TEEGARDEN: FROM BULL RUN THROUGH BULL RUN
This past week, Aug. 30 marked the 149th anniversary of the Union’s second consecutive defeat at Bull Run. But Union futility on the fields of Virginia over this 14-month stretch was more pathetic than the record might indicate. The Yankee losing streak that had begun on the same battlefield the previous year, in July 1861, included repeated losses on battlefields between Washington and Richmond and up and down the Shenandoah Valley. Then, on Sept.
TEEGARDEN: CIVIL WAR GENERALS, PART 3
The Civil War battle resulting in the Union capture of Fort Donelson, in northern Tennessee, is not nearly as well known as it ought to be, given the eclectic cast of characters serving as general officers who played a role there. But most notably, it was during the preparation for and execution of this campaign that the men who would come to be celebrated as the Union’s two greatest generals began working together.
TEEGARDEN: CIVIL WAR GENERALS, PART 2
For a variety of reasons, I’ve always had more difficulty gaining insight, perspective and understanding of the main generals of the Confederacy than of their Union counterparts. One contributing factor is certainly the misleading and often false reporting of “history” through the Myth of the Lost Cause. Likewise, I suspect that it’s more difficult to focus on the positive attributes of those who both started and then lost our Civil War.
TEEGARDEN: THOSE WHO MADE THE GRADE
Over the four-year duration of the Civil War, the Union Army included close to 2,500 “generals.” But that number is somewhat misleading in that it includes almost 2,000 “Brevet” Brigadier Generals. While the “Brevet” rank is somewhat complex to understand in its entirety, it is roughly analogous to a modern day combat medal or other honorary award for valor. The Brevet rank typically did not carry with it a commensurate level of authority or pay, but those who received a Brevet promotion in rank were entitled to use the associated honorific permanently.
TEEGARDEN: LESSONS FROM THE CIVIL WAR
July 21 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first “major” battle of the American Civil War, which was referred to as “Bull Run” by the Union, and as “Manassas” by the Confederates. Hopefully any serious students of this particular battle will forgive my oversimplified explanation of the battle itself, as I’ve tried to capture the highlights.
TEEGARDEN: “That this nation, under God, shall have a New Birth of Freedom”
As an undergraduate student, I once had the temerity to ask a Lincoln/Civil War scholar which of Lincoln’s numerous speeches should be considered his greatest. For a moment he looked piteously down at my lesser being, then smiled and suggested that, rather than pick one favorite, all good citizens should simply read, assimilate, and reflect upon all of them. Yikes!
TEEGARDEN: A SAD LEGACY OF AMERICAN SACRIFICE
During the American Civil War, prisoners of war presented major logistical, political and humanitarian challenges to both the Union and the Confederacy. And, like virtually all other aspects of that conflict, the Union, for the most part, did a better job of handling those challenges. But the horror was widespread on both sides.