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Fistful of Firepower Manufactured in Europe for the Confederacy, the LeMat revolver packed a powerful double wallop. By Michael G. Williams On the Cover: What Could Have Been: If the manufacturing and maintenance resources had been available down South, the Confederates’ signature LeMat might have been a differencemaker on the battlefield.



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Departments 6 Letters Family affair at Appomattox 8 Field Notes New museum and a special sword 12 War on the Water William Cushing ended the ironclad CSS Albemarle’s reign 14 From the Crossroads No luck for Meagher and the Irish at Antietam 16 5 questions Author Edwina Campbell profiles U.S. Grant as overseas ambassador 19 Editorial 58 Reviews Abe Lincoln’s last voyage 64 NEW! conversation piece Coonskin “bootie”


Victory on His Shoulders Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs’ contributions to Union victory are often overlooked.

By Robert O’Harrow Jr.

34 Havoc in Maryland

Rebel raider John McCausland cut a swath through the North in 1864, burning and looting towns— until he ran into a roadblock near Cumberland, Md. By Debra Topinka

40 Photo Op

An insider’s take on one of the war’s most remarkable images. By Jerry Morelock


Well Armed

In four years the West Point Foundry turned out 3,000 Parrott guns and more than 3 million projectiles, plus countless smoothbore cannons. By Ron Soodalter


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9/23/16 4:49 PM

Michael A. Reinstein David Steinhafel Alex Neill

Chairman & Publisher Associate Publisher Editor in Chief

Vol. 29, No. 6 January 2017


UNION ARTILLERY More images, more details from this issue’s photo portfolio on heavy weapons.


In 1860, Georgia Governor Joseph Brown dispatched two men up north to purchase weapons for the nascent Confederacy.

CSS ALBEMARLE No Federal vessel afloat could stop the mammoth ironclad ram.


Like America’s Civil War Magazine on Facebook


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Editor Managing Editor Senior Editor Senior Editor Consulting Editor

Stephen Kamifuji Brian Walker Jennifer M. Vann Melissa A. Winn

Creative Director Group Art Director Art Director Senior Photo Editor/ Social Media Coordinator

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©2016 HistoryNet, LLC Subscription Information: 800-435-0715 or Yearly subscriptions in U.S.: $39.95 List Rental Inquiries: Belkys Reyes, Lake Group Media, Inc. 914-925-2406; America’s Civil War (ISSN 1046-2899) is published bimonthly by HistoryNet, LLC, 1919 Gallows Rd., Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038, 703-771-9400 Periodical postage paid at Vienna, Va., and additional mailing offices. Postmaster, send address changes to America’s Civil War, P.O. Box 422224, Palm Coast, FL 32142-2224 Canada Publications Mail Agreement No. 41342519 Canadian GST No. 821371408RT0001 The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written consent of HistoryNet, LLC. PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA


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family affair

The September 2016 issue includes a photograph of Union General George Meade on P. 29 and one of Confederate General Henry A. Wise on P. 41. As we know, the Civil War was sometimes a conflict of father against son or brother against brother. For Meade and Wise, it was brother-in-law versus brother-in-law. Wise’s second wife, Sarah Sergeant, was the sister of Meade’s wife, Margaretta, both daughters of Philadelphia Congressman John Sergeant. Early in Meade’s military career, Congressman Henry Wise provided assistance when Meade sought reappointment to the U.S. Army. Meade was transferred to the Engineer Corps in Detroit, where he lived until the war began, and then in 1863 commanded the victorious Union army at Gettysburg. In 1865 Wise and Meade were both at Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Meade a general for the victorious Federals and Wise for the defeated Confederates. Seeing that Wise—stooping, sick and with blankets bound around his legs—was not well, Meade ordered an ambulance and supplies to accompany the vanquished general when he departed. Wise, by the way, happened to be my great-great-great-grandfather. John Mudge Lyme, N.H.

‘Dog Tag’ Dismay It was with dismay that I read item No. 4 in your “Molded by War” article in the July 2016 issue. First, the so-called “dog tags” described were never called by that name during the war; soldiers referred to them as “medals.” And I have never seen reference to soldiers scratching their names on the soles of their shoes or seen any description of “small circular disks made of wood, with the soldier’s name carved or inked on the surface.” In addition, the reference to “silver or gold ‘soldier’s pins’” is incorrect—the ones shown are made of brass. They were also made of pewter, pot metal and German silver, but never gold or silver. (Sometimes a gold or silver wash was applied to a disc, gold on the brass ones and silver on the pewter.) Also, neither of the images shown is a “pin.” The author seems to have confused “dog tags” with the fancy gold and silver (usually shield-shaped) pins


Henry A. Wise

that were advertised in newspapers and usually bought by officers, as they were expensive. And these pins would be engraved by the seller, whereas the medals that soldiers wore would be stamped, not inscribed. Joseph Stahl Keedysville, Md. Author Melinda Musil responds: Thank you for your letter. Several articles I consulted made reference to Civil War soldiers who wrote their names on the bottom of their shoes, including “Who Made That Military Dog Tag?” (The New York Times– January 27, 2013). Several others discussed the use of wooden dog tags during this era, such as “Dog Tags Have a Long History in the United States” (Pittsburgh Tribune, October 16, 2012); “Inventing Military Dog Tags” (America’s Civil War, May 2012); and “A Short History of Military Identification Tags” (U.S. Army Quartermaster Foundation Professional Bulletin, December 1988). A variety of pins, medals and discs were used for identification during the war. These consisted of assorted

George G. Meade

metals and materials, ranging from gold or silver to the smoothed surfaces of ordinary coins, as well as wood. The discs also came in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes (see Dog Tags: A History of the Military Identification Tag, by Paul Braddock, as well as the articles mentioned above). Because of space limitations, we were unable to further explore the history of these identification pieces. We chose to use the term “dog tags” due to its familiarity with our readers. The term was undoubtedly used because of the discs’ similarity to identification tags required by dog licensing laws (instituted by Thomas Jefferson during the Revolutionary War era [Monticello Keepsake, November 1989]) but as you noted did not gain widespread acceptance until the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. WRITE TO US Send letters to America’s Civil War, Letters Editor, HistoryNet, 1919 Gallows Rd., Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038, or email Letters may be edited.


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By Tim and Beth Rowland

long march to


Bells rang across Washington, D.C., on September 24 following President Barack Obama’s speech celebrating the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. The new museum explores the struggles and contributions of African Americans over 400 years. Ashley’s Sack (inset) is Sited adjacent to the Washington Monument, the building is clad in three stories of among the historic items on filigreed bronzed aluminum panels, a façade that pays tribute to West African tradi- display at the new National African American Museum tions of ironwork that were borne to the Americas. Inside, three stories underground of History and Culture. address historical epochs, while the aboveground floors showcase contemporary The sack, belonging to a issues and cultural artifacts. former slave named Ashley, Visitors interested in the Civil War era will not find a focus on the conflict. Instead was embroidered by her displays trace how booming trade in sugar, tobacco and cotton propelled the growth granddaughter in 1921. of the slave trade, and during the Colonial era helped harden the classification of black workers as permanently enslaved and white workers as free. While a handful of artifacts such as whips and manacles show how slave owners kept power, the most moving exhibits tell stories of hope, love and survival. Among them is Ashley’s sack. When Ashley, 9, was sold from a South Carolina plantation, her mother Rose gave her a sack containing pecans, a tattered dress and a braid of her hair. The two never saw each other again. Ashley’s descendants kept the sack, embroidered with her story, for generations. 8


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rare sword sold at auction A one-of-a-kind sword that belonged to a Kentuckian who fought for the North and later became the 12th governor of Utah Territory, was sold at auction in July. The German-made weapon, adorned with gold, was awarded to then-Colonel Eli Houston Murray by his fellow soldiers in 1862. Every man in his regiment contributed at least $1 toward the sword, which at that time cost $1,200, according to Josh Levine of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, which handled the auction. The sword bears an inscription honoring “bravery and meritorious conduct.” Murray, who had enlisted at 19 in the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, was promoted to brigadier general just before the war came to an end. From 1880 to 1886 he served as Utah territory’s governor. After his death in 1896 he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The sword had a strong provenance, according to Levine. In 1938 Eli Murray’s son Neil and his family visited Hardinsburg, Ky. After Neil signed the hotel’s guest register, the clerk asked if he was related to Eli Murray. When Neil responded yes—Eli was his father—the clerk said that he had something that belonged to Murray the younger. Levine recalled, “A few minutes later, he presented the historic sword and uniform.” More than 70 years earlier, General Murray had been a guest at the hotel after the war ended. He took off his uniform and sword and gave them to the hotel proprietor, saying he never wanted to see them again. Although experts had suggested the sword might sell for up to $150,000, an unnamed buyer paid $55,000. Colonel Eli Houston Murray’s troops gave him this gold-embellished sword in 1862, with the inscription “bravery and meritorious conduct.”


rebel flag as free speech

A painting is the focus of a lawsuit challenging a law prohibiting the sale or display of the flag.

For a year or better, the Confederate battle flag has been under siege, scrubbed from arenas ranging from hallowed legislative halls to Civil War game apps to the shelves of Walmart. Even Southern Baptists and NASCAR have publically voiced disapproval of the icon, which over the years has increasingly been co-opted by hate groups. Meanwhile, traditionalists have protested what they say is a whitewashing of the flag from the historical record. Now the art world is looking to succeed where heritage advocates have failed. Fresno, Calif., artist Timothy J. Desmond is suing the state in federal court after he was prohibited from exhibiting his painting The Attack at the Big Fresno Fair. The work depicts Confederate soldiers— one of whom carries the now-embattled flag—marching into the fray during the 1864 Union Siege of Atlanta. In 2015 California passed legislation prohibiting the sale or display of the flag on public property, unless it has a historical or educational purpose. Desmond contends the law is being wrongly applied to publicly displayed artwork and is an affront to free speech. “It’s one thing to ban the Confederate flag from flying over the state Capitol,” Desmond’s defense team told the Fresno Bee. “Applying it to individual artists goes beyond the intent of the code section” and is an example of “the increasingly aggressive and unchecked authority of federal and state governments.” JANUARY 2017

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gettysburg electric map resurrected Kitsch to some and folk art to others, the Gettysburg Electric Map enlivened the battle for millions of Gettysburg National Military Park visitors between 1963 and 2008. For viewers sitting in a theater looking down on the 900-square-foot map, tiny lights on the map indicated troop movements during a 20-minute reenactment of the battle. But when the current visitor center was built in 2008, the electric map was deemed antiquated, so it was cut up and stored. In 2013 Scott Roland purchased it at a government auction for $14,000. After three years of refurbishing, the Gettysburg Electric Map was back in action in late spring of this year at the Hanover Heritage & Conference Center in downtown Hanover, Pa. Center officials hope the map will serve as a centerpiece to draw Civil War tourists to their town.


“Footprints of History: Exploring The Ruins of Lookout Mountain,” 5 1/2 -mile hike on Lookout Mountain, famous for “The Battle Above the Clouds” When: Nov. 12, 2016 Where: Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe Visit: and search “footprints” “Soldier and Civilian Life During the Civil War and Candlelight Tours,” re-creates the Battle of Pickett’s Mill When: Nov. 11-12, 2016 Where: Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site, Dallas Visit: and search “candlelight”


“All right, men, we can die but once. This is the time and place. Let us charge.” —Brig. Gen. William Haines Lytle on September 20, 1863, just before his death at Chickamauga, Ga. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is stepping in to help prevent a Confederate powder magazine in Jefferson, Texas, from sliding into the Big Cypress Bayou. The Historic Jefferson Foundation appealed to the Corps because erosion threatens the boxy brick storehouse, the state’s only remaining Confederate powder magazine. According to the Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District, Texan Confederates maintained a black-powder transportation chain from East Texas to the town of Jefferson, where it was loaded onto steamships for transport to the Mississippi River and, eventually, to waiting Rebel rifles. The two organizations will partner to shore up the bank and rescue the magazine. Erected in 1863, the structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and features something of a built-in dehumidifier system. Had it been allowed to plunge into the river, according to a Foundation spokesperson, it would have been “a devastating loss to the State, Jefferson and the history of our country.”



“A Civil War Christmas at the Shriver House,” candlelight tour, Shriver House Museum When: Nov. 24, Dec. 10 and 17, 2016 Where: Gettysburg Visit: and search “Christmas” “General Chamberlain Visits Gettysburg” When: Nov. 12, 2016 Where: Various Gettysburg sites Visit: and search “chamberlain”


“154th Anniversary, Battle of Stones River” When: December 26, 2016, to January 2, 2017 Where: Stones River, Murfreesboro Visit: and search “154th”


“Living History Weekend,” “Christmas on the Plantation” celebrates the holidays When: Dec. 10, 2016 Where: Petersburg National Battlefield Visit: and search “Christmas on the plantation” Making decorations for the tree at the Shriver House.


