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?
Today we are happy to welcome 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.
Fifty years ago the master narrative of the Civil War Centennial failed to synchronize with the momentous 1960s Civil Rights movement. It minimized the roles of slavery and race. Instead the War was characterized as a unifying ordeal in which both sides fought heroically for their individual sense of “right” eventually becoming reconciled through mutual sacrifice. Slavery was considered only one of several causes of the War.
Afterwards most historians began rejecting the Centennial interpretation. Yale professor David Blight explains that historians who came-of-age during the 1920s economic boom, ensuing crash, and Great Depression were the ones chiefly responsible for shaping the twentieth century understanding of the War’s causes – until the 1960s. Such writers “tended to see the world through the frame of the Great Depression” and interpreted sectional differences as more important than differing ideologies on slavery.
His signature example was Charles Beard who “saw the South and North as essentially two economies. . . . [U]ltimately the Civil War, in Beard’s view, wasn’t really about any particular ideology . . . it was two economic systems living together in . . . the same nation, and coming into conflict with one another in insolvable ways; forces meeting at a crossroads and they had to clash. Beard is laden with inevitability, as any great economic determinist usually is.” Continue reading
150 years ago today, General Grant instructed the Army of the Potomac’s General Meade that “Lee’s Army is to be your objective point . . . where ever he goes, there you will go also.” This was the first time the Army of the Potomac would embark on a major campaign without the cry of “On to Richmond!”
One year later to the day, Lee surrendered at Appomattox – a direct result of Grant’s strategy embodied in this order.
There are times when research seems repetitive. Battles, generals, troop movements, the effects of one thing upon another, and on and on. It is an endless stream, and once one dips one’s toes in it, either you want to do it again or again, or you just get up and go home.
I love research, but even I have to take a break once in a while. For that, my recreational research concerns . . . cats. I had pretty much exhausted the subject of the draft during the Civil War for one day, and I wandered to the search engine and typed in my subject: Cats & the Civil War. Continue reading
Following his poor performances at Gettysburg and Bristoe Station, do you believe that Lee should have replaced A.P. Hill as Third Corps commander? If yes, who would you replace Hill with?
Do you believe that General Grant should have attached himself to the Army of the Potomac, in 1864, or would his skill-set have been better suited elsewhere?
Another installment of the series “Tales from the Tombstone”
Born in Fredericksburg, Virginia on September 8, 1829, Seth Maxwell Barton had one of the unique post-Civil War careers out of any of the former Confederate general officers. He became a noted and renowned chemist.
Which was probably reminiscent of his Confederate service, as it was a mix of different commands, like elements, that never quite worked out. Okay, maybe the comparison of chemist to general was a bit of a stretch, but it was worth a shot?