Turning Points: Civil War Photography by Jeffry D. Wert
Photography was only thirty years old at the time of the Civil War. The first recorded instance of men slain in battle were taken by Alexander Gardner and James F. Gibson, employees of Mathew Brady. These men arrived on the battlefield of Antietam on September 17 or 18, 1862 and took the after-combat photos before the burial details had finished their grisly work. The resulting exhibition in Brady’s New York Gallery was a huge success, as many people were curious to see this new form of photography. The combat photographer had been born.
Irregulars: Recruiters by Eric Ethier
Eric Ethier explores the often unscrupulous and frustrating world of army recruiters. These men found much resistance to their work, especially after large casualties lists began to dissuade prospective recruits from volunteering. Many recruiters, when faced with this reality, resorted to any means necessary, legal and ethical or otherwise, to induce men to enlist. As a result, many recruiters had their lives threatened by those who resented their tactics and their goals. Ironically, the best source of recruits lay in veterans whose enlistments were set to soon expire.
Civil War Today: Saving the Slaughter Pen by Chris W. Lewis
The Slaughter Pen, a key unblemished spot on the southern portion of the Fredericksburg battlefield, faced a serious threat by developers wishing to devastatingly transform the landscape. The Civil War Preservation Trust and others have rallied to attempt to raise the huge sum of $12.3 million needed to save the land from development.
Gallery: ‘A Hole You Could Put Your Fist In’
submitted by Great-Great-Grandson John A. Thompson
Marshall McKusick, a pre-war schoolteacher, joined the 6th Maine Battery Light Artillery in December 1861. McKusick and his battery participated in many of the Army of the Potomac’s toughest fights, including Second Bull Run, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness. McKusick was wounded by a shell fragment at Cold Harbor on June 3, 1862. His family said it created “a hole you could put your fist in.” After the war, McKusick resumed teaching, attended law school, and became a state legislator in Maine. He died on May 28, 1908.
In Their Footsteps: North Carolina Coastal Operations of 1861-62 by Jay Wertz
General Ambrose Burnside’s North Carolina coastal operations are the subject of this issue’s “In Their Footsteps”. This particular tour is somewhat unusual in terms of the large distances covered. Sites include the towns of Plymouth, Washington, Winton, Elizabeth City, Hatteras, Ocracoke, Beaufort, and New Bern. Sites include the Dismal Swamp, Roanoke Island, Fort Macon, and the CSS Neuse State Historic Site, among others.
Behind the Lines: Brothers In Arms?
In this “Letter from Civil War TImes”, the discussion involves the difficulties Ulysses S. Grant and James Longstreet had in dealing with members and fellow generals of their respective causes. Grant had to endure attacks from above and below in the persons of Henry Halleck and John A. McClernand, while Longstreet faced the organized assault of Jubal Early and his “Lost Cause” allies.
The Best Subordinate: James Longstreet by Jeffry D. Wert
Jeffry Wert, author of this article and also a Longstreet biographer, argues quite persuasively that James Longstreet, and not Stonewall Jackson, was Robert E. Lee’s best subordinate. Longstreet was a happy go lucky man until January 1862, when scarlet fever took three of his four children. From that day on, the historical view of a taciturn, serious man was evident. Longstreet rose quickly in the opening year of the war from command of a brigade to a division, and he would rise to become Lee’s second in command, ranking Jackson by a day. One of Wert’s main arguments is that fact. Lee himself made it quite clear who he wanted as his second highest ranking officer in Longstreet. Wert also covers Longstreet’s impressive attacks and counterattacks at Second Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and the Wilderness. Although Longstreet performed well in these and other battles, Wert is not afraid to point out his flaws, including at Seven Pines and elsewhere. The author spends quite a bit of time going over the reasons why Longstreet does not have a better reputation to this day, including his performance at Gettysburg, his friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, and his willingness to associate with the Republican Party, resulting in the “Lost Cause” efforts of Early and others to discredit him.
Wrath Awaits the Invader by William J. Stier
On August 17, 1864, Captain John Dickinson surprised and routed portions of two Federal cavalry regiments and an artillery piece from Gainesville, Florida. Dickinson’s lopsided victory preserved southern and eastern Florida for the Southern cause. A sidebar article talks about Dickinson’s pre-war and early war activity.
‘The Most Extraordinary Feat of the War’ by A. W. R. Hawkins III
Forty-four Confederates stationed in Fort Griffin protecting Sabine Pass proceeded to drive away an invading Yankee army and fleet of 5,000 men and numerous ships on September 8, 1863 in what General John Magruder called “the most extraordinary feat of the war.” The Yankees could have used the area as a base for future incursions into Texas if they had been successful at the pass.
The Secret War Between Grant & Halleck by Brian J. Murphy
Brian Murphy covers the feud between Generals Henry Halleck and Ulysses S. Grant in the early days of the war. Halleck, Grant’s superior, became extremely jealous when Grant received the credit and publicity for the captures of Forts Henry and Donelson. From that point until he was appointed General-in-Chief, Halleck did his best to have Grant removed from any meaningful command. It was ironic then, that these two men became de facto allies when John McClernand tried to secure for himself an army command out of the army’s chain of command. Halleck was furious, as was Grant, and they worked together to ensure that McClernand’s troops would eventually come under Grant’s control.
My War: The Boys from Brenham by Tom Terrell
Tom Terrell, a direct descendant of Virginius Pettey, here provides readers with several letters Pettey sent from the camps of his 5th Texas Infantry regiment. Pettey was involved in the fighting during the Seven Days, describing here the charge of Hood’s Division which saved the day for the Confederates at Gaines’ Mill. Pettey also fought at Second Manassas, but he was wounded in the bowels and died several days later. The last letter is from Pettey’s messmate to his brother-in-law, describing Pettey’s death and relaying the deceased’s last wishes.
Civil War Times Album of the Late War
This issue’s Civil War Times Album of the Late War takes a look at John Pope’s career after Second Manassas, patriotic stationary, a miniature version of the Stars and Bars, and a new recruit’s experience at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, among other things.
Reviews: Books and Other Media
Books reviewed in this issue:
1. The Last Shot: The Incredible True Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War by Lynn Schooler
2. Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah by Tom Chaffin
3. The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah: A Memorable Cruise by William C. Whittle, Jr.
4. General Ulysses S. Grant: The Soldier and the Man by Edward Longacre
1. The Autobiography of Samuel S. Hildebrand: The Renowned Missouri Bushwacker edited by Kirby Ross
Frozen Moment: A Defender to the End
General James Longstreet and his second wife Helen are the subject of this issue’s Frozen Moment.