“The Sad, sorrowful, and pathetic scene at Salem”

Col. John S. Mosby Library of Congress

Col. John S. Mosby
Library of Congress

Growing up in the region called “Mosby’s Confederacy,” the memory of John S. Mosby was never far.  The main road I traveled as a kid was called “John S Mosby Highway.”  Historic markers line the road with references to Mosby and his band of Rangers or Raiders.  My high school (Loudoun County High School) mascot “Raiders” is based off of Mosby’s command. When people ask me “how did you become interested in history?” I usually reference John S. Mosby.  His tales were legendary, and even the true stories were pretty amazing too.  How could anyone grow up in this region, touching history every day, and not be impacted?

For me it was easy. Before my recollections, history—Civil War history—was a passion. I read about the Gray Ghost, his capture of a Union General, protecting the local population from the “Yankees.”  No, the politics of the war and slavery were not in the mind of a 9 year old—just the daring and dashing “Robin Hood” of Loudoun County.  I can clearly remember the day I learned that I had an ancestor that rode with Mosby. Continue reading

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The Curmudgeon, The Eccentric, and the “Norse God”: How Three Men Impacted the Battle of Gettysburg: Part 1

Part One in a Series

Introduction 

Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell

The “Eccentric” Richard S. Ewell

The argument over how and why the Army of Northern Virginia lost the Battle of Gettysburg has been debated since the southern army withdrew from the small Pennsylvania town. A blame game of sorts has been played for the last 150 years. It is fair to say that most critics of the Confederate battleplan and actions at Gettysburg tend to steer the blame away from General Robert E. Lee. While the loss at Gettysburg is ultimately his responsibility, contemporaries and modern day arm chair generals tend to shift the blame onto a number of Lee’s subordinates.

Blame has been laid at the feet of Robert E. Lee’s second-in-command James Longstreet. It was erroneously claimed by some that Longstreet was to launch dawn assaults, on the Federal left, on the morning of July 2nd. While it is true that Longstreet’s heart was not into the July 2nd or 3rd assaults, he did put forth a solid effort and nearly rolled the Federal left flank in on July 2nd. Still, his postwar enemies mixed fact and fiction, which has skewed the understanding of his role in the battle to this day. These post-battle machinations by Longstreet’s adversaries have further tarnished Longstreet’s not so clean Civil War record. Continue reading

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Booth’s Escape Route (conclusion)

By ECW Correspondent Pat Tintle.

In the days following the president’s assassination, while American citizens mourned the death of their leader, Union troops searched surrounding rural areas for Booth. In the morning following Lincoln’s death, Union troops set up headquarters in the Bryantown, unbeknownst that Booth laid just four miles away with his broken leg at Mudd’s house.

Union troops also made their way to Port Tobacco, Maryland in pursuit of Booth. The small village of roughly 15 residents is historically marked today. The little corner of Maryland is centered around the Port Tobacco Courthouse & Museum, which is a large brick building complete with authentic-looking cobblestone paths. A white historical sign introduced the village to Phill and I as the site where “Detective Captain William Williams unsuccessfully offered Thomas Jones $100,000 for information that would lead to the capture of John Wilkes Booth.” After a decline from Jones, the Union troops proceeded to find the most wanted man in the country.

Continue reading

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The East Room / April 20, 1865, 3:00 AM

1116a_transparencyIt was only a still night if the weather was what counted. The White House, draped inside and out with mourning, was surrounded by military guards, and citizens who ranged from morbidly curious to brokenhearted. Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Memory, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Emerging Civil War Symposium Update

We are happy to announce that the Emerging Civil War Symposium Chancellorsville tour will be led by our own Kristopher D. White. The tour will include the newly preserved property on Stonewall Jackson’s flank attack.

White is the co-author of Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Second Battle of Fredericksburg and Salem Church; The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson; That Furious Struggle: The Battle of Chancellorsville, and he is currently working on a micro-tactical study of the third day of the battle.

Remember, registration is open for the Second Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge. The early bird registration rate of $75.00 ends on April 30th. (Click here for more information.)

Earthworks at Stevenson Ridge.

Earthworks at Stevenson Ridge.

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The Bloody Railroad Cut at Gettysburg: Part One

Part One in a Series

Brigadier General Lysander Cutler

Brigadier General Lysander Cutler

On the morning of July 1st, 1863, Union and Confederate soldiers made their way towards the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. Three full days of viscous fighting were touched off three miles to the west of the town itself. Brigadier General John Buford’s Yankee cavalrymen had skirmished with the lead elements of Major General Henry Heth’s division of the Confederate Third Army Corps. As the butternut soldiers closed in on McPherson Ridge, less than a mile outside of the town, timely Federal reinforcements arrived. Major General John F. Reynolds, acting left wing commander of the Army of the Potomac, led Major General Abner Doubleday’s 1st Corps on the field (with Reynolds as wing commander, Doubleday had been bumped up to corps command).

Reynolds oversaw the deployment of an artillery battery along the Chambersburg Pike. He also ordered forward the vaunted Iron Brigade, an attempted to throw back the mixed Alabama-Tennessee brigade of James J. Archer. In the melee at Herbst Woods Reynolds was felled by the Confederates, who were thrown back from the woodlot. Command of the field temporarily fell on the shoulders of Doubleday More Federals were thrown into action near a railroad cut north of the Chambersburg Pike. The fighting in this sector turned into some of the deadliest fighting on the Gettysburg battlefield, fighting which we will examine in the following series. Continue reading

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Ready in a Minute

MinutemanRemember Concord, Massachusetts—April 19, 1775
“The shot heard ’round the world”

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240th Anniversary of the “Shot Heard Around the World”

Battle of Lexington, Engraved 1874

Battle of Lexington, Engraved 1874

As we remember the events around Bennett Place this weekend, keep in mind our friends near Boston are commemorating another important anniversary.  Today marks the 240th anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord.  To read more about the events taking place at Minuteman National Park, the Lexington Historical Society and the Concord Historical Society our friend J.L. Bell’s “Boston 1775″ blog is an excellent resource. You may visit his blog by following the link: http://boston1775.blogspot.com/

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read our Rev War Wednesday posts.  We hope shedding light on the events during the American Revolution gives more perspective to the events leading up to the American Civil War.

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Patriotic Booth? “Misguided…Ignorant”

BoothDayECW is pleased to offer a guest commentary from historian and SCV member Chuck Young.

April 14, 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth. While thousands of Americans marked this occasion with respectful remembrance and mourning, there were many who took the opportunity to cheer the event and extoll the courage and patriotism of Booth. As a PROUD Virginian, a descendant of two Confederate veterans, and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, it shames me that such misguided, ignorant thought still exists, especially in the “information age” where the facts are readily available. Continue reading

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Booth’s Escape Route

By ECW Correspondent Pat Tintle.

Spring was in the air in Washington D.C., but the time of rebirth would soon be tarnished by a nation-wide state of mourning. It was April 14, 1865. The war of the rebellion was winding down, and Washington was in celebration with news of the Richmond surrender making its way throughout the city on the warm Saturday night. But one man, the famous stage actor John Wilkes Booth, did not see a cause for celebration—he saw a cause for revenge.Having conspired to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln many times before, Booth’s hatred for Lincoln was at an all time high. While a lover of theater, and of the finer things in life, Booth loved one thing more than anything else: his country. To see his homeland give freedom to blacks was not just appalling to Booth; it was, in a way, a form of treason. Someone had to pay in order to keep Booth’s beloved southern way of life in tact (and to also change the tides of the failing war), and Booth set his eyes on the Union’s commander in chief.

Continue reading

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