Cedar Creek 150th

Lots going on this weekend at Cedar Creek for the sesquicentennial of the battle. Check out the schedule! If you stop by the battlefield, be on the lookout for ECW’s own Phill Greenwalt.


Belle Grove plantation (photo by Chris Mackowski)

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Remembering the “Great Gamble” at Cedar Creek

8th Vermont Monument, Cedar Creek Battlefield

8th Vermont Monument,
Cedar Creek Battlefield

This weekend, the National Park Service, in conjunction with the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Belle Grove, and the Shenandoah National Battlefield Historic District will combine to host a series of events commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek.

As historian Kyle Rothemich aptly put to visitors today at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Visitor Contact Station when he outlined the battle underscores the importance of this October engagement: “The Battle was a Confederate victory by lunch time and a Union victory by dinner.”

History with a food analogy—filling in both regards! Continue reading

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Sketches from the Shenandoah: The Wounding of Charles Russell Lowell

Wounding of LowellAt the Battle of Cedar Creek, James Taylor captured the mortal wounding of Colonel Charles Russell Lowell. Lowell hailed from Boston and was a member of one of New England’s most distinguished families. A Harvard graduate, Lowell received a commission in the Regular Army, serving in the 6th U.S. Cavalry during the Peninsula Campaign and seeing action at Antietam.  In the fall of 1862, he raised the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. During the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, Lowell would command the old Reserve Brigade from the Army of the Potomac. Wounded early in the fighting on October 19, Lowell refused to leave the field. He was finally shot down in what is today the parking lot of the Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Virginia. He is buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Interestingly, Lowell was married to the sister of Robert Gould Shaw. Shaw famously died when leading the 54th Massachusetts Infantry in an assault on Battery Wagner in Charleston Harbor in the summer of 1863.

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Sketches from the Shenandoah: The Wounding of Stephen Ramseur

Wounding of RamseurDuring the fighting at Cedar Creek, the Confederate Army of the Valley lost one of their ablest division commanders in Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur. Although he did not witness the mortal wounding himself, James Taylor captured the event in his sketchbook.

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The Battle of Ship’s Gap

October of 1864 was a busy month for the North Georgia community my family lived in and where I continue to live 150 years later. The little crossroads of Villanow saw the most men it had ever seen before in May when Gen. James MacPherson’s Army of the Tennessee made its way in to the Confederate rear at Resaca. Now in October, Hood brought the Confederate army through, with Sherman in pursuit. Continue reading

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Sketches from the Shenandoah: Middletown

MiddletownThis sketch by James Taylor is of the  hamlet of Middletown. The Battle of Cedar Creek, fought on October 19, 1864 swirled around the town, located just south of Winchester Virginia.


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The Evolution of Cavalry Tactics: How Technology Drove Change

Part two in a series.

Dennis Hart Mahan

Dennis Hart Mahan

In the first part of this series, we learned Napoleon Bonaparte’s theories about the use of cavalry in the field. Those tactics relied on the short range of the long arms of the infantry and the smoothbore artillery.

Prof. Dennis Hart Mahan, who taught military science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, took Napoleon’s teachings, refined them, and then taught them to the cadet corps. Those former cadets ended up as the highest-ranking officers of both sides on the Civil War. Before we get to Mahan’s teachings, we need to get a sense of who Dennis Hart Mahan was.

Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Arms & Armaments, Campaigns, Civil War Events, Common Soldier, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Army of Tennessee and Dalton Redux, 150 years later

150 years ago on October 13, John Bell Hood’s campaign through North Georgia reached the edge of Dalton, a town the army knew very well from their stay there the previous winter. The Dalton they found little resembled what they had left as the Atlanta Campaign began: the town was largely abandoned and with warehouses of supplies. Most striking was a garrison made up largely of a regiment of runaway slaves, the 44th United States Colored Troops. The 44th had been recruited earlier that year in Chattanooga, consisting mostly of escaped slaves from the North Georgia area.

The vanguard of the Army of Tennessee arrived at Dalton late on the morning of October 13 and surrounded the town. The Union garrison pulled itself into an earthen fort built upon high ground on the east side of the town, and a grim site developed in front of its ramparts. Confederate artillery deployed on the heights east of town, and thousands of Infantry filled in all space around them. Continue reading

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Civil War Echoes: College Football

As another college football Saturday passes, I cannot help but be struck by the various Civil War connections that can be found on today’s gridiron.

Like any deep-rooted regional organization, colleges and universities are an expression of each state and reflect the values and heritage of their respective areas. In some states, rooting for the local university is also a way to show state pride (Missouri, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Oregon all are examples) or regional pride (Louisville, Cincinnati, Pitt, UCLA, Miami, and Auburn). Given this background, it is only natural that the Civil War would find a place in college football. Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Ties to the War | 9 Comments

Coming Up this Weekend


This weekend C-SPAN 3 will be airing another Emerging Civil War Symposium lecture from this past August. On Saturday, at 6 PM , Chris Kolakowski’s lecture “1864: The Last Stand of the Confederate Navy″ will air.

We are currently in the planning stages for the Second Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium. Keep checking in on the website throughout the fall on additional details regarding registration, location, speakers and author information.

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Symposium | 1 Comment