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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Publication Schedule for My Next Book: The Petersburg Regiment

Looks like Savas Beatie is scheduling my next book for the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019--"The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War: The Battles and Campaigns of the 12th Virginia Infantry 1861-1865." Men from my wife's family served in this unit. John Wilkes Booth stood in the ranks of one of this remarkable regiment’s future companies at John Brown’s hanging. The regiment refused to have Stonewall Jackson appointed its colonel. Its men first saw combat in naval battles. In their first action on land, they embarrassed themselves. Their role at Gettysburg remains controversial. Yet by war’s end they would number among the Army of Northern Virginia’s most renowned shock troops. The accompanying picture, overused to illustrate other books, was painted in 1869 to depict the soldiers of the 12th Virginia in defense of Petersburg.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Plans for the Eastern Campaign in 1864

One of the reasons Halleck responded coolly to Grant's proposal of January 1864 for a raid with 60,000 men from Suffolk, Virginia to Raleigh, North Carolina, was that Old Brains doubted that forces sufficient for the raid as well as the defense of Washington, D.C. could be mustered.  Yet eventually such forces materialized.  The Army of the Potomac came up with about 103,000 present for duty, IX Corps with about 21,000.  The Army of the James mustered around 33,000.  Combining IX Corps with the Army of the James would have left the Army of the Potomac with 103,000 men to defend the capital while about 54,000 marched from Suffolk through Raleigh, wrecking railroads as they went, and seized Wilmington from behind.  Richmond would still have had rail links with the rest of the South with the Virginia Central, South Side and Richmond & Danville Railroads.  With the benefit of hindsight, the best plan may have been Maj. Gen. John G. Foster's.  This former Union commander in North Carolina recommended sailing up the James and seizing Petersburg.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Grant's Second Offensive

Grant's Second Offensive covered more ground than any other of the Petersburg Campaign/Siege of Petersburg.  In the north, on June 18, 1864, Sheridan was moving from King and Queen Court House to Walkerton in King William County. The Federals still had a base at West Point.  Hampton would fight Sheridan at Samaria Church on June 24.  Unionist Cavalry under Wilson and Kautz swept westward to Burkeville and then southwest to Staunton River Bridge and finally eastward through Reams and Jarratt's stations.  Despite its scope, the offensive resulted in far fewer casualties than several of the others.

The biggest action of the offensive took place on June 22, 1864, is knows as "The Petersburg Affair" or "Barlow's Skedaddle" and resulted in about 2,500 Federal casualties.  A number of myths have arisen in conjunction with this action.

1. It did NOT occur because the troops were worn out and had lost too many officer in the Overland Campaign.

2. The disaster did NOT occur because II Corps lost connection with VI Corps.

3. Barlow COULD have prevented the dissaster.  It would have been very difficult and he would have had to be very lucky, but it could have been done  However, if he succeeded, then the gap between II and VI Corps might have produced the same result.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trevillian Station: Overland Campaign or Petersburg Campaign?

I tend to think Trevillian Station was a part of the Petersburg Campaign rather than the Overland Campaign.  It was intended, among other things, to draw Lee's attention from Grant's crossing of the James.  Even if the Trevillian Station Raid began as part of the Overland Campaign, it ended as part of the Petersburg Campaign.

Friday, December 8, 2017

2nd Ohio Veteran Volunteer Cavalry: A Regimental History in Search of an Author

When selecting a regiment as a subject for a history, it helps to find a regiment whose men left behind a substantial amount of literature.

During my current study of the Wilson-Kautz Raid, June 22-July 1, 1864, I've come across the 2nd Ohio Veteran Volunteer Cavalry.  German-born August V. Kautz commanded the regiment for a time and left articles, memoirs and a diary.  Its men left behind volumes of literature:

H. W. Chester.  Recollections of the War of the Rebellion: A Story of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, 1865-1865.

Roger Hannaford.  His memoirs are in manuscript form and published in a quarterly.

Isaac Gause.  Four Years in Five Armies.

Luman H. Tenney.  War Diary of Luman Harris Tenney.

William J. Smith.  One version of his reminiscences has been published in book form, the other in a quarterly.

There are unpublished documents as well.

This regiment served on the Kansas plains, then helped chase Morgan and liberate Knoxville before joining the Army of the Potomac for the Campaign of 1864.  It fought in the Overland Campaign, in the Wilson-Kautz Raid, in the Shenandoah Valley, and finally during Grant's last offensive at Petersburg and in the Appomattox Campaign.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club, January18, 2018

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., I'll be talking about the August battles for the Weldon Railroad at the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club at 10201 Hammocks Bouleverd, Miami, Florida 33196.  My talk will be broader than usual and may involve my Petersburg Campaign as well as The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thanks Civil Warriors!

My wife and I had a pleasant time at the Civil Warriors' in Los Angeles last Wednesday.  I fielded more questions than usual.