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

“CIVIL WAR WOMEN: UNDERESTIMATED AND INDISPENSABLE” NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

My new book, Civil War Women: Underestimated and Indispensable, is now available for purchase in both ebook and paperback form at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HXDW5WD?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

The book is the fourth in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time,” and it includes biographies, pictures, and related material about 50 prominent women of the era. 

Readers will know many of them, including Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Sojourner Truth.  But others who are less -known but played critical roles in breaking barriers and ending slavery are included:  Dr. Mary Walker, Kady Brownell, Sister Anthony O’Connell, and Susie King Taylor.  And there are some who took a different viewpoint, including Varina Davis and Rose Greenhow. 

Here is the cover of the book:  Enjoy!

The Confederacy’s “Dirty War”

My book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions includes biographies of three men who were key actors in an aspect of the Civil War which many know little about: the “Dirty War.”  Orchestrated by former Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson, these tactics included chemical warfare and land mines.  Here are excerpts about Thompson and his fellow dirty warriors from the book, which is available at:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“While still serving in James Buchanan’s Cabinet, Thompson blatantly put his pro-Confederate views into the public domain.  While serving as Secretary of the Interior, he visited his native state of North Carolina to try to persuade it to join the Confederacy.  In a public letter, he wrote that the North was poised to subjugate the South and destroy slavery.  In 1864 Jefferson Davis asked Thompson to create a Confederate Secret Service office in Canada to coordinate a “dirty war” against the Union.  Once there, Thompson recruited Northern agents to perform a variety of acts of sabotage.  These included spreading yellow fever, burning New York city, poisoning that city’s water supply, rescuing Confederate POWs from a prison in Ohio, and possibly assassinating President Lincoln.   Fortunately, in part because of the blundering of the participants and in part because of Northern suspicions of Thompson, all these efforts, except the assassination, failed. “

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“Gabriel Rains graduated from West Point in 1827 and served in the army until the beginning of the Civil War.  During his service in the Seminole War, he reportedly experimented with explosive booby traps, experience which would serve him well later.  Rains did not resign from the army until July 1861, but soon afterward he was given a Brigadier General’s commission in the Confederate army.  During the Peninsula campaign in 1862, he experimented with anti-personnel mines and time bombs. 

“Over the next two years Rains would implement development and placement of land mines both in harbors and on battlefields.  He also composed instructional materials for a variety of mines, including submarine mortar batteries and shells, vertical wood torpedoes, dart grenades, torpedo boats, Demi-john torpedoes, copper torpedoes, and magnetic electric torpedoes.  By the end of the war reportedly over 2000 “Rains mines” had been deployed.  The final mission of his bureau was to blow up the White House in April 1865, but that venture failed.”

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“In September 1863, Richard McCulloh, a Professor of Physics and Chemistry at Columbia University, resigned his position.  His stated reason was that “It should encite [sic] no surprize [sic] that one born and reared a Southerner, prefers to cast his lot with that of the South.”  Soon afterward he joined the Confederate clandestine operations network and began working on creating chemical weapons, as sanctioned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

“McCulloh worked assiduously on a variety of chemical weapons.  At a demonstration for Confederate congressmen in February 1865, he produced a “phial containing a colorless fluid.”  He claimed that if it were thrown from the gallery into the House of Representatives, it would kill them all in five minutes.  However, the war ended before McCulloh’s formula (which has never been found) and poison could be used.  After the war he was hired to be a professor by a former Confederate leader who was a University president:  Robert E. Lee.”

Below are pictures of the book, Thompson, and Rains. 

WADE HAMPTON, CONFEDERATE POLITICAL GENERAL

My new book, Civil War “Political Generals” of the Blue and Grey includes an article (excerpted below) about this man, controversial in his day as he is in ours.  He is pictured on the top right corner of the book, which is available at: 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“Hampton was born in Charleston, South Carolina into a wealthy planter family with a strong military tradition.  His pre-war “career” consisted of managing the family’s plantations and money, though he did serve in the state assembly from 1858-1861.  When the war began, he enlisted as a private, but then used his wealth to finance “Hampton’s Legions,” several companies of infantry and cavalry and all their weapons.

