<![CDATA[Matthew Bartlett, Author Gettysburg Chronicle - Blog]]>Sat, 19 Dec 2015 09:33:47 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Book Reviewer Part 1]]>Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:57:46 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/the-book-reviewer-part-1For over a year and a half, I have been writing book reviews on the American Civil War.  After looking at the totals from that time, I have reviewed over one hundred books on the subject.  One question people tend to ask is "how do you review a book?"  I know it sounds like a simple question, but in all reality, it is quite tricky.  Throughout this blog, I will hope to answer some of the questions many have when it comes to reviewing books and which ones I choose to review.  

First and foremost, any reviewer should always limit themselves to what they can do instead of taking on a whole industry.  Once they are comfortable, they should branch out.  When I first started reviewing books, I limited myself to book just on the Battle of Gettysburg knowing there to be enough information out there for me to continue that practice for some time.  The more comfortable I became with the subject, the more I started to branch out.  Now, my readers will notice that I review any book on the American Civil War.  However, I do not believe that I will ever branch outside of the conflict to envelop all American Military History.  There is just too much out there for me to handle when it comes to the enormity of American History.  While Civil War publications are many, there are even more World War II publications to which my knowledge does not stretch.  

This brings me to my next point about being a reviewer.

Second, you should only review that which you know about.  Your job as a reviewer is important to the people, especially in this age of social media.  There are those who trust you and follow you hanging on your every recommendation.  Some people are even excited that a certain book will be coming out and wonder what it could be that you are going to say.  They may not even like what you have to say, but in the end, you have created  bond of trust.  The most important thing is to not review something you know nothing about because your opinion may not be accurate since you know very little about it.  Once trust between yourself and the readers has been broken, it is very difficult to get it back.  

Third: Never always give positive reviews.  This is a difficult one to say due to the ideals of the reviewer.  You want to like everything you read when it comes to books and hope that someday when you write a book, the people whom you gave good reviews to will return the favor.  This is not always the case.  Readers will also notice if you, as a reviewer, always give good reviews.  Eventually, they will lose their trust in your writing and stop following you.  Readers may throw out terms such as "biased" or "subjective" but you always have to back up your claims with reasons for why you said things.  This is what can happen if you only publish positive reviews.  If you only publish negative reviews, no one will approach you to review your work; there would be no point if all you are going to do is bash a work.  If you want to be a good book reviewer, especially in the non-fiction realm, than you need to find a happy medium between the two.

Fourth: Be ready to receive harsh words from authors and agents upon negative reviews.  Usually, this does not happen, but there have been times when not only the author has lashed out, but the agent has had a few words as well.  As a reviewer, it is your job to tell the public when a poor product has been released according to your opinion.  If they do not like your opinion, they can find another who can review the work in a positive light.  The ideal behind negative reviews is not to bash another person, but warn possible customers of the work that there are points in this work which just do not make sense.]]>
<![CDATA[Germans at Gettysburg - Part 3: Prussian Involvement and the Battle of Schleswig]]>Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:42:08 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/germans-at-gettysburg-part-3-prussian-involvement-and-the-battle-of-schleswig
After the failure of the forces of the Duchy of Schleswig and Holstein at the Battle of Bov, the Prussian army was called upon by the German Confederation.  The provincial government set up by Prince Noer, nephew of King Frederick VII of Denmark, was finally recognized by the German Confederation and Prussia was brought in for military aid.  Prussia was more than happy to give aid in order to keep the people of the German Confederation in their debt.  The head of the Prussian force was the Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Graf von Wrangel who knew that only a show of force would begin to scare the Danish force.  Also knowing the terrain of Denmark and the small area which connected Schleswig to the Danes tight, Wrangel felt that a large army would intimidate Frederick and force him to withdraw and leave Schleswig to lead its life in independence. 

                Part of the Prussian army at the time was two very young and prevalent military minds who would eventually be a part of the American Civil War.  The first was Alexander von Schimmelfennig who had come from a long lineage of the military.  Much different than other men who had served in his family, he was small in stature and socially awkward to many.  He would never fraternize with other soldiers, unless they were part of his family also serving in the military, and would often seclude himself to read military theories and philosophies in his spare time.  At the time of the Schleswig-Holstein War, he had not been diagnosed, but he suffered from chronic dyspepsia causing him some severe medical problems.  Never caring about his appearance, he would often wear old uniforms and kept his hair in an unkempt fashion.  The other was Leopold von Gilsa who was more prominent in the Prussian army than his colleague, Schimmelfennig.  Von Gilsa was already a Major and his family ties came from the Duchy of Brunswick.  His father, Baron von Gilsa, was also a military man which can explain the quick rise of the ranks for his son.  These two men were part of the twelve thousand strong force of Prussians heading towards the Duchy of Schleswig to fight for the freedom of the people in revolt.

                The Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848 has often been forgotten in the annals of history for two major reasons.  The first is that it was occurring during the terrible revolutions of 1848 caused by France and sweeping through Europe.  There are some historians who even state that the German Revolution had some causes from the Schleswig-Holstein War.  The second reason it is often forgotten is because of the fast paced nature of the engagements.  Unlike the American Civil War where battles are spread out between weeks, the Schleswig- Holstein War boasts engagements within days of each other.  This also has to do with the small neck of Denmark and Schleswig.  The nature of the geography forces combat to occur and Wrangel knows this going into the conflict.

                On April 23rd, Wrangel placed himself on the downside of an overlook out of sight from the Danish army.  His force of twelve thousand Prussians were quietly waiting for the attack from the Danish while the force sent from the German Confederation engages the Danish.  The German Reich Troops were sent as a militia force to skirmish with the Danish army and force them to ride into the lines of the Prussians.  A battle which seems a lot like the engagement at Cowpens during the American Revolution, the German Reich Troops began to retreat into the lines of the Prussians and following closely were the Danes.  The Prussians opened fire on their enemy and the slaughter began.  The Danish force, under Colonel Frederick Laessoe only had four thousand Danish with him and had not expected Wrangel and his army.  Happening on Easter morning, the Battle of Schleswig stands as a testament to the Prussian army and as a catalyst.  Now, with Prussia aiding the German Confederation in a militaristic fashion, the Prussians felt as though they had more claim to the people of Schleswig than the confederation had.  This would cause problems politically for Wrangel and the Prussian high command in the months to come.  Victorious at the Battle of Schleswig, the Prussian army pushed on believing that now was their chance to invade Denmark.  Wrangel and his men forced their armies into the Jutland of Denmark and the war would continue. 

                At the Battle of Schleswig, many historians believe that Alexander von Schimmelfennig fought with distinction and gained his captaincy there.  The reason this is speculation is because the records of the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848 are not complete and spotty at best.  Because the Prussia army would lose this war, there is belief that there was a purposeful loss of records.  While both Schimmelfennig and von Gilsa would fight in this war, there is little to no historic record as to where they fought. 

                Also occurring on April 23rd was the Battle of Mysunde which ended in a victory for the German Confederation.  This was a big deal for the confederation due to the lack of Prussian involvement in the battle.  This also scared the Prussian army into the belief that the confederation could win victories without them.  On April 24th, the Battle of Oeversee brought another Prussian victory forcing the army farther into the Jutland and creating a scare for Frederick VII who had now called the Prussian threat an invasion against his people.  No longer considering it a rebellion of the people of Schleswig and Prince Noer, who was out of the picture now, he had to think about reinforcing the army or ending this conflict politically.  After the Battle of Oeversee, Frederick would seek the sanction of a political end to this small conflict and the fighting would cease for a month.  It would be the longest cease fire in the year of 1848 for this war.

