Author Archives: Chris Mackowski

What If James Longstreet Had Been at the North Anna River?

I’ve long maintained that James Longstreet’s wounding in the Wilderness had a bigger negative impact on the Army of Northern Virginia in the immediate moment than the wounding of Stonewall Jackson a year earlier at Chancellorsville. In fact, the wounding … Continue reading

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What If Stonewall Jackson had not been shot?—The ECW Version

What if Stonewall Jackson had not been shot? Well, for starters, he would have never been taken to Fairfield, the Chandler plantation at Guiney Station. So, he would not have died there on May 10, 1863.

Posted in Emerging Civil War | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

“I Don’t Like to Engage in What-Ifs, But….”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t like to engage in ‘What-Ifs…’” and then launch themselves into a discussion about a “What If,” I could’ve funded the upcoming ECW Symposium on What Ifs … Continue reading

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The Contextualized Statue of Raphael Semmes

Until June 2020, Raphael Semmes stood on a traffic median along Government Street in Mobile, Alabama—at least his bronze statue did. On the far side of the intersection, the Bankhead Tunnel plunges below the city street and beneath the empty … Continue reading

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Amiel Whipple’s Armor of Dirt

We have written about the death of Brig. Gen. Amiel Whipple exactly once on this blog in ten and a half years, and that wasn’t until August of 2021 in a guest post by T. J. Bradley, writing about sharpshooters. … Continue reading

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Halleck and Meade in the Days After Gettysburg

Making fun of Henry Halleck is almost a cottage industry unto itself. For instance, when I mention him in talks, I tend to point out that he looks like he spent the night on a park bench before shuffling into … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

A Poor Southern Yarn and the What-Ifs of North Anna

My grandmother always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That’s been some pretty good advice. I’ve learned to often employ strategic silence. While such silence is generally golden, on occasion, it … Continue reading

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Meade: “A Great Deal Too Much Fuss”

On the afternoon of July 7, 1863, George Gordon Meade arrived in Frederick, Maryland, as his army marched in pursuit of the retreating Army of Northern Virginia. Word of his major victory at Gettysburg had already circulated widely, and Meade … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Campaigns, Leadership--Federal, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Pap Greene, David Ireland, and Little Round Top

Every Gettysburg fan with even just a passing knowledge of the battle knows the story of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine on Little Round Top. Those with a deeper understanding of the battle know that an equally … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Civil War in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

What if John Reynolds had not been killed at Gettysburg?

John Reynolds’s unexpected death on July 1, 1863, in the opening hours of America’s most famous battle, has elevated him to near-mythic stature. His fans are tantalized by the possibilities his survival might have offered (no less so than Stonewall … Continue reading

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