The Irish Brigade

With today being the 148th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg I thought I would do short bio of a regiment made famous by this battle, the Irish Brigade.

The Irish Brigade was formed in 1861, after the battle of First Manassas. Thomas Meagher (who earlier was a captain in the 69th New York) was under order from the War Department to “arrange with the colonels commanding of four other regiments to be raised to form a brigade, the brigadier-general for which will be designated hereafter by the proper authority of Government.”This new brigade then became known as the Irish brigade, 2nd brigade, 1st division 2nd corps, Army of the Potomac. It was made up of the 28th Massachusetts, 63rd, 69th, and 88th New York, and the 116th Pennsylvania regiments.

Thomas Francis Meagher

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Here is Brigadier General Thomas Meagher’s report of the Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg.
“Hdqrs. Irish Brig. (Second Brig.), Hancock�s Div.,

In Camp before Fredericksburg, Va., December 20, 1862

I have the honor to report through you to the brigadier-general commanding the division the part taken by the brigade I have the honor to command in the action of Saturday, the 13th instant.

On the Thursday morning previous, December 11, at 7 o�clock precisely, the brigade left the camp from which this report is dated, and proceeded toward the pontoon bridge over the Rappahannock, which it was arranged the division should cross. The brigade never was in finer spirits and condition. The arms and accouterments were in perfect order. The required amount of ammunition was on hand. Both officers and men were comfortably clad; and it would be difficult to say whether those who were to be led, or those who were to lead, were the better prepared or the more eager to discharge their duty.

Arriving within a few hundred paces of the headquarters of Major-General Sumner, commanding the right grand division of the Army of the Potomac, the brigade was halted, by order of Brigadier-General Hancock, in a well sheltered valley, where we stacked arms and bivouacked from 9 o’clock until 4:30p.m. The fire of our batteries and those of the enemy, incessant and terrible as it was, taught every man of the brigade to prepare himself equably and sternly for a desperate conflict.

A few minutes after 4 o’clock, word was conveyed to me that a body of daring volunteers had crossed the river in boats, and taken possession of the city of Fredericksburg. The State of Michigan will fairly reserve to herself the largest measure of pride justified by this achievement. Immediately after this word was brought to me, an order reached me from Brigadier General Hancock to march forward my brigade and take up position nearer the river.

At 7 o’clock the following morning the brigade was under arms, and in less than two hours the head of the brigade presented itself on the opposite bank of the river. The order of the advance of our division on this occasion was as follows: Colonel Zook, commanding French’s old brigade, led the way; the Irish Brigade came next, and the Brigadier-General Caldwell’s brought up the rear.

Passing along the south bank of the Rappahannock to the lower crossing communicating with the city, the brigade halted, counter-marched, stacked arms, and in this position, ankle-deep in mud, and with little or nothing to contribute to their comfort, in complete subordination and good heart awaited further orders. All this time, and until night came on, the batteries of the enemy continued their fire; at one time, especially, so operating that an entire division, crossing immediately on our left flank, was compelled to fall back and wait for the approaching night to conceal and protect its advance. An order was issued by Major-General Couch, commanding the corps, that no fires should be lit after nightfall. This order was uncomplainingly and manfully obeyed by my brigade. Officers and men lay down and slept that night in the mud and frost, and, without a murmur, with heroic hearts composed themselves as best as they could for the eventualities of the coming day.

I do not wish to introduce into an official report, where facts alone should be narrated, any expression of personal feeling; but it would be doing an injustice to my brigade if I did not say that the fortitude and endurance with which the hardships of that night were borne were such as to affect me deeply. I shall also digress from the strict line of an official report, in vindication of the honor and humanity of the brigade, to state that during the occupation of the city of Fredericksburg, previous to as well as after the advance of our forces on the batteries of the enemy, the Irish Brigade scrupulously abstained from any act of depredation.

On the morning of Saturday, the 13th instant, we were ordered under arms. The order was delivered to me at 8a.m. Having formed the brigade, I addressed to every regiment separately a few words, reminding them of their duty, and exhorting them to do it bravely and nobly. Immediately after, the column moved up the street, headed by Col. Robert Nugent and his veteran regiment, being exposed during the march to a continuous fire of shot and shell, several men falling from the effects of each. Even while I was addressing the Sixty-ninth, which was on the right of the brigade, 3 men of the Sixty-third were knocked over, and before I had spoken the last word of encouragement the mangled remains – mere masses of blood and rags – were borne along the line.

Advancing up the street, at the front of which the right of the brigade in line had rested, and worried by shell and shot and rifle balls every step we took, we crossed, the mill-race immediately outside of the city, which water course may be described as the first defense of the enemy. The entire brigade, consisting of 1,200 men, at that moment had to cross a single bridge, and, passing to the right, deploy into line of battle. This movement necessarily took some time to execute. The Sixty-ninth, being on the right, was compelled to stand its ground until the rest of the brigade came up and formed. This ordeal it had to endure for fully half an hour. I myself, accompanied by Lieutenant Emmet, of the staff, crossed over on foot from the head of the street through which the brigade had approached the battle-field. It was not, however, more than thirty minutes after the head of the column had reached the right of the line, on which the brigade was to form preparatory to its advance, that the other regiments of the brigade, unbroken and undismayed by the terrific fire which poured down upon them, dashingly came up.

Reaching the head of my column, accompanied, as I have said, by Lieutenant Emmet, and having crossed the mill-race with the assistance of two wounded soldiers, I found that Colonel Nugent had just halted his regiment. Remaining here in conversation for a few minutes with the colonel, Lieutenant Miller, of Brigadier-General Hancock’s staff, late of Major-General Richardson’s rode up and delivered me further instructions, in obedience to which I directed Colonel Nugent to throw out two companies of his regiment as skirmishers on the right flank. I had hardly done so before the Eighty-eighth, Sixty-third, Twenty-eighth, and One hundred and sixteenth, coming up, and deploying themselves in line of battle, drew down upon the brigade a still more terrific fire. The line, however, was beautifully and rapidly formed, and then boldly advanced, Colonel Nugent leading the Sixty-ninth on the right, Col. Patrick Kelly, commanding the Eighty-eighth, being next in position, and both displaying a courageous soldiership which I have no words, with all my partiality for them, adequately to describe. Maj. Joseph O’Neill, commanding the Sixty-third, was as true that day as he has ever been. His position was on the left of the center of the line.

