Friday, November 30, 2007

Triumph & Defeat (Vol 2) by Terrence J. Winschel

I reviewed this book for Civil War News and yesterday my copy arrived so now I can post the review here. My review appears on page 31 of the December issue. This was my first review published in Civil War News and it appears that they made only very minor editing changes. I haven't compared my version to the published version word for word but it looks and reads very similar to what appears below.

Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign, Vol. 2 by Terrence J. Winschel

This is a collection of ten essays by Terrence Winschel, chief historian at Vicksburg National Military Park, that he created partly for speaking engagements at roundtables. The essays are on a variety of subjects but are grouped in chronological order. The first three chapters cover the movement of the armies from the crossing of the Mississippi River on April 30 to the beginning of the siege. No battle is discussed in minute detail, instead an overview of the fighting is presented. The other seven chapters highlight other aspects of the campaign, including a few lesser known actions.
One chapter focuses on one of the controversial Union figures, General John A. McClernand. Winschel is of the opinion that McClernand demonstrated many fine leadership qualities but that he never developed the qualities of leadership he lacked. The chief shortcoming being selflessness. In a later chapter Winschel tackles one of the controversial Confederate figures, General Joseph E. Johnston. Winschel does a good job of showing that Johnston probably never had any intention of coming to Pemberton's aid, despite various messages to the contrary. Johnston knew enough about how the siege was progressing and what he could have done. He let the window of opportunity close and then made some half hearted efforts to look like he was coming to help Pemberton but it was too little too late.

The chapter on the USS Cincinnati is interesting because it also discusses its actions before and after the siege. The USS Cincinnati had a hard luck career with significant activities nearly every May. On May 10, 1862 it was sunk in a battle near Fort Pillow when it was rammed by a Confederate ship. It had to be repaired in Cairo but was soon part of the brown water navy again. On May 27, 1863 it was sunk again, this time by Confederate cannon on the bluffs above Vicksburg. After the surrender the Union raised it and repaired it. Near the end of the war, coincidentally on May 10, 1865, it captured the CSS Nashville in one of its brighter moments.

I found the chapter on the siege of Jackson that followed Vicksburg's surrender especially interesting. So little has been written about this part of the campaign, mostly because there were very few casualties and it had little impact on the campaign. Despite this it is still interesting to read about.

In responding to an article by Albert Castel in North & South magazine Winschel makes a good point about the importance of Vicksburg to the war effort. Winschel's focus is on how Vicksburg was a key component in the supply route with the trans-Mississippi. That once Vicksburg was lost the rich resources of the trans-Mississippi, as well as the route for goods brought in through the blockade, shriveled up.

There was also a chapter on the Lord family's experiences during the siege. Reverend Dr. William Wilberforce Lord was the minister for the Episcopalian Christ Church. Like many Vicksburg families the Lords lived in a cave during the siege. Reverend Lord though also held daily services in his church, venturing from his cave into the danger to minister to his flock, which now included many Confederate soldiers. The final chapter deals with Stephen D. Lee's role in the creation and development of Vicksburg as a national military park. Lee was one of the early principals working to get Vicksburg preserved. He became the first former Confederate to be the chairman of a national military park. He also strived to present both sides fairly in interpretation through the park tablets.

This is a very good book in that it illuminates many lesser known aspects of the campaign. This book is not intended to be a detailed study of the campaign, instead it is intended to give us a fuller understanding of the variety of events of the campaign. It does a very good job of that and belongs on the shelf of every Vicksburg and Western Theater enthusiast.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life and The War

Just wanted to let you all know that I might not be as active here in the near future as I've been previously. I got engaged 11 days ago and since then wedding plans have been in high gear. The October date got pushed up to July 11th because it was the same price no matter the month, so we figured we'd do it earlier.

Then there were various problems with finding a reception site. We found the one we loved but were unable to book it because that lady was not working that day. Then we called the next five on our list and found out they were booked for the entire summer. So we decided we'd just have to cut the guest list to fit the chapel's reception facilities. Last night our first choice called and amazingly they had that date open, so now we have our first choice for chapel and reception site. Just a lot of nervousness and phone calls but it all paid off.

Yesterday my fiance (I never get tired of saying that) found the perfect wedding dress and bought it. Pretty much we're down to getting the cake, flowers, tuxes, and picking a menu. Those are the major details and they are things we don't have to worry too much about right now.

