Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Last weekend I visited the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a free museum with excellent exhibits, a manageable floor plan, and it is located on the beautiful capitol square. Here are links to my individual posts on the museum:

Part One: The Civil War

Part Two: The Spanish-American War

Part Three: The Mexican Border War and World War One

Part Four: World War Two


Battle of Gaine’s Mill, Virginia, 27 June 1862, Fr. d’Orleans

This engagement saw the largest Confederate attack in the war. However, the charges were not coordinated well, resulting in heavy casualties. With the arrival of “Stonewall” Jackson, the Confederates finally executed a full assault.

July 1

In 1863, at a sleepy little town called Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, soldiers of the United States Army began a battle against the soldiers of the treasonous Confederacy.  Over the next three days, it would turn into the largest single battle ever fought in North America.  Over 170,000 soldiers would struggle there, and the rebel armies would be turned back from their last invasion of Union territory.  It was the beginning of the end for the treachery of the slave states, and thank the god of battles for that. 

The Union general in charge, George Meade, was on his fourth day commanding the Army of the Potomac.  So you could say there was a pretty steep learning curve for him. 

When the last shot had been fired, over 50,000 men from both armies were dead, wounded, or missing.  The entire time, there was one civilian casualty.  One!  A poor woman named Ginnie Wade was hit by a stray bullet while she was baking bread.  I defy you to find any other battle in modern times where so many soldiers clashed with so little collateral damage. 

You can and should read all about what happened around that little town; how the heroes of the Iron Brigade, the 1st Minnesota, and the 20th Maine accomplished superhuman feats of arms and saved the Union.  Even that fuckhead George Armstrong Custer acquitted himself very well. 

There would be almost two more years of bloody struggle, but the slavers’ insurrection would finally be put down.  After Gettysburg, it was simply a matter of time.

anonymous asked:

After the success of the Confederates at Fredricksburg (heavily defensive positions w/ adversary willing to attack) why did Lee make the reverse mistake at Gettysburg? Meade had a wonderful defensive position along the ridge (likely stronger than that of the Confederates at Fredricksburg). Was he courting the "grand battle" outcome to end the war? Why did Longstreet become the scapegoat despite his heavy resistance to the engagement at all? He seems a man ahead of his time strategy wise/

Lee was hoping that a grand charge that routed the Army of the Potomac, on Northern soil, would panic Lincoln, embolden the anti-war camp, and earn recognition from England or France. The ‘King Cotton’ idea was not very successful, as Great Britain had vast cotton stockpiles and access to other sources like Egypt. Contrarily, the agriculture from the Northern States was a key economic resource for both hungry Englishmen and money-minded English merchants. If he could break Northern morale, he could force peace-minded people to the table and salvage the Confederacy, which was needed as Grant was tightening the noose on the Mississippi.

Now, Longstreet became the scapegoat largely because of the Lost Cause movement. Around 1872, proponents of the Cause painted him as consciously insubordinate by not attacking at sunrise according to Lee’s order, which evidence suggests was not the case. Longstreet was singled out because of his post-war conduct. Longstreet had joined the Republican Party, advocated for the equal rights cause, and endorsed Grant’s presidency, and these won him little love among revanchist southerners. Longstreet did little to counter these rumors, busy with business opportunities in New Orleans and tending to his ever-growing family. He earned further condemnation when he commanded a mixed unit of city policemen and state militia (which included many freedmen) against the White League in 1874, and so it spread in the popular mindset among the South. His own rebuttal of the criticisms came only in 1875 in his memoirs, by which time he was seen as a Republican cronyist and tool of Washington, and the papers were simply disbelieved.

Thanks for the question, Anon.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

July 4

In 1863, on the 87th American Independence Day, the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi fell to the heroes of the United States Army.  Vicksburg was part of the treasonous Confederacy, of course, and it was the last holdout preventing unimpeded Union cargo and naval traffic on the Mississippi River.

The commanders of the Vicksburg campaign would soon become famous throughout the land–Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman.  Upon hearing of their success, President Lincoln remarked that “the Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea,” because apparently there was a time when being a complete dolt was not a desirable trait in US Presidents.

Historian James McPherson called Grant’s Vicksburg campaign “the most brilliant and innovative campaign of the Civil War.”  The US Army, going one further, noted in the 1986 Field Manual 100-5 that this was “the most brilliant campaign ever fought on American soil.”

Local legend (I cannot vouch for the veracity of this) states that the city of Vicksburg did not celebrate US Independence Day until about 80 years later.  And the fact that such a story even exists tells you something about the sorry-ass, recalcitrant, whiny-ass-titty-babies who crow about the glory of the Lost Cause and wave their stupid traitor flags.  

USS Atlanta.

Built in Glasgow in 1861 as a merchantman named Fingal, she was bought by the Confederacy and after running the Union blockade was outfitted as an ironclad. Subsequently in 1863 the Atlanta was captured by the Union and re-armed as the USS Atlanta.

Our town (in rural Ohio, USA) is very tiny, but we have a lot of legends. One that has always amused me is the story that if you drive down a certain road at midnight, two people will fly at your car windshield and chase you, levitating. Sometimes you can apparently hear screaming or talking in the woods on either side. It was never clear to me if they were supposed to be ghosts or not, and if so, who they were the ghosts of. I’ve done the “dare” for this one, and the road IS really creepy, but nothing happened.

There’s another story about our local university that I actually researched, hoping I could use it for my history capstone project. The university dates back to the 1850s, and supposedly one of the buildings on campus was used as a Civil War hospital, or as a convalescent home for Civil War veterans. The ghost of an officer is said to wander the upper floors at night, one room in particular. I know several people who have had strange experiences there, hearing boot steps, voices, and slamming doors. A former security guard told me something followed her through the building one night, opening the doors she had just closed.

Whoever the ghost is, though, (if they exist,) they aren’t a Civil War officer. The university has excellent records I was able to dig through, and I could find no connection whatsoever between the campus and the War. In fact, if I read the records correctly, the “haunted room” didn’t even exist at that time. There wasn’t even enough information for me to use for my project.

One last thing: we had a local legend called “Hell House”, which was a home that a man built for his family, who died in a train accident before it could be finished. The man supposedly hanged himself on the tree out front, and you could still see his ghost swinging from it on certain nights. This story was apparently well known enough to make it into a nationally published book on Ohio oddities, but the tree from the story was cut down a few years ago, and the house has been completely restored to a non-spooky state.