Thursday, January 31, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Thursday, Jan. 30, 1862

White Flight

In winter quarters at Camp Union, Fayetteville, western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio watches white refugees from the Confederacy passing through, on their way west.

They “constantly come…on their way to Ohio, Indiana, or other western states,” Hayes tells his diary. “Many of them are young men who are foot-loose, tired of the war. No employment, poor pay, etc., etc., is driving the laboring white people from the slave states.”

Between the African-American escapees from slavery and the discouraged whites, it must seem to Hayes as if the Confederacy is being drained of its people.

Hayes is especially ebullient today because he has just received permission for a total of 31 days of leave to go home to “Dearest Lucy” in Cincinnati. Two days ago he wrote that, “I am getting impatient to be with you….I am bent of coming as soon as possible….I do want to see you “s’much,” and I love you “s’much.”

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: From his headquarters in Cairo, Illinois, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is gearing up for a major move against the Confederate enemy. He orders 150,000 rations loaded aboard a steamer which he will take with him for his assault on Fort Henry, which guards passage on the Tennessee River. Several hundred miles to the east, the U.S.S. Monitor, “the cheesebox on a raft” that represents the latest in naval warfare technology, is launched at Greenpoint, Long Island. At Southampton in England, Confederate envoys Slidell and Mason finally arrive, released after a month’s imprisonment in the United States in the Trent affair.

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to
http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 1862

Calm before a Storm

Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is excited, which means he appears even calmer than usual. This curious ability of Grant’s—to act calmly in situations where fellow generals get excited—will manifest itself repeatedly throughout the war and contribute to his success. “Very much crestfallen” scarcely 24 hours before, Grant now sees the possibility of his leading a significant military action against the Confederates. His cautious superior, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, had just thrown cold water on Grant’s plan to attack and take Fort Henry, when, at almost the same moment President Lincoln issued his General War Order No. 1, demanding the Union’s generals go on the attack at last. Halleck has been trumped.

Today, Grant is busy in his Cairo headquarters, wrapping up business before he embarks on the expected Fort Henry campaign. Short, crisp orders and communiqu├ęs go out in every direction. These routine matters range from the handling of prisoners to the troublesome case of a Capt. William J. Kountz, arrested for disobedience and disrespect to a superior officer. The most important message goes to General Halleck, and is a slightly enlarged reiteration of yesterday’s one-sentence declaration by wire, “With permission I will take Fort McHenry (Henry) on the Tennessee River and hold &establish a large camp there.”

In today’s message, Grant presses Halleck for a quick decision on the “permission” requested. He warns the Confederates will probably reinforce their positions soon and briefly points out some of the benefits of acting now, but concludes, “The advantages of this move are as perceptible to then Gen. Comd.g Dept. as to myself therefore further statements are unnecessary.” Clearly, Grant feels he has won his case.


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to
http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 1862


Reversal of Fortune

Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (right), commander of the District of Cairo, returns this morning to his southern Illinois headquarters from a fruitless audience in St. Louis with his immediate superior, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck. Determined to carry the fight to the enemy, Grant wants to lead an assault on Fort Henry, the Confederacy’s gatekeeper on the Tennessee River.

But Grant ran into a stone wall of obstinacy. Not only did Halleck display the extreme cautiousness that would become his hallmark, he met Grant with a lack of enthusiasm akin to McClellan's months earlier. In both cases, Grant’s unjustified reputation as a drunkard may have played a part.

In his Memoirs, Grant would recall of his meeting with Halleck, “I was received with so little cordiality that I perhaps stated the purpose of my visit with less clearness than I might have done, and I had not uttered many sentences before I was cut short as if my plan was preposterous. I returned to Cairo very much crestfallen.”

But in one of the sudden reversals of fortune that will dot the history of the Civil War, Grant gets encouraging news at Cairo: In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln has just issued General War Order No. 1 demanding—not suggesting, as hitherto—that his generals begin moving against the Confederacy. And the force at Cairo is mentioned by name as one of those he expects to get moving.

In the wink of an eye, everything has changed—and Grant knows it. By telegraph, he fires off a terse message to Halleck: “With permission I will take Fort McHenry [Henry] on the Tennessee & hold and establish a large camp there.” Obviously, Grant thinks the shoe is on the other foot now.

Almost simultaneously, Flag Officer Andrew H. Foot, a well-regarded Naval commander attached to Grant’s command, also telegraphs Halleck: “Grant and I are of the opinion that Fort Henry on the Tennessee can be carried with four iron-clad gun-boats and troops….”

Halleck is cornered: Grant is a man with a plan, the esteemed Foote will support it, and the President is demanding action. And so…it will not be long before Grant, until now an obscure Western officer, will suddenly take the spotlight in the Civil War. Stay tuned.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: Beginning today, for several days the 1st Ohio Volunteer Cavalry has been engaged in skirmishing near Greensburg and Lebanon, Kentucky, as it clears the area of Confederate guerrillas. A select and highly trained regiment, the 1st Ohio will develop an almost legendary reputation during the war. In western Virginia, Capt. Tom Taylor of the 47th Ohio is so peeved at having received no letters from wife Netta in 20 days that he suggests he might find “nice rebel lasses” and will “need all your matronly care to keep me from temptation.” Netta—whose regular letters have been delayed in the wartime postal system—will be furious when she gets this snarky letter. And at Camp Jefferson in Kentucky, Cpl. Robert Caldwell of the 21st Ohio sends his sister, Juliet, some samples of hardtack, which he calls “crackers,” to give her friends (“the girls”) at Oberlin, where Juliet is a student. On each of the crackers, Robert has considerately written the name of a girl. Army “crackers” are notoriously hard, but Robert tells Juliet not to worry, as “we are all getting fat on them….This evening, after supper, I intend to place myself outside about a dozen of them.”