Once the date and location was finalized I went ahead and asked two buddies to be my best man and groomsman. That was a hard choice. Only picking two guys out. But hopefully my other close friends will understand that its a small wedding party and was a tough choice.

Also we are looking at buying a townhouse. Tonight we're making an offer. If that goes well that will be the main reason my blogging is going to slack off here as there will be tons of painting and remodeling to do. Putting too much on our plates at once? Maybe but I think we'll make it through. Another interesting thing about this townhouse is that I'll be very close to one of my good buddies, within walking distance. If you cut through people's back yards I think you'd only have to cut through two to get to his back yard, doing it legally is a bit more roundabout but not too tough. Maybe I can convince him to come paint, or maybe just come over for scotch and talk about the war. [What do ya say Ian?]

I'll still post here but I might not be able to keep up the 5 a week pace. I'm sure I'll have good weeks and bad weeks. Just didn't want you all to think I'd given up on this once the posts start becoming less frequent.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

96th Illinois

Commanded by
SEPT. 20, 1863
2.30 TO 6.30 P.M.
LOSS 225
Monument #713
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dave Powell suggested in a comment that I should post a picture of the 96th Illinois monument, so here it is. Unfortunately it really doesn't show much of the surrounding terrain. One thing it does show is how think the woods is now. Makes me wish there was an active Friends Of organization like Gettysburg or Antietam that would work to thin the woods. It would probably be a full time job to keep the woods thinned but I've seen the results at Antietam and Gettysburg and it is truly spectacular.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2nd South Carolina

2nd Regiment South Carolina Infantry
Lt. Col. Franklin Gaillard
Monument #1349

South Carolina markers are pretty simple, just regiment and commander. I did a little searching online to flesh out some more details on Franklin Gaillard. He served with the 2nd South Carolina his whole career. He enlisted as 2nd lieutenant in Company A, was a major by Antietam, and commanded the regiment thereafter as lieutenant colonel, excepting periods that the colonel returned for duty after his own woundings. Gaillard was killed at the Wilderness and his cousin, William DuBose, the chaplain for the 2nd South Carolina, wrote of this, "What his loss is to us of the brigade as an officer and as a man it is impossible to overestimate. It would gratify his friends to see how deep and universal the feeling has been and how irreparable his loss is regarded. . . . I do not think that any death outside of my immediate family has ever affected me more deeply."
Lt. Col. Franklin Gaillard with his daughter, Maria Porcher Gaillard, and son, David Lellair Gaillard.
His grave in Fredericksburg. The family photo and the grave photo I found at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Granger Knoll

As you can see I have added pictures of the five Union monuments on Granger knoll, which was the subject of two previous posts (visit them here and here). I have also turned these into pdf files that can be viewed by clicking the link on the right side of the page under "Chickamauga Monuments"

I'd also like to point out that this past week I added pdf files of the last 16 Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable newsletters and that is available on the right side of the page too, under "RMCWRT Newsletters." Each issue is 6 pages but when you view them you will notice that some do not run a complete 6 pages. That is because I edited out some info that was really only applicable to roundtable members and no longer needs to appear in this online version.

And this morning I also added a link to a copy of the symposium ad that will run in the next issue of North & South magazine. This ad was done in conjunction with the University of Tennessee Press and I am impressed with how well it turned out and how much of the ad space UT Press shared with the roundtable. It is in the section marked "Files" on the right side of the page.

22nd Michigan

This monument marks the position where the regiment performed its most important service, Sept. 20th, 1863.
Engaged 455
Killed 32
Wounded 96
Missing 261
Total loss 389
On the 19th the regiment marched from Rossville joining the brigade near McAfee's Church. From thence it moved about noon of the 20th toward this position. After three hours desperate combat having exhausted their ammunition, they charged overwhelming numbers until overcome.
In the Chattanooga campaigns it performed important engineer service, Major Henry S. Dean, Commanding.
Monument #898

