Olustee

Today we are happy to welcome back guest author Philip Leigh. Philip received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology, and received his MBA from Northwestern University. He has written 22 articles for the New York Times Disunion. In 2013 Philip authored his first Civil War book Co. Aytch: Annotated and Illustrated; which is an illustrated and annotated version of the memoirs of Confederate Private Sam Watkins. Next month Westholme Publishing will release his newest work titled Trading With the Enemy, which is about intersectional commerce between the North and South during the War. Philip also authored self-published an illustrated and annotated version of Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Fremantle’s Civil War diary titled Three Months in the Southern States.

Battle of OlusteeAlthough Florida contained less than two percent of the Confederacy’s population, by 1864 evolving circumstances made the state sufficiently important to justify a Union invasion.

First, after the fall of Vicksburg the previous summer federal gunboat patrols on the Mississippi River prevented Texas beef from reaching hungry Rebel armies on the left bank. Florida cattle became a prime substitute for Texas beeves. Second, the lightly defended state was a promising area to recruit emancipated slaves into the Union army. Third, an occupying federal army would give Lincoln justification to readmit the state into the Union on terms almost assuring him of Florida’s delegate and electoral votes in the 1864 presidential nominating convention and subsequent general election. A December 1863 Lincoln proclamation authorized former Confederate states to be readmitted into the Union once a mere ten percent of their 1860 voters signed a new allegiance oath. In response a small contingent of Union-loyal Floridians invited Lincoln’s private secretary, John Hay, to become the state’s Congressional representative should it gain readmission. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reluctant Patriot: Major Henry Livermore Abbott

AbbottHenry Livermore Abbott was a proud native of Lowell, Massachusetts. He came from a family deeply rooted in patriotism, with both sides of his family claiming descendants in the Continental Army. His father was a lawyer and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a staunch Democrat. Henry was influenced by his father’s beliefs and success and found himself admitted to Harvard University at age 14. Through an admittedly rough tenure, he graduated in 1860. Describing himself as “Constitutionally timid” when it came to the issue of Lincoln invading the southern states, he was not initially swept up in the patriotic fever of the times after the firing on Fort Sumter. He was not a supporter of the Lincoln administration and Abbott was not as enthusiastic about joining the army as his neighbors and brothers. But he did not want to be left behind while his comrades were off to war, so he decided to volunteer. After turning down a commission his father secured for him and serving briefly in a militia unit, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in Company I of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry on July 10, 1861. This regiment became known as the “Harvard Regiment” because of a good portion of the commissioned officers had attended Harvard. Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Question of the Week for April 21, 2014

Winchester, Virginia is filled with Civil War history. What is your favorite Civil War site in or around the Winchester area?

Winchester at war.

Winchester at war.

Posted in Question of the Week | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Evening With an Expert at the Fredericksburg Area Museum

Layout 1Be sure to catch author/historian Donald Pfanz at the Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center, April 24, at 7 PM. Don will be speaking about,and signing copies of the new Emerging Civil War Series book  No Turning Back: A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign, From Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May 4-June 13, 1864.

Don is one of the three co-authors of the book and is one of the leading experts on the battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Don is also the author of The Letters of Richard S. Ewell: Stonewall’s Successor and Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier’s Life.

The Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center is a fantastic venue for this book launch event. Located on Princess Anne Street, in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, the museum state of the art museum explores the history of Fredericksburg from the Colonial Period to present. The museum & cultural center is also a sponsor of our upcoming Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge.

Posted in Books & Authors, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ECW Weekender: The Civil War Horse Memorial

HorseMemorialThe old gray mare—she ain’t what she used to be. Or so the old song goes.

And such was the case for the millions of equestrians conscripted into service, North and South, during the Civil War. One-point-five million of them were killed or wounded or died of disease during the war. Continue reading

Posted in ECW Weekender, Monuments, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Myth of the “Cracker Line”: Part One

We are excited to welcome guest author Frank Varney. Frank is the author of General Grant and the Rewriting of History: How the Destruction of General William S. Rosecrans Influenced Our Understanding of the Civil War. Part one in a series.

Major General William S. Rosecrans

Major General William S. Rosecrans

If you look in pretty much any history of the Civil War that discusses the siege of Chattanooga that followed the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, you will find some assertion that General William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, went into a state of depression which essentially destroyed his capacity for command. From an intelligent, aggressive commander he supposedly turned into a dazed wreck – his confidence shattered, his spirit broken, unable to take even the most basic steps to keep his army supplied and in fighting trim. The accepted history goes on to say that it required the energy of Ulysses S. Grant, who was appointed to overall command of Union forces in the region, to save Rosecrans’ army. Grant relieved Rosecrans, replaced him with George H. Thomas, and promptly set about devising a remarkably clear plan for getting the supplies flowing. The energy and resourcefulness of Grant resulted in the opening of the “Cracker Line” in an incredibly short time, which saved the Army of the Cumberland. This is often, in fact, considered one of his more noteworthy accomplishments.

That is not, however, the case. A closer examination of the primary sources reveals that in fact there is much more to the story than that. The question that must therefore be asked is a simple one – was Army of the Cumberland starving and did Grant rescue it from oblivion? Let’s see what some of the leading historians have to say about it and where they got their information. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Books & Authors, Leadership--Federal, Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Atop Munshower’s Knoll

2013-07-06 11.48.47The 7th Massachusetts and Sedgwick Monument at Gettysburg.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Absolution at Gettysburg

Today we welcome guest author Peter M Preble. Father Preble is a 2004 graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where he concentrated on Church History. Since his graduation he has continued his research concentrating on the role of the Army Chaplain during the time of the Civil War. He has taught classes at Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts and Quincy College in Quincy Massachusetts. He presently serves as Command Chaplain with the Massachusetts Organized Militia.

Nearly One Hundred and Fifty One years ago, two great armies were marching toward the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. The inhabitants of this small town numbered only 2,400 souls and they were going to be in the middle of the one of the greatest battles of the United States Civil War.

From July 1st until July 3rd the Army of Northern Virginia with almost 75,000 men, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Army of the Potomac with almost 92,000 men, Commanded by Major General George G Meade, battled it out on this field that left more than 7,800 dead, 33,000 wounded, and more than 11,000 captured or missing. The ground literally was red with the blood of both blue and gray.

Father William Corby

Father William Corby

Although this battle has gone down in history as one of, if not, the bloodiest battles in American history, there is one little known event that took place on July 2nd in the middle of the battle.

Father William Corby, Chaplain of the 88th New York Infantry Regiment of the Irish Brigade, had been with his men since the start of the war. He was living at Notre Dame University when the war began and became chaplain of the Regiment serving until the end of war. What was remarkable about this is that the average service of a Chaplain was 18 months as most of them were in their 50’s and just could not adjust to the life in the field and so most resigned their commission and returned home. Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Monuments, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Question of the Week for April 14, 2014

At the outset of the spring 1864 campaigns, do you believe that the Confederacy still had a fighting chance to win the war, or do you believe victory was a forlorn hope?

Confederate Dead at the Alsop House, May 1864.

Confederate Dead at the Alsop House, May 1864.

Posted in Question of the Week | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Congratulations to Chris & Jenny!

All of us at Emerging Civil War send our well wishes and heartfelt congratulations to Chris Mackowski and Jenny Hawkins-Mackowski!!!!!! Chris and Jenny were married Friday on the Spotsylvania Battlefield, at Stevenson Ridge.

2014-04-11 18.07.17

Posted in Books & Authors | Tagged , | 8 Comments