Next week, we will talk about the end of the Schleswig-Holstein War in 1848 and the treaty which would cause Alexander von Schimmelfennig to resign. 



Image of The Battle of Schleswig is courtesy of wikipedia.org
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<![CDATA[Germans at Gettysburg Part Two - The Beginnings of the Schleswig-Holstein War]]>Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:10:36 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/germans-at-gettysburg-part-two-the-beginnings-of-the-schleswig-holstein-war
Europe in 1848 was headed down the road to disaster.  The area of the German Confederation was no different.  After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the creation of the Confederation took over three hundred and sixty city states and transformed them into thirty eight.  There was concern that the areas of Prussia and Austria would intervene militaristically and instead of being seen as a threat, became part of the confederation.  This movement of the confederation was not without border disputes and the first came just south of Denmark.

                Split into thirds, the area of Schleswig saw three different types of nationalities.  First were the Germans who spoke German and held the traditions of Germany.  The second were the Danish who spoke Danish and felt more of a pull towards Denmark.  The third were a mix of people of both German and Danish descent.  After the February revolution in France when King Louise Phillipe was deposed, the people of Denmark and part of Schleswig began to feel the same way and wanted a liberal constitution.  This movement came when King Christian VIII died early in 1848 and Frederick VII took over from the House of Oldenburg in Denmark.  However, there has been some speculation as to the validity of his character, but many historians believe that he was impotent which created a problem in the lines of the monarchy.  He set out a Royal Decree that the females of the House of Oldenburg be eligible for the Danish Kingdom and the people responded in revolt. 

                In March, the people of Denmark, along with some Danes from Schleswig, met in Copenhagen to revolt against the monarchy and demand a liberal constitution.  They claimed the Royal Decree of Frederick to be illegal and either demanded the overturn of that decision or that Frederick be deposed.  Either way, there was a want to destroy the monarchy in order to gain their liberal constitution.  Frederick became angry with this demonstration and looked to the German Confederation for answers, especially those in charge of the Duchy of Schleswig and Holstein.  A movement like this was determined that the people of Northern Schleswig (the Danish in Schleswig) wanted to secede from Denmark, even though they were never really part of Denmark.  The German Confederation claimed not to know what was going on and was surprised as they were when the word reached them of the revolt.  This caused a massive panic throughout all of Europe that France was at it again by creating a sense of revolution among the people.  With the creation of nationalism, France once again set Europe ablaze. 

                The confederation was not entirely helpful in this endeavor and sat by as Schleswig and Holstein created a provincial government outside of the realm of Denmark.  Frederick became outraged and declared that the people were in rebellion.  In response to Frederick’s claim of rebellion, the head of the Duchy of Schleswig, Prince Frederik of Noer, gathered the 5th Lauenburger Rifle Corps, also known as the Jagercorps, and other students from Kiel University.  Kiel, being the capital of Schleswig, housed some of the most intellectual minds in northern Germany.  The only university that outperformed it was the University of Bonn at the time.  Noer and his forces targeted the fortress at Rendsburg where there was a known arsenal in order to fuel their rebellion.  Inside were the 14th, 15th and 16th infantry along with the 2nd Regiment of Artillery.  At the beginning of the rebellion, the Danish military had a laissez-faire attitude about the whole ordeal and left the doors to the fortress wide open.  This would allow Noer and his force to march in and seize the fort without any fighting.

                The forces under King Frederick VII were surprised not only that such a force could be created by the rebellious forces, but that it was done so quickly.  Noer gave an impassioned speech about the right of the people to secede and join the confederation and forced the men of the 14th, 15th and 16th Infantry, along with the 2nd Regiment of Artillery, never to fight against the people of Schleswig again. 

                Once the fortress had been held and the arsenal used to its full capacity, Prince Noer commissioned General Krohn to head the army against the Danish and change this rebellion into war.  Krohn took seven thousand Schleswig men to Flensborg on the border of Schleswig and Denmark.  There, he stationed his seven thousand only to be surrounded by seven thousand Danish ready to attack.  There is little historic record on the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848, but many historians believe that there were close to nine thousand Danish present at Flensborg.  Krohn knew that he had to retreat but before he could, he was assaulted on April 9th in the first major engagement of the war.  Known today as the Battle of Bov, General Krohn could not find any way around the Danish and panicked.  Two hours away from the fighting was Prince Noer, who was riding as fast as he could to aid in the fight.  By the time he would reach the field, the battle was over and the casualties from the entire fight, one hour of combat, was one thousand men of Schleswig compared to seventy four Danes.  It was a shattering loss for the rebels but it was not without recognition.

                Prussia, part of the confederation but still its own country, decided to give aid to the people of Schleswig and employed Friedrich Graf von Wrangel, along with twelve thousand soldiers, to lead the forces of Schleswig and Holstein.  Two men of the Prussian force would be present later in Gettysburg.  One was Alexander von Schimmelfennig and the other Leopold von Gilsa.  Most likely ignorant of each other now, they would share in this combat that would start their military careers of distinction in Europe.

                Join us next week as we talk about the engagements of the Schleswig Holstein War and the contributions of Schimmelfennig and von Gilsa!        


Image of The Battle of Bov courtesy of wikipedia.org
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<![CDATA[Germans at Gettysburg - Part One]]>Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:32:48 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/germans-at-gettysburg-part-one
One of the aspects of the American Civil War people tend to find fascinating is the amount of immigrants who fought during the conflict.  Most people immediately think of the Irish as the most soldier giving nationality during the war, but aggregate totals show that the Germans gave more to support the efforts of the conflict than any other nation.  According to Philip M. Cole, a leading historian of the Civil War, there were 176,000 Germans fighting for the Union army while there were only 144,000 Irish.  Many of the German forces who fought during the war arrived some time earlier, between 1853-1859 as part of the exiled group of revolutionaries during the year of 1848.  At the Battle of Gettysburg, it would be the German commanders who aided in the formation of the fishhook, and brought forth decisions to bring down the entirety of the Eleventh Corps, also known as the German Corps.  These men have forever gained the notoriety that their actions were less than desirable on the battlefield and have been stained by history.  On the contrary; some of them held prestigious ranks in the Prussian or German armies and would only begin to face failure after everything collapsed for them during the Revolution of 1848.

To be fair, the nation of Germany was not truly Germany at the time of 1848.  It was still a group of German principalities and city states ruled by the Baron or the Emperor of Prussia at the time.  Though these principalities existed, there was an organized group which led the people of Germany as one country known as the German Confederation.  The Confederation served its purpose as a standing formed government who did nothing more than just serve as a beacon.  Created shortly after the fall of Napoleon, the Confederation was a direct product of the Congress of Vienna in order to replace the Holy Roman Empire.  The main objective which the Congress of Vienna hoped for, however, was that the German Confederation would become a buffer zone between Austria and Prussia.  The Confederation combined thirty five city states unto one government which then categorized the city states into provinces.  In an attempt to combine the economic intentions of Europe, Prussia infiltrated the German Confederation with promises of economic stability and military aid when needed.  This was generally not thought of as a problem since there had been peace for quite some time after the fall of Napoleon.  The German Confederation always saw Prussia as a friend who could aid them when needed.  But the hotbed of possible friction came on the borders of the Confederation, mainly France and Denmark as the year of 1848 neared.

