

I didn't object to the term Yankee scalawags though.

Edited by rustycolts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/15/2010 at 1:48 AM, timschochet said:

I have just narrated two battles- Vicksburg and Chancellorsville, which were the high points of the military careers of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Since these two men are generally ranked #1 and #2 military figures in American history (with a running argument as to which is which) it might be good to a little comparison. Historians tend to compare them against each other, but I think this is a little unfair because by that time Lee was at a distinct disadvantage.

Both generals were aggressive, both of them beloved by their men (Lee moreso than Grant,). Both men were brilliant improvisers, willing to change tactics as the battle changed, which is unusual among soldiers. Both were willing to gamble, again Lee moreso than Grant, mostly because he had too.) Both men were willing to lose lots of casualties in order to win.

Here is the fascinating question I have- if their roles had been reversed, would they have fought the same way? Would, for instance, Lee have captured Vicksburg? Would Grant have won at Chancellorsville, then lost at Gettysburg? I wonder if some historian has contemplated this. I'm sure one has, but I don't know who.

Tim, have you read the recent Grant bio? It's fantastic. A soldier's soldier, for certain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.