“Hampton’s Legions’ first combat was at First Manassas, and now Colonel Hampton was wounded while stemming a Union advance at a critical time.  The Legions fought in several battles during the Peninsula campaign, where now Brigadier General  Hampton was again wounded, at the Battle of Seven Pines.  Next he was named as JEB Stuart’s chief subordinate in the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry, and he played a supportive role at Antietam. He spent the next several months on cavalry raids, missing the major battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

“At the Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, and at Gettysburg a month later, Hampton was wounded.  He was promoted to Major General, but did not return to the war until November because of his recuperation.  During the Overland campaign, after Stuart was killed in May 1864, Hampton took over the cavalry command of the Army of Northern Virginia.  The untrained Political General excelled, especially at the Battle of Trevilian Station when he fended off Sheridan.  In January 1865 he was promoted to Lieutenant General and transferred to South Carolina to recruit soldiers and to defend against Sherman’s March to the Sea. “

His statue in the Capitol Building in Washington is one of two from South Carolina.  The other is of John C. Calhoun.  The controversy over these statues and those of others like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis continues. 

 

 

 

James A. Garfield, Political General and President

My new book, Civil War Political Generals of the Blue and Grey, highlights 50 men, 25 on each side, who made varying contributions to their selected side.  Some were superbly talented, some were just plain awful.  For the Union, James A. Garfield, who would later become President, performed well in a limited role early in the war. He is pictured on the front cover of the book at the bottom right. Here is an excerpt from the book about him, and you can find the book and all my other books at my author’s page:

   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“Garfield was born and raised on Ohio’s Western Reserve, one of the most intensely antislavery regions in the nation.  His family was poor, so Garfield had a number of jobs as a youth, including managing the mules that pulled canal boats.  He later became a lay preacher and worked his way  through Williams College.  He returned to Ohio’s Hiram College, where he became its president in 1857 at the age of 26.  As the secession crisis worsened in the late 1850’s, Garfield met what his biographer calls his “most consequential friend,” Jacob D. Cox.  (Vermilya).  The two intensely anti-slavery Republicans were elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859. Over the next several months they agreed they would fight for the Union, if necessary.  With Cox reading military history in Greek, Latin, and French, they learned the basics of military practice and theory and they organized drilling among the Senators. (Schmiel) 

While Cox became a General and fought in West Virginia, Garfield got a commission as a Colonel of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Assigned to Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, Garfield led that regiment and several others to a victory at Middle Creek, Kentucky on January 9, 1862.  Promoted to Brigadier General, his forces played an important role on the second day of the Battle of Shiloh, April 7, pushing back the Confederate advance.  Garfield then became ill, and while recovering was nominated for Congress.  He went to Washington to seek additional  assignments, but the only one he got of consequence was to serve on Fitz-John Porter’s court martial.  He voted for conviction.  During this period Garfield cemented his close friendship with Ohioan Salmon P. Chase.

 Though he was elected to the House in October 1862, he nevertheless chose to accept an assignment as Chief of Staff for William Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland since Congress would not meet until December 1863.  “Garfield helped to orchestrate a major Union advance through central Tennessee in the Tullahoma campaign.  At Chickamauga, [September 19-20, 1863] Garfield bravely served his army and his country.” (Vermilya).  But the battle was a disastrous Union defeat .  Afterward Garfield was promoted to Major General, but he resigned to take up his House seat.”

 

“Black Jack” Logan — the Union’s best Political General

My new book, Civil War Political Generals of the Blue and Grey” highlights 50 men, 25 on each side, who made varying contributions to their selected side.  Some were superbly talented, some were just plain awful.  For the Union, John “Black Jack” Logan was perhaps the best.  Here is an excerpt from the book about him, and you can find the book and all my other books at my author’s page:

   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“He resembled a barbarian chieftain or a swashbuckling buccaneer…Most striking of all were the ebony eyes.  They glowed with a warrior’s light – the light of battle.” (Albert Castel)  John Logan  was a hard-fighting, hard-driving military men who probably should be ranked as the best Union Political General.  He was the only one of that group ever considered capable, by Grant himself, (Grant, Memoirs), of commanding a major Army.  He was also a man you did not want to cross – as General William T. Sherman would find out after he made a fateful decision denying Logan a rightful command. 

During the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, he was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee, which would be his “home” for the rest of the war.  Logan’s men fought well during the Vicksburg campaign, and after that city fell, Logan became its military governor.  In November 1863, now a Major General, Logan became commander of the XVth corps.

