Number 6 (January 2007)

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Americas Civil War, Volume 19, Number 6 (January 2007)
America's Civil War, Volume 19, Number 6 (January 2007)

74 Pages

Page 10
Telegraph Wire by Kimberly A. O’Connell
Telegraph Wire is a new feature concerning present day Civil War news. In this edition, we learn about the precarious financial situation at the Museum of the Confederacy, preserving and promoting the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground” historic corridor from Charlottesville, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the reunion of a star from Elmer Ellsworth’s flag with said flag.

Page 14
Eyewitness to War by Jerry W. Holsworth
This issue’s Eyewitness to war looks at the last letter of Grenville L. Gage, a member of the famed 1st Texas Infantry of Hood’s Texas Brigade. Gage hastily wrote the letter before moving into the Cornfield at Antietam, where he was killed. The 1st Texas lost 82.3% of its men as casualties in the fight, the largest such percentage in the entire war.

Page 19
Men & Materiel: Cosmopolitan and Joslyn Carbines by Joseph G. Bilby
Weapons expert Joe Bilby covers the Cosmopolitan and Joslyn carbines, two mostly unsuccessful models which saw limited service during the Civil War. Bilby says the Cosmopolitan “was definitely based on outdated technology by 1861 standards”, and says the model did not live up to the stress of active fighting in the field. The Joslyn, while also unable to stand up to field service in its initial 1862 version, later modified in 1864, “was highly regarded and almost made it as a standard service arm.”

Page 23
Commands: Canadians by Norman Shannon
More than 40,000 Canadians ended up fighting in the Civil War for one reason or another, writes author Norman Shannon. Many Nova Scotians joined the Union Navy and were in great demand due to their excellent seafaring skills. Other Canadians joined their Confederate brethren who had relocated to Louisiana. Despite some Canadians entering the war against their will through “crimping”, the author maintains that most Canadians joined the fight of their own free will. In fact, four Canadians even became brigadier generals during the war. Spying was prevalent in Canada for both the North and the South, and a Confederate raid on St. Albans, Vermont was launched by a small force originating in that country. Around 14,000 Canadians were killed or died of other means while serving in the Civil War, a surprisingly large number.

Page 27
A Letter From America’s Civil War
This issue’s “Letter” concerns an interesting pyramid made of stone that sits adjacent to the tracks of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad near the city of Fredericksburg. The monument, first placed to honor the confederate soldiers who fought there, including Stonewall Jackson, is today ironically referred to as the “Meade Pyramid” because it is situated on ground over which Meade’s Union division attacked on December 13, 1862.

Page 28
Naked, Knife-Wielding Rebels at Fredericksburg? by Robert K. Krick
Noted Army of Northern Virginia expert Robert K. Krick discusses the veracity of a story written by Richmond journalist Edward A. Pollard concerning Stonewall Jackson and Fredericksburg. In this account, Pollard maintained that on the night of December 13, 1862 Jackson had ordered his men to strip naked to the waist and conduct a night attack on the disorganized Federal forces with bowie knives. Pollard wrote that Jackson reasoned the novelty of the attack would ensure success. Krick spends the better part of the article refuting this story both with credible primary sources and through his own research. Interestingly, Pollard turned on the former Confederacy in 1868, even claiming that he had never been a Confederate in the first place!

Page 36
Into the Breach at Chickamauga by Gordon Berg
Gordon Berg covers the efforts of Gordon Granger’s Union Reserve Corps of the Army of the Cumberland to save that army on the slopes of Horseshoe Ridge on September 20, 1863. These men were largely successful in this attempt, allowing most of the army to escape rather than face Confederate POW camps. This escape ultimately led to a Confederate defeat at Chattanooga in November 1863.

Page 44
Southern Sketches by John M. Coski
John Coski writes an article short on words and long on pictures. These images were drawn by Confederate soldiers serving in the field, and range from the rather “cartoonish” efforts of Kennedy Palmer to the lauded scenes of Conrad Wise Chapman.

Page 50
‘Dod’ Ramseur’s Dose of Reality by Jonathan A. Noyalas
North Carolinian and Confederate General Stephen Dodson Ramseur, known as “Dod” to his friends and family, faced a roller coaster ride of triumph and disappointment in 1864. On June 1 of that year, he had become the youngest West Pointer to be appointed a Major General in the Confederacy. Ramseur wrote confidently to his wife soon after, hoping to continue “making a reputation” as an excellent combat leader. This reputation was sorely tarnished at Rutherford’s Farm on July 19, 1864. At that battle, Ramseur was defeated by a numerically inferior Union force under William W. Averell and saw his forces routed from the field. It was the first time a Confederate general had lost a battle in the Shenandoah Valley in over two years. Valley Army commander Jubal Early realized that a portion of the blame should be laid at the feet of Brig. Gen. John C. Vaughn, who reported a much smaller force ahead of Ramseur than was actually the case. Ramseur soon redeemed himself at the Second Battle of Kernstown by delivering a devastating flank attack. He also performed well at Third Winchester, where he “saved Early’s army from near destruction.” Ramseur was killed, however, at the Battle of Cedar Creek, prematurely ending a promising general’s career and life.

Page 55
Yankee Secret Weapon at Rutherford’s Farm? by Joseph Bilby
Joe Bilby says that the use of quick loading ammunition by the Yankees at Rutherford’s Farm may have contributed to the victory. his ammunition had been used only sparingly throughout the war due to the cautious nature of ordnance head Brig. Gen. James W. Ripley.

Page 59


Books reviewed in this issue:

1. Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates by Glenn LaFantasie
2. The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America by Barnet Schecter
3. The Second Georgia Infantry Regiment, As told through the Unit History of Company D, Burke Sharpshooters by F. Mikell Harper
Reviews in Brief:

1. The Soldier’s Pen: Firsthand Impressions of the Civil War by Robert E. Bonner
2. A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country: The Selected Correspondence of John Rodgers Meigs, 1859-1864 edited by Mary A. Giunta
3. The Devil’s Topographer: Ambrose Bierce and the American Civil War by David M. Owens
4. Thomas Francis Meagher and the Irish Brigade in the Civil War by Daniel M. Callaghan
5. The Battle of Olustee, 1864 by Robert P. Broadwater
6. Key Command: Ulysses S. Grant’s District of Cairo by T. K. Kionka
7. The Oxford Dictionary of Civil War Quotations edited by John D. Wright
8. Insider’s Guide to Gettysburg by Kate Hertzog

Page 74
This issue’s subject in “Struck!” is Captain William A. Wright of the 55th Virginia. The captain was killed at Frayser’s Farm on June 30, 1862 after a slug penetrated his French model canteen and entered his body. A picture of the canteen and the slug, morbid souvenirs of the captain’s fate, is included.


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