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WAR ON THE WATER Preliminary Skirmish On May 5, 1864, USS Sassacus rams the fearsome Rebel ironclad CSS Albemarle in Albemarle Sound, in a watercolor by S.M. Yates.

to sink an ironclad By Ron Soodalter

The steam-powered CSS Albemarle was designed with neither grace nor beauty in mind. The ironclad consisted of a 152-foot-long iron-plated hull, heavily reinforced bow and armored casemate that swept back at an angle toward its tall smokestack. Constructed as a ram, Albemarle fulfilled its function with stunning effectiveness. With its thick armor plating, it could repel enemy fire as well as inflict lethal damage using its bow. It also boasted two powerful 12,000-pound Brooke rifled cannons, capable of firing explosive shells, solid bolts and 80-pound payloads of canister and grapeshot. The all-but-invincible Albemarle was com­ missioned in April 1864, and over the next six months it became the war’s most feared—as well as the most successful—ironclad. The Yankees received their first taste of what Albemarle could dish out on April 18 on the Roanoke River, when the Rebel ironclad encountered two wooden-


hulled Federal warships, USS Miami and USS Southfield. Shortly, Albemarle rammed and sank Southfield and crippled Miami, killing its highly competent captain, Lt. Cmdr. Charles W. Flusser. On approaching Albemarle, Flusser had reportedly announced, “[A]fter we get to close quarters, my commission as commander is secure or I am a dead man.” He fired a shell at the ironclad, only to have it bounce off the Rebel ship’s armor and explode at his own feet, instantly killing him. Confronting a seven-ship Union armada in May, Albemarle sank one vessel and forced the others to withdraw. Within less than a month the ram was responsible for the suspension of all Union activity in eastern North Carolina. To eliminate Albemarle, Acting Rear Adm. Samuel Lee, who was commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, summoned Lieutenant William B. Cushing. The young lieutenant had already established a


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WAR ON THE WATER reputation for daring guerrilla raids, though his “dash,” as a contemporary referred to it, as well as his bellicosity and resentment of authority had also brought him perilously close to disciplinary action on occasion. As one biographer wrote, the lieutenant was a strong proponent of “manly virtue, fervent nationalism, reckless daring, and a maniacal defense of personal honor.” Events would soon prove that Cushing was the perfect choice for the mission. Cushing also had a personal reason to take on the assignment: Charles Flusser had been his instructor at Annapolis, and he and Flusser had since become close friends. The commander’s death both saddened and infuriated his former student. Cushing quickly enlisted a group of handpicked volunteers, warning them all that it might be their last mission. His plan would require infiltrating Southern-­ held territory, destroying their target and then escaping downriver. Their likelihood of success—and survival—seemed slim at best. On the rainy night of October 27, 1864, Cushing and his crew set off in an open steam-powered launch armed with a single bow gun and carrying a spar torpedo. They steamed up the Roanoke River, towing a cutter holding more raiders, all armed with pistols, cutlasses and hand grenades. Cushing’s initial plan was to seize the ram by cutting the lines, boarding the vessel and overpowering the crew. In the event of failure, the spar torpedo, which extended beyond the launch’s bow, could be released, floated and detonated under the enemy’s hull. That same device had been used to devastating effect by the Rebel sub Hunley on February 17, when Hunley was sunk while attacking and sinking USS Housatonic. Rebel sentries detected the raiders’ approach to Albemarle, and as Cushing later recalled: “A heavy fire was at once opened upon us, not only from the ship, but from men stationed on the shore. This did not disable us and we neared them rapidly.” Buckshot tore away the back of Cushing’s coat, and a ball blew off the sole of one of his shoes. Confederates on the near riverbank lit bonfires, enabling Cushing to see the ram was floating within a log boom that extended several yards from its sides. He ordered full steam ahead, hoping to power over the logs and reach the ram’s side before releasing his torpedo. Gliding over the logs, the launch finally stopped within 10 feet of the muzzle of one of the ram’s Brooke rifles. Cushing was twice ordered to surrender, and

twice refused. Standing in the bow, he first pulled a lanyard releasing the torpedo under the ironclad, then a second one that pulled the explosive’s trigger. The torpedo blew a massive hole in the ironclad’s hull. As the torpedo detonated, the Rebel cannon fired an 80-pound charge of grapeshot that narrowly missed Cushing but—combined with the explosion’s backwash—hit the water with such force that it swamped his launch. While Albemarle settled in the water, Cushing told his crew members to save themselves. He then stripped off his tattered coat, shoes, revolver and sword before diving into the frigid river and swimming for the far bank, “while the whole surface of the stream was plowed up by grape and musketry, and my nearest friends, the fleet, were twelve miles away.” Some of Cushing’s crew were killed, and Confederate boats captured others. But he himself miraculously managed to escape and made his way downriver, where he stole a skiff. After paddling by hand for 10 hours, he came upon USS Valley City, a Union steamer gunship picket-­vessel. “I was sent in the Valley City to report to Admiral [David] Porter at Hampton Roads,” the lieu-

tenant concluded in his re“Manly Virtue” port on the raid, “and soon William Cushing after Plymouth and the succeeded in bringing whole district of the AlbeAlbemarle’s deadly marle, deprived of the ironcareer to an end. clad’s protection, fell an easy prey to…our fleet.” Congress responded enthusiastically to President Abraham Lincoln’s request for a vote of thanks for the daring raiders. The fleet celebrated with what was described as “fireworks and frolic,” and a newly promoted Lt. Cmdr. William B. Cushing, along with all his crew, received the Medal of Honor. JANUARY 2017

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FROM THE CROSSROADS Irish Blessing In Don Troiani’s painting, Father William Corby blesses the men of the Irish Brigade as Brig. Gen. Thomas Meagher (far left) leads the advance to the Sunken Road at Antietam.

when luck ran out for THE

irish brigade By D. Scott Hartwig

On the hot, muggy night of July 25, 1862, more than 5,000 people crowded the 7th Regiment Armory in New York City for a chance to hear perhaps the most celebrated Irishman in America, Brig. Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, speak. Thousands more gathered outside, unable to squeeze inside to see and hear Meagher, who had been granted leave from the Army of the Potomac following the Seven Days Battles to recruit replacements for his famed Irish Brigade. Meagher had been a leader in the 1848 Young Irelander Rebellion, which sought independence for Ireland from British rule. When that rebellion failed, he was exiled to Tasmania. Escaping in 1852, he made his way to New York City. A gifted orator, Meagher earned a living by publishing the Irish News and traveling the lecture circuit to promote Irish nationalism. The Civil War posed a dilemma for Meagher. Though he did not support slavery, he didn’t oppose it outright,


instead suggesting that the United States should find accommodation with the institution and “confine our efforts to alleviating the evils that accompany it.” But after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861, Meagher sided with the Union and raised a company that became part of the 69th New York State Militia. Meagher lacked formal military training, but he was courageous. During the Union debacle at First Bull Run, his horse was shot out from beneath him as he tried to rally his men. He subsequently traveled to New York, Boston and Philadelphia to promote an Irish brigade being formed from the nucleus of the 69th New York. Such was the Irishman’s charisma that roughly 60,000 people attended one event in August 1861. Meagher now likened the Confederacy to England as an oppressor, saying: “It is a fact that after all her denunciations and horror of slavery, England is for the South, where slavery is in full blast, and against the


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FROM THE CROSSROADS North, where it has long been extinct.” His appeals attracted some 3,000 volunteers, organized into the 63rd, 69th and 88th New York Infantry. He was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the brigade. The Irish Brigade’s performance at the Battles of Seven Pines, Savage’s Station, Glendale and Malvern Hill in 1862 helped to break down long-standing nativist barriers and prejudice. Meagher’s men fought with élan and courage, garnering so much praise in the press that a captain in the 88th New York commented, “[P]art of it is deserved and part of it is not—in all probability they have given the [brigade] more praise than the work we [have] done has deserved.” Combat and disease took a toll on the unit, which was what brought Meagher to the 7th Regiment Armory to appeal for recruits. When he said he needed 2,000 recruits, someone shouted, “Take the Black Republicans.” It was a question on the minds of many: What if the abolitionists had their way and the war demolished slavery, freeing hundreds of thousands of African Americans to compete for jobs? It was, he told Abraham Lincoln, “uphill work” attracting volunteers. Returning to his brigade after nearly two months, he brought with him only 250 replacements. When Meagher and his brigade rose on the morning of September 17 near Keedysville, Md., they numbered 1,369,

Blarney Expert Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Meagher told President Lincoln that recruiting Irish volunteers was “uphill work.”

including recent recruits—380 members were in the 29th Massachusetts, a nearly pure Yankee regiment that had reinforced the brigade in June. Meagher dressed in what one of his men called “a somewhat fancy uniform, with a gold shoulder-belt.” At 9 a.m. he and his men moved out with the rest of Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson’s 1st Division, II Corps. When Richardson’s three brigades, with Meagher’s leading, splashed across Pry’s Ford on Antietam Creek around 9:30, casualties were already streaming to the rear. The men marched into a cornfield on high ground that looked down on William Roulette’s farm. Beyond the farm, smoke marked the engagement between Brig. Gen. William French’s division in the II Corps and Rebel troops in a sunken farm lane. Now Meagher was ordered forward to relieve some of French’s men. The Rebel position in the Sunken Road was strong only if attacked head on, as French had done. A ridge of higher ground to the lane’s north commanded it, and the South’s line extended only to where the road took a 90-degree turn. The best way to dislodge the Rebels was by maneuvering around their exposed right flank, but since neither Meagher, nor anyone else it seems, conducted any reconnaissance, the brigade marched straight at the enemy. The four regiments advanced on the east side of the Roulette Farm. Meagher planned to have his men fire two volleys, then charge with bayonets. The brigade moved up, passing French’s division, then reached the ridge overlooking the Sunken Road. On the right, where the 69th New York was positioned, the Rebels were only 80 yards away. On the left, held by the 88th New York, they were closer. The Rebels started pouring fire into Meagher’s men, and the bayonet charge stalled in a hail of bullets. The Irishmen and Yankees stood their ground. Meagher was carried from the field after his horse was shot. By the time his brigade was relieved after 30–40 minutes, it had lost 113 killed and 422 wounded. And the Rebels remained in the Sunken Road, soon rechristined “Bloody Lane.” The slaughter seemed to confirm the worst fears of the Irish: Their men were being wantonly sacrificed to free slaves. The opposition Meagher had squelched in his 1862 recruiting tour would explode in violence during the New York City Draft Riots of July 1863. Scott Hartwig writes from the crossroads of Gettysburg. JANUARY 2017

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Interview by Allen Barra



President Ulysses S. Grant’s two-year world tour, from 1877-79, was the first extended diplomatic mission undertaken by a U.S. president, and helped to establish America’s status as a world power overseas. That eventful journey is the subject of Edwina S. Campbell’s book Citizen of a Wider Commonwealth. A former U.S. Foreign Service officer, Campbell was involved with numerous presidential foreign visits and later taught at the University of Virginia and the Air University in Montgomery, Ala. 16


How did you come to write about Grant’s tour?

My interest began at White Haven [the U.S. Grant National Historic Site in Missouri] in 2010, when I saw photos of Grant with the Chinese viceroy, Li Hungchang, and aboard USS Vandalia in the Mediterranean. In 2012 I visited the U.S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University to see what material it had about Grant’s travels, thinking I might write a short magazine piece. I soon realized both that the library had the extensive primary resources needed to write a book, and that there was no such book. With the encouragement of Professor John Marszalek and his MSU colleagues, I decided to write it.


How did Grant handle the logistics of his long journey? The advent of steamships, railroads, telegraphy, mapping and the 1869


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5 QUESTIONS opening of both the Suez Canal and the American Transcontinental Railroad all made Grant’s travels possible. The growth of a literate public during and after the Civil War meant that Americans were able to travel vicariously with Grant through John Russell Young’s New York Herald articles and 1879 book Around the World With General Grant, which I highly recommend.


What were Grant’s primary goals in taking such a journey?

When he left Philadelphia in May 1877, Grant did not set out to go around the world. He wanted to visit his married daughter, Nellie, in England, see the sights and form his own opinion about the nations of Europe. The first 18 months in Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land were not unprecedented, as the well-developed steamship routes testified to the extent of commercial travel between Europe and Asia. But politically it was. Until Theodore Roosevelt in the 20th century, no sitting president had ever left the U.S., and only a few former presidents had visited Europe as private tourists. They had not been received by monarchs, presidents and prime ministers. By mid-1878, when the press predicted that Grant would be nominated for a third presidential term in 1880, the governments hosting him hoped to influence future American policy. In my opinion, Grant himself thought his reelection not unlikely (which is not to say he wanted to return to the White House, only that he thought he might be called to do so). But if so, he wanted to be fully informed about the position of the U.S. around the world. When the U.S. government in late 1878 offered Grant passage on a warship from Europe to Japan, he accepted, and after the ship failed to arrive in France in January 1879, he proceeded on his own….He was welcomed in Thailand, China and Japan as a friend of racial equality and opponent of European imperial conquests, as indeed he was.


Could you explain the cartoon in your book, where Grant’s enemies proclaim him the “Hero of a Thousand Feeds”? That cartoon was published in Puck, an anti-Republican magazine, in 1880, in an attempt to thwart Grant’s return to the White House. There were four strands of opposition

Ulysses Grant at the Pyramids in Egypt and (opposite) with Chinese statesman Li Hung-chang.

to his nomination: those in both parties who supported the precedent set by George Washington of two presidential terms; Republicans who wanted to retain the White House but favored another candidate; Democrats who wanted to regain the White House and feared a Grant candidacy because of his popularity with Union war veterans; and Democrats and disaffected Republicans. The convention famously deadlocked and nominated a “dark horse,” James Garfield. Grant’s principal concern was retaining Republican control of the presidency, and he campaigned for the first and only time in his life for Garfield, who defeated the Democratic nominee, General Winfield Scott Hancock.


How would you assess Grant’s performance as our first foreign policy president?

In terms of foreign policy, Grant’s was the first modern presidency. The Union victory showed foreign powers that the U.S. was here to stay; as Grant said in Chicago in 1879, governments that had once believed that America was “tied together by a rope of sand, that would give way upon the slightest friction” had “found out their grand mistake.” I think the most apt comparison of Grant’s foreign policy tasks is with those confronting the 1945-53 administration of Harry Truman. The Lincoln presidency and that of Franklin D. Roosevelt marked the passage of the United States from one role in the world to another, but it was Grant and Truman who had to make the decisions the new role required. In Grant’s case, the most important decision concerned the future of the AngloAmerican relationship. His commitment to negotiation with London established the “special relationship” that shaped the 20thcentury world. What matters to me is the way in which Grant is generally overlooked as the decisionmaker in his own administration. It is impossible to imagine a consideration of the Spanish-American War, the League of Nations, the decision to use the Atomic Bomb, the U-2 affair or the Cuban Missile Crisis that does not discuss McKinley, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Whatever their assessment of those presidents’ decisions, historians acknowledge that the president mattered. But books are still being written about Grant’s foreign policy in which Secretary of State Hamilton Fish is regarded as the sole decision-maker. By describing how effective Grant was as the first president to represent the U.S. and the American people overseas, I hope my book helps to correct this.


