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Travel Special: The Best Civil War Battlefield Parks

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VOL. 8 NO. 1

In June and July 1864, the Union’s top soldier tried to defeat Robert E. Lee and capture Petersburg, Virginia. It didn’t go so well.

Grant’s Cruel Summer PLUS

SPRING 2018

H

$5.99

RELICS OF WAR P. 44

CIVILWARMONITOR.COM

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CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: CIVIL WAR TRUST; CENTURY MAGAZINE; HARPER’S WEEKLY; THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MUSEUM (ACWM.ORG)


Contents DEPARTMENTS

VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1 / SPRING 2018

FEATURES

Salvo

{Facts, Figures & Items of Interest}

TRAVELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Best Civil War Battlefield Parks VOICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Tobacco

Grant’s Cruel Summer  32

INQUIRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Anatomy of a Civil War Buff

In June and July 1864, the Union’s top soldier tried to defeat Robert E. Lee and capture Petersburg, Virginia. It didn’t go so well. By A. Wilson Greene

CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: CIVIL WAR TRUST; CENTURY MAGAZINE; HARPER’S WEEKLY; THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MUSEUM (ACWM.ORG)

FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Pickett’s Charge PRESERVATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 A Preserved Harpers Ferry Tract Has Much to Tell COST OF WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 A Rains Barrel Torpedo IN FOCUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 The Chancellors of Chancellorsville

Relics of War  44 A sampling of battlefield souvenirs taken by Union and Confederate soldiers

Columns AMERICAN ILIAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Beyond the White Man’s Iliad STEREOSCOPE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 The West’s Missing War

Books & Authors

THE BEST CIVIL WAR BOOKS OF ALL TIME. . . . . . . . . . 65

WITH MATTHEW C. HULBERT, JAMES MARTEN, AND AMY MURRELL TAYLOR

THE BOOKS THAT BUILT ME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

BY JOAN WAUGH

In Every Issue EDITORIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 An Inauspicious Start PARTING SHOT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 A Talented Texan ON THE COVER: General Ulysses S. Grant. Image courtesy of the Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky. Colorized by Mads Madsen of Colorized History.

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The Perils of Peace  54 For the white and black residents of Staunton, Virginia, life in the first year after the end of the Civil War was transformative—and unsettled. By Edward L. Ayers

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editorial

VOLUME 8, NUMBER 1 / SPRING 2018

Terry A. Johnston Jr. PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF TERRY@CIVILWARMONITOR.COM

An Inauspicious Start

Stephen Berry Patrick Brennan John Coski Judith Giesberg Allen C. Guelzo Amy Murrell Taylor Matthew C. Hulbert EDITORIAL ADVISORS

on august 1, 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant sat down at his headquarters at City Point, Virginia, to pen a note to the army’s chief of staff, Major General Henry Halleck. His subject was the demoralizing defeat suffered by Union forces two days earlier at the Battle of the Crater—a poorly executed and costly attempt to pierce the Army of Northern Virginia’s defenses east of Petersburg, Virginia. The “disaster of Saturday,” as Grant called it, “was the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war. Such opportunity for carrying fortifications I have never seen and do not expect again to have.” Grant’s effort to take Petersburg would eventually prove successful. Eight months after the defeat at the Crater, Union forces compelled the city’s evacuation—an event that marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. The Union’s ultimate victory, however, largely obscured the fact that the first six weeks of the Petersburg Campaign were marked by frustration, setbacks, and missed opportunities. In this issue’s cover story (“Grant’s Cruel Summer,” p. 32), A. Wilson Greene makes the case that the Union army’s slow start at Petersburg didn’t have to be—and that while there was blame for it to go around, the lion’s share fell upon the shoulders of none other than Grant himself. Want to share your thoughts on this or other articles in the issue? Send your emails to letters@civilwarmonitor.com.

Jennifer Sturak Michele Huie COPY EDITORS

Brian Matthew Jordan BOOK REVIEW EDITOR BRIAN@CIVILWARMONITOR.COM

Patrick Mitchell CREATIVE DIRECTOR

MODUS OPERANDI DESIGN (WWW.MODUSOP.NET)

Alicia Jylkka DESIGNER

Zethyn McKinley ADVERTISING & MARKETING DIRECTOR ADVERTISING@CIVILWARMONITOR.COM (559) 492 9236

Howard White CIRCULATION MANAGER HWHITEASSOC@COMCAST.NET

website

www.CivilWarMonitor.com

M. Keith Harris Kevin M. Levin Robert H. Moore II Harry Smeltzer DIGITAL HISTORY ADVISORS

SUBSCRIPTIONS & CUSTOMER SERVICE

Civil War Monitor / Circulation Dept. P.O. Box 292336, Kettering, OH 45429 phone: 877-344-7409

EMAIL: CUSTOMERSERVICE@CIVILWARMONITOR.COM

The Civil War Monitor (issn 2163-0682/print, issn 21630690/online) is published quarterly by Bayshore History, llc, 8008 Bayshore Drive, Margate, NJ 08402. Periodicals postage paid at Atlantic City, NJ, and additional mailing offices. postmaster: Send address changes to The Civil War Monitor, P.O. Box 292336, Kettering, OH 45429.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: letters@civilwarmonitor.com

2

Subscriptions: $23.95 for one year (4 issues) in the U.S., $33.95 per year in Canada, and $43.95 per year for overseas subscriptions (all U.S. funds). Views expressed by individual authors, unless expressly stated, do not necessarily represent those of The Civil War Monitor or Bayshore History, llc. Letters to the editor become the property of The Civil War Monitor, and may be edited. The Civil War Monitor cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited materials. The contents of the magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part without the written consent of the publisher. Copyright ©2018 by Bayshore History, llc all rights reserved.

printed in the u.s.a.

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d i s pat c h e s

seceding from the rule of the British crown? The fact is that it is easier to control a society and the strings of government when it is dominated by an overbearing central authority. This was the strategy Abraham Lincoln and his cronies sought, and the beginnings of an American empire is what they achieved. We’ve exchanged one empire for another and now dishonor those who stood against this abomination. It is truly unfortunate to see that those honored in this fight for self-determination and liberty are sacrificed today by our so-called “leaders” for their own political and economic gain. They would do well to emulate the character of the men honored by these statues.

OF MONUMENTS AND MEN

Allen C. Guelzo and John M. Rudy are right to speculate in their article in your latest issue [“Of Monuments and Men,” Vol. 7, No. 4] that the actual Robert E. Lee would have “damned the alt-righters” in Charlottesville, but that’s the nub of the current problem. The Robert E. Lee memorialized in Charlottesville, and all over the South, is not the man himself, who could at least attempt to determine the meaning of his own life. He is a statue and therefore necessarily a symbol—and created explicitly to be one—representing something to the people who see and live with it. Guelzo and Rudy’s suggested framework about how to decide the fate of Confederate monuments could be a useful starting point in setting agreed criteria for making such decisions, something that could make the process clearer and less contentious.  I suggest a couple of additional questions for their list. Does the monument misrepresent historical facts? (One of the New Orleans monuments repackaged a white riot as a defense of law and order.) Does the subject of the monument represent ideas and/or movements that do harm to individuals or groups today? The white supremacist and neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville represents a big “yes” to the latter. As Guelzo and Rudy note, the issue involves a lot of decisions, including whether to remove or recontextualize individual monuments, as well as what to do with removed monuments. If I lived in Charlottesville, I would support removing the statue of “Marse Robert” and his horse to a museum, and replacing it with

Jonathan Varnell

ELM CITY, NORTH CAROLINA

***

one of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville during the protests. But that’s a choice for the people of Charlottesville, and I wish them every success in achieving a wide, thoughtful, fact-based consensus, and acting on it. M.S. Burgher VIA EMAIL

***

To those who want to remove Confederate statues: Confederate statues represent and honor our ancestors who fought and died to defend their homes from an invader bent on dominating them in an economic empire. Their actions were no different than what the colonists did in their fight against the British. Secession is treason? How so when America was founded in treason by

Letters to the editor: email us at letters@ civilwarmonitor. com or write to The Civil War Monitor, P.O. Box 428, Longport, NJ 08403.

An important element of the current debate about Confederate monuments is the failure by both sides to consider these to be works of art deserving of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Since the artists who created them are no longer alive to give permission for their destruction or removal, they should be left alone. To do otherwise and assault them is no different than what the Taliban have done in Afghanistan. They took control of the Bamiyan Valley and destroyed the magnificent statues of Buddha dating from the fourth century because they were erected by people they disagree with. How is the assault on Confederate monuments any different in principle? We in the West have long held that no one has the right to destroy the artistic expression of

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another person; hence the widespread condemnation of the Taliban. The same principle holds that Americans on both the left and the right should defend Confederate monuments. If we don’t we have joined the Taliban. David Paul Davenport FRESNO, CALIFORNIA

***

When I saw the cover of the Winter 2017 issue I felt compelled to buy it off the shelf at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitors Center to see if I could make sense of the actions taking place across the country regarding the removal of Confederate monuments. I didn’t know what to expect. The article by Allen Guelzo and John Rudy presented the positions admirably. I can now understand why some monuments should be re-evaluated on their appropriateness and feel I have a cogent opinion when controversy arises. I want to thank you, the editors, and thank the authors for their work and perspectives. I would only hope this information would be more widely available so that a well educated society can better fulfill the responsibilities of a free society. Steve Boone VIA EMAIL

ST. LOUIS OVERSIGHT

We noticed that in The Civil War Monitor’s Winter 2017 issue, in an article focused on the “best” sites (especially Civil War ones) to visit in St. Louis [“Travels: St. Louis,” Vol. 7, No. 4], a slave plantation called White Haven at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site was excluded. At this historic site, Grant lived from 1854 to 1859, his father-in-law owned over a dozen enslaved African Americans, his wife Julia was assigned four enslaved Af-

rican Americans, and Grant owned one whom he emancipated in 1859. The exclusion of a slave plantation site from a Civil War travel guide suggests that African-American history is a minor theme for Civil War studies. A few Americans would disagree. Abraham Lincoln wrote, “These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union.” Grant himself concluded, “The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery.” Other Americans honored in the National Park System—such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, and Susan B. Anthony—also agreed with these conclusions. Those who perpetuated the “Lost Cause” myth would, of course, applaud the slave plantation’s exclusion, as they maintained that the enslavement of African Americans had no role in the causes of, or the story of, the Civil War. But another significant American would have certainly disagreed with White Haven’s exclusion. One of my former professors contended that the best book on the Civil War contained no descriptions of battles; it was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Samuel Clemens, a Missourian, who was also a great admirer of Ulysses S. Grant. Timothy S. Good SUPERINTENDENT, ULYSSES S. GRANT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

ED. Thanks for bringing the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site to the attention of Monitor readers, Timothy. I can assure you that we consider African-American history to be an essential part of Civil War studies. Our Travel pieces rely on local experts to share their own personal favorites, and aren’t intended to be comprehensive lists.

THE CIVIL WAR ALMANAC

I just bought a copy of The Civil War Almanac. I would like to add my two cents on who the war’s most underrated commanders were—one of the questions you asked the panel of historians you assembled for the issue. I know the experts are experts for a reason, but I think they overlooked General George Thomas. Thomas’ stand at the Battle of Chickamauga prevented the collapse of the Union army and garnered him the nickname “Rock of Chickamauga.” His breakthrough at Missionary Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga helped secure victory for the Union, as did his subsequent actions at Franklin and Nashville. I believe Thomas was just as accomplished a commander as Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. History, for whatever reason, has neglected his accomplishments. Rick Breze VIA EMAIL ED. Thanks for the feedback, Rick. Readers who would like to pick up a copy can do so by visiting civilwarmonitor.com/almanac.

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Agenda

PARTICIPANTS PREPARE TO FIRE DURING A RECENT NORTH-SOUTH SKIRMISH ASSOCIATION COMPETITION.

Your Spring 2018 Guide to Civil War Events

VOLUNTEERS AT GETTYSBURG DURING PARK DAY IN 2012

MARCH LIVING HISTORY

Women of the Civil War SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 10 – 11:30 A.M.

international audience a window into the leaders, attitudes, and beliefs of the states of the rebellion.

Discover the many roles women played during the Civil War through hands-on, child-friendly activities at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Roll bandages like a nurse, pass secret messages as a spy, serve as a soldier, and more! Recommended for children ages 8 to 12, but children of all ages are welcome. FREE WITH MUSEUM ADMISSION ($15 ADULTS; $6 CHILDREN); FOR MORE INFORMATION: ILLINOIS. GOV/ALPLM or 217-558-8844. EXCURSION

Birding on the Battlefield SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 8 – 10 A.M. CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD FORT OGLETHORPE, GEORGIA

Migratory birds regularly fly over the Chickamauga Battlefield. Join park ranger Chris Young, accompanied by an amateur birder, for a tour that will help meld the birding experience of today with soldiers’ experiences in 1863. FREE; FOR MORE INFORMATION: NPS.GOV/CHCH or 706-866-9241.

APRIL CLEANUP

LECTURE

Civil War Trust Park Day

DuPont’s Ironclad Attack on Charleston

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2:30 – 3:30 P.M.

MULTIPLE SITES NATIONWIDE

THE MARINERS’ MUSEUM

Since 1996, the Civil War Trust has sponsored Park Day, an annual hands-on preservation event to help Civil War—and now Revolutionary War—battlefields and historic sites tackle maintenance projects large and small. Each participating site chooses activities to meet its own particular needs, which can range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and trail buildings. FREE; FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING A COMPLETE LIST OF PARTICIPATING SITES: CIVILWAR.ORG/PARKDAY or 202-367-1861. EXHIBIT

Through British Eyes: The Illustrated London News Sketches the American Civil War SATURDAY, APRIL 7 – SUNDAY, APRIL 8 CIVIL WAR MUSEUM KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

THE 42ND INDIANA MONUMENT ON THE CHICKAMAUGA BATTLEFIELD

FREE (THOUGH DONATIONS ARE ACCEPTED); FOR MORE INFORMATION: MUSEUMS.KENOSHA.ORG/ CIVILWAR/ or 262-653-4141.

Catch the final weekend of the exhibit (which began January 13) “Through British Eyes,” a rare glimpse of a selection of original illustrations as they appeared in the English weekly newspaper The Illustrated London News between 1861 and 1865. While The Illustrated London News printed images of both armies during the Civil War, the newspaper was best known for its pictorial coverage of the armies, officers, and political leaders of the Confederacy. The paper’s artists and reporters traveled with the southern armies and gave an

NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA

On April 7, 1863, Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont sent a squadron of nine ironclads to destroy Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Defending Charleston were two ironclads and numerous forts, obstructions, and torpedoes, all under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard. The resulting Union defeat was so resounding that DuPont would be relieved of his command. Join USS Monitor Center director emeritus John V. Quarstein as he discusses the details of the engagement. Note that the museum suggests reserving a seat in advance. FREE WITH MUSEUM ADMISSION ($13.95 ADULTS; $8.95 CHILDREN 4–12); FOR MORE INFORMATION: MARINERSMUSEUM.ORG/LECTURES or 757-5962222.

MAY EXCURSION

Heritage Trail Hike With Licensed Battlefield Guide Larry Korczyk SATURDAY, MAY 5 – SUNDAY, MAY 6 GETTYSBURG MUSEUM AND VISITOR CENTER GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Join licensed battlefield guide Larry Korczyk for a two-day, 15-mile vigorous

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NORTH-SOUTH SKIRMISH ASSOCIATION; COLIN ROMANICK, PAMPLIN HISTORICAL PARK

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

BYRON HOOKS (CHICKAMAUGA); CIVIL WAR TRUST

ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM


WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA

Join the North-South Skirmish Association for its 137th National Competition, where over 3,000 uniformed competitors will compete in live-fire matches with muskets, carbines, breech loading rifles, revolvers, mortars, and cannon. It’s the largest Civil War live-fire event in the country and will include a large sutler area and food service. FREE; FOR MORE INFORMATION: N-SSA.ORG or SPARTAN70@SBCGLOBAL.NET. OBSERVANCE

Memorial Day Commemoration

VisitSpotsy.com

MONDAY, MAY 28 PAMPLIN HISTORICAL PARK & THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE CIVIL WAR SOLDIER

battlefield hike, during which Korczyk will tell brief stories about the men who fought and the monuments that pay homage to them. Backpacks, hiking shoes, and walking sticks are suggested. Registration fee includes lunch on Saturday. The hike departs at 9 a.m. on both days from the museum and visitor center and ends around 4 p.m. on Saturday and around 1 p.m. on Sunday. $85 FOR MEMBERS; $110 FOR NONMEMBERS; FOR MORE INFORMATION: GETTYSBURGFOUNDATION.ORG or 717-338-1243. LIVING HISTORY

Period Firearms Competition FRIDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 20     

NORTH-SOUTH SKIRMISH ASSOCIATION; COLIN ROMANICK, PAMPLIN HISTORICAL PARK

BYRON HOOKS (CHICKAMAUGA); CIVIL WAR TRUST

N-SSA’S FORT SHENANDOAH

PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA

Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier will offer a full schedule of events on Memorial Day. Among these are a special program, beginning at 12:30 p.m., providing visitors information about the experiences of specific Civil War soldiers through their personal letters, followed by an artillery firing and playing of Taps. Attendees can also learn about the events of April 2, 1865, when the Union army pierced the Confederate defenses of Petersburg, during a Breakthrough Battlefield tour, which is followed by a Civil War camp life demonstration. FREE WITH PARK ADMISSION ($13 ADULTS; $8 CHILDREN 6–12; CHILDREN 5 AND UNDER ARE FREE); FOR MORE INFORMATION: PAMPLINPARK.ORG or 804-861-2408.

A TALK DURING A RECENT MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATION AT PAMPLIN HISTORICAL PARK

 Share Your Event

Have an upcoming event you’d like featured in this space? Let us know: events@civilwarmonitor.com

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Salvo Facts, Figures & Items of Interest

Monuments and cannon cover a portion of the Gettysburg National Military Park, one of the country’s most popular and best preserved battlefields. For more on the nation’s best Civil War battlefield parks, turn the page. 3

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IN THIS SECTION TRAVELS  10

THE BEST CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD PARKS VOICES  16

TOBACCO INQUIRY  18

ANATOMY OF A CIVIL WAR BUFF FIGURES  20

PICKETT’S CHARGE PRESERVATION  22

A PRESERVED HARPERS FERRY TRACT HAS MUCH TO TELL COST OF WAR  24

A RAINS BARREL TORPEDO IN FOCUS  26

THE CHANCELLORS OF CHANCELLORSVILLE

9 PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAUDIO VAZQUEZ

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t r av e l s

The Best Civil War Battlefield Parks G A R R Y A D E L M A N R E C O M M E N D S H I S F AV O R I T E S

FORT SUMTER

Fort Sumter National Monument

The site of the war’s first true engagement, Fort Sumter is a must-see for Civil War fans, and not only for its role in the war’s opening. It was occupied by Confederates for most of the war and was part of the devastating siege of Charleston from 1863 to 1865, which saw the structure reduced to a fraction of its original size. The fort was repaired during and after the war, and later upgraded to meet the postwar needs of the U.S. military. Start your visit at the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, then check out the exhibits, ride the ferry to the fort, and get ready to explore. Its isolated position places the challenges of both attacker

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CIVILWAR TRUST (2)

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

CIVIL WAR TRUST (2)

assembling a list of the 10 best Civil War anything is inherently painful—10 is never enough. In whittling down my list, I focused on parks that are essential to the Civil War story, have enough preserved land to tell that story, include interpretation that tells the story well, and contain something particularly interesting or iconic. ¶ From my initial list of 33, I had to cut out parks that absolutely meet the criteria—how, for example, can Appomattox be absent? What about Perryville, Pea Ridge, Wilson’s Creek, Bentonville, Fort Donelson, or Kennesaw Mountain? Alas, many had to be cut (but it does ease my struggles to at least name some of the exclusions here). ¶ I know that not everyone will agree with my choices. Happily, you need not abide by my list, which happens to only include national park sites. You can have a meaningful and personal experience at most any battlefield (including numerous state, local, and private sites)—and I hope this list inspires you to do just that.