The center was assigned by me to the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, commanded by Col. R. Byrnes (this regiment carrying the only green flag under which the Irish Brigade this day had the proud privilege to do its duty, the old colors having been sent to New York several days before, and the new ones not having as yet arrived). The Twenty-eighth was originally destined for the brigade; it was raised especially for it. Its ranks were filled under the impression it would be one of the first regiments of the brigade. Under that impression hundreds of good and true men enrolled themselves in it, but, owing to some blunder, the Twenty-eighth was ordered to Port Royal, and it was not until the other day that, through the friendly interposition of General Sumner, it renewed its associations with the Irish Brigade. On the left of the line was the One hundred and sixteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, a new regiment; it had but very recently joined the brigade, but in its conduct from Bolivar Heights, where I had the satisfaction of welcoming it to our camp, down to the present moment, when its headlong gallantry is placed on record, it has proved itself worthy of the cause into which with so much enthusiasm it had thrown itself.

Thus formed, under the unabating tempest of shot and shell, the Irish Brigade advanced at the double-quick against the rifle-pits, the breastworks, and batteries of the enemy. I myself ordered the advance, encouraged the line, and urged it on; but, owing to a most painful ulcer in the knee joint, which I had concealed and borne up against for days, I was compelled, with a view to be of any further service to the brigade that day, to return over the plowed field over which we had advanced from the mill-race. I did so to get my horse, which had been left at the head of the street from which our column had debouched, in care of my orderlies, along with the other horses of the field and staff officers of the brigade, Brigadier-General Hancock having suggested that it would be advisable for all such officers to act on foot. On going for the horse on the left of the line, I met Captain Hart, the acting assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, who was moving up from the left to the right with the perfect coolness and intelligent bravery, forming and steadying the men for attack. Halting a moment on the left, I gave the word, and instantly saw the brigade impetuously advance. Passing down the slope, and through crowds of slain and wounded, I reached the spot where I had left my horse and mounted him.

Having mounted, I started with one of the orderlies to rejoin the brigade on the right, and with that view took the street across which the two companies of the Sixty-ninth, under Capt. James Saunders, a staunch and fearless officer, has been deployed as skirmishers. I had not proceeded many paces up this street before I met the remnant of the Sixty-third, bearing the regimental colors, coming toward me, under the command of Captain Gleeson, one of the bravest and most reliable officers of the brigade. With these few survivors of the Sixty-third were a portion of the Sixty-ninth.

Fearing that the enemy might break through our lines, which had begun to waver under those torrents from the musketry and artillery of the enemy that seemed every instant to increase in fury, I halted this handful of the brigade on the street parallel with the mill-race. Here I remained, by order of Brigadier-General Hancock, who personally communicated with me at the time, gathering in the fragments of my brigade, until finally I was ordered by him, through one oh his aides, to fall back and concentrate on the street from which we had commenced our approach to the battle-field. In this street the hospitals of the brigade had been established, and to it, consequently, all the officers and men of the brigade instinctively returned. I was, therefore, enabled, after three or four hours, to ascertain pretty accurately the available force that remained of the brigade. But while the fragments of the brigade were thus being reconcentrated, I had every reason to become convinced that the hospitals were dangerously, if not fatally, exposed; consequently I sent two of my aides, Captains Hart and Lieutenant Blake, of the Eighty-eighth, to Brigadier-General Hancock, to request of him that he would be so good as to authorize me to take what was left of the brigade across the river, the request for such authority being based on the fact that while there were not over 300 of the brigade, maimed and serviceable, who had reported themselves up to that time, the badly disabled were so numerous as to require the assistance of all those who were unhurt. Even while I was waiting for Captain Hart and Lieutenant Blake to return, several discharges of shells and rifle-balls broke through and over the hospitals of the Sixty-ninth and Sixty-third, and Eighty-eighth.

All this time, however, the officers and men of the brigade obeyed my orders and conducted themselves with perfect calmness and cheerfulness. Captain Hart, upon his return, having given me to understand that I had a conditional authorization to remove the brigade from the city, under the circumstances mentioned, I assumed the responsibility of doing so. I did so under the impression that Brigadier-General Hancock had given me such authorization for the purpose, which impression, a few hours later, I discovered was erroneous. I should not, however, have brought my command to the opposite side of the river, nor have dreamed of asking permission to do so, but for the horrible accidents to which the wounded of the brigade were exposed. That I myself did not wish to retire out of range of the rifle-pits and batteries of the enemy; that I was solely actuated by an affectionate and intense concern for the wounded officers and soldiers of my command, it will suffice for me to refer to Brigadier-General Butterfield, who, on questioning me regarding the brigade the afternoon of the assault, at the headquarters of General Willcox, and in the presence of other officers, was told by me that I feared the Irish Brigade was no more; that out of 1,200 men I had led into action that morning about 250 alone had reported to me under arms from the field, and added that, were I left without a command, it would gratify me to act as one of his aides. This I did at the time, not knowing that Brigadier-General Hancock had been deprived of most of his staff.

It was late in the afternoon when I learned that Lieutenant Miller, Lieutenant Parker, and Lieutenant Rorty, three of his active and gallant staff, were wounded and disabled. Had I been sooner made aware of the loss he sustained in these intelligent and brave young officers, I should have cheerfully volunteered my services in the contingency I had mentioned to Brigadier-General Butterfield – my services on the staff of a general who so well deserves all the support he can receive. Having placed, with the assistance of their more fortunate comrades, our wounded in the encampment we left the night before, I rode up to the quarters of Major-General Sumner to report myself and my action in the matter to him. He was not there; none of his staff were there; but General Burnside, coming in a few minutes after I had arrives, I communicated to him what I have here stated. He did not appear at all dissatisfied with the course I had taken, and with marked cordiality inquired after the brigade. Shortly afterward Major-General Sumner entering with this staff, I repeated to him what I had stated to General Burnside, adding, however, that my principal object had been, after reporting to him and explaining the reason of my crossing the river, to procure rations and ammunition for my men. The rations had been flung away as the brigade advanced to the assault. The ammunition had been exhausted in the field.

Having seen my wounded and disabled men as comfortably encamped as it was possible for them to be under the circumstances, I recrossed the Rappahannock, and between 11 and 12 o’clock at night reported to Brigadier-General Hancock. On the way, however, I stopped at the houses that had been taken as hospitals for the brigade that morning, and in them found many officers and privates who had been brought in from the field since I transferred the brigade to the opposite side of the river. Most of them were in great agony, not having had anything to sustain or soothe them since they received their wounds. Lieutenant Emmet, who accompanied me from where I had left the brigade, returned at once to bring our surgical and medical assistance. Dr. Powel promptly obeyed the order.

