Donald R. McClarey

Democrats Feeling Their Oats

  Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages

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Donald R. McClarey

How Civil Wars Start

  Senator Ted Cruz (R.Tx) and his wife were attempting to dine out at a Washington restaurant last night and were attacked by a mob of Leftists.  The Democrats, at least most of them, give not a fig about the

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Donald R. McClarey

Civil War II

Maybe somebody just forgot what it was like. Lt. Col. Andrew Tanner in Red Dawn attempting to explain why the Third World War broke out.     As faithful readers of this blog know, I write a lot about the

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Donald R. McClarey

Two Minutes to Change the World

        Presidents during their presidencies make hundreds of speeches.  Most are utterly forgotten soon after they are delivered.  Even most of the speeches by a president who is also a skilled orator, as Lincoln was, are recalled only

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February 8, 1915: Birth of a Nation Debuts in Los Angeles

  The film Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith’s masterpiece, was  controversial at its release and remains so.  At three hours the film was a pioneering effort using then cutting age technology to produce a movie that stunned viewers with its cinematic

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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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Civil War Book Haul

  While in Wisconsin, my family and I visited the Civil War museum in Kenosha.  It has quite a few fascinating exhibits, including period battle flags, uniforms, films, a toy soldier exhibit showing the stand of the Iron Brigade on

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On Wisconsin

The men of the 24th Wisconsin weren’t sure about this.  They were coming under heavy fire and from the looks of things they were being asked to commit suicide.  Charging uphill into Confederate entrenchments, how could they win?  When their second

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The Great Beefsteak Raid

One of the more colorful episodes in the siege of Petersburg, the Great Beefsteak Raid of September 14-17 helped cement Major General Wade Hampton III as a worthy successor to Jeb Stuart in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

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August 5, 1864: Battle of Mobile Bay

“Damn the torpedoes!” Bold Farragut said, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” And, lashed to his rigging With never a squeal, He led his fleet into The Bay of Mobile. The Southern forts thundered With vigor and vim But grapeshot

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Corcyra Fears

    The Federal Election Commission Chairman has some chilling things to say about threats to freedom of speech: I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of

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April 27, 1864: Jacob Thompson

Jacob Thompson of North Carolina was Secretary of the Interior under James Buchanan.  Resigning his cabinet post to follow the Confederacy, he joined the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, fighting in several battles in the

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October 1, 1863: Wheeler Begins His Raid Into Tennessee

    In most histories of the Civil War the focus tends to be on the big battles and this is understandable as they were very important.  However, this distorts our view of the War as it often takes our attention away from

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July 11, 1863: First Assault on Fort Wagner

The longest siege in the Civil War was that of Charleston, South Carolina. 567 days the city was besieged by Union naval and land forces, only being taken by Sherman’s troops after the evacuation of the city on February 15,

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Saving Lincoln: A Review

  In the past year three films on President Lincoln have been released:  the truly odious Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, the superb Lincoln and now the low budget, funded by Kickstarter, Saving Lincoln.  I am pleased to report that I think

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Civil War History and Inevitability

I’ve been on a bit of a history kicker lately, particularly Civil War history, even if by chance. On successive occasions I read Tony Horowitz’s Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, followed by April

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Return the Flags

‘But they’re wearing blue, grandpa. They are yankees.’ ‘No son. They’re Americans.’ Rough Riders (1998) The video above matter of factly displays the flag of the 28th Virginia captured by the 1st Minnesota on July 3, 1863 during the repulse

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November 5, 1862: Lincoln Removes McClellan

By November 5, 1862, Abraham Lincoln had reached the end of his patience with George B. McClellan, Commnder of the Army of the Potomac.  The story of the War in the East for the Union in 1862 was largely the

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Review of the Lincoln Trailer

The idea of reviewing movie trailers I find somewhat humorous, but I think that Grace Randolph in the above video does a good job of attempting such a review in regard to the Lincoln movie by Spielberg being released in

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Father John Ireland and the Fifth Minnesota

    One of the titans of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century in the United States was Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Future blog posts will cover his career as Archbishop.  This blog

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June 25, 1862: The Seven Days Begin

One of the more important series of battles in American history, collectively known as the Seven Days, occurred in Virginia 150 years ago this week.  By driving away McClellan’s larger Army of the Potomac from Richmond, Robert E. Lee ensured

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John Brown: Problem Child of American History

Our history has its share of odd characters, but surely none odder than John Brown.  An Old Testament prophet somehow marooned in Nineteenth Century America, John Brown preached the wrath of God against slave holders and considered himself the bloody

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The Vacant Chair

Something for the weekend.  The incomparable Kathy Mattea singing the Civil War song The Vacant Chair.  Originally written in 1862 to commemorate Second Lieutenant John William Grout, 15th Massachusetts, who was killed at age eighteen at Ball’s Bluff, one of the early battles of

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Lincoln on Secession

Lincoln, in his war address to Congress on July 4, 1861, made his views regarding secession clear and, I believe, is his longest treatment of the topic.   It has always struck me as interesting that Lincoln thought it necessary to clearly distinguish between

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Jefferson Davis and Pio Nono

Jefferson Davis was always a friend to Catholics.  In his youth as a boy he studied at the Saint Thomas School at the Saint Rose Dominican Priory in Washington County Kentucky.  While there Davis, the only Protestant student, expressed a

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Nathan Bedford Forrest and Racial Reconciliation

  Easily the most controversial figure in the Civil War, probably the most controversial figure in American history, Nathan Bedford Forrest has always been the subject of fierce debate.  Self-made millionaire who rose from poverty with much of his money made

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Edward Coles and Free Illinois

Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois, is largely forgotten today, which is a pity.  His actions in 1824 helped lead to Union victory in the Civil War. Illinois came into the Union as a free state in 1818.  However, a majority

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Jefferson Davis and the Crown of Thorns

It has long been an article of faith of many admirers of Jefferson Davis that, while he was in Union captivity after the Civil War, he received a crown of thorns from Pope Pius IX woven by the hands of Pio Nono himself.  The Museum

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Stonewall Jackson’s Way

Something for the weekend.  Stonewall Jackson’s Way, sung by the endlessly talented Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences. Of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, nicknamed Stonewall by General Barnard Bee at

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