The Marble Man and Mac: Theories of Victory and Peninsula Campaign of 1862
By Patrick Smith

McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign could have been the decisive campaign of the American Civil War. As General-in-Chief of all Union Armies, McClellan proposed a national strategy that embraced joint and coordinated operations complementing President Lincoln’s wartime policy. His theory of victory was the product of a comprehensive understanding of both combatants, geographic and operational challenges, and tactical realities of mid-19th century war. Nevertheless, interference at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels by President Lincoln ultimately disrupted the execution of the campaign. Lincoln’s meddling was informed by a limited understanding of military operations, an impatience to end the war quickly, and goading from his political backers. As McClellan’s command was dissolved, strategic priorities changed. Operational support, muddled by military amateurs, ground the campaign to a tragic halt on the banks of the James River.
The Battle of Gettysburg: A Synopsis
By MSG Robert D. Wall Jr.

The beginning turning point during the American Civil War occurred between July 1st and 3rd in 1863, in and around the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (PA). Historians and military leaders consider the Battle of Gettysburg the most critical engagement of the American Civil War ( Editors, 2009). The battle between the Army of the Potomac, Union Army (USA) led by General George Meade, and (Confederate States of America, CSA) led by General Robert E. Lee in a town 35 miles south of Harrisburg, PA would become the turning point between continued Union defeats and Confederate victories within the Potomac. Over 165,620 forces engaged during this time, with an estimated 51,112 casualties from both sides (The American Battlefield Trust, 2022). The invasion of Gettysburg was General Robert E. Lee's second attempt to invade the North with the hopes of a quick end to the Civil war. President Abraham Lincoln heavily criticized the Union Army, General Meade, for not perusing General Lee across the Potomac even though the Union Army won the battle ( Editors, 2009; The Lehrman Institute, 2016). Despite heavy criticism, General Meade was valid in not pursuing General Lee after winning the three-day battle at Gettysburg.
The Siege of Vicksburg: A Crucial Win for the Union Army
By MSG Garrett D. Roberson Jr.

The American Civil War saw countless numbers of skirmishes, engagements, bombardments, and battles throughout its duration; however, some battles posed greater significance than others. Perhaps the most famed battle of the Civil War was Gettysburg, where the Union Army decimated the Confederate force over the first three days in July of 1863 (Reardon & Vossler, 2013). While the Union's win at Gettysburg was significant to the North's war effort, General Ulysses S. Grant won the Vicksburg Campaign during the same timeframe. The Battle of Gettysburg vastly overshadowed the Vicksburg Campaign, even though the Union Army's victory at Vicksburg played a critical role in turning the tide of the Civil War in the North's favor. Vicksburg served as an even more crucial victory for the North than Gettysburg because the Union Army cut the South's supply lines from the Mississippi River, forced the surrender of 29,000 Confederates, and ultimately broke the fighting spirit of the South.
Special Order 191: Ruse Of War
By Joseph Ryan

On September 5, 1862, General Lee crossed his army over the Potomac into Western Maryland. It had taken him four months to maneuver Lincoln's armies out of Virginia and the effort had left his soldiers decimated and the survivors staggering. He needed to get them into the Shenandoah Valley, the only place within a radius of sixty miles from his position, after the fierce battle at Manassas, where they could find subsistence, rest, and reorganize. But, in turning his army back from the environs of Washington, it was impossible for him to lead it directly across the Blue Ridge into the Valley. Lincoln's armies would consolidate under McClellan's command again and would either follow him or move toward Richmond, and he would have to hurry his soldiers across the wasteland of Northern Virginia to intercept them. Only one strategy would keep the enemy away from Richmond and that was to march to the Valley indirectly, through Maryland. Twelve days after General Lee's army entered Maryland, the Battle of Antietam was fought on Constitution Day. In the space of twelve hours, over five thousand young Americans lost their lives in action and another twenty thousand were wounded. Soon after, General Lee's soldiers were safely in the Shenandoah Valley, camped along the Opequon unmolested, where they remained until the end of October.
What Lincoln’s Telegraph Can Teach Us about Wartime Adaptation
By Richard Tilley

