Donald R. McClarey

Historical Ignorance and the Left

  Historical ignorance seems to have a cozy home on the Left these days.  Leftists attacked President Trump for praising Robert E. Lee as a great general, which he manifestly was.  They attempted to ignore that the point of the

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Donald R. McClarey

A Palm Sunday One Hundred and Fifty-Three 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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Eisenhower on Lee

    Hattip to Michael W. Lively.  It has become fashionable to denigrate Robert E. Lee and to call for the removal of all statues honoring him.  57 years ago President Dwight Eisenhower answered such an attack:   August 1,

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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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Lost For Over a Century

I once sent the government a check for some $35,000.00 to pay estate tax on behalf of a client.  The check was lost for several months by the Feds.  At the time I recalled this historical event: Robert E. Lee

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April 20, 1865: Lee’s Final Report

    Although he had no idea where the fugitive President of the Confederacy precisely was, Robert E. Lee on April 20, 1865 wrote his final report to Davis which contained a plea for peace instead of partisan warfare:   Robert

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April 9, 1865: Lee Surrenders

    And so the Civil War ended.  Oh, not immediately.  The surrender process throughout the Confederacy would take until June, and skirmishes would be fought.  But with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, no one, except perhaps

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April 8, 1865: Lee Rejects Guerrilla Warfare

On April 8, 1865 the last hope of escape for Lee’s army flickered out.  Union cavalry under Custer seized the critical supplies waiting for the Confederates at Appomattox Station.    Lee’s line of march to the west was now blocked as

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April 7, 1865: Surrender Correspondence Begins

  April 7, 1865 was a day of intense frustration for Robert E. Lee.  Hoping to feed his army with rations waiting at Farmville,  Union troops prevented that, crossing the Appomattox at bridges that Lee had ordered to be burned. 

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April 6, 1865: Battle of Sailor’s Creek

One last battle between the old adversaries the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia.  While moving towards the Appomattox River to cross it on his march to the west, Lee was intercepted by a large Union

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April 5, 1865: Endgame

    With the fall of Richmond the Civil War was drawing rapidly to a close.  However, Lee still led the remnants of his army and he had a plan:  march to the west and break contact with the Army

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April 2, 1865: Third Battle of Petersburg

      With Union victory at Five Forks, General Lee desperately shifted troops to the west to protect the Southside Railroad.  Grant, realizing that Lee was thinning his lines around Petersburg and Richmond to protect the railroad, ordered a

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Palm Sunday One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

The chiefs and the captains meet, Lee erect in his best dress uniform, His dress-sword hung at his side and his eyes unaltered. Chunky Grant in his mudsplashed private’s gear With the battered stars on his shoulders.                                          They talk

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The Last Confederate Offensive

  Few generals in American history have been as aggressive as Robert E. Lee.  Faced with a hopeless military situation in March of 1865, he decided that he had no alternative but to launch an attack.  His starving army was down to

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Lee Ponders the Coming Campaign

  One hundred and fifty years ago, Winter still held the nation in its grip, but all knew that Spring was coming, and with Spring an inevitable push by Grant against Lee to end the War.  In a letter of

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Both Prayed to the Same God

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the

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August 14, 1864: Second Battle of Deep Bottom

 In late July Northern newspapers were filled with the raids into the North being staged by Jubal Early and his corps in the Shenandoah Valley.  In order to distract Lee from sending reinforcements to Early, Grant decided to make another

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July 30, 1864: Debacle at the Crater

When looking at the battle of the Crater, it is a study in contrasts.  The digging of the tunnel and the explosion of the mine at dawn on July 30, 1864, go here to read about the tunnel construction, was a

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Digging of The Tunnel at Petersburg

By far the most unusual event during the siege of Petersburg was the attempt by Grant to take Petersburg by a huge mining operation. The idea of the tunnel was devised by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, the 33 year old commanding

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July 27, 1864: First Battle of Deep Bottom Begins

Unbeknownst to the Confederates, on July 27, 1864 the Union forces around Petersburg were putting the finishing touches on a huge mine under a fort in the Confederate defenses known as Elliot’s Salient.  To divert Confederate attention from this sector of the

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June 15, 1864: Assault on Petersburg Begins

Generals Lee and Grant were two of the finest generals in American history.  However, they both had off days, and few episodes in the Civil War cast both of these men in a poorer light than the failure of the

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June 12, 1864: Grant’s Crossing of the James Begins

After the attack on Lee’s Cold Harbor line was bloodily defeated on June 3, Grant realized that trying to bull his way through Lee’s fortified line was useless.  As he had throughout the Overland Campaign Grant decided to move again

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June 3, 1864: Cold Harbor-Not War But Murder

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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70 Years Ago This Week

The video above was produced 7 years ago.  If D-Day were to occur today under the current administration I suspect that the coverage of most of the media would be in the nature of  “OBAMA STORMS ASHORE IN NORMANDY!” or “THE NAZIS

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June 1, 1864: Initial Assaults at Cold Harbor

As May 1864 faded into June, Grant’s Overland Campaign was clearly headed for some sort of climax.  Grant had forced Lee back to the outskirts of Richmond. With Lee’s lines along,  and south east of, Totopotomoy  Creek being too strong

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May 30, 1864: Battle of Totopotomoy Creek

Lee realized that he was reaching a limit to how he could respond to Grant’s continual movement to the southeast.  Protecting Richmond was nailing his army in place, depriving it of the ability to maneuver as Grant used his superior

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May 26-28, 1864: Movement From the North Anna

Grant, after the fruitless skirmishing on the North Anna, decided to resume his drive by once again heading east and south, around Lee’s left, the same type of movement he had been making since the outset of this campaign.  However, he had

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May 21, 1864: The Movement to the North Anna Begins

    Extricating himself from the Spotsylvania battlefield, Grant moved southeast, with Lee moving to keep ahead of him, ultimately stopping Grant with defensive lines south of the North Anna river and north of Hanover Junction.  Grant was now just

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May 18, 1864: Final Attacks at Spotsylvania

  You see him standing, Reading a map, unperturbed, under heavy fire. You do not cheer him as the recruits might cheer But you say “Ulysses doesn’t scare worth a darn. Ulysses is all right.  He can finish the job.”

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May 12, 1864: The Bloody Angle

After his attacks on May 10, 1864, Grant used May 11 as a planning day.  Impressed by the initial success of Upton’s charge on May 10, 1864, Grant decided to use Upton’s tactics of a swift attack along a narrow front,

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May 8, 1864: The Battle of Spotsylvania Begins

Grant, undaunted by his losses at the battle of the Wilderness, sent his army racing down Brock Road on the night of May 7-8 to seize the crossroads of Spotsylvania Court House and get between Lee and Richmond. Lee was

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