Civil War Times Illustrated, January 2006

by Brett Schulte on December 10, 2005 · 0 comments

The January 2006 issue is the second issue of Civil War Times Illustrated that I’ll be reviewing for this blog. CWTI usually focuses as much on the social and political history of the war as any ACW magazine, but the January 2006 issue is different. It is the 140th Anniversary special issue covering 1865. In the past, these “anniversary year” issues were sold separately from a subscription, but CWTI decided to include it as part of the subscription this year. As such, this issue covers mainly military events, including articles on the burning of Columbia, South Carolina, Five Forks, the Final Assault at Petersburg, Sailor’s Creek, Bentonville, Johnston’s surrender at Bennitt Farm, and Palmetto Ranch. Also, CWTI is moving to a ten issue a year format starting immediately, and I’m happy to hear it. I hope quality doesn’t suffer, and I doubt it will. After having read this issue, I have to say it is one of the better CWTI issuues I’ve seen in quite some time. That might have to do with the “1865 Anniversary” format, but we’ll see in the next issue.

Page 8
Columbia: God’s Will or Yankee Vengeance? by Steven E. Woodworth
Steven Woodworth covers the controversial burning of Columbia, South Carolina. The opposing sides claimed that the other side started the fires that burned a part of the city to the ground. Many northerners considered South Carolina the instigator of the war, and they believed the state should pay for its crimes. Other factors contributed to the destruction. Cotton had been set on fire along several streets to prevent its capture by the Yankees. Alcohol was available and some Union units had large numbers of men intoxicated. Some prisoners who had been held in a Columbia prison were released as well, and some were overheard swearing they wanted revenge on the city. To make matters worse, a high wind picked up the night the cotton had been set on fire. Woodworth concludes that all of these things contributed to the destruction, and he points out that the fires could have destroyed more of the city if not for some Yankee units acting as firefighters.

Page 16
Bentonville–Last Chance to Stop Sherman by Jay Luvaas
Luvaas gives us a nice introduction to the Battle of Bentonville. Located in North Carolina, Bentonville was the site of a battle between a hodgepodge Confederate army under Joseph Johnston and Henry Slocum’s Army of Georgia on March 19, 1864. Johnston failed in his effort to destroy one wing of Sherman’s army, and Sherman soon arrived with Oliver Howard’s Army of the Tennessee as help for Slocum. Johnston’s failed effort led to his surrender in May at Bennitt Farm.

Page 24
‘Reconsider, Hell!’ by Curtis S. King
Author King tells the story of the beginning of the end of the Petersburg Campaign. Phil Sheridan took his newly reunited Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, in conjunction with the II and V Corps of that same army, and struck westward in an attempt to get at Lee’s last supply line, the South Side Railroad. In the end, Sheridan launched his cavalry and the V Corps, under General Warren, at a Confederate force attempting to block his way at Five Forks under George Pickett. Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee weren’t present when the attack hit, and the result was a resounding success for the Federals. At the end of the day, however, Sheridan sacked Warren (with earlier permission from Grant) on four trumped up charges. Warren was cleared years later, but he had died a few months before. I personally take Warren’s side in this controversy, and many others do as well. What should have been his greatest triumph turned into his blackest day do to Sheridan’s dislike for him.
Page 34
Last-Ditch Rebel Stand At Petersburg by Ronald E. Bullock
After Five Forks, Grant ordered an assault along the lines at Petersburg for April 2, 1865. The Union VI Corps under Wright broke through southwest of Petersburg, killing Confederate III Corps commander A.P. Hill in the process. As the Union troops moved northeast to try to take Petersburg, Lee ordered the defenders of Fort Gregg and Fort Baldwin to buy time for Field’s I Corps division to arrive and form a solid line of defense. These men did buy the required time, at the cost of their lives and their freedom. Bullock says the defense of these men “ranks alongside any armed resistance in modern or ancient times.”
Page 42
Hurtling Toward the End by Chris M. Calkins
Petersburg National Battlefield Park Historian Chris Calkins covers “Black Thursday” for the Army of Northern Virginia. On April 6, 1865, a portion of the army was partially captured and routed from the field at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. The need to protect a wagon train put the Confederates in harm’s way, and the Union Cavalry managed to set up a roadblock in front of Anderson’s Fourth Corps. Ewell’s Department of Richmond was also cut off, and Gordon’s Second Corps as rear guard decided to protect the wagons along a more northerly route. In three separate actions, Humphreys’ Union II Corps defeated their Southern counterparts protecting the wagon train, Wright’s VI Corps surrounded most of Ewell’s men, and the Union Cavalry under Wesley Merritt dealt with Anderson. Robert E. Lee, watching men streaming to the rear from a rise west of the fighting exclaimed, “My God! Has the army been dissolved?”
Page 50
‘A Silent Gloom Fell Upon Us’ by Jeffry D. Wert
Wert tells the interesting tale of the feelings of Union soldiers after hearing of the assassination of President Lincoln. Many of the men were not only saddened. They also wanted revenge on the South. General Sherman went so far as to order everyone into camp before reading of the terrible news. He was afraid what some of his hardened veterans might do in retaliation. Some Northern soldiers were glad Lincoln had been killed, but Wert says these were in the vast minority and most had the good sense to keep their mouths shut. For a time, if soldiers heard someone expressing satisfaction over Lincoln’s murder the person doing the talking could expect a severe beating or even death.
Page 58
The Second Surrender by John M. Taylor
Even the most casual of Civil War buffs has heard of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House. Far fewer can name Bennitt Farm, spelled differently here than Mark Bradley does in his wonderful book This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place, as the surrender site of Joseph Johnston to William T. Sherman. John Taylor covers this important event in good detail, and even delves a little into the controversy concerning Sherman’s initial terms, in which he delved into social and political questions.
Page 66
Last Hurrah at Palmetto Ranch by William Marvel
I had heard of Palmetto Ranch as the last Confederate victory of the war, but I didn’t know any details until now. Marvel presents the story of Colonel Theodore H. Barrett, a man who desired to get in on a battle even though the end of the war was near. He got his wish when Confederates under Colonel John “Old Rip” Ford came calling near the Mexican border. Even though he outnumbered Ford almost 2 to 1, Barrett led a shameful retreat and lost over 100 men as prisoners. He’s a great example of the old axiom: “be careful what you wish for…you might just get it.”
Page 74
Page Images of Peace At Appomattox by Harold Holzer, Gabor S. Boritt, and Mark E. Neely, Jr.
Although not one of the battle pieces I usually enjoy over all others, this was still a very enjoyable read. The authors discuss the various
“imaginings” of the surrender at Appomattox, with an emphasis on the myth of the surrender happening on horseback in an apple orchard. In the many images that came out, Lee was allowed to become a hero for the American people as a whole, argue the authors. I strongly recommend taking a look at this one.
Page 82
Eyewitnesses to War
In this edition of Eyewitnesses to War, we get firsthand accounts of the Sultana disaster and the fall of Richmond.
Page 90
Parting Shot
This issue’s Parting Shot gives us a photograph of an 1881 Gettysburg reunion for members of Winfield Scott Hancock’s staff. Confederate General James Longstreet also appears in the picture. The point is made that oftentimes former generals would fight more with members of their own cause than with members of the side they were fighting against. In addition to appearing at this reunion, Longstreet also resumed his pre-war friendship with Ulysses S. Grant.

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