MANASSAS NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK

and defender in stark relief, as do the artillery projectiles lodged in the old walls. While you’re in Charleston, make sure to tour the historic part of the city and pop down to Savannah, Georgia, to see the incredible Fort Pulaski, which fell to Union forces in 1862, and Fort McAllister, which William T. Sherman’s men captured during the March to the Sea.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

CIVILWAR TRUST (2)

CIVIL WAR TRUST (2)

M A N ASSAS, V I RG I N I A

tlefields serve up more than 40 miles of walking trails on a very well preserved landscape. From the Henry Hill walking trail, most of the first battle is graspable. Understanding the complexities of Second Manassas requires more effort. Visiting Sudley Ford, the Deep Cut, Matthews Hill, the Stone Bridge, Chinn Ridge, and other key sites brings the participants and movements of both battles into sharp relief. If you go, drive out to Cedar Mountain and Ball’s Bluff, both sites of battles

that occurred in between the two engagements at Manassas.

Shiloh National Military Park SHILOH, TENNESSEE

With more than 23,000 casualties, the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 was at that point the costliest battle in American history. That new level of warfare, combined with what is today an almost entirely preserved and undisturbed landscape,

The twin Confederate victories at Manassas in July 1861 and August 1862 on adjacent and overlapping ground provide an excellent opportunity to grasp the war’s early years. The 13 months between them, which spanned the time of the war’s first great land battle to the rise of General Robert E. Lee, saw a much costlier war, grander assaults, more soldierly soldiers, and ever-greater unit attrition. Visitors center facilities on both bat11 SHILOH NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

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p r e s e r va t i o n

Antietam National Battlefield SHARPSBURG, MARYLAND

Antietam truly has it all. It’s beautifully preserved—the most pristine of all the major eastern battlefields—has two of the Civil War’s most iconic structures (the Dunker Church and Burnside Bridge), claims the dubious honor of being the site of America’s bloodiest day of combat, and was directly responsible for the timing of Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Bring historic photos with you if you can, so you can plainly see how little things have changed since September 17, 1862, and immerse yourself in the battle’s major phases—through the Cornfield, into the West Woods, toward the Sunken Road, and across Burnside Bridge. The Pry House Field Hospital Museum, located in nearby Keedysville and maintained by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, demonstrates the changing face of battlefield medical care. And as battleground, hallowed ground, and burial ground, the lovely Antietam National Cemetery is a great place for re-

flection. While you’re there, you might visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which is an unforgettable place. And if you have time, stop at Monocacy, South Mountain, or Shepherdstown, sites of a few of the many battles fought in the Shenandoah Valley.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA

The site of four big battles (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania) over three years, urban combat, three of the largest attacks of the war, the zenith of Robert E. Lee’s military career, the death of his key lieutenant Stonewall Jackson, and innumerable scraps, stories, and statistics, this one park has nearly unlimited potential for learning and connecting. Spend at least a weekend there. Visit Chatham Manor, the Sunken Road, and the Slaughter Pen Farm at the Fredericksburg Battlefield; stop by the Chancellor House ruins before touring the

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CIVIL WAR TRUST (2)

makes visiting this battlefield an experience unlike any other. You could visit 50 times and still not see the many out-ofthe-way places, topographic perspectives, and hidden markers placed long ago. Don’t miss Fraley Field, where the fighting began, or the site where Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston’s death is marked (and then go down the hill a bit to see where it actually happened). Make sure you see the line General Ulysses S. Grant held near Pittsburg Landing and stroll through one of the most beautiful of all national cemeteries. Make sure you also visit the park’s nearby Corinth Battlefield Unit, the scene of 1862 actions that boasts the best-for-itssize National Park Service visitors center. As a side trip, Nathan Bedford Forrest fans should pop down to the almost entirely preserved Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, where Forrest defeated a much larger Union force in 1864, or up to Parker’s Cross Roads, site of a minor, Forrest-led Confederate victory in 1862, and Fort Donelson, where Forrest commanded the garrison’s cavalry before its surrender to Grant in February 1862.

ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD

CIVIL WAR TRUST

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FREDERICKSBURG NATIONAL CEMETERY

Chancellorsville Battlefield and the Stonewall Jackson Shrine; and get into the woods with Generals Winfield Hancock, Gouverneur Warren, and John Brown Gordon at the Wilderness. Stand where beloved Union general John Sedgwick mocked nearby soldiers for imploring him to take cover moments before he was shot and killed by a Confederate sharpshooter, and try, just try, to grasp the tactics, the movements, and the horror of the fighting at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania. While you’re there, drive a short distance to the Civil War Trust’s Mine Run/ Payne’s Farm Battlefield, where Union and Confederate forces clashed in November 1863.

Vicksburg National Military Park VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI

After months of failed attempts, General Grant’s masterful campaign for Vicksburg resulted in the fall of the mighty Citadel City, constituting one of the war’s greatest upheavals. It gave the Union complete control of the Mississippi River, destroyed a major Confederate supply line that ran west through the city, and effectively cut the Confederacy in two. The associated drama played out against Vicksburg’s fantastic scenery, which is, fortunately, well preserved today. With more monuments and mark-

Gettysburg National Military Park GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

Although some fans of western battlefields cast aspersions upon Gettysburg, there is no question that Gettysburg is the king of Civil War battlefields. It is the site of what was by far the costliest Civil War engagement, the first battlefield preserved as a park (starting in 1863), the

CIVIL WAR TRUST (2)

CIVIL WAR TRUST

VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

ers than any battlefield save Gettysburg, 20 miles of original earthworks, miles of walking trails, two antebellum homes (including the historic Shirley House), and the restored and remarkable Union ironclad USS Cairo, Vicksburg is a feast for the eyes, mind, and body. If you have time, make sure to see the site of Grant’s Canal (the general’s failed attempt to alter the course of the Mississippi River) and the Old Warren County Courthouse Museum as well. While you’re there, head down to Port Hudson, which fell to Union forces soon after Vicksburg, to get the full context of the campaign.

13 PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN DOE

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p r e s e r va t i o n

CHICKAMAUGA & CHATTANOOGA NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

at Devil’s Den’s scenery, walk from the Peach Orchard to the Wheatfield and pop over to Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill before seeing the massive Cyclorama painting and marching the route of Pickett’s Charge. While you’re there, consider heading up to Harrisburg to see the amazing artifact collection at the National Civil War Museum.

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park FORT OGLETHORPE, GEORGIA

Created in 1890 as the first national military park, “Chick-Chatt” (as it’s called by many Civil War nerds) provides a unique glimpse into midwar western theater actions amid an unforgettable topography. Seesaw battles, contrasting personalities, challenging communications, and an abundance of successes and failures resulted in a general capturing the wrong hill, a division filling a nonexistent gap, soldiers seizing an impregnable position without orders, a soldier openly threatening an army commander, and eastern troops from both armies confronting new adversaries in the West. From Chickamauga’s Snodgrass Hill (where Union general George Thomas earned the nickname “the Rock”) to Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and incredible national cemetery, you can at once feel for Union general William S. Rosecrans, marvel

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CIVIL WAR TRUST

location of the first true battlefield national cemetery, the spot where Lincoln delivered the legendary Gettysburg Address, and enjoyed unparalleled newspaper and photographic coverage. With iconic sites galore, including that of the most famous charge of the Civil War, visitors never run out of meaningful experiences. Stroll the first day’s field, charge Little Round Top, marvel

GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

MICHAEL MELFORD; CLAUDIO VAZQUEZ (GETTYSBURG)

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PETERSBURG NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD

at Confederate general Braxton Bragg’s actions, and reassess your opinions of Grant. Make sure to see the incredible collection of small arms at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitors Center, and go to Chattanooga’s Point Park, Craven House, and Orchard Knob. While you’re there, consider hitting Atlanta Campaign sites en route to Kennesaw Mountain, or head north to the battlefields at Stones River, Franklin, and Nashville (and if you really have time, Perryville, Kentucky).

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

CIVIL WAR TRUST

MICHAEL MELFORD; CLAUDIO VAZQUEZ (GETTYSBURG)

Richmond National Battlefield Park “On to Richmond!” was the frequent early war call of northerners. All Americans should heed that call, for no Confederate city was so cherished or sought after during the war, and no place offers a broader or more meaningful educational opportunity today. Visitors to Richmond can follow the rise and fall of the Confederacy by learning about the fate of the

important industrial center and Confederate capital. Richmond’s battlefields are not just a few open fields to the east of the city—the park spans from the North Anna River to Malvern Hill and to the city of Richmond. The trenches of Cold Harbor, the Watt House plateau at Gaines’ Mill, the earthworks of Fort Harrison and New Market Heights, the unpassable Drewry’s Bluff, and 10 other battlefields await you. While you’re there, see Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery, the White House and Museum of the Confederacy, and The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar.

Petersburg National Battlefield PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA

With scores of engagements, the longest siege of the Civil War, massive bases of supply, and a series of offensives that resulted in Richmond’s fall and the effective end of the Civil War, Petersburg is abso-

lutely essential to Civil War travelers. Petersburg is far more than the site the famous Battle of the Crater. Often overlooked late-war battlefields span the park, including Reams’ Station, Hatcher’s Run, White Oak Road, Five Forks, the Confederate Alamo at Fort Gregg, and several sites from the May 1864 Bermuda Hundred Campaign. Confederate general A.P. Hill’s death site, Blandford Church, and the incredible Pamplin Historical Park are all located along the park’s driving tour route. While you’re there, head west to Sailor’s Creek and Appomattox to learn about the final days of the Army of Northern Virginia or to the deceptively close Bentonville Battlefield and Bennett Place in North Carolina, scene of the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate army to William T. Sherman.  AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN GARRY ADELMAN IS A LONGTIME BATTLEFIELD GUIDE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHY, AND DIRECTOR OF HISTORY AND EDUCATION AT THE CIVIL WAR TRUST, WHICH HAS HELPED TO PRESERVE MORE THAN 22,000 ACRES OF HALLOWED GROUND AT THE SITES NAMED IN THIS ARTICLE.

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voices

Tobacco “The devil! I shan’t have time to smoke my cigar.” The reaction of Union general George G. Meade (right) after learning Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, General Ulysses S. Grant, and other dignitaries were soon to arrive in camp, as overheard by staff officer Theodore Lyman, who wrote about it in a letter to his wife, October 17, 1864

“I have no doubt many of us use too much tobacco. I have been thinking of restricting myself to say twelve pipes full per day. When I get home I will reform. So all the boys say of their bad habits.” Union chaplain Hallock Armstrong, in a letter to his wife, June 18, 1865

“You must excuse me for not answering your last sooner, for we have been marching, digging, and fighting all the time. I must close and smoke my pipe.”

Illinois soldier Charles Wright Wills, on an encounter with local women in Scottsboro, Alabama, in his diary, March 1864

“I’m sorry you feel so bad about my smoking. I think, after you had spent a night or two on picket and saw the comfort the soldiers draw from a pipe or cigar as they sit round the fire, you would say, ‘I forgive you—smoke, at least while you are in the army.’”

An Alabama artillerist stationed outside of Atlanta, in a letter to Confederate nurse Kate Cumming (below), August 4, 1864

Oliver Willcox Norton, 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry, in a letter to his cousin, February 27, 1862

“The craving for tobacco is constant, and not to be allayed, like that of a mother for her children.” Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson on the habits of the 1st South Carolina Infantry, a regiment comprised of former slaves, in his diary, December 30, 1862

SOURCES: MEADE’S HEADQUARTERS, 1863– 1865 (1922); ARMY LIFE OF AN ILLINOIS SOLDIER (1906); ARMY LETTERS, 1861–1865 (1903); ARMY LIFE IN A BLACK REGIMENT (1870); LETTERS FROM A PENNSYLVANIA CHAPLAIN AT THE SIEGE OF PETERSBURG (1961); KATE: THE JOURNAL OF A CONFEDERATE NURSE (1998).

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (3); U.S. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE (CUMMING)

“I sat down by a fire, in company with three young women, all cleanly dressed and powdered to death…. Each of them had a quid of tobacco in her cheek about the size of my stone inkstand, and if they didn’t make the extract fly worse than I ever saw it in a country grocery, shoot me.”

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (3); U.S. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE (CUMMING)


inquiry

Anatomy of a Civil War Buff

Have you ever attended a Civil War battle reenactment?

Who are today’s Civil War enthusiasts? We recently asked a sampling of Monitor readers a variety of questions—including what got them interested in the nation’s greatest conflict and what they believe should be done with Confederate monuments still standing today. What is your gender?

Did your ancestors fight in the Civil War? No.................................................................................45.7%

No................................................................................40.0% Yes, as a spectator..................................................... 54.2% Yes, as a military reenactor........................................10.9% Yes, as a civilian reenactor........................................... 2.7% What do you believe was the root cause of the Civil War?

Yes, Union ancestor(s)................................................28.7%

12.4% Female

87.6% Male

Do you think the United States will ever see another Civil War? 0 = Very unlikely; 5 = Highly likely

Yes, Confederate ancestor(s).....................................10.8%

1.5

Yes, Union and Confederate ancestor(s)..................14.8% How many of your ancestors fought in the Civil War? 1 .................................................................................. 14.3% 2 .................................................................................. 17.2% 3 .................................................................................... 7.5%

What sparked your interest in the Civil War? Book ........................ 27.6% Movie or television show ........................ 11.3% Family stories ........... 8.3% Trip .......................... 18.0% Teacher ..................... 7.5% 5 Other .................... 27.3%

“My daughter’s 7th grade history project.”

4 .................................................................................... 4.2% 5 .................................................................................... 2.2% 6 or more .................................................................... 10.3%

Slavery .................... 57.9% States’ rights .......... 24.9% 5 Other .................... 17.2%

“Greedy government.” How old were you when you became interested in the Civil War?

On a scale of 1 to 10, do you consider yourself a Civil War history _______?

44.8%

0 = Novice 5 = Enthusiast 10 = Expert

24.8%

Average response:

Under 20

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7.9%

8.1%

6.7%

7.7%

20-29

30–39

40–49

50–59

60+

Should Confederate monuments in public spaces remain standing or be taken down? Leave them alone.........................56.7% Take them down.........................10.3% Not sure...................... 7.7% 5 Other......................25.3%

“Take them down at public buildings. Leave them standing in military parks, battlefields, and museums.”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: JONATHAN KOZOWYK; BOB DAEMMRICH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; BENZIE AREA HISTORICAL MUSEUM

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SOURCE: RESULTS BASED ON A SURVEY OF 522 CIVIL WAR MONITOR MAGAZINE AND NEWSLETTER READERS IN DECEMBER 2017. NOTE: NOT ALL PARTICIPANTS ANSWERED EVERY QUESTION.

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E


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: JONATHAN KOZOWYK; BOB DAEMMRICH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO; LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; BENZIE AREA HISTORICAL MUSEUM

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Available from your local bookstores or from www.KentStateUniversityPress.com • 800-247-6553 CMW27_FOB_Inquiry.indd 19

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figures

Pickett’s Charge ON THE THIRD DAY OF THE Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee—looking to deal a decisive blow to the Army of the Potomac after two days of attacks against its flanks had failed to do so—ordered a massive infantry advance upon the center of the Union defensive position on Cemetery Hill, which he reasoned was the weak point of the Union line. Little went right during the attack, known to history as Pickett’s Charge after Major General George Pickett, one of three Confederate generals whose men made up the assaulting force. The massive artillery bombardment that preceded the attack was rendered largely ineffectual as many of the Confederate shells overshot their marks. The infantry advance— conducted over open ground under a sweltering July sun—withered under devastating Union artillery and rifle fire as it moved toward a salient in the Union line known as “The Angle.” In less than an hour, the assault was over and its survivors were trickling back toward the safety of Confederate lines, prompting a despondent Lee reportedly to remark that the attack that lost the Battle of Gettysburg for his army was “all my fault.” Here we highlight various figures about the failed assault, which many still regard as the war’s turning point.

1:07 p.m.

Time the Confederate artillery bombardment of the Union center began

159

87

Temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, at 2 p.m.

Number of Confederate cannon involved in the bombardment

2

Approximate number of hours the bombardment lasted

12,500

Approximate number of Confederate troops involved in Pickett’s Charge

6,000–7,000

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Approximate number of Union troops awaiting the assault

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1,000–1,300 Yards of ground Confederate troops crossed during the charge

225

Feet of ground Confederate troops covered every 60 seconds during the charge

6,000–7,000

Number of Confederate casualties suffered during the charge

14

Number of regimental commanders killed or wounded in Pickett’s division (out of 15)

2,000–3,000

Number of Confederate troops who reached the Union line on Cemetery Ridge

150

Approximate number of Confederate regimental battle flags lost during the charge (out of 50)

2,300

Number of Union casualties suffered repelling the charge

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Number of Confederate troops who breached the Union line at The Angle

31

SOURCES: JAMES A. HESSLER AND WAYNE E. MOTTS, PICKETT’S CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG (2015); JAY JORGENSEN, ED., TOP TEN AT GETTYSBURG (2017); NOAH ANDRE TRUDEAU, GETTYSBURG: A TESTING OF COURAGE (2002); CAROL REARDON, PICKETT’S CHARGE IN HISTORY AND MEMORY (1997); STEPHEN W. SEARS, GETTYSBURG (2003). WITH THANKS TO GETTYSBURG LICENSED BATTLEFIELD GUIDE LARRY KORCZYK FOR HIS ASSISTANCE.

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p r e s e r va t i o n

A Preserved Harpers Ferry Tract Has Much to Tell p r e s i d e n t , c i v i l wa r t r u st

“we are surrounded by enemy batteries,” a Union officer at Harpers Ferry wrote on September 15, 1862. He’d woken to realize that Major General A.P. Hill’s Confederates had used the cover of darkness and riverside ravines to sneak atop Bolivar Heights, position artillery, and put them in mortal danger. “We [were] helpless as rats in a cage,” one Vermonter noted. Within hours, Confederate commander Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s flanking column would capture Harpers Ferry’s 12,500-man Federal garrison, forcing the largest surrender of U.S. troops until World War II. That’s just one of the fascinating bits of history embodied in this scenic stretch of the Shenandoah River next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Called the Old Standard tract for the quarry formerly located there, these 200 acres have now been preserved by the Civil War Trust and its partners. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History holds the easement conserving this battlefield acreage south of Bolivar Heights, which proved pivotal to Robert E. Lee’s Maryland Campaign. After the garrison fell, Jackson’s men marched north to join Lee’s forces near Sharpsburg, arriving in time to save Lee’s flank from annihilation during the Battle of Antietam. Lee’s men escaped across the Potomac River to fight again; the war would last another two and a half years. The Old Standard easement preserves park visitors’ views of the Shenandoah River and protects a Chesapeake Bay tributary. The Trust hopes Congress will eventually add the site to

the 3,670-acre park. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, head of the Division of Culture and History, each played vital roles in conserving the property. Jefferson County Landmarks Commission Chair Martin Burke is excited that the easement will preserve open space, the battlefield, and the watershed. “Besides the historical value of this battlefield property, we’re interested in its conservation values for protecting water quality, preventing development and opening possibilities for construction of walking and bike paths on its riverside,” Burke said. “This Old Standard acreage represents the best of all those things.”

