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.

They are presented as being part of a continuous heritage, but the idea that these symbols have anything to do with anything but racial reaction is wrong.

Joseph Lowndes on the statues of Confederate generals (Why is the US still fighting the Civil War?)

Like most of the other monuments to the confederacy’s “lost cause”, the statue in Charlottesville was not built in the immediate aftermath of that war. Rather, it was commissioned more than half a century later in 1917, and erected in 1924. It was part of a wave of statue-building in the south that took place between the late 1890s and 1920, according to research from the Southern Poverty Law Center. That wave crested in about 1911.

According to Joseph Lowndes, a political scientist at the University of Oregon and author of two books on the US’s racial politics and the south, the timing of these enthusiasms is not accidental. “The statues go up in moments of racial reaction.”

The earlier craze was the moment when Lowndes says, “the Jim Crow order was really being built in the south”. So-called Jim Crow laws formally segregated public schools, public transport and public spaces generally in former confederate states. Laws mandated that black people and white people use separate restaurants, restrooms and drinking fountains. According to Lowndes, the Jim Crow phenomenon was a reaction to the inroads made by the populist movement, which had fleetingly created political alliances of poor blacks and whites against the rich southern planter class. Lowndes says that southern elites sought to “take blacks out of the electorate and segregate public space” in order to “redivide the black and white core” of the south’s working class and small farmers. The monuments were also elements of this divide-and-rule strategy. They were ultimately built for a white audience, as “elements of a culture that directed whites towards beliefs that aligned them with the planters”, says Lowndes. “It was a political project. Any political project requires symbols, and an imaginary.”

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:

Englishman here- I’ve recently started reading into the American civil war and I’ve seen several mentions about the South have better officers and commanders in general. Is there a reason for this? (Unless you think otherwise?)

Yes and no.

Both sides had their geniuses and idiots, competent military men and politically appointed idiots. Lee himself had a rocky start in the beginning, and Irwin McDonnell’s strategy at Manassas was not a particularly bad one but he got really unlucky. As Lincoln said it the beginning of the War: “You are green, yes, but you are all green.”

The South was able to get a system that worked though. Once Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and J.E.B. Stuart got humming, they got really humming, and the Army of Northern Virginia’s performance is taken as the South overall.

However, the North had a larger pool of men and Lincoln would draw and discard until he found one who worked. While it is true that senior leaders of the Union armies changed several times, and McClellan had a case of “the slows,” as it was called, eventually the better officers rose to their positions in the Union Army. Grant, Meade, Sherman, Sheridan, Pap Thomas, the North had a pool of decent officers. It just took them a while to get their jobs compared to the Army of Northern Virginia, which benefited from a cohesive officer ecosystem much earlier than its counterpart, the Army of the Potomac.

Thanks for the question, English 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.  

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

not for nothing and like, i know we’re not entitled to anything from him, but Chris Evans built up the countdown to being reunited with his one true love, Dodger, with photos and videos of the two of them, and so if he doesnt post the reunion it’ll quite honestly be the most crushing disappointment for the end of a narrative since Marvel tried to tell us that Civil War was a better film than TWS and a fitting end to the Cap trilogy