Globe Tavern. Courtesy of Library of Congress.
Since June 15, 1864 the Union army under Major General George Meade and Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant hammered the Confederate defenses around Petersburg. From limited success along the eastern front June 15-18, then a thwarted attack on the Confederate supply line along the Petersburg (Weldon) Railroad on June 21st and finally the disastrous Battle of the Crater, the Union army was still no closer to its objective. Grant began to rethink his strategy; no longer did he look to head long assaults along General Robert E. Lee’s entrenched lines. Now he looked to cut off his supply lines and use his greatest advantage to do it, numerical superiority.
The Petersburg Railroad was a vital link for Lee’s army and the Confederate capital of Richmond to North Carolina and the Deep South. Wilmington, NC was one of the few harbors left in the Confederacy to blockade runners and this supply route brought valuable goods to the front. On June 21st, a short lived advance by men of the Sixth Corps did cut the railroad until Confederate counter attacks forced them back to the area of the Jerusalem Plank Road. This time, Grant decided to use his superiority in numbers to his advantage. With Lee covering nearly 60 miles of defenses with 60,000 men and Grant facing him with twice that number, Lee could not concentrate his forces in varying places at the same time. Grant proposed two offenses, one a diversionary attack (though he believed substantial Confederate infantry were on their way to the Shenandoah Valley, weakening the defenses around Richmond and possibly creating opportunity for a strike) and the other the primary attack. By attacking in the area of “Deep Bottom” north of the James River, Grant hoped he could hold a bulk of Lee’s men north of the James. Meanwhile he planned his primary attack on the southwestern flank of Petersburg in the area of Globe Tavern, along the Petersburg (Weldon) Railroad. By cutting this supply line, Grant hoped to further strangle his opponent. Grant attempted his Deep Bottom strategy before, in conjunction with explosion of the mine at Elliott’s Salient. The Battle of First Deep Bottom was successful in pulling away Confederate forces from Petersburg to north of the James. Grant hoped to repeat that strategy in mid-August. Continue reading
Posted in Armies, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns
Tagged 10th Corps, Charles Field, Deep Bottom, Dimmock Line, George G. Meade, Globe Tavern, Gouverneur K. Warren, James River, New Market Road, Petersburg, Robert E. Lee, Rooney Lee, Siege of Petersburg, Ulysses S. Grant, Weldon Rail Road, Wiliam Mahone, Winfield Scott Hancock
While we have spent most of our attention the past few days on the Emerging Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, this past weekend offered other good news for us here at ECW: It marked Emerging Civil War’s third birthday.
It was three years ago that co-founders Kris White and Chris Mackowski sat with their friend Jake Struhelka on Jake’s front porch in Guinea Station, Virginia, and hatched the idea for ECW. In the three years since, we have attracted more than half a million visits from readers in thirty-three countries; we have expanded into a speakers bureau and a well-received book series; we have collaborated with such notable partners as National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, and C-SPAN; and we attracted visitors from across the country to join us for our first-ever symposium. “Not too bad for three guys sitting on a porch,” Kris’s wife recently said.
Thank you to everyone who made this past weekend–and the past three years–such a success. We are humbled and gratified by the continued support of our readers, and we pledge to continue to do our best to serve you well!
Emcee Chris Mackowski leads the roundtable discussion at the First Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge. Panelist included Eric Wittenberg, David Powell, Meg Thompson, John Michael Priest, Michael C. Hardy, Phillip S. Greenwalt, and Daniel T. Davis.
On behalf of all the authors of Emerging Civil War, we wanted to thank all of the attendees of the First Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge. We could not have asked for a better weekend. We had some great discussions and questions from the participants.
A HUGE thank you to Eric and Susan Wittenberg. Eric has been a loyal supporter of ECW since day one. His guidance and help has been invaluable. He graciously donated a free tour of the Brandy Station or Trevilian Station battlefield for our raffle. The winner is in for an outstanding day on the field.
Our deepest thanks has to be extended John Michael Priest. Mike graciously donated a one day tour of the Antietam Battlefield. Both raffle winners are in for a great day of battlefielding.
We also would like to thank Dan Goldstein from the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, who donated a number of beautiful gift bags; Dave Roth of Blue and Gray Magazine; the very professional and unobtrusive crew from C-SPAN, who braved I-95 traffic to film us; and thanks to everyone at Savas Beatie, LLC. Continue reading
Posted in Speakers Bureau, Symposium, Upcoming Events
Tagged Blue and Gray Magazine, Brandy Station, Chris Kolakowski, Chris Mackowski, Daniel T. Davis, David Powell, Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Eric Wittenberg, First Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, John Michael Priest, Kristopher D. White, Lee White, LLC, Meg Thompson, Phillip S. Greenwalt, Rob Orrison, Ryan Quint, Savas Beatie, Trevilian Station
The Day One battlefield at Chancellorsville
part eleven in a series
Easily the highest-profile land acquisition at Chancellorsville in the last two decades has been the Day One battlefield. On May 1, 1863, east of the Chancellorsville intersection, Confederate forces intercepted the Federal advance, much to the Federals’ surprise. As a result, the Federal army withdrew into a defensive position around the Chancellorsville intersection, setting the stage for the fighting that ensued over the next two days. Some 700 casualties resulted from the fighting on May 1.
For the first 130 or so years, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FSNMP) paid little attention to the ground, ostensibly because it lay outside the official park boundary. However, nothing exists to suggest that the property was ever considered for inclusion in the first place. From a historiographical perspective, the park’s use of the battlefield to tell the battle’s chronological narrative had begun at the Lee-Jackson Bivouac Site. The park brochure from the mid-30s described the Day One fighting as “a brief skirmish,” and subsequent brochures omitted specific mention of fighting entirely.
The lack of attention to the action on May 1 began to change in 1995 when John Mullins bought the property with the intent of building a nursery. Continue reading
Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Memory, National Park Service, Preservation
Tagged Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, Chancellorsville, Chancellorsville battlefield, CVBT, Dogwood Development, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, FSNMP, Mullins Farm, Shaping-Chancellorsville
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The Riddick House at Stevenson Ridge
While recently cleaning the house, my wife came across an old jump drive that I thought we lost in our move to Pittsburgh almost five years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great many pictures and articles I thought were lost forever. Below are a number of pictures from 2008, when Chris Mackowski and I were on the field working on articles for both Civil War Times and Blue and Gray Magazine.
Below Germanna Ford on the Rapidan River.
Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Photography
Tagged Blue and Gray Magazine, Brock Road/Plank Road Intersection, Chris Mackowski, Civil War Times, Dave Roth, Germanna Ford, James Wadsworth, Rapidan River, Spotsylvania Court House, Widow Tapp Field, Winfield Scott Hancock
photography by Jackson Mackowski
Earlier this week, ECW co-founder Chris Mackowski took his son Jackson out for some photography lessons. The two spend some time along the Sunken Road and Stone Wall on the Fredericksburg battlefield. “There’s plenty of stuff there to shoot,” Chris explained.
Jackson was kind enough to share his photos with us. Continue reading
From NPS-owned property at Jackson’s Flank attack, looking eastward
Part ten in a series
In 1998, fresh off its acquisition of McLaws’ Wedge, the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust (CVBT) turned its attention to the far end of the Chancellorsville battlefield and began buying property associated with Jackson’s Flank Attack, targeting small lots as they came on the market.
They purchased the first piece in 1998, a 5.1-acre lot located on the north side of Route 3 immediately adjoining property already owned by FSNMP. The acquisition allowed the park to open up the area to visitation, eventually turning it into a formalized stop on the park’s driving tour. Continue reading