It was this economic stability promised by Prussia which upset some of the working middle class as they wanted Germany to unify out of the Confederation.  Many saw the Confederation as useless and without power since many of the principalities were still in control of the people.  The German Confederation did no more than just become a beacon of power for a dull German Unification.  The reaction from Prussian and Confederation powers stated that Germany was unified under the Confederation with aid from the Prussia empire.  By 1842, the German economy began to boom without the help of Prussia as they discovered the industry through the influx of furnaces which they used to build the steel gun, cast-steel axles and breech loading rifle to name a few.  The greatest part of this influx of industry was their advancement of weaponry which caused some concern in other nations.  German security was at a high, but this movement brought down some economic measures of other nations such as Prussia, Austria and Great Britain who was supplying at least half of Germany's manufactured goods.  The positive for Germany in this movement was that economic stability in their own right brought them closer to political unification.  

Since it was the middle class which was bringing about the economic stability, there began to be this awareness that there was no need for those in power to be the ones to unify the country.  In 1848, the German Confederation and the Prussian Empire went to war with Denmark over a border dispute in the province of Schleswig-Holstein which was the perfect cover for the middle class to revolt.  While many other nations were going through revolution in 1848, none compare to the social aspect which Germany had created.  In that year, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto which became the cornerstone of the German Revolution.  With its beginnings in the newspaper and the  political spectrum, the German Revolution of 1848 would soon become militaristic in nature causing strife throughout the country.  The revolution would also became the reason for the fall of the German Confederation and shortly after the Civil War, the country would unify under Otto von Bismark.  It would be a long road for the people of Germany to be unified and only through great failure would they eventually become the country they are today.  

The people who stood behind The Communist Manifesto would not be unified, however.  As we will see in the coming parts of this series, the interpretation of the work will separate many of the Germans between true communism and socialism.  The men who fought in the battles against Prussia and the German Confederation would part ways because of the interpretations of the work.  The German Revolution of 1848 is possibly the most important of all of the revolutions of that year due to the lasting power of Karl Marx have on our society today.  Throughout all of the Cold War, the issue of communism was a danger and there are those who remember the days of "I'd rather be dead than red."  We do not think of the American Civil War when we think of communism or socialism, but it was extremely prevalent to society at that point.  One thing is very important, however, when analyzing the communists and socialist in the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg; they still fought for the Union while putting aside their political differences.    

Join me next week when I talk about the Schleswig-Holstein War and the emergence of Alexander von Schimmelfennig.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.org

Special Thanks to Philip M. Cole for his work called You'll Be Scare.  Sure - you'll be scared: Fear, Stress and Coping in the Civil War, (Ortanna: Colecraft Industries) 2010, pp. 72.
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<![CDATA[Ewell's To Blame: Part 3]]>Wed, 19 Sep 2012 17:59:23 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/ewells-to-blame-part-3Picture
When Sickles finally proved to be a thorn in the side of the Confederacy, General Lee had to change his plans.  Sending out some of the men from Hood’s division, reconnaissance was made and Hood himself reported back:  “Although Sickles’ line was irregularly shaped, what captivated Hood’s interest most was what his scouts had to say about the terrain features in his front and what lay beyond the Round Tops….Strewn with rock outcroppings and heavily timbered, it rose to a height of about 270 feet above the valley floor.”[1]  Long after information about the enemy’s position was verified, Longstreet was expected to attack but found himself delaying in hopes that Lee would change his mind:
                “At the opening of the fight, General Mead was with General Sickles discussing the feasibility of moving the Third Corps back to the line originally assigned for it, but the discussion was cut short by the opening of the Confederate battle.  If that opening had been delayed thirty or forty minutes the corps would have been drawn back to the general line, and my first deployment would have enveloped Little Round Top and carried it before it could have been strongly manned.”[2]
               Longstreet states his grievances with the attack on the second day in his memoirs but many historians find them to be unreliable because of his own bias and attempt to clear his name.  Edward Porter Alexander blames Lee for allowing the delays to take place and states that an earlier attack on the Round Tops would have ensured victory, writing,  “But it seems to me that while he might blame himself for it, general criticism must be modified by the fact that Gen. Lee’s granting the request justified it as apparently prudent, at the time.”[3]  Others may say that a general asking for a delay for the well-being of his own troops is the sign of a caring commander, but Longstreet was against this from the beginning.  If anything, on the second day of battle, he was delaying in hopes that Lee would change his mind; but what was going on with Ewell at this point was a completely different situation than what he was in on the first day.
              The largest fear of the Confederate Second Corps was whether or not the Union was digging in on Culp’s Hill and if they were, how well were they digging?  They “…were turning their positions into even more defensible ones.  They hacked at trees, gathered pieces of cordwood, rolled rocks around, and shoveled dirt, constructing the most formidable breast-works on the field at Gettysburg.”[4]  Wadsworth’s shattered division, including the Iron Brigade, was facing the north of the hill with much of the Eleventh Corps facing the eastern side of the hill against the enemy.  The Eleventh Corps had replaced the Twelfth Corps early on the evening, which was a great mistake for the Union as the men from the Eleventh had been heavily engaged on the first day of battle.  “Yet the removal of most of the 12th Corps from Culp’s Hill during the early evening has been called a more serious error,”[5] than Sickles’ Salient.  But what was even more dangerous to the whole situation, especially the Confederacy, was that Ewell did not begin his infantry attacks until 7 p.m.  What was strange was that Ewell was supposed to begin his attack as soon as Longstreet’s guns could be heard, but what ensued was a fight in between the artillery:  “Instead of making a quick assault – which would have complied with Lee’s orders and held the Federal infantry in place – he undertook a sustained bombardment, allowed the Federal infantry to avoid him, and ended with most of his artillery silenced and his gun crews crippled.”[6]  While Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was holding the south of the line, General George S. Greene held the north of the line at Culp’s Hill.    He was the general responsible for the building of entrenchment and the fight in this area:  “For three hours that night, the fate of the battle and possibly the destiny of the Federal cause hung on the staunch shoulders of “Old Pop” Greene, whose sturdiness had much to do with saving the hill for the Federals when its loss would have been calamitous.”[7]  Had George Greene not been there, the hill may not have been held and the Federal cause been lost.  But had Ewell taken the hill on the first day, we would have never heard the words “if practicable” in the reports of these generals.  The second day of battle had been a difficult one for both sides and there were heavy leadership losses to the Confederate army including the wounding of J.B. Hood and the mortal wounding of William Barksdale.  But one thing remained certain amidst all the casualties, there would be a fight the next day.
              Ewell knew that he would have to attempt to take the position on Culp’s Hill on the third day but he would need help after all of the casualties from the second day.  He gained the men of Rodes’ division which was engaged at the Oak Ridge of the first day of battle; they were also part of the third corps.  General Early, who was also present on the first day’s fight, was used to reinforce Ewell’s position.  As far as the Union position goes, the only remaining brigade from the Twelfth Corps, which vacated the previous day to be replaced by the Eleventh Corps, was Greene’s brigade and Williams’ brigade and they had no intention of leaving.  “The battle for Culp’s Hill resumed about 4:30 a.m. when Federal artillery opened on the Confederate positions…this was the first of the three phases of the fight on Culp’s Hill during July 3.”[8]  The Federal position was well fortified from the previous days and even after all of the fighting on the second, they were full with ammunition; that would be their downfall later on in the morning.  “Brigadier General George Greene’s men fired so rapidly their guns became fouled and their ammunition ran low.”[9]  Thankfully, General Williams from the Twelfth Corps rotated the line and placed his men in front; Greene’s men rested and resupplied.  But even resting was slim during this engagement.  “Federal fire was incessant.  One soldier from the 1st Maryland Battalion (CSA) recalled it this way: ‘The whole hillside seemed enveloped in a blaze.’”[10]  Ewell’s men moved in very odd fashions and the divisions brought to him to reinforce seemed to do more harm than good.  It seemed as though Rodes’ men moved very little during this day’s engagement but were engaged with the enemy firing up the hill.  It was not long in the day until Ewell pulled his men back from their attacking position and the firing slowed to a close, never finishing completely until the battle’s completion.  Longstreet praises Ewell for his lack of following orders, at least in the terms “if practicable” mean, by claiming his insubordination to be just against Lee to take Culp’s Hill on the first day.