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to
http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Monday, January 28, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Monday, Jan. 27, 1862



“I love you more than ever!”

Since driving out the Federals two weeks ago, Stonewall Jackson’s Confederates have occupied Romney, a key point near the eastern edge of Unionist western Virginia. The Feds want Romney back. and the 67th Ohio is among the forces rushed from Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, to western Virginia to deal with Jackson. Capt. Marcus Spiegel is a company commander in the 67th.

As usual in the army, however, it’s hurry up and wait. Tonight, Spiegel and 67th find themselves camped near New Creek, Virginia, and not doing much. Romney is less than 20 miles away, but Romney will be liberated without the help of the 67th, and Spiegel’s men will not see action for another month.

Captain Spiegel uses the time to write “My dear and much beloved Wife and Children!” and tell them “I am hale and hearty and God only knows that I love you more than ever!” (A German immigrant, he has not adopted the more laconic speech of his fellow Midwesterners.) Spiegel relates the regiment’s peripatetic existence since leaving Columbus January 19th. Flooding of the Ohio River prevented the regiment from setting up camp the first night of its journey. Instead, the soldiers had to spend the night in dirty freight and cattle cars.

The next night, Spiegel’s men had hardly escaped from the inexorable train cars and set up their tents beside the track when the 67th’s colonel came along and ordered them move to another spot. The next day the men reboarded the train to spend 26 straight hours riding in the filthy cars with only one two-hour break. Finally, last Saturday, the men were allowed off the train and were given a hearty breakfast before setting up their tents on a branch of the Potomac River.

All this activity has been demanding. “I never in my life have been kept as busy and constantly engaged. No place to write and no rest if I had [a] place, for [listening to] thousands of questions of the Boys.” The use of the word “boys” is significant. Many of the best commanders take a fatherly interest in their men, who feel warmest toward officers who take a nurturing interest in them.

Spiegel adds a postscript to this letter to Caroline: “My good little wife it is just 2 o’clock….Everybody sleeps. I suppose you do. Pleasant dreams and 1000 kisses to you and the children from your ever true Marcus….”

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: President Abraham Lincoln is fed up to his eyeteeth with his major generals’ lack of aggressiveness. In the east, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, general in chief and commander of the Army of the Potomac, has done except claim an advance on Confederate defenses at Manassas was high risk; his claims of enemy force were later learned to be wildly inaccurate. In Kentucky, Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, commander of the Army of the Ohio, has openly admitted he opposes Lincoln’s wish for an advance on eastern Tennessee. Further west, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck seems unable to figure out how to work in concert with Buell (and, unbeknownst to Lincoln, he has just turned down Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s proposal for an advance. Today, Lincoln finally acts like the commander in chief. He issued General War Order No. 1, demanding—not asking—that “the 22nd of February 1862 be the day for a general movement of the Land and Naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.”


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Saturday, January 26, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Sunday, Jan. 26, 1862

“A Parsel of Turkeys”

Andrew Altman is a 20-year-old farm boy from Damascus Township in Henry County, northwest Ohio, whose world until now has been limited the farm country of northwest Ohio and whose daily life has been labor in the fields relieved by an occasional fishing or hunting trip, more for food than recreation.

Now he finds himself at sprawling Camp Chase near Columbus, ordered to guard some of the first Confederate prisoners the Union has taken in the Civil War He is fascinated by these strange creatures from far away. Penned inside a high board fence enclosing an area of about two acres, they are skinny, ragged, and angry.

In a letter written yesterday and on its way now to his father, stepmother, and three siblings, young Private Altman writes, “I have been garding [secessionists]; we have got over three hundred here…. They are drest in [civilian clothes] mostly and raged.

“I would a liked to talk to them, but they gave me orders not to…They would curs us now and then because we would not speek to them. They are as uneasy as a parsel of turkeys that has been caught in a trap.”

Altman tells his family Camp Chase houses about 3,000 Union soldiers at the moment, with another thousand said to be on the way. Of life in camp, Altman says, “I like it first rate” although, “It is mudy here, shoe top deep.”

To a boy from a small, hardscrabble Ohio farm, army life almost seems luxurious to Altman: plenty of food and clothing, and the prospect of a great adventure, expected to end soon. As the war drags on, however, he will gradually change his tune.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant will be meeting soon with his immediate superior, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, in St. Louis. Grant has a plan and he is seeking Halleck’s approval. In camp at Fayetteville, western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes is his usual buoyant self: “Feel happy today; fine weather, good health, the probable victory over Zollicoffer [battle of Logan’s Cross Roads or Mill Springs in Kentucky]; the prospect….by next Sunday of seeing ym darling Lucy and the boys.” At Camp Jefferson in Kentucky, Pvt. Liberty Warner of the 21st Ohio speaks scornfully of the natives he has seen: “sharp nosed, sandy headed, gander legged Kentuckyans whose ambition is a log house, dirty young ones, 6 to 15 in number, a whife as motly as a pot pie…..”