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TRIUMPHS AND TRAGEDIES I am not sure why Montgomery C. Meigs rarely receives the credit he deserves for Northern victory in the Civil War. After all, the argument can be made that, other than Abraham Lincoln, Meigs did more to ensure Union success over four years of bloodshed than any other individual. More so even than luminaries like Grant, Sherman, Farragut and Stanton. In The Quartermaster, a new biography by noted journalist Robert O’Harrow Jr., the Union Army’s quartermaster general gets a long-awaited tribute. An excerpt from O’Harrow’s book in this issue (P. 26) looks at Meigs’ behind-the-scenes magic during the Chattanooga crisis in the fall of 1863. The 6-foot-2 Meigs, who was born in Georgia but grew up in Pennsylvania, had incomparable organizational skills. Few could have done what he did in building the Union military forces from scratch and keeping them regularly armed and supplied between June 1861 and the end of hostilities in 1865. We provide only a brief look at Meigs’ life, but as O’Harrow’s book reveals, the general’s list of accomplishments over 75 years is extraordinary. His work to improve the U.S. Capitol before and during the war would be bona fides enough for most. Not only did he restructure and expand the storied building, he oversaw construction and placement of

its massive iron dome, topped by what he called the Statue of Freedom, as well as the decoration of its interior chambers and halls with majestic statues and works of art. Arlington National Cemetery, which he established with considerable spite on land once owned by Robert E. Lee—a former hero—is another of Meigs’ enduring legacies. But it was probably his work in constructing the Washington Aqueduct in 1855 that proved to be his most crucial effort. The aqueduct was an engi­neering marvel that carried fresh water 12 miles from Great Falls, Va., to residents of the capital area, who until then had subsisted mainly on fetid water drawn from untrustworthy sources. Nevertheless, even as Meigs worked tirelessly to leave a lasting mark on Washington and the nation, he suffered tremendous personal tragedy. In 1853 two of his sons died of bilious fever after drinking infested water, pushing him only harder to complete his aqueduct. Then late in the war, his oldest son John, a Union soldier, was killed under mysterious circumstances in the Shenandoah Valley. He never forgave those who had brought about and sustained the war, including a man who had been his friend and strongest supporter in the 1850s: Confederate President Jefferson Davis. –Chris Howland

Enduring Legacy

Bridge No. 6 was part of the intricate system Meigs designed to bring fresh water to Washington, D.C. Parts of the system are still in use today.


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Double Threat The LeMat, or Grapeshot Revolver, coupled a revolving cylinder that held nine rounds with a secondary barrel that could hold buckshot or a lead ball.



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fistful of firepower JEAN LEMAT’s innovative GUN packed a punch By Michael G. Williams

The LeMat was a self-contained arsenal of devastation. With a revolving cylinder that held a daunting nine rounds and a secondary barrel that contained a load of buckshot or a lead ball, the revolver had few peers; however, the traits that made it so deadly would also prove to be significant shortcomings. Not only was the LeMat relatively complicated and difficult to produce, at 3.1 pounds and more than a foot long it was heavy to carry and unwieldy in the hands of untrained shooters. Given the gun’s unusual size and features, it is easy to dismiss as poorly conceived—little more than a mechanical curiosity. Yet it deserves a second look, especially considering the relatively primitive state of mid–19th century gun manufacture and the adverse conditions Southern gunmakers generally faced during the Civil War. In short, there were reasons other than a supposedly flawed design for the LeMat’s rapid demise. Like so many other products of the Confederate war machine, it faced an uphill battle against the industrially superior North in terms of manufacture and maintenance. JANUARY 2017

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he LeMat revolver’s unlikely story begins with its namesake, Jean Alexandre Francois LeMat. In contrast to many of his contemporaries, including Horace Smith, Daniel Wesson, Eliphalet Remington and Christopher Spencer, LeMat was trained as a physician. Born in France in 1821, he French Origins studied medicine at the UniverDr. Jean LeMat sity of Montpellier and worked at received a patent on a military hospital in Bordeaux his gun in 1856. for a year and a half. In 1844 the doctor immigrated to the United States and settled in New Orleans, where he rose to social and financial prominence following his marriage to Sophie LePretre, daughter of wealthy planter and merchant John Baptist LePretre. In the process, LeMat gained as a cousin-in-law West Point–educated Army officer P.G.T. Beauregard, an engineer who had served on General Winfield Scott’s staff during the Mexican War. In addition to exporting tobacco and cotton to the French government, LeMat boned up on to all things military, informed about the latest weaponry by Brevet Maj. Beauregard. The tactical uses of different firearms fascinated the doctor, as did the engineering that made them possible. He marveled at the Army’s ordnance, an array of pistols, rifles, shotguns, artillery and ammunition, each designed to inflict a particular kind of carnage. Such innovations inspired LeMat to draft plans for his own gun—a weapon he hoped would be worthy of America’s reputation for firepower. On October 21, 1856, the LeMat received its first patent: No. 15,925. Its inventor labeled it an “Improved Center-Barreled Revolver,” otherwise known as the “Grapeshot Revolver.” Among its most distinctive traits was a 20-gauge smoothbore shotgun barrel that doubled as the arbor, or central axis, on which the gun’s cylinder rotated. This gave the shooter nine .42-caliber bullets from the revolver and an extra load of ball or buckshot from the center barrel. Despite LeMat’s bold assertion that “[t]he operation of my revolver speaks for itself,” in reality its action wasn’t as clear as he claimed. In a design similar to that of other revolving pistols, the rear of the gun’s cylinder contained a percussion-cap cone for each chamber. Its hammer, however, differentiated it from the others. In order to fire the shotgun barrel, LeMat installed an additional percussion cone situated just below and at a slight angle to the cylinder’s firing mechanism. To accommodate this setup, he added

a hinged striker to the hammer. When flipped downward, the alternate hammer nose would hit the shotgun’s primer and discharge the barrel. LeMat’s design was unlike anything in the federal arsenal at the time. The prospect of 10 powerful shots made it a potential marvel, and Beauregard used his connections to garner attention for the ingenious weapon. On March 2, 1859, he arranged for a trial in Washington, D.C., with an armament board composed of high-ranking officers such as Braxton Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston and Winfield Scott. For the range test they loaded each cylinder chamber with approximately 1 gram of gunpowder and a .42-caliber projectile. The shotgun barrel received 2.5 grams of powder and 15 pellets of buckshot or a single 1-ounce ball. Board members fired a total of 25 pistol and 13 shotgun loads into an unspecified target (probably a thick slab of wood) at a distance of between 15 and 35 yards. LeMat’s revolver performed well on average, with the pistol rounds and the 1-ounce shotgun balls penetrating 2.5 inches, the buckshot loads 1 inch.

“We consider this arm far superior to any we have yet seen” –Washington, D.C. armament board


American Cousin P.G.T. Beauregard introduced LeMat to American weaponry.


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Still, the board members felt there was room for improvement, mentioning specific concerns about the loading lever affixed to the right side of the pistol’s frame. To charge the cylinder chambers, the shooter used this hollowed-out pivot rod, which housed a second removable rammer for the shotgun. According to their report, the officers thought the lever was too large and awkward, and that the revolver should be tested with troops in the field to ascertain its overall durability. But aside from those reservations, the board’s opinion of the gun was overwhelmingly positive. In a letter of endorsement, the trial’s participants declared the LeMat “a great and important improvement on [Samuel] Colt’s revolver; containing as it does, three additional pistol shots in the revolving cylinder, and one stationary central barrel….We consider this arm far superior to any we have yet seen for the use of cavalry, acting against Indians, or when charging on a square of Infantry or a battery of field pieces.” They likewise noted its value to artillerists in defending their cannons and to naval personnel when boarding enemy ships. In short, they “earnestly recommend[ed]” that the military adopt LeMat’s revolver as soon as the government found it “practicable to do so.” With a semiofficial seal of approval in hand, LeMat and Beauregard formed a partnership and went into business. Notwithstanding his modest 25 percent share in the venture, Beauregard assumed the mammoth tasks of promoting the pistol, building relationships with armories and distributors and managing their mounting expenses. By the end of 1859, they had already spent $5,750 ($158,000 today) but had little to show for it. Thus far they had produced only 100 pistols, through a small Philadelphia-based gunsmith, John Krider & Co. What they needed was a large-capacity armory capable of accurately reproducing the LeMat’s intricate components. Some of the world’s best gun manufacturers were then located in the northeastern United States. But once the secession crisis unfolded in the spring of 1861, those facilities were off-limits to the Southern-sympathizing LeMat and his revolver. The newly established Confederacy needed weapons, of course, and thanks in part to the influence of Beauregard, now a Confederate general, LeMat won a contract in late July 1861 to furnish Southerners with 5,000 Grapeshot Revolvers. But when he learned that the South lacked the materiel and industrial resources necessary to produce such a sophisticated firearm, LeMat had no choice but to take his operation to Europe, where his pistols would be manufactured in a disjointed production process. To make the parts for his revolvers, LeMat used armories in Liege, Belgium, and Paris. The components were in turn sent to Birmingham, England, for assembly, before being shipped to the Confederacy. As the war went on, the perils of the stormy North Atlantic, combined with the risks of running the Union naval blockade, made delivering the guns increasingly costly and unreliable. Of the 2,900 Grapeshot Revolvers LeMat pro-

duced, historians estimate that somewhere from 900 to 1,700 actually made it to the Confederacy. Firsthand accounts from LeMat pistol users are extremely difficult to find today. We do know that the proprietary calibers of the early model (or first series) LeMats were a common source of complaints from soldiers. Army supply chains, North and South, typically delivered .36- and .44-caliber pistol ammunition. That meant shooters armed with LeMats, which were initially chambered in .35 and .42 calibers, had to cast their own projectiles. By the middle of the war, LeMat had rechambered the

Buried Treasure This LeMat, reportedly carried by one of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troopers during the Battle of Franklin, was excavated with six of its nine cylinders still loaded near the banks of Tennessee’s Harpeth River. When found, the pistol was missing its loading assembly, a common aspect of perhaps half of battlefield-recovered examples. Experts believe that their lightweight design meant many of those assemblies broke off during repeated use, but they also think that owners often removed them because they interfered with the process of firing the gun or pulling it out of the holster.

Skeletal Prize This pistol’s wood grip had rotted, exposing the frame.


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second series to meet these standards. He also repositioned the loading lever on the left side of the frame, for a stronger mount (although they still frequently broke); reshaped the trigger guard, eliminating the ornate finger rest; and added an easily accessible thumb switch to the hammer’s hinged striker. But despite those improvements, Southern troops still chose other models over the LeMat. For the conflict’s duration his pistols were more prestige items than trusted battle implements. Numerous Confederate commanders possessed them. In addition to Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston and Henry Wirz each owned at least one. Legendary cavalryman J.E.B. Stuart supposedly loved his. Stonewall Jackson, too, is rumored to have had a LeMat, though his revolver’s whereabouts remain a mystery to this day [see sidebar, opposite page]. The challenge facing modern firearms scholars is a shortage of anecdotes chronicling the LeMat’s combat service. This raises what may be an unanswerable question: Did the LeMat see much use during the war? The clues we have suggest that it didn’t. For instance, there are no extant photographs or paintings depicting the notable commanders who owned LeMats with their pistols holstered. In fact, when the gun’s best-known proponent, Stuart, was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern on May 11, 1864, he was carrying not a LeMat but a Whitney. It’s impossible to say whether this should be seen as tacit commentary on the revolver’s quality. In Dr. LeMat’s defense, his concept was sound and its potential applications manifold. Scott, Bragg and the rest of their armament board colleagues certainly thought so. But regardless of

their approval, the Grapeshot Revolver ultimately faded into obscurity. The woefully underequipped South had been unable to produce a gun of such advanced design, and the LeMat never received the meticulous attention to detail that is critical to the evolution of every firearm. It was manufactured in Europe, then secretly slipped back into the South—circumstances unlikely to engender success. But more than 150 years later LeMat’s legacy endures— more so on the auction block than in American arsenals. The scarcity of his revolvers help drive premium sales prices, generally $15,000 to $50,000, depending

on condition. Indeed, LeMat’s failed pistol has captivated countless history buffs and gun enthusiasts, many of them willing to pay big money to own such a rare specimen of an ambitious weapon that wound up on the wrong side of the war. Michael G. Williams is a Maryland-based writer and firearms enthusiast. He cannot afford a genuine LeMat.

Lead Assassins A fully loaded LeMat held nine slugs in the revolving chamber and pieces of shot or one .20-gauge musket ball in the secondary barrel.

This 2nd Model LeMat patent drawing incorrectly shows eight rounds in the cylinder.



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A Real Handful More than a foot long, this 2nd Model LeMat, produced circa 1860, weighed nearly four pounds.

Stonewall’s LeMat? The LeMat had a surprisingly large pool of noteworthy Confederate owners, which supposedly included Thomas J. Jackson. One problem: We don’t have any definitive evidence supporting the claim that “Stonewall” had possessed the legendary revolver. Or do we? ¶ In the archives of the Virginia Military Institute, where Jackson taught before the war, there is a little-known albumen print made in 1890 that depicts the general’s personal effects displayed in the parlor of his former home in Charlotte, N.C. The pictured items, listed in the margins by Jackson’s widow Anna, include his books and bookcase, his clock, Bible, field glasses, epaulettes, hat, gauntlets, sword and two pistols. On the left hangs a rather unremarkable revolver, possibly the British Tranter. The gun on the right, however, bears an uncanny resemblance to an early-model LeMat. ¶ Not much clearer than a spectral silhouette, the pistol has what appears to be the LeMat’s characteristic smoothbore shotgun underneath the main barrel. The ornate trigger guard is also consistent with a first series LeMat, as is the curvature of the backstrap, the grip’s lanyard latch and the subtle slope atop the gun’s frame, where the revolver barrel and the cylinder housing meet. ¶ While several similar traits can be found on another Confederate revolver—the French-made Houllier-Blanchard—the clues add fuel to a 150-year-old mystery. If Jackson owned a LeMat, where is it? Until her death in 1915, Anna Jackson worked tirelessly to preserve his memory. Her late husband was a living legend before the middle of the war, and following his mortal wounding at Chancellorsville, Va., in May 1863 he ascended to the realm of secular sainthood. Everything associated with his name instantly became sacrosanct—his belongings akin to holy relics, his exploits practically mythic. ¶ The notion that someone might have discarded anything associated with Stonewall is highly improbable. Nonetheless, this obscure photo could well be the only tangible vestige of the general’s LeMat. -M.G.W.


