Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring - Birds, Bees, and Battles

With weather conditions improving, the Union and Confederate armies were able to return to war. There were 93 battles from March 22 to May 31, of which 18 were classified as A, 26 as B rated, and 82 C and D battles.<1>The springtime battles represent 24% of all Civil War battles compared to 19% if the battles were distributed equally throughout the year.

Appomattox Court House, VA - April 9, 1865
Fort Blakely, AL - April 2-9, 1865

Fort Sumter, SC - April 12-14, 1861
Shiloh, TN - April 6-7, 1862

Vicksburg, MS - May 18-July 4, 1863
Battles fought in the Spring that are classified as having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war (A) compose 40% of all A classification battles. The following battles were fought:
  1. Appomattox Court House, VA- April 9, 1865
  2. Champion Hill, MS- May 16, 1863
  3. Chancellorsville, VA - April 27-May 4, 1863
  4. Cold Harbor, VA- June 3-12, 1864
  5. Five Forks, VA - April 1,1865
  6. Fort Blakely, AL- April 2-9, 1865
  7. Forts Jackson and St. Philip, LA - April 16-28, 1862
  8. Fort Stedman, VA- March 25, 1865
  9. Fort Sumter, SC I - April 12-14, 1861
  10. Glorieta Pass, NM- March 26-28, 1862
  11. Mansfield, LA - April 8, 1864
  12. Petersburg, VA II- April 2, 1865
  13. Port Hudson, LA - May 21-July 9, 1863
  14. Shiloh, TN - April 6-7, 1862
  15. Spotsylvania Court House, VA- May 8-21, 1864
  16. Vicksburg, MS - May 18-July 4, 1863
  17. Wilderness, VA - May 5-7, 1864
  18. Winchester I, VA May 25, 1862
Not surprising, half of the battles took place in Virginia. Grant commanded the Union forces in seven battles and Lee led Confederate troops in seven. Union armies were victorious in eleven battles and Confederates in five. The 189,974 casualties in the spring battles accounted for 22% of the total for the entire war.

Battle Classifications:

A = having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war
B = having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign
C = having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign
D = having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

Monday, March 12, 2018

General Lee and Monuments

Removal of Lee Statue
in New Orleans
On Sunday, March 11, 2018, 60 Minutes aired a story about Confederate monuments. The episode can be viewed online at The Monuments, Clones. The program discusses the usual problems with monuments --- honoring or glorifying Civil War military and public officials, removing monuments in New Orleans and Richmond, the Lost Cause, and opinions of historians on removing the monuments.

General Robert E. Lee opposed monuments and said they would only “keep open the sores of war” and the ill will war engendered, which he thought should be consigned to “oblivion.” <1>

After Lee became president of Washington College, he received many proposals for memorials, but turned them down because he thought they would “anger the victorious Federals.”

General Robert E. Lee
As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated; my conviction is, that <2>
however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.

According to Lee biographer, Jonathan Horn, not only did Lee oppose Confederate monuments, "he favored erasing battlefields from the landscape altogether.

"He even supported getting rid of the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended. He didn't want it flying above Washington College."Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker." Horn said Lee "was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive."<2>

<1>Here's what Robert E. Lee thought about Confederate Monuments, Business Insider
<2>Robert E. Lee discouraged monuments, Washington Post