Next day, a little after daybreak, every officer and private of the brigade able to again take the field, by order of Brigadier-General Hancock, recrossed the Rappahannock and appeared upon the ground they occupied the day before, previous to their marching to the battle-field, all of them prepared and eager, notwithstanding their exhausted numbers and condition, to support the Ninth Corps in the renewal of the assault of the previous day, that renewal having been determined on by the commander-in-chief commanding the Army of the Potomac. Two hundred and eighty men only appeared under arms to represent the Irish Brigade. This little band, unswerved and undeterred, still full of heart, inspired by a bright sense of duty, sorrowful for their comrades, but prouder and still more emboldened that such men had fallen bravely as they did, awaited the word that was once again to precipitate them against the batteries and defenses of the enemy.

I close this report by acknowledging the gallantry and practical ability and the confirmed steadiness of the officers of the brigade, and in making this acknowledgment have sincerely to deplore the loss of such men as Major Horgan, of the Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, than whom a better and braver soldier I have never known.

Col. Robert Nugent, commanding the Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, acted with signal bravery, leading as he did the column into the field with a brilliancy of bearing worthy of the military reputation of his family name. His demeanor and the spirit he displayed, his words and looks, all were such as could not possibly fail, as they did not fail, to encourage and incite his men that day. He bore from the field a wound which will long be an honorable testimony to his daring. Maj. James Cavanaugh, also of the Sixty-ninth, most ably and with utter fearlessness supporting his colonel, fell severely wounded, but I trust not fatally, for never was there a truer heart; never was there a bolder arm; never was there a brighter brain. But it would be out of place in this report to enumerate, in the terms of affectionate appreciation I desire, the loss which the Irish Brigade has incurred.

Hereafter, should an opportunity be afforded me, I shall speak and write of such men as Lieutenants Birmingham and Buckley, men who so worthily supplied the place of the officers who fell on the battle-field before Richmond and in the great repulse of the enemy at Antietam. Looking along the ranks of the Eighty-eighth, as I did, with a mournful pride the day after the assault, I missed others besides Maj. William Horgan. I missed Lieutenants Murphy, McCarthy, and Young, the intelligent and diligent adjutant of the regiment. In the contemplation of these losses some consolation arises from the fact that men like Col. Patrick Kelly, Lieut. Col. Quinlan, Capt. Patrick K. Horgan, Capt. John Smith, Captain Nagle, Captain Clarke, Lieut. James B. Turner, and other intelligent and brave officers like them are still to the work.

In the Sixty-third New York Volunteers I have lost, for some time at all events, the services of Maj. Joseph O�Neill, services ever most promptly and liberally rendered wherever his military obligations of patriotism required them.

Had I time it would be indeed a truly pleasing duty for me to speak, in connection with the Sixty-third, of such officers as Captain Gleeson, Captain Condon, Lieutenants Moore and Brady, and others whom it is now difficult to mention, not having the leisure to speak of them in terms of adequate commendation.

Within the last two months two regiments were incorporated in the brigade. Pennsylvania contributed the One hundred and sixteenth Volunteer Regiment of that state; Massachusetts contributed the Twenty eighth Volunteer Regiment of the Old Commonwealth. The fact that Colonel Heenan and Lieutenant-Colonel Mulholland, of the former regiment, were badly wounded, speaks sufficiently for the intrepidity and metal of the men of which it is composed. When there are such officers there must be staunch men.

The Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, as I have already mentioned, was raised for the brigade, but, owing to some mistake, was kept aloof from it until, by a most fortunate vicissitude of the war, it was restored to us two weeks ago. It is a substantial and splendid accession to the Irish Brigade. It has sinew, heart, and soul. It is commanded by an officer (Col. R. Byrnes) than whom it would be difficult to find one superior aptitude for such a command, combining as he does the practical experience and matured capacity of a soldier of some years’ standing with the natural qualities which enable one to figure successfully in military life. I have not a word, other than that of unqualified commendation, to bestow on this well-regulated and admirably disciplined regiment. Major Caraher, one of the best of its excellent officers, was wounded in the head.

The chaplains and surgeons of the brigade could not be excelled in their devotion to the wounded. Their services were unremitting and most zealously rendered. Drs. Francis Reynolds, [J.] Pascal smith, and Laurence Reynolds, with their assistant surgeons, behaved nobly. The first-named officer vindicated the brilliant reputation he brought with him from the Crimea, and his conduct is all the more deserving of eulogy and gratitude, as a day or two before the battle he had obtained leave of absence, but, greatly to his inconvenience, remained with the brigade rather than be absent from his post at such a time.

A correct return of the killed, wounded, and missing of the brigade has been forwarded to the headquarters of the division.*

I close with especially recommending to the most favorable notice of the brigadier-general commanding the division every member of my staff. Capt. W.G. Hart, of the Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, the acting assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, was active, fearless, and indefatigable throughout the action. Lieut. John J. Blake, of the same regiment, was not less distinguished for his courage and his energy; but in displaying these qualities on the day referred to, he displayed the courage and energy which distinguished him in every battle in which the brigade has been engaged. Lieut. Richard Emmet, also of the Eighty-eighth, astonished all who were witnesses of his conduct, by the bright intelligence and fearlessness which carried hum through the thickest of the fight, with laurels which an older brow might proudly wear.

In enumerating the members of my staff, I cannot omit Capt. Malachi Martin, the able and indefatigable quartermaster of the brigade, who has on several occasions stood the enemy’s fire with me, and rendered at every risk important services to me in gallant style.

I have the honor to be, most faithfully, your obedient servant,

THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

The Irish Brigade saw action throughout the entire war following 1st Manassas, and at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. By 1864 there were more men from the Irish Brigade who had died then still lived. Their brigade along with two others from the 2nd corps were disbanded. They were angered by this (rightly so) and threatened to desert. They did not though. They were consolidated with other New England brigades. Thus becoming known as the “Consolidated Brigade. They fought valiantly from the beginning of the war until the end when they were present at the “Grand Review” in Washington DC in May 1865. They were led in the review by Colonel Nugent, riding on a beautiful black horse. They were cheered thunderously when they past the review stand with their emerald green flags and the stars and stripes. In their hats they wore the sprig of boxwood just like they had at Fredericksburg. The remaining 700 men from the Irish Brigade (only 400 were from the original Irish Brigade) were sent to New York and mustered out of the Army of the Potomac. Thus ended the illustrious career of the Irish Brigade.