              “It is the custom of military service to accept instructions of a commander as orders, but when they are coupled with conditions that transfer the responsibility of battle and defeat to the subordinate, they are not orders, and General Ewell was justifiable in not making attack that his commander would not order ,and the censure of his failure is unjust and very ungenerous.”[11] 
              It is very unique in this age that another commander, amidst endless blame, would praise another that had completely failed in his objective which speaks volumes about Longstreet’s character.
              Though Longstreet states that Ewell did the right thing by not attacking Culp’s Hill on the first of July, there is much blame that is not placed on Ewell that is placed on Longstreet.  Throughout the entire campaign, the general that performs in the worst sense of the word is J.E.B. Stuart who as the eyes and ears of the army, failed to provide Lee with information about the battlefield by arriving late on the second day of battle.  Longstreet delays his attacks on the second day of battle which is hindering to the strategy but Ewell’s operation at Culp’s Hill is damaging to say the least.  If the hill had been taken while there was no Federal presence on there would have drastically changed the face of the battle and maybe even the war.  At the time of the war, it would have been dangerous to blame Lee for the failures at Gettysburg even though Lee tried to resign after the campaign.  As the reports began to come into the war department, many of the commanders and soldiers pointed their fingers at Longstreet who openly stated that he did not desire to attack the position.  As the assault on the third of July with Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble’s division seemed grand on a Napoleonic scale and the devastating battles on the previous day, Culp’s Hill seemed less important than the rest of the battle and to this day, Ewell’s operations seem to be ignored.   As it seems today, the terms that Lee had given Ewell on that first day would haunt him for the rest of his life and would constantly lead everyone to believe what would have happened if they had taken the hill on the first day.  The two words “if practicable” ruined the Confederacy and Ewell’s reputation. 
              As the Army of Northern Virginia began their retreat back across the Potomac, General Lee had a strange encounter.  There was a soldier, a strong anti-Confederate soldier, who was wounded during the battle and lay by the street.  As Lee rode by him ordering his generals into retreat, he recognized him and he raised his head stretching out his arm saying “Hurrah for the Union!”  Lee dismounted Traveler and looked at the man with a grave look of defeat; as if his whole military career had come crashing down but tended to the boy with care.  He extended his hand and grasped his firmly.  “My son, I hope you will soon be well,” Lee replied.  He had been brought down by this campaign as all of the Confederacy had; the last thing he had on his mind at the time was who to place the blame. 

[1] Bowden, Scott and Ward, Bill.  “Last Chance for Victory: Robert E. Lee and the Gettysburg Campaign.”  Pg. 262.
[2] Longstreet, James.  “From Manassas to Appomattox.”  Pg. 382.
[3] Alexander, Edward Porter.  “Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander.”  Pg. 278.
[4] Hall, Jeffery C.  “The Stand:  The U.S. Army at Gettysburg.”  Pg. 149.
[5] Ibid.  Pg. 152.
[6] Tucker, Glenn.  “High Tide at Gettysburg.”  Pg. 301.
[7] Ibid.  Pg. 302.
[8] Gottfried, Bradley M.  “The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863.”  Pg. 242.
[9] Ibid.  Pg. 244.
[10] Ibid.  Pg. 244. 
[11] Longstreet, James.  “From Manassas to Appomattox.”  Pg. 381.