89th Ohio

This regiment, Col. Caleb H. Carlton and Capt. Isaac Nelson, commanding, being temporarily detached from its brigade, was on Sept. 19th, 1863, assigned to Whitaker's Brigade, Steadman's Division, Reserve Corps. About 2:00 p.m. Sept. 20th, 1863, it participated with that brigade in the assault on this position which it occupied and held until night. The withdrawal of the troops on its right after dark and without notice, resulted in the capture of a large part of the regiment.
Loss: Killed 19, Wounded 63, Captured or missing 171, Total 253.
The regiment was organized Aug. 26th, 1862 for three years.
Monument #1016

84th Indiana

September 18th this regiment was engaged on the extreme left of the army near Ringgold Bridge, and on the morning of the 19th was stationed on the hills near McAfee's Church.
Skirmished with the enemy until 1 p.m., when he attacked in large force and severe fighting was kept up until 5 p.m., when the enemy drew off. September 20th still in position near McAfee Church until 12 m. when the regiment marched to the sound of the firing at Snodgrass Hill, arriving at this point about 2:30 p.m. and engaged in the charge and desperate combat which took place here, assisting in driving back the enemy and saving the right.
Killed 23
Wounded 97
Missing 13
Total 133
Monument #842

115th Illinois

SEPT. 20, 1863
2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.
LOSS 183
Monument #723

98th Ohio

This regiment arrived of the field Sept. 20th, 1863, about 1:30 p.m. It went into action about 2:00 p.m. being on the left of the first line of the brigade. It gained this position by assault and occupied and held it until 6:00 p.m.
Loss: Killed 9, wounded 41, captured or missing 13.
Monument #1026

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm engaged

I am engaged. Whew. Part of me had wondered if I had long ago missed out on Ms Right, if I blew my chance at happiness because I was young and stupid. And then seven months ago I met Jess.

I think I knew pretty early in our relationship that this one might be "the one." For awhile I had to consciously slow myself, make sure this was the one, not jump in too fast. But during that time I did come to realize that this was it, that I am too happy. And that's what I told her Saturday night. I told her that she makes me very happy and that the only thing that could ever make me happier would be if she would be my wife.

The last week has been kinda nerve racking. Getting everything planned for Saturday. Wanting it to be perfect but also knowing that it was okay if it wasn't. I knew that the trap there is if you're so worked up on it being perfect and there is one little slip up it sends you into a tailspin. But I knew I couldn't be perfect so when things didn't work out I adapted, I didn't freak out. And in the end I think it came off better in her eyes than it did in mine. I knew the things that were missing, she didn't, and what I was able to bring together was good enough that she didn't realize anything was missing.

Now the planning starts. Figuring out a date, figuring out a guest list, asking buddies to be groomsmen and a best man, finding a location, picking a menu, finding a place to live, picking colors for the wedding, the list goes on and on. And I want to be involved, not like some guys who don't care about all that. But for now we can relax for a bit before we have to really think about all that stuff. In the meantime I'm as happy as I've ever been, nothing in my life has been as exciting as this moment. I feel different today than I did Friday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An old map

I scanned this old map to share because it shows farmer's fields which some other maps do not. I dug this out because my post referring to Recreation Field got two comments about what the name of the field was historically. I did remember it being called Glenn Field but was not sure where the dividing line was. Someone else commented that the area that the North Carolina monument is at is Brock Field (a second Brock Field). This I did not remember but the map proves this to be correct too. This area is on the first map section, above the word Park in the title, Chickamauga Park Base Historical Map.

This map is one of those treasures I found at TIC that I've talked about previously. The first three pictures are sections of the map and the final picture is the entire map stitched together.

McDonald Field

The first two pictures show Confederate artillery positions taken on the afternoon of September 20th. The battery on the left (first picture) was Warren's Mississippi Light Artillery (also known as Swett's Battery) and the one on the right (second picture) is Fowler's Alabama Battery. They took position here on the afternoon to fire towards Snodgrass Hill. Later they were forced to retreat when Reynolds' Division approached its left on its way off the battlefield.
A second view of Warren's Battery showing more of the open ground in front of the position. Snodgrass Hill would be beyond the far tree line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Final Panorama

This is the last stitched panoramic to offer. It is of Snodgrass Hill and forms a 360 degree view. The cannon on either end of the picture is the same cannon. To view the original post click here.

Granger Panorama

Here is the stitched together panorama of Granger's Knoll. Each monument is identified on the picture (you'll have to click on the picture to see the larger version to read the identification).

