Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

Book Review: The Battles and Campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1861-1865

In Ken Burns’ nine-part documentary The Civil War, Shelby Foote notably described Nathan Bedford Forrest as one of “two authentic geniuses” generated by the Civil War. At another point in the series, Foote lays out Forrest’s maxims of war after calling the … Continue reading

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Searching for George Brinton McClellan

In preparation for Rob Orrison’s and my upcoming ECWS book, To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862, we closed the books and hit the trails and cement roads zigzagging through northern Virginia and central and western Maryland. At … Continue reading

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Was Lee’s “Lost Order” a Turning Point? (part three)

(part three of three) What exactly the Lost Order told McClellan has been the subject of much heated debate and controversy almost from the moment he glanced its contents. From an intelligence standpoint, the Lost Order was important to McClellan, … Continue reading

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Was Lee’s “Lost Order” a Turning Point? (part two)

(part two of three) On September 10, 1862, as he advanced deeper into Maryland, Robert E. Lee began splintering his forces, as outlined in Special Orders No. 191. That day, all of his forces, mustered into five separate columns, started … Continue reading

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Was Lee’s “Lost Order” a Turning Point? (part one)

(part one of three) Civil War campaigns could often turn on a dime in favor of one army or the other. A sudden change in initiative marked the turning points of the war that scholars love to toss around the … Continue reading

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Battlefield Markers & Monuments: Antietam’s New Jersey Monument

Of the cluster of monuments dotting the southwest corner of Antietam’s bloody Cornfield, one seems to stand out among the rest. Its height is certainly not unique, nor is the fact that a bronze soldier adorns it (one can find … Continue reading

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Book Review: “Discovering Gettysburg”

Gettysburg seems a historical anomaly. Standing at the High Water Mark near the center of the Union battle line on Cemetery Ridge, one can peer south and west. With the exception of cars zooming by on the Emmitsburg Road, barely … Continue reading

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Voices of the Maryland Campaign: September 20, 1862

The day began with Confederate soldiers, led by A.P. Hill’s Division, advancing back to Boteler’s Ford downstream from Shepherdstown, ordered there because of the alarm Pendleton created the previous night that crossing Federals captured all of his 44 guns (in … Continue reading

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Voices of the Maryland Campaign: September 19, 1862

As the darkness descended on September 18, the Army of Northern Virginia began to stir, using its cover to slip away, back across the Potomac River. It brought as many of its wounded and supplies with it as it could, … Continue reading

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Voices of the Maryland Campaign: September 18, 1862

The detritus of war littered the fields, woodlots, and roadways around Sharpsburg. Both armies, winded from the desperate fighting of America’s bloodiest day, collected themselves, began the process of burying their dead and removing their wounded, and awaited whatever might … Continue reading

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