Excerpts from "The Role of Newspapers"
Newspapers ran local advertisements and announcements and carried stories of national and international interest, but the stories were far from objective. Reporting was overseen primarily by editors and publishers who clearly represented their opinions and favoritism for a particular political party. Local newspaper editorials were partisan propaganda designed to praise their party’s candidates and vilify its opponents.
Newspapers were also active in the debate over slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War and remain important primary source material in documenting this debate. Two New York City newspapers, Horace Greeley’s Tribune and Gordon Bennett’s Herald, took opposite sides in this debate, with the Tribune opposing slavery while the Herald criticized abolitionists and supported secession. William Lloyd Garrison of Massachusetts founded his abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831, and former slave Frederick Douglass edited the North Star in Rochester, New York.
Source: "The Role of Newspapers," Pennsylvania Civil War 150.
Link to the article : http://www.pacivilwar150.com/thenandnow/newspapers.aspx
Kirkus:An accomplished historian of the Civil War (Controversies and Commanders, 1999, etc.) offers a blow-by-blow account of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg and its effects on the course of the conflict.Dwight Eisenhower once recalled that at West Point he and his classmates were made to memorize the order of battle at Gettysburg hour by hour and quizzed on which unit faced which at any given moment in the combat. "If this was military history," he wrote, "I wanted no part of it." Had he had this as a text, Ike might have enjoyed the exercise a little more, for though Sears gives that information in lashings, he does so with a storyteller's skill and a strategist's appreciation for the changing tides of battle. He takes time getting to the first shot at Seminary Ridge, recapping the events that led to Robert E. Lee's decision to bring his troops into northern territory (with the idea, Sears writes, of drawing the Union army away from Richmond) and that led Lee to disregard James Longstreet's warning that the topography favored the Yankee enemy. Once at Gettysburg, however, Sears's account is full of grapeshot and canister, blending a sometimes near-documentary account of minute portions of the battle with broader-ranging discussion of its conduct overall. This mix yields particularly satisfying results when it is applied to set pieces such as the Union defense of Little Round Top and George Pickett's ill-fated Grand Charge, to which Sears brings sophisticated observations that well-versed students of warfare will appreciate but that may well be lost on less knowledgeable readers; among these is his account of Joshua Chamberlain's famed right-wheel maneuver on Little Round Top and his analysis of Johnson Pettigrew's arrangement of his brigades on the Confederate battle line in a compact deployment by which "colonels could keep better control of their men in the din of battle, and could reinforce the front line with their own second line rather than having to depend on some other commander for support."A fine study, detailed and challenging, that complements such popular accounts of the battle as Bruce Catton's Glory Road and Shelby Foote's The Stars in Their Courses. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003)
Source: NoveList Plus
"Hospital Trains", Harper's Weekly, February 27, 1864 [text and image]
One of our special artists sends us from Chattanooga a sketch, which we here reproduce, representing A HOSPITAL TRAIN ON ITS WAY FROM THAT PLACE TO NASHVILLE, under the care of Dr. Myers. Until very recently the transportation of our sick and wounded soldiers by rail has been attended with very severe suffering from the jostling motion of the car. It first occurred to a surgeon, while witnessing the intense agony of these poor fellows, that the difficulty might be obviated by mechanical means. Directly and upon the spot he sketched the model of a car, in the contrivance of which the problem was satisfactorily solved. The plan was immediately adopted by Government, and now constitutes the prominent feature of the hospital train. Food of the most nourishing kind is furnished the wounded men, who, when they have arrived at their journey's end, are taken directly to the hospital upon the same stretchers which answer as couches upon the car. These beds are suspended from India-rubber bands attached to the frame-work of car, and, yielding to the slightest motion of the ear, are as comfortable as the beds of the hospital. Our artist has given not only an exterior view of the train, but also an interior of one of the cars, disclosing the arrangements by which the soldier's comfort is secured.
Source: Harper's Weekly, February 27, 1864
Link to the article: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/february/hospital-train.htm
Excerpt from "Politics and Generals" by Brooke C. Stoddard and Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D.
In today's U.S. Army, rank is determined by experience and expertise, but things were a little different during the Civil War. It was an era in which political favors were often repaid with military appointments, and, as the war began to heat up, President Abraham Lincoln found himself under constant pressure to appoint men with little or no military experience. Many of the Union's early military officers were loyal Republicans, influential War Democrats, or everyday people demanding payback for some earlier favor. As might be expected, the majority of officers so appointed had no right to lead men into battle, and during their relatively brief command they only served to embarrass themselves and their respective War Departments. The First Battle of Manassas resulted in a humiliating Union rout when inexperienced officers panicked and ran in the face of the enemy, abandoning their men.
Source: "Politics and Generals" by Brooke C. Stoddard and Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D.
Link to the full article: http://www.netplaces.com/american-civil-war/military-leaders-of-the-north-and-south/politics-and-generals.htm
First page of an appointment request
Second page of the appointment request
Example of requests for appointments and commissions
Excerpts from "Strange Waters" By Craig L. Symonds
The Civil War famously pitted brother against brother, but it also pitted comrade against comrade: especially in the opposing officer corps, the Union and Confederate armies were staffed with men who had earlier served on the same side, and in many cases were even at West Point together, both as students and instructors.