This is one area where the Union Army crossed on their pontoon bridges.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm  Comments Off on The Irish Brigade  

General Lee Remebered

There have been hundreds of books written about General Robert Edward Lee alone. I have  thrown my hat in the ring and attempted to do a simple biographical sketch of the man. In this post I thought I would share a few quotes about General Lee, also I will insert a few of  Lee’s quotes.

The newspapers of the day spoke very well him of  him (Lee). The New York Herald said ” In Lee the millitary genius of America was developed in a greater extent than ever before. In him all that was pure and lofty in mind and in purpose found lodgment. He came nearer the ideal of a soldier and Christian general than any man we can think of, for he was a greater soldier than Havelock, and equally as devout a Christian.

Newspapers abroad also praised Lee.  The Montreal Telegraph proclaimed that ” Posterity will rank Lee above Wellington or Napoleon, before Saxe or Tureene, above Marlborough or Fredrick, before Alexander. or Caesar… Lee was the greatest general of this or any other age.  He made his own name, and the name of the Confederacy he served immortal”.

In a likewise manner The London Standard said ” A country that has given birth to men like him, and those who followed him, may look  the chivalry of Europe in the face without shame: for the fatherlands of Signey and of Bayard never produced a nobler soldier, gentleman, and Christian than Gen. Robert E. Lee.”.

There have  been some very memorable things said about Lee:

“As in the lives of all persons, Lee’s essence ws to be found not in what he said, but in what he did. There were dimensions to Lee, but his life was one long response to whatever struck him as being the call of duty.” ~ Charles Bracelen Flood

“Lee is the greatest military genius in America” ~ General Winfield Scott 

” Ask me, if you please, to paint storm winds upon the sea; Tell me weigh great Cheops, set volcanic forces free;  But bid me not, my countrymen, to picture Robert E. Lee” ~ Memorial Ode by James Barron Hope

Now here are some quotes from Lee and quotes given directly to him.

” I would rather see you unlettered and unnoticed, if virtuous in practice as well as theory, than see you the equal in glory to the great Washington” ~Henry Lee to his sons. Robert definatly lived up to and exceeded his fathers expectations.

” You cannot become a true man until you learn to obey.” ~ Robert E. Lee. Lee learned and followed this principal throughout his entire life.

 ” ‘ Charity should begin at home’ says ___. No, charity should have no beginning or ending.” ~ Robert E. Lee.  Another principal Lee lived by.

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 3:27 am  Comments Off on General Lee Remebered  

Let Us Rest Under The Shade Of The Trees: Stonewall’s Childhood to West Point

“Come let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”  Those were Thomas “Stonewall” Jonathon Jackson’s last words here on earth For you see on  May 10, 1863 Jackson died. This article is not about his death, but there is a story behind Jackson’s last words that is linked to his childhood. I will address that later on in the article though.

Thomas Jonathon Jackson was born January 21, 1824.  His father’s name was Jonathon and his mother was Julie Neale Jackson. As a child Laura (the youngest child) and Thomas were very close.  Thomas would build little bridges for his sister to cross over the creek at their home in Clarksburg (West) Virginia.  These bridges were the beginning of Jackson’s engineering skills. This is also what historians believe Jackson was alluding to on is death bed. The quiet serenity of his play place is likely where his mind wandered during his delirium, back to the shade of the trees.

Both of Thomas’s parents died when he was  young . His father, an attorney, died  along with his sister Elizabeth in 1826 when Jackson was 2. His mother died when he was 7, in 1831 his mother died of Typhoid Fever.  Jackson was now an orphan.

He was sent to live with his uncle Cummins Jackson, who was very strict on young Thomas.  Even though his uncle had slaves Jackson worked along side them in the fields  harvesting and planting. He also herded oxen and sheep.  He got little education while living with his uncle. The majority of his education was self-taught. As was typical of many Americans of the day.

In June 1842 Thomas was appointed as a cadet to the United States Military Academy. Due to his poor schooling he had a harder time absorbing the material. He worked very, very hard and he graduated 17th in a class of 59 in 1846.  He was in a class with many other future heroes such as George McClellan, George Pickett ( who graduated dead last in the class), and Ambrose Powell Hill. Jackson graduated as a 2nd lieutenant and went directly to the army. Thus beginning his illustrious military career.

Published in: on May 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm  Comments Off on Let Us Rest Under The Shade Of The Trees: Stonewall’s Childhood to West Point  
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Albert Sidney Johnston:

Albert Sidney Johnston was a very great general, one of the best that the Southern Armies had. Before the war he was as well known as Winfield Scott militarily. Once men like Robert E Lee and Thomas Jackson emerged he quickly felt out of the spotlight.  An interesting fact about him is that he was the highest ranking officer on both sides to ever have been killed during the war (full General). He was killed during the Battle of Shiloh, that will come later in the article though.

Albert Sidney Johnston was born February 2, 1803 in Washington Kentucky. He was the son of John and Abigail (harris) Johnston. He was the youngest son of John’s second wife. John’s first wife bore him 3 sons but in 1793. John then married Albert’s mother Abigail. She bore him 6 children. Albert was the 5th child. Abigail died when Albert was 3.  Next, John married a widow with 9 children of her own.Though Albert was born in Kentucky most of his childhood was spent in Texas. This is why he claimed allegiance to Texas when the Civil War broke out.

The town of Washington was the picture of Southern serenity. Its pristine Federal style mansions and rich plantations helped to shape Albert into the man he would be. Not only the Southern atmosphere shaped him his schooling also played a large role in making him the memorable general that he now is today. Albert enrolled in Transylvania University in Lexington Kentucky at the age of 15. While there he majored in Medicine but he soon found that he had a flair for the military arts.  In 1821 Albert left Transylvania and entered into the military academy at West Point along with a now close friend of his Jefferson Davis. In 1826 Johnston graduated 8th in a class of 41 from West Point, and in 1829 he married Henrietta Preston. She died of tuberculosis in 1836. They had one son together William Preston Johnston who also served in the Confederate Army.

In 1834 Johnston became a farmer in Texas, at the same time he also enlisted in the Texas Volunteer Army. Which at the time was fighting for their independence . He was promoted to major and appointed to the staff of General Sam Houston as an aide-de-camp. He served throughout the Mexican War in the army and at the end of the war he had risen all the way to the rank of Senior Brigade General in charge of the Army of Texas.In 1836 Johnston was in a duel with Felix Huston. Johnston refused to fire upon Huston and was wounded in the Pelvis.

