Number 10 (January 2007)

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Civil War Times, Volume 45, Number 10 (January 2007)

Civil War Times, Volume 45, Number 10 (January 2007)

74 Pages

Page 9
Turning Points: Arming the Confederacy by Jeffry D. Wert
Josiah Gorgas, a native Pennsylvanian, became the chief of the Confederate Ordnance Bureau. Gorgas was very familiar with the role, having filled it in Winfield Scott’s antebellum United States Army. Gorgas worked unceasingly to arm the Confederacy through every means possible, and Wert concludes that the man did a lot with very limited resources. The Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond played a key role in this work, churning out heavy artillery. Gorgas also created the Mining and Niter Bureau, which was essential in producing the required quantities of gunpowder.

Page 13
Gallery: South Carolina Volunteer submitted by John Porter Gaston III
This issue’s Gallery focuses on William N. Gaston. Gaston, born in 1839 in Chester County, South Carolina, joined up with Company B of the 6th South Carolina Infantry in early 1861. Gaston was present for the firing on Fort Sumter, and later participated in many battles, including First Manassas, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Knoxville, and the final campaigns in the east in 1864 and 1865. Gaston was wounded three separate times during the war, all during the heavy fighting in 1864. His last wound knocked him out of the war for good. William Gaston married Mary Baskin after the war, and they had eight children together.

Page 17
Irregulars: The Operators by Eric Ethier
The “Operators” referred to by author Eric Ethier are the telegraph operators of both sides during the war. These men often worked in dangerous conditions, but without receiving all of the benefits accorded to combat troops. As in most facets of the war, the Union had the edge with better telegraph equipment. Methods to string telegraph wire longer distances was perfected, as were ways to make the wire less prone to snapping. Telegraph operators were given little or no recognition during the war, but they performed vital tasks for the army with regards to intelligence.

Page 19
Civil War Today: Rough Waters for the Museum of the Confederacy by Michael J. Varhola
The Museum of the Confederacy continues to struggle to make ends meet after a promised $700,000 grant fell well short of that amount. In all only $50,000 was given to the museum. Continued construction in downtown Richmond is also further limiting the amount of visitors coming to see the museum, which sits next door to the Confederate White House. I myself have visited the Museum of the Confederacy only once, in 2003, but it was a very interesting and special experience. I encourage everyone to donate to the Museum if they have the means to do so. Every little bit helps.

Page 21
Behind the Lines: Letter From Civil War Times
More to War than Fighting
This month’s editorial reminds readers that a soldier’s life involved much more than fighting. Major battles happened only every couple of months, if that much in some theaters, and the rest of the marching, drilling, recreation, and simple boredom took up the rest of that space. This leads to a discussion on the needs of a general to learn battlefield negotiation, among other things. This month’s issue has an article concerning that very skill when Richard F. Selcer discusses Ulysses S. Grant’s early battlefield negotiations at Fort Donelson.

Page 22
A Legend Is Born by Richard F. Selcer
Richard F. Selcer discusses the first part of the evolution of Ulysses S. Grant’s skills at battlefield negotiation in this first of a two part series. Selcer rightly points out that Grant is the only general in United States history to force the unconditional surrender of three separate armies (at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, and Appomattox). Selcer argues that Grant first showed pieces of his coming greatness at Fort Donelson, when he entered into surrender negotiations with antebellum friend Simon Bolivar Buckner. In brokering surrender terms, Grant did not follow the pomp and protocol typical in surrender proceedings. Instead he used a no-nonsense, common sense approach to the problem. Grant even rode to Buckner’s headquarters to speed up the process. Grant, initially believing that a man he despised, Gideon Pillow, was at the head of the Confederate army, replied brusquely to all messages. When he rode up to Confederate headquarters and found his old friend Buckner, however, the mood became lighter. Still, it took Grant and Buckner two full days to hammer out a deal, whereas Grant and Lee took only two hours. Selcer will continue this series by looking at the lessons Grant learned from Fort Donelson to Vicksburg to Appomattox, allowing him to broker a deal in a much more efficient fashion by the end of the war.