Friday, January 25, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Saturday, Jan. 25, 1862


“The Astronomer-Soldier”

Robert Caldwell of Elmore, Ohio, is a corporal in Company I, 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, wintering at Camp Jefferson, Kentucky. Bored and lacking any combat experience, Caldwell longs to see some action—but when he does, he is confident that Brig. Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel of Cincinnati (right) will provide the leadership needed to succeed . (Caldwell’s 21st Ohio is brigaded with five other regiments, the brigade one of four forming Mitchel’s Third Division of Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio.)

Mitchel is, in a phrase, yet another of the remarkable, colorful men in an army that is full of them. A gifted child, he was raised in Lebanon, Ohio, by a widowed mother, who left him to his books for as long as she could, but finally had to send him to work in a store, at age 12, for 25 cents a week.

Mitchel entered West Point when he was only 15 and graduated in upper third of a class that included Robert E. Lee. After four years in the army, he resigned to become an esteemed professor of mathematics and science at what is now the University of Cincinnati.

Professor Mitchel is one of those high-energy Victorians who could do many different things and do them well. He was a compelling speaker, a design engineer for railroads, and a commander in the Ohio militia. It was astronomy, however, that brought Mitchel his greatest fame. He raised money to build a planetarium, became a popular lecturer on astronomy, and wrote several books on the stars and the planets. In the summer of 1861, he jumped into the war as a brigadier general.

“Gen Mitchel has the confidence of every man in his Division,” Corporal Caldwell wrote home. “You can see him at all times upon his horse riding through the various regts of his command, superintending the drill of his men….This forenoon he took command of the 21st while on battalion drill and put us through several new movements. He gave us great praise, for the promptness and accuracy with which we performed these new and difficult maneuvers. He is a strict disciplinarian and insists upon having everything done in a soldier-like manner.”

The “astronomer-soldier,” as Mitchel came to be known in the army, will rise like a shooting star in the Civil War and fade away as quickly. For an uncommon man, his story will become all too common.



IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.


Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Thursday, January 24, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Thursday, Jan. 23, 1862


Something is Up

Scratch, scratch, scratch, goes the pen of Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, as he spends much of the day in the headquarters of the District of Cairo firing off reports and orders in all directions. Grant is keeping up with business, because he has plans—and hopes.

Today’s business consists of the routine matters that fill each day of a commander. By flag of truce, Grant writes to his Confederate opposite number on Columbus, Kentucky, Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk, about prisoner exchanges. To Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck’s headquarters in St. Louis, Grant sends an inquiry about troop assignments, a reconnaissance report on the Confederates’ Fort Henry, and a list of officers available for service on courts martial. Orders go to underlings regarding the handling of freight, the management of prisoners’ property, and a squabble over who was in command—and of what—at Cape Girardeau. Congressman Elihu B. Washburne, Grant’s “patron” in Washington, gets a letter about supply concerns.

And, finally, Grant finds time for a short, but telling, letter to his sister, Mary. As if to reassure himself, he ticks off to Mary his military advantages: “a splendid reconnaissance of the country over which an army may have to move,” his belief that “no portion of our whole army [is] better prepared to contest a battle” than his, and that he has “the confidence of [its] officers and men.”

In Grant’s mind, at least, something is up. He tells her that that this evening he will go to St. Louis to see his superior, Major General Halleck, not returning until Sunday morning. Then a heavy hint: “I expect but little quiet from this on and if you receive but short, unsatisfactory letters hereafter you need not be surprised.”

Grant is ready to carry the war to the enemy in a big way. Will Halleck agree?



IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.


Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

ON THIS DAY: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 1862


Bushwhackers and Prisoners

During winter’s lull in western Virginia, military activity has settled down to capturing guerrilla fighters, called bushwhackers, and trying to hold them. Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes of the 23rd Ohio tells his diary today how a “great bushwhacker” being held prisoner complained last night to his guards of a bellyache, then sprang up, seized two muskets, and escaped. Not true, his fellow prisoners helpfully say later: when the guards were asleep, they claim, the bushwhacker “merely slipped out, taking two muskets with him.”

But more prisoners come into camp, three arriving last night. One is a “Captain McVey,” a guerrilla leader who had tried to capture a citizen who was a Union loyalist. Catching wind of the plan, the Union man hid behind a log until McVey approached his house, then rose up to order the guerrilla leader to lay down his arms. Then the triumphant citizen marched the chagrined McVey at gunpoint to Hayes’ Camp Union in Fayetteville.

Another prisoner arriving that night was a boy, age about 16. “He carried dispatches when the (Rebel) militia was out…but seems intelligent and well-disposed,” Hayes writes in his diary. Taking pity on the boy, who had been thrust into a crowded guardhouse, Hayes “took him to my own quarters….He talked in his sleep incoherently.”

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: Federal gunboats slip down the Tennessee River, send a few shells into Fort Henry, and depart. It is a testing of Confederate defenses, and a foreshadowing of things to come.