In 1838,Johnston was appointed Secretary of War of the Second Republic of Texas . He was charged with the protection of the Texas border from Mexico. Johnston led a campaign against the Indians in 1849, and then retired back home to Kentucky. While in retirement he married Eliza Griffin. They moved to a large plantation called China Grove.

Albert stayed in the army, but this time he transfered  to the Regular Army of the United States. He served as a paymaster and a colonel in two regiments including the 1st Texas Rifle Volunteers, and the 2nd US Cavalry.

At the beginning of the Civil War, in 1861, Johnston was commander of the Department of the Pacific. Many of Johnston’s friends urged him to head back East and join the Union Army. He went against their wishes and joined the Confederate Army. Johnston decided to stay loyal to his childhood home of Texas. He was appointed to the position of full general by his old friend Jefferson Davis. This was the beginning of Albert Sidney Johnston’s service in the Confederate Army.

The biggest battle that Albert Sidney Johnston fought in while in the Confederate Army was the battle of Shiloh. Johnston and the rest of the Confederate Army knew that battle as Pittsburg Landing. Though this battle was not a complete loss for the Confederates, it did not end well for Albert Sidney Johnston.

The battle of Pittsburg Landing began on April 6, 1862.  It was the first major Union victory in the West. The battle began for Johnston with a surprise attack on the Union Army of General Ulysses S. Grant.  Johnston pushed the Federal Army back from their position in at Pittsburgh Landing, through Owl Swamp and to the banks of the Tennessee River. It was successfull. The Federal forces were pushed back until they were reinforced by the army of Don Carlos Beull.

That same day, April 6, Albert Johnston was leading a charge on the front lines. He was shot in the foot, but he thought nothing of it. He sent his personal surgeon to tend to some wounded Union prisoners. He was hit in the popliteal artery. Causing numbness in the leg, which in turn made him not notice the wound until a few minutes afterward. When fell off his horse and his officers came to his side.They brought him to a small ravine . When his aides asked him if he was wounded he said “Yes, and fear seriously.”.  Johnston bled to death in a few moments.  One of the highest skilled generals on both sides had been killed.

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm  Comments (5)  
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Now He Belongs To the Ages

Here is the post that I promised!

The account of the assassination is very well known. This paper will be about some of the details of the assassination itself but mostly will be about the lesser known myths and theories surrounding the tragic events of April 1865. There are seven theories that will expounded upon.

First will be the skeletal details of the assassination. John Wilkes Booth snuck silently into the presidential box in Ford’s Theater and waited for the opportune moment to strike a blow for his country, the Confederacy. That opportunity came fairly quickly. During a funny part of the play when the crowd was roaring with laughter, Booth raised his gun, knowing he had only one shot. He aimed, just before he shot, Lincoln leaned forward almost causing Booth to miss, but sadly, he did not miss. The bullet struck Lincoln behind the left ear and lodged behind the right eye. Major Rathbone, who had accompanied the Lincoln’s along with his fiancé that night, ran to stop Booth when he heard the gun shot. Booth slashed Rathbone to the bone, with the hunting knife he had in his hand. Next, Booth ran to the edge of the box and jumped, catching his leg on the decorative bunting. He broke his shin bone due to the fall and limped across the stage yelling SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS (Thus Always To Tyrants, the Virginia state motto) and waving his now bloody knife. With that, people began screaming and ladies began fainting. Someone yelled that the president had been shot. A doctor in the crowd, Charles Leale, rushed to the box and attended to the fallen president. Leale and another doctor cared for Lincoln for a time in the theater and then had him moved to the Petersen House, a boarding house across the street from the theater. The bed in which Lincoln was placed was too short for him, they laid him diagonally on the bed. Here he stayed until he took his dying breath then Edwin McMaster Stanton supposedly pronounced over the body of Lincoln, “Now he belongs to the ages”. With that America’s greatest president , died.

Later that same evening, there was an assassination attempt on the life of Secretary of State William Seward by Lewis Powell. There was also a plan to take the life of Vice President, Andrew Johnson, by George Atzerodt, who did not carry out his plan. These assassination were all to be carried out in conjunction with one another. At this point is where the conspiracy theories begin to peek their heads out of the dusty history books.

Were all three killings ordered by some higher power? Or were they acts of anger from men who were unwilling to be forgiven for their own acts of rebellion?

Theory Number 1: Vice President Johnson Was Involved in The Assassination

About seven hours before Lincoln was shot, John Wilkes Booth was reported to have visited Vice President Johnson in his hotel, the Kirkwood Hotel. At the time, Johnson, nor his personal secretary were present so Booth left his card and on it he wrote, “Don’t wish to disturb you. Are you at home?”. When Johnson’s personal secretary, William A. Browning, was tried before a military court he said that he did not find the note until later that same afternoon.

Is it at all possible that Booth and Johnson may have had previous meetings? According to Right or Wrong, God Judge Me The Writings of John Wilkes Booth written by John Rhodehamel and Louise Taper Booth had previously met Johnson in Nashville, Tennessee, in February, 1864. At the time Booth was appearing in the newly opened Wood’s Theater as an actor. But there is inadequate evidence to show that Johnson had any involvement in the. Lincoln, after the fiasco at the inauguration really did not have a lot to do with Johnson. Mary Todd believed that Johnson was involved though. She said in a letter to a close friend, Sally Orne, “…that, miserable inebriate Johnson, had cognizance of my husband’s death – Why, was that card of Booth’s, found in his box, some acquaintance certainly existed – I have been deeply impressed, with the harrowing thought, that he, had an understanding with the conspirators & they knew their man… As sure, as you & I live, Johnson, had some hand, in all this…”. Some members of congress also believed that Johnson had some involvement. They established a special assassination committee but found no evidence that would incriminate the vice president.

Theory Number 2: The Simple Conspiracy Theory

. According to this theory, Booth, along with a small group of coconspirators plotted the assassination The theory is that Booth was just a crazed Southern patriot, and a man who was an extreme racist. Booth’s plan was to kidnap President Lincoln originally. When Booth heard the President would be at Ford’s Theater that night he saw the opportunity to strike a decisive blow for his beloved South. Which he did thus causing America to lose the man that She needed the most in those dark times

Theory Number 3: Lincoln’s Assassination Was The Result Of A Confederate Plot

This theory states that Lincoln’s assassination was part of a grand Confederate plot. There have been coded letters found in a trunk belonging to Booth not long after the assassination that tied Booth to the Confederacy. There was also the testimony of George Atzerodt, a fellow, conspirator, before the trial in 1865. In his testimony, Atzerodt implicated a plan to blow up the White house.

