Civil War Talks on the Life of Jacob Cox, the Battle of Antietam, the Battle of Franklin, and the War in West Virginia

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This is the post excerpt.

A picture says a thousands words — here is an example. This is the official portrait of Jacob Cox as Governor of Ohio. He was elected in 1865 while still in the Volunteer Army. He chose to be pictured as what I call the consummate “citizen-general.” A self-trained military man, Cox the private citizen had an outstanding military career in the Civil War, but then chose to return to civilian life. In the painting he wears his dress uniform as a two-star Major General, but in his hand is his commission as Governor. On the table behind him is his commission as a general, his sword and scabbard, and his binoculars. The latter are symbols of what he has left behind, but also reminders that they are available if the nation calls again. This is among the reasons why I put this picture on the cover of my biography of Cox, “Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era.” The book is available via amazon. com. See also my web-site, https://civilwarhistory-geneschmiel.com

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Winston Churchill and Counter-Factual Civil War History

During a 1929 trip to the U.S., Churchill — whose mother was an American — visited several Civil War battlefields in the East. He also decided to take advantage of the booming U.S. economy and made significant investments — all of which failed during the stock market crash that year. To make up for the losses, he became even more active in writing history, but also wrote a counter-factual history article about Robert E. Lee’s “victory” at Gettysburg for a book entitled, “If, Or History Rewritten.” In the article, the key is the arrival of Jeb Stuart behind the center of the Union lines just as Pickett’s charge takes place. Lee then takes Washington and declares the end of slavery, then helps negotiate the “Treaty of Harpers Ferry” to create the divided nation.

As most readers of this and other Civil War sites know, 99.9% of all counter-factual histories have similar scenarios of Confederate victory. Maybe we need one with a different take on an early Union victory and its implications? Stay tuned.

 

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Antietam with Family and Friends, 3

Candid shots of the “tourists and the final stop on the tour, Nutter’s Ice cream, where every tour of Antietam must stop for some of the worl’d best and least expensive ice cream known to man.

 

  1. Mark Silverman and I at Bloody Lane in front of the cannon dedicated to Israel Richardson, who was fatally wounded near there.
  2. The Schmiel family in front of the Clara Barton memorial
  3. The ladies on the trip — Silvermans, Kathryn Schmiel, Joan Turner
  4. Nutter’s Ice Cream

 

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Antietam with Family and Friends, Part 2

I led a group of family and friends around the Antietam battlefield yesterday.  The weather wasn’t the best, with scattered showers, but everyone enjoyed hearing how this critical event almost ended the Civil War.  If McClellan had been more aggressive, if Hooker and Richardson had not been wounded at critical times, if McClellan had attacked on the right and left simultaneously in the morning, if, if, if.  But that didn’t happen, and so we had the limited Union victory and, more importantly, the justification for the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

Additional pictures: 1. “Burnside’s Bridge;” 2 and 3. The descriptive plates describing Jacob Cox’s contributions as 9th corps commander; 4. The sign describing the high water mark where Cox’s advance was stopped because of A.P. Hill’s unexpected attack from the left. 20180420_113132

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Antietam with Family and Friends, Part 1

I led a group of family and friends around the Antietam battlefield yesterday.  The weather wasn’t the best, with scattered showers, but everyone enjoyed hearing how this critical event almost ended the Civil War.  If McClellan had been more aggressive, if Hooker and Richardson had not been wounded at critical times, if McClellan had attacked on the right and left simultaneously in the morning, if, if, if.  But that didn’t happen, and so we had the limited Union victory and, more importantly, the justification for the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Here are a few photos from the day: 1. The NPS building; 2 The tower above Bloody Lane; 3. The Irish Brigade memorial; 4. The Pry House–McClellan’s headquarters20180610_142129-1.

