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13 May 2014


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Thanks for posting this. You bring the men and the era to life. "I led the fight to keep Virginia in the old Union. ... we fought to the end at the secession convention. We only lost by one vote, one vote." One piece of history too many try to eradicate from collective memory than to face it... “We'd be finished by now without their help. We're gonna be somethin' different afterwards, somethin' interestin'...” This truth too, is too painful for too many. None of these folks were worried about their 401Ks or about the latest political poll numbers.



Yes,this collective memory loss is tragic especially for the Blacks. What Early means by "their help," is not only the civilian contract service with the CS Army, but all the agricultural and industrial labor at places like Tredegar that kept the Confederacy alive for so long. pl


Col.: I enjoyed reading your excerpt. Many of Wheat's Tigers were Irish dock workers from New Orleans idled by the blockade and barely citizens. No doubt many units from port cities on both sides employed such rough material but the Tigers were legendary. They must have been tough, bitter, feeling discriminated against, and perfect for recruiting by Wheat who set up his reception off of Canal Street not far from the riverfront. My great-great grandfather was in 8th Louisiana, part of Hays Brigade and captured in VA. He was a lawyer prior to the war and probably added to the 'interesting' mix of the huge number of LA troops sent by the state to fight in VA ironically leaving weakly defended New Orleans open to an easy capitulation early in the war.


Col: I think the best job in the world is held by Prof. Allen Guelzo. He is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College. I would gladly spend a lifetime on that subject!


This was probably the most amusing line that stood out to me: "and some fellahs who are said to be white as a matter of courtesy since they want to fight and are somebody's cousin, if you take my meanin'."

I think you encapsulate the era in that one sentence.


That's a good story. That sounds like Early.

There is another story I read about Early some years ago. From memory I recall Early was attending a church service at Waynesboro, VA in January, 1865. The preacher was carrying on about what would you do if the dead were raised or something along those lines.

Early replied from the pews "I would conscript every damn one of them."



That would have been just before his remnant were driven out of The Valley and he was relieved. pl


off topic b/ hope you find it interesting.
i saw Tredegar Iron Works mentioned above.
What does Tredegar share with Donetsk?
In both, iron works and steel mills were started by Welshmen.

"The city was founded in 1869 by a Welsh businessman, John Hughes, who constructed a steel plant and several coal mines in the region; the town was thus named Yuzovka (Юзовка) in recognition of his role in its founding ("Yuz" being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes)."



Magruder on the Tigers at Jamestown Island: “[they] eat up every living thing on the Island but two horses and their own species.”

I wouldn't want to meet any of them in a dark alley, but they sure could fight. I especially admire the rock-throwing exploits at Second Manassas.


Jubal E. was not treated too kindly in the Gettysburg book "Killer Angels." But if the Col. likes him, that's good enough for me!

Mark Logan

My favorite Early story is his chapter on his account of the battle of Chancellorsville. A mis-communicated order resulted in him stripping most of his already skeleton force from the hill on Lee's rear and marching towards Lee. Lee must have thought Early and his men were fleeing from a disaster at his rear when he saw them coming. What else could it be? If he had a non-grey hair left...



Somewhere here or on my FB page I explained that after the WBS the Confederates divided into factions in the effort to explain their defeat to themselves. The Virginians defended Lee and his judgment at all cost and most of the others were simply anti-Lee with Longstreet as their leader.Early and Pendleton were the leaders of the Virginia faction. Michael Shaara clearly favors the anti-Lee faction. His description of Early's actions on the first day at Gettysburg is not correct. Early's division arrived late in the town of Gettysburg and Early found the corps commander, Baldy Ewell to be paralyzed at the thought of continuing the assault onto the north end of Cemetery Hill. He advised Ewell to attack immediately and Ewell refused. Shortly thereafter Lee arrived at the 2nd corps CP ant told Ewell to attack but the moment hd passed. It is NOT true as Shaara implies that Early had told Ewell not to attack. pl


So Lee's "bad old man" got a bad rap from Shiraa. After Gettysburg, Longstreet didn't do all that well on his own in TN. I thought George Pickett had the best reasoning on why the South didn't come out ahead. "Asked by reporters why Pickett's Charge failed, Pickett frequently replied: "I've always thought the Yankees had something to do with it."" wiki bio

i didn't realize it but after Gettysburg, Pickett led the second battle of New Bern, NC. Burnside's expedition had taken the NC Sounds, Roanoke Island (which got J. Benjamin dismissed as sec of war), Cape Hatteras, and New Bern early in the war.




Pickett's second big moment was at Drewry's Bluff on the James south of Richmond, 12 May, 1864. There, his reconstituted division formed the centerpiece of an attack that threw back Beast Butler's southern prong of Grant's final plan back in his effort against Richmond. The division once again took heavy losses. VMI lost many alumni there. This features in "Death Piled Hard." pl


Nice scene, dense and relaxed like the men.

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