In 2007, after a developer proposed a massive commercial project for the site, the Civil War Trust named Harpers Ferry one of the nation’s most endangered battlefields. In time, that builder and other developers declared bankruptcy. A few years ago, the Historic Landmarks Commission and the Trust preserved the 13-acre Allstadt’s Ordinary tract in Harpers Ferry. The Trust acquired the property, which includes a house where John Brown seized captives during his 1859 raid on the U.S. armory, and gave it to the park. And now, Old Standard is saved— a result that shows what can be done when people find a common cause, work together, and refuse to give up. 

A portion of the Old Standard tract next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, 200 acres of which has been preserved by the Civil War Trust and its partners.

3 THE CIVIL WAR TRUST (CIVILWAR.ORG) IS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF ENDANGERED CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS.

CIVIL WAR TRUST

by o. james lighthizer 

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c o s t o f wa r

$51,750 A RARE CONFEDERATE EXPLOSIVE DEVICE MAKES A KILLING THE ARTIFACT:

CONDITION: The torpedo is in fine condition. Most of the tar remains on the outer surface, and most of the bands are intact, with only a few loose but secure. The primer fuses are authentic reproductions. DETAILS: Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, North Carolina native and West Point graduate Gabriel James Rains resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to take a brigadier generalship in the newly forming Confederate forces. After receiving a serious wound during the Battle of Seven Pines outside Richmond the following year, Rains—who had had his men plant “torpedoes,” or makeshift land mines formed from explosive shells, to slow the advancing Army of the Potomac as it made its way up the Virginia Peninsula toward the Confederate capital—was tasked with protecting the James and Appomattox rivers from Union advance by employing “submarine defenses.” For the next several months, Rains developed and deployed torpedoes in the James River before being appointed to head the Confederacy’s new Army Torpedo Bureau, a role that saw him oversee production facilities throughout the South. By war’s end, Confederate forces had planted hundreds of explosive devices on land and in sea; the latter were responsible for sinking at least 58 Union vessels. The Rains-designed barrel torpedo

shown here was recovered during the war in Mobile Bay, the mining of which Rains had overseen for several months in 1864. It had been filled with gunpowder, fitted with percussion fuses (set to detonate on contact with a ship’s hull), and anchored to the bottom of the bay by a chain. After the war, Rains worked as a chemist and as a clerk for the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Department. He died in Charleston in 1881 at age 78. QUOTABLE: In 1877, Rains reflected on the enduring impact of the use of torpedoes as war weapons for the Southern Historical Society Papers: “Iron-clads are said to master the world, but torpedoes master the iron-clads, and must so continue on account of the almost total incompressibility of water and the developed gasses of the fired gunpowder of the torpedo under the vessel’s bottom passing through it, as the direction of least resistance.” VALUE: $51,750 (price realized at James D. Julia Inc. in Fairfield, Maine, in October 2005). “This is one of two known examples of Rains torpedoes,” noted John Sexton, longtime consultant and cataloger for James D. Julia, at the time of the sale, “and is the only one with most of the original coating.”

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JAMES D. JULIA AUCTIONEERS, FAIRFIELD, MAINE , JAMESDJULIA.COM. SOURCE: JAMES D. JULIA INC. PRESENTS SPECTACULAR FIREARMS AUCTION, OCTOBER 3 & 5, 2005 (2005); GENERAL G.J. RAINS, “TORPEDOES,” SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS VOL . 3 (JANUARY TO JUNE , 1877); HERBERT M. SCHILLER, ED., CONFEDERATE TORPEDOES (2011).

A Rains barrel torpedo

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Have you visited?

The Lincoln Memorial Shrine Since 1932, the only museum and research center dedicated to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War west of the Mississippi Located in Redlands, California Halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs Open Tuesday-Sunday, 1-5pm Closed most holidays, but always open Lincoln’s birthday Free admission! For more information, please visit www.lincolnshrine.org/civilwar or call (909) 798-7632 3/12/2016 3:41:49 PM

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JAMES D. JULIA AUCTIONEERS, FAIRFIELD, MAINE , JAMESDJULIA.COM. SOURCE: JAMES D. JULIA INC. PRESENTS SPECTACULAR FIREARMS AUCTION, OCTOBER 3 & 5, 2005 (2005); GENERAL G.J. RAINS, “TORPEDOES,” SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS VOL . 3 (JANUARY TO JUNE , 1877); HERBERT M. SCHILLER, ED., CONFEDERATE TORPEDOES (2011).

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STORIES The Civil War touched American lives in ways that no other conflict has, before or since. At The American Civil War Museum, you can explore this epic struggle that ripped our country apart at the seams, from the viewpoint of all the participants. Soldier. Politician. Merchant. Slave. Freedman. Man. Woman. Child. Hear their stories. Learn their legacies. At The American Civil War Museum. In Richmond and Appomattox.

historic tredegar  white house & museum of the confederacy american civil war museum - appomattox 804.649.1861  ACWM.org CMW27_FOB_CostofWar.indd 25

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in focus

The Chancellors of Chancellorsville by bob zeller

IN T HE SPRING O F 1 863 , the Civil War arrived at the doorstep of the Rev. and Mrs. Melzi S. Chancellor and their 11 children. The family lived in a large home known as Dowdall’s Tavern, having formerly been such an establishment, on Orange Plank Road in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The house, which was located behind Union lines, served as the headquarters of XI Corps commander Oliver Otis Howard during the Battle of Chancellorsville. After Stonewall Jackson’s fearsome flank attack on the engagement’s second day, panicked Union troops fled across Chancellor’s property. Some of the men demanded shelter, and although the Baptist circuit preacher was an ardent Confederate sympathizer (three of his sons served in Virginia regiments during the conflict), he directed them to his cellar before securing the door. Confederate troops arrived soon thereafter and took 30 of them prisoner. The Chancellor family escaped the battle unscathed. The following year, Melzi was arrested by federal authorities and confined for six months at Fort Delaware as a “citizen hostage.” After his release, he resumed his work as a minister. In the early 1880s he and his wife moved to Fredericksburg, where he died in 1895. This 1866 photo shows Chancellor and six members of his family outside Dowdall’s Tavern, around which the Battle of Chancellorsville had raged three years earlier. The young boy at his feet appears to be Melzi Jr., the family’s 11th child, who was born in 1859. 3 THE NONPROFIT CENTER FOR CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHY (CIVILWARPHOTOGRAPHY.ORG ) IS DEVOTED TO COLLECTING, PRESERVING, AND DIGITIZING CIVIL WAR IMAGES.

AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIET Y

p r e s i d e n t , c e n t e r f o r c i v i l wa r p h oto g r a p h y

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AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIET Y

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american iliad

Beyond the White Man’s Iliad

the confederate monument controversy that has exploded in recent months raises fundamental questions about the American Iliad. The removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, is only the best known of several examples that place these questions before us. By way of offering a response, let me begin by reminding the reader that my maiden column for this series argued that “the Civil War routinely functions, in important part, as a national myth that is central to our understanding of ourselves as Americans. And like the classic mythologies of old, it contains timeless wisdom of what it means to be a human being. Homer’s Iliad tells us much about war, but it also tells us much about life. The American Iliad does the same thing.” To illustrate this, I pointed to Robert E. Lee’s grace in defeat. And in a book I wrote some years ago I underscored the mythic value of Lee’s example. “Sooner or later,” I observed, “everyone loses. The dreams of youth are left behind, the promising career falters, the fatal diagnosis is pronounced. The idea of facing inevitable defeat with courage, dignity, and humanity—as Lee is rightly said to have done—therefore has powerful attraction.” This has been very much the case for me. I am now 58 years old. At age 26 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder—a problem with the brain’s biochemistry once called manic depression—and for more than three decades now my life has been characterized by a perpetual cycle of moving forward, being flattened by depression, and having to pick myself up to move forward again, all in the face of certain knowledge that this pattern will never end. It isn’t as bad as “inevitable defeat,” at least not in any final sense. But it is bad enough, and occasionally made worse by the stigma still attached to mental illness. To persevere in these or similar circumstances, most of us need sources of inspiration. For me, one of the most meaningful has been Robert E. Lee: his stoicism, his real-

ism, and his willingness to play a difficult hand with courage and guts. So let me make the obvious confession. Robert E. Lee is one of my personal heroes. But let me also make an observation. The real Lee is not necessarily my hero. It would be more accurate to say that my hero is the image of Lee as I encountered it in Hodding Carter’s Robert E. Lee and the Road of Honor (1951) at age eight; in Bruce Catton’s A Stillness at Appomattox (1954) at age 12; at the Virginia Monument during my first trip to Gettysburg at age 13; and many times in Douglas Southall Freeman’s unforgettable portrait of the man in R.E. Lee: A Biography (1934–1935), which I read for the first time at age 14. And finally, let me make a declaration. Notwithstanding the above, I am firmly of the opinion that every statue of Lee in the country, unless it is strongly contextualized, needs to be removed from public spaces. The wonderful statue of Lee atop Gettysburg’s Virginia Monument can stay. But the even more wonderful statue of Lee on Richmond’s Monument Avenue (which Freeman saluted every time he passed it) must go. I’m not happy to have reached this conclusion. But I am convinced that to do anything else risks a much greater loss. Those opposed to removing Confederate statues often complain that it represents the erasure of history. That is patently incorrect. We are not talking about the burning of Confederate biographies or some Orwellian rewriting of history—and that isn’t what critics really mean. What they really mean is the erasure of the American Iliad, of a mythic retelling of the Civil War that for many Americans has the same cherished importance as it does for me. But let us be clear. In its present form, the American Iliad is really the white man’s Iliad, grounded in the conviction that white southerners and ☛ } CONT. ON P. 72 3 To view this article’s reference notes, turn to page 78.

CATNAP72 / ISTOCK

UNDERSTANDING THE MONUMENTAL DEVALUATION OF HUMAN FREEDOM IN THE CIVIL WAR STORY   BY MARK GRIMSLEY

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CATNAP72 / ISTOCK

A statue of Robert E. Lee sits atop the Virginia Monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

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stereoscope

The West’s Missing War

when i sat down to watch the new Netflix miniseries Godless, a Western set in 1885 New Mexico, I was curious to see whether any Civil War veterans would show up. In the first two of the show’s seven episodes, there were lingering shots of the high desert, violent massacres, lone horsemen, and flashbacks to the dismal childhoods of orphaned boys—but no Civil War veterans. Then, in the third episode, viewers are introduced to the residents of Blackdom. The men are all former Buffalo Soldiers, African Americans who served in the 10th Cavalry Regiment in the years after the war, riding out on campaigns against Native Americans throughout the Great Plains to the Southwest. Only one of them still wears his blue coat, and after a white man who comes through town in the next episode seems starstruck by him, we learn that the former soldier, John Randall (Rob Morgan)—who was a real historical figure—is a “war hero.” This is likely a reference to Randall’s fight against the Cheyenne in 1867, when he fended off a large group of warriors by himself until reinforcements arrived, rather than an allusion to his service in the Civil War. We don’t find out for sure, however, because there is no further conversation about it. The rest of the good guys in Godless aren’t old enough to have been Civil War soldiers. Although the bad guy (Frank Griffin, played by Jeff Daniels) wears a grey coat, his pathology is explained not by his service in any Civil War army but instead by the traumatic loss of his entire family to Mormon attackers at the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857. The marginality of the Civil War in Godless is not unusual. In the vast majority of film and television Westerns, the region’s wooden towns and windswept cattle ranches exist in the post-war world: a time of mule-drawn wagons but also railroads, telegraph wires, and repeating rifles. The war stories in Westerns are intensely personal battles, usually driven by acts of betrayal: The cowboy rides out into the West to seek revenge upon

those who wronged him. Every now and again, however, the deeds that provoke this cycle of violence occur during the Civil War. The ex-Confederate hero (Anson Mount) of the recent AMC show Hell on Wheels, for example, heads west to hunt down the Union guerrillas who killed his wife and children. These acts of revenge are often depicted as ways for Confederate veterans to heal from the war’s traumas. In the classic film The Searchers (1956), Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) appears on his family’s Texas doorstep in 1868, still wearing his Confederate uniform, CSA belt buckle and all. “Uncle Ethan” refuses to talk about the war or how he’s passed the years since. After a band of Comanches attacks the family ranch, killing almost everyone and taking his niece hostage, Ethan tracks the band and its chief, Scar (Henry Brandon), for five years. This epic journey gives him a sense of purpose, a way to focus on the future rather than the past. The television show The Rebel (1959) set up a similar plot for its protagonist, Johnny Yuma (Nick Adams), a Confederate private who reappears in his hometown in 1867, also wearing his Confederate uniform. After finding his father dead and the town in the hands of nefarious mine owners, Johnny single-handedly kills them all and takes back the town for its former inhabitants. Then he moves on, roaming the West and initiating his own private wars against a series of foes. In Dances with Wolves (1990), Lieutenant John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) is one of the rare Union veterans to search for healing in the West. The first part of the film takes place during the Civil War, establishing Dunbar’s bravery in battle and his wartime traumas. He ultimately bonds with the Lakota Sioux who live near his frontier post, and he refuses to take part in the Army’s campaigns against them. Most Union veterans in Westerns are not so noble. They are more often dodgy characters who were drafted or who deserted or otherwise be- ☛ } CONT. ON P. 72

URSULA COYOTE/NETFLIX

WHY IS THE CIVIL WAR MOSTLY ABSENT IN ONE OF OUR MOST BELOVED FILM AND TELEVISION GENRES?  BY MEGAN KATE NELSON

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URSULA COYOTE/NETFLIX

Jack O’Connell and Michelle Dockery in a scene from the Netflix miniseries Godless. As in previous depictions of the postwar West, the Civil War factors little into the show’s characters and stories.

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In June and July 1864, the Union’s top soldier tried to defeat Robert E. Lee and capture Petersburg, Virginia. It didn’t go so well.

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PHOTOGRAPH CREDIT HERE

Grant’s Cruel Summer

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, COLORIZED BY MADS MADSEN OF COLORIZED HISTORY

BY A. WILSON GREENE


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PHOTOGRAPH CREDIT HERE

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, COLORIZED BY MADS MADSEN OF COLORIZED HISTORY


3 To view this article’s reference notes, turn to page 78.

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (MEADE); NATIONAL ARCHIVES

n june 15, 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant stood in “profound silence” on a bluff along the left bank of the James River, gazing at the culmination of a remarkable achievement. Before him stood one of the longest military bridges ever constructed. A fleet of transport vessels filled the wide river, two improvised ferries shuttled troops to the south shore, and bands rendered martial tunes as tens of thousands of soldiers in blue waited their turn to cross the water.1 That Wednesday would mark the first of 292 days in which armies under the command of Grant and General Robert E. Lee would battle for control of Petersburg, Virginia. The “Cockade City” was the Old Dominion’s second largest metropolis, and at that moment it held the logistical key to the survival of the Confederacy’s principal army and its capital at Richmond. Grant and Lee had first clashed some six weeks

earlier nearly 100 miles to the northwest in a tangled landscape styled The Wilderness, and had remained in almost constant contact for the next month, engaged in a series of titanic battles known collectively as the Overland Campaign. Grant, who had been elevated to general-in-chief of all Union armies in March, had hoped this campaign would bring Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to its knees and thus facilitate the capture of Richmond, but following his calamitous attacks on June 3 at Cold Harbor, 10 miles northeast of the Confederate capital, his bloody operations had failed to achieve either goal. Thus the lieutenant general turned his sights on Petersburg, a railroad hub through which flowed almost all of Richmond’s supplies from the south and west.2 Although securing Petersburg represented Grant’s ultimate objective, his first tasks included disengaging the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade, from under Lee’s nose at Cold Harbor, secretly marching it nearly 50 miles to the banks of the tidal James River, and transporting his soldiers, animals, artillery, and equipment to the right bank, all without Lee’s knowledge or interference. Grant also worried about the second component of his army group, Major General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James, which occupied the Bermuda Hundred peninsula between Richmond and Petersburg and would be vulnerable to an attack by Lee while Meade’s army executed its march to the James. “The operation now contemplated by Grant transcended in difficulty and danger any that he had attempted during the campaign,”

CENTURY MAGAZINE

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant (standing) watches as the massive Army of the Potomac crosses the James River on its way toward Petersburg, Virginia, on June 15, 1864. Poor communication by the general-in-chief would mark the Petersburg Campaign’s first six weeks, during which Grant would leave operational and tactical decisions in the field to his subordinate commanders, George G. Meade (opposite page, top) and Benjamin Butler (opposite page, bottom).


LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (MEADE); NATIONAL ARCHIVES

CENTURY MAGAZINE

thought a member of his staff. “He was to with- Hancock would reach the Confederate defensdraw an army from within forty yards of the en- es around midday to render whatever aid Smith emy’s line, and to march through the difficult might require to secure the city. swamps of the Chickahominy [River] bottom … Unfortunately, Grant failed to clearly articthen advance to the James … at a point seven hun- ulate these plans to the four officers responsible dred yards across; to effect a passage with all the for executing them: Butler, Smith, Meade, and munitions and supplies of a hundred thousand sol- Hancock. Smith’s brigades trickled into Berdiers.” A Confederate observer considered Grant’s muda Hundred throughout the afternoon and movement to the James “the most brilliant stroke evening of June 14, in no particular order and inin all the Federal campaigns of the whole war.” nocent of any notion that they were to execute It is no wonder, then, that Grant watched with an immediate advance. The time required to consilent approbation that sunny morning as his bold centrate the troops, convey instructions for the gamble realized success.3 offensive, march across the ponGrant could not know, of toon bridge spanning the Appocourse, that he would require mattox, and negotiate the five nine distinct offensive operamiles to the Confederate works tions over the course of nearly 10 rendered Grant’s conception of months to conquer Petersburg. a dawn assault a logistical imposThe first three of those offensives sibility. Smith would not arrive would occur in June and July 1864. opposite the Rebel fortifications Grant’s generalship during these until midday, and then he wiled initial six weeks of the campaign away the afternoon with reconfor Petersburg yielded meager naissance and planning.4 George G. Meade results and reflected little credit Hancock learned of his role in upon the Union’s ranking solGrant’s plan even later. Confudier. Grant remained largely desion over supplying the II Corps tached from the operations of his with rations they did not need, army group, leaving operational faulty maps, and enervating heat and tactical decisions in the field conspired to delay Hancock’s apto his subordinate commanders, proach until late in the afternoon, Meade and Butler. Grant’s strawhen a messenger found the II tegic vision, while laudably foCorps commander and handed cused on maintaining pressure on him Grant’s order to hasten to his Confederate opponents, vacSmith’s assistance.5 illated—sometimes wildly—and The general-in-chief had esBenjamin Butler occasionally descended into the tablished his headquarters at fantastic. The initial effort to capCity Point, about five miles from ture Petersburg foundered, in large part, due to Smith’s location, by mid-afternoon, in plenty poor communications by the general-in-chief. of time to ride forward and take personal command of the faltering offensive had he chosen to do so. Instead, he wired Butler for news from Pe11 tersburg, expressing about as much interest in the The 14,000 men of the XVIII Corps, command- whereabouts of Hancock’s irrelevant rations as in ed by Major General William F. Smith, followed a the progress of his corps. Butler remained out of unique path en route toward Petersburg. They had touch at Bermuda Hundred, relying on observabeen detached from Butler’s army in late May and tions from a distant signal tower and reports from assigned to reinforce the Army of the Potomac. couriers.6 While Meade’s forces marched overland to reach Smith finally began his assault around 7 p.m., their crossing points on the James, the XVIII and by nightfall he had captured several miles of the Corps returned the way it had come—by boat Confederate line. He and Hancock, at last united via the Pamunkey and York rivers to Hampton on the field, chose caution over daring and decided Roads and then up the James to Bermuda Hun- not to risk a night advance. Grant’s brilliant madred. From there, the plan was for Smith to cross neuvers from Cold Harbor across the James had the Appomattox River and assail Petersburg’s vul- unlocked the door that could have led to a decisive nerable eastern defenses. He would be supported victory, but logistical, communication, and comby the lead element of Meade’s army, Major Gen- mand lapses prevented him from turning the knob. eral Winfield Scott Hancock’s II Corps, which, Strangely, Grant did not seem to notice. He found after ferrying across the James, would march into time on the 15th to write a homely letter to his wife position on Smith’s left. Grant expected Smith to filled with matters of strictly personal interest. As attack early on the morning of June 15 and that for the progress of the campaign, “so far it has been 35 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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conclusion to the present endeavor against Petersburg.9 The failures of the First Offensive revealed for the first time significant cracks in the army’s confidence in Grant. “The feeling here in the army is that we have been absolutely butchered,” wrote Stephen Weld, commanding officer of the 56th Massachusetts Infantry, who blamed careless and reckless officers at the army’s highest levels “who have time and again … wickedly placed us in slaughter pens.” Captain Charles Francis Adams Jr., scion of the famous Massachusetts family and serving in the army’s provost guard with his squadron of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, expressed puzzlement in a letter to his father on June 19: “We have assaulted the enemy’s works repeatedly and lost many lives, but I cannot understand it…. Doubtless Grant has his reasons and we must have faith; but certainly, I have never seen the army so haggard and worn, so worked out and fought out, so dispirited and hopeless.” Sergeant Zerah C. Monks of the 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry told a correspondent that “the boys don’t seem to think so much of Gen. Grant now as they did some time ago. They think he has crowded us on their works too hard. It is nothing but charge … and the ones that escape today fall tomorrow.”10 The general-in-chief, however, expressed no regrets about the outcome of the First Offensive. “I am perfectly satisfied that all has been done that could be done,” he reassured a disappointed George Meade. “Now we will rest the men and use the spade for their protection until a new vein can be struck.”11 Meade welcomed these sentiments, particularly because he favored commencing formal siege operations in lieu of continued frontal assaults against the powerful defenses created by Lee and Beauregard. But Grant’s period of rest lasted only about 24 hours. By June 20 he began planning a threepronged operation that would become his Second Petersburg Offensive. That day, he and Butler identified a narrow stretch of the James River opposite Jones Neck called Deep Bottom. Grant directed the army’s engineers to construct a pontoon bridge there and advance troops to the left bank to maintain a bridgehead north of the James, a task that was promptly accomplished.12 More importantly, Grant decided to conduct a massive cavalry raid, using Brigadier General James H. Wilson’s division augmented by Butler’s cavalry under Brigadier General August V. Kautz. These horsemen, Grant hoped, would do great damage to Lee’s railroad communications to the south and west and severely degrade his logistics. Grant also

NATIONAL ARCHIVES

eminently successful,” the general cheerfully wrote, “and I hope will prove so to the end.”7 The next morning, Grant instructed Smith to “push the reconnaissance in your front with the view of ascertaining the best point and manner of advancing this evening at 6 p.m.,” adding conservatively that Smith should be alert for any Confederate attempt to turn the Union left. Later in the day, Grant rode forward from City Point to examine Smith’s deployment, impressing one Connecticut captain as a fellow who “does not look like a man to give up a point [but] … smaller … than I supposed.” On his return to headquarters, Grant encountered the recently arrived Meade and his staff riding toward the front. Grant reiterated his earlier instructions regarding a 6 p.m. attack and placed Meade in charge of seeing to its execution. With only a few exceptions, Grant would consistently recuse himself from tactical involvement in all the actions around Petersburg in June and July, delegating that responsibility to his army commanders.8 Meade and Butler conducted a series of assaults during the William F. next three days, which in addition Smith to Smith’s attack on June 15, comprised the First Petersburg Offensive. The Army of the Potomac made incremental gains June 16–18 at appalling human cost and failed to capture Petersburg in the face of stubborn resistance by the outnumbered forces of General P.G.T. Beauregard, aided by the arrival of Lee’s divisions on June 18. North of the Appomattox, Butler’s Army of the James briefly held the vital rail and turnpike arteries linking Richmond and Petersburg, but gave them up much too easily and made only feeble efforts to recover them, content to settle into the fortifications protecting its river landings at Bermuda Hundred. Grant, still anchored to his headquarters at City Point, seemed unconcerned. “I think it is pretty well to get across a great river, and come up here and attack Lee in his rear before he is ready for us!” Grant beamed to a staff officer, ignoring his armies’ lack of decisive accomplishments. “Too much credit cannot be given the troops and their commanders,” Grant informed Major General Henry W. Halleck, his chief of staff in Washington. While Butler seemingly failed to grasp the importance of breaking the communications between Richmond and Petersburg and Meade struggled to harness cooperation between his corps, Grant busied himself with logistical matters at City Point, such as ordering the repair and construction of wharves at Bermuda Hundred, City Point, and along the Appomattox River, the fabrication of warehouses, and the refitting of the City Point Railroad, suggesting that the general-in-chief did not anticipate a swift 36 THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING 2018

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THE STRUGGLE FOR PETERSBURG

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P E T E R S B U R G, V I R G I N I A

J U N E –J U LY 1 86 4

In June and July 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant launched three offensives against Confederate-held Petersburg, Virginia, through which most of the supplies for Richmond flowed. None of these—the First Offensive (June 15–18) against Confederate defenses east of the city; the Second Offensive (June 21–24) against Confederate defenses south of the city; or the Third Offensive (July 26–30), which concluded with the disastrous Battle of the Crater—succeeded in taking Petersburg. Grant would need another eight months of siege operations to accomplish his goal.

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NATIONAL ARCHIVES

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blue-clad riders south of Petersburg at Reams’ Station, inflicting significant casualties and depriving Wilson of his guns, wagons, and almost all of the fruits of his raid, including hundreds of runaway slaves seized by the Rebels.15 The infantry action resulted in an unmitigated disaster. Both the II and VI Corps suffered severe losses and only briefly touched on the Petersburg Railroad. The Federals managed to extend their lines to Jerusalem Plank Road, a few hundred yards west of where they had started, at a price of more than 2,300 dead, wounded, and captured.16 The Second Offensive plunged soldier spirits to a new low. Some in the army laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the general-in-chief. “Grant has used the army up, and will now have to wait until its morale is restored before he can do anything,” reasoned artillery commander Charles Wainwright. In fact, Grant’s notion in mid-June that two army corps could extend Union control all the way to the upper Appomattox River and be sustained there under semi-siege conditions bordered on the ludicrous. As events would demonstrate, Lee would prevent the Federals from encircling his army south of the Appomattox for the duration of the campaign. Protecting the return route of the cavalry was implicit in Grant’s impractical plan and when added to the nonchalance regarding Sheridan’s potential role in safeguarding Wilson’s return, Grant’s operational myopia contributed significantly to the cavalry’s discomfort.17

While a cavalry raid by brigadier generals James H. Wilson and August V. Kautz inflicted significant damage on railroads south and west of Petersburg, Grant’s Second Offensive against the city in late June 1864—which also consisted of an assault toward the Petersburg Railroad by two corps of Union infantry—ended much as the first had: with little to show for it, and at significant cost. Above: Wilson’s cavalrymen destroy railroad track during the Second Offensive.

HARPER’S WEEKLY (3)

ordered the rest of Meade’s cavalry under Major General Philip H. Sheridan to return to the army from its unsuccessful campaign against the Virginia Central Railroad. Meade warned that bringing Sheridan south of the James would release the Confederate cavalry there to operate against Wilson and Kautz, but Grant dismissed these concerns. He also downplayed Sheridan’s potential role in assuring Wilson’s safe return to Union lines.13 Finally, Grant ordered Meade to take the II and VI Corps west to occupy the Petersburg Railroad and the South Side Railroad and anchor the Union left on the Appomattox, miles above Petersburg. With the railroads destroyed and under the control of Federal infantry (Butler was told to bombard the railroad bridge over the Appomattox, complicating Confederate communications with the capital), Lee would find himself in an untenable position, forced to abandon Richmond and Petersburg or risk an open fight in which the Federals would hold the advantage.14 This outcome proved elusive. While Wilson and Kautz managed to wreak significant havoc on three railroads (including the Richmond & Danville line, which bypassed Petersburg), stiff resistance by a makeshift Confederate force at the bridge spanning the Staunton River and harassing pursuit by southern troopers limited their impact. Moreover, as Meade had predicted, Confederate cavalry from north of the James combined with elements of Lee’s infantry to trap the 38 THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING 2018

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11 The armies settled into their ever-expanding fortifications in late June, except for the men of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, who began digging a mine under a prominent Confederate bastion that, for the time being, possessed no role in Grant’s strategic thinking. Grant grappled with a number of ad-

ministrative matters during this period, including deciding what to do with the head of the Army of the Potomac. General Meade had managed to alienate most of his immediate subordinates with his prickly personality and, although Grant harbored no animosity toward his contentious commander, he began talking privately about the wisdom of replacing him, perhaps with General Hancock. Eventually Grant recommended that Meade take charge of Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley, but President Lincoln vetoed this suggestion, fearing that the public would interpret the transfer as an insult to the hero of Gettysburg. Meade would stay.20 Sorting out the leadership of the Army of the James proved thornier still. The most worrisome situation revolved around the dysfunctional relationship between Butler and Smith. The commander of Butler’s largest corps, Smith was among a handful of officers that Grant had brought east with him from the western theater. Smith had impressed Grant with his plan to lift the siege around Chattanooga in 1863 and he had thought that the West Point-trained Vermonter’s command skills would offset Butler’s lack of field experience once the Army of the James began active campaigning. Grant enjoyed a good working relationship with both men, but Smith—who had a track record of denigrating his superiors—informed Grant on July 2 that he could no longer serve under Butler, “who is as helpless as a child on the field of battle and as visionary as an opium eater in council.”21 Despite Smith’s blatantly insubordinate attitude toward Butler, Grant tended to see the matter through Smith’s eyes. Grant had long recognized Butler’s military shortcomings and sought a practical and diplomatic way of divesting himself of that powerful political general. He recommended that Butler be reassigned to a senior command in the Midwest or on the frontier, but Halleck suggested instead that Butler be sent to Fort Monroe, maintaining the titular command of his department, but permitting Smith to command the army in the field.

HARPER’S WEEKLY (3)

While the armies worked at expanding their defenses in the wake of the Second Offensive, the men of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry (depicted in these two images from Harper’s Weekly) began digging a mine under the Confederate lines. They would fill it with gunpowder and detonate it in late July.

Grant’s culpability for the failures of the spring campaign worried Abraham Lincoln. The president, “conscious of the swelling chorus of criticism of the general” and the growing doubts surrounding Grant’s strategic acumen, decided to pay his commander a visit. Accompanied on June 20 by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox, the Marine Band, and his son Tad, Lincoln arrived at Grant’s headquarters unannounced and was denied access to the general’s tent by a vigilant guard who mistook the chief executive for a member of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Once admitted to Grant’s presence, Lincoln enjoyed a hearty meal, regaling the headquarters crowd with his usual litany of animated stories.18 For the next two days, Lincoln and Grant reviewed the troops and examined the lines. The president returned to Washington perceptively “disappointed at the small measure of success” around Petersburg, but with undiminished confidence in Grant. He informed his Illinois friend, former senator Orville Browning, that Grant had promised him that the army would never be farther away from Richmond than at the present and that he was certain that he would conquer the Confederate capital, although he offered no timetable. Lincoln told a staff officer that “when Grant once gets possession of a place, he holds on to it as if he had inherited it.” The president’s visit cemented the absolute trust that he invested in his general-in-chief, which would serve Grant well during the continued frustrations awaiting him in the following weeks.19

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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Grant (seated, center) remained strangely detached from the army during the first six weeks of the Petersburg Campaign, which found him regularly anchored at his headquarters at nearby City Point, shown here in March 1865.

Grant liked this scheme and ordered Halleck on July 6 to “obtain an order assigning the troops of the Department of North Carolina and Virginia serving in the field to the command of … Smith and order Major-General Butler, commanding department, to his Headquarters, Fortress Monroe.” General Orders No. 225 dated July 6 did just that, although its contents were not immediately made public.22 Smith had departed on sick leave and knew nothing of the pending orders that would elevate him to command of the Army of the James. But Butler, through the efforts of a staff officer in Washington, learned of the fateful plan to consign him to military impotency and confronted his superior, brandishing a copy of General Orders No. 225. A surprised Grant disingenuously protested that the order was a mistake. “I don’t want this at all,” Grant exclaimed. “I want Smith to report to you—you to have full command.” By then, Smith had caught wind that something was up and rushed back to the army, only to be told by Grant that he had been relieved and that he and his staff should report to New York to await orders. “Thus did Smith the Bald try the Machiavelli against Butler the cross-eyed, and got floored at the first round!” quipped an officer on Meade’s staff.23 Smith offered a sensational explanation for Grant’s sudden change of heart. In a long letter to his political ally, Senator Solomon Foot of Vermont, Smith related that in late June or early July, Grant and Butler visited his headquarters, where the general-in-chief became roaring drunk, adding in his published memoirs the lurid detail that Grant vomited on his horse’s neck and shoulders. This episode, Smith claimed, provided Butler the grist for blackmail that resulted in his retention and Smith’s dismissal. Most historians reject this story, while acknowledging that Grant did occasionally fall off the wagon that summer. The army’s provost marshal, Brigadier General Marsena Patrick, probably got it right. Patrick confided in his diary on July 21 that “Baldy’s intrigues … for the command of Meade … his intense Selfishness &, finally, his intrigues against Butler … disgusted Grant. He has quarreled with Meade & every one else, ending in an attempt to thrash Grant over Meade’s shoulders, for which Grant shut him up.” Grant rightly understood that either Smith or Butler had to go, but his abrupt disavowal of General Orders No. 225 raises questions regarding Grant’s wavering conduct.24

11 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Rumors circulated widely throughout the Confederate army in July that Grant had been wounded by a mortar shell and had died from the effects of an amputation. “We have the news here that old Grant is dead and all the boys are rejoiced to think that he is,” gushed Private Davie A. Hampton of 41 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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Cold Harbor. Meade reconnoitered and found no definitive evidence of a significant reduction in Lee’s forces, but on the basis of a report from a deserter, he told Grant that it was possible that Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill’s corps had decamped. This prompted Grant to change gears once again. “If Hill’s corps has gone we must find out where it has gone and take advantage of its absence,” Grant told Meade on July 11. If the cavalry confirmed a reduction in the enemy force, Grant would order the II and V Corps, along with Sheridan’s cavalry, to turn the Confederate right while the IX Corps and XVIII Corps launched a spoiling attack against Lee’s center on the old June 18 battlefield.29 This initiative withered on the vine as well, as on July 12 Grant began to entertain doubts about Hill’s departure. Fresh intelligence implied that, to the contrary, a large body of Rebel troops might threaten the rear of the Union army. Plans for any offensive were now deferred in favor of securing the army’s own exposed flank. Grant also worried about Lee’s ability to detach troops to the Shenandoah Valley or Georgia, or that General Joseph Johnston, commanding the Confederate army in the Peach State, would shuttle brigades north to reinforce the Army of Northern Virginia. In order to obviate this possibility, Grant resurrected the earlier scheme of sending Sheridan south, accompanied by Hancock, to destroy the railroad connection to North Carolina. Sheridan balked, citing the problems encountered by Wilson and Kautz in returning unhindered to the army, and Grant quickly retracted these instructions.30 Thus within two weeks Grant had proposed a swing around the Confederate right, an attack at Bermuda Hundred, a combined flank and frontal assault with all four corps of his infantry, and a massive cavalry raid—as well as authorizing and then ignoring a plan to conduct siege operations. Nothing came of any of these operational spasms, and the last week of June through the first three weeks of July passed without progress—or even a creditable attempt—toward reducing Petersburg. To call Grant’s thinking during this period fluid would be charitable, although he deserves full credit for the desire to avoid the politically disastrous consequences of operational stasis, while reacting to fluctuating and unreliable intelligence. In the meantime, the weary men of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry completed work on their mine under a Confederate strongpoint called Pegram’s or Elliott’s Salient. Grant had not objected to this novel undertaking, but neither had he placed any confidence in its efficacy. In fact, when he completed his plans for the Third Petersburg Offensive, the mine barely registered in his strategic calculus.31 Instead, Grant relied on the relatively limited goal of wrecking the Virginia Central Railroad

HARPER’S WEEKLY

the 42nd North Carolina Infantry. “They think that if this be true that we will have peace before long or that we will have rest around Richmond for a while for him and Butler are the chaps that have been doing the work.” Many other Rebels believed this tale, including General Beauregard, but not every Confederate was so credulous. Private Jesse R. Bowles of the 55th Virginia Infantry not only rejected the likelihood of Grant’s demise, but hoped it proved untrue, “for I think he is the best general that the Yankees has ever had for us I don’t think any other general would have made his men charge our works.” A Richmond editor agreed: “No general has ever played so handsomely into our hands, has exposed the lives of his men so frankly in impossible enterprises, or obtained such small results from such enormous means. We might be worsted but could not be bettered and therefore we are unwilling to part with Grant.”25 Grant, of course, remained very much alive. When not engaged in matters of reorganization (he named new commanders to both the XVIII and X Corps, consolidated depleted brigades in the Army of the Potomac, and dispatched the VI Corps to defend Washington), the general-in-chief proposed a series of strategies to end the impasse around Petersburg. Following the failures of the Second Offensive, Grant told Meade that he would rest the troops, acknowledging on June 26 the debilitating effects of “this excessively hot and dry weather.” But, just as a week earlier following the failure of the First Offensive, Grant quickly lost patience with his self-imposed passivity and proposed a new offensive.26 On July 3 Grant sought Meade’s concurrence in launching “a bold and decisive attack, to break through the enemy’s center…. If it is not attempted we will have to give you an army sufficient to meet most of Lee’s forces and march around Petersburg to come in from above,” an expedient that would be deferred until fresh troops, the XIX Corps, arrived from the Gulf. Meade replied the next day that an assault into the heart of Lee’s defenses would not work, recommending instead that “the only plan to dislodge the enemy from this line is by a regular approach”—in other words, formal siege operations.27 Grant agreed, but only briefly did he order actions that could be accurately termed a “siege.” Within three days he retracted this approval, favoring instead an assault on Butler’s front, north of Swift Creek, relegating Meade’s excavation of approaches to a mere diversion. Grant modified these plans by suggesting a combined operation against the Petersburg Railroad “as far as Hicksford,” some 40 miles south of Petersburg, using Sheridan’s cavalry and the II Corps.28 Two days later, Grant suspended these orders on suspicion that Lee had detached additional troops to reinforce the corps he had sent west from 42 THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING 2018

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On July 30, the mine dug under Confederate lines and packed with 8,000 pounds of black powder by the men of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry was detonated. The resulting Battle of the Crater proved disastrous for Union forces, shown above advancing toward the point of the explosion in this sketch from Harper’s Weekly.

