Category Archives: Western Theater

Railroads: The Louisville and Nashville Railroad

It is often underappreciated how the Louisville & Nashville Railroad’s status impacted the operations of Major General W.S. Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland. I discuss it in this except from my book about Stones River and Tullahoma: Throughout … Continue reading

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Chief Joseph: If not for Howard, “there would have been no war”

My favorite description of Oliver Otis Howard comes from historian Frank O’Reilly, who has called him “pious but vapid.” After the twin disasters that befell Howard’s Eleventh Corps at Chancellorsville and then, two months later, at Gettysburg, it’s always been … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Personalities, Ties to the War, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Polk’s Resting Place

Leonidas Polk remains something of an elusive figure to military historians. He owed his high rank to his friendship with Jefferson Davis. But Polk could have risen up the officer ranks on his own. He was charismatic, well-connected, wealthy, and … Continue reading

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Unvexed Waters: Mississippi River Squadron, Part 2

Part I of this post introduced the unprecedented U.S. Army Western Gunboat Flotilla—soon to be reorganized as the U.S. Navy Mississippi River Squadron—and carried it through the victorious battles of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862. The next … Continue reading

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The Dead Angle

“The Dead Angle,” from Sam Watkins’ Co. Aytch, Chapter XII: The First and Twenty-seventh Tennessee Regiments will ever remember the battle of “Dead Angle,” which was fought June 27th, on the Kennesaw line, near Marietta, Georgia. It was one of … Continue reading

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Wood-Choppers Along the Kennesaw Line

“The battles of the Kennesaw line were fought for weeks. Cannonading and musketry firing was one continual thing. It seemed that shooting was the order of the day, and pickets on both sides kept up a continual firing, that sounded … Continue reading

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Unvexed Waters: Mississippi River Squadron, Part I

History offers few examples other than the Civil War and Vietnam of extensive operations on inland shallow waters involving specialized classes of war vessels commanded and manned by naval personnel. The struggle for the Mississippi River, the spine of America, … Continue reading

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The Superlatives of New Orleans 1862

Today at 3 AM, a Federal fleet under Flag Officer David G. Farragut began to run Forts Jackson and St. Philip, located south of New Orleans. He passed the forts with minimal damage, and in a running fight his ships … Continue reading

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Confederates Invade San Francisco?

Shortly before his death in 1886, James I. Waddell, former captain of the CSS Shenandoah, wrote in his memoirs: “I had matured plans for entering the harbor of San Francisco and laying that city under contribution.”[i] Waddell never did pass … Continue reading

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A Backstage Tour of the Atlanta Cyclorama (part four)

(part four of four) We’ve been touring this week the new Atlanta cyclorama building at the Atlanta History Center—a state-of-the-art complex built specifically to showcase The Battle of Atlanta, a painting that depicts the July 22, 1864, Confederate breakthrough during … Continue reading

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