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Archive for the ‘Civil War’ Category

Podcast on the Battle of Gettysburg

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 3, 2010

Today marks the 147th anniversary of the climax of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Here is a very brief podcast on the battle.

Gettysburg: You Are There.  This is from an old radio program which “covered” historic events as if they were just happening and a reporter just happened to be there to broadcast the action.  There is a brief introduction (about 45 seconds) by the web host whose site has archived these shows.

Here are some longer podcasts dealing with specific events at the battle: Note, the site seems to be quite busy today which effects the podcast

Here is a collection of eyewitness accounts along with the official records of the battle.

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Battle of Antietam Podcast

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 12, 2009

Civil War Traveler has up some interesting podcasts.  These were designed to be downloaded to hand-held devices and listened to as you toured this or that battlefield.  These contain some interesting quotes from participants in the conflict, along with interludes of period music.  I post here the three podcasts dedicated to the Battle of Antietam, where 120,000 men tore into each other in the single bloodiest day in American military history.  Militarily the battle was a draw, however it gave new life to the union army and provided the opportunity for Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Cornfield: It seemed impossible that even a rat could live in such a place.

The Battle for Burnside Bridge: All the rebel batteries were now roaring.  The air rang with whistling balls and the ground quaked with the hard breath of artillery…  All that attempted to cross it (the bridge) found eternity.

The Final Attack: Their destructive shot and shell were falling on every foot of land…It was a terrible ordeal; the fire was pouring death upon our ranks, cutting the men down with every discharge…I was laying on my back supported by men elbows watching the shells explode over head and speculating on how long I could hold up my finger before it would be shot off; for the air seemed full of bullets when the order to get up was given.  I turned over quickly to look at Colonel Kimble who had given the order, thinking he had becomes suddenly insane.

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June 3rd In Civil War History

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 3, 2009

General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began their second invasion of the North:

Following his victory at Chancellorsville in May, 1863, General Lee received approval from his government to invade the north. Lee hoped an invasion would fuel the northern peace movement and, at least, disrupt the Union war effort. After the death of Stonewall Jackson, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, 75,000-strong, had been reorganized into three army corps under Longstreet, Ewell, and A.P. Hill, with a cavalry division under J.E.B. Stuart. On June 3, advance troops of the Confederate army left their camps near Fredericksburg and marched west toward the Shenandoah Valley.
The 95,000-strong Federal Army of the Potomac, under General Hooker, was initially uncertain of Lee’s intentions. On June 9, Hooker ordered cavalry general Alfred Pleasonton to conduct a reconnaissance with 11,000 men across the Rappahannock River toward Brandy Station. Pleasonton ran into Stuart’s cavalry, and the largest cavalry battle of the war ensued. The result was a standoff, but the Federals were now alerted to the Confederate army’s movements.
By June 13, elements of Ewell’s corps appeared before Winchester. On the same day, Hooker with-drew the Army of the Potomac from the Rappahannock and ordered it north. On June 14-15, Ewell attacked the 9,000-strong Federal garrison at Winchester and defeated it, inflicting heavy losses and capturing much valuable war material.
After Winchester, Lee’s army moved unchecked into the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania. On June 25, Lee agreed to Stuart’s plan to take three brigades of cavalry across the Potomac cast of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and cut across the rear of the Federal army. Stuart’s march encountered frequent delays and detours and an increasingly aggressive Federal cavalry, and was unable to rejoin Lee until July 2.
By June 28, Longstreet and Hill’s corps were at Chambersburg. Divisions of Ewell’s corps had crossed the mountains to York and Carlisle, and were preparing to move against Harrisburg. However, Lee learned on this day that the Federal army was at Frederick, and that Hooker had been replaced by General Meade. Lee decided to bring his entire army east of the mountains and offer battle. At the same time, Meade moved his army north. By June 30, both armies were converging upon Gettysburg and the battle, which would be the turning point of the war, was set to commence.~source

Had Lee listened to his very able subordinate, General Longstreet, and simply by-passed the entrenched Union Army at Gettysburg to threaten Washington, the outcome of the War may have been very different.  Ironically, in the South, Longstreet became something of a whipping boy for the Gettysburg debacle, lest the myth of Lee be tarnished with reality.  A brief biography of Longstreet, plus links to additional information concerning him, can be found HERE.