The American Civil War was nearly over before it really began. When Union General McDowell and his 35,000 soldiers strode from Washington, D.C. southward in July 1861, they seemed destined to take Richmond. Fortunately for the Confederacy, the Virginia Central Railroad allowed last-second reinforcements to rush from the Shenandoah Valley and turn back McDowell at the First Battle of Bull Run. Two years later, another seminal invention took center stage as the rifled musket decimated Confederate General Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, setting the stage for Confederate surrender at Appomattox by 1865. For many historians, railroads to and rifles on American battlefields fashioned modern warfare. Yet, the enduring legacy of these innovations has faded with time. The railroad was a modest improvement on the horse as a means of soldier transportation and was quickly supplanted by internal combustion and jet engines for ground and air maneuver, respectively. Similarly, rifling improved the effective range of the infantryman but no more significantly than the pike, the arrow, or the smoothbore musket and its impact pales in comparison to breach-loading and the machine gun. Upon deeper reflection, the most significant advancement of the American Civil War was President Lincoln’s use of the telegraph – an adaptation that introduced electronic command and control and forever altered the relationship between commander-in-chief and army in the field.
Under Six Flags: The Intriguing Saga of the CSS Stonewall
By Larry Parker

Patterned as she was on the revolutionary French Battleship Gloire, on paper she seemed formidable. She was 194 feet in length, 31.5 feet at the beam, drew 15.75 feet of water and displaced 1560 tons. Her hull was protected by 4.5 inches of armor amidships tapering to 3.5 inches at the bow and stern. Up to 24 inches of hardwood backed this iron carapace. A casemate forward sheathed in 5.5 inches of iron housed a pivot mounted, breech loading, 300 pounder Armstrong gun. A fixed turret aft covered in 4 inches of armor contained two 70 pounder breech loading Armstrong guns. In keeping with naval tactics at the time, she was also equipped with a ram. Steam powered with a top speed of 10.8 knots, twin screws coupled with twin rudders made her remarkably maneuverable for a ship of her size and displacement.
The Confederate Plot to Burn Manhattan
By Walter Giersbach

On Nov. 25. 1864, eight men walked the streets of Manhattan, New York. The group, calling themselves the Confederate Army of Manhattan, split up and approached a series of hotels on their lists and checked in. “At 17 minutes of nine the St. James Hotel was discovered to be on fire in one of the rooms,” The New York Times reported. Bedding and furniture had been saturated with an accelerant and set aflame. A few minutes later, Barnum’s Museum was ablaze. About the same time, four rooms of the St. Nicholas Hotel were ablaze. By 9:20 p.m. a room in the Lafarge House was ln flames. Then the Metropolitan House, Brandreth House, Frenche’s Hotel, the Belmont House, Wallack’s Theatre and several other buildings were on fire. Included in the incendiary maelstrom were 5th Ward Museum Hotel, Astor House, the Belmont Hotel, the Fifth Avenue Hotel, the Howard Hotel, La Farge House, Lovejoy's Hotel, the Metropolitan Hotel, the St. James Hotel, the St. Nicholas Hotel, the Tammany Hotel, and the United States Hotel.
Battle of Chickamauga
By Roger Craig and Michael Artis

The Battle of Chickamauga is a historic battle fought near Chickamauga Creek in Chickamauga, Georgia, during the Civil War in 1863. The recent Union Army victories took its toll on the Confederate forces in both physical ways and emotional ways. General Braxton Bragg and General William Rosecrans met on the battlefield before the Battle of Chickamauga. They met and fought at the Tullahoma Campaign. General Rosecrans emerged victorious in the Tullahoma Campaign. General Bragg and his troops suffered a loss, but the fight for this region was not over. The importance of the region demanded that each side put all they had into controlling that vital supply route. The Confederate Army won the battle. However, the Battle of Chickamauga was the Confederate victory that led to the defeat of the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. [1] The area in and around Chattanooga is rich in natural resources. It has fertile land for growing crops to sustain an army; it had rail lines that connected much of the nation. Both armies wanted to control this area. The Battle of Chickamauga did not end that dispute. The Battle of Chickamauga was one battle in the struggle to control this area.
Sherman's March
By Michael Irvin