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 1862


Dreaming of Home

Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes , now in winter quarters in western Virginia, is not a professional soldier, but he savors life as a volunteer officer in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On occasion he happily records how he hasn’t shaved in six or seven months and how he sometimes sleeps in his uniform (complete with boots and spurs). He revels in sunny weather and seems to greet each day with gusto. All in all, military service is a grand adventure for Hayes, who sometimes sounds like a Boy Scout on his first hike. But something is not quite right.

That something is the anxiety his beloved wife, Lucy, home in Cincinnati, is suffering over his safety. Like most wives, sweethearts, and mothers, Lucy Webb hated seeing her husband leave for the war and she continues to be frightened over what might happen to him. Moreover, she has been left to manage a household on a shoestring, raise the children—including a newborn—by herself, and cope with loneliness. And all the while her husband is enthusing about life in the army.

As much as he may try to avoid confronting Lucy’s anxieties, Hayes cannot. Today, he tells his diary about a disturbing dream he had last night (and which might have something to do with a snack of canned peaches he consumed before bedtime). In his dream, Lucy came to stand by bedside, “not very affectionate in manner. I tried to [awaken] and succeeded in telling her how much I loved her. She was kind but not ‘pronounced.’”

Hayes also dreamed that Lucy was holding their little son, Joe, while seeming hurt that he had not noticed the boy before. Finally, Hayes wrote, “I also dreamed during the night of being at home.”

It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out that Hayes is feeling guilty about Lucy’s unhappiness. He feels reproved, albeit in a dream. Within a few days he will write Lucy that he has applied for leave to visit her at home.


ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR: It is the “day after” for Union forces, east and west. In Ulysses S. Grant’s District of Cairo, a force is returning from a successful “demonstration” and reconnaissance against the Confederate base at Columbus, Kentucky. In southeastern Kentucky, Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas’s Union division is poring over the spoil of wars left by fleeing Confederates after their defeat at the battle of Logan’s Cross Roads (a.k.a. Mill Springs). In the Eastern Theater, a Union force under Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside has arrived off Cape Hatteras by ship and is threatening invasion of the North Carolina coast. is in position threatening invasion of the North Carolina coast. And, near Charleston, South Carolina, Union sailors are celebrating the successful blockading of the port’s shipping channel.


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Monday, January 21, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Monday, Jan. 20, 1862


It falls to me to write you the sad news…

There were many ways to die in the Civil War, and combat was only one of them. Of the more than 600,000 Americans from both sides who lost their lives in the war, about two-thirds died from something other than wounds. The toll on the nation was horrendous: from one state alone—Ohio—35,000 men died while in the service, about one of every 10 men who served (and about 1.5% of the state’s 1860 population). The war tore out whole strips of population from some towns and villages. (Pictured: "The Empty Chair," a sentimental depiction of death.)

Medical care was, in a word, horrendous, “more medieval than modern,” someone observed. Germ theory was unknown and surgical techniques primitive, meaning amputation was all too often the remedy of choice for wounds to limbs. The army medical corps was poorly equipped and organized, soldiers lived in filth, and boys raised on isolated farms had no natural defenses against the diseases carried to camp by city dwellers.

A Union volunteer nurse observing the siege of Petersburg in June 1864 saw the dead and dying carried into tents "to be rolled together like the logs on a corduroy road….Worms soon bred in fresh wounds." She said the wounded were sometimes left on the field until “the sun burned their faces till the skin pealed away, and in the agony of thirsts and fever it seemed like a merciful relief when their spirits rid themselves of the mortal and mutilated bodies.”


The year before, a Gettysburg resident trying to sleep during a night-time interval between battles listened to the soft pleas of wounded Confederate, stranded in a no-go zone, for “Wahter! Wahter!” Retreating from Gettysburg, Lee’s wounded men cried out, “Oh God, why can’t I die?” and “Will no one have mercy and kill me?” as they endured teeth-rattling ride in ambulances lacking springs and cushions.

Nor was there any well-organized system for notifying survivors of the loss of their loved ones. Company captains or other officers would write families when and if they could, but their letters were subject to the vagaries of the war-time mail system, and it could take weeks for the news to reach its destination.

After the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, it was two weeks before a surviving member of the badly cut-up 21st Ohio could notify his relatives of the death of their son, his cousin and a member of the same company. To the boy’s father, the soldier began a short letter this way: “It falls to me to write you the sad news of the death of your son. He died nobly while defending the old flag. He was shot in the breast and died almost instantly.” The rest of the short letter was a description of the battle. Other letters went to the boy’s mother (“a good soldier, I tell you we miss him”) and his siblings (“he was beloved by all the company and all who knew him”).

And that, for the time being, had to do for the bereaved. If they were lucky, the family might retrieve the body, then or much later (in this case, they could not) and they might get his personal effects. In this case, all the soldier left behind was an overcoat, which the company lieutenant sold, promising to send the money to the family.

Of Ohio’s 35,745 war dead, about 61% died from disease (of which, about 11% were prisoners of war) and about 33% died from battle injuries. (About half of those dying from disease died from intestinal disorders, primarily typhoid, from noxious water.) Of the remaining Ohio fatalities, 784 men drowned, 384 died in other accidents 34 committed suicide, 24 died from sunstroke, 23 were murdered, 6 were punished by execution by Federal military authorities, and 22 were deemed to have been “killed after capture” or executed by the enemy. About 5% of Ohio’s war dead died from a hodgepodge of other causes, or from causes unknown.

ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR: In southeastern Kentucky, on this day, January 20, 1862, Union troops under Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas pursue Confederates fleeing from the battle yesterday at Logan’s Cross Roads (also known as the battle of Mill Springs). By abandoning most of their supplies (and the dead body of their general) on the north side of the Cumberland River, the frazzled Confederates finally achieve safety on the south side of the river.

Meanwhile, from the peace of winter quarters in western Kentucky, Cpl. Alfred Searle writes his father in Bellevue, Ohio, a letter mostly about the bad weather and the declining health of his regiment. A man in Searle’s company has died of “inflammation of the brain” and with little sympathy: “He was a very wicked man.” A man in another company handled his rifle carelessly and accidently shot himself, dying instantly. The weather and the deaths have put Corporal Searle in a funk: “I do sometimes think of home, but have but little hope of ever seeing it again….Farewell. Perhaps this may be the last that you will ever have from me.”

In winter's gloom and cold, the mood is not good, north or south, at home or in the camps.


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg


Sunday, January 20, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Sunday, Jan. 19, 1862


The Battle of Many Names

At the beginning of 1862, the region claimed by the Confederacy stretched 3,000 miles from the Atlantic Coast to the eastern boundary of California. The lower edge of Kentucky and the bottom third of Missouri fell within Confederate lines. All in all, the Confederacy controlled an impressive portion of the continent, its northern boundary, long, smooth, and uninterrupted from the Appalachians westward.

But in the area lying between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, that boundary is tissue-paper thin. The Confederacy simply has not placed enough troops in the area to securely hold it. Instead, like the Union, the Confederacy is obsessed with what could happen to Virginia, and especially to the Confederate capital of Richmond.

In January, a Confederate force led by Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer perched near Mill Springs in southern Kentucky and appeared threatening to the Union area of Kentucky. But Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas spent 18 days slogging through rain and mud leading a Federal force, from Buell’s Army of the Ohio, south and by Saturday, January 18, was dug in, waiting for Zollicoffer to make the first move.

Early today, on a foggy, rainy landscape a few miles north of the Cumberland River, the two forces collide, Zollicoffer attacking, Thomas counterattacking. Then, early in Thomas’s counterattack, one of the war’s strangest stories unfolds. Moving through a foggy, smoky, and rainy landscape, Confederate General Zollicoffer and Col. Speed Smith Fry of the loyalist 4th Kentucky Infantry, part of Thomas’s force, approach each other on horseback, coming so close the two riders could have shaken hands. The men, who are wearing long coats that cover their uniforms, do not recognize each other. Assuming Fry was one of his own officers, Zollicoffer gives him an order and Fry turns to carry it out.

Apparently realizing Fry is an enemy commander, one of Zollicoffer’s officers fires at him, hitting his horse. Fry fires back, hitting Zollicoffer, and then a Union soldier shoots the general in the side. Zollicoffer falls from his horse, dead.

Meanwhile, the rain is making it difficult for the Confederate soldiers to fire their primitive muskets. With their commander dead and their weapons failing, the larger Confederate force (about 5,900 men) is routed by the Thomas’s 4,400 men. On the south side of the Cumberland River, Zollicoffer’s superior, Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, orders Zollicoffer’s men to abandon the battlefield and most of their equipment and retreat across the river.

And so the Confederates depart in confusion, but not without leaving behind some confusion for the history books. Originally, the Union referred to the site of the battle as Logan’s Crossroads, while the Confederates referred to it as Fishing Creek. Later, the battle came to be better known as Mill Springs, although the fighting took place nine miles away from that location.

There are at least eight other names by which the battle has been known.
Whatever its name, this relatively small battle (pictured above) has a much larger significance. It opened a hole in the Confederate defense line in Kentucky—and it foreshadowed even more serious problems for the Rebel nation.

(Ohio units participating in the Battle of Many Names and the pursuit of the fleeing Confederates on the second day, include the 9th, 14th, 17th, 31st, and 38th Infantry, Batteries B and C of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, and the 9th Ohio Battery.

ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR: In winter quarters in western Virginia, Col. Rutherford B. Hayes yearns for news of Union successes. Unaware one is occurring at Logan’s Cross Roads, he impatiently writes in his diary, “What we need is greater energy, more drive, more enterprise….”

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Saturday, January 19, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Saturday, Jan. 18, 1862


Marching with (a) Custer

Nineteen-year-old Pvt. Liberty Warner of Company H, 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, keeps up a steady correspondence with the folks at home in Tontogany, a farm village in northwest Ohio. Like other soldiers, he yearns for letters from home, and to encourage responses, he sometimes resorts to crude sketches to fill out his own epistles.

Sometime this month (Liberty occasionally loses track of dates) he fills out a letter to his brother listing fellow occupants of his tent, complete with a diagram of where in the tent the 12 men slept. The 12 men constitute a “mess” or grouping for feeding purposes. All the members of this mess are from Tontogany; all are members of Company H.