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June 2nd In Civil War History

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2009

Union General Philip Kearny was born on this date in 1815.  One of America’s greatest General’s, Winfield Scott, (war of 1812, Mexican War) once described him as “the bravest man I ever knew, and a perfect soldier.”  He served in four wars, two with America and two with the French.  As the result of an injury during the War with Mexico his arm had to be amputated but he continued his military career, taking part in the famous calvary charges at Magenta and Solferino under Napoleon III during the Italian campaign of the Franco-Austrian War.  As a result of his conduct he was awarded France’s highest military honor; the first American to do so.   A brief biography, along with some news stories and photos can be viewed HERE.  And HERE is a brief account of the Battle of Solfeirno along with Kearny’s account of his role in it.

Kearny’s most famous Civil War engagement was at the Battle of Seven Pines (also called Fair Oaks).  As he often did he rode into the battle with the reins of his horse clenched in his teeth so he could wield his sword with his one good arm.

Phil Kearny At Seven Pines:

When the battle went ill, and the bravest were solemn, 
N ear the dark Seven Pines, where we still held our 
He rode down the length of the withering column, 
And his heart at our war-cry leapt up with a bound; 
He snuffed, like his charger, the wind of the powder,- 
His sword waved us on and we answered the sign: 
Loud our cheer as we rushed, but his laugh rang the louder, 
"There's the devil's own fun, boys, along the whole 
line' " 
How he strode his brown steed' How we saw his blade 
In the one hand still left, - and the reins in his teeth' 
He laughed like a boy when the holidays heighten, 
But a soldier's glance shot from his visor beneath. 
Up came the reserves to the mellay infernal, 
Asking where to go in, - through the clearing or pine? 
" 0, anywhere' F onvard! 'T is all the same, Colonel : 
You'll find lovely fighting along the whole line! " 

0, evil the black shroud of night at Chantilly, 
That hid him from sight of his brave men and tried!~Edmund Clarence Stedman

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American Civil War Podcasts

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 21, 2009

I am hugely interested in the American Civil War or, as we still sometimes call it, “the War of the Rebellion,” though I’ve seldom posted on the subject.  There are, sadly, very few podcasts available online relating to that giant and highly popular subject,but I did find a few.

The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, by Ulysses Simpson Grant.   An online text version of the memoirs can be found HERE.    A large two volume work considered to be the best American autobiography ever written.  Authors as diverse as Matthew Arnold and Gertrude Stein have praised its charm and literary merit.  Brief background: After his political career Grant entered into a business deal with Ferdinand Ward, and formed the Grant & Ward corporation.  Grant sought out investments from a number of people but they and he fell victim to a swindle by Ward.  As a matter of personal honor Grant made what restitution he could to the other investors, leaving himself and his family destitute.  Grant had, in accordance with the law of the time, forfeited his military pension upon becoming President, and, at the time, Presidents and their spouses were not given pensions by the government; as a result, Grant and his family became dependent on the charity of friends.   At the same time this was happening he learned that he was terminally ill with cancer.   In an attempt to make some money, Grant wrote a series of articles about his Civil War battles for Century Magazine; these were extremely popular and highly praised.  One admirer of these articles was Mark Twain, and he approached the former President with a business proposition.  If Grant would write his memoirs, he (Twain) would publish them, giving Grant a generous share of all royalties (75%!).  Due to these generous terms and the immense popularity of the work Grant, upon his death, was able to leave his family an estate worth approximately $500,00.

The Civil War Traveler.  These podcasts are narrated by National Parks Service historians and were designed to be listened to as one travels through the battle sites, but the Civil War buff will enjoy them wherever he/she happens to be.  Be sure to check out the downloadable maps.

Civil War Podcasts by Dr. James Robertson Jr.  Produced by WTVF Public Radio.  One of the subjects of the war which fascinates me is the fraternization which often took place between the opposing combatants, the “Fraternization Between Soldiers” episode will be, I think, rather interesting.  I am also fascinated by the military technology that came out of the war, so I think I’ll find the episode “A Battle Employing Many Technological Firsts” rather enjoyable.  Confederate General George E. Pickett is a character who has always interested me.  He, along with fellow “Reb” general James Longstreet, became the south’s most favorite whipping boys after the disaster at Gettysburg (and even more so after the war), lest the hallowed name of Robert E. Lee be taken in vain.  I look forward to listening to the episode profiling Pickett.  A relative of mine by marriage has relations living in Georgia, one of them came up for a rather long visit and as she got ready to return their was some discussion about what to get her as a going away gift.  I suggested a T-shirt with an image of General William Tecumseh Sherman on it; fortunately, my suggestion was not taken seriously; Sherman can still “make Georgia howl.”  Check out the podcast on “Sherman’s Campaign.”

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