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‘Experience of the Right Sort’ Southern-born Montgomery C. Meigs immediately impressed President Abraham Lincoln, who pushed to make him Quartermaster General in June 1861. Wrote Lincoln, “I do not know one who combines the qualities of masculine intellect, learning, and experience of the right sort, and physical power of labor and endurance, so well as he….”

victory on his shoulders

Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs set the stage for Union success By Robert O’Harrow Jr.



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Crisis at Chickamauga Union soldiers fire at charging Confederates during the September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia. The Federals retreated to Chattanooga after their defeat, and Meigs rushed to Tennessee to help reverse the army’s prospects in the region.


ecretary of State William H. Seward was not indulging in hyperbole when he wrote of U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs in May 1867, “Without the services of this eminent soldier, the National cause must either have been lost or deeply imperiled.” Unfortunately, Meigs’ contributions to Northern victory in the Civil War have rarely been fully appreciated. There never was doubt the Georgiaborn West-Pointer, a lifelong opponent of slavery, would stay loyal to the Union when war broke out, and as the Army’s chief quartermaster general, he worked incessantly to supply his troops what they needed wherever they needed it. For most of the war, Meigs remained close to his headquarters in Washington, D.C., but in September 1863 a crisis erupted that threatened the hard-pressed Union army at Chattanooga, Tenn., and challenged his skill, ingenuity and endurance. The following excerpt from Robert O’Harrow Jr.’s new biography The Quartermaster follows Meigs to Tennessee, where Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton directed him to orchestrate the delivery of men and mules that would spark a stunning Union victory.



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Meigs’ contributions to Northern victory in the Civil War have rarely been fully appreciated. On August 28, 1863, Meigs rode through the hills west of Washington, making his way to the Army of the Potomac’s sprawling camp just north of the Rappahannock River. It was the first of several journeys that would take him out of the capital for nearly four months, longer than at any other time during the war. Wherever he went, Meigs observed mammoth, sometimes awe-inspiring operations. At the Army of the Potomac camp, he looked out at a veritable city of white cotton tents, a scene made hazy in places by camp smoke. Wagons stood in straight lines in the fields not far from the horses and mules that would pull them. Scores of cannons gleamed in the hot sun. Men ate and laughed and slept and marched, as soldiers in camp always do. On his return to the capital, Meigs received orders to visit the principal armies in the middle states and the South. Planned stops included depots at Memphis, Vicksburg and St. Louis, along with a visit to Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland. Stanton wanted Meigs to review the troops and examine the supplies his department provided, including the baggage, clothing, ammunition and wagons. But his mission soon changed, and then changed again. First he was redirected to Louisville to investigate a contracting scheme involving poorly trained mules. In Louisville he received a telegram ordering him to leave for Chattanooga, where a ferocious battle was underway southeast of the city, near Chickamauga Creek in Georgia. Stanton wanted Meigs to bring order to the Army of the Cumberland and send back reports about the action. Drawing on sparse details, Meigs initially thought the Federals might have the advantage. As it turned out, however, the battle posed a grave threat not only to Union forces led by Rosecrans but also to the North’s entire position in the region. Only the heroic performance of corps commander Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas averted their annihilation. Under his cool leadership, the Northerners fended off an onslaught by Confederates under General Braxton Bragg. Rosecrans and the rest of his Union army fled back to Chattanooga. Thomas rallied the remaining troops, buying time for Rosecrans and earning himself the nickname “Rock of Chickamauga.” The fighting was over before Meigs arrived, but when he did get there he found a perilous situation. Both sides had lost more than a quarter of their forces to battle casualties, more than 34,000 in all. The battered Union forces rested in strong, well-provisioned camps throughout the town, but their sense of security was short-lived. Bragg’s men cut the rail line to the Federal supply base in Nashville and occupied nearby Lookout Mountain, which towers 1,500 feet over Chattanooga, along with Missionary Ridge, a seemingly impregnable position 500 feet high. Meanwhile Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s Corps, on loan to Bragg from

the Army of Northern Virginia, took control of the valley and the south bank of the Tennessee River. The Rebels managed to resupply by taking weapons, ammunition and shoes from the Union dead, but the Federals had to content themselves with what they had. A single mountain path provided the only way to bring in supplies at that point. Meigs quickly realized that the path, which barely qualified as a road, would become a quagmire after a little rain. Rosecrans was trapped. For two days Stanton and his aides read dismal dispatches in which Rosecrans attempted to explain the reasons for the Chickamauga debacle. “I know the reason well enough,” Stanton quipped. “Rosecrans ran away from his fighting men and did not stop for thirteen miles.” Late on September 23, the war secretary realized that Washington had to do something extraordinary to help. Chattanooga served as a railway hub in the region; the Union had to hold it to maintain control of Tennessee. Future operations deeper into the South depended on it. Stanton called for an emergency planning session and went to Lincoln’s cottage at the Old Soldiers’ Home in Washington to retrieve the president. Working through the night, the group resolved to reinforce Rosecrans with men from the Army of the Potomac. They selected the XI and XII corps for the job, assigning command to Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Now everyone asked the same question: How could they get the men to Chattanooga in time? For the answer, Stanton turned to the U.S. Military Railroads Corps, one of the North’s greatest logistical weapons. Under the leadership of Colonel Daniel McCallum, the railroad operators would achieve something no one had done before, something that few thought was possible. McCallum was an engineer and a poet who had distinguished himself before the war as a railroad executive. In 1862 he became director and superintendent of the Union’s military railroads. He had already worked wonders during the war. Under his leadership, the rail lines under Fed­­eral control soared from seven miles to more than 2,100. He would oversee construction of 26 miles of bridges. McCallum’s mission now involved moving 23,000 fighting men, their horses, artillery and supplies about 1,200 miles, all in one swoop. General in Chief Henry Halleck declared that such a movement was not possible, but McCallum said it could be done in two weeks. Many people jumped in to help. John W. Garrett, president of the B&O Railroad, contributed 194 troop cars and 44 stock cars. Garrett also telegrammed ahead to make arrangements for the various stages, staying in constant contact with McCallum. Meigs served as field organizer in Tennessee, making financial arrangements to move the soldiers via rail between JANUARY 2017

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By the Rails Maintaining control of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, which ran along the foot of Lookout Mountain, was a priority for Meigs as he worked to support besieged Union forces at Chattanooga.



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An Engineer and a Poet Colonel Daniel McCallum (right, seated with a fellow officer atop Lookout Mountain) masterminded the process of sending Union reinforcements to Chattanooga by rail within a matter of days.

Louisville and Nashville. Hooker and his officers quickly gathered their troops at Manassas Junction and Brandy Station. The soldiers carried only what they needed for the trip and the following few days: 40 rounds per man and two days’ cooked rations. Commissary and quartermaster men arranged to provide coffee and sugar during the journey. Planners made sure that the trains moved in the dark, to conceal them from Rebel spotters in distant hills, and cautioned commanders to remain secretive about the planned stops: Wheeling, W.Va.; Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ken.; and finally, Nashville. To confuse the enemy, officers received orders to say they were headed to Memphis. Somehow it all came together. By September 26, McCallum reported that nearly all the trains and troops and supplies were on their way west and south, thanks to Garrett and the other railroad men. Stanton was ecstatic. “A thousand thanks to you,” he wrote to McCallum. It had not rained in Chattanooga for two months. Hot dust whipped through the Union encampments, and any shade disappeared as the men cut down trees for their fortifications and fires. The grass withered and turned brown. Food trickled in, at least until the rains began in early October, and then the hunger grew as the river rose and mud sucked at the wheels of supply wagons. Soldiers debated whether it had been better broiling in the sun or dying a cool, damp death through starvation. One wagon driver became so troubled by the mud on the single path he had to follow that instead of beating his mules in the usual manner, he sat still in his seat and wept. The two armies faced each other from trenches and log fortifications. They were so close in places that some stopped shooting at one another. It seemed inhuman to take quiet aim at a man whose eyes they could still see at twilight. The men on both sides called their trenches gopher pits. They

Under the leadership of Colonel Daniel McCallum, the railroad operators would achieve something no one had done before, something that few thought was possible.

joked with one another even as giant shells, launched from Rebel siege guns, shrieked overhead. They also dueled with songs, “Dixie” from the Southerners and “Hail Columbia” from the Northern boys. The logistical challenges facing the Quartermaster Corps were nearly overwhelming. Thousands of mules died from starvation and the work of hauling in rations for 50,000 men and forage for the starving horses, many of which no longer had strength enough to pull artillery. Mule carcasses lined the rough road all the way to Bridgeport, Ala., where the Union army had a boatyard and a supply dump. On October 2, Confederate cavalrymen made a devastating attack on the tenuous supply line, destroying more than 300 loaded wagons and killing or capturing 1,800 mules. The army, with enough ammunition for less than a day’s fighting, reportedly hung on “by the merest thread.” Meigs scrambled in his usual way. He urged Stanton to send more mules, in part to support Hooker’s arriving men. He guided pioneer troops who had put two abandoned sawmills into action, spitting out lumber for bridges, boats and fortifications. He oversaw the inventory of equipment and metal from a large foundry and a destroyed bridge, stuff that was eventually transformed into rolling mills for rail lines. Meigs wrote often to Stanton, and their correspondence showed a growing trust—even signs of affection. In one note, the gruff war secretary went beyond military protocol to express his appreciation of Meigs’ efforts. “Your very interesting reports have been received, and I thank you much for the intelligence conveyed,” Stanton wrote. “The army transportation advised by you to be forwarded is now being shipped by rail as fast as possible, and will be pushed forward with the utmost speed. ‘All quiet on the Potomac.’ Nothing to disturb autumnal slumbers. Your friends here are well. All public interest is now concentrated on the Tennessee and at Chattanooga.” JANUARY 2017

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Lifeline A specially designed transport steamer, shown being built by Quartermaster Department workers, was needed to deliver essential supplies to the starving Federals.

On October 16, with the situation fast deteriorating, the army created a new military division that encompassed Tennessee. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the hero of Vicksburg, was put in overall command. He relieved Rosecrans and placed Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland. In an exchange of telegrams, the two new leaders discussed the army’s dire state. “Hold Chattanooga at all hazards,” Grant said. “I will be there as soon as possible. Please inform me how long your present supplies will last, and the prospect of keeping them up.” Thomas reported there wasn’t much. They had perhaps two weeks before they would have to abandon Chattanooga. “We will hold the town until we starve,” he told Grant. Meigs traveled to Louisville to meet Grant and Stanton, then accompanied Grant on the return trip. Grant was focused on feeding his men, which meant improving his supply line. A key to this was constructing a steamboat that could ply the upper Tennessee River, which could not be reached easily from downstream because of thin water at Muscle Shoals, Ala. A quartermaster man, Captain Arthur Edward, had responsibility for building the vessel. Meigs arranged for delivery of specialized supplies, including boilers Solid Teamwork Grant and Maj. Gen. George Thomas (left) formed a strong partnership during the crisis.


and engines that were floated down the Ohio River and shipped by rail to the boatyard at Bridgeport, on the upstream side of Muscle Shoals. Mechanics and carpenters hustled down from the North to help out. The quartermaster team built the steamer from a flat-bottomed scow outfitted with pontoons, a new steam engine, a rough pilothouse and a paddle wheel. They fashioned a cabin from a rough frame and covered it with canvas. Once the boat was nearly complete, Grant launched a stealthy campaign to take key points on the river. At 3 a.m. on October 27, 1,400 men floated silently nine miles down the Tennessee on other pontoon boats, surprising the Rebels at Brown’s Ferry. The Union force dismantled those boats and used the pontoons to build a bridge. Hooker’s men, waiting in reserve near rail lines outside Chattanooga, moved to protect the bridge. On October 29, the recently built Chattanooga steamed upriver, moving barges holding thousands of rations, including pork and hard bread known as crackers, along with tons of forage for the animals. The boat stopped at Rankin’s Ferry and Kelley’s Ferry, triggering jubilation among the hungry soldiers, who proclaimed the vessel, along with newly opened roads, a “cracker line” of deliverance. “Their joy at seeing the little steamboat and scows afloat and loaded with rations can be faintly imagined—hardly described; they shouted and danced on the bank of the river like crazy men,” one quartermaster man recalled later. On November 23, the replenished Union army began its push. The troops marched out in strict formation, as though on parade. More forces followed, including 25,000 of Thomas’ men. Lulled by the long siege, the Rebels mis-


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“Hold Chattanooga at all hazards, I will be there as soon as possible.” –u.s. grant took it for a drill, and soon those on the high ground of Orchard Knob were overrun by Union forces and pushed back to Missionary Ridge. “It was a surprise in open daylight,” Meigs wrote to Stanton in a dispatch that was soon published in newspapers. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and his army arrived from the west and took a bridgehead several miles upriver of the city. Then Hooker pushed his men up Lookout Mountain. The Federals climbed and fought through rain and mist, with most of the fighting occurring above a mass of low clouds. Meigs, enchanted with the scene, called it the “Battle Above the Clouds.” “At nightfall sky cleared, and the full moon, the ‘hunter’s moon,’ shone upon the beautiful scene,” he wrote to Stanton. “Till 1 a.m., twinkling sparks upon the mountain side showed that picket skirmishing was still going on; then it ceased.” By the morning of November 25, the Stars and Stripes flew from atop Lookout Mountain, but the fight continued. The Southerners who jammed Missionary Ridge began a cannonade on Union positions. All day, big guns on both sides barked and spit fire. Infantry probes went up the ridge with limited success. Grant now ordered a general advance. He did not intend for the men to go far. They scrambled higher and higher on their own initiative, over rifle pits and through a hailstorm of shell, grape and musket fire. Some fainted, and all were soaked in sweat. They feared that if they stopped, they would die. Meanwhile Meigs almost could not believe what was unSpring of Hope After the victory at Chattanooga, Meigs joined Grant (above left) and others atop Lookout Mountain, where he filled his canteen from a spring—then briefly went hunting.

folding before him. “With cheers answering to cheers,” he wrote, “the men swarmed upwards.” One Union leader later put the surge into perspective: “What so often is uttered in eloquent speeches in comfortable salons, in State House, and in halls of Congress, ‘Victory or dead,’ was here an uncomfortable reality.” Grant, Meigs and other leaders eventually followed the foot soldiers to the crest of the ridge. The Federals redirected captured guns and rebuilt log breastworks as barricades. Bragg’s disintegrating army fled the carnage. Union soldiers shouted, wept and danced as they absorbed the new reality. Meigs gave thanks for having witnessed what he called the “great battle of the Rebellion.” “Total defeat; they are driven from the field, and these impregnable positions are stormed by our volunteers,” he wrote that night before bedding down. “It was a glorious sight. I am rejoiced—I took part in it—a memorable day.” Meigs also collected some souvenirs. One man recalled the general gathered a veritable “curiosity shop” of Rebel bullets, bayonets and cartridge boxes. Meigs later accompanied Grant and others to the top of Lookout Mountain, where he drank from a spring and filled his canteen. He then rode off, found a covey of partridges and, relishing a chance to hunt, shot three with his pistol. After that, on orders from Washington, he made his way to Nashville, Louisville, and then, in the New Year, returned home. Copyright © 2016 by Robert O’Harrow Jr. From The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln’s General, Master Builder of the Union Army, by Robert O’Harrow Jr. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed by permission. JANUARY 2017

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HAVOC in MARYLAND A Bold Rebel Cavalry Raid Falls Short at a mountain Crossroads By Debra Topinka



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Pennsylvania Prelude Ron Lesser’s painting The Burning of Chambersburg— July 30, 1864 shows Brig. Gen. John McCausland and his command surveying their handiwork. Their next target: Cumberland, Md.