They occupy a Sibley Tent, a conical structure resembling a large wigwam. A single pole in the center holds it up, and guy ropes about two feet apart around the perimeter steady it. Arrayed in a clock-like circle, the men sleep two to a bunk, feet to the center of the tent. Crowded into the tent with them are a gun rack, a “dish box” for eating utensils, and various tools. (Warner doesn’t include it in his diagram, but there’s a stove in there somewhere. Keeping stoves like Warner’s fed always causes the denuding of areas around army camps: not only trees, but wooden structures are apt to disappear.)

After the war, the surviving members of this mess can look back on the time they were only two degrees of separation from one of the most famous and flamboyant figures in the war, and, after the Battle of Little Big Horn, one of the most famous figures in the Indian wars.

One of the 12 men from Tontogany is Thomas Ward (“Tom”) Custer, younger brother of none other than George Armstrong Custer. Born in eastern Ohio, the Custer family came to Tontogany in 1860. George graduated from West Point in 1861, entered the war immediately, and, for his remarkable leadership skills, in June 1863 will be named brigadier general, age 23. Thanks to demerits for his conduct, he had graduated last in his class at West Point, but he will become one of the war’s most outstanding cavalry commanders.

Tom Custer entered the war as a mere private but in late 1864 will join his brother’s staff as an aide, with the rank of lieutenant. (Lt. Tom Custer, is pictured above, standing behind brother George and his wife, Libbie.) A daring fighter, Tom will win two Medals of Honor and repeated promotions. An admiring George will say of him, “Tom should have been the general and I the lieutenant.” Tom and another Custer brother will die with George at Little Big Horn.

ELSEWHERE IN THE CIVIL WAR: Cooped up in winter quarters in western Virginia, Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes complains to his diary, “How impatiently we look for action on Green River [and] at Cairo.” Green River lies within Don Carlos Buell’s command in Kentucky; Cairo refers to Brig. Gen. Ulysses s. Grant’s command further west. Both commands will see action soon, first of all in Kentucky, where Union forces under Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas are approaching Confederates in the vicinity of Mill Springs.

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Friday, Jan. 17, 1862

Demonstrations

In northwestern Tennessee, Federal gunboats begin a “demonstration” against Fort Henry, the Confederate fort built to deter an invasion of the western Confederacy via the Tennessee River. In Civil War terms, a demonstration is a show of force intended to deceive or distract the enemy or to gather information. At about the same time, a brigade of about 6,000 men sent by Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from his Cairo, Illinois, headquarters, is returning from another demonstration made in the direction of the Confederate base at Columbus, Kentucky.

All of this is supposed to distract western Confederates and keep them occupied while Union forces under Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell come to the aid of Union loyalists in eastern Tennessee—a mission President Lincoln wants desperately. However, Lincoln's wishes will not be fulfilled, because Buell has other ideas and arrogantly assumes HE knows better than the commander-in-chief.

Grant says the Columbus demonstration “if it had no other effect, served as a fine reconnaissance.” The Tennessee River demonstration was also useful. Federal forces learned they could land within two and half miles of Fort Henry without serious challenge. They also destroyed destroy an outlying Confederate camp. Previous feints up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers had returned with considerable information about Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

With this information in hand, Grant is hopes to persuade Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, commander of the Department of the Missouri, to let him attack the Confederates. He is waiting for Halleck to give him permission to go to his headquarters in St. Louis.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Thursday, Jan. 16, 1862


A Sham Battle

Today, Cpl. Robert Caldwell of Elmore, Ohio, settles down to finish a letter to his mother that he began writing yesterday. He only had time that evening to tell her that he now weighs 170 pounds (the hungry times will come later). Then came the last bugle call of the night.

The next morning, the men of the 21st Ohio and some other regiments in camp at Camp Jefferson in Kentucky donned loaded backpacks and began marching at half past eight..

They were going to intercept an enemy supply train, ran one of the many rumors, but, after marching only a mile, they came to a large field. They were going to have a sham battle! Robert told his mother in some wonderment. Military exercises simulating combat, common practice in the 21st century, were unusual in the 19th.

Breathlessly, Robert writes that a company of the 4th Ohio Cavalry—his neighbors in camp—pretended to attack the infantry from one direction, only to wheel, retreat, and attack from a different direction. Meanwhile, the infantrymen were popping away with guns loaded only with powder.

All the while, artillery pieces, pulled by horses, rushed “here and there wheeling and firing with empty guns, with terrible effect upon the imaginary enemy,” Robert wrote, quite impressed with it all.

Thus the fight raged for upwards of half a day (the young soldier continued), when thinking that the foe had been sufficiently chastised for the present, with tired limbs but fearless hearts we changed our mode of attacks and charged upon our dinner with equal effect, and [then] were ordered back to camp, where we arrived without any further adventure.

Thus terminated our first great fight in this part of Kentucky, I believe our loss consisted of one barrel [of] crackers, nothing more.

After that exciting news, Robert closed with the soldiers’ staple letter-filler, the local weather: cold, rain, one inch of snow, then rain again, meaning the soldiers are living in an ever-deepening mudhole. (Pictured above: an Illinois regiment in their tent near Corinth, Mississippi)

ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR: Confirmed by the Senate only yesterday, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton wastes no time in taking over the War Department with energy, enthusiasm, and little patience for corruption and inefficiency. Stanton discovers that the previous secretary, Silas Cameron, had left him “a rats’ nest” of problems. “We have had no war,” Stanton grumbles. “We have not even been playing war.” Things are going to change very fast. In southern Kentucky, meanwhile, a Confederate force led by Brig. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer unwisely camps with their backs to the Cumberland River and facing in the direction of a rumored Federal force led by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas, a loyalist Virginia and a man Confederates would come to know well, to their regret.


