The Last Campaign of the War: Albert Stickney’s Unpublished Five Forks Manuscript

by Brett Schulte on June 10, 2012 · 6 comments

Researcher and Petersburg author/editor Bryce Suderow is the gift that keeps on giving.  Bryce was kind enough to pass along to me the unpublished Five Forks manuscript of Albert Stickney.  The first two parts are available now at The Siege of Petersburg Online, with the last three parts appearing over the next three days.

Alfred Waud: The Fifth Corps Attacks Pickett's Division at Five Forks

Who was Albert Stickney you ask?  He was none other than the attorney who represented Gouverneur K. Warren in the second and final Court of Inquiry in the 1880s surrounding Phil Sheridan’s sacking of Warren AFTER the victory at Five Forks.  While it is generally accepted now that Sheridan acted incorrectly in relieving Warren of his command, for years Sheridan’s version of events remained mostly unchallenged, especially while he was alive.  It is natural to wonder what might have occurred had Stickney published his manuscript on Five Forks, as it contained direct challenges about the conduct of Sheridan and Grant during this “last campaign of the war”.  For a shorter version of this direct challenge, here’s a link to an 1881 New York Times article about the Second Court of Inquiry.  I’m very interested in what people think of this document, and I’m excited to offer it to a much wider audience than it’s ever been exposed to before.  Head over to The Siege of Petersburg online, read the manuscript, and leave me your thoughts, either here on on “The Last Campaign of the War’s” main page.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula Walker June 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I have co-written a biography of General Warren with Robert I. Girardi. I began it 20 years ago and Mr. Girardi joined me six years ago. It is at the publisher and we are waiting for word. The Last Campaign of the War was self-published by Stickney to get on record the illegal actions taken against Warren. It is very subtle as it does not come out and state directly what the illegalities were. More good reads on the same subject are Carswell McClellan’s books The Record of the Army of the Potomac vs. General Grant, and Commentary on Sheridan’s Memoirs. Don’t have the exact titles at my fingertips but if you google Carswell McClellan, you will find them. I was delighted to find them as they confirmed what my research was proving to be the case. It seems like people are warming up to the idea that perhaps Grant and Sheridan did not act lawfully.

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Brett Schulte June 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Paula,

Thank you so much for your comment. When the time comes, please use the contact form here and I’ll be happy to review your book. Warren is of special interest to me due to his lengthy involvement at the Siege of Petersburg. I’ll be going to find the McClellan books too. They sound very much along the same lines as Stickney.

UPDATE: Here is the URL for Notes on the Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan: http://books.google.com/books?id=0HL0dl-RMIkC

UPDATE 2: And here is the URL for The Record of the Army of the Potomac vs. General Grant: http://books.google.com/books?id=SfIsAAAAYAAJ

Brett

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Robert I. Girardi June 12, 2012 at 12:56 am

Stickney was also a Civil War Veteran and a noted attorney specializing in Constitutional law. He made many interesting points in his other writings, books like Democratic Government, A Study of Politics (1885), Organized Democracy (1906) and A True Republic (1879). He was uniquely suited to present Warren’s case at the Court of Inquiry and his dissection of Grant, Sheridan, and others on the witness stand is revealing.

My assessment of G.K. Warren is that he is widely misunderstood and under-appreciated. One would be hard pressed to find another corps commander who performed as well as he consistently did, especially in the operations at Petersburg.

Your site is impressive and so very helpful and interesting. Keep up the great work.

Rob Girardi

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Paula Walker June 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

I think you will find the McClellan works even more to your liking. While Stickney was ever-mindful that Warren’s widow would have to live with the unmerited criticism of her late husband, McClellan wrote his works with an eye to defense of the record of the Army of the Potomac against Grant’s incorrect (at best) statements in his Memoirs. His works were for the general readership. Sheridan has always been held responsible for the action taken against Warren, but Grant was really the one pulling the strings. Grant, in his arrogation of too much power, enabled by an enthralled populace, made it impossible for Warren to get anything resembling justice. I think, when you read the biography co-written by Rob Girardi and I, you will be pleased with our very fair treatment of Warren. We will certainly keep in mind that you would like to review it. Thank you.

Paula Walker

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Donald S. Frazier February 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Lieutenant Colonel Albert Stickney was the hero of the Battle of Lafourche Crossing and was one time post commander at Brashear City in Louisiana.

He got around . . .

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Brett Schulte February 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Dr. Frazier,

Thanks for weighing in. It never occurred to me that Stickney might have been a soldier, but it makes sense. By the way, your series on the war in Louisiana is absolutely fantastic. I feel comfortable in saying it will be the definitive account for the foreseeable future.

Brett

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