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<![CDATA[Ewell's To Blame: Part 2]]>Tue, 11 Sep 2012 16:16:52 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/ewells-to-blame-part-2Picture
            James Longstreet however, was one of the more trusted commanders of the army at the time.  Longstreet “…was the dean of the Southern corps commanders at Gettysburg…had been in corps command twice as long as anybody else on either side, and it was he who would command the Army of Northern Virginia if Gen. Robert E. Lee became incapacitated.”[1]  He had seen a great amount of action throughout his military career and had fought through the entirety of the war.  One of his greatest feats was the action at Fredericksburg when, in a well dug in position, he mowed down the charging Federals against Mayre’s Heights.  But unlike Ewell, Longstreet had personality conflicts with Jackson which was one of the reasons he was absent from the Chancellorsville Campaign.  Before Lee invaded Pennsylvania, he knew he would need his “old war horse” by his side.  During the months of April to July of 1863, Lt. Col. Arthur J. Fremantle of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards toured the Confederate states and praised Longstreet’s character:  “A thickset, determined-looking man, forty-three years of age.  He was an infantry major in the old army and now commands the 1st corps d’armee.  He is never far from General Lee, who relies very much upon his judgment.  By the soldiers he is invariably spoken of as the ‘best fighter in the whole army.’”[2]
              Longstreet could easily see the issues of the proposed tactics as soon as Lee spoke them.  He saw Gettysburg as a reversed version of Fredericksburg where instead of his men being well dug in, it was the Federals.  The only thing he would need to turn the tide would be Big Round Top. Lee had wondered if a move that far south would seem as a retreating position to the enemy which they would take advantage of.  But the term “if practicable” still swirled around the head of Ewell and Culp’s Hill lay in the hands of the Union.  Ewell’s reasoning behind not attacking Culp’s Hill on the first day of battle was that most of his men were scattered through the town forcing the Federals back and as Lee had not wanted a general engagement, he abandoned the idea.  Ewell would say, “I could not bring artillery to bear on it, and all the troops with me were jaded by twelve hours’ marching and fighting, and I was notified that General Johnson’s division (the only one of my corps that had not been engaged) was close to the town.”[3]  Cautious as he may have been and due to the lack of troops, there were many commanders willing to aid in the capturing of the hill.
              The terms “if practicable” ruined the Confederacy at Gettysburg and may have well ruined them for the whole war.  Ewell’s confusion on the subject caused engagements on that hill both the second and third day of battle, which resulted in many violent actions and encounters.  General Issac Trimble, though part of the Third Corps, was at Ewell’s side for the first day of battle, experienced the inability of command on Ewell’s part:  “Trimble’s close association with Ewell ended after a stormy meeting in the late afternoon…[he] buzzed excitetdly, ‘General, don’t you intend to pursue our sweep and push the enemy vigorously?’…Ewell only paced about, cited Lee’s order not to bring on a general engagement, and looked confused.”[4]  Trimble then began to argue with the commander asking for a division to take the hill which Ewell declined.  He then asked for a brigade which Ewell also declined and in one last fit of energy, he asked for a regiment but Ewell snapped back.  “‘When I need advice from a junior officer I generally ask for it.’ Trimble warned Ewell that he would regret not following his suggestions for as long as he lived, threw down his sword, and stormed off, saying he would no longer serve under such an officer.”[5]  With the opportunity open, Ewell was concerned about the execution of his own orders; if he underestimated the Union’s force, he would pay for it greatly with many lives and failure.  But any officer, or any soldier for that matter, could see the enemy was badly damaged on the first day’s fight:  “At that time no fresh Federal forces had arrived to support troops so shattered that even the famous Iron Brigade, which had started the day happily against Archer, was never again to be effective as a unit.”[6]  It seemed as though it was general knowledge the Union forces were weak at the time with no sign of reinforcements and still Ewell held back.  In his report he does state the Union army showed a good fight while occupying Cemetery Hill: “The enemy had fallen back to a commanding position known as Cemetery Hill, south of Gettysburg, and quickly showed a formidable front there.”[7]  His own account of the late afternoon and early evening of the 1st show no signs of the argument with Trimble nor does he mention the struggle with himself against the practicality of Culp’s Hill but conducted some scouting, nonetheless, before reporting to General Lee:  “I represented to the commanding general that the hill above referred to was unoccupied by the enemy, as reported by Lieutenants Turner and Early, who had gone upon it, and that it commanded their position and made it untenable so far as I could judge.”[8]  Upon that judgment, Lee allowed him to remain in his position and await orders.  Many officers serving under Ewell would regret the day they did not take the hill as the Union was heard digging in that night.
              Longstreet wanted to hold an attack, if not attack at all:  “Longstreet wasted little time before restating his ‘views against making an attack.’…in Longstreet’s words ‘make a reconnaissance of the ground in his front, with a view of making the main attack on his left.’”[9]  It would be in the Confederacy’s best interest that Big Round Top be taken for the high ground.  That was, of course, if General Lee saw it as well.  He had proposed the plan to take his corps to the south of the line and to attack Little Round Top while holding the larger hill; Lee took the plan into consideration and asked for opinions around command.  The two commanders also noted that a southern movement that drastic could be seen as a retreating motion to which Lee was against.  Attempting to find a plan that would completely work was difficult, however, and the two generals could not find a solid agreement to stand on.  “He [Lee] gave Longstreet an outright order to place McLaw’s and Hood’s divisions on the right of Hill ‘partially enveloping the enemy’s left, which he was to drive in.’”[10]  Longstreet, knowing that McLaw’s division was not fully present on the field at approximately 11:00 a.m., asked for a delay in attack which was granted by Lee.  This was all, of course, before Sickles collapsed the Union line with his infamous salient.  As Longstreet’s corps began their movements towards the positions for attack, many of the men seemed confused by what was going on; Longstreet himself riding far from the center of attention behind Hood. 
[1] Ibid, Pg. 203.
[2] Fremantle, Lt. Col. Arthur J. L.  “Three Months in the Southern States: April – June, 1863.” Pg. 237.
[3] Ewell, Richard.  “Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Union and Confederate Armies.  Series I. Volume 27, Part II.”  Pg. 445.
[4] Tagg, Larry.  “The Generals at Gettysburg.” Pg. 329.
[5] Ibid.  329.
[6] Dowdey, Clifford.  “Death of a Nation.”  Pg. 145.
[7] Ewell, Richard.  “Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Union and Confederate Armies.  Series I. Volume 27, Part II.”  Pg. 445.
[8] Ibid.  Pg. 446.
[9] Trudeau, Noah Andre.  “Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage.”  Pg. 279.
[10] Coddington, Edwin, B.  “The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command.”  Pg. 378.

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<![CDATA[Ewell's To Blame: Part 1]]>Tue, 07 Aug 2012 16:06:30 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/ewells-to-blame-part-1Picture
Richard Ewell, commanding general of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, had recently received command after the death of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.  It was an exciting time for him as he had been requested by Stonewall himself to take his place if he should die, yet the situation in front of him was filled with confusion.  A mounted courier approached him with a short order from General Lee: “Take the hill to the southeast of the town if practicable.”  Those two words confused Ewell.  The Federal force was being pushed back through the town and his boys were at the forefront of the action.  To the north, General Gordon was forcing Barlow and his men into the town and to the northeast, where the Federals had gained much in the first few hours of battle, Daniel’s men were doing the same thing.  It was a proud moment for him; his position would improve in the eyes of General Lee for what he had done this day.  But in the eyes of his irreplaceable second in command, Longstreet, how would it seem?  General Longstreet, commanding general of the First Corps, arrived early in the afternoon, and voiced his opinion that Gettysburg may not have been the right place to fight.  As the Confederates fought through the town, the real tactic began to show itself and the entire Union army began to pour in.  Before this would be over, ninety-thousand men dressed in blue would face off against seventy-five thousand men in gray.  The advantage would be that the Union would hold the interior lines and at a greater strength.  Longstreet, knowing this, constantly reminded his commanders but he was often overruled and people with less experience were listened to.  As the battle came to a close, the reports from leaders started to pour in and the blame was handed out in the form of Longstreet and Stuart.  Due to his god-like stature, General Lee is far from blame and Stuart’s late arrival is hard to ignore.  History often forgets one of the largest failures of the entire campaign, which resided in the hill southeast of the town: Culp’s Hill.
              Though the order from Lee to Ewell concerning Culp’s Hill is not in writing, it does appear in Lee’s report of the battle:  “General Ewell was therefore instructed to carry the hill occupied by the enemy if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army which were ordered to hasten forward.”[1]  Taking that order too seriously may have foreshadowed the Confederate defeat at the onset of the battle.  Many historians have stipulated whether or not Lee’s fight was set to be a failure from the beginning due to his numbers.  With the Union army at an approximate strength of ninety-thousand men and the Confederate force sitting at seventy-five thousand, the idea of a surrounding strategy did not look well on paper.  The first day’s fight was a struggle for the town but what was not seen was the exterior lines Lee would be forced to take south of the town.  As the Union fishhook[2] was created and placed in effect, the battle seemed to play out immediately in favor of the Union.  Longstreet noticed this right away on the morning of the second.  “As soon as it was light enough to see, however, the enemy was found in position on his formidable heights awaiting us.”[3]  He clearly noticed even though they had taken the town the previous day, all of the heights south had been taken by the Federals with their position dug in overnight.  Not only had Culp’s Hill been taken, which Ewell had failed to attack on July 1st, East Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top were already in Union hands.  On Culp’s Hill the Federal line was held by Slocum’s Twelfth Corps of just under ten thousand men; accompanying them was Wadsworth’s shattered division which was heavily engaged on the morning of the 1st.[4]  To the south of the fishhook was the Fifth Corps holding Little Round Top with fourteen thousand men.  So with the Union’s strong position, how would Lee’s force act against this?  His own information was hindered because General J.E.B. Stuart had failed to retrieve information about the enemy’s position; in fact he was missing altogether.  Lee would have to depend on cartographers and spies for his information which would cost him dearly: “Lee had wanted an early attack, but it was 11:00 a.m. before his order were issued…he moved on strange ground, his lead units taking heavy casualties from the sharpshooters of the Third Corps.”[5] 
              So why was Richard Ewell cautious of moving against the Federal position at Culp’s Hill?  It was not as if he was a poor commander while under Jackson:  “Ewell proved to be a skillful and successful division commander, and unlike Ambrose P. Hill and others, he was able to get along with Stonewall Jackson.”[6]  What was interesting about Ewell is not his commanding abilities, but his eccentricities,  “…he had a lisp that gave an added dimension to his pungent comments and to the blistering profanity he used when irritated.”[7]  Placing aside any of his traits, personal and emotional, many men admired him for his closeness with Jackson and not because of his command abilities:
               “Dick Ewell inspired men in spite of, not because of, his appearance…he had a fringe of brown hair on an otherwise bald and bomb-shaped head.  Bright bulging eyes protrude above a prominent nose, creating an effect which many likened to a bird – an eagle, some said, or a woodcock – especially when he left his head droop toward one shoulder, as he often did, and uttered strange speeches in his shrill, twittering lisp.”[8]
               Officers from Jackson’s staff stayed on, including the irreplaceable Sandy Pendleton.  But what some of his subalterns began to wonder was whether or not he had the fury of Jackson, something that would not be seen on the fields of Gettysburg.
[1] Lee, Robert E.  “The Wartime Papers of Robert E. Lee.” Pg. 576.
[2] See Appendix A.
[3] Longstreet, James.  “From Manassas to Appomattox.”  Pg. 363.
[4] See Appendix A.
[5] West Point Atlas of the Civil War.  Pg. 84.
[6] Phanz, Harry.  “Culp’s and Cemetery Hill.” Pg. 2.
[7] Ibid.  2.
[8] Tagg, Larry.  “The Generals of Gettysburg.”  Pg. 251.