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1862



Mail Call

Twenty-eight-year-old Cpl. Alfred D. Searles, a member of Company H, 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, is in winter quarters in western Kentucky. Alfred frequently writes letters and he expects his family to do the same. Today he sits down to send his parents a common complaint.

I take this opportunity…of writing a letter to you today to find out what we have done that we cannot have another letter from you. It is now over 3 weeks since we have heard [from you], but we shall write no more till we hear from home.

Searles’ distress at receiving no mail is one of many examples, found in Civil War archives, of pleading by soldiers for news from home. Tired, lonely, dispirited bored soldiers yearned for reassurance they were cared for and not forgotten. Folks at home were just as anxious to receive letters assuring them their men were safe and sound. To pressure correspondents to send more mail, soldiers counted the letters they received, compared with the ones they sent.

It would take quite a while before both sides learned that mail delivery in Civil War times was a chancey thing, with weather, bushwhackers, and military operations—not to mention weary horses—combining to delay and sometimes lose mail.

But both parties kept trying, with soldiers unaccustomed to putting pen to paper scrambling to find writing utensils and struggle with the mechanics of putting sentences together while using a knapsack or drum for a desk.

Montgomery Meigs, postmaster general in the Lincoln administration, came to the soldiers’ aid by introducing money orders and “soldier’s mail,” which required payment of postage from recipients rather than the soldiers, who not only had little money, but had trouble getting and keeping stamps.

Searles is not optimistic about coming home any time soon. “If reports be true we have only just begun in the war.”

He goes on to describe camp conditions: “It is dreadful weat and mudy here…It is an awfull time for mud here. We have some awfull cold nights here, but very little snow.”

Searles includes a foreboding comment: “Perhaps I shall stay the 3 years out and perhaps I shall never get back. That is more than a man can tell…”

Time will tell if Corporal Searles’ comment is a prescient one.


ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR: A Union gunboat on a reconnaissance mission sails up the Tennessee River almost as far as the Confederate fort called Fort Henry. It is worrisome omen for the Confederates. In Washington, the U.S. Senate confirms Lincoln's nomination of Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war. It took the Senate less than two days from nomination to vote. Those were the days!



IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg


ON THIS DAY: Monday, Jan. 13, 1862


The Bear

He was a brilliant, short-tempered, stocky bully of a man, whose hard eyes staring out of a profusion of whiskers resembled a bear peering out of a briar patch. He was hard to like and hard to resist, and he had not only memorably insulted Abraham Lincoln years ago, he had kept up a drumbeat of criticism of the President in the first, difficult months of the war, proclaiming “the imbecility of this administration.” He was an Ohio Democrat named Edwin McMasters Stanton and today something amazing happens to him.

This morning, President Lincoln, a Republican, tells his Cabinet that he is going to choose Stanton as his secretary of war, replacing the ineffective Pennsylvania politico Simon Cameron. This incomprehensible action—the President choosing a man who had insulted and criticized him bitterly and who was a member of the opposition party—is but one example of how Lincoln could see possibilities other men couldn’t.

Warned that the bull-headed Stanton “might run away with the whole concern,” Lincoln recalled a Midwestern preacher whose liveliness made church members want to put bricks in his pockets to hold him down. “I may have to do that with Stanton,” Lincoln said, “but if I do, bricks in his pockets will be better than bricks in his hat. I’ll risk him for a while without either.”

Stanton was a Democrat, but unlike many Democrats, he was strongly opposed to both secession and slavery. He had spent part of his time as attorney general under the benighted President Buchanan secretly subverting secessionist tendencies in Washington.

Years before the war, Stanton had been lead attorney on a lawsuit and by chance Lincoln was assigned to his legal team in a Cincinnati court. Stanton repeatedly snubbed Lincoln during their mutual stay in Cincinnati, and sneered at him as “a long, lank creature” and a “giraffe.”

But Stanton was a brilliant lawyer with a reputation for getting things done, no matter the obstacles, and he had two other things going for him: he was known to favor vigorous prosecution of the war and he had the support of Lincoln’s general-in-chief, George B. McClellan, who also was a Democrat.

In the years of war, Stanton would prove to have been a brilliant choice. Congressman Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts will write after the war, “If Lincoln was essential to the success of the Union, it is no less true that Stanton was essential to the success of Lincoln.” Another commentator said, “If Lincoln was the heart of the war effort, Stanton was the head.”


OTHER EVENTS IN LINCOLN'S DAY: An ad hoc council of generals, Cabinet members, Lincoln, and McClellan meet to discuss how to get the Union armies moving McClellan, his feathers ruffled by the meeting, rudely refuses to divulge his plans. Lincoln writes Generals Halleck and Buell in the West, urging them to action against the enemy and stressing a strategy of "menacing him with superior forces at different points, at the same time." While still deferring to the generals' superior knowledge of warfare, Lincoln nonetheless is displaying greater wisdom. And his patience is running out.



IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Monday, January 14, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Sunday, Jan. 12, 1862


The Expedition

As they marched along, the soldiers joked and sang in German, but they were not in Germany. They were members of the 37th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the third regiment raised in Ohio that was composed primarily of German immigrants and their descendents. Commanding the 37th was Col. Edward Siber, described as “an accomplished German officers who had seen active service in Prussia and Brazil.” (Pictured here: a typical Ohio soldier, not necessarily of the 37th regiment)

Most of Siber’s men had been recruited in Toledo, Cleveland, and Chillicothe, but as many as 10 different Ohio counties were represented in the ranks. German regiments had a reputation for orderliness and efficiency and, like all new regiments, were hungry for action.

Mustered in on October 2, 1861, the regiment had been ordered to the District of the Kanawha in western Virginia. After settling into winter quarters near Point Pleasant, almost within sight of Ohio, the men were expecting a long, dull winter. Suddenly, however, the regiment was ordered to undertake—all by itself—what soldiers called an “expedition.” An expedition meant you were venturing into dangerous country to see what might happen and perhaps to do some damage to the enemy.

Last evening, Colonel Siber had been warned that 60 to 70 Confederate sympathizers had formed a guerrilla band they called the “Black Striped Company.” The 37th Ohio departs today on a long, hard march of 80 miles south to Logan Court House.

They find trouble quickly. A detachment of four of the 37th’s companies, led by Maj. Charles Ankele, finds itself fired upon by “every house” on the opposite side of the unfordable Guyandotte River. When the captain of Company B is killed, however, the men can stand it no longer. They throw themselves in to the river, swim to the other side, disarm the residents, and take some prisoners.

Colonel Siber reunites the various detachments he had sent out, and marches into Logan Court House after a skirmish between Siber’s scouts and number of bushwhackers and horsemen. One of the 37th’s corporals is killed. The enemy retreats to a nearby mountain that overlooks the town.

Realizing he couldn’t hold the town “without more sacrifice of life,” the colonel orders his men to burn the court house and other public buildings the rebels had been using as barracks.

Colonel Siber and the 37th will return to their winter quarters at Camp Clifton near Point Pleasant. He reports that, excepting one loyalist settlement, “the whole population in [the region traveled] are in the highest degree hostile to the Union.” It seems that western Virginia, for all its desire to the join the Union, still has plenty of enemies left in it.

ELSEWHERE IN THE WAR EFFORT: Not only is Lincoln growing weary of generals who won’t attack when urged to, so are a number of important officers. They and the public can’t understand why McClellan’s well-trained and equipped Army of the Potomac is going nowhere. The officers met yesterday to discuss the problem and again today, this time with members of Lincoln and several members of his Cabinet. McClellan, who is still recovering from a serious illness, fears he is being undermined and drags himself to the White House to defend his command.

IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg

Sunday, January 13, 2008

ON THIS DAY: Saturday, Jan. 11, 1862


Something wicked this way came

Perhaps you shouldn’t call Simon Cameron a bad man, but it did seem as if badness followed him around.

The vapors of a career politician rose from the man’s very pores. Which is not to deny that Cameron was talented man. Orphaned at nine, he worked and studied hard and at age 25 was able to purchase a newspaper in the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg. He won appointment as state printer the next year, was appointed state adjutant general the year after that, and soon was buying railroad lines and making his fortune.

Simon Cameron was one of those strivers who always seemed a little too lucky, a little too early, a little too successful for mere luck and hard work to explain. Simon Cameron was a politician. He knew how to arrange things, and as politicians always do, he had a wide network of those who owed him—and those he owed.

No doubt about it: Cameron had a finely tuned sense of where opportunity lay. In his portraits (one of which is shown here), his sleek face and hard, agate-like eyeballs suggest a cat studying his next mouse.

First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1884, Cameron eventually switched parties from the Democratic to the newly forming Republican Party. After making a deal with Lincoln’s managers (without Lincoln’s knowledge), he threw his support to Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention, bringing Pennsylvania delegates with him. As reward, he wanted a Cabinet position in the Lincoln administration, so Lincoln reluctantly appointed him secretary of war.

And that’s when the trouble began. Surprisingly, Cameron was not a team player in the Lincoln administration. A Radical Republican, he charted his own course, issuing anti-slavery dictates that embarrassed Lincoln. In the early months of the war, Lincoln could not afford to alienate slave owners in the border states and had to walk a fine line on the ticklish slavery issue...so Cameron was a loose cannon.

It gets worse. All those hangers-on that Cameron had accumulated began claiming their dues, so War Department contracts were given to political favorites and military appointment handed out to friends. It was even worse than that: not only was the War Department corrupt, it was inefficient and ineffective. Something had to be done.

Lincoln was able to ease Cameron out by offering him the post of minister to Russia, which would get the Pennsylvanian as far away from the war as possible. On this Saturday in January, Cameron makes public his resignation from the war department.

Within 48 hours, Lincoln will announce his choice to replace Cameron. It will be a surprising, even shocking, choice, but one that will turn out to be one of his best decisions of the war. It involve an Ohioan.


IT’S COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK: April 12, 2011—less than 3½ years from now!—will be the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, April 12 was the day Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Your suggestions, comments, and questions about this blog are always welcome. Address the author: Ohioan@bloodtearsandglory.com

For more information about the author and his newest book, please go to http://www.orangefrazer.com/btg