Supporters of this theory think that as the war began to digress for the Confederacy more desperate and drastic plans were needed. President Lincoln was viewed as a legitimate war time target. This was justified even more in the minds of the Confederate leaders after Lincoln ordered a raid on Richmond which failed. Colonel Ulrich Dhalgren was hand picked by Lincoln to command this mission and he was killed during the raid. On his body were found documents saying that, “The men must be kept together, and well in hand, and once in the city, it must be destroyed and Jeff Davis and his cabinet killed.”. The Confederate government now believed that the Union government had ordered the death of Jefferson Davis, further solidifying in their minds the fact that President Lincoln aught to be a target also. Many proponents of this theory believe that the Confederate Secretary of State, Judah Philip Benjamin, played a large part in the assassination. He is considered to have played a part because burned all of his records at the fall of Richmond. He was also the only member of the Confederate government never to return to the United States after fleeing to England

This theory assumes that Booth was the puppet of the Confederate government. After the failed attempt by Thomas F. Harney, an explosives expert, to blow up the White House, Booth took the circumstances into his own hands and killed the president. John Wilkes Booth was not a man who willingly gave up the spotlight. He was a master of manipulation and coercion. So it is unlikely that he was the puppet of the Confederate government.

Theory Number 4: The Assassination Was The Result of Disgruntled International Bankers

The idea behind this theory is theat some powerful international bankers were unhappy with the monetary policies of President Lincoln. The bankers were angered, according to this theory, when Lincoln refused their high interest loans and found other ways to fund his war effort. The British, especially were angered by Lincoln’s reconstruction policy it destroyed Britain’s chance of controlling the American economy. Booth, according to this theory was a payed gunman.

Theory Number 5: The Roman Catholic Church Was Behind the Assassination

A book written in 1886 titled Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, written by ex- priest Charles Chiniquy, told of the Lincoln assassination being part of a plot by the Roman Catholic Church. Chiniquy stated in the book that Jefferson Davis offered up to $1,000,000.00 for someone to, “kill the author of the bloodshed.” He also said that, “the Jesuits alone could select the assassins, train them, and show them a crown of glory in heaven…”. This theory assumes that Booth was the puppet of the Vatican.

The reason some people think that the Vatican could have been involved was because in 1856 Lincoln had defended Chiniquy in a case against Chiniquy’s Bishop. The case went to court May 20-22, 1856. Lincoln arranged a settlement between the church and Chiniquy. The Jesuits thought they had been slandered in this settlement. Chiniquy thought some of the Jesuits held Lincoln responsible for this, therefore their motive for the assassination. Another reason is that the majority of Roman Catholics in America were either slave holders or were in favor of slaveholding.

Theory Number 6: Secretary Of War Edwin McMaster Stanton Was Behind The Assassination

This theory is also known as the Eisenschiml Theory. A book written by Otto Eisenschiml Why Was Lincoln Killed, accused Stanton of being the mastermind behind the assassination. Though Eisenschimal’s was not the only book to state this theory it was the first book to introduce the theory to the public. The theory states that Edwin M. Stanton was directly involved in the assassination. He is accused of this because of the amount of evidence presented against him. For example, the fact that all of the bridges going in and out of Washington DC were closed the night of the assassinaton, except for the Navy Yard bridge which Booth just happened to use in his escape. This bridge was open by order of Stanton. Another piece of evidence, put forth by Eisenschimal, concerns General Grant. Eisenschimal believes that had Grant been at the play that evening, the security would have been much tighter. Grant did not attend the play, due to a possible order given from Stanton. Therefore, making Lincoln more vulnerable to attack. The other evidence against Stanton is that he knew of the conspirators meetings at Mary Surratt’s boarding house but did nothing about them.Another piece of evidence is when Lincoln requested Thomas T. Eckert to be his bodyguard Stanton said Eckert had,”Vital work to do at the War Department’s telegraph office”, which according to Eisenschimal was a false statement.

There is other less plausible evidence also against Stanton. For example, ciphered messages were found in a trunk allegedly written by Lafayette Baker, head of the National Detective Police that implicated Stanton directly in the assassination.

This theory is not widely believed because though there is evidence to back it up much of this same evidence has been fabricated. Which would lead the reader to the conclusion that Stanton had no part in the assassination.

Theory Number 7: Disaffected Northerners Were Behind The Assassination

There were certain radical groups in the North who were not friends with Lincoln at the end of the war. The Radical Republicans did not agree with Lincoln’s plans for reconstruction. They wanted more control over the South. Many Northern businessmen were unhappy with President Lincoln’s trading policies. During the war Lincoln had granted cotton trading permits but after the war the businessmen, bankers, and planters feared what would happen to their trade. Out of this dilemma stemmed the assassination plot. In a cipher written by Lafayette Baker stating, “There were at least eleven members of Congress involved in the plot, no less than twelve Army officers, three Naval officers and at least twenty-four civilians, of which one was a governor of a loyal state. Five were bankers of great repute, there were nationally known newspapermen and eleven were industrialists of great repute and wealth”. In the conspiracy tria,l Samuel Chester, a close friend of Booth’s said that Booth told him that, “there were fifty to one hundred persons engaged in the conspiracy”. In the trial of George Atzerodt, George said, that “if Booth did not get him (Lincoln) quick the New York crowd would, Booth knew the New York party apparently by a sign. He saw Booth give some kind of sign to two parties on the Avenue who he said were from New York.”. The Radical Republicans did not want the South to be allowed back into the Union easily and the cotton traders did not want their fountain of money to run dry. As cotton prices fell, disaffection in the North rose. Lincoln was in their way and had to be removed. John Wilkes Booth was the man who could remove him for them.

A few other groups of radicals who were opposed to Lincoln were the Freemasons, the B’nai B’rith, and the Knights of the Golden circle.

These are the seven theories behind the Lincoln Assassination. It has been one hundred and fifty years since that tragic night in 1865, and there is not a smoking gun to be found. From these theories one may draw a conclusion from the evidence that has been humbly written as to what really happened and who plotted the assassination of one our nation’s most beloved presidents.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 11:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War

Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War

This year is the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln’s election. This election had a huge impact on the nation. Seven Southern states had already seceded before Lincoln was elected in April 1860 but once he was in office three more states would secede and Fort Sumter was fired upon. What steps could Lincoln have taken in order to avoid the war? Were Lincoln’s attempts to stop the secession of the South enough or could he have done more. These are all questions that surround the new president and the whole era. I will answer these questions in the following essay.