north of Richmond that connected the Confederate capital with the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan and Kautz would execute the raid with the II Corps along to maintain a secure path for the cavalry’s return. Grant did allow that if Sheridan found Richmond lightly defended, he could, at his discretion, attempt to occupy the city. These troops departed on July 26 for their crossing of the James, and for the next three days conducted the campaign known as First Deep Bottom. Neither Hancock nor Sheridan displayed the bold generalship their reputations would have suggested, and Grant, during two rare visits to the scene of conflict, had to admit that his scheme had failed.32 This unsuccessful foray did possess one silver lining for the Federals. Lee had detached all but three of his infantry divisions and the bulk of his cavalry to the north side of the James in hopes not only of blunting the Union aggression, but ridding the left bank of the Federal presence once and for all. This diminution south of the Appo-

mattox suddenly imbued the mine with primacy in Grant’s thinking. “We have failed in what I had hoped to accomplish—that is to surprise the enemy, and get on their roads with the cavalry near to Richmond,” Grant confessed upon returning to City Point, but he added, “I am yet in hopes of turning this diversion to account, so as to yield greater results than if the first object had been accomplished.” Grant’s claim in his published memoirs that the First Deep Bottom operations were designed with this in mind is pure fabrication.33 Major General Ambrose Burnside commanded the IX Corps, whose troops had constructed the mine and bore responsibility for exploiting it. Burnside’s corps included a division of United States Colored Troops (USCT). These relatively new soldiers had not been subjected to the martial meat grinder of the previous eight weeks and were eager to demonstrate their worth. Burnside therefore determined to use these African Americans to spearhead the attack that would follow the explosion of 8,000 pounds of black ☛ } CONT. ON P. 74 43 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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on september 19, 1862, two days after the Battle of Antietam had ended, a young lieutenant in the 57th New York Infantry, Josiah Favill, was ordered to lead a fatigue party to bury the dead in front of his brigade’s lines. As Favill and his men went to work— they’d bury over 300 men that day—they were struck not only by the extent of the slaughter, but by the hordes of civilians who had descended on the battlefield in search of relics of the great contest. “The country people flocked to the battlefield like vultures,” Favill recorded in his diary, “their curiosity and inquisitiveness most astonishing…. Hundreds were scatered over the field, eagerly searching for souvenirs in the shape of cannon balls, guns, bayonets, swords, canteens, etc.” As illustrated by the items on the following pages—all of them from the collections of The American Civil War Museum (formerly known as the Museum of the Confederacy) in Richmond, Virginia—Union and Confederate soldiers and sailors were also not immune to the allure of artifact collecting, often securing souvenirs for themselves both on the battlefield and off.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN DOE

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Relics of War


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Rifle  J. Tyler Jobson, a soldier in Company G, 9th Virginia Infantry, carried this Remington Model 1841 rifle with his name and unit carved into it during the war. At the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862, Jobson was wounded and lost his weapon on the battlefield. A soldier in the 69th New York Infantry named Michael Daly later picked it up. Both Daly and Jobson would survive the war. After learning that Jobson hailed from Portsmouth, Virginia, but thinking he had died at Seven Pines, Daly in March 1886 wrote the city’s mayor for help tracking down Jobson’s family. To Daly’s surprise, the mayor informed him that Jobson was indeed alive and living in Richmond. Daly returned the rifle to his old foe not long after.

Drum  During the Third

Battle of Winchester in September 1864, Union troops captured this colorful Confederate drum that was carried by a member of the 13th Virginia Infantry. It was donated to Richmond’s Museum of the Confederacy during a ceremony to mark the battle’s 52nd anniversary in 1916.

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3 To view this article’s reference notes, turn to page 78.

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Civil War soldiers did use body armor, like this iron breastplate worn by a major in the 5th New York Cavalry. Such devices—which were heavy and largely ineffective at close range—were not standard issue but available for purchase from private manufacturers or army sutlers. While the specifics are unclear, this particular example was taken from its owner during the Battle of Winchester, Virginia, on May 24, 1862, and passed along to Confederate officer Bradley T. Johnson, whose son later inherited the armor and donated it to the Museum of the Confederacy in 1906. Whether Johnson wore the armor in battle is not known.

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13 Armor Breastplate  While the practice was rare, some


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1 Sword and Scabbard During

3 To view this article’s reference notes, turn to page 78.

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the Confederate advance known as Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, only a fraction of Robert E. Lee’s troops made it to the low stone wall behind which Union infantry were positioned. Among them was Brigadier General Lewis Armistead, who leapt upon the wall near the position of the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry but soon thereafter fell mortally wounded. A sergeant in the 72nd, Michael Specht, picked up Armistead’s Model 1850 U.S. Foot Officer’s sword and scabbard, which he would keep until he and other veterans of his regiment gave them to survivors of the 56th Virginia Infantry at the “Reunion of the Blue and Gray” at Gettysburg in 1906.


Pocket Watch 3 

7 Medical Chest  Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, Jackson Lucy, a physician from Carrollton, Ohio, took the lead in recruiting Company A of the 32nd Ohio Infantry, of which he was appointed captain. When he resigned his commission and returned home in March 1862 Lucy was without the medical chest he had brought to the front, which was captured by Confederates during one of the battles—at Cheat Mountain or Greenbrier River—fought in the fall of 1861 in present-day West Virginia. The chest contained compartments for 24 bottles and included a jar of powdered ipecac, used during the war to treat ailments from diarrhea to the common cold. It apparently found a good home: A Confederate doctor named Watson used the chest later in the war.

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Confederate staff officer Benjamin Watkins Leigh, the son of a former U.S. senator and one of the soldiers who helped a wounded Stonewall Jackson from the field at Chancellorsville in May 1863, was carrying this London-made pocket watch with him when he was killed at Culp’s Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg. A Union soldier who was a member of the 7th Ohio Infantry took the watch off Leigh’s body, and then was himself killed in action a few months later. The timepiece then passed through several hands, eventually landing with a sergeant in the 7th Ohio named Lawrence Wilson. In 1899, Wilson returned the watch to Leigh’s family.

51 PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN DOE

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Sugar Bottle 3

On October 28, 1864, the Confederate steam-powered man-of-war CSS Chickamauga left port in Wilmington, North Carolina, and headed north toward Long Island Sound in search of prizes. Within five days Chickamauga had destroyed six U.S. merchant vessels before heading to Bermuda for resupply and repairs. The bounty secured by Chickamauga during its excursion included this sugar bottle, thought to be taken by crewman E. Courtney Jenkins from the merchant vessel Emily L. Hall on October 31. Jenkins apparently didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, as the bottle’s contents seem not to have been disturbed.

5 Music box

On May 4, 1863, Confederate troops commanded by Jubal Early retook the ground they had lost the day before, when they were driven from Marye’s Heights in Fredericksburg, Virginia, by the Army of the Potomac’s VI Corps. A little more than a week later, Confederate soldier C.H. Smith, of Company C, 13th Virginia Infantry, secured this elaborate, walnut-cased music box from a Union quartermaster’s wagon abandoned near Marye’s Heights. The Swiss-made device, which operated by a key-wound, rotating brass cylinder, played six “airs,” including the popular minstrel “Oh! Susannah.”

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1 Bible  Sometime around war’s

end, a Union officer came into possession of this Bible that General Robert E. Lee carried during the war. The officer may have taken it from the Lee house on Franklin Street in Richmond, or maybe from personal effects Lee had left behind to be sent by rail out of the city during the evacuation of the Confederate capital. Regardless of the circumstances, the officer eventually gave the Bible to the Rev. Thomas Street of Wethersfield Springs, New York, who returned it to Mrs. Lee in 1872, two years after the former general’s death.

ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MUSEUM (ACWM.ORG). THANKS TO ACWM CURATOR CATHY WRIGHT FOR HER ASSISTANCE.

5 Compass  On April 2, 1865, shortly after learning that Ulysses S. Grant’s army had broken through the Confederate defenses at Petersburg, Jefferson Davis fled Richmond and headed south. On May 10, Union forces caught up with him in Georgia. Among the soldiers who captured the Confederate president was a member of the 4th Michigan Cavalry, who confiscated the brass compass Davis was carrying. While on his way home from the war a month later, the Michigander stopped at a photographic gallery in Chattanooga. The trooper produced the souvenir and showed it to the proprietor, J.B. Linn, who immediately offered to buy it. After initially being rebuffed, Linn reportedly laid two $20 bills by the soldier and said, “Now, when you go decide whether you will take these or the compass.” Thirty minutes later, the soldier took the cash and left behind a beautiful relic of the Confederacy.

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T H E P E R I L S O F P E AC E • For the white and black residents of Staunton, Virginia, life in the first year after the end of the Civil War was transformative— and unsettled.

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Located in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton, Virginia—shown here in a lithograph from 1857—was among many southern towns whose white and black residents struggled to live together in the years following the end of the Civil War.

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b y e d wa r d l . ay e r s


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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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Americans tested one another in With the war and the abolition of slavery behind them, northerners and southerners, Democrats and Republicans, African Americans and white Americans watched and listened warily. Everyone knew what they believed, what they wanted, and what they thought the nation needed. They could not know, however, how far their opponents would go to secure their own principles and desires. The former Confederates defined their surrender as narrowly as possible. They would rejoin the Union, but they refused to admit moral guilt for secession, for fighting, or for slaveholding. They demanded all the fundamental rights of citizens who had never tried to break apart the United States, and were surprised and outraged that the victors demanded more from them. The Republicans, for their part, were equally surprised and outraged that the former Confederates would not acknowledge that secession had been unconstitutional, a duplicitous slaveholders’ rebellion rather than a principled revolution. They believed that only true repentance could create a lasting reunification, a moral regeneration of the South, a redefinition of loyalty. Black southerners had to navigate this shifting and treacherous landscape. As the war drew to a close in the spring of 1865, Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. As its name implied, the Bureau sought to adjust a number of problems created by war in the South. As the months passed, the focus increasingly fell on the freedpeople, who struggled to make a living, gather their families, and find some kind of security in an unstable, unpredictable world.

11 The Freedmen’s Bureau worked on the front lines, its agents laboring with limited power but large responsibilities. W. Storer How, one of many former Union officers who served as Freedmen’s Bureau agents, reported from Staunton, Virginia, in January 1866 that “the air is full of outrages on the Freedmen by the Whites, and will be until just laws are made and executed.” Staunton, located in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley in Au3 To view this article’s reference notes, turn to page 78.

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r in 1866.

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In this sketch by Alfred R. Waud, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau attempts to prevent a violent outburst between armed groups of southern whites and African Americans. Such agents, like W. Storer How, who was stationed in Staunton, Virginia, were often witnesses to racial violence in the months following the end of the Civil War. “[T]he air is full of outrages on the Freedmen by the Whites,” How wrote in January 1866, “and will be until just laws are made and executed.”

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gusta County, was a town of about 4,000 people, a fifth of them African American. It had been an important rail center and military target during the war that had ended nine months earlier. While “the freedmen dare not testify through fear of yet greater violence,” How wrote, three incidents in three different neighborhoods of Augusta County left visible evidence of the violence. Sam Crawford, a 60-year-old black man, had been scarred in an attack by a white co-worker who assaulted him with a corn knife. Jane Walker, 20 years old, told how her white employer “beat her with his fist, and kicked her, and that his mother threatened to beat her with a shovel.” Mary Ann Jackson, about 35 years old, told the agent that her employer beat her children and “rode a horse over her boy of 12 yrs. who now bears the marks of the horses hoofs on his head.” The white man had “threatened to shoot her if she went away and came back.” Staunton had been on the verge of a riot on Christmas Day 1865, when “bad men who were but lately ‘masters,’” after the “free use of liquors,” shouted that they “would now override any civil laws not in accordance with their notions of a White man’s privilege.”1 When How learned that the Federal troops would be removed from Staunton in January 1866 as the U.S. Army reduced its forces in the South, he warned that the Bureau could not survive “without the presence and support of a military force.” He requested that 20 men be posted in Staunton, “instructed to respond to the requests of any duly authorized agents of this Bureau.”

The Freedmen’s Bureau assistant superintendent, Frederick Tukey, pleaded that “a very small number, for the purpose of making arrests, when necessary” would allow the Bureau to function there. He had faced several cases when “men refuse to appear here when summoned, that they refuse to come, and treat the summons with contempt.” Sometimes, too, “persons refuse to comply” with the decisions of the Freedmen’s court, and “in such cases as these I am completely powerless without any troops.” The Bureau’s office in Richmond sent no troops; the Staunton office would be on its own.2 The agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Staunton, because of their role as judges and adjudicators, saw the black and white people of the county mainly in moments of conflict. Hundreds of complaints came before the agents, sometimes more than a dozen on a single day. Most of the complaints developed when white employers refused to pay black workers what they were owed. Given how little the freedpeople earned, the amounts were small, often a few dollars, but such amounts could mean the difference between feeding a family or not. White people, for their part, read any resistance or resentment about work and payment as signals of disrespect. White people paid what they thought black people had earned. Blows, threats, and hard words erupted repeatedly. Among the black people themselves, many conflicts grew out of arguments over pieces of clothing or small amounts of food. Other clashes

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Freedmen’s Bureau agents in Staunton fielded hundreds of complaints, mostly about local whites refusing to pay black workers for their labor, and requests, including for assistance in tracking down family members lost in slavery or war. Left: African Americans wait in line to speak to an agent in the Freedmen’s Bureau office in Memphis, Tennessee, in the summer of 1866.

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came when women became pregnant from relations with men whom they thought had promised to stay with them as husbands. Some black men and women came to the courts for divorce or to determine with whom a man or wife belonged when one returned to Augusta after having been sold away years earlier. In scenes repeated across the South, parents turned to the Freedmen’s Bureau to help find or return family members lost in slavery and war. Federal troops, a letter from one agent to another explained, had taken James Stuart forcibly “from his home and family to act as guide to our forces upon the Lynchburg raid of 1864, he having lived in the county and being familiar with the locality.” Stuart did “good service as a guide for six weeks,” without remuneration, but was now “afraid to return to Va. as it was known in Staunton he acted as a guide.” He was now living in Ohio and requested the Bureau’s aid in reuniting him with his wife. He “has money to defray her expenses to Ohio if the Bureau will aid her in her arrangements and journey.”3 The freedpeople counted on the Bureau for its networks of information as well as transport. Patience Spencer sought her children, James and Melissa Ann, 15 and 11 respectively, who were taken from her by “John Mitchell, a slave trader who then lived at Lynchburg and who sold them at Richmond, Va. in July 1861.” The mother could not learn “who bought them or where they were taken,” but she thought the slave trader himself might know. “The poor woman it appears hid herself in the woods with her children to escape the sale but hunger compelled her to let her children return to the house for food, when they were seized and carried off.” The agent in Staunton worried that “her information is I fear too indefinite for discovery but she is so earnestly desirous of regaining them that I respectfully forward her request in the hope some clue may be obtained” from the former traders.4 Augusta County, a mature slaveholding county with no booming cash crop of cotton or sugar, had seen many enslaved people sold away in the half century before secession. Abraham Doke of Naked Creek in Augusta had heard that his 14-year-old daughter, Estaline, might be in Richmond. She had been sold to Richmond in 1862 by James E. Carson, “a slave trader.” Her father “has

heard indirectly she is still in Richmond and he is anxious to find her and have her come to his home where he can take good care of her.” The agent in Staunton wrote his counterpart in Richmond to suggest that “perhaps enquiry through the schools may lead to her discovery.” Despite advertisements in the African-American schools and churches of Richmond, Estaline could not be located.5 Just as agents and freedpeople hoped that former slave traders would help reconstitute families they had broken apart, so did they count on former masters. Ann Wallace longed to find her parents, Isaac and Hester Wallace, in Maryland. The Staunton agent wrote to their former owner, for Ann had “been sold by you” to an owner in Augusta. She was “a good industrious girl and I hope you can give the requested information or if her parents live near you may see them and ask what arrangements they can make for their daughter to reach Baltimore.”6 Parents desperately used whatever scraps of information they had to find their children. Isabella Burton brought a statement to the Freedmen’s Bureau in Staunton. “Horace Bucker sold my two sons (seven & five years age) Benjamin & Horace, sold to Larke & Wright in Maddison County Va. Johnny Gilgarnett & Jeremiah Gilgarnett were playmates.” Burton hoped those details might help locate her young sons, “for I am living in Staunton Now a widow & alone, would like very much to see them.” The census two years later showed that she still lived alone.7 Slavery had taken people unimaginably far from their families. Letters to and from the Staunton office connected with Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Mobile, and Nashville as well as Chester Courthouse, South Carolina; Parkersburg and Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Morehead City and Goldsboro, North Carolina; Galveston, Texas; Chillicothe and Cincinnati, Ohio; and Jacksonville, Florida. Family members looked for one another in all corners of Virginia. Without information about their whereabouts, they might as well be in Texas or Florida. In a few instances, the efforts worked. Benjamin Kiner had moved to Ohio and wrote his wife, Frances, back in Augusta in 1866, through the connections of the Freedmen’s Bureau. “I would

“The poor woman it appears hid herself in the woods with her children to escape the sale but hunger compelled her to let her children return to the house for food, when they were seized and carried off.”

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like to have you come out here and I hope you will make up your mind and come with the children,” he urged. “I should like to have all the children with me as they can go to school.” If Frances was staying in Virginia because of her mother, Benjamin told his wife to bring her, too, because “the sooner we get together the better it will be for all of us.”8

11

One of the tasks of the Freedmen’s Bureau—in Staunton and throughout the South—was to assist African-American couples in the process of legally marrying. Below: A chaplain attached to the Freedmen’s Bureau marries a couple in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1866.

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Black children in Augusta became subjects of contention, tangled in connections among family members as well as former masters and white people. Richard Monroe, “a first class hand and entirely able to make a judicious and sufficient provision for his family,” claimed that a boy named James was the much younger brother of his wife. G.L. Peyton, who owned a hotel in Staunton, had James with him. The white man testified that that the boy did not want to go with Monroe, who was not his brother in any case. Peyton had owned James’ mother, but she had died at James’ birth and Peyton had raised the boy. Peyton charged James was “just getting large enough to do a little something—which is the reason for Monroe’s interest.” The hotel owner claimed that he could provide better care for the boy than the freedman could and that “I will not give him up until compelled to.”9 A key responsibility for agents in Staunton, as

across the South, was to compile a register of “colored persons ... cohabiting together as man and wife.” Only weeks after Appomattox, the Bureau began registering men and women who knew themselves to be married even though Virginia law recognized no marriages between enslaved people. The Bureau’s registration accelerated after the Virginia General Assembly, as part of its recasting of its laws after slavery, declared in February 1866 that formerly enslaved men and women could now legally marry. Most of the couples registered that spring and summer, especially in June, and the files were largely complete by August. The Bureau made copies of the records for state officials and put the originals in the Augusta County courthouse. The register recorded 896 couples and their children by name and age. The marriage files also traced the tortuous paths the enslaved people of Augusta had followed to their moment of freedom. Of the nearly 900 couples listed, in only 276 had both the husband and the wife been born in Augusta County. While 389 of the men had been born in Augusta, the other 500 men listed in the register had been born in 80 different locations, ranging from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, from North Carolina to Missouri, from Kentucky to Florida. Most had been born in other counties of Virginia and West Virginia, from the Tidewater to the mountains. The women in these couples were more likely to have been born in Augusta—423 of the 896—but

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“Our school commenced night before last and we had two rooms full. The first 3 days of the week we spent in hunting for rooms in which to teach, the people being bound to keep us out.”