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<![CDATA[A Most Toxic Relationship: Part 3]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:15:42 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/a-most-toxic-relationship-part-3Picture
            After all of this information has been sent through the lines of Hooker and the enemy being closely followed, Halleck sent an odd report on the 16th of June.  And as of 16th of June, there are many mixed reports flowing in and out of Washington.  At the time, there had been reports flowing in that the enemy had crossed the Potomac into the north.  On the 15th of June, two days before the information become jumbled; Halleck sends this report to Hooker.  “It is believed that Longstreet and Stuart are crossing the Potomac above and below Harper’s Ferry.  They should certainly be pursued.”[1]  Hooker prepares to move his men against the Potomac and even endeavors to move against Harper’s Ferry upon Halleck’s advice but he is quickly stopped.  On the morning of the 16th, Hooker tells Lincoln that their relationship must be more solidified if they hope to find the enemy and break through the curtain that the Confederate cavalry seemed to have formed.  With certainty of the position of the enemy, he suggests moving towards Harper’s Ferry but knows nothing of their numbers.  Halleck reinforces that idea that the enemy in the vicinity of Harper’s Ferry but does not suggest moving towards the location.  Along with that, he sends the following report.  “I do not think there is reliable information that the enemy has crossed the Potomac in any force.”[2]  Halleck also states the forces of the Army of the Potomac that are near Harper’s Ferry and gives the advice to send relief and that the only relief that can come is from his own army.  Hooker in an air of excitement reports his movements toward Harper’s Ferry.  “In compliance with your directions, I shall march to the relief of Harper’s Ferry.  I put my column again in motion at 3 a.m. tomorrow.  I expect to reach there in two days, and if possible, earlier.”[3]  Hooker informs the President, in a way to reinforce their relationship, that he will be marching on Harper’s Ferry tomorrow in the early morning.  Hooker moves with the hope of cutting off some of the Confederate corps, mainly A.P. Hill’s corps and states that he knows not whether or not the enemy is above the Potomac with the exception of the force at Harper’s Ferry.  Lincoln, however, began to get concerned with Hooker and his movements after confiding with Halleck who told him that he never gave the order for Hooker to move towards that location.  Halleck sends Hooker a report stating that very fact about never ordering him to move to Harper’s Ferry, only that he had advised it.  At this point in the war, they were still trying to ascertain the location of the corps throughout the threat of the Army of Northern Virginia.  With this in mind, Lincoln sends Hooker a damaging report.  “To remove all misunderstanding, I now place you in the strict military relation to General Halleck of a commander of one of the armies to the general-in-chief of all the armies.  I have not intended differently, but as it seems to be differently understood, I shall direct him to give you orders and you to obey them.”[4]  The relationship that Hooker wanted with Lincoln was destroyed and the relationship between Halleck and Hooker changed from toxic to destructive.  It seemed that even though many reports were sent to Hooker supporting movements and positions, as soon as they were acted on they were denied.  Seeing this and becoming concerned, Stanton, the Secretary of War, reached out to Hooker.  “You shall be kept posted upon all information received here as to enemy’s movements, but must exercise you own judgment as to its credibility.  The very demon of lying seems to be about these times, and generals will have to be broken for ignorance before they will take the trouble to find out the truth of reports.”[5]
              Hooker’s own morale was at an all time low and knew that there were motions in Washington to replace him.  He had to make the best of the time that he had.  He never forgot the way in which he found himself in command of the army; he personally told the President certain things about Burnside that he was displeased with.  But Burnside was displeased with him during the Fredericksburg Campaign.  During the end of the year 1862, Burnside created what was called Special Order Number 8 which would terminate eight generals: Brooks, Newton, Cochrane, Franklin, Smith, Sturgis, Ferraro, and Hooker.  Burnside himself even said that he could not “continue to command unless order number 8 met with approval.”[6]  Order number 8 never made its appearance and Burnside was removed only to be replaced by Hooker.  Lincoln himself wrote the report to Hooker placing him in command which solely states why he promoted him to the command of the army.  “…yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you…You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside’s command of the army, you have taken counsel of your ambition, and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer…Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you command.”[7]  It is a very Machiavellian thing to use counsel with one another to bring another down and now, it seems that the same is happening to Hooker.  Now that Hooker was being placed on a tight leash with Halleck, and Lincoln out of the picture, there were motions of some in the high command that were ready to remove him.
              Hooker began to analyze the area above the Potomac for places that Lee may attack; he began looking for any town that had military significance.  However, Halleck sends a report of information from Pleasonton that Hooker may not know.   “I can get no information of the enemy other than that sent to you.  Rumors from Pennsylvania are too confused and contradictory to be relied on.  Officers and citizens are on a big stampede.”[8]  He then goes on to explain that General Schenck is reliable for this type of information.  That report was sent on the 18th of June.  The reports following all the way to the resignation of Hooker is nothing but a confused mess of reports concerning Schenck and no information concerning the enemy.  If Hooker had been allowed to move about as he pleased, he may have found movements of the enemy but the closest he gets is when he moves his headquarters to Frederick, Maryland.  But there was one report stating a possible location of Longstreet’s men.  “Pleasonton reports Stuart’s force in front of him, beyond Middleburg.  He will attack him with all his available command early tomorrow.  Their cavalry have mounted infantry with them.  Infantry soldiers captured report to Pleasonton that Longstreet’s rear passed through the Blue Ridge yesterday.”[9]  According to the period maps, the Blue Ridge Mountains end in Maryland with the edge of South Mountain deep into the Maryland border.  The motion of moving through the Blue Ridge would push the men across the Potomac.  The report of Longstreet’s men moving through the Blue Ridge came on the 20th of June and two days later, General Pleasonton sends reports to Hooker about encountering the enemy near Upperville which was approximately twenty miles to the border of Maryland.  On the 24th of June, Hooker sends a message to Halleck about the enemy and his movements.  “Ewell, I conclude, is over the river, and is now up in the country…I shall send over a corps or two from here, in order , if possible, to sever Ewell from the balance of the rebel army, in case he should make a protracted sojourn with his Pennsylvania neighbors.”[10]
              It was at this time that Hooker began to meet with the corps commanders and his Chief-of-Staff, Daniel Butterfield as they looked over maps at possible places for an attack.  Hooker had a feeling that the target city of the Army of Northern Virginia would be either Hagerstown or Harrisburg but found himself straying his finger towards a small town just above the border.  Butterfield remembered later that “Hooker pointed  to the vicinity of the town of Gettysburg on a map of Pennsylvania and saying ‘we will fight the battle here.’  Hooker spoke of cutting behind Lee’s army in Pennsylvania and severing his communications.  ‘For this reason, I felt that it was for me to say when and where I should fight Lee.  I felt that I could choose my position and compel him to attack me.’”[11]  But with so much restriction on him, it was difficult to prove where the enemy was and due to the enemy’s cavalry, created a cloud that was more dense than any other.  With most of his army concentrated around Westminster, Hanover, and Manchester, Hooker found himself moving towards Harper’s Ferry in a motion to draw the enemy towards him.  “I have received you telegram in regard to Harper’s Ferry.  I find 10,000 men here, in condition to take the field…No enemy will ever take possession of them…Now they are but a bait for the rebels, should they return.”[12]  Later on that day, he filled out his letter of resignation to Halleck who most likely received it with the warmest of hearts.
              Though Halleck received it with a great amount of happiness, there was only a few things that Halleck could say in return.  “You application to be relieved from your present command is received.  As you were appointed to this command by the President, I have no power to relieve you.  Your dispatch has been duly referred for Executive action.”[13]  And as though they had planned it, a message was written to General Meade giving him command of the army.  When Hooker hands in his resignation, there is no remorse as when Lee attempted to resign.  Jefferson Davis rejected the resignation and showed some compassion when keeping Lee.  When Hooker resigns, it is as if Washington breathes a sigh of relief.  Hooker brought a lot of drama to the scene of the high command, but was it necessary to hold him from movement around northern Virginia and Maryland in order to find out about the enemy’s movements?  In the second paragraph of promotion of General Meade, Halleck states that he will not micromanage like he had to do with Hooker.  “You will not be hampered by any minute instructions from these headquarters.  Your army is free to act as you may deem proper under the circumstances as they arise.”[14]  One has to wonder whether or not there were political hindrances on the motions between Halleck and Hooker and many felt that it was dangerous move accepting the resignation so close to an oncoming battle.  Though Halleck states that Hooker’s resignation has to go before the president, he makes no waste of time replacing him.  The report was written of the 27th of June promoting Meade to command of the army but it did not reach him until 3 a.m. on the 28th.  As any general would be angry to awaken at that ungodly hour, this news most likely brought him down even more.  Meade was a general who found himself both physically present at Gettysburg and physically non-present at the battle.  After the campaign is over, Lincoln shows his disappointment with Meade and a council of war is created against him.  Many supporters of Hooker approached the council and all stated that a change in command was dangerous for the men in such short of a time. 
              If Hooker had been allowed to move against Lee when he first had the idea that the enemy was in the north, Gettysburg may have been garrisoned as Hooker had pointed out.  Had he been sure of the movements, Halleck may have backed him up; but Hooker’s fame for intelligence and spy networking began to fail him as his head floated up in the high command.  As stated before, Halleck and Hooker were dangerous together; to a point that made Lincoln take the back seat to their arguments.  We, as historians, can always think about what would have happened if Hooker made his way into Pennsylvania before Lee reached there.  Upon reading all of the reports between Hooker, Halleck and Lincoln, the press was very much involved in the presence of the army which Lee would have seen sooner or later.  Had Hooker placed himself in a garrison at Gettysburg, Lee would have known, he would have adapted and the Union would have been attacked on another level.  Harrisburg may have been an easier target had Hooker placed himself in one spot and had Halleck not been in his position, Hooker’s freedom may have been larger.  But since Hooker’s promotion was done with cautious approval, he was on a tight leash from day one.  As Burnside was a obedient Golden Retriever who followed everything that Lincoln and the high command wanted, Hooker was an American Bulldog; slow to move and quick to anger, but place it on a leash and it will become obedient.
[1] Ibid, Pg. 42.
[2] Ibid.  Pg. 45.
[3] Ibid.  Pg. 46.
[4] Ibid.  Pg. 47.
[5] Ibid.  Pg. 48.
[6] Marvel, William.  “Burnside.”  Pg. 15.
[7] Lincoln, Abraham. “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 6”  Pg. 78-79.
[8] Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Union and Confederate Armies.  Series I. Volume 27, Part 1.  Pg. 50-51.
[9] Ibid.  Pg. 53. 
[10] Ibid.  Pg. 55-56.
[11] Sears, Stephen W.  “Gettysburg.”  Pg. 93.
[12] Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Union and Confederate Armies.  Series I.  Volume 27 Part 1.  Pg. 60.
[13] Ibid.  Pg. 60.
[14] Ibid.  Pg. 61.