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Payback Time To avenge Union raids in Virginia, Rebel commander Jubal Early sent John McCausland’s cavalry on a daring raid of Pennsylvania and western Maryland in late July 1864, starting at McCoy’s Ferry Ford. Stopped outside Cumberland, the raiders recrossed the Potomac near Oldtown, Md.

n August 1, 1864, war arrived with a vengeance in the western Maryland town of Cumberland. Days earlier, Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early had ordered nearby communities ransomed—and had burned Chambersburg, Pa., when the town refused to pay up. Now Cumberland, a rich but well-defended target about 100 miles southwest of Gettysburg, was next in his sights. What began as the outpost Fort Cumberland in 1754—the last stronghold for British General Edward Braddock in his ill-fated 1755 expedition against French and Indian forces— had become the thriving hub of three major transport routes: the National Road, also known as the Baltimore Pike; the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal; and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. By 1860, it boasted a population of 7,302. Since the start of the Civil War, there had been a strong Union presence in the town. In August 1861, the District of Grafton was established, with Cumberland placed under federal martial law and the authority of Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley. Union troops stationed in town varied in


strength from 3,000 to as many as 8,000—more than the civilian populace. During the summer of 1864, Early retaliated on two occasions for Northern depredations in Virginia. In May and June, Union Maj. Gen. David Hunter had stormed through the Shenandoah Valley destroying food and supplies, levying fines on uncooperative towns, fending off guerrillas and burning the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. At first Early headed for Washington. Early’s Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, reinforced with local units and renamed the Army of the Valley, staged a counterinvasion that reached the outskirts of Washington, D.C., on July 11. Facing Union forces, Early withdrew the next day. Then in late July, he regrouped for a second incursion, this time starting in Pennsylvania. On July 30, Brig. Gens. John McCausland Jr. and Bradley T. Johnson demanded $600,000 from Chambersburg residents. When that ransom wasn’t paid, approximately 500 of the town’s structures were burned. McCausland and his column then plundered McConnellsburg, 20 miles to the west, before heading southwest


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for Hancock, pursued by Brig. Gen. William W. Averell’s Union cavalry. On the morning of August 1, McCausland reached Hancock, where his “request” for $30,000 nearly caused a mutiny from his own Marylanders—including his second in command, Johnson. Then Averell’s cavalry arrived and fighting broke out in the main street. And at that point McCausland received orders from Early to set out for the more lucrative target of Cumberland, 38 miles away, where he was to destroy railyards, bridges and coal pits. Early also instructed him to exact a ransom from the town’s citizens, threatening them with the same fate as Chambersburg. Disengaging from Averell, McCausland pulled out of Hancock and headed west along the Baltimore Pike. Anticipating the threat, Cumberland’s mayor, Dr. Charles H. Ohr, had all roads leading in and out of town barricaded and picketed by General Kelley’s troops. He also called for a home militia to be raised. Townsmen took up an assortment of arms ranging from rifles to shotguns, and shopkeepers hid their goods. Meanwhile the railroad companies sent their trains westward, beyond the Rebels’ reach. But many townsfolk gathered on the city heights to observe the coming confrontation. The first shots were fired around noon near Flintstone, 12 miles northeast of town. Responding to a telegraph message received in New Creek, Lieutenant Tappan W. Kelley, General Kelley’s son, led a small detachment of the 11th West Virginia Infantry to reconnoiter and was soon skirmishing with McCausland’s scouts. Meanwhile, 2½ miles east of Cumberland near John Folck’s mill, some of Kelley’s troops had positioned themselves along the Baltimore Pike and placed two sections of Battery L, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, at George Hinkle’s house on a hill. The balance of Kelley’s command—consisting of the 152nd and 156th Ohio Infantry (100-day men whose enlistment was due to expire within a few days) along with four companies of the 11th West Virginia; one company of the 6th West Virginia Infantry; and several hundred survivors of the Second Battle of Kernstown, fought a week earlier—entrenched on the city’s outskirts. Aligned on Kelley’s right flank were the 200-man volunteer militia led by Brig. Gen. Charles Mynn Thruston, a West Point graduate and Cumberland resiGrim Aftermath dent. The 153rd Ohio Infantry, under Colonel Chambersburg Israel Stough, had been sent to Oldtown, Md., citizens prepare to secure the Potomac River crossing there in to rebuild after the Rebel raiders’ case the enemy tried to take Cumberland by departure. a circuitous route, coming up from the south

‘Tiger John’ McCausland taught math at VMI, his alma mater, before becoming a Confederate cavalry commander.

Elder Defender Brig. Gen. Benjamin Kelley helped to save Cumberland in 1864, but he would be captured there by partisan raider Jesse McNeill in 1865. JANUARY 2017

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thanks are hereby tendered to those who volunteered in the defense of the city by taking up arms and marching out to repel the invading foe.’ -Cumberland Mayor Charles H. Ohr

through Virginia, or to block his retreat if need be. Of the roughly 1,000 men on hand to defend Cumberland, the only battle-tested men were the 6th and 11th West Virginia, the three sections of Illinois and Maryland artillery and the stragglers from Kernstown—hardly a match for the 2,800 seasoned veterans descending on them. At 3 p.m. a squadron of McCausland’s cavalry was crossing the covered bridge over Evitt’s Creek near Folck’s Mill when Federal artillery and skirmishers opened fire. Scrambling for cover around the Folck house, barn, grist and saw mills, and cooper shop, the troopers returned fire while McCausland brought the four guns of Captain John H. McClanahan’s battery into line and committed the remainder of his force. During a three-hour exchange, McClanahan’s guns were well handled but proved to be largely ineffective against the Deadly Detour Heading toward Cumberland on August 1, McCausland’s seasoned raiders didn’t expect much Federal resistance. They were proved wrong in a threehour clash on land owned by miller John Folck.


Northern artillery emplaced on higher ground. Folck’s Mill sustained considerable damage, with one shot starting a fire in the barn that destroyed it. The Confederates made several assaults, nearly succeeding in seizing ground on the Federal left flank before being driven back. At 6 p.m. McCausland and Johnson held a conference. Neither side had made any headway, but the Confederates, who were in unfamiliar territory facing what they (wrongly) believed to be numerically superior Federal forces, knew time was not on their side. As his troops disengaged and withdrew from Folck’s Mill, McCausland sent Major Harry Gilmor and his cavalry ahead to scout out an escape route. Across the Baltimore Pike, Cumberland’s defenders established a field hospital at George Hinkle’s house. General Kelley reported that the engagement, which would be variously referred to as the Battle of Folck’s Mill, the Battle of Pleasant Mills or the Battle of Cumberland, had cost him one man killed and one wounded, though the number of wounded actually came to four. The Confederates left behind eight dead and 30 wounded, along with two caissons, carriages, a large amount of ammunition and some of their plunder from Chambersburg.


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Embattled Mill Union artillery and skirmishers fended off the raiders at Folck’s Mill, 2 1/2 miles east of Cumberland.

At 11 p.m. the Confederates began withdrawing from Cumberland’s outskirts, leaving their campfires burning as a ruse. Elements of the 153rd Ohio Infantry that were deployed on a narrow spit between the C&O Canal and the Potomac made it necessary for the Confederates to fight their way across the river, but they ultimately succeeded. After riding into Springfield, W.Va., they got a chance to rest on August 4 before setting out for New Creek to resume raids on the B&O Railroad. On August 3, Cumberland’s Mayor Ohr and his council adopted the following resolution: “Whereas on Monday, the 1st of August, the peace and safety of our city was endangered by an invading enemy, and the military authorities called on the citizens for voluntary aid, therefore Be it resolved by the Mayor and Councilmen, That the thanks of the Mayor and Council of the City of Cumberland…are hereby tendered to those citizens and others who, at the call of the authorities, volunteered in the defense of the city by taking up arms and marching out to meet and repel the invading foe.”

On August 5, the council issued another resolution expressing their gratitude to General Kelley for saving the town and protecting them from “dreadful calamity, similar to that lately inflicted upon the people of Chambersburg.” And on that same day President Abraham Lincoln promoted Kelley to brevet major general. Cumberland held a grand review on August 11, honoring Kelley’s troops as well as citi­zen soldiers. Never again would Cumberland face a significant threat from the Confederates, although raids continued on the B&O railroad. And in February 1865, Confederate partisan raider Jesse McNeill managed to reach the town undetected at night and capture General Kelley and Maj. Gen. George Crook. Both Union commanders were exchanged soon thereafter. Debra Topinka, a reenactor and living historian of the Civil War for the past 15-plus years, writes from Bedford, Pa.

Folck’s Mill battlefield today: The battlefield is not protected, but vestiges of the 1864 fight remain. The ruins of Folck’s Mill (right) stand along Evitt’s Creek in the woods north of the entrance ramp from Route 220 to Interstate Route 68. The George Hinkle house, an elegant brick structure that was used as a hospital during the fight, is the current location of Puccini’s Restaurant along Ali Ghan Road NE, known as the Baltimore Pike during the Civil War. For more images of Folck’s Mill, go to JANUARY 2017

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photo op The secrets behind a remarkable photograph By Jerry Morelock



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Perfect Composition Officers of Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, pose for photographer James Gibson during the Peninsula Campaign.

ames F. Gibson’s photo of four Union officers in the Army of the Potomac’s Horse Artillery Brigade (left) is regarded as one of the Civil War’s most iconic images. According to the Library of Congress, it dates from June 1, 1862, near Fair Oaks, Va.—the second and final day of the Battle of Seven Pines, the deadliest battle to date in the Eastern Theater and the closest Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan would get to Richmond in his ill-fated Peninsula Campaign. Gibson, a 34-year-old native of Scotland who was working for Mathew Brady, had accompanied McClellan’s army throughout the campaign, beginning in April. On June 1, a typically hot, humid day on the Virginia Peninsula, he gathered the four officers of Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery, around one of the unit’s six 3-inch ordnance rifles. As the photographer removed his camera’s lens cover to begin the carefully timed process of capturing the image, a bearded soldier leading one of the battery’s horses in the background seems to have “photo-bombed” the scene. Gibson waited the necessary time to complete the exposure, then replaced the lens cover. Frozen in time on the glass plate he removed from his camera and developed in his horse-drawn darkroom was a striking photo. Exactly when Gibson made this image has never been confirmed. Although it might seem odd that the officers of the brigade, which had supported Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke’s Cavalry Reserve at Seven Pines, would find time to pose for such a photo on the day of a battle, if the June 1 date is accurate, it stands to reason that they did so after the fighting had concluded around 11:30 a.m. Three of the men, Captains John Caldwell Tidball and Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington Jr., and 1st Lt. William Neil Dennison, are dressed for field duty—a rare glimpse of Civil War troops in “combat” uniforms. Their natural-looking poses and overall air of confidence, what we’d refer to today as “attitude,” also contribute to making this a standout image. JANUARY 2017

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exquisite details The photo shows (left to right) 2nd Lt. Robert Clarke, Tidball (battery commander), Dennison and Pennington. The identity of the enlisted man in the back is unknown. Two of the officers were West Pointers: 37-year-old Tidball (Class of 1848) and 24-year-old Pennington (Class of 1860). The other two were commissioned as Regular Army officers after the war began. Clarke and Dennison served in the 2nd Artillery throughout the war, and both eventually commanded Battery A. Despite having fought in some of the Eastern Theater’s bloodiest battles, all four officers survived the conflict. Clarke resigned from the Army in February 1865, but the others remained in uniform for lengthy periods: Dennison resigned in 1870 to pursue political and business interests; Tidball, regarded as the Army’s premier artillery expert, retired as a colonel in 1889; and Pennington, a brigadier general of volunteers during the 1898 Spanish-American War, retired in 1899. Under magnification, some remarkable details are visible, as shown above: 1. The tiny number “2” (for 2nd Artillery) superimposed on the crossed cannon insignia on the kepis worn by Clarke, Tidball and Pennington; 2. The horse-shaped gold or silver stickpin on Pennington’s plaid tie; and 3. The distinctive “eagle and wreath” design on Clarke’s and Pennington’s regulation U.S. Army officer belt buckles. The differences in their uniforms are revealing. Only


Clarke, the junior officer, wears the regulation dress/ service uniform—a nine-button, knee-length frock coat with white collar insert over his sky-blue trousers, with a thin red cord along the outer seam denoting that he is an artillery company–grade officer, and ankle-high brogans. The other three are dressed more informally, reflecting individuality and personal preference, and also demonstrating their desire for practicality and comfort in the field. Dennison, for example, wears a broad-brimmed hat—practical on a hot summer day—and sports kneehigh leather riding boots rather than the regulation anklehigh brogans. All three are wearing civilian-style pinstriped or plaid pullover shirts with a scarf or necktie, but each has on a different type of coat or jacket—to which his shoulder strap rank insignia has been sewn. Dennison’s appears to be a standard-issue enlisted soldier’s four-button “sack coat”; Pennington’s is a waist-length, tab-collar “shell jacket”–style worn by mounted soldiers; and Tidball’s coat has a wide fall-down collar and lapels, with an external pocket at the left breast. Both Tidball and Pennington wear the heavy leather gauntlets favored by mounted officers for rough field duty. Dennison’s and Pennington’s swords appear to be 1860 light cavalry sabers, and Tidball’s, though somewhat obscured in this image, is likely either that model or an 1840 Light Artillery (Horse Artillery) saber.