The monument on the far right is the 89th Ohio's and Granger's headquarters monument is also nearby. On the other side of the headquarters monument is the 84th Indiana monument. At the far end of the path part of the 98th Ohio's monument can be seen. Next to the tablets for Whitaker's Brigade is the 115th Illinois' monument. The big monument we can see the rear of is for the 22nd Michigan. And finally attacking this position was the 2nd South Carolina, the short marker on the edge of the tree line.

Granger Knoll

The term Granger Knoll is my own term, officially I'm not sure this knoll has a name. But it is where Granger's headquarters monument is so that is why I'm calling it that. This spot is where Whitaker's Brigade formed on the afternoon of September 20th. This was the first of Granger's Reserve Corps to reach the lines along Snodgrass Ridge. These four pictures form a panoramic moving right to left.

The monument on the far right is the 89th Ohio's and Granger's headquarters monument is also nearby.
On the other side of the headquarters monument is the 84th Indiana monument. At the far end of the path part of the 98th Ohio's monument can be seen.
Next to the tablets for Whitaker's Brigade is the 115th Illinois' monument. The big monument we can see the rear of is for the 22nd Michigan.
And finally attacking this position was the 2nd South Carolina, the short marker on the edge of the tree line.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A minor anniversary

Saturday was my 200th day of doing this blog. I know in the blogosphere that does not represent too long a commitment, there are plenty of blogs that have been around much longer than me. I'm continually amazed at the number of visits I receive (again I realize from source reports that I'm far down the readership list but I didn't start this in hopes of being the most widely read blogger, I did it for fun, its still fun so I'll keep doing it). Sometime today I will have my 2500th unique visitor. My readers have come here 7409 times so it seems that people keep coming back, must be doing something right. And my readers have also viewed the site 11643 times so when they come back for repeated visits they check a few pages of posts so that is also encouraging.

Blogger also keeps statistics on where people are from. These stats continually amaze me. I've had readers in 60 countries. The United States makes up 93.3% of my readers but I've actually got a pretty strong contingent from the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Spain and Germany. In the US I still am missing a reader from North Dakota but have had visits from the other 49 states and Washington DC. Colorado is the number one source of visits. The other top states are Tennessee, California, Virginia and Ohio.

This is my 198th post and I've had 119 comments left, at least comments that I've allowed to remain. Occasionally someone leaves a comment promoting some diet miracle or whatnot and I delete those but I've only had a handful of problems in that regard. I have read every comment left me and I try to leave a response.

Finally I'd like to thank you for your support of the diabetes walk I participated in at the end of October. It was a great time and I intend on doing it again next year, maybe even running the course. I hit my personal fundraising goal of $150 and our team raised $565. My girlfriend is probably gonna kill me for posting this picture but oh well. That's her and her son in the front row. On the back row that's me on the left, then her friend Erin, her sister Annemarie and her sister's friend Angie. We were the Sugar Sisters, which I guess made me the sugar daddy. :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Snodgrass Hill

Here is a 360 degree panorama on Snodgrass Hill. The cannon in the first picture is the same as in the last.

The high ground in the distance is the extension of Snodgrass ridge.
The Snodgrass cabin.

Thomas' HQ can be seen in the distance.

Granger would have approached from the far corner of the field.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all our veterans. And a big thank you. I could not begin to put into words how thankful I am that I live in the country that I do today and that is because of a long line of brave men and women who fought for this country over the years. Here's a few pictures from national cemeteries and some men who gave the ultimate price for our freedom. The first is from Stones River, the next two are from Shiloh and the final one is in Chattanooga.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kelly Field Panorama

For some reason the Kelly Field panorma didn't load correctly, so here is a second chance. Again, the orginial post can be viewed here.


I hope these turn out okay. On some earlier posts I've had panoramas, I also have a program that stitches the photos together. For some reason if I post the stitched photo on the same post as the individuals the stitched version only loads as the version you see here. All of my photos are supposed to load so that you can click on them and see the real size version. The preview versions are fine for most viewing but as you can see there are so small for the panoramas to be laughable.

This first one is of Kelly Field. The original post can be viewed here.
This one is of the Union left blank along Reed's Bridge road. The original post can be viewed here.
And finally here is one from Lytle Hill. There are kinda two posts for this one. Check out here and here. This was back when I was doing my series on the gap.