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<![CDATA[A Most Toxic Relationship: Part 2]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2012 17:56:32 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/a-most-toxic-relationship-part-2Picture
On June 5th, 1863, there was a grand review of the forces for the ladies and gentlemen of the Confederacy.  “The review occurred late in the afternoon, and as a grand finale, the units charged past the people assembled on and around the knoll with a final salute.  The horsemen moved from west to east, with the spectators facing north.”[1]  Stuart had organized this review of over ten-thousand cavalry men and even invited some infantry men into the occasion and Stuart, himself, was atop the hill with the people and looked as fine as ever.  “He was superbly mounted and his side arms gleamed in the morning sun like burnished silver.  A long black ostrich plume waved gracefully from a black slouch hat cocked up on one side, held with a golden clasp.”[2]  But upon the review of his cavalry, the one person that he wanted to be there was missing: General Lee.  He was later informed at one of the balls he attended that Lee would be present at a proper review a few days later.  At this proper military review, Lee was greatly pleased with what he saw.  He would later write to his wife about what he saw on that day.  “I reviewed the cavalry in this section…It was a splendid sight.  The men and horses looked well.  They have recuperated since last fall.  Stuart was in all his glory.”[3]  Stuart in his glory was dressed as he was before but his horse wore a wreath of flowers which was a gift from the previous review.  Lee chuckled at the look of it and gave a warning.  “Take care, General, that is the way General Pope’s horse was adorned when he went to the Battle of Second Manassas.”[4]  During this entire endeavor, Generals Pleasonton and Buford were watching from Beverly’s Ford planning their attack which would come a few days later.
              The main area of contention of the Battle of Brandy Station was Fleetwood Hill where Stuart was placed during the reviews.  Pleasonton later felt that their presence was known and actions anticipated due to the splashing of Buford’s men around 4:00 a.m. and fearing that they would be pushed back because of heavy losses sent a message to Hooker.  “12:30 p.m.(received 3:20 p.m.) General Gregg has joined me, and I will not attack the enemy vigorously with my whole force…I would be well to send a good force of the Fifth corps toward Brandy Station, if it can be spared.”[5]  This battle is considered the largest cavalry battle during the whole war and through a day of fighting, Stuart pulled back and cancelled any raid that he planned to make.  “We captured Stuart’s camp, with his orders, letters, &c.  He was to move to Maryland with 12,000 cavalry and twenty-five guns, and he was camped at the ford we crossed…The enemy lost very heavily.”[6]  And from this point forward, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac would not be underestimated. 
              Upon reports to Washington about the attack at Brandy Station, most of the praise went to Pleasonton but all that was shown was a lack of interest from Halleck.  And upon sending an uproarious report praising the cavalry, it seemed as though both Lincoln and Halleck seemed to ignore the engagement.  “I dispatched General Pleasonton to attack him on his own ground…This, in the face of vastly superior numbers, was only accomplished by hard and desperate fighting by our cavalry, for which they deserve much credit.  Their morale is splendid.  They made many hand-to-hand combats, always driving the enemy before them.”[7]  The reports sent back to him later on in the day not only ignored what was sent earlier that day, but accosted Hooker for not moving fast enough against an enemy that has crossed the Rappahannock River.  Small bits of information started to pour in on the enemy found in small forces all around the north of Virginia especially Winchester.  A correspondence from Lincoln questioned whether or not Hooker’s reconnaissance found anything in or around the vicinity of that city.  “Do you consider it possible that 15,000 of Ewell’s men can now be at Winchester?”[8]  Hooker’s reaction to the many reports coming in about enemy movement was as professional as he could be.  Researching them himself he discovered something that the President and his staff may not have considered.  “Hooker pointed out to Lincoln that his information service was not equipped to cover country as far afield as that where the enemy was operating.”[9]  Hooker was attaining information as best as he could at the time, especially for the man who had created such a great system of internal information during the war.  Through a strict communication between his own corps and division commanders, he found many positions of the Confederate army and the movements they were making.  “Major General Hancock reports that the rebel forces about Fredericksburg have moved in the direction of Culpepper this morning.”[10]  He also, in the most professional sense, keeps the high command informed about his own movements and in that same report also states where the moving parts of the army had gone to.  At Fairfax Station, Hooker will follow the movements of the enemy closely along with corresponding with information that the high command receives.  Every day, he reports his movements and information to the President and sometimes General Halleck as he would be expected to do.  However, the lack of reports to the General-in-Chief only fueled some of the anger between the two as Hooker only reports to Lincoln.

