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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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

Read More »
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,

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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,

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
Donald R. McClarey

General Benjamin Butler

    Something for the weekend.  General Butler sung by Bobby Horton who wages a one man crusade to bring authentic Civil War music to modern audiences.  Butler was cordially hated by the South due to his tenure as military

Read More »
Donald R. McClarey

April 27, 1865: Sultana: Death on the Mississippi

After the massive bloodletting of the Civil War, one would have hoped that Death would have taken at least a brief holiday in the US.  Such was not the case.  On April 27th 1865, the SS Sultana, a Mississipi paddlewheeler

Read More »
Donald R. McClarey

April 3, 1862: Johnston Begins His March to Shiloh

It is rare for any soldier to attain the rank of general, but Albert Sidney Johnston managed that feat in three armies:  rising from Private to Brigadier General in the army of the Republic of Texas, brevet Brigadier General in the

Read More »
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,

Read More »
Donald R. McClarey

March 2, 1864: Grant Confirmed as Lieutenant General

I can’t spare this man, he fights! Lincoln’s response to calls for Grant’s removal from command after Shiloh. