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”

Facts in Five

The Young Napoleon Edition   George McClellan’s father was a renowned physician and founder of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia McClellan graduated West Point ranked second in the vaunted class of 1846- his classmates included Thomas J. Jackson, Jesse Reno, Cadmus Wilcox, AP Hill, and George Pickett Jefferson Davis was an influential mentorContinue reading “Facts in Five”

Not a Real Debate

Real debates are history On August 27, 1858- Abraham Lincoln stood before nearly… 12,000 spectators in Freeport, Illinois.  For just under 60 minutes he lambasted the most powerful man in Congress- pushing the mighty Stephen Douglas nearly to his breaking point.  The Freeport debate is considered the finest of the seven Lincoln/Douglas debates.  Lincoln wrylyContinue reading “Not a Real Debate”

Antietam- Crisis in Command

During the battle of Antietam… George McClellan was concerned with prudence.  He was managing his resources carefully that day, he would not allow his army to fail.  His insistence on preventing the Army of the Potomac from being defeated cost it the chance at decisive victory.   McClellan claimed in his report of the battle thatContinue reading “Antietam- Crisis in Command”

Civil War History Loses a Legend

Ed Bearss possessed a wealth of knowledge most Civil War scholars can only dream about. He’d forgotten more about the conflict than many of us will ever know. To add insult to an already injurious 2020, the Civil War history community lost one of its brightest stars. Ed Bearss has passed on. The booming baritone,Continue reading “Civil War History Loses a Legend”

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”

Essential Civil War Reading

Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the best one volume account of the War told by its greatest storyteller.  It traces the conflict from Free Soil to the assassination of Lincoln in an authoritative voice that has yet to be rivaled. To the Gates of Richmond, byContinue reading “Essential Civil War Reading”

Facts in Five- Lee and Slavery

Robert E. Lee and slavery edition: misinformation, hyperbole, and unfounded revision are clouding the facts behind Lee’s slave owning There is very little evidence Lee personally owned slaves- his mother, Ann Carter-Lee, may have willed him six slaves upon her death in 1829; the same year he graduated from West Point and entered military service.Continue reading “Facts in Five- Lee and Slavery”

Book Review- Chernow’s Grant

Chernow, Ron, Grant, Penguin Press; 1st edition (October 10, 2017)      A hefty, yet easily digestible biography  continues the author’s attempts at re-imagining supposedly misunderstood figures.  The actual result is consensus history masquerading as newly discovered insight.    The success of his biography of Alexander Hamilton… and the subsequent musical it inspired, brought about unprecedentedContinue reading “Book Review- Chernow’s Grant”

Memorials to War Dead

Virginia’s Governor, his past indiscretions aside, celebrated the triumph of his party in the State legislative election by promising more iconoclasm in the Old Dominion.       There are over 660 Confederate monuments across the United States.  A scholarly study conducted in 1982 found that nearly half of these are specifically memorializing Confederate war dead.  AnotherContinue reading “Memorials to War Dead”