HARPER’S WEEKLY

the remainder had come from locations as scattered as those of their husbands, from Maryland to Alabama. The work those men and women did, also recorded in the files, revealed a range of capacities among black people that neither white southerners or northerners acknowledged and that the federal census did not record. The men in Augusta recorded 46 different occupations, from farm laborer to silversmith, from bar keeper to brick molder, from hotel servant to lime burner. They made carriages and chairs, shoes, leather, and wagons. They worked in bars, hotels, and stables; they cut hair and cooked and waited tables; they knew how to forge iron and feed furnaces and lay stone; they built houses and made barrels; they could butcher meat and cultivate gardens; they worked on railroads and at sawmills. The register recorded no occupations for the women, but they too—as their sale advertisements had long testified—possessed the essential skills of the household, the farm, and the town. Many of these couples had been together for years, as the ages of their children attested. About a quarter of those who came before the Freedmen’s Bureau in Staunton had children. Some of the children were over 20 years old, and many had been sold or taken out of Augusta County in the decades of slavery. Part of the process of marking freedom was claiming a common last name. Though surnames were largely unrecognized by whites among enslaved people, many in the register had long claimed their names and had been known to some by that name. Following Virginia law, the women in the newly recognized marriages took the names of their husbands. The Freedmen’s Bureau and the government of Virginia agreed that a proper family would be overseen by a male and that whatever autonomy a woman had exercised under slavery would now be subordinated to her husband. Many of the couples took common American names such as Brown, Carter, Green, Hall, Hill, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Miller, Moore, Smith, White, or Williams. A few chose Franklin, Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, or Washington. Their first names, too, were largely indistinguishable from those of their white neighbors. Whatever rationale motivated newly freed

men to choose names, apparently flattering the richest men in the county was not part of the calculation. The newly married couples seldom adopted the names of the prominent families who had owned them. The 69 men in Augusta who owned at least 15 slaves in 1860, for example, collectively possessed power over 1,371 people. When families registered their names with the Freedmen’s Bureau, only 114 registered names that overlapped with those large slaveholders—and 45 of those names were “Johnson” and “Smith.” Of the 69 largest slaveholders, 31 saw no former slaves adopt their name.

11 From the first days of freedom in the summer of 1865 the black residents of Augusta County and the Freedmen’s Bureau worked to create schools. The American Missionary Association of Albany, New York, recruited teachers to come south to teach the freedpeople, and the women and men they sent taught with energy and devotion. To black people for whom literacy had been illegal only months before, the coming of schools seemed among the greatest gifts of freedom. Some of the most heartening scenes of the early days of freedom played out in the schools. “I have a House all ready to receive your Teachers + should be glad if you could forward two besides Mrs Dunn or Miss McLeune as there is plenty of work for them to do and I will strive hard to see that neither the Educational or Missionary interest of your Teachers suffer in Staunton,” Frederick Tukey wrote the Freedmen’s Bureau office in October 1865. He requested readers, spellers, geographies, pencils, pens, outline maps, and song books.10 Tukey later requested a male teacher as well and John Scott arrived. A devoted white New England man in his 20s, Scott threw himself into the work. “It is Saturday night and I am very weary,” he wrote in November 1865. “Our school commenced night before last and we had two rooms full. The first 3 days of the week we spent in hunting for rooms in which to teach, the people being bound to keep us out.” By “the people,” Scott meant the white people of Staunton. While the town prided itself on its excellent private academies for white boys and girls, it, like the rest of 61 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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“seem even more important than our day schools. The majority are under twenty years of age,” kept out of day school by the “necessity of labor.” The rooms “are crowded every night, many standing or sitting on the floor all evening rather than lose the instruction of one evening.” Dewey found some local white allies, two women and a man, plus a soldier, who “have offered their assistance in the night school.” Though “not trained to the business” of teaching, they “have commenced teaching with pretty good success.”12 Though the American Missionary Association attempted to supply the teachers and the materials they needed, the organization found itself overwhelmed by the demand. They were grateful for the support of Tukey, who supplied the teachers with room and board at his own expense. An AMA official, in fact, wrote that Tukey “has done and is doing more for the schools than any Bureau Supt I know of.” Everyday items taken for granted elsewhere mattered a great deal. Meeting in the basement of an African-American church, the classes desperately needed lamps. When lamps did arrive, they were the wrong kind and the students had to write by candles. Scott made jokes about “a brighter day coming” and “we must have light!,” but despaired of trying to teach dozens of students in a dark, cold basement. Frustrated, he rather boldly challenged his supervisor to “extinguish the gas in

Almost immediately after war’s end, the black residents of Augusta County worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau to create schools—which were among the greatest symbols of freedom to those formerly enslaved. Above: This sketch from 1866 shows a school for African-American children established in Charleston, South Carolina.

HARPER’S WEEKLY

Virginia, had not supported public schools before the Civil War. The idea of a government agency and a northern philanthropy teaching black students seemed both a reproach and a threat. Despite such obstacles, Scott reported, “Last night we had three rooms open and full. To day I have been at work fiting up the fourth room ready for Monday. The four will hold at least 200.” Scott told his northern friends that “we get frequent sneers, but good treatment to the face.” He was frustrated that the white members of a church “have shut the colored People out of a church which they helped to build and own 1/2 of it,” though he hoped they would “allow them to occupy their own church if they will have a white leader.” Despite such problems, Scott reassured his supporters that “I love my work. The books have come that you sent.” On his way to “a colored Prayer Meeting here this eve,” and needing to hurry, Scott ended his letter with “God Bless you.”11 Miss C.E. Dewey, a teacher sent to Staunton to work alongside Scott, had been told by parents that “we hear of very many who intend to send after Christmas, whose children are hired out till then. We have new scholars every day.” Though the school had been in session only a few weeks, “I can see an astonishing progress in the acquirements of the children.” The night schools conducted by the teachers 62 THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING 2018

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HARPER’S WEEKLY

THIS ARTICLE IS ADAPTED FROM THE THIN LIGHT OF FREEDOM BY EDWARD L. AYERS. COPYRIGHT ©2017 BY EDWARD L. AYERS. USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER, W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

your office at night, or in your parlor, and there for the next week do your business, or engage in social employment at these places by the dim light of a tallow candle and that without a sconse, or holder, and call upon your friends to do the same, and then think of me and 200 others who can sympathise with you.” Scott begged for books of religious instruction for Sunday school: He dreaded having to “stand before 100 children next Sunday and watch their disappointment, and see them waste sacred time especially precious to them by mere reading a school book.”13 Scott judged that by the end of 1865 “the whites here have little faith about ever making anything of a ‘nigger’ but they are growing more and more used to us and our schools and I think are generally in favor of trying to educate them.” As the Federal soldiers left, though, Scott was not sorry to see them leave. “I am glad this drunken set are going,” for their “influence is bad.”14 The young teacher waited anxiously for a box of donated clothes for the freedmen. “Even 2 or 3 barrels of clothing would be of great use.” They most needed clothes for their children, especially shoes. While Scott believed it was “better for the freedmen to help themselves where they can,” he was troubled by cases “of extreme destitution, mostly among children many of whom have lost one or both parents. I know of some 30 children who are shoeless and otherwise very thinly clad.” Scott and his fellow teachers had “tried to fix up some of these children with a few remnants,” but “it amounts to very little.”15 As the teachers settled in, they saw progress. Miss Dewey reported that she had arrived at class several mornings to “find my children all in their seats, either studying or with folded hands + as quiet + orderly as if I had been present. I asked them one day who had told them to get in order thinking Mr Scott might have been up stairs, but they replied quite proudly ‘Nobody! We’s got ourselves in order.’” Dewey admitted that her job was easier because “my scholars as you will see number among them very few boys + of course are much easier to govern than Miss Williams department which is entirely without the civilizing influence of the gentler sex.” One freedwoman walked six miles to school and back every day, and was never late. “She is much interested in her book and told me she would be willing to walk twice as far for the privilege of learning.” For herself, Dewey wrote, with some surprise, “that I love my work, as well as my people, far better than I did when we began.” Dewey and her fellow teachers did not forget their missionary motivations. “I think I can detect signs of special religious interest here. I have had conversations of a personal character with several and found their hearts very tender and some really in earnest in seeking the Saviour.” Dewey judged

that “the morals of these people, like the colored race everywhere, are much worse than their religion and whenever I have an opportunity I give advice on this subject.” The teacher was relieved to report that “though we are without military protection we have had no trouble and I think the feeling toward ‘Nigger Teachers,’ the little which we have the honor to receive, grows less bitter every day.” Some white ladies had been solicitous and “have even taken the trouble to write excuses when they were obliged to keep their hired people out of school.”16 In April 1866 John Scott suddenly found himself at the center of public controversy in Staunton. “Sunday morning our citizens were shocked and disgusted by an exhibition one John Scott, from Waterbury, Conn., a teacher in the Freedmen’s School, made of himself, by escorting a negro girl down New Street,” the Valley Virginian sputtered in an article titled “Miscegenation in Staunton.” “On coming down the street white persons ‘hissed’ this creature, Scott; soon afterwards, the girl came back by herself, and the coloured people, collected on Crawford’s corner, ‘hissed’ her. She had evidently disgraced herself in their eyes, by associating with this fellow, and we agree with them.” The paper called on the superintendent of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Staunton to take action. He “owes it to himself; to the ladies who teach in the School, as well as to this community, to discharge this disciple of Miscegenation at once.” As for John Scott, “If he wants to marry the negro, let him do so, if he is willing; and speedily emigrate to Liberia or some congenial clime, where, to his heart’s content, he can dwell in the sweet embrace of the ‘negro de l’ Afrique.’ He don’t suit this country.”17 The young Yankee teacher wrote a polite public response, referring to himself in the plural. “At the close of Sabbath School, a pupil, wishing to obtain a hymn book, was told, that those for sale were at our house.” Scott set out to get a book and she set out beside him. “We thought of asking her to walk behind, lest we might be misrepresented. But the thought that she was, as we supposed, known to be a pupil, and that we were going nowhere else than from School home, and that it was known that our business brings us necessarily into contact with these people, more than it does citizens, would, we thought, save us from being misunderstood in our motives.” Scott, after his formal language, sarcastically noted that “as to ‘Miscegenation in Staunton’ we will not deny so plain a fact; but do most emphatically deny being a ‘Disciple’ ourselves, as no man can be more opposed to the doctrine than we are, and have ever been.” Scott suggested, in other words, what abolitionists had long pointed out: The mixing of the races was far more the result ☛ } CONT. ON P. 75 63 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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New from Library of America The SPEECHES  & WRITINGS of

ReconstructioN

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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PAUL D. QUIGLEY

The Soldiers and Families of the Confederacy’s Most Celebrated Unit SUSANNAH J. URAL

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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Grant and Lee, June 4–15, 1864 GORDON C. RHEA 11 b&w images, 19 maps • $45.00 cloth

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BOOKS & AUTHORS

The Best Civil War Books of All Time

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

for our latest newsstand-only special issue, The Civil War Almanac, we asked a number of Civil War historians for

their opinions on a variety of popular topics, including the war’s most overrated and underrated commanders, top turning points, most influential women, and best depictions on film. Space constraints prevented us from including the answers to one of the questions we posed: What are the 10 best Civil War books (nonfiction or fiction) ever published? Here are their responses.  65 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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B&A anniversary in 2018 and is still the go-to source for information on the daily lives and routines of Confederate soldiers. 3   PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF U.S. GRANT (1885)

BY ULYSSES S. GRANT

Many historians argue that Grant was the most important military figure of the entire Civil War. His memoir, finished just days before he succumbed to throat cancer, provides a revealing look at the victorious general and his outlook on the war. For my money, it is the most important Civil War memoir because of its invaluable insight into not just the war, but how the man who won it wanted both himself and the conflict to be remembered. 4

Matthew C. Hulbert 1

  BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM (1988)

BY JAMES M. MCPHERSON

I have defined “best” here as the books that have had the greatest combined influence on how historians write about the Civil War and how the American public has learned about, understood, and remembered the conflict. With this in mind, as far and away the best-known overview of the Civil War for nearly 30 years, McPherson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book has been used in untold classrooms to introduce Americans to their national bloodletting. For the general public, Battle Cry of Freedom and its author have become synonymous with Civil War history.​ 2   THE LIFE OF JOHNNY REB (1943), THE LIFE OF BILLY YANK (1952)

BY BELL I. WILEY

Yes, I’m cheating with a double pick—but these two books are more or less inseparable. Wiley practically invented social history in the context of Civil War soldiers. Johnny Reb will celebrate its diamond

  THE LOST CAUSE (1866)

6   BLACK RECONSTRUCTION IN AMERICA (1935)

BY W.E.B. DU BOIS

Though not considered the definitive title on Reconstruction, Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction is ranked here ahead of Eric Foner’s Reconstruction (which is considered by many to be the cornerstone work on the subject) because it was written and published at a time when the political and historiographical stakes were much higher. Du Bois brought black characters to the front of the Reconstruction story and struck back forcefully at the accounts of Dunning School historians, which were based in large part on contemporary, white supremacist views. In many ways, Du Bois built a launching pad for future historians of Reconstruction, Foner included. 7

  RECONSTRUCTION (1988)

BY EDWARD POLLARD

BY ERIC FONER

Pollard, a Virginia newspaper editor and ardent Confederate sympathizer, coined the term “Lost Cause” and began the commemorative process of disentangling rank-and-file southern soldiers from the stigma of defeat and the socioeconomic ramifications of emancipation. His work is the foundation of the Lost Cause movement and produced many of the talking points about states’ rights, slavery, and secession that are still prevalent today (and which were refined in Pollard’s 1868 follow-up The Lost Cause Regained).

As mentioned above, Foner’s Reconstruction has been considered the essential book on Reconstruction for nearly three decades. Like Blight’s Race and Reunion, it is the work to which all scholars of the subject must in some way respond, whether they agree or disagree with Foner’s conclusions.

  RACE AND REUNION: THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICAN MEMORY (2001) 5

BY DAVID BLIGHT

Though much more recent than some of the other titles listed, Race and Reunion is the foundational text of Civil War memory studies, a subfield that has exploded in popularity in the last two decades. Whether they agree with his thesis in whole, in part, or not at all, every subsequent scholar of social memory and the war has necessarily responded to Blight’s thesis.

8   A STILLNESS AT APPOMATTOX (1953)

BY BRUCE CATTON

Until Ken Burns’ The Civil War transformed Shelby Foote into the nation’s unofficial popular historian of the Civil War, Catton had held that undisputed title for decades. Stillness is probably Catton’s best-known title (it took home a Pulitzer Prize), but it’s worth noting that his collective corpus of work has inspired untold Americans from multiple generations—including many professional historians—to study the Civil War.​ 9   THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING: DEATH AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (2008)

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“[I]t is the most important Civil War memoir because of its invaluable insight into not just the war, but how the man who won it wanted both himself and the conflict to be remembered.” MATTHEW C. HULBERT ON PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF U.S. GRANT

memory in the late 20th-century South is still—perhaps increasingly—relevant today. His pivot at the midway point to cover a murder trial in Kentucky leads to a serious discussion of race relations that turns the book into not only an entertaining read, but also an important one.

BY DREW GILPIN FAUST

For historians and general readers alike, Faust captured the Civil War—and more importantly, all that it destroyed—in relatable, humanistic terms. The first fact everyone learns about the Civil War is who won; the second is how many men were killed. This is the seminal work on death and how it was understood, coped with, and reimagined by the generation that actually fought the war. 10

5

Vivid imagery and compelling vignettes drive a narrative that covers all the bases on the southern home front: hardship and loyalty, greed and disaffection, confusion and heartbreak. It all rings true.

  LEE’S LIEUTENANTS (1942–1944)

BY DOUGLAS SOUTHALL FREEMAN

Despite his association with Lost Cause commemoration, Freeman was a pioneer in the military history of the Civil War. Unlike Wiley, who focused on the common soldier, Freeman analyzed the Army of Northern Virginia and its chain of command from the top down—casting a fascinating light on how the army worked, moved, and fought as a hierarchical unit. MATTHEW C. HULBERT TEACHES AMERICAN HISTORY AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY–KINGSVILLE. HE IS THE AUTHOR OF THE GHOSTS OF GUERRILLA MEMORY: HOW CIVIL WAR BUSHWHACKERS BECAME GUNSLINGERS IN THE AMERICAN WEST (2016), WHICH WON THE 2017 WILEY–SILVER PRIZE.

James Marten 1

  A PRAYER FOR THE DYING (1999)

BY STEWART O’NAN

This is a riveting novel of the gradual unravelling of a Civil War veteran turned town marshal—who is clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder—as a forest fire and a deadly epidemic threaten his small town in 1870s Wisconsin. War memory, horror, and a vivid portrayal of postwar life are all crowded into this brisk, 200-page book.​ 2

  MARCH (2005)

  COLD MOUNTAIN (1997)

BY CHARLES FRAZIER

6

  WIDOW OF THE SOUTH (2005)

BY ROBERT HICKS

imagine a hidden story behind a famous one, and this account of the wrenching experiences of the father who leaves his “Little Women” behind when he goes off to be an army chaplain is a wonderful example of the genre. His experiences in battle, in a contraband camp, in the hospital, and—well, I won’t spoil the most surprising thing he does— function not only as a Civil War narrative in its own right, but as a way of providing texture for Louisa May Alcott’s original text. 3

  THE KILLER ANGELS (1974)

BY MICHAEL SHAARA

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic novel still resonates, despite the many lesser sequels and prequels by Shaara’s son that tarnished its legacy. Shaara’s strengths are his accessible dialogue and ability to imagine men’s responses to war. 4

  CONFEDERATES IN THE

ATTIC: DISPATCHES FROM THE UNFINISHED CIVIL WAR (1998)

BY GERLADINE BROOKS

BY TONY HORWITZ

I’m kind of a sucker for novels that

Horwitz’s examination of Civil War

This war novel and aftermath novel— the opening chapters feature the senseless and bloody battle at Franklin, Tennessee—sensitively portrays the ways in which death was the central experience of the war, both for soldiers and civilians, even long after the fighting ended. Although infused with the dying and the dead, it is less sad or tragic than elegiac. 7   THE CIVIL WAR SHORT STORIES OF AMBROSE BIERCE (1970)

ED. BY ERNEST J. HOPKINS

There are many groupings of Bierce war stories, but this edition brings them all together. This is the most piercing portrayal by a participant (Bierce served in the 9th Indiana Infantry) of the worst human qualities inspired by the war—incoherent loyalty, senseless courage, and inevitable cruelty—with a touch of the whimsical and a little magical realism. 8   THE IMPENDING CRISIS, 1848–1861 (1977)

BY DAVID M. POTTER

This Pulitzer Prize winner, although not really a Civil War book, is crucial to understanding all other Civil War books. I 67 SPRING 2018  THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR

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B&A still assign this to graduate students as an example of historical writing at its best and for its deployment of the concept of irony to the sectional conflict.​

big picture (even when his protagonists could not always see it for themselves). 4

9   ARMY OF THE POTOMAC TRILOGY: MR. LINCOLN’S ARMY (1951), GLORY ROAD (1952), A STILLNESS AT APPOMATTOX (1953)

It’s short for a Civil War book but packs an enormous punch. Dew’s review of the work of the secession commissioners— and in particular, his exposure of their words and arguments—forever dispenses with the question of why the South seceded. No one can deny it was about slavery after reading this book.

BY BRUCE CATTON

Modern readers might find deeper-than expected analyses of both military and political events in these wonderful narratives. I’m quite sure these are the books that convinced me to study history.

5

BY SAM WATKINS

  RIFLES FOR WATIE (1957)

BY HAROLD KEITH

This is a somewhat implausible tale of a teenager helping smuggle guns to the Confederate Cherokee general Stand Watie, but it’s also one of the first Civil War books I read and has a take on a relatively unexplored (in fiction, at least) theater of the war. It also contains one of the first, admittedly G-rated, make-out scenes I ever read, which I still remember fondly. JAMES MARTEN IS A PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT MARQUETTTE UNIVERSITY. HIS MOST RECENT BOOKS ARE SING NOT WAR: THE LIVES OF UNION AND CONFEDERATE VETERANS IN GILDED AGE AMERICA (2011) AND AMERICA’S CORPORAL: JAMES TANNER IN WAR AND PEACE (2014).

