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15 June 2012


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Maureen Lang

I remember this passage very well from TBC, Pat- it cheers me to read it here today. Walking the terrain (no matter what subject matter writing about or where) is always a necessary part of the process.

And maps in the head to walk it with, like yours.

Bill H

Indeed, seeing the ground is enlightening as hell. Different wars, but visiting Valley Forge cast that in an entirely different light for me, as did Little Big Horn.


I would welcome an on-going discussion of the WBS. Your insights into human nature and knowledge of the era bring the people to life.

Speaking specifically of the Shenandoah Valley, wasn't John Mosbey active in this region? I know he's mentioned briefly in one (or more) of the books in your trilogy>



Partisan warfare behind federal lines in Virgina had not really begun in May-June 1862. Turner Ashby's cavalry had not yet been trained well enough to be recognizable as what it became, "The Laurel Brigade." There were two good CSA cavalry regiments with Jackson, the 2nd and 6th under Munford. At that time John Mosby was a cavalry scout for Stuart in the eastern combat area (the peninsula). Only later was the 43rd Virginia Cavalry Battalion created and assigned to partisan duty in federal occupied territory from Alexandria to the Alleghenies across northern Virginia. They fought in uniform and were hidden and supported by the occupied people of the area. There were other CS partisans or semi-partisan units. The 35t Va. Cav. Battalion (White's Comanches) operated some of the time as regulars with Stuart and sometimes on their home ground in Loudoun and Fauquier counties. Capain John Macneil's partisans operated in the Valley and eastern W. Virginia. pl

steve g


You mentioned your relative was in
the 5th Wisconsin. A good friends
great great granpa and uncle were in
the Iron Brigade of the West out of
Wisconsin. From a brief look at their
respective Wiki pages and a couple of other
sources they fought in many of the same
battles. Question. When units deployed
from the same state did they stay together?
North or South. Cohesiveness of units by
ethnicity, German, Norwegian, Irish etc.
played a role. Was there any inner-service
rivalries of any consequence?


steve g

Volunteer units raised by the states were turned over to the central governments and then, except for whatever political pressure governors could exert were assigned to brigades as the war departments desired. The Iron Brigade was all upper Mid-West units. I don't recall how that happened. The normal thing was that the Armies put units where they pleased organizationally. In the CSA, the greater population west of the Mississippi resulted in there being western troops; Arkansas, Texas, etc. in Lee's army. The opposite was not true. There were units in both armies that were raised from ethnic communities. That was particularly true of the Germans and Irish. The 108th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment was all German. The language of command was German and one company was all German Jews. pl

steve g

Thank you for the clarifications


Re: "College professors do not emerge from obscure lives of pedagogy to blaze across the sky as meteors illuminating the firmament of military history."


Liùqīn bù hé, yǒu xiàozǐ;


Guójiā hǔnluàn, yǒu zhōngchén.

"When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships,
filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell
into disorder, loyal ministers appeared."

道德經 . 老子 (Dao De Jing, by Laozi)

It's only during times-of-crisis that men-of-talent have the opportunity to become manifest (even though they've always been there in the first place.)

Re: "this professor's eccentricities were such as to make sober men whisper of possible instability"

Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας (Aléxandros ho Mégas), Friedrich der Große (Der Alte Fritz), John Frederick Charles Fuller, George Smith Patton, Jr. - to name just a few - displayed some.... anomalous quirks.

If idiosyncrasies signify talent (i.e. greatness), then live with it.

Perhaps "sober = mediocrity" IMHO.

I can understand why "Unconditional Surrender" Grant is near always drunk....



Dàzhàngfū wú tā zhì è, yóu dāng xiào fu jièzǐ, zhāngqiān lìgōng yìyù, yǐ qǔ fēng hóu, ān néngjiǔ shì bǐyàn jiān hu?

"A brave man has no other plan but to follow Fu and Zhang Qian's footsteps and do something and become somebody in a foreign land. How can I waste my life on writing?"


The Twisted Genius

There is so much to learn about (and from) the Civil War... or War Between the States... or War of Northern Aggression. Even what we call this recent unpleasantness evokes strong emotion. I noted this continued rawness while pondering upon the northern New York gravesite of a son of Virginia some time ago. It is true that the breach was never closed.


PL and his trilogy (which I've been rereading) have sparked a renewed interest in me to study this particular war as military art. I live fairly close to Fredericksburg, Virginia so this is where I plan to start. I haven't been to the battlefield since a family outing there shortly after we arrived in this area. Actions at the sunken road in December 1862 are well known, but much of that part of battlefield is lost to development. The actions on Lee's right are less well known, but that area of the battlefield is better preserved. This is the area where Jackson's men centered their defense on Prospect Hill. A few years ago, the Slaughter Pen Farm area where the Union Army assembled and began their assault on Prospect Hill was saved. An effort to preserve an adjoining area, now an abandoned GM plant, is well underway. It's time to look at this area anew. Here's an interesting short talk about Prospect Hill and the Slaughterhouse Pen Farm.


PL, did Jackson and his forces move to Fredericksburg by foot march after the Valley Campaign or was there any rail movement involved?



They were sitting in Brown's gap in the Blue Ridge when the order came to move to Lee. The troops marched through the gap to Mechum's River Station where they boarded the Virginia Central Railroad for their assembly area NW of Richmond. Ashland, maybe? Lee then tried to make a combination a la Austerliz combining Jackson's with his own on the battlefield with Jackson coming in on McLellan's left flank. That failed, mainly because Jackson lay down under a white oak tree for a few minutes rest and fell sound asleep. The staff did not wake him for a couple of hours and the moment passed. The Seven Days then followed. pl


All - "Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War" by Colonel GFR Henderson is available at Project Gutenberg




Merci beaucoup, monsieur.

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