“After several months of rest and politicking at home, Logan returned in the spring of 1864 for the Atlanta campaign as James McPherson’s second in command of the Army of the Tennessee.  In July at the Battle of Atlanta, McPherson was killed, and Logan assumed command on the field.  But Sherman did not think any Political General, even one as skilled as Logan, was up to such a job. Knowing also that one of his other subordinates, General George Thomas, opposed Logan’s ascension, Sherman decided not to promote Logan.  He wrote that Logan was a “volunteer that looked to personal fame and glory as auxiliary and secondary to [his] political ambition, and not as professional soldiers.” (Sherman, Memoirs).  After Sherman chose O.O. Howard instead, Logan vowed not to forget the slight.  But he continued to do his duty”

“After the war, Logan became a Radical  Republican, serving in both the House and Senate.  He was one of the managers of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial, and he was one of Grant’s closest advisers and supporters during the latter’s presidency.  He was the losing Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in 1884.  He also took every opportunity he could to legislate limits on Sherman’s budgets and power when the latter was army commander.  Logan was very active in veterans’ groups and is credited with creating the Memorial Day holiday.”

Logan is pictured in the center of the cover of “Civil War Political Generals”, below:

 

      

“Civil War Political Generals in Blue and Grey” Now Available for Purchase

The third book in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time” is now available in both paperback and ebook formats, along with my other books,  via my amazon.com author’s page.   Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/BOOHV4SSWK

This book examines the military and political careers of a class of generals all too often denigrated in the Civil War literature.  In fact, many of them, like “Black Jack” Logan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Patrick Cleburne, Phil Kearny, William Barksdale, Jacob Cox, and even future president James A. Garfield were key contributors to their armies.

As before in the series, for each man, 25 from the Union and 25 from the Confederacy, I have provided a contemporary photo, a 2-3 page “bio,” a map of a battle or similar event in their life, and 2-3 books for “further reading.”  In the days ahead I will be highlighting them in these pages, but for now, I offer the book for  your consideration.  Here is the cover”

“Civil War Political Generals in Blue and Grey” Available for Purchase

The third book in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time” is now available in both paperback and ebook formats, along with my other books,  via my amazon.com author’s page.   Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/BOOHV4SSWK

This book examines the military and political careers of a class of generals all too often denigrated in the Civil War literature.  In fact, many of them, like “Black Jack” Logan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Patrick Cleburne, Phil Kearny, William Barksdale, Jacob Cox, and even future president James A. Garfield were key contributors to their armies.

As before in the series, for each man, 25 from the Union and 25 from the Confederacy, I have provided a contemporary photo, a 2-3 page “bio,” a map of a battle or similar event in their life, and 2-3 books for “further reading.”  In the days ahead I will be highlighting them in these pages, but for now, I offer the book for  your consideration.  Here is the cover”

 

Four Civil War Generals William Smith: Two on Each Side

My new book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions, is the second in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time.”  Here is another sample, about four generals named William Smith, from the book, which is available, along with all my other books, at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“The two best known Generals William Smith are the Confederates’ “Extra Billy” Smith and the Union’s “Baldy Smith.  Confederate General Smith got his nickname before the war when he was  inclined, through finding loopholes in federal mail contracts, to gain a “little extra” for himself.  His Union counterpart “Baldy” got his nickname as a youth because of a prematurely receding hair line.  Both men earned other names for themselves during the Civil War, but those reflected negative factors in their military aptitude and behavior.

One biographer writes of Extra Billy: “In some ways Smith proved a natural warrior, in others not quite the perfect subordinate.” He was Virginia’s Governor from 1846 to 1849, and a member of Congress from 1853 to 1861, when he resigned to support the Confederacy.  Baldy’s biographer writes that though he was one of the most capable senior officers in the Union army, “his service was hampered by ill health, his political associations, and a habit of giving highly critical opinions about military affairs,” leading to “acrimonious relations” with his superiors.

Given his age (63) and seniority, Extra Billy was free with his opinions, castigating “West P’inters” and their formality, as contrasted to his “man of the people” approach.  The latter included wearing a beaver hat and carrying an umbrella to ward off the rain and sun while he was on the battlefield.  He was wounded at Seven Pines and at Antietam, but gained praise from his commanders for his courage and leadership.

Baldy performed well at the Seven Days and at Antietam, and he accompanied William Franklin to Fredericksburg where the latter commanded Burnside’s left wing.  Franklin’s failure to adequately support Burnside’s frontal attack was a key to the Union defeat there.  Both Franklin and Baldy afterward were insubordinate in writing to Lincoln  questioning Burnside’s leadership.  All those involved were removed by Lincoln and told to await orders – which did not come for a time.