Sherman’s March to the Sea proved to be a decisive campaign deep in the heartland of the South to which many have claimed was a criminal act but, in examining the facts, was nothing of the sort. Beginning in November 1864, approximately 60,000 Union soldiers left the city of Atlanta determined to reach the Atlantic coast while removing Georgia’s ability and will to contribute any more to the Confederate cause. This bold move was at first cautioned by Lincoln and Grant who were unsure of the likelihood of success but, through Sherman’s conviction and desire, was ultimately granted approval. The march has since gone down as one of the most storied and controversial undertakings of the Civil War and arouses an almost mythical stature for its followers. Sherman’s men were products of the 19th century and so did carry out acts that today would be seen as unacceptable but they were no criminals and committed no war crimes. Atlanta was known as the Gate City of the South and was a major industrial hub with railroads and factories making it an objective for the Union armies. What began as a series of battles in early 1864, led to the eventual downfall of the city in September giving Lincoln the needed boost to be reelected.
Was the Civil War Modern?
By Michael Collie

After the Second World War, many American Civil War historians came to argue that the Civil War was the first modern/total war. As summarized by Mark Grimsley, in The American Civil War: a Handbook of Literature and Research this theme includes a number of contentions. Troops armed with breech-loading infantry arms and artillery, primitive machine guns, and ironclad ships, early balloons, and trench warfare in the Civil War are cited as evidence. The use of railroads, steam ships and riverboats, and telegraph are said to have affected strategy. New mass armies of volunteers and emphasis on industrial capacity influenced battles and campaigns. The status of civilians as legitimate targets of armies and strategy may be the most significant aspect making the American Civil War the first modern and total of the new period of war, so the argument goes.[1] Although a common theme in American Civil War historiography, recent scholarship has begun to question this interpretation. The idea of modern war is an imprecise term. Any war is modern for its own time. The reference to “modern war” is more reasonably meant to distinguish twentieth-century industrial-age war from previous periods. The question should be at what point was truly “modern” industrial war achieved as opposed to simply partial development. The term “Total War” is properly and clearly a twentieth-century term and phenomena that is not applicable to campaign conditions prior to 1900.[2]
Movement around Pope's Army
By Michael Collie

Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1863 the Army of Northern Virginia went into winter quarters along the south bank of the Rappahannock River. Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's headquarters was at the Moss Neck Plantation eleven miles southeast of Fredericksburg. General Robert E. Lee and Major General J.E.B. Stuart made camp near Hamilton Crossing within 8 miles of Moss Neck and about four miles south of Fredericksburg. The proximity of these headquarters allowed frequent contact between the staffs during the winter of 1862-1863.[1] From the civil war journal of Jedediah Hotchkiss, Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's topographic engineer, we find in the entry of March 4th 1863: "We talked of the battles of Groveton Heights, etc. He [Stuart] said Gen. Jackson was entitled to all the credit for the movement round the enemy and Gen. Lee had very reluctantly consented to it."[2]
Timothy Webster, Pinkerton Man and Spy
By Walter Giersbach

Few people admire a spy who lives by duplicity, subterfuge and lies, even if he or she is your ally. However, Timothy Webster was a man of honor serving an honorable cause. And he was the first Union spy hanged by the Confederates for it. Webster was born into a large family in Newhaven, Sussex County, England in 1822. Foreshadowing the mass emigrations to come, the Websters moved to Princeton, N.J. in 1830. About ten years later, he moved again, to New York City, and in 1841, at the age of 19, he married 23-year-old Charlotte Sprowls. A year later their first child, a son, was born. They would have four children in all. [1] While Webster had been trained as a machinist, the need to support a family led him to become a policeman. The Municipal Police Act, signed into law in 1845, set up a larger police organization that was the foundation for the modern New York Police Department.
Four Attacks – Four Failures: The Third Day at Gettysburg
By Bryan J. Dickerson

