Category Archives: Battles

Edwin V. Sumner, Fredericksburg, and Lessons Learned Along the Chickahominy

Ambrose Burnside’s campaign in the winter of 1862 went belly-up because of his inability to get across the Rappahannock River. Standing on the far bank of the river, swollen because of winter rain and snow, Burnside could do nothing but … Continue reading

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The Bluffs at Columbus, Kentucky

Emerging Civil War welcomes guest author Katy Berman The Columbus-Belmont State Park, located in western Kentucky, commemorates the Battle of Belmont, which was fought in Missouri. The great guns of Columbus were used to advantage during the fight, but Union … Continue reading

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“Praise the Lord and Admiral Porter”: Running the Vicksburg Batteries

“We still live,” wrote Lieutenant Elias Smith of the USS Lafayette. “The whole gunboat fleet passed the Vicksburg batteries on Thursday night [April 16, 1863], without receiving material damage. All praise to the Lord and Admiral Porter.” As far as … Continue reading

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Maj. Hilary Herbert’s Antietam After-Action Report

While the actions of Richard H. Anderson’s division on September 17, 1862 are generally known, pinning down specifics has always been difficult. Mostly, that is due to the fact that only one after-action report from the entire division (and it … Continue reading

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Return to Burgess Mill

“I am now outside the main rebel line, moving southwesterly over the old Boydton Plank Road, which has ceased to have any vestige of a plank crossing it as long ago when the war was on. There is now nothing … Continue reading

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In the Wake of Ball’s Bluff

In his diary on October 22, 1862, John Haley of the 17th Maine recounted his experience camping near the Ball’s Bluff battlefield a year after the battle: “[W]e were sent on picket on a strip of land between the Potomac … Continue reading

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Remembering Ball’s Bluff

Today is the anniversary of the 1861 battle of Ball’s Bluff. A small affair by the standards established later in the war, the battle nonetheless had a magnified impact because it directly led to the establishment of the Joint Committee … Continue reading

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Ball’s Bluff: “Has Sparta More?”

Recently, I came across some poems written about the Battle of Ball’s Bluff which was fought on October 21, 1861. This one was penned by a Union general from Massachusetts, Frederick Lander, and I’ve included a few historical notes after … Continue reading

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John Rankin, Bravery, and Gettysburg

ECW welcomes back guest author Jon Tracey John Rankin was an average man by most standards.  Though an accomplished printer, newspaper editor, and foreign language proofreader for the Government Printing Office postwar, he defined his life less by those successes … Continue reading

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From Drought to Doctor’s Creek: The Opening Fight for Water at Perryville

A battle starting over water sounds about as fantastical as one starting over shoes (the latter assertion that the Battle of Gettysburg began over footwear has been disproven many times). But it is not a stretch to say–far from it, … Continue reading

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