For one thing, fewer than half of the Southern-born Navy officers resigned their commissions to serve their native states during the war — just 95 Naval Academy graduates, as well as 59 young men who were Academy students when the war began. For another, the Confederate Navy was relatively small, and many of those who did go South ended up serving not in the Rebel Navy but in the Army, often as artillerists.
Perhaps more important, though, was the fact that the Naval Academy was a relatively new institution in 1861, and its few graduates therefore occupied relatively modest ranks during the war (mostly as lieutenants), while the senior officers — commanders, captains and all of the flag officers — were men who had grown up in what then called the “Old Navy.” Most of the Navy hierarchy in the 19th century believed that the sea itself was the best school for young men who aspired to become officers.
Prior to the academy’s founding in 1845, young men — boys really, most of them teenagers — sought a direct appointment into the Navy as midshipmen. As the title suggests, midshipmen occupied a kind of middle status between the hands of the forecastle and the officers of the quarterdeck. After a suitable period of indenture, lasting from three to 10 years, they took an exam, and if they passed, they became “passed midshipmen,” eligible for promotion to lieutenant when an opening occurred.
Craig L. Symonds is a professor emeritus of history at the United States Naval Academy and the author of the author or editor of 25 books on the Civil War and naval history.
Source: "Strange Waters", by Craig L. Symonds, N.Y. Times, The Opinion Pages, July 12, 2011, 9:26 pm
Link to the full article: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/strange-waters/
Excerpts from "Fort Monroe: Birthplace of the Civil War-era Freedom Movement"
Serving as a key defensive site at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay for 400 years, Fort Monroe is one of the least known and most important places in America. It was the landing site of the first enslaved people brought to North America, and functioned as an assembly, training, and embarkation point for U.S. forces in the Seminole Wars, suppression of Nat Turner’s Rebellion, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, and Civil War. Fort Monroe protected important military and civilian resources located inland during World War I and World War II. Since then, it has served as a major headquarters for training soldiers for war.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Fort Monroe became the birthplace of the Civil War-era freedom movement when three brave enslaved men escaped the Confederate Army and fled in a small boat to relative safety at Fort Monroe. There, the Union commander seized these men as “contraband” of war, an unusual legal maneuver that provided refuge for the three men, and in turn, heralded the beginning of the end of slavery in America. Over the course of the Civil War, more than 500,000 African American women, children, and men would liberate themselves, following in the footsteps of those first three freedom seekers at Fort Monroe, leading to one of the war’s most extraordinary—and overlooked— chapters. Preservation of Fort Monroe is critical to our Civil War heritage.
Source: "Fort Monroe: Birthplace of the Civil War-era Freedom Movement", The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Link to full article: http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/southern-region/fort-monroe.html
After falling back to his prepared position in the Bermuda Hundred peninsula, Gen. Butler devised a plan to build a canal across the neck of land known as Dutch Gap. The purpose of the canal was to bypass Battery Dantzler and other Confederate guns along the James River. Construction of the canal began in August of 1864. Work on the canal was done primarily by African-American troops under the command of Brig. Gen D. S. Ludlow. Work continued through December of 1864, with over 67,000 cubic yards of material removed. Destruction of a dam at the eastern end and the bulkhead at the western end was all that was needed to complete the canal. On January 1, 1865 six tons of black powder were placed beneath the bulkhead and detonated. The bulkhead however, was not dislodged and the canal remained blocked. Shortly thereafter, the men working on the project were pulled away to the siege of Petersburg. Later in January, Gen. Butler was relieved of command following his failure to capture Fort Fisher in North Carolina. The canal project was abandoned until after the war. In the 1870’s, Butler, then a Senator, saw the canal completed. The Army Corps of Engineers widened the Dutch Gap Canal to its current extent in the 1930’s. The bluff at Henricus Historical Park marks the southern side of Butler’s canal."
Source: "The Civil War in Chesterfield County, VA." The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia.
Link to the page : http://www.chesterfieldhistory.com/HTML/Civil%20War_E.html
Harper's Weekly, January 21, 1865 engraving from the photograph taken by Captain S. L. Langdon
Link to the issue and pages of the Harper's Weekly: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1865/dutch-gap-canal.htm
Born in 1844 in upstate New York as the child of ardent abolitionists, Liberty Fish finds his life influenced also by his grandparents, Carolina slaveholders, a conflict that he struggles to resolve by enlisting during the Civil War.
Source: NoveList Plus
From Library Journal:
Historian Nesbitt (Saber and Scapegoat, Stackpole, 1994) skillfully brings together the correspondence of Joshua Chamberlain during the years of the Civil War. In a transitional narrative provided by the editor that allows the letters to flow into a superb text, the book begins with Chamberlain's petition for service with the Maine units heading off to war. While concentrating on the war years, Nesbitt includes not only Chamberlain's heroic actions on Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg but also his other important battles at Fredericksburg and his near-fatal charge at Petersburg. Selected to oversee the laying down of Confederate arms at Appomattox, Chamberlain declared, "It is by miracles we have lived to see this day, any of us standing here." His military service having now come full circle, he reflected on the body of men that was the Union army and stated, "This army will live, and live on, so long as soul shall answer soul." Well organized with a balance of text, letters, and narrative, this work is recommended for all libraries.?Barbara A. Zaborowski, Cambria Cty. Lib., Johnstown, Pa.
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