One of my favorite pieces of correspondence from the war is a Dec. 2, 2863, letter that George Gordon Meade wrote to his wife in the wake of the Mine Run campaign. The commander of the Army of the Potomac, facing immense political pressure to engage the Army of Northern Virginia in battle, called off an attack at the last moment. I’ve always considered it one of the greatest acts of moral courage of the war. (For more about Meade’s decision, check out a post I wrote last year, “At the Center of Nothing, Meade’s Greatest Moment.”)
Meade fully expected to get sacked for his lack of action, not only because Washington had urged him onward but because his counterpart in the Western Theater, Ulysses S. Grant, had recently scored a major victory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Meade, in contrast, had retreated from Mine Run with nothing to show.
Ever candid with his wife, he poured out his thoughts, along with his account of the campaign, in a long letter home: Continue reading
On the morning of November 30, 1863, as the Army of the Potomac prepared to assault the Confederate position west of Mine Run, the men in the ranks understood the grim task laid before them. “After leaving the wood the ground sloped to the run, then up a slope to where the rebs had their works; their batteries showed their teeth at every favorable place,” wrote Sgt. Austin C. Stearns with the 13th Massachusetts’s Co. K. “[F]rom the time we left the woods we should have been under their fire, and the run lined with briars and bushes with steep banks and water three feet deep and freezing cold was a barrier not easily surmounted.”
It was, Federals realized, a perfect killing field. Continue reading
Emerging Civil War is pleased to welcome guest author Frank Jastrzembski
Nestled in the Shockoe Hill Cemetery of Richmond, Virginia, is a discolored marker with a heartfelt epitaph that reads:
Sacred to the memory of
Lieut. Archibald B. Botts
of the 4th U. S. Infantry,
who died at Camargo, Mexico
Jan. 1, 1847
He graduated at the U. S. Military Academy
in June 1846. Continue reading
What’s your favorite historical account/story from a winter encampment?
Usually, our ECW Weekenders profile battlefields and historic sites to visit. This weekend, I want to share word about a groovy little spot to do some research.
This past week, I had the opportunity to our through some of the files in the Virginiana Room at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s headquarters on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“The Virginiana Collection specializes in genealogy and local history,” the library’s brochure explains. “Although its primary focus is on the central Rappahannock region, the collection includes a wide collection of materials covering the Commonwealth of Virginia as well as the surrounding states.”
If you are looking for a great holiday gift, and to support a small business, think of Emerging Civil War this Small Business Saturday. Our early-bird pricing of just $110.00 is still available for tickets for the Fourth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge.
This three day event will be held August 4-6, 2017, at Stevenson Ridge. Stevenson Ridge is located just north of the village of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia.
Our outstanding line-up of speakers includes: Continue reading
Posted in Speakers Bureau, Symposium, Upcoming Events
Tagged Antietam, Brandy Station, Brian Matthew Jordan, Chris Mackowski, Daniel Davis, Eric Wittenberg, Fourth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Gettysburg, John Buford, Kelly Mezurek, Kennesaw Mountain, Kevin Pawlak, Lee White, Second Bull Run, Small Business Saturday, Stevenson Ridge, USCT, Vicksburg
If you had a feast yesterday, there’s a good possibility you have left-overs today. You might not believe it, but I have a story about left-overs during the Civil War.
First, let’s clarify – there wasn’t a lot of extra food in the armies or on the Southern homefront. The phenomenon of left-overs likely didn’t occur often…but what if on that rare occasion a Confederate officer had food he didn’t want to eat, no comrades to share with, and didn’t want to waste the food.
Oh, it’s really quite simple. Feed the left-overs to your horse! Continue reading