[1] Kunstler, Mort.  “The Civil War Paintings of Mort Kunstler Volume II: Fredericksburg to Gettysburg.”  Pg. 215.
[2] Burke, Davis.  “JEB Stuart, The Last Cavalier.” Pg. 304.
[3] Ibid, Pg. 305.
[4] Ibid, Pg. 305.
[5] Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Union and Confederate Armies Series I, Volume 27, Part 1. Pg. 903.
[6] Ibid, Pg. 904.
[7] Ibid.  Pg. 36.
[8][8] Ibd, Pg. 38.
[9] Fischel, Edwin C. “The Secret War for the Union: The Untold Story of Military Intelligence in the Civil War.” Pg. 456.
[10] Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Union and Confederate Armies Series I, Volume 27, Part 1.  Pg. 41

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<![CDATA[A Most Toxic Relationship: Joe Hooker and Henry Hallack]]>Tue, 19 Jun 2012 14:04:36 GMThttp://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/blog/a-most-toxic-relationship-joe-hooker-and-henry-hallackPicture
Part 1

            Joseph Hooker, commander of the Army of the Potomac in June of 1863, sat at his desk under a damp tent scrawling out his resignation to the General-in-Chief.  He pondered his administration’s achievements and failures and came to a realization that one greatly outweighed the other.  His work with spy networking supplied the capitol with more information than any other commander; the network worked with a very low capture rate.  He had re-organized the cavalry into their own corps and used them to his advantage in reconnaissance while using some of the cavalry in the spy network.  And he had also spent a great amount of time training the troops in drills that they were unfamiliar in, especially in the display of the Battle of Fredericksburg.  But as he saw there thinking of all the good, the failure weighed upon his head: Chancellorsville.  Henry Halleck was not a forgiving man, and neither would you want that in a leader organizing a whole army, but he had been harassing Hooker long enough that it pushed him to resignation.  As he signed his letter, he seemed bothered by Lincoln’s inaction between the two allowing Hooker and Halleck to butt each other’s heads off like dogs on this damp day.  Hooker’s aide approached the tent, saluted the general, and handed him a message.  With a heavy heart, fearing a harassing message from the high command, he opened it to find a report from General Buford and his position in Pennsylvania.  Hoping to end his tenure as commander on a high note, he added the information provided to him in his resignation, folded it and gave it to his aide.  Along with the note were strict orders to forward it to the war department immediately.  All he had to do now was wait for his replacement and hope Buford would find something in Pennsylvania.

            Ever since the engagement at Brandy Station in Culpepper County, Virginia, Hooker was absolute in his assumption that General Lee was making his way toward the north.  “Prisoners and deserters brought in here state that Stuart is preparing a column of from 15,000 to 20,000 men, cavalry and artillery, for a raid.  They say it will be ready in two or three days.”[1]  Upon hearing this news, the high command especially the President, was both excited and wary of the news.  “…in case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock, I would by no means cross to the south of it…If Lee would come to my side of the river, I would keep on the same side…But these are mere suggestions, which I desire to be controlled by the judgment of yourself and General Halleck.”[2]  Halleck, in agreement with Lincoln, writes to Hooker stating more in depth matters of defense of Washington and Harper’s Ferry.  There was a concern that Lee would be moving towards Pennsylvania and Maryland, but it was nothing compared to the concern of Washington’s defense.  “Neither this capital nor Harper’s Ferry could long hold on against a large force…Lee will probably move light and rapidly.  You movable force should be prepared to do the same.”[3]  As these reports flowed in and out of the war department, there was very little worry that the Confederates would find their way into Pennsylvania.  As Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia found their way into Maryland the previous year and failed, the worry was very thin.  The raid near Culpepper country was coming soon and Hooker used his cavalry as a reconnaissance to ascertain the reason for the raid.  What they found was nothing more than a review of J.E.B. Stuart’s corps.

[1] Hooker, Joseph.  “Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Union and Confederate Armies.  Series I, Volume 27, Part 1.  Pg. 31.
[2] Ibid, Pg. 31.
[3] Ibid, Pg. 32.

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