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The Men

2nd Lt. Robert Clarke

1st Lt. William Neil Dennison

Captain Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington Jr.

Captain John Caldwell Tidball

Born: Circa 1841, Pennsylvania Died: Unknown Buried: Unknown Education: Unknown Service: 2nd Lieutenant, 8th Pennsylvania Reserves (May 1, 1861); 2nd Lieutenant, Regular Army (September 23, 1861); 1st Lieutenant (July 24, 1862); Commander, Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery (late 1862–early 1863); Battery A Commander, 2nd U.S. Artillery (1864) Significant Battles: Peninsula Campaign

Born: January 8, 1838, Newark, N.J. Died: November 30, 1917 Buried: West Point (N.Y.) Cemetery Education: U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1860 Service: Commander, Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery (1864); Colonel (Volunteers), 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry (1864); Captain, 1st U.S. Artillery (1864); Major/ Lt. Col./Col., 2nd U.S. Artillery; Brig. Gen., U.S. Army, Spanish-American War (1899) Significant Battles: Gettysburg, Cedar Creek

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Born: December 10, 1841, Ohio Died: December 31, 1904 Buried: Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio Education: Unknown Service: 2nd Lieutenant, Regular Army (August 5, 1861); 1st Lieutenant, Regular Army (November 12, 1861); 2nd U.S. Artillery— Commander, Battery G (1864), Battery A (1865); Captain, U.S. Army (until 1870) Significant Battles: Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Gettysburg

Born: January 25, 1825, near Wheeling, Va. Died: May 15, 1906 Buried: West Point (N.Y.) Cemetery Education: U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1848 Service: Commander, Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery (1861–1863); Commander, 2nd Horse Artillery Brigade (1863); Colonel, 4th New York Heavy Artillery (August 1863); Commander, Army of the Potomac, II Corps Artillery (May–June 1864); Commander, Army of the Potomac, IX Corps Artillery (October 1864–April 1865) Significant Battles: First Bull Run, Gettysburg, Appomattox JANUARY 2017


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Mobile Support Civil War horse artillery had evolved from the so-called “flying artillery” of the Mexican War, where American field artillery batteries commanded by officers like Samuel Ringgold and James Duncan led their guns to exposed positions well in front of U.S. infantry lines and blasted attacking troops in battles such as Palo Alto and Resaca del la Palma. Their tactics so impressed senior commanders that veteran officers like Tidball and Pennington were prohibited from leaving their artillery regiments to accept higher-ranking volunteer unit commissions as colonels and generals until 1863 (unlike cavalry and infantry officers, many of whom became generals early in the war). At Gettysburg, for instance, Tidball and Pennington were still captains, while infantry and cavalry branch juniors (including George A. Custer) were already briga­diers or major generals. Once those restrictions were lifted, Tidball, Pennington and other Regular Army artillery officers rose quickly in rank. Horse artillery units, created to give Union cavalry mobile firepower, offered a signifi­cant advantage for Federal forces when concentrated in powerful brigades. Horse artillery differed from standard field artillery units in that each artilleryman was mounted on his own horse, rather than walking or riding into battle on the cannon’s limber and accompanying ammunition limber and caisson, or mounted on the six horses pulling the cannons and limbers. This gave horse batteries a tactical advantage, allowing them to rapidly close with the enemy in order to maintain attack speed and momentum, or to be quickly shifted to a threatened sector of the battle line to repel an attack. By 1863, Union horse artillery was organized into two brigades, one commanded by Captain James M. Robertson and the other led by Captain Tidball, with each battery’s strength at 85 cannoneers and officers. Tactically, each battery was organized for combat into three sections (each of two guns) led by one of the battery’s three subordinate officers. When the Battery A photo was taken, Captain Pennington was in charge of the battery’s Lead (right) section, 1st Lt. Dennison led its Rear (left) section and 2nd Lt. Clarke controlled the Center section. This left battery commander Tidball free to oversee the deployment of his battery as he saw fit.



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Strength in Numbers Gibson also took this memorable photo of Captain Horatio Gibson’s Battery, 3rd U.S. Artillery, at Fair Oaks, Va., in June 1862.


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The Firepower The 3-inch ordnance rifle, pictured in Gibson’s photo on P. 40 with Virginia mud clinging to its wheels, was the U.S. field artillery’s state-ofthe-art muzzle-loading cannon during the war. Invented in 1855 by Phoenixville, Pa., iron works’ superintendent John Griffen, the wrought-iron, hammer-weldedbarreled cannon was favored by gunners because of its excellent range, accuracy and extreme reliability. It was also valued for its comparatively light weight over equivalent artillery cannons—its 69to 72-inch barrel with seven rifled grooves weighed 816 pounds, 100 pounds lighter than a 10-pounder Parrott rifle and fully 400 pounds lighter than the war’s ubiquitous fieldpiece, the bronze 1857 Napoleon 12-pounder howitzer. Propelled at 1,215 feet per second by a one-pound charge of black powder, the 3-inch rifle’s 8- to 9-pound projectiles (solid bolt, case, common shell and, for closein fire from about 400 yards, canister) could reliably hit targets a mile away. While the smoothbore Napoleon provided its greatest service in defense—firing single- or double-loaded canister rounds to mow down oncoming infantry—the 3-inch ordnance rifle’s accuracy at maximum range made it a formidable offensive weapon. The Union’s second-most-common field artillery cannon, it was pulled into combat by a six-horse team and manned by a gunner and five or six cannoneers.


State of the Art The muzzle markings (left) of the cannon below, which is displayed at Gettysburg National Military Park, indicate it weighs 816 pounds, was created at Pennsylvania’s Phoenix Iron Company and was produced in 1862 as No. 386 out of a run of 900.

Light and Tough The Union horse artillery favored the 3-inch ordnance rifle because it was relatively light and maneuverable, highly reliable and extremely accurate at long range.


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The Photographer James F. Gibson was born in Scotland, probably in 1828. Details of his life are sketchy, but he possibly immigrated to America with fellow Scot Alexander Gardner in 1856. He first appears in U.S. records on the 1860 Census, which lists him and his wife, Elizabeth, as Washington, D.C., residents, and his employer as Mathew Brady. Gibson is the least well known of Brady’s wartime employees, who notably included Gardner (1821–1882), Timothy O’Sullivan (1840–1882) and George N. Barnard (1819–1902). He photographed the battlefields of Bull Run (with Barnard), Antietam (with Gardner) and Gettysburg (with Gardner and O’Sullivan), but his best-known images are from the Peninsula Campaign. After the war, while he was managing Brady’s Washington Gallery, Gibson filed lawsuits against both Brady and Gardner, mortgaged the gallery, allegedly pocketed the cash and headed west to Kansas, where he disappeared.

The Enigmatic Mr. Gibson

America’s Civil War Senior Editor Jerry Morelock is the co-author, with Robert J. Dalessandro and Erin R. Mahan, of 100 Greatest Military Photographs (Whitman, 2013). Morelock served in the U.S. Army with the 2nd U.S. Field Artillery, a unit descended from the Horse Artillery Brigade, featured in this article.

It makes for great irony: When we asked the experts at the Center for Civil War Photography ( to help us find a photograph or image of Scottish photographer James Gibson, we were informed that there is no 100 percent verifiable image of him. In March 1862, Gibson traveled with fellow photographer George Barnard to take photos for Mathew Brady near Manassas, Va., site of an epic battle the previous July. Photographers frequently posed their assistants as props, to add drama to their shots. Since the man standing over Confederate graves in the above image appears in a number of Barnard’s Manassas photos and can also be seen in some photos that Alexander Gardner took in 1862 in Yorktown, Va., and Hampton, Va., some—but not all— CCWP experts believe that this is James Gibson. Hopefully someone will resolve this mystery, so we can have a confirmed picture of the photographer. JANUARY 2017

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Fiery Furnace New York’s West Point Foundry inspired artist John Ferguson Weir’s dramatic oil on canvas Forging the Shaft.



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well armed

AT The West Point Foundry, an Ordnance genius ENGINEERED DEVastating cannons By Ron Soodalter


t the beginning of the 19th century, it was unthinkable for a nation to try to wage war or establish a viable national defense without sufficient resources to manufacture cannons. Yet that’s the position in which the United States found itself after the War of 1812. The country had only one small operating foundry, located at Georgetown, in Washington, D.C., and was largely dependent on importing foreign artillery. Well aware of the deficit, President James Madison authorized establishing four new arsenals, each with an iron foundry capable of casting heavy guns. Three of them—in Richmond, Georgetown and Pittsburgh—were federally funded and operated. The fourth, a privately owned concern located across the Hudson River from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, would be instrumental in preserving the Union within the next half-century. JANUARY 2017

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The site for the West Point Foundry, owned by wealthy New Yorker Gouverneur Kemble, was part of a huge tract of land seized from a Loyalist family during the Revolution. Aside from being a member of one of New York’s most affluent families, Kemble had friends in high places: His sister had married the secretary to the Board of Navy Commissioners. Kemble and his partners, calling themselves the West Point Foundry Association, selected what proved to be an ideal spot for the project. A sheltered 90-acre Hudson River inlet, soon dubbed Foundry Cove, offered sand for casting, while water from nearby Margaret’s Brook—soon to be renamed Foundry Brook—powered the foundry. Thick forests provided timber for fuel and charcoal production, while local quarries supplied iron ore. Most important, the river itself served as a reliable shipping highway. And when the Hudson froze, the Philipstown Turnpike, which ran east into Connecticut, offered overland access. The new foundry first fired up its furnaces in 1817, turning out not only guns and projectiles but also domestic goods. America’s first two steam engines came from the foundry’s mills, as did iron boats, benches and fences; lampposts, lighthouses and building facades; beam engines and mills for use in Austria, Canada and the Caribbean; marine engines and boilers for frigates and early steamships; and huge pipes, fixtures, and fittings for the Croton Aqueduct,

Foundry Founder Gouverneur Kemble selected the ideal spot to build a foundry along the Hudson River.

Industry Leader A mid-1800s image of the foundry, which achieved peak production during the war.



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New York City’s system that conducted water 41 miles from the Croton River to Gotham. And before the Civil War the foundry shipped countless cotton presses to Southern plantations. It was one of America’s first marvels of modern technology, a literally glowing example of a rapidly industrializing North. Artists found it irresistible, invariably portraying it in the halo of smoke and orange and yellow glow that was visible for miles on both sides of the Hudson. In 1836 former physics instructor and West Point graduate Robert Parker Parrott was named inspector of ordnance at the academy and posted at the foundry. Kemble recognized the young man’s ability, and within the year Parrott resigned his commission to become foundry superintendent. He also invested heavily in the foundry that he would be running. In 1839 Parrott married Kemble’s sister, Margaret, a propitious union for both the Parrotts and the foundry. Parrott devoted his considerable talents to improving production. While continuing to stress the use of local materials, he began processing a superior grade of pig iron from the Greenwood Furnace, in nearby Orange County. He imported skilled labor from abroad, mainly Europe and the British Isles, and established an apprenticeship program for teenagers. Parrott also provided housing and clothing for his burgeoning workforce and enlarged the foundry school, where apprentices, workers’ children and— time permitting—the workers themselves could study. As

Big Gun Supervisor Robert Parker Parrott’s innovative rifled cannon brought West Point success.

the factory grew, so did the village of Cold Spring, which had started out as a tiny trading hamlet. But it was in the development of a new type of cannon that Parrott made his mark. Throughout the Civil War, Parrott’s operation would turn out various types of artillery, such as Dahlgren and Rodman cannons. At the time, these guns were still traditionally smoothbore and muzzle-loaded. While easier to manufacture than cannons with rifled bores, they were far less accurate, with a markedly shorter range. Rifling—the creation of lands and grooves in the barrel that give spin to the projectile— allowed the shells to travel considerably farther, and with greater accuracy, than those fired from the tubes of smoothbore cannons. The West Point Foundry played a major role in defeating the Confederacy because it produced a specific type of rifled cannon—or “rifle,” as they were called. That gun was Robert Parrott’s brainchild. Though Parrott was not the first to rifle the barrels of cannons, he made significant improvements to the production system. His contributions, for which he was granted a series of patents, lay in the proprietary process used for wrapping the breech of each gun with a thick band of wrought iron, as well as in the type of projectile the gun would fire. Cannons of his day had a tendency to burst at the breech, destroying the guns and killing or maiming their crews. To reinforce the gun and keep it from exploding, Parrott hot-wrapped a stout iron band around its breech, allowing it to shrink immovably in place as it cooled. He also received patents for a special fuse and sight for his rifles. Parrott guns became the conflict’s most commonly used artillery pieces—in the words of one historian, “available, inexpensive and accurate.” So popular was Parrott’s innovation that Confederate arsenals copied them religiously. Ironically, several Parrott guns had already been sold to the Southern states prior to the war’s outbreak, including some that would be used to bombard Fort Sumter. By the fall of 1861, the demand for artillery was so great that the foundry’s forges and furnaces were thundering and blazing around the clock. One area visitor recalled, “[W]e could hear the deep breathing of furnaces, and the sullen monotonous pulsations of trip-hammers, busily at work at the West Point Foundry, the most extensive and complete of the iron-works of the United States.” The foundry was then turning out 25 rifled Parrott guns and 7,000 projectiles per week, in addition to a range of smoothbore cannons, howitzers and mortars—and the numbers grew with demand. On each muzzle were stamped the letters “WPF,” for West Point Foundry, and “RPP,” for Robert Parker Parrott. The guns ranged in size (measured by the weight of the projectile they JANUARY 2017

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Test-Ready A crew loads a 300-pounder Parrott rifle that has been mounted on rails during the proofing process.

fo t o r Pa gu

p til w ad


ca how

mo Skilled Labor A mammoth gap lathe dwarfs one of the foundry workers. Parrott brought in much of his labor force from Europe.