Extra Billy ran for and won the Governorship of Virginia in 1863, his term to begin in 1864.  At Gettysburg he committed what later turned out to be a fateful error.  On July 1, with the Union forces in a desperate state north of the city, Extra Billy reported that Union troops were about to attack in their rear.  Many men were sent to repel the nonexistent threat, ruining any chance of taking Cemetery Hill.  After the battle, he was the only general not commended by Jubal Early.

Grant appointed Baldy to be deputy commander of General Ben Butler’s Army of the James in 1864, hoping he would rein in that rambunctious officer.  In mid-June Baldy was ordered to attack the breastworks outside Petersburg.  Despite only token opposition, he hesitated and lost an opportunity to destroy Lee’s supply line a year earlier than it was done.  Grant removed him and he got no further orders.

The two other Generals William Smith:

William Sooy Smith, an 1853 graduate of West Point, served in the West under Grant and Sherman.    Here is a post-war picture:M-Sherman-Sooy-Smith-HTDec06-227x300

Confederate General William Duncan Smith was an 1846 graduate of West Point.  He fought in minor battles in Georgia and South Carolina and died in Charleston in 1862 of yellow fever.  Here is his picture:WilliamDuncanSmith

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Below are a picture of the book and of the two major Generals Smith (Extra Billy to the left, Baldy to the right)

50 MEN AND WOMEN WHO INALTERABLY CHANGED THE CIVIL WAR ERA AND AMERICAN HISTORY

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Franz Sigel, Failed General and the “Pea Ridge March”

My new book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions, is the second in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time.”  Here is another sample from the book, which is available, along with all my other books, at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“Nobody ever wanted Sigel to have military commands, but he kept getting them because of his support from the tens of thousands of German immigrants who fought for the Union.  In April 1864 Grant half-jokingly signaled his view of Sigel’s competence by noting in an official order that “if Sigel can’t skin himself [in defeating the Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley], he can hold a leg while some one else skins.”  Five weeks later, after Sigel’s disastrous defeat at the Battle of New Market, Chief of Staff Halleck wrote to Grant, “Sigel is in full retreat on Strasburg.  He will do nothing but run; never did anything else.”

Named a Brigadier General of Volunteers, his first major combat action at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek resulted in his retreat.  In March 1862 he led his troops to their one victory, at Pea Ridge, Arkansas.  But Sigel was part of the Mountain Department which was routed by Stonewall Jackson in the 1862 Shenandoah campaign.  Sigel’s last “active” command was to hold the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.  After that disaster he received no additional orders of consequence.

Today there are statues of Sigel in New York City and St. Louis despite his dismal military record.

Below is an image of the book and of another honor Sigel received, the composing of “The Pea Ridge March,” reflecting Sigel’s “triumph” at Pea Ridge.

50 MEN AND WOMEN WHO INALTERABLY CHANGED THE CIVIL WAR ERA AND AMERICAN HISTORY3g02724v

Jesse James, Confederate Nihilist

My new book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions, is the second in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time.”  Here is another sample from the book, which is available, along with all my other books, at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HV4SSWK

“Few are more deserving of the titles rogue, rascal, and rapscallion than Jesse James.  He had no redeeming attributes, and he killed dozens of people for no particular reason.  Yet today he is better remembered than many men who fought on the side of the law.  He was not, by any stretch of the imagination, an American Robin Hood.  He robbed from everyone and gave the proceeds only to himself and his gangs.

Jesse was 17 in 1864 when he and his brother Frank  joined bushwhacker William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, whose viciousness rivaled that of William Quantrill, Frank’s former gang leader.  All of them were involved in what was called the “Centralia massacre” on September 27.  After looting the town, they stopped a train transporting Union veterans and killed and desecrated the bodies of 24 men.  They then defeated a following group of Union troops and killed all who tried to surrender.  Afterward, Frank and Jesse split for a while, and in April 1865, reportedly while trying to surrender, Jesse was shot and nearly died.

After the war, Jesse continued his “trade” by engaging in a variety of crimes.  He became “famous” after an 1869 robbery when he killed a bank cashier.  He also allegedly wrote a series of public letters denouncing Reconstruction and vaunting his continued sympathies for the Confederate cause.  In the late 19th century he became mythologized in “dime novels” as a symbol of resistance, his many vicious crimes ignored. ”

Below is a picture of the book, with Jesse on the cover (bottom right), and a “production” of Jesse’s life.

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