Page 32
New York City’s Secession Crisis by Chuck Leddy
A startling caption on the second page of this article reads, “Historians estimate that the South added $200 million a year to New York’s economy and that New Yorkers received 40 cents of every dollar spent on Southern cotton.” With that kind of connection, it can hardly be surprising that New York might consider some kind of break with the Union herself. This is precisely what happened in the turbulent days before Fort Sumter. Democratic Mayor (and some would say traitor) Fernando Wood spoke to Common Council on January 6, 1861, advocating the idea of making New York an independent city-state called “Tri-Insula” which could then continue to trade unimpeded with the South. After the South fired on Fort Sumter, however, the Mayor abruptly changed his tune and even offered to serve in the army as (presumably) a general officer. Lincoln turned Wood down, and he later became one of the leading Copperhead congressman and general “thorn in Lincoln’s side.” Even after the war broke out and New York City remained firmly in Union hands, Lincoln had to struggle with a large copperhead sentiment. The New York City draft riots broke out in 1863 and became a public and bloody representation of the feelings of dissatisfaction festering in the city.

Page 38
Gettysburg After the Storm by Gabor S. Boritt
This article is an excerpt from Boritt’s book The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows. The excerpt covers the days immediately following the battle, when the stench of human and animal remains overpowered everyone in the vicinity. Citizens kept their windows closed even in the hot summer days to keep this stench from permeating their homes. Boritt covers the lack of badly needed surgeons, and the lack of effort from the military and political sectors to secure enough surgeons to make a difference. Due to Victorian conventions, the men involved remained restrained in their complaints about the unsatisfactory situation, while women were allowed to voice their concerns.

Page 46
‘To the Last Crust and Cartridge’ by George Skoch
The Jones-Imboden Raid of 1863 is the subject of this article by cartographer and author George Skoch. Skoch specifically focuses in on the costly skirmish at Greenland Gap in northwest Virginia. William A. “Grumble” Jones led a 2000 man force consisting of the 6th, 7th, 11th, and 12th Virginia Cavalry regiments, the 34th and 35th Virginia Cavalry battalions, and the 1st Maryland Cavalry Battalion through the gap on April 25, 1863. Jones ran into a company of the 23rd Illinois under Captain Martin Wallace, whose men were holed up in the Brethren Church west of the gap. Wallace was supported by Company A of the 14th West Virginia, which had taken refuge in some nearby log cabins. After a day of fighting that ended only when the church caught on fire, Jones lost heavily at a very low cost to the Union forces. This almost resulted in some poor treatment of the surviving Federals by enraged Confederates. Jones prevented this from happening, however, top his credit. Greenland Gap slowed Jones for a day and also, by his own admission, prevented him from capturing even more supplies on what was otherwise a highly successful raid.

Page 55
My War: ‘This Worrisome Mode of Existence’: The Letters of Josiah H. Gordon edited by Christopher Benedetto
Josiah H. Gordon was one of a number of members of the Maryland Legislature who were rounded up early in the war and held without being told of the charges against them or giving them a speedy trial. While he was in captivity at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, Gordon wrote quite a few letters to his wife and children at home. This article contains quite a few excerpts from these letters.

Page 60
In Their Footsteps: Road to Atlanta, Part II by Jay Wertz
Jay Wertz is writing a set of articles covering places of interest from Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. This issue’s coverage includes sites from Calhoun to the end of the campaign. Sites include Bamsley Gardens, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Ruff’s Mill, the “Shoupades” along the Chickahominy, the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, and U.S. Amry Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.

Page 64
Civil War Times Album of the Late War by Chris Howland
This issue’s Civil War Times Album of the Late War features the postwar career of Simon Bolivar Buckner, including the death of his son at Okinawa in 1845, portable checker boards for use as a leisure activity, and an erroneous story of a soldier’s death for desertion, a story said soldier quickly set right with a letter to his no doubt surprised wife!

Page 66
Reviews: Books and Other Media
Books reviewed in this issue:

1. Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia by Brian D. McKnight
2. Military Necessity: Civil-Military Relations in the Confederacy by Paul D. Escott

The Classics:

1. Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac by William Swinton

Page 74
Frozen Moment: Fort Fisher’s Hot Shot Furnace
This month’s picture shows the hot shot furnace at Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina. The furnace was used during the January 1865 Federal assault on the fort.

Page 66
Reviews: Books and Other Media
Books reviewed in this issue:

1. Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia by Brian D. McKnight
2. Military Necessity: Civil-Military Relations in the Confederacy by Paul D. Escott

The Classics:

1. Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac by William Swinton


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