Finest Two Minutes

Lincoln thought he failed November 19, 1863…  obligatory applause from a damp crowd in Gettysburg offered him little consolation.  Lincoln had just followed a masterful two-hour speech from America’s greatest orator, Edward Everett.  The President sat down in his seat and commented to his friend, Ward Lamon, that the speech wouldn’t “scour” (would fail to clearContinue reading “Finest Two Minutes”

Little Mac Says Goodbye

George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862.  He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection.  Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades.  But toContinue reading “Little Mac Says Goodbye”

Texas and Secession

Far from being a stronghold of secession in 1860, Texas gave substantial support to Constitutional Union Party candidate John C. Bell. The Unionist spirit in Texas sprang from its First Citizen, the venerable Sam Houston. Sam Houston…. had some emphatic words for the lunatics who took his proud state out of the Federal Union heContinue reading “Texas and Secession”

Desecration of Major Ballou

Major Sullivan Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers was mortally wounded leading his regiment on Mathews Hill during the First Battle of Bull Run. Solid shot from a Rebel battery smashed his right leg beyond repair. The shattered limb was amputated later that afternoon; Ballou died on July 28th. He was buried near theContinue reading “Desecration of Major Ballou”

Chickamauga- Plenty of Blame to Share

William S. Rosecrans fought  nearly perfect campaign  forcing his Confederate opponent out of Tennessee.  When the newly reinforced Confederates finally turned to fight Southeast of Chattanooga, he and his subordinates were unprepared for the strategic implications.  George H. Thomas, “The Rock of Chickamauga,”  is justly praised for his dogged defense of Horseshoe Ridge on SeptemberContinue reading “Chickamauga- Plenty of Blame to Share”

Through the Cornfield

Before dawn on September 17, 1862…. Maj. General Joseph Hooker’s men waited pensively in the woods North of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Neither Hooker nor his troops knew what awaited them on the other side of the Miller cornfield.  Through the pre-dawn mist, Hooker could barely make out a small white building, that would be their target.  HookerContinue reading “Through the Cornfield”

Reynolds and Destiny

Lincoln summoned Major General John F. Reynolds to the White House on June 2, 1863. The situation was pressing as Lee’s army continued its drive northward. Reynolds left his beloved First Corps on the dusty roads of Virginia to hear the entreaties of his Commander-in-Chief. No firsthand accounts remain, but a preponderance of evidence indicateContinue reading “Reynolds and Destiny”

Memorial Day Tribute

Thomas Jefferson Truitt enlisted in… Company D of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers on July 24, 1861.  He was a carpenter working near Kellersburg in Armstrong County PA.  His father, Anderson, died suddenly in October of 1860, leaving the family deep in debt and without a steady income.  To make ends meet, the widowed Sarah CaldwellContinue reading “Memorial Day Tribute”

Lincoln’s Duty

In his first inaugural address, Lincoln was prophetic. He told the nation that a civil war would only be started by their “dissatisfied fellow countrymen” actively looking to destroy the Constitution. Lincoln did not recognize secession, and rightfully so. The rebels started the war, so he now had to defend that government. Secession was notContinue reading “Lincoln’s Duty”

Slavery Caused Secession

Neo-secessionists and revisionists struggle uselessly to blame the Civil War… on Federal overreach, inequitable tariffs, and outmoded economic theory- they fail to see the forest for the trees.  The historical record settles matters plainly and without ambiguity. Future Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens delivered the clearest, most definitive explanation… for secession and the existence of aContinue reading “Slavery Caused Secession”