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Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument, Cleveland, Ohio

On Cleveland’s Public Square the Civil War “Soldiers and Sailors” Monument dominates one of the four smaller squares which make up the area.  Designed by Levi Scofield, one of Jacob Cox’ engineers during the war and one of his major adjutants at the Battle of Franklin, the monument celebrates the achievements of, primarily, Ohioans.   The facility fell into disrepair, like much of the city, in the latter part of the 20th century.  But it is now refurbished and, free of charge, an excellent exhibit of the pride in one state for its contributions to the war effort.

Below are two pictures, one of the overall facility, and one of one of the four bas-reliefs inside.  The overall picture speaks for itself.  The second requires a listing of the Ohioans pictured there, two of whom became president.

In order, from the left, are General James A. Garfield, General Jacob Cox, General George McClellan, Governor William Dennison, Governor David Tod, Governor James Brough, General William Rosecrans, General Rutherford B. Hayes, and General Quincy Gillmore.

I’m not sure why some of the military men appear hatted and some do not, and why McClellan alone is looking to his right, directly at Cox and Garfield.

 

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Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument, Cleveland, Ohio

On Cleveland’s Public Square the Civil War “Soldiers and Sailors” Monument dominates one of the four smaller squares which make up the area.  Designed by Levi Scofield, one of Jacob Cox’ engineers during the war and one of his major adjutants at the Battle of Franklin, the monument celebrates the achievements of, primarily, Ohioans.   The facility fell into disrepair, like much of the city, in the latter part of the 20th century.  But it is now refurbished and, free of charge, an excellent exhibit of the pride in one state for its contributions to the war effort.

Below are two pictures, one of the overall facility, and one of one of the four bas-reliefs inside.  The overall picture speaks for itself.  The second requires a listing of the Ohioans pictured there, two of whom became president.

In order, from the left, are General James A. Garfield, General Jacob Cox, General George McClellan, Governor William Dennison, Governor David Tod, Governor James Brough, General William Rosecrans, General Rutherford B. Hayes, and General Quincy Gillmore.

I’m not sure why some of the military men appear hatted and some do not, and why McClellan alone is looking to his right, directly at Cox and Garfield.

 

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The “Atlanta Campaign,” a Misnomer?

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In May 1864 W.T. Sherman began what has been called the “Atlanta Campaign” against Confederate General Joe Johnston’s Army of Tennessee.  But, as modern historians have pointed out, Atlanta itself was not an objective.   Grant’s order to Sherman stated  that he was to “move against Johnston’s army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources…I leave you free to execute in your own way.”  (In some ways that order is a precursor of Sherman’s objective in his “March to the Sea,” but leave that for the moment).  Grant wanted to be sure that Johnston couldn’t send reinforcements to Lee in the East — and vice versa — even as they tried to defeat these two armies.

When Confederate commander John Bell Hood abandoned Atlanta after Jacob Cox’s men cut his final supply line, the city was open for the Union to move in on September 1/2.  As the rebel army abandoned Atlanta, Sherman had an opportunity to destroy the divided Confederate forces, half of which were at Jonesboro, and half of which were retreating from Atlanta to the east.  Instead, satisfied with the capture of the city, Sherman decided to let Hood go. He told O.O. Howard that because Atlanta had fallen, “I do not wish to waste lives by an assault.” Perhaps forgetting that the objective of his campaign was to destroy the opposing army and not to take Atlanta,  Sherman told his commanders September 4, “The army having accomplished its undertaking in the complete reduction and occupation of Atlanta,” it would take a month’s rest until a new campaign was launched.

Both Sherman and Hood ultimately realized that Sherman should have continued the campaign. Hood wrote later, “I have often thought it strange Sherman should have occupied himself with attacking Hardee’s intrenched position, instead of falling upon our main body on the march round to his rear.” Sherman admitted to Halleck on September 4, “I ought to have reaped larger fruits of victory,” but he blamed the slowness of his commanders instead of his own decision-making. He later acknowledged, “I had not accomplished all, for Hood’s army, the chief objective, had escaped. Then began the real trouble.”