What steps could Lincoln have taken in order to avoid the war? Where Lincoln’s attempts to stop the secession of the South enough or could he have done more? First you must know the steps that Lincoln took in the first place. The first thing Lincoln did was to ensure the Southern states that he would not invade them. Lincoln said in his inaugural address ” You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors.” Lincoln knew that the Constitution was the absolute law for the country. Lincoln said that the South had two choices “They can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or, their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it.” Lincoln to avoid secession would even accept an amendment legalizing slavery in states were it was already established.

Another step he took to avoid secession was to use “words of affection” to draw the erring children (the seceded Southern states) back into the Union. In his inaugural address Lincoln told the South “We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth- stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union…”. These were Lincoln’s words of comfort but according to Eyewitness to The Civil War by Kagan Hyslop what Lincoln was really getting at when he said this was not what most people think. Lincoln said this to influence the Northern public to blame secessionists and to start a war on them. I do not think Hyslop’s interpretation of Lincoln’s speech is correct. I don’t think that Lincoln was looking to provoke anyone to war. He wanted to save lives and keep people in the Union rather then to send them away and pit brother on brother in a Civil War. I don’t think Lincoln wanted to start a war I think that he wanted to do whatever he could to keep the Union together. If that including freeing all the slaves he would, but if it also meant leaving all the slaves in their current status he would do that too if it meant saving the Union.

The next step Lincoln that took to avoid Civil war was not so effective as the others were. This next thing Lincoln did was resupply but not reinforce the garrison at Fort Sumter. Lincoln told Pickens the Federal fleet would bring “Provisions only” to the fort there would be “No effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition.”. When Governor Charles Pickens of South Carolina heard about the supply mission he went to President Davis right away. Davis met with his cabinet in the first Confederate capitol Montgomery Alabama on April 9th to decide whether or not to seize the fort. Davis knew that if the Confederates fired first Lincoln and the whole North would blame them for it. Davis also knew that the South Carolinians would fire on the fort with or without his orders. Louis T. Wigfall of Texas wrote to Jefferson Davis ” No one doubts that Lincoln intends war” “Let us take Fort Sumter before we have to fight the fleet and the fort.” Lincoln despite all of these things went ahead with the resupply mission. The U.S.S Star of the West was ordered to carry the supplies along with some naval frigates to the fort. The ships never made it to the fort because of the bombardment but the fact that they were sent sparked the proverbial fire known as the Civil War.

Up to April 12h 1860 only seven states had seceded. In the next three months four more states seceded. After all the states seceded the Civil War officially began. Were there things Lincoln could have done to stop this? Yes and no. The no part of the answer is this; everything that has happened in history was and is part of God’s plan and was predetermined before the beginning of time. Everything that happened had a purpose in God’s plan and cannot be changed. Then there is the yes part of the answer. In my opinion I think more legislation could have gone a long way. Yes, there had already been twenty years of compromises and collisions in the Senate but the only way to work something out in a civilized manner is to talk and debate. That is exactly what they do in the senate and that is exactly what Lincoln should have tried harder to do with the Southern Senators. He should have pushed harder for new legislation. Like I mentioned before Lincoln was open to new legislation that would have kept the Union together longer, but in all the uproar no one was willing to sit down and do so as civilized men do discuss it. The Southerners believed their honor had been injured and would not talk anymore.

Because men of the South lived and died for the sake of their honor. Men of the South would live, die, risk property and money all for the sake of their sacred honor. Honor to Southern men was just as important as oxygen is to humans and light is to plants for their growth and nutrition. In the mind of men in this era the only way to retrieve your honor is to either duel or have a war. There were many duels and fights over injured honor in the history of the Senate but the worst thing was the Sumner-Brooks incident. Charles Sumner was giving his ‘Crime Against Kansas’ speech in which he said that Butler, Douglass, and other supporters of the Kansas-Nebraska Act were trying to push Kansas into the “Hateful embrace of slavery.” Sumner also said in his speech that those men were responsible for the “Rape of a virgin territory [Kansas]” Sumner also said that they were raising themselves “To eminence on the floor in championship of human wrongs”. This made Senator Brooks absolutely livid. Brooks thought that Sumner had personally attacked his state (South Carolina) and his kinsman Butler also of South Carolina when Sumner said it would be no great loss to civilization if “South Carolina were blotted out of existence”. So the now very angry Senator Brooks beat Senator Sumner over the head and body. This is just one instance where in someone violently defended their Southern pride and honor.

The gentry of the South felt that their honor had been greatly damaged by Lincoln’s stance on Slavery. They in the South believed that since Lincoln had taken such a derogatory stand though not openly on their peculiar institution he had personally attacked every single slave owner. Which Lincoln did not nor did he ever seek to do that because he believed that they were all country men and he did not want to give them another reason to fight The only time he did take away personal property was when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. That is one instance where Lincoln did seek to take away the personal property of the slave holders, but only in the areas where the army was in control.

All these steps that Lincoln took helped in their own way, but they also caused trouble. Like what he did to help Fort Sumter actually brought the war on quicker. Nothing that Lincoln did in my mind actually stopped the war from coming. Obviously since the war lasted for four bloody, tragic, horrible war between brothers, fathers, sons, and cousins. An uncivil, familial war that costed the lives of more than six hundred thousand men and boys. It was a war that strengthened America though. We would have been conquered so easily by nations like Germany and Japan had the war not been fought . As Lincoln quoted in his speech in Springfield Illinois in June 1858 “A house divided cannot stand” which is a direct quote from Matthew 12:25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”. I think Lincoln knew that if the Union was not a complete one then everything that the founding fathers had striven so hard to establish would be destroyed. If this democracy failed then the rest of the world would see that everything we believe in is wrong and won’t work. Lincoln did everything he could to keep the Union together when he realized that it wouldn’t stay together by meer reasoning and talking he knew that a war was inevitable. So I think that Lincoln did all in his power to prevent the Civil War. Humans are humans and do not always make the right choices, but Lincoln used all of his abilities to do what he did, and he pulled our nation through possibly the hardest time in history. Thank the Lord Almighty for giving us here in America a president who saw and knew that our nation under God is indivisible with life, liberty and justice for all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm  Comments Off on Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War  

The Story of Phineas Gage

Sorry I didn’t type out the story for myself but I thought that this article would sufice. This is about a man from  pre-civil war America who got in quite an accident. It is an interesting story.

http://www.deakin.edu.au/hmnbs/psychology/gagepage/Pgstory.php

Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 1:45 am  Comments Off on The Story of Phineas Gage  

Phil Kearney

Phil Kearney was a man that you could make a legend out of. He was brave to the last moment of his life and gave his all for his country. All heroes also have their downfalls. Phil Kearney had both his ups and his downs and I will tell you about both.

