Donald R. McClarey

A Palm Sunday One Hundred and Fifty-Four 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, as

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Donald R. McClarey

The Great Compromise

“We must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them.“ General Robert E. Lee, April 1865     It would be ironic if our

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Donald R. McClarey

Why Did the South Lose the Civil War?

Why The South Lost the Civil War, a companion book to the earlier How The North Won, by Archer Jones, Herman Hattaway, Richard E. Berenger and William M. Still, Jr,  published in 1986  has always struck me as giving one of the worst

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Donald R. McClarey

Lee Bids Farewell to His Men

Starving army, Who, after your best was spent and your Spring lay dead, Yet held the intolerable lines of Petersburg With deadly courage.                     You too are a legend now And the legend has made your fame and has dimmed

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Donald R. McClarey

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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Donald R. McClarey

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.  His

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Donald R. McClarey

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 of the

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Donald R. McClarey

Soldier’s Prayer

        I asked God for strength that I might achieve, I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey. I asked God for health, that I might do greater things, I was given infirmity, that

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Donald R. McClarey

President What’s His Name

  Poor Andrew Johnson! You know that a President is obscure when a film made 77 years ago, when the average American knew far more American history than the average American does today, has a trailer with a quiz about

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Donald R. McClarey

Grant on the Civil War

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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Donald R. McClarey

February 11, 1812: Alexander Stephens is Born

    Sometimes it is contended that the Civil War was not fought because of slavery.  That is a completely erroneous view.  The secession statements made by the Confederate states as they left the Union made clear that the defense

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Donald R. McClarey

Memoriae Positum

(Reposted from 2015.)  He leads for aye the advance,  Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood; James Russell Lowell Memoriae Positum, memory laid down.  The Latin phrase is a good short hand description

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Donald R. McClarey

January 15, 1864: Fall of Fort Fisher

With the fall of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865, the last major port of the Confederacy was sealed.  After Butler’s blundering attempt to take the Fort ended in a disgraceful retreat, the Union wasted no time in outfitting a

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Donald R. McClarey

January 13, 1862: Letter From Mudd

      Orestes A. Brownson, a Catholic convert, was the greatest Catholic writer of mid-Nineteenth Century America.  He published Brownson’s Quarterly Journal, an influential and popular magazine which examined the political, cultural and literary scene of the America of its

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Donald R. McClarey

Myths of the Civil War

  An excellent post at the blog Letters From Cato on Myths of the Civil War: Jesse Kelly tweeted this out the other day:* 1. Slavery is a repulsive thing and a stain on the history of our country. 2.

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Donald R. McClarey

November 30, 1864: Battle of Franklin

With Sherman embarking on his March to the Sea, John Bell Hood and his Army of Tennessee were left confronting the Union forces in Tennessee, some sixty thousand troops to the 39,000 under Hood.  The odds were actually longer than

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Donald R. McClarey

Gettysburg Addresses

              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,

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Donald R. McClarey

Civil War Find

Last Thursday my bride and I went to a book sale in Normal, Illinois.  There I found something highly unusual:  a one volume history of the Civil War that I was unaware of.  Written by Peter J, Parish, then a

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Donald R. McClarey

And Sheridan Twenty Miles Away

  Thomas Buchanan Read was an artist and poet who served as a staff officer in the Civil War.  Inspired by Sheridan’s decisive victory at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, Read dashed off the poem, Sheridan’s Ride in an hour.  The poem

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Donald R. McClarey

With Malice Towards All

The good people of Madison, Wisconsin are now presumably safe from dead Confederates: The mean-spiritedness of the American Left is a stark feature of our public life. In recent weeks, it has been a daily staple of newspaper headlines. But

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Donald R. McClarey

Ten Years of TAC: The Almighty Has His Own Purposes

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from October 13, 2010.  The above video is a new addition to the post.)   My

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Donald R. McClarey

September 20, 1863: Rock of Chickamauga

On the second day of the battle of Chickamauga the Confederates came close to destroying the Army of the Cumberland.  They were prevented from reaching this goal by a stubborn defense of Major General George Thomas, who earned that day

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Donald R. McClarey

September 4, 1864: Death of General John Hunt Morgan

  One of the most colorful cavalry commanders in American history, General John Hunt Morgan had enough exploits during the War for several lifetimes.  Go here and here to read about two of them.  Alas Morgan had only one lifetime,

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Donald R. McClarey

August 31, 1864: Death Comes For Father Emery

    Destiny attended Emmeran Bliemel at his birth on the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, patron saint of soldiers, in 1831 in Bavaria.  From his early boyhood his burning desire was to be a missionary to German Catholics

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Donald R. McClarey

Grant: The Successful Failure

Dear Sir:  I hope you will allow one who, when a boy, laid down his arms at Appomattox and pledged allegiance to the Union, to express his warmest sympathy for you in your suffering. I have watched your movements from

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Donald R. McClarey

Ten Years of TAC: Dagger John and Honest Abe

(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October.  We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past.  This post is from February 11, 2009.) Archbishop John Hughes (1797-1864) of New York, was a titan within the

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Donald R. McClarey

Robert E. Lee and Hatred

Sometimes I wonder if we learned anything from the Civil War at all:     On March 9, 2018, a book was pulled from both the Washington and Lee University Bookstore and the Lee Chapel Museum Shop after a W&L

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Donald R. McClarey

May 20 1861: Kentucky Proclamation of Neutrality

“I hope to have God on my side but I must have Kentucky.”  Anyone, North or South, who could read a map would have agreed with that sentiment of Abraham Lincoln for their side in 1861.  With Kentucky part of the

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