Few people admire a spy who lives by duplicity, subterfuge and lies, even if he or she is your ally. However, Timothy Webster was a man of honor serving an honorable cause. And he was the first Union spy hanged by the Confederates for it. Webster was born into a large family in Newhaven, Sussex County, England in 1822. Foreshadowing the mass emigrations to come, the Websters moved to Princeton, N.J. in 1830. About ten years later, he moved again, to New York City, and in 1841, at the age of 19, he married 23-year-old Charlotte Sprowls. A year later their first child, a son, was born. They would have four children in all. [1] While Webster had been trained as a machinist, the need to support a family led him to become a policeman. The Municipal Police Act, signed into law in 1845, set up a larger police organization that was the foundation for the modern New York Police Department.
Colonel Patrick O'Rorke: Unsung hero of Little Round Top
By Roger Daene

The one who writes the history is oftentimes the one who receives the glory. This is especially true in military history. Those who survive the battle are able to tell their story known to the public. In some cases, those who die in battle can either be relegated to obscurity or their achievements are underrated because there is no one to tell their story. The Colonel of the 140th New York at the Battle of Gettysburg was one whose story is relatively unknown. The town of Gettysburg had grown in size and importance once the railroad had come to town. Gettysburg was a crossroads town and after the war had begun, supplies had moved through this bustling Pennsylvania town. In the waning days of June 1863 both armies began to move toward Gettysburg. The town was about to move into immortality and hold a place forever in American history.
Stanley at Shiloh: An Improbable Indiana Jones
By Walter Giersbach

The early days of April 1862 didn't turn out well for Henry Morton Stanley. A few months into his enlistment in the Dixie Greys—the 6th Arkansas Regiment—found the young man marching toward the disastrous Battle of Shiloh. This would set him on a course he couldn't have imagined. Stanley wasn't his real name, nor was he an American—just an Englishman from Wales who liked to read and write and happened to find himself in Arkansas when war broke out. Joining the Dixie Greys came as much from the lure of adventure as patriotism. Then, on the morning of April 7, he found himself virtually the only soldier in gray facing a sea of bluecoats. His fight at Shiloh was over when a Yank shouted, "Down with that gun, Secesh, or I'll drill a hole through you!" It was an ignominious beginning for a man who became one of the 19th Century's greatest adventurers and explorers—the man who trekked through America, sailed the West Indies, entered the heart of Africa and uttered the words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume."
The Ringgold Cavalry Company in the Alleghenies, June to November 1861
By Richard D. Pitts

At the beginning of the Civil War, the US Army possessed only the basics to conduct military operations, standard infantry units pulled from garrison duty, artillery units equipped with artillery pieces little changed from the Napoleonic period, and cavalry units varying in title and purpose. The cavalry of the regular army consisted of two regiments of regular cavalry the 1st and 2nd , troopers armed with sabers and pistols for close order combat on horseback, two regiments of dragoons also the 1st and 2nd, units, which used horses to get from one fight to the next, and the 1st Mounted Rifles, infantrymen on horseback[1] . Scattered across the United States these units provided the only horsemen available to Union except for one particular independent cavalry unit, a unit, which trained as a Pennsylvania militia unit since 1847 and remained ready for action right up to the callout of volunteers on April 15, 1861. In 1847, during the Mexican American War, the residents of Beallsville, Pennsylvania and nearby Washington County formed the Ringgold Independent Cavalry Company, named for Major Samuel Ringgold, an artillery officer mortally wounded at Palo Alto.[2] Never asked to serve in the war, the unit’s troops elected to remain together at war’s end. Providing their own horses, equipment, and weapons, the Ringgold drilled for years, replacing personnel as needed, and awaited a call to serve.

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