Phil Kearney was born June 2, 1815 in New York, New York. He was the son of Philip kearney Sr. and Sarah Watts. When Kearney was a boy he was called “A perfect horse killer” because he was a very reckless rider. At the age of seven Kearney was struck by tragedy. His mother died. It took time as one would expect to recover from the grief but the young Kearney eventually returned to his  normal hot tempered self.

Early in life Philip Jr. had aspirations to be in the army. When he was ready to take the entry exam for West Point his father and Grandfather paid him $1500 not to join.  They wanted him to become a lawyer. Philip Jr. eventually accepted their decision.  Kearney studied law and entered into the law firm of his cousin Peter Augustus Jay, but in the back of his mind the longing to be in the army was always there.

In 1836 Kearney’s Grandfather died and left him over one million dollars in inheritance making him one of the richest men in America at the time. Now that he was a legal adult without financial troubles and out from the control of his father Philip Jr. joined the army.

With the help of his uncle Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Watts Kearney and General Winfield Scott whom he had met and impressed while in law school received a commission as second lieutenant of the first dragoons a cavalry regiment.  He reported to his uncle at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on June 10, 1847. He served here for two years.

Kearney turned out to be a well-liked if not rather eccentric officer. He was always quick to encourage and praise the work of those below him in rank. His comrades often questioned why he would join the army if he had all that money and such a good social standing.  Kearney often used his fortune to help outfit his company. After two years as 2nd lieutenant of the 1st dragoons he was assigned to the military district commandant Henry Atkinson as an Aide-de-camp. Kearney was not necessarily happy about his new assignment but there was an upside to it. Kearney fell in love with the commandants sister-in-law Diana Bullitt. Everyone thought that Diana and Philip would get married but Kearney did something that suprised everyone including Diana. He accepted an assignment overseas.

His new assignment was in the France. He was to observe the French Cavalry which at the time was thought to be the best in the world. The United States government sent three young men over and Kearney was choosen as one of them. He was chosen partly because his Uncle Stephen Kearney was the one making the selections. He arrived in France in 1839 just in time to take part in the Duke of Orleans’s expedition into the Algiers. This was just the opportunity that Kearney had been looking for. This assignment gave him the chance to fight in an actual war rather then just leading troops during peace time.

This is part One part two will go shortly

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 3:05 am  Comments Off on Phil Kearney  

Robert E. Lee: The Soldier And Man Pt 2

Here is the continuation of pt 1.

Robert Edward Lee’s military career began as an engineer at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island Georgia. In 1831 he was stationed to Fort Monroe as an engineer also. He was assigned to assist in the engineering of the fort. Where he stayed until the outbreak of the Mexican War. Also while stationed at Fort Monroe he married Mary Anna Randolph Custis the great Grand daughter of Martha Washington.    

 Robert continued his military career during the Mexican War. He served on the staffs of   John Wool and Winfield Scott. He gained the most distinction while on Scott’s staff. He gained three brevets one for his actions at the battle of Cerro Gordo. At this battle he found a mountain pass that when taken allowed General Scott could surround the army of Santa Anna. He also fought at the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec where he was slightly wounded. During the Mexican War Lee became acquainted with Ulysses S. Grant, to whom he would later surrender the Army of Northern Virginia to.

After the Mexican War he served as an engineer in Baltimore until 1852 when he was appointed as the superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point. While he was serving as superintendent his son George Washington Custis Lee graduated from West Point. Robert hated the mundane duties of superintendent and asked to be reassigned to field duty. He was given command of the newly formed 2nd U.S. Cavalry in Texas. It was Lee’s first substantial promotion since 1838 where he received a brevet promotion to captain. While in Texas Lee fought the Comanches and Apaches. He served here until 1857 when the death of his father-in-law made him return to Arlington to settle the estate. The settlement of the estate kept him in Arlington until 1859 when John Brown and his cohorts attempted to take Harpers Ferry.

Lee played an integral part in the affair at Harpers Ferry.  John Brown along with twenty-two other men captured the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. , Robert E. Lee along with his force of eighty-six marines and his Aide-de-camp James Ewell Brown Stuart was ordered by President Buchanan  to capture Brown with out the effusion of blood if possible. On the morning of  October 18 Lee and his men ordered the surrender of Brown and his men who in turn refused and the shots began. Ten of Brown’s Twenty-two men were killed these included his two sons and two black men, seven men were captured two of those captured were captured later on, and five men escaped. Lee also captured John Brown was captured after being shot in the leg and hit on the head with the handle of a sword. He was eventually tried and hanged on charges of treason towards the United States. This is event was a catalyst to the Civil War another war in which Robert E. Lee would serve with great distinction.

 

 

 

                                                      The Arsenal at Harpers Ferry

 Part 3 will come shortly.I will try and get it out faster than I did Part 2. Sorry about the wait.

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 3:49 am  Comments (2)  

Robert E. Lee: The Soldier and Man Pt. 1

Robert Edward Lee was born January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall Plantation, Virginia. He was the son of the famed “Light Horse” Harry Lee and Anne Hill (Ne’e Carter) Lee. Robert was the fifth child in the family.

The Lee’s were a part of the Gentry class of Virginian society.  Robert’s maternal great-great Grandfather was the wealthiest man in the Virginia colony when he died in 1732. Robert’s Father would not have such success in their family’s finances, because Henry Lee squandered the fortunes of two wives, and abandoned the family. Harry lee moved to the Bahamas after being injured in a mob in Baltimore where he was truing to defend the home of a friend. The home he stayed in while he was in the Bahamas was the home of the famed Nathaniel Greene a hero in the Revolutionary war. It was at this home that Harry Lee died. Robert Edward was only eleven.

Nathaniel Greene

In 1825 Robert began his studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He became the first cadet to receive the rank of Sergeant at the end of the first year. When he graduated in 1829 he was at the head of his class. A position he shared with five other classmates. Having not gained any demerits during his years at West Point he was second overall in his class.

After his graduation he was given the brevet rank of Second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.  Lee began his military career at Fort Pulaski on Cockspur Island Georgia. In 1831 he was stationed at Fortress Monroe. While he was there he married Marry Anna Randolph  Custis the  great- grand-daughter of Marth Washington. This was the beginning of an illustrious military career for Robert E. Lee. Pt 2 will come shortly.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 3:05 am  Comments Off on Robert E. Lee: The Soldier and Man Pt. 1