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America's Civil War

America's Civil War March 2021

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Published since 1987, America’s Civil War strives to deliver to our readers the best articles on the most formative and tumultuous period of American history — the Civil War. Noted authors present the many battles, personalities and fascinating stories of the period.

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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
review rebuttal

In the January 2021 issue, there is a review by Steve Davis of my book, Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign From South Mountain to Antietam. Unfortunately, it is filled with false assertions. I did not study under Dr. Joseph L. Harsh (I wish I had). I knew Joe well enough, however, to have had several eye-opening conversations with him. Among the topics discussed was how McClellan supposedly “telegraphed his punch” at Antietam when his adversary knew well beforehand the punch was coming. Furthermore, McClellan did not wait a day before launching his attack. Combat occurred on September 16. Colonel Hugh W. McNeil commanding the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves was among those killed on September 16. The ferocious warfare on September 17 was an uninterrupted…

1 min.
preservation success

In Williamsburg, Va.—a locale more famous for its connection to Colonial America and the Revolutionary War—a 29-acre swath that saw critical combat during the Civil War’s Battle of Williamsburg has been preserved by the American Battlefield Trust. Acquired in an area highly desirable for commercial development, the land purchase was made possible by a fundraising combination of seller, state, and federal funds that matched $220 for every $1 the ABT raised from private donors. The battle took place on May 5, 1862, when Confederates retreating from Yorktown clashed with Federal forces pushing up the Virginia Peninsula toward Richmond. Seven Union soldiers—from seven separate units received Medals of Honor for their efforts that day. The contest was also notable because of intelligence provided by Southern slaves that allowed the Federals to secure…

1 min.
photographs and memories

By 1860, Gettysburg, Pa., boasted about 2,400 citizens. Ten roads led into the town, which created a few small but thriving industries such as carriage manufacturing, shoemaking, and tanning, as well as several educational institutions. Although the town would survive the July 1863 battle that devastated its lands, it would never be the same, ultimately owing much of its endurance to its attraction as a tourist destination. The local economy still benefits from travelers hoping to take a piece of the battlefield home with them without disturbing the hallowed ground, including souvenirs such as these paperweights depicting the Gettysburg headquarters of opposing commanders Robert E. Lee and George G. Meade. The paperweights shown here were produced in the 1920s by A.C. Bosselman & Co., a New York-based importer and distributor…

1 min.
it’s relative

1. Which son-in-law of Philip St. George Cooke held a command in the opposing army? A. Richard S. Ewell B. A.P. Hill C. Leonidas Polk D. J.E.B. Stuart 2. Which Union general had a brother who was a Confederate general? A. John Sedgwick B. Thomas L. Crittenden C. John A. Logan D. George H. Thomas 3. Which of Robert E. Lee’s relatives held a captaincy in the Confederate Navy? A. Sydney Smith Lee B. Stephen D. Lee C. W.H. Fitzhugh Lee D. G.W. Custis Lee 4. Which family member fought in the Confederate Army? A. Carswell McClellan B. George B. McClellan C. Henry B. McClellan D. John McClellan 5. Which successful Confederate general had a grandfather who was an unsuccessful U.S. Army general in the War of 1812? A. Robert E. Lee B. Wade Hampton III C. James Longstreet D. P.G.T. Beauregard Answers: D, B, A, C, B HNA/PHOTOS BY MELISSA A. WINN (2); LIBRARY OF…

4 min.

“Doc’s Rock,” dedicated to 32nd Massachusetts surgeon Zabdiel Boylston Adams, is one of the more unusual memorials at Gettysburg National Military Park. The boulder, located along Sickles’ Avenue near the Wheatfield, honors Adams’ bold initiative to establish a triage hospital adjacent to the Wheatfield to provide quicker treatment to the wounded. Adams treated men at Gettysburg for two days and nights straight until, according to ancestors, “blind with exhaustion.” The plaque on Doc’s Rock reads: “Behind this group of rocks on the afternoon of July 2nd, 1863, Surgeon Z. Boylston Adams placed the field hospital of the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 1st Div., 5th Army Corps. Established so near the line of battle, many of our wounded escaped capture or death by its timely aid.” [For more on Adams,…

1 min.
louisiana splendor

On May 15, 1862, John J. Slocum assembled a company in Washington Parish, La., as part of the 1st Louisiana Partisan Rangers. Private D.W. Read was among the volunteers that day. Anticipating that his unit would be named the 3rd Louisiana Cavalry, Read ordered the ornate knife shown here from Cook & Brothers in New Orleans. The knife had Read’s initials inscribed on one side of the blade and “1862–3rd Louisiana C.S. Cav” on the other. Its ivory handle was carved as a horse’s head with black pins for eyes, its sheath made of thin leather secured with a silver band. Read, in what had been renamed the 9th Battalion Louisiana Partisan Rangers, would be part of the Port Hudson, La., garrison forced to surrender on July 9, 1863. His…