Amy Murrell Taylor 1

  BLACK RECONSTRUCTION

IN AMERICA (1935) BY W.E.B. DU BOIS

Every time I think I have discovered something new about emancipation and Reconstruction, I open up this book and find out that Du Bois already got there— back in 1935. A vast survey of the transition from slavery to freedom, the book anticipated what is now the conventional scholarly wisdom about the agency of African Americans in the immediate

  COMPANY AYTCH (1882)

post-slavery period. ​ 2   MARCH (2005) BY GERALDINE BROOKS

This re-imagining of Little Women’s March family takes as its focus the wartime experience of Mr. March as a Union chaplain. The result is a powerful look at what happens when the idealism of a northerner like March meets the realities of warfare in the South. Brooks does an especially good job of exploring the tangled process of emancipation experienced and witnessed by March. 3   IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES (2003)

BY EDWARD L. AYERS

The first of two companion books to the monumental “The Valley of the Shadow” digital archive (disclosure: I worked on that project long ago) gives us a ground level view of the war that feels just short of going back in time and experiencing it for ourselves. Ayers beautifully weaves together all the threads of everyday life— political, economic, social—in two communities, never losing sight of the war’s

My students are often surprised to see that a Civil War American had a sense of humor. But what makes Sam Watkins’ account of his time as a private in Co. H, 1st Tennessee Infantry, through Shiloh and Chickamauga most poignant is his determination to cut through the romanticization of his fellow 1880s memoirists and get the “real war”—the drilling, killing, and shooting—into the books. 6

  THE FIERY TRIAL (2010)

BY ERIC FONER

This is arguably the best of many books on Abraham Lincoln and emancipation. Foner carefully walks readers through the president’s personal and political evolution on slavery, emancipation, and race, and in the process makes sense of what can seem, at first glance, to be puzzling inconsistencies in Lincoln’s positions. 7

 BELOVED (1987)

BY TONI MORRISON

It’s not ordinarily classified as a Civil War book, but maybe that’s because we have not paid close enough attention to the ordeal of those who became free in that era. Morrison’s novel offers an enormously powerful meditation on the haunting memories of slavery that lingered long after its destruction.​

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DIANA LUNDIN

10

  APOSTLES OF DISUNION (2001)

BY CHARLES DEW


“No one can deny … [the war] was about slavery after reading this book.” AMY MURRELL TAYLOR ON CHARLES DEW’S APOSTLES OF DISUNION

8   DIVIDED HOUSES: GENDER AND THE CIVIL WAR (1992)

ED. BY CATHERINE CLINTON & NINA SILBER

This collection of pathbreaking essays explores how gender shaped the beliefs and the actions of Civil War Americans. Few other books influenced my early development as a historian, and changed the way I look at the past, as much as this one. 9   FAMILIES AND FREEDOM: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN KINSHIP IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA (1997)

ED. BY IRA BERLIN & LESLIE S. ROWLAND

This volume from the magisterial series Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation presents the words and writings of enslaved and newly freed people that for a long time sat inside dusty boxes at the National Archives. Now readers can explore for themselves, through the eyes of those who became free, what it was like to experience emancipation during the Civil War. 10   JOSIE UNDERWOOD’S CIVIL WAR DIARY (2009)

The Books That Built Me: Joan Waugh “There is properly no history; only biography.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson narrowing down a list of “books that built me” was surprisingly difficult. The books finally selected, four biographies and one autobiography, stand as touchstones marking different periods of my intellectual enlightenment, framing a lifelong interest in using the biographical method to understand the past. Emerson’s above quotation held meaning for me almost as soon as I learned how to read. I inhaled the volumes in Landmark Books’ marvelous American history series for young readers in the 1960s. One of my earliest touchstones came with Sterling North’s Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House (1956), which

sparked my passion for 19th-century U.S. history. I recently thumbed through my copy of North’s book with some trepidation, fearing that its power would be diminished by time. Not a chance. It remains an eminently readable and surprisingly sophisticated account of the 16th president’s life. The riveting character-driven story of Lincoln’s ascent introduced me to the notion that his life represented that of many thousands of others, providing a social history of the era. From then on, I was hooked on historical biographies as one way to comprehend the larger American experience. Kathryn Kish Sklar’s Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (1976) furnished me with a scholarly touchstone during my graduate

ED. BY NANCY DISHER BAIRD

DIANA LUNDIN

We are fortunate to have many vivid diarists of the Civil War, especially women, but I keep coming back to this one. Underwood’s lively, intimate account of living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, reveals what it was like to be part of a prominent slaveholding family that sided with the Union despite their opposition to Lincoln. It’s an account of tangled loyalties and strained relationships in a divided border state, and there’s something about Josie’s voice that draws readers in. (A second part of the diary was published in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society in 2014.) AMY MURRELL TAYLOR IS AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. HER LATEST WORK, EMBATTLED FREEDOM: JOURNEYS THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR’S SLAVE REFUGEE CAMPS, IS DUE OUT IN 2018.

Joan Waugh

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student years studying the Civil War era in the UCLA Department of History. It showed how a skillfully done biography goes beyond the life to enrich knowledge of the period. Sklar depicted a woman who wielded immense influence yet remained largely unknown to a modern audience. Sklar questioned why, and deftly unpacked Beecher’s successful career as an author, educator, and reformer who produced “domestic science” treatises emphasizing the new technical skills women needed to become a power within the home. The oldest child of the remarkable Beecher family, Catharine’s long life was situated within the stormy era of religious, political, and cultural ferment through secession, war, and reconstruction. In recovering Catharine Beecher’s life and importance, Sklar also shed light on ordinary women’s domestic lives, demonstrating a striking female command in the private realm. This fascinating biography served as the inspiration for my first book, Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell (Harvard University Press, 1998). Josephine Lowell was the widow of one war hero and the grieving sister of another; her family’s urgent desire to memorialize their sacrifices incited my interest in exploring the contested realms between history and memory. My book revisited, reexamined, and restored an historical reputation that was relegated to a negative footnote despite Lowell’s exceptional list of achievements as an architect of the industrial welfare state, a power in private charity, and a force in political reform movements. Two more touchstone books by prominent historians using the biographical method carried me into new scholarly terrain when I began an intensive study into the career of Ulysses S. Grant. The more I read on this impressive figure, the more I wondered how and why his historical reputation had fallen so far so fast. The longtime consensus portraying him as a drunk, lucky general and an incompetent, corrupt

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president seemed astonishingly outdated. And then one day as I was doing research at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, James McPherson placed Brooks D. Simpson’s Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861–1868 (1991) on my reader’s desk. It was a revelation. Simpson’s brilliant and meticulously researched volume convincingly overturned the negative scholarly interpretation of Grant that had prevailed for far too long. While not eliding Grant’s flaws and failures, Simpson’s riveting portrait of the complex soldier-statesman buoyed my growing conviction that his historical reputation, so associated with the “Union Cause,” had been distorted and downgraded to such an extreme degree that a correction grounded in memory studies would offer a balanced, and much needed, perspective. Merrill Peterson’s Lincoln in American Memory (1994) also proved valuable during my research by suggesting a template for how to approach the delicate task of identifying, researching, and analyzing memory traditions. His observation that “The public remembrance of the past, as differentiated from the historical scholars’, is concerned less with establishing its truth than with appropriating it for the present” set the stage for his comprehensive, almost encyclopedia-like march through the myriad ways in which Lincoln had been remembered and commemorated. Whether venerated as savior of the Union, the great emancipator, or as a man of the people, Lincoln emerged over time with an iconic status from a great variety of sources, including images, poems, books, films, advertisements, political speeches, statues, rituals, and sacred sites. Collectively, the sources provided a compelling foundation for assessing Lincoln’s memory. Moreover, I appreciated the huge role that human emotion plays in constructing and nurturing any powerful memory tradition. The martyred president never got the chance to write his memoirs, but his

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top general most famously did. Ulysses S. Grant’s autobiography is still heralded as great literature and history. It was with apprehension that I approached the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (1885), but that feeling was soon replaced with an appreciation for its designation as a “classic.” The clarity of the prose, the flowing narrative, the imbedded sharp analysis, and the memoirs’ subsequent impact on the early formation of Civil War memory made it into an integral part of my subsequent publication, U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). Fascinating too, that Grant’s powerful defense of the northern memory of the conflict could not stem the tide of favorable re-

action given to those who molded the southern memory. I am currently writing a book examining the form, context, and consequences of Grant’s acceptance of “three surrenders” (from major Confederate armies at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in 1862; at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863; and most famously at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in 1865). Grant was relentless in pursuing victory, but once he had secured it, he also displayed a magnanimity that foreshadowed the troubled but ultimately successful reunion of the country. This project has required my constant return to the memoirs, and I am delighted this time to be able to peruse and profit from the first annotated edition of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (2017) edited by John F. Marszalek with David S. Nolen and Louie P. Gallo. As may already be evident, I have dipped widely into 19th-century historical biographies as well as its first-person variant, the autobiography. Most of my published work features a biographical slant, and my lectures are replete with biographical vignettes. Early in my academic career I found to my surprise that I had to defend the uses and the effectiveness of the biographical “method” in historical practice. Although biographies remain by far the most favored way that Americans receive their history, many inside the academy frown on the genre, fearful that it too often offers simplistic hero worship that is antithetical to good history. I disagree. Fortunately, as my touchstone books demonstrate, even the most cursory examination of the lists from academic and popular presses reveals the biographical method is still flourishing. It seems to me that Ralph Waldo Emerson was right, after all.  JOAN WAUGH OF THE UCLA HISTORY DEPARTMENT TEACHES AND WRITES ABOUT 19TH-CENTURY AMERICA, SPECIALIZING IN THE CIVIL WAR, RECONSTRUCTION, AND GILDED AGE ERAS. SHE HAS PUBLISHED NUMEROUS ESSAYS AND BOOKS, INCLUDING MOST RECENTLY A CO-AUTHORED TEXTBOOK (WITH GARY W. GALLAGHER), THE AMERICAN WAR: A HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR ERA (2015).

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white northerners, similar in so many ways, tragically fought for different but morally equivalent visions of the American republic. Or, as British military observer Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Fremantle describes the two opposing sides in the movie Gettysburg (1993), one of the best cinematic expressions of the American Iliad: “The same God. Same language. Same culture and history. The same songs, stories, legends, myths. But different dreams.” This interpretation of the Civil War did not emerge by accident. It was an important, perhaps even necessary, element in the rapid sectional reconciliation between North and South. It helped to bury the deepest resentments fast enough for the United States to move into the 20th century largely free from the internal dissension that might otherwise have hobbled its ability to achieve great power status. But it came at the expense of African Americans, for it made invisible the contribution of black troops and devalued emancipation to the point where the destruction of slavery was almost a happy side effect of the war’s outcome. The political utility of such an interpretation has long since passed. And therefore, so has the moral utility of a national myth that is, whether we like it or not, a celebration of whiteness. If we insist that this attribute is fundamental to the American Iliad—which is the implication of the cries against the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces—then the American Iliad is a mythic remembrance the country can no longer afford. But unlike Homer’s Iliad, the American Iliad remains open to revision. We can change it, enlarge it, and, most importantly, set forth more forcefully its central theme: the Civil War as a struggle for human freedom. This would give emancipation the central place in our mythic understanding of the war that for decades now it has occupied in our scholarly understanding of the war. Glory, director Edward Zwick’s 1989 cinematic masterpiece about one of the first black regiments, the 54th Massa-

MARK GRIMSLEY, A HISTORY PROFESSOR AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, IS THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL BOOKS, INCLUDING AND KEEP MOVING ON: THE VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN, MAY-JUNE 1864 (2002) AND THE HARD HAND OF WAR: UNION MILITARY POLICY TOWARD SOUTHERN CIVILIANS, 1861– 1865 (1995). HE HAS ALSO WRITTEN MORE THAN 50 ARTICLES AND ESSAYS.

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haved badly during wartime. In the HBO show Westworld—which imagines a fantasy “park” populated by robots playing gunfighters, gamblers, prostitutes, and Indian warriors—Union soldiers appear at first only at the “southern” edge of the park, fighting skirmishes with a handful of “Confederados.” By the end of the first season, however, the war narrative in this part of the park has changed, and the Union soldiers have been converted into murderers of innocents in the town of Escalante, and then into a band of stock Western vigilantes. Recent divergent depictions of Union and Confederate soldiers and veterans may reflect a turn by some historians and writers to the “dark history” of the Civil War—an approach that emphasizes the violence and destruction of the conflict, as perpetrated and experienced by both sides. Film and television writers have also taken a cue from the Lost Cause narrative, in which Confederate defiance is the more sympathetic and compelling story. Additionally, their “common man” protagonists with unconventional approaches to violence illustrate Matthew Hulbert’s argument in his recent book, The Ghosts of Guerrilla Memory (2016), that Confederate bushwhackers were quite easily converted into Western heroes in American popular memory. Almost no Westerns depict actual Civil War engagements in the West, however. The most well-known exception is Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966), which purportedly takes place in New Mexico during Confederate general Henry Hopkins Sibley’s campaign in 1861–1862. I’m not usually a stickler for historical accuracy in films; this medium requires only that the historical action be credible in order to situate the plot and characters. But The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’s de-

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every admirer of Lee should learn. 

CHRIS LARGE/AMC

AMERICAN ILIAD

chusetts Infantry, offers proof that this transformation is already underway. I have never heard a white southerner say a bad word about Glory. Indeed, hundreds of Confederate reenactors donated their time and energy as extras during its filming. (Instructively, given the way the American Iliad has excluded blacks, Zwick’s difficulty was in finding enough African-American reenactors, most of whom had to be recruited, uniformed, and equipped specifically for the film.) I do not know precisely what a revitalized American Iliad—one that speaks to all Americans—would look like. But surely it would yield a national myth more profound as well as more useful. This should not involve the demonization of Confederate heroes such as Lee. It is needless and counterproductive to repackage Lee as a traitor, racist, and slaveholder, and it smacks of an off-putting moral sanctimony. Most of us are not just flawed but profoundly flawed (something the classic myths have always acknowledged). So why then do I regard it as imperative to remove statues of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other Confederates from public spaces? First, because many of those statues were erected less with the aim of honoring such figures than with co-opting their valor to make them deliberate expressions of white supremacy. But more importantly, because it is a matter of civility. As the father of a six-year-old daughter, I have grappled with the task of explaining that Lee fought to defend a republic created to perpetuate the enslavement of fellow Americans. How much more difficult is it for AfricanAmerican parents, strolling through a park with their own children, who are called upon to explain the meaning of a splendid equestrian statue of someone obviously portrayed as a hero, planted in an apparent place of honor? Assuredly, I will experience the disappearance of these statues as a personal loss. But how I feel about them is beside the point. As a citizen of this great nation I have a responsibility to understand what the statues evoke in the hearts of millions of my fellow citizens. And as for my personal investment in Lee’s example, the general himself offers the best counsel. In his postwar years Lee gave good advice to the mother of a newborn son: “Teach him he must deny himself.” That is a lesson


piction of Civil War New Mexico is just, well, bonkers. It’s as if the screenwriter read a synopsis of Sibley’s campaign and then drank a bottle of whiskey before sitting down to write the film. The dates are wrong; there are bombings of towns (and, famously, a giant bridge) that never happened; the geography is wonky; and the three main characters (played by Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef ) end up in a POW camp that never existed. Each of the men dons a Confederate or a Union uniform at some point during the film, but only in order to escape from the authorities or to obscure their real goal, which is to find a cache of hidden gold stolen from Confederate coffers. In The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the war is merely a convenient way to inject chaos into a standard plot of revenge and pursuit. The problem with all of these erasures and obfuscations in Westerns is that it leaves most Americans believing that there was no Civil War in the West. Like most Civil War history books and college courses, these forms of popular culture suggest that the war was confined to battlefields east of the Mississippi River. Onscreen, the West is untouched by the conflict, existing only to

Anson Mount (center) as Cullen Bohannan in the AMC show Hell on Wheels

welcome northerners and southerners after the fact, reuniting them as Anglo “settlers” who seek to make new lives for themselves. But there was, in fact, a Civil War in the West. Both the Union and the Confederacy wanted control of the region’s

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fought one another up and down the Rio Grande in 1861–1862. Along the way, they both suffered raids on their camps by Navajos and Apaches; once the Union army had vanquished the Confederate Texans, they turned their attention to these Native Americans and waged war against them in the name of the United States. The battles in this region during the Civil War determined the fate of the West, and the future of the nation. None of this is apparent in any American Western, from the 1950s to today. A small group of Civil War historians—including myself—is working to counteract these visions by writing the war back into the history of the West, and vice versa. Maybe someday I’ll sit down to watch a Western and see the region’s very real Civil War history conveyed in its plot and characters—along with, of course, lingering shots of a lone horseman against the desert landscape.  MEGAN KATE NELSON IS A WRITER AND HISTORIAN WHO LIVES IN LINCOLN, MASSACHUSETTS. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF RUIN NATION: DESTRUCTION AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR (2012) AND TREMBLING EARTH: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP (2005).

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powder packed beneath the Confederate citadel. Meade, however, objected to using the black troops, citing their inexperience and the political repercussions of failure. When Burnside protested that all three of his white divisions were too battered to lead the assault, Meade agreed to place the matter before Grant. Much to Burnside’s disappointment, Grant sustained the army commander.34 The mine was scheduled to explode before dawn on July 30. Grant had given orders to reinforce Meade with elements of the Army of the James and kept Butler apprised of the plan of attack, but otherwise conformed to his hands-off policy, delegating responsibility for the operation to Meade. He did join the army commander early that morning in anticipation of the blast, and when a faulty fuse caused a delay in detonation of the powder, a frustrated Grant recklessly ordered an attack even if the mine failed to explode. Fortunately for Burnside’s men, intrepid volunteers relit the fuse, triggering an eruption the likes of which had never been seen.35 The attacks that followed resonate as one of the war’s most tragic fiascoes. Instead of skirting the crater created by the mine and heading for the high ground that would dominate the Confederate lines, Burnside’s men milled about the destroyed Confederate works or plunged into the crater itself, while the corps’ divisional leadership failed to advance and render guidance. Some 45 minutes after the explosion, Grant ventured forward to see the situation for himself, but declined to intercede with any direction, leaving the conduct of the struggling attacks up to Meade.36 The situation at the crater became increasingly chaotic as

USS Galena (1862-1872). Photograph looking forward along the ship’s port side, shortly after her May 15, 1862 action with Confederate batteries at

THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING Drewry’s 2018 Bluff, on the James River, Virginia. NH 53984 courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command. Image colorized by Nick Edwards.