Made to Measure Workers in the foundry’s pattern shop made domestic goods as well as weaponry.



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The foundry turned out 25 rifled Parrott guns and 7,000 projectiles per weeK, in addition to smoothbore cannonS, howitzers and mortars

fired) from 10-pounder field rifles to 300-pounder monsters weighing up to 13 tons. The Parrott guns were conformed for use as fieldpieces (typically 10- and 20-pounders) and larger siege guns for the Army, as well as for service aboard Navy warships. Around 1850, a 600-foot dock had been built, to accommodate deep-draft vessels on the Hudson. Now a constant stream of Parrott’s war engines rolled on rails from the foundry buildings down the dock to waiting Union vessels. No gun was shipped for military service without first being test-fired, or “proofed.” For that purpose, a platform and spotting tower had been built facing west over the Hudson. Each piece was fired—sometimes as much as 100 times—at the sides of rocky Crow’s Nest Peak and Storm King Mountain, looming on the river’s west bank. President Abraham Lincoln got to witness the proofing process firsthand when he traveled to West Point in June 1862 to meet with retired Army commander Winfield Scott. After touring the foundry, Lincoln observed from the spotting tower as Superintendent Parrott oversaw a test-firing of 100- and 200-pounders. The foundry’s rifled guns were far superior to earlier versions. But despite Parrott’s innovations, no cast-iron cannon of the period was immune to malfunction due to a number of problems, from sand in the barrel to excessive elevation, inadequate lubrication of shells, friction within the projectile itself or excessive overheating from repeat firing. The barrel might simply explode at any point along its unreinforced section, or at the muzzle itself. And although the trademark iron band usually protected the crew from a ruptured breech, blowouts sometimes occurred at reinforced sections. One of Parrott’s larger guns suffered such a calam­ity. In late August 1863, a 200-pounder siege rifle weighing more than eight tons, dubbed the “Swamp Angel,” had been mounted on a four-ton carriage during the assault on Charleston, S.C. Its crew, from the 11th Maine Infantry, successfully fired 35 massive projectiles—10 of which contained the incendiary mixture known as Greek fire— doing significant damage to the besieged city from an unheard-of 4½ miles away. A platform in marshy earthworks in Charleston Harbor had to be built to elevate the gun, and for the first time in recorded military history a compass reading was taken to target the fire on the city at night. But six other incendiary shells had detonated prematurely inside the cannon’s tube, causing invisible damage to the gun itself. The all-important wrought-iron breech band grew loose as the barrel’s integrity was compromised. Aware the gun had taken terrific punishment, the crew lengthened the lanyard, allowing them to fire from a safer position. After each round they would reenter the battery to swab and reload the massive piece. It proved to be a sagacious plan: With the 36th round the gun burst, blowing out the breech and knocking the cannon off its carriage. Four members of the crew were injured, though none seriously. Not all artillerymen were so fortunate. When the U.S. steamer Juniata’s 100-pounder Parrott gun burst during a fight off Fort Fisher, N.C., on December 24, 1864, the explo-

Whetting Abe’s Appetite President Lincoln’s June 1862 visit to West Point Foundry inspired a droll anecdote. After meeting with General Winfield Scott at West Point, the story goes, the commander in chief was ferried across the Hudson to inspect the facility where most of the Union’s guns were being manufactured. Around midday Robert Parrott escorted the president and his party to the river’s edge, where the testing platform stood, and commenced an impressively noisy firing demonstration. Lincoln stood by respectfully as Parrott’s rifled behemoths boomed, sending a series of projectiles spiraling across the water into Crow’s Nest Peak. After observing for a time, Abe wryly remarked:

“I’m confident you can hit that mountain over there, so suppose we get something to eat. I’m hungry.”


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Heavy Metal In this section of the foundry, workers bored the barrels of 100-pounder Parrott rifles.

Parrott was a remarkably progressive, compassionate boss who provided widows’ benefits and compensation for injured workers

sion killed five sailors—including two officers—and badly injured eight more. A Harper’s Weekly illustration depicted the gun blowing the fiery contents of its projectile out at the breech, strewing dead and injured sailors around the deck. In his report, Juniata’s surgeon described the effects of the explosion in detail. The injuries listed during Second-Class Fireman Theodore Abos’ autopsy were typical: “left leg, thigh, hip, arm and forearm fractured, soft parts extensively lacerated, killed by hemorrhage and shock.” The New York Times later reported that shipboard fatalities alone due to Parrott gun mishaps numbered more than 100. But in the imprecise world of cast-iron weapons, Parrott guns usually worked remarkably well, and provided long and effective service. By war’s end, only 19 of the Navy’s 352 100-pounders had burst. One 30-pounder reportedly fired some 4,600 rounds before finally breaking down. Today its remains are on display at West Point. The foundry, the sole manufactory of Parrott guns throughout the conflict, could not turn them out fast enough. In April 1863, Robert Parrott wrote his brother, who man-


aged the Greenwood Foundry that Parrott now owned, “We continue very busy and likely to use all the iron you can make.” Two days later he wrote, “Guns are ordered by the fifties and all my efforts required to keep up the supply.” In June he noted that the calls for guns and projectiles were “increasing daily,” and in August he exulted, “I am over head and ears in business and demand for guns, etc.” The demand would not abate until the South surrendered. At the height of the foundry’s activity, Parrott employed upward of 1,400 workers. For his time, he seems to have been a remarkably progressive and compassionate boss. He owned a number of the row houses in which his employees lived, charging a modest rent. He also provided widows’ benefits, and limited compensation for injured workers. But the work was still, by its nature, often dangerous, and in March 1864 several hundred men formed what they called a “Laboring Men’s Union” and went on strike for higher wages and presumably better working conditions. They also kept workers outside the union from reporting for work. Given the North’s need for weapons, the govern-


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ment was not about to allow the strike to continue. Some 120 Federal troops soon appeared. After a brief hiatus, and the arrest of three union leaders, production resumed. The factory’s wartime output was staggering. Within four years the West Point Foundry turned out 3,000 Parrott guns—nearly half ordered by the Navy—and more than 3 million projectiles, in addition to countless smoothbore cannons and other types of ordnance. Although the foundry filled an order for 200 Parrott guns after the war’s end, the demand for cannons evapo­rated practically overnight. Converting to civilian production wasn’t an overnight process, nor were orders for nonmilitary products fast in coming. Parrott, then the vice presi­dent and director, terminated his lease in 1867. Eleven years later the owners, with the South Boston Iron Com­pany, unsuccessfully petitioned the War Department for funding to subsidize them in the event of a future war. Even as orders for cast-iron armaments dwindled, another serious blow came in the form of the Bessemer process, an English system for the cheap manufacture of steel. The first U.S. plant to use that new method was built in 1865, and by 1877, 11 Bessemer mills were rapidly producing steel at an affordable rate. The glory days of the nation’s great iron forges were all but over by that time, since they couldn’t compete with the newer, cheaper and better metal being produced. The West Point Forge held on under new owners, enjoying middling success throughout the remainder of the 19th century by casting metal furniture, heavy machinery, structural columns and some ordnance, including a 13-ton coastal defense gun. But in 1911 the fires went out for the last time and the foundry closed its doors. A succession of companies purchased the site, including a silk-dyeing and

In Search of the Big Guns

-processing plant, tearing down some of the buildings and altering others. In 1952 what was left of the old foundry was bought by a battery plant, which would dump chemical waste into the cove for the next two decades. In 1986 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a 10-yearlong Superfund cleanup of the place. Nature eventually reclaimed most of the site. With the exception of a stately 1865 brick office building, the structures either collapsed or were demolished, leaving few traces of the greatest American forge of the Industrial Revolution. Then in 1996 Scenic Hudson, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River and Hudson River Valley, acquired 87 acres on the original site, in an effort to protect it from development and additionally create an interpretive historic and ecological preserve. After years of serving as a dumping ground for toxic chemicals, the now-pristine Foundry Cove welcomes visitors. Today a sign on Cold Spring’s picturesque Main Street directs visi­tors down a side street and along a tree-lined dirt road to the site of what once was the foundry that saved the Union. The West Point Foundry Preserve offers a walking tour of the site that encompasses stabilized ruins, as well as native plantings and sculptural models illustrating the immense scale of the old operation. Scenic Hudson president Ned Sullivan points out: “What’s really special about the preserve is that visitors learn so much about the foundry’s wartime contribution, while enjoying the natural beauty of a tranquil ravine. The juxtaposition offers an unforgettable experience.” Ron Soodalter, who calls Cold Spring, N.Y., home, is the author of Hanging Captain Gordon and The Slave Next Door. A regular contributor to America’s Civil War, he has also written for Smithsonian and The New York Times.

Historic travelers will find smoothbore and rifled guns that originated at the West Point Foundry at a number of battlefields and historic sites, including Fort Sumter, Gettysburg, Antietam, Fort Pulaski and Fort Moultrie. After the war, the ruined Swamp Angel siege gun was hauled to Trenton, N.J. Today, restored to its original integrity, it sits atop a memorial cairn in the city’s Cadwalader Park. In 1995 a Cold Spring-area blacksmith forged a two-thirds-scale model of a Parrott 10-pounder. Donated to the village, his creation now sits on the Cold Spring dock, its muzzle pointed west across the Hudson, toward the Crow’s Nest. A number of Parrott rifles and projectiles are on display at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, both outdoors and in the museum collection. And the Watervliet Arsenal, near Troy, N.Y., also has two Parrott guns—including one of only eight surviving 200-pounders— in its collection, as well as a Seacoast mortar. They are available for viewing by appointment. When the ironclad USS Monitor was raised off Cape Hatteras in 2002, nesting in its turret were two massive Dahlgren guns made by the West Point Foundry in 1859. Those weapons were fired at the Confederate warship Virginia (Merrimac), during the world’s first fight between ironclads, the Battle of Hampton Roads, on March 9, 1862. Today they can be seen at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va. JANUARY 2017

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Walk where Civil War soldiers fought and died. A short trip from Nashville and a long journey into America’s history! Call (800) 716-7560.

Join us for our Civil War Anniversary Commemoration including attractions and tours, exhibitions, memorials and a selection of artifacts from Fort Fisher.

Lebanon, KY is home to the Lebanon National Cemetery, its own Civil War Park, and it’s part of the John Hunt Morgan Trail. today.

History lives in Tupelo, Mississippi. Visit Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield, Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo National Battlefield, Mississippi Hills Exhibit Center and more.

“Part of the One and Only Bluegrass!” Visit National Historic Landmark, National Civil War Trust tour, historic ferry, and the third largest planetarium of its kind in the world!

Visit Chattanooga’s pivotal Civil War sites that changed America forever. Combine your stay in this top rated tourism destination with other world-class attractions, music festivals and unique dining.

A vacation in Georgia means great family experiences that can only be described as pretty sweet. Explore Georgia’s Magnolia Midlands.

Experience the Civil War in Jacksonville at the Museum of Military History. Relive one of Arkansas’ first stands at the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield.

Explore the past in Baltimore during two commemorative events: the War of 1812 Bicentennial and Civil War 150. Plan your trip at

Are you a history and culture buff? There are many museums and attractions, Civil War, and Civil Rights sites just for you in Jackson, Mississippi.

Experience living history for The Battles of Marietta Georgia, featuring reenactments, tours and a recreation of 1864 Marietta.

Experience the Old West in action with a trip through Southwest Montana. For more information on our 15 ghost towns, visit or call 800-879-1159, ext 1501.

The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area highlights the historic, cultural, natural, scenic and recreational treasures of this distinctive region.

Once Georgia’s last frontier outpost, now its third largest city, Columbus is a true destination of choice. History, theater, arts and sports—Columbus has it all.

Over 650 grand historic homes in three National Register Historic Districts. Birthplace of America’s greatest playwright, Tennessee Williams. The ultimate Southern destination—Columbus, MS.

Six major battles took place in Winchester and Frederick County, and the town changed hands approximately 72 times— more than any other town in the country!

Greeneville, TN Founded in 1783, Greeneville has a rich historical background as the home for such important figures as Davy Crockett and President Andrew Johnson. Plan your visit now!

Richmond, Kentucky


Roswell, Georgia

Tishomingo County, MS Fayetteville/Cumberland County, North Carolina is steeped in history and patriotic traditions. Take a tour highlighting our military ties, status as a transportation hub, and our Civil War story.

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Whether you love history, culture, the peacefulness of the great outdoors, or the excitement of entertainment, Roswell offers a wide selection of attractions and tours.

With a variety of historic attractions and outdoor adventures, Tishomingo County is a perfect destination for lovers of history and nature alike.

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History surrounds Cartersville, GA, including Allatoona Pass, where a fierce battle took place, and Cooper’s Furnace, the only remnant of the bustling industrial town of Etowah.

Tennessee’s Farragut Folklife Museum is a treasure chest of artifacts telling the history of the Farragut and Concord communities, including the Admiral David Glasgow Farragut collection.

Seven museums, an 1890 railroad, a British fort and an ancient trade path can be found on the Furs to Factories Trail in the Tennessee Overhill, located in the corner of Southeast Tennessee.

Through personal stories, interactive exhibits and a 360° movie, the Civil War Museum focuses on the war from the perspective of the Upper Middle West.

The National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, GA, tells the story of the sailors, soldiers, and civilians, both free and enslaved as affected by the navies of the American Civil War.

Williamson County, Tennessee, is rich in Civil War history. Here, you can visit the Lotz House, Carnton Plantation, Carter House, Fort Granger and Winstead Hill Park, among other historic locations.

