Donald R. McClarey

Grant Puts a Stop to Treason Trials

    It is  little remembered now, but in 1865 there was a brief attempt to conduct treason trials against Confederate generals.  On June 7, 1865, U.S. District Judge John C. Underwood in Norfolk, Virginia issued indictments against Lee, Longstreet,

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Donald R. McClarey

The Entire Civil War

      Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in

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Donald R. McClarey

One People

Something for the weekend.  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band.  When I read Civil War history I do not read it in an us v. them spirit.  Everybody involved is an American:  Confederate, Union, black slave. 

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Donald R. McClarey

Think It Will End With Confederates?

He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn’t a spread-eagle speech, but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed

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Donald R. McClarey

Give ’em Hell 54th!

The negroes fought gallantly, and were headed by as brave a colonel as ever lived.” – Confederate Lieutenant Iredell Jones, who observed the 54th’s fateful advance on Fort Wagner. In a Civil War mood lately because of current events.  The

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Donald R. McClarey

One Reason We Didn’t Have Unending Civil Wars

          One reason we didn’t have unending civil wars after the one that ended in 1865 is because of the generosity of spirit by Abraham Lincoln, Lieutenant General Grant and by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, he of

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Report of Stonewall Jackson on the Battle of Cedar Mountain

    On August 9, 1862, Stonewall Jackson, spearheading General Lee’s offensive against General John Pope’s hastily assembled Army of Virginia.  At Cedar Mountain in Culpepper County Virginia he attack his old Valley adversary General Nathaniel Banks, known affectionately by

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The Man Who Helped Convert General Rosecrans

  As faithful readers of this blog know, I have often written about General William Rosecrans, Union general and zealous Catholic convert.  One of the men who helped in the conversion process was Julius Garesché, who would serve under Rosecrans

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Our Under Studied Civil War

    It seems shockingly counter-intuitive to suggest that the Civil War is under studied.  Beginning while the War was being waged, and continuing to the present day, there have been an avalanche of books about that conflict.  However, certain

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July 21, 1861: Battle of Bull Run-Lessons to Learn

  The First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, was the first major battle of the Civil War.  A Confederate victory, it gave lessons to those paying attention: 1.    It amply demonstrated the hazards of sending half-trained troops into

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Abraham Lincoln

And, after that, the chunky man from the West, Stranger to you, not one of the men you loved As you loved McClellan, a rider with a hard bit, Takes you and uses you as you could be used, Wasting

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Poor Kitty Popcorn

  Something for the weekend.  One of the more bizarre songs to arise from our Civil War:  Poor Kitty Popcorn.  Sung by Bobby Horton who has a talent for resurrecting even the most obscure of Civil War tunes.

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Fortnight For Freedom: Nuns of the Battlefield

      The Church is sometimes depicted as somehow an alien presence in this fair land of freedom.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Catholics, beginning with Christopher Columbus, have played a vital role in American history from

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May 15, 1864: Battle of New Market

  “And New Market’s young cadets.” Southern Birthright, Bobby Horton John C. Breckinridge, fourteenth Vice-President of the United States and current Confederate Major General, had a big problem.  His task was to hold the Shenandoah Valley, the bread basket of

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History and Leftist Inconoclasm

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a

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Grant and the Wounded of Cold Harbor

Ulysses S. Grant was a great man and a great general, but he did make mistakes.  At Cold Harbor, Virginia he made two very big mistakes.  He made foolish assaults on Lee’s heavily entrenched lines on June 3, 1864 which cost the lives of

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The Reluctant Conscript

    Something for the weekend.  The Reluctant Conscript performed by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War era music to modern audiences.  This song is typical of the type of humorous songs sung

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April 9, 1865: Palm Sunday at Appomatox

It is poor business measuring the mouldered ramparts and counting the silent guns, marking the deserted battlefields and decorating the grassy graves, unless we can learn from it some nobler lesson than to destroy.  Men write of this, as of

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Stand Up For Uncle Sam My Boys

    Something for the weekend.  Stand Up For Uncle Sam My Boys sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.  A pro-Union song written in 1861 by that tireless

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Kelly’s Irish Brigade

  (I first posted this in 2010.  Over they years it has proven quite popular judging from the number of hits it has received, so I thought this weekend would be a good one to post it again.) I have

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Christmas Bells Ring On

  Something for the weekend.  One of my favorite Christmas carols has always been I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.   It is based on the poem Christmas Bells written  by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day 1863.  Still

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George Washington’s Vision

  I see this piece of fiction floating around the internet: “The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the Fourth of July, 1859, in Independence Square. He was then ninety-nine years old, his dimming eyes rekindled as

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Good-bye Old Glory

    Something for the weekend.  Good-bye Old Glory.  Published on September 29, 1865 with music by the most prolific song writers of the Civil War era, George Frederick Root and lyrics by L.J. Bates.  This song was popular at

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To Canaan

  Something for the weekend.  To Canaan.   One of the more bloodthirsty songs of our Civil War, it is based on this poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, published in 1862:

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Fortnight For Freedom: Battle Cries of Freedom

Something for a Fourth of July weekend.  The Battle Cry of Freedom was a popular song North and South during the Civil War.  Of course they sang different lyrics to the song.  The Union version was such a favorite among the Union

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Palm Sunday 151 Years Ago

    It is poor business measuring the mouldered ramparts and counting the silent guns, marking the deserted battlefields and decorating the grassy graves, unless we can learn from it some nobler lesson than to destroy.  Men write of this,

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March 11, 1861: Confederate Constitution Adopted

It has always been intriguing to me that, as microscopically studied as the Civil War has been over the years, more attention has not been paid to the Confederate Constitution. It is a fascinating document.  Crafted by men who had

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Presidential Assassins: Born Under an Unlucky Star

Hattip for the above video to commenter Greg Mockeridge. I have never liked Presidents’ Day. Why celebrate loser presidents like Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan, non-entities like Millard Fillmore, bad presidents, like Grant, with great presidents like Washington and Lincoln?

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The Free State of Jones?

The film The Free State of Jones, is being released in May.  Surprisingly, it is the second Hollywood film to depict alleged events in Jones County Mississippi during the Civil War, the first being the forgotten film Tap Roots (1948)

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But We Have Forgotten God

As we approach Lent in this Year of Mercy it is striking to me how most who call themselves Christians have lost any sense of sin.  Christ seems to be perceived as a divine Pal, with a dog like eagerness

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Shelby Foote and His Short History

The point I would make is that the novelist and the historian are seeking the same thing: the truth — not a different truth: the same truth — only they reach it, or try to reach it, by different routes.

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Red Tape

A good object lesson to those under the mistaken belief that government red tape was an invention of the last century.  Hamilton K. Redway was born in 1829 and died in 1888.  During the Civil War he served in the

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