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Burnside, under orders from Meade, committed his entire corps to the assault, which continued to stall along the irredeemably crowded Confederate works. Grant reappeared at the front around 8 a.m. Assessing the situation as hopeless, he informed the commander of the XVIII Corps, Major General Edward O.C. Ord, to tell Burnside to forgo any more offensive action in favor of entrenching the ground already captured. Soon thereafter, the Confederates executed the first of three powerful counterattacks, prompting Meade to order Burnside to evacuate the crater. The IX Corps commander, desirous of at least maintaining what his men had achieved, rode to Meade’s command post and angrily challenged the order to withdraw. Grant was present at this tense confrontation, but made no comment as Meade modified his instructions only to the extent of permitting Burnside discretion as to how and when to fall back. Both Grant and Meade then retired from the field, leaving Burnside to escape the best he could. At 10 a.m. Grant informed Halleck that the attack had failed. The Confederates recaptured all their lost ground by the middle of the afternoon, inflicting nearly 3,800 casualties, including many USCTs who were butchered after surrendering by Rebel soldiers incensed at fighting former slaves.37 grant would declare the Battle of the Crater “the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war.”38 In truth, the Federal conduct of the Petersburg Campaign from June 15 through July 30 proved comprehensively cheerless. Grant squandered his brilliant movement from Cold Harbor to the James and failed to capture Petersburg on June 15 as a result of abysmal communications to and between the relevant commanders. Subsequent attacks during the next three days made incremental gains at the expense of casualties approaching 13,000 men. Grant’s Second Offensive succeeded in establishing a toehold on the north side of the James, but the cavalry component came to grief at Reams’ Station, and the infantry operation, illogical in its conception and poorly managed, failed miserably. Grant conceived then abandoned a half dozen initiatives between late June and the fourth week of July, eventually settling on a cavalry raid against targets north of Richmond. When that effort

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also foundered, he finally turned to Burnside’s mine. This expedient ended disastrously. Grant should be applauded for maintaining the initiative at Petersburg and refusing to allow the campaign to degenerate into a static siege. By doing this he retained the confidence of the president and provided lingering, if diminishing, hope that the stalemate around Richmond and Petersburg might be resolved in the Federals’ favor, although northern public confidence in ultimate victory would find its voice in other theaters. Ulysses S. Grant was, without doubt, the Union’s premier soldier. His patience and perseverance at Petersburg would eventually bring victory there and with it the fall of Richmond, followed swiftly by the surrender of Lee’s army. However, his generalship during the first six weeks of the Petersburg Campaign revealed little evidence of this future success.  A. WILSON GREENE RECENTLY RETIRED FROM A 44-YEAR CAREER IN PUBLIC HISTORY AND BATTLEFIELD PRESERVATION, MUCH OF IT SPENT AROUND PETERSBURG. VOLUME 1 OF HIS 3-VOLUME STUDY OF THE PETERSBURG CAMPAIGN WILL BE PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS IN JUNE 2018.

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of the advances of white southern men than northern ones.18 Out of such issues of politesse and etiquette, with threats of violence and barely concealed sexual innuendo, did the white South draw the boundaries of the new order. With the omnipresent and all-inclusive boundaries of slavery erased, white southerners slid into crude, vicious, and contemptuous language to help bolster their actions. as former slaveowners and Confederates jostled with Freedmen’s Bureau agents and white northern teachers, the black residents of Augusta County did not have many opportunities to speak for themselves. White people imagined, and wished, thoughts and words for the African Americans among whom they lived. Those white people generally told themselves what they wanted to believe, that black people were generally satisfied with their progress in the new order. A lacerating letter ☛ } CONT. ON P. 76

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When the Home Front Became the Battle Front This year’s annual conference will feature presentations by nationally-recognized Civil War historians including Allen Guelzo, Jonathan A. Noyalas, Eric Campbell, Frank O’Reilly and Anne Sarah Rubin.

Saturday, April 7, 2018 Location: Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA Registration Fee: $50 includes lunch and all presentations Register: su.edu/MCWI 76

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in October 1866 from an AfricanAmerican man named Nelson Irwin to General John M. Schofield showed the limits of white understanding, whether by native southerners or the northern people at work among them. “Living within your military department, I am forced to appeal to you in my own behalf. My case and cause are those of thousands and just as I am effected they will be effected also. There is a deep laid organization here that governs and controls every thing by might in defiance of truth and justice.” Irwin charged that on “even the least pretense a black man is taken up and imprisoned. His color is his condemnation, and every lawless act committed he is accused of. At present my brethren are living in a reign of terror and many of them are locked up in Staunton Gaol.” Irwin described a recent event in Augusta, in which a “theft has been committed here by one or two black men and lo! four are taken up and all of us are accused. Some of us had to fly, who were and are as innocent of the crime as you are.” The body that was to protect them was useless, for “the Freedmen’s bureau is ineffective, laughed at and despised.” A trial for these men would be held in a few weeks, and “we cannot expect justice unless the strong arm of military protection is reached out to us.” The moral was clear and painful. “We gave to the rich white man our best years, our strength, our youth, our sweat, and now that we are free, we get in return meaness, tyranny and injustice.” Some of the black men of Augusta live “in a state of perpetual terror. If you turn your back on us, who can we appeal to.” They were content to be “judged impartially by the laws, but let us not be condemned without a cause. From this depth of degregdation we look to you, and in the name of suffering humanity, I trust I do not write in vain.”19 To the credit of the U.S. Army and the Freedmen’s Bureau, officers looked into the matter promptly. The

For more information please contact: Jonathan Noyalas, 540-665-4501 | jnoyalas01@su.edu

THE CIVIL WAR MONITOR  SPRING 2018

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men had been tried before a magistrate in Augusta, with Alexander H.H. Stuart representing the accused. According to the inquiry, most of the evidence against the men came from other freedpeople. They had been committed to jail and awaited the Circuit Court. The author of the report thought that the guilt of the men was “quite evident” and he did not think they should be cleared of the charge. The officer also thought, however, that though the “reign of terror” charge might be “overdrawn,” it was clear that “there is more foundation for the assertion than there should be. A black man, to live peaceably must be very careful.” The danger came because “the whites seem very jealous of them, and any show of impertinence or independence, in so many instances leads to blows on the parts of the whites.” Those white people of Augusta “say a Colored man must keep his place, and not be setting himself up as a rival to the white.” As a result, “the Colored people generally submit quietly, as resistance, they are well aware, is perfectly useless.”20 Nelson Irwin did not appear in any newspaper account of the Circuit Court’s proceedings in the coming months. Two black men were convicted of house breaking and perhaps that was the crime to which he referred. Perhaps Alexander H.H. Stuart, one of the most successful lawyers in the county, was able to get Irwin released. In any case, the black man’s lacerating eloquence testified to the profound injustice that filled the apparently peaceful Valley. White people were drawing new boundaries and enforcing them with law, intimidation, and violence. The 20 months after Appomattox had witnessed the beginning of the deepest transformation in American history. Black and white people in the South had to learn new ways to live together even as the legal and political atmosphere changed almost weekly. Nearly two years after the end of slavery the shape of freedom had not yet been defined.  EDWARD L. AYERS IS THE AUTHOR OF THE THIN LIGHT OF FREEDOM: THE CIVIL WAR AND EMANCIPATION IN THE HEART OF AMERICA (W.W. NORTON, 2017). THAT BOOK CONTINUES THE STORY BEGUN IN IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES, WHICH WON THE BANCROFT PRIZE.

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Major General William F. Smith 1861–1864 (Dayton, OH, 1990), 99-100; William Farrar Smith, From Chattanooga to Petersburg Under Generals Grant and Butler (Boston, 1893), 123-124; Major-General William F. Smith, “The Movement Against Petersburg June, 1864,” Papers of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts 15 vols. (Boston, 1906), 5: 113-114. For a competent overview of Grant’s First Petersburg Offensive, see Thomas J. Howe, Wasted Valor June 15–18 (Lynchburg, VA, 1988). Chapter 1 addresses the movement to the James and the preliminaries to the June 15 attack.

Notes 5

SOURCES & CITATIONS FROM THIS ISSUE’S ARTICLES

American Iliad

6

John Y. Simon and John F. Marszalek, eds., The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant 32 vols. (Carbondale, IL, 1984), 11: 47; Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 200-201; OR, 40 (2): 73.

7

Simon and Marszalek, eds., Grant Papers, 11: 55.

(Pages 28–29, 72) 1

Mark Grimsley “The Sword of General Lee,” The Civil War Monitor vol. 6, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 28.

2

Mark Grimsley, And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864 (Lincoln, NE, 2002), 239.

3 Gettysburg, dir. Ronald F. Maxwell (Burbank, CA, 1993). 4

The best work on this subject is David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge, MA, 2001).

5

Quoted in Douglas Southall Freeman, R.E. Lee: A Biography, 4 vols. (New York, 1934–1935), vol. 4, 505.

Andrew A. Humphreys, The Virginia Campaign of ’64 and ’65 (New York, 1883), 207-209; Francis A. Walker, History of the Second Army Corps in the Army of the Potomac (New York, 1887), 526-530; Thomas L. Livermore, Days and Events, 1860–1866 (Boston, 1920), 360361; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 128 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1880– 1901), 40 (1): 304-305 (hereafter cited as OR; all references are to Series 1).

8 OR, 40 (2): 90-91, 112; Charles M. Coit to “Dear Sis & all,” June 16, 1864, Captain Charles M. Coit Papers, Yale University; George R. Agassiz, ed., Meade’s Headquarters 1863–1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox (Boston, 1922), 164; David W. Lowe, ed., Meade’s Army: The Private Notebooks of Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman (Kent, OH, 2007), 206-207; Theodore Lyman, “Crossing of the James and the Advance on Petersburg,” Papers of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts 15 vols. (Boston, 1906), 5: 29; OR 40 (1): 167-68. 9

Lowe, ed., Meade’s Army, 208; Simon and Marszalek, eds., Grant Papers, 11: 65; OR, 40 (2): 120.

10 Stephen Minot Weld, War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld, 1861–1865 (Cambridge, MA, 1912), 318; Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., A Cycle of Adams Letters, 1861–1865 2 vols. (Boston, 1920), 2: 154-55; Zerah Coston Monks to “Dear Hattie,” June 19, 1864, Monks Family Papers, Western Reserve Historical Society. 11 OR, 40 (2): 157.

Grant’s Cruel Summer (Pages 32–43, 74–75) 1

Horace Porter, Campaigning with Grant (New York, 1897), 199–200.

2

A number of fine studies address the Overland campaign, none better than four volumes authored by Gordon C. Rhea: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5–6, 1864 (Baton Rouge, 1994); The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7–12, 1864 (Baton Rouge, 1997); To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13–25, 1864 (Baton Rouge, 2000); and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee May 26–June 3, 1864 (Baton Rouge, 2002).

3

4

Adam Badeau, Military History of General Ulysses S. Grant, from April, 1861 to April, 1865 3 vols. (New York, 1868–1881), 2: 346; Gary W. Gallagher, ed., Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander (Chapel Hill, 1989), 419. Herbert M. Schiller, ed., Autobiography of

12 Merlin E. Sumner, comp. and ed., The Diary of Cyrus B. Comstock (Dayton, OH, 1987), 274-275; Walter Graham Diary, June 19, 1864, Vermont Historical Society; OR, 40 (2): 209, 222; Edward G. Longacre, Army of Amateurs: General Benjamin F. Butler and the Army of the James, 1863– 1865 (Mechanicsburg, PA, 1997), 164. Good maps of Deep Bottom are in the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D.C., 1891–1895), Plate 65, Maps 6 and Plate 67, Map 7. 13 OR, 40 (2): 231-32; 36 (3): 781, 794-97, (1): 798. 14 Simon and Marszalek, eds., Grant Papers, 11: 94; OR, 40 (2): 233; Edwin C. Bearss, The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles June-August 1864 (El Dorado Hills, CA, 2012), 133-135. The Petersburg Railroad was commonly called the Weldon Railroad by the soldiers. 15 The best treatment of the Wilson–Kautz Raid is Captain Greg Eanes, Wilson–Kautz Raid: Battle for Staunton River Bridge (Lynchburg, VA, 1999). 16 Although there is no monograph covering the Second Offensive, see Bearss, The Petersburg

Campaign, 131-200, for a summary. The VI Corps’ fate is dealt with in considerable detail in David Faris Cross, A Melancholy Affair at the Weldon Railroad: The Vermont Brigade, June 23, 1864 (Shippensburg, PA, 2003). 17 Allan Nevins, ed., A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright 1861– 1865 (New York, 1962), 431. 18 David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York, 1995), 515-516; Benjamin P. Thomas, ed., Three Years with Grant as Recalled by War Correspondent Sylvanus Cadwallader (New York, 1955), 231232; Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 216-217. 19 Howard K. Beale, ed., The Diary of Edward Bates, 1859–1866 (Washington, D.C., 1933), 378; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln 8 vols. and index (New Brunswick, NJ, 1953–1955), 7: 406; Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 223; T. Harry Williams, Lincoln and His Generals (New York, 1952), 321. 20 Charles Dana to Edwin Stanton, July 7, 1864, Edwin M. Stanton Papers, Library of Congress; Charles A. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War (New York, 1913), 226-228; OR, 37 (2) 433; George Gordon Meade, ed., The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade 2 vols. (New York, 1913), 2: 218-19. Meade’s difficulties with his corps commanders in 1864 are widely documented. See Freeman Cleaves, Meade of Gettysburg (Norman, OK, 1960) and Ethan S. Rafuse, George Gordon Meade and the War in the East (Abilene, TX, 2003) for examples. His staff officer, Theodore Lyman, sprinkled his journal and correspondence with references to Meade’s unpleasant way of dealing with people, calling him “exceedingly snappy” and possessed of “an eye like a rattlesnake.” Lowe, ed., Meade’s Army, 221, 224. 21 OR, 40 (2): 301, 595. 22 Simon and Marszalek, eds., Grant Papers, 11: 155-156, 176; OR, 40 (2): 558-559, 598, (3): 31, 59, 69; William D. Mallam, “The Grant-Butler Relationship,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1954–1955), 41: 262-64. A good overview of this affair is in Brooks Simpson, Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822–1865 (Boston, 2000), 350-351. 23 Simpson, Grant, 353; Mallam, “Grant–Butler Relationship,” 262-263; Jessie Ames Marshall, comp., Private and Official Correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler 5 vols. (Norwood, MA, 1917), 4: 481; OR, 40 (3): 114; Schiller, Autobiography, 115-116; Agassiz, ed., Meade’s Headquarters, 193. 24 The text of Smith’s letter is in Simon and Marszalek, eds., Grant Papers, 11: 207-9. See Schiller, ed., Autobiography, 109-16 for the longer version of Smith’s tale. Rejections of Smith’s story are found in Simpson, Grant, 349350, Howard P. Nash Jr., Stormy Petrel: The Life and Times of General Benjamin F. Butler, 1818–1893 (Rutherford, NJ, 1969), 201-202, and Mallam, “Grant–Butler Relationship,” 263-264. Patrick is quoted in David S. Sparks, ed., Inside Lincoln’s Army: The Diary of General Marsena Rudolph Patrick, Provost Marshal General Army of the Potomac (New York, 1964), 401-402. 25 Davie A. Hampton to “Dear Uncel,” July 21, 1864, Caleb Hampton Papers, Perkins Library, Duke University; Charles Henry Dimmock to his wife, July 24, 1864, Charles Henry Dimmock Papers, Virginia Historical Society; Jesse R. Bowles to “Dear Sister,” July 21, 1864, Bowles Family Papers, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William & Mary; Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 19, 1864. 26 OR, 40 (2): 431. 27 OR, 40 (2): 599, 619.

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28 OR, 40 (3): 5, 72-73.

made no mention of receiving such a message.

29 OR, 40 (3): 124-125, 147.

38 OR, 40 (1): 17.

Plantation Families and Their Postbellum Domestic Experiment (Charlottesville, 2010). 4 Thomas P. Jackson to John A. McDonnell, July 3, 1867.

30 Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 243-244; OR, 40 (3): 241, 246, 255-256.

5 Thomas P. Jackson to John A. McDonnell, October 3, 1867; In Search of…: Selections from Freedmen’s Bureau Records for Augusta County and Staunton, Virginia (Fishersville, VA, 2012), 10.

31 Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant 2 vols. (New York, 1885), 2: 307 32 For a detailed account of these operations, see James S. Price, The Battle of First Deep Bottom (Charleston, SC, 2010).

6 Thomas P. Jackson to John Selby, November 23, 1867.

33 OR, 40 (1): 16; Badeau, Military History, 2: 472; Grant, Personal Memoirs, 2: 310.

7 Statement of Isabella Burton, January 17, 1868.

34 For this and all aspects of the Battle of the Crater, see Earl J. Hess, Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg (Columbia, 2010), 55-56 and passim.

9 In Search of, 7-8; G.L. Peyton to David Fultz, June 25, 1867.

35 Porter, Campaigning with Grant, 262-263; OR, 40 (1), 147, (3): 657, 685; Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, Army of the Potomac, Petersburg (Washington, D.C., 1865), 95-96. 36 Agassiz, ed., Meade’s Headquarters, 200; Report of the Joint Committee, 110; Henry Goddard Thomas, “The Colored Troops at Petersburg,” in Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, eds., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War 4 vols. (New York, 1956), 4: 564. Grant’s whereabouts during the first few hours after the explosion are speculative, although several witnesses confirm this visit to the front. 37 OR, 40 (1): 708, 64-65, (3): 662-663, 636; William Marvel, Burnside (Chapel Hill, 1991), 406; Report of the Joint Committee, 7-8, 23-24, 74-75; Lowe, ed., Meade’s Army, 242-243; Sumner, comp. and ed., Comstock Diary, 285. Ord is the only source for this chance encounter with Grant that resulted in orders to suspend the assaults. Ord stated that he delivered Grant’s message to Burnside, but Burnside

8 April 21, 1866; In Search of, 19.

The Perils of Peace

10 F.S. Tukey to Samuel Hunt, October 16, 1865; F.S. Tukey to Unknown, November 4, 1865.

(Pages 54–63, 75–77) 1

W. Storer How to Orlando Brown, January 8, 1866. Unless otherwise noted, this and other primary sources cited are in the Valley of the Shadow archive, valley.lib.virginia.edu.

2 W. Storer How to Orlando Brown, January 9, 11, 22, 1866; Frederick S. Tukey to W. Storer How, January 31, 1866. 3 Augusta Jordan to O. O. Howard, April 14, 1866. See Heather Andrea Williams, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery (Chapel Hill, 2012); Ira Berlin and Leslie Rowland, eds., Families and Freedom: A Documentary History of African-American Kinship in the Civil War Era (New York, 1997); Peter W. Bardaglio, Reconstructing the Household: Families, Sex, and the Law in the Nineteenth-Century South (Chapel Hill, 1995); Catherine A. Jones, Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (Charlottesville, 2015); Amy Feely Morsman, The Big House after Slavery: Virginia

11 Included in F.S. Tukey to Unknown, November 4, 1865. 12 C.E. Dewey to Samuel Hunt, December 2, 1865. 13 William L. Coan to Samuel Hunt, December 4, 1865; John Scott to Samuel Hunt, December 20, 1865. 14 John Scott to Samuel Hunt, December 20, 1865. 15 John Scott to Samuel Hunt, December 20, January 11, 1865. 16 C.E. Dewey to Samuel Hunt, January 31, 1866. 17 Valley Virginian, April 4, 1866. 18 Valley Virginian, April 11, 1866. 19 Nelson Irwin to John M. Schofield, October 8, 1866. 20 George T. Cook to R.S. Lacey, October 26, 1866.

Territorial Capital of Kansas, 1855 – 1861

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pa r t i n g shot

Sometime in 1863, after a gunboat on the Potomac River fired a shell that hit a dogwood tree on the riverbank, First Lieutenant John F. Brooks of the 4th Texas Infantry picked up a piece of the damaged tree. Using his penknife, he carved this pipe, in the shape of a kneeling man in uniform, which he would use during the remainder of the conflict. Little more is known about Brooks, except that he would rise to the rank of captain by war’s end and live until 1908, when he died in Virginia at the age of 87.

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Issue 27  

Vol. 8, No. 1

Issue 27  

Vol. 8, No. 1