Explore the Natchez Trace. Discover America. Journey along this 444-mile National Scenic Byway stretching from the Mississippi River in Natchez through Alabama and then Tennessee.

Come to Helena, Arkansas and see the Civil War like you’ve never seen it before. Plan your trip today!

Join us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of Knoxville’s Civil War forts. Plan your trip today!

Charismatic Union General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick had legions of admirers during the war. He just wasn’t much of a general, as his men often learned with their lives.

Sandy Springs, Georgia, is the perfect hub for exploring Metro Atlanta’s Civil War sites. Conveniently located near major highways, you’ll see everything from Sandy Springs!

Treat yourself to Southern Kentucky hospitality in London and Laurel County! Attractions include the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park and Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield.

Hip and historic Frederick County boasts unique shopping and dining experiences, battlefields, museums, covered bridges, and abundant outdoor recreation. Request a free travel packet!

Just 15 miles south of downtown Atlanta lies the heart of the true South: Clayton County, Georgia, where heritage comes alive!

St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Visit Point Lookout, site of the war’s largest prison camp, plus Confederate and USCT monuments. A short drive from the nation’s capital.

ALABAMA HISTORICAL COMMISSION Confederate Memorial Park is the site of Alabama’s only Home for Confederate veterans (1902-1939). The museum interprets Alabama’s Confederate period and the Alabama Confederate Soldiers’ Home.

Cleveland, TN

Near Chattanooga, find glorious mountain scenery and heart-pounding white-water rafting. Walk in the footsteps of the Cherokee and discover a charming historic downtown.

Alabama’s Gulf Coast

If you’re looking for an easy stroll through a century of fine architecture or a trek down dusty roads along the Blues Trail, you’ve come to the right place. www.

Southern hospitality at its finest, the Classic South, Georgia, offers visitors a combination of history and charm mixed with excursion options for everyone from outdoorsmen to museum-goers.

Relive the rich history of the Alabama Gulf Coast at Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, the USS Alabama Battleship, and the area’s many museums. • 888-666-9252

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM of the Western Theater

Vicksburg, Mississippi is a great place to bring your family to learn American history, enjoy educational museums and check out the mighty Mississippi River.

Follow the Civil War Trail in Meridian, Mississippi, where you’ll experience history first-hand, including Merrehope Mansion, Marion Confederate Cemetery and more.

Fitzgerald, Georgia...100 years of bringing people together. Learn more about our story and the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s conclusion at

Hundreds of authentic artifacts. Voted fourth finest in U.S. by North & South Magazine. Located in historic Bardstown, Kentucky.

Come to Cleveland, Mississippi—the birthplace of the blues. Here, you’ll find such legendary destinations as Dockery Farms and Po’ Monkey’s Juke Joint.

Historic Bardstown, Kentucky


Jessamine, KY Prestonsburg, KY - Civil War & history attractions, and reenactment dates at Home to Jenny Wiley State Park, country music entertainment & Dewey Lake.

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Search over 10,000 images and primary documents relating to the Civil War Battle of Hampton Roads, now available in The Mariners’ Museum Library Online Catalog!

History, bourbon, shopping, sightseeing and relaxing—whatever you enjoy, you’re sure to find it in beautiful Bardstown, KY. Plan your visit today.

Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama, commemorates the Civil War with an array of historic sites and artifacts. Experience the lives of Civil War soldiers as never before.

STEP BACK IN TIME at Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park, a Union Army supply depot and African American refugee camp. Museum, Civil War Library, Interpretive Trails and more.

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Warm Welcome Lincoln is greeted as a hero as he walks through Richmond with his son Tad on April 3, 1865.

Lincoln’s Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days That Changed a Presidency, March 24– April 8, 1865 By Noah Andre Trudeau Savas Beatie, 2016, $32.95


During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln traveled to the front 11 times for a total of 42 days. He wanted to greet the soldiers and meet with his generals. He also wanted to escape Washington. Those visits helped him manage the war and improved his frame of mind. His longest trip—from March 24 to April 8, 1865—is the subject of Noah Andre Trudeau’s well-researched and crisply written book. Lincoln had already been thinking of visiting Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at City Point, Va., the logistical center for Union operations against Richmond and Petersburg, when he received an invitation from the general: “I would very much like to see you and the rest would do you good.” Mary and Tad joined the president, traveling on the steamer River Queen, which was defended by USS Bat. Trudeau uses the ships’ logbooks to pinpoint Lincoln’s moves throughout the journey. Momentous events filled each day. Lincoln reviewed the troops (one soldier described him as “a tall gaunt man who seemed like a giant”); he met with Grant, William T. Sherman and Admiral David D. Porter to discuss the terms for Confederate surrender; he visited Petersburg and Richmond (with Tad in tow); and on his last day he toured the Depot Field Hospital, where he insisted

on meeting all the men. “Cheer up, and get well,” he told one wounded soldier. “This dreadful war is coming to a close.” Trudeau emphasizes that Lincoln also took advantage of his travels to communicate with the public about events, annotating the bulletins he received from Grant and forwarding them to the telegraph wires. Newspaper editors headlined these releases “Official Dispatch from President Lincoln” or “The President to the People.” Lincoln had taken control of the war’s end game. The journey was not without its contretemps. Mary Lincoln grew peevish and left for Washington on April 1, but returned on April 6 with a party including Senator Charles Sumner, Attorney General James Speed, Assistant Interior Secretary William T. Otto, Senator James Harlan and his wife and daughter and a French visitor, the Marquis de Chambrun. During the voyage back home, Lincoln read aloud from Shakespeare. Trudeau’s narrative makes it clear that Lincoln’s final journey showed him at his best, communicating with his generals, offering encouragement and support to soldiers, shaping the terms for surrender and peace, and caring for his wife and sons until the end. —Louis P. Masur


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Russ was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the rst attorney ever to receive this honor. His commitment to the motorcycle community resulted in “BAM” (Breakdown Assistance for Motorcyclists), a FREE nationwide volunteer program of over 2,000,000 riders helping riders everywhere in the U.S. We go the extra mile for our clients and our friends. Our business model is built on relationships and trust.

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Decision at Tom’s Brook: George Custer, Tom Rosser, and the Joy of the Fight By William J. Miller Savas Beatie, 2016, $29.95 George Custer and Tom Rosser

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commanded opposing forces in a cavalry clash in the lower Shenandoah Valley on October 9, 1864. Custer enjoyed numerical superiority approaching 3-to-1. Rosser galloped headlong into disaster, and his troopers slowed down only after retreating pell-mell up the Valley. The fight resonated for decades in the press. No thorough examination of the battle had reached print until William Miller’s new work. The canvas on which the October 9 battle unfolded had a savage, smoky backdrop. Federals had been burning the Valley, and a few weeks before, Custer’s men had hanged five prisoners and a boy. The locals who made up most of Rosser’s troops were bent on revenge, but instead faced humiliating defeat. Their feckless scamper to the rear came to be known as “The Woodstock Races,” after the village where the rout eased. One useful appendix examines the confusing nomenclature applied to Tom’s Brook landmark. Another reports on strengths and losses, 9/2/16 12:36 PM including a casualty list, which contributes to analysis of many of the claims by participants. Excellent maps and illustrations augment the text. Everything about Decision at Tom’s Brook is admirable: definitive research, skillful weighing of evidence and graceful prose. It is a book of the very first order. –Robert K. Krick

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Directed by R. John Hughes, 1955 Republic Pictures specialized in blackand-white Westerns and adventure B-movies. But occasionally the studio splurged for color, as it did for Yellowneck, a gritty Civil War–themed movie set in the Florida Everglades. The story follows five Southern deserters (“yellownecks”) who are trying to reach a British blockade runner that will take them to Cuba. The film quickly devolves into a man-against-nature survival story. The men learn they have more to fear from their surroundings than they ever had from the Yankees. The narrative unfolds as an alcoholic colonel played by Stephen Courtleigh stumbles into the jungle camp of four enlisted deserters. Crusty Sergeant Todd (Lin McCarthy), is there along with Plunkett (Harold Gordon), who stole a Confederate payroll,

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the Cockney (Barry Kroeger), who wants to steal it for himself, and the Kid (Bill Mason), a shavetail. The colonel can’t forget that his orders led to the slaughter of his men. Things go from bad to worse. They find the bodies of two deserters at a freshwater hole, then they jump into a river filled with alligators. First to die among this band of losers is the colonel, who takes an arrow in the back when they storm a Seminole settlement looking for food. Next to go is the Cockney, who stumbles upon a nest of snakes. Plunkett becomes an alligator appetizer. The sergeant sinks into a quicksand pit. But the cruelest fate awaits the

Kid, who makes it to the ocean—only to find that there’s no boat. Most scenes were shot in the Everglades, and the fierce storm the men slog through was actually filmed during a hurricane. It seems only fitting the film premiered in Orlando, then an orange grove outpost before Disney put it on the map. Fortunately, Nat Linden, who penned the screenplay, doesn’t use the story as a soapbox for either antiwar or anti-Confederate commentary. —Gordon Berg

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Cover: Heritage Auctions, Dallas; P. 2: Melissa A. Winn; P. 3: Clockwise From Top: Library of Congress; Artist-Ron Lesser/Paths of History Art Publishers/ Copyright 2004/; ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Image Source: Art Resource, NY; Gettysburg National Military Park; P. 4: Library of Congress; P. 6: Library of Congress (2); Private Collection/Photo ©Don Troiani/ Bridgeman Images; P. 8: Alan Karchmer/ National Museum of African American History and Culture; Inset: Courtesy Middleton Place Foundation, Charleston, SC; P. 9: Left: Amanda Dickey/J. Levine Auction & Appraisal; Right: Timothy J. Desmond; P. 10: From Top: Melissa A. Winn; Battles and Leaders of the Civil War; Courtesy Shriver House Museum; P. 12: Granger, NYC; P. 13: Library of Congress; P. 14: Troiani, Don (b.1949)/ Private Collection/Bridgeman Images; P. 15: From Top: Private Collection/ Photo ©Don Troiani/Bridgeman Images; National Archives; P. 16: Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images; Courtesy Charlotte Ku; P. 17: Library of Congress; P. 19: Library of Congress; P. 20-21: Melissa A. Winn; P. 22: Courtesy Glen C. Cangelosi, M.D.; Library of Congress; P. 23: Courtesy James D. Julia Auctioneers, Fairfield, Maine, USA, (2); P. 24: Courtesy Army of Tennessee Relics (9); Melissa A. Winn (2); P. 25: ©INTERFOTO/ Alamy Stock Photo; Virginia Military Institute; P. 26-27: Library of Congress; P. 28: ©North Wind Picture Archives/ Alamy Stock Photo; P. 30-31: Library of Congress (2); P. 32: From Top: National Archives; Library of Congress; P. 33: Library of Congress; P. 34-35: Artist-Ron Lesser/Paths of History Art Publishers/ Copyright 2004/; P. 36: Steven Stanley, Gettysburg, PA; P. 37: Library of Congress (3); P. 38: Steven Stanley, Gettysburg, PA; P. 39: Top: Susan G. Parker, through Western Maryland Room; Bottom: Photo by Al Feldstein, Courtesy Western Maryland Historic Library; P. 40-45: Library of Congress (7); P. 46: Gettysburg National Military Park (2); P. 47: U.S. The National Library of Medicine; P. 48-49: ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Image Source: Art Resource, NY; P. 50: National Gallery of Art; Putnam History Museum; P. 51: West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy; P. 52-53: Paulson Brothers Ordnance Corp. Archive (3); Shutterstock; P. 54: Paulson Brothers Ordnance Corp. Archive; P. 55: Trenton City Museum; P. 58: ©Old Paper Studios/ Alamy Stock Photo; P. 62: ©Everett Collection, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo; P. 64: The American Civil War Museum (2).

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FROM DIXIE TO JAPAN The Fearsome Ironclad “Stonewall”

NIGHT’ HAVOC ! 300 Rebels Smash a Union Outpost

BOTTOMS UP Civil War Inspiration for Craft Beer

Stranded 40 years in the past by a spell of Chief Sitting Bull, General George Custer and the 7th Cavalry join Davy Crockett to win independence for Texas.

“The Horrors I Have Witnessed”

This nurse, known as “Mary,” served at one of Washington’s wartime hospitals.

The sequel to the award winning novel

Custer at the Alamo



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RESOURCEFUL REBEL A Confederate soldier in winter camp in South Carolina put his best foot forward with Mrs. W.K. Bachman of Columbia when he caught a raccoon and used its hide to make her a pair of shoes. The American Civil War Museum in Richmond owns this “bootee,” while Bachman’s other shoe is part of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum’s collection. The war and the blockade cut the South off from the shoemaking centers of Britain and the New England states, but when it came to overcoming that obstacle, at least one resourceful Rebel proved there was more than one way to skin a…raccoon.



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VISIT MISSISSIPPI While Mississippi was a young state when the country erupted into Civil War, it proved to be a critical battleground in the epic conflict. Because of the state’s strategic location, Abraham Lincoln referred to Vicksburg, Miss., as “the key,” for whomever controlled the vital port town controlled the nation’s major transportation artery in the heart of the country. However, there is more to Mississippi’s Civil War story than Vicksburg, and the state observes its involvement with a number of national parks, tours and memorials. Commemorative reminders of military campaigns and the soldiers who fought in and lived during this significant period can be found from the hills of the north to the Gulf Coast.

Their memories and stories are preserved in the more than 1,000 stately and solemn monuments of Vicksburg National Military Park, the pristine battlefield and rolling hills of Brice’s Crossroads, the Corinth Contraband Camp, the last home of Jefferson Davis at Beauvoir, the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University and numerous churches and gravesites. The Civil War left an indelible mark on Mississippi – physically, psychologically, culturally and economically. History buffs and novices can see first-hand the role Mississippi played in the Civil War’s important and memorable imprint on the nation’s history.

every place tells a story Write your own chapter

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Mississippi’s Civil War heritage is an important chapter in the story of our nation. Historical enthusiasts can discover how Mississippi helped shape America with visits to the war’s most studied battlefields, Vicksburg and Brice’s Crossroads, and studying the collections of President Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Explore www.mississippi. org to plan your visit and write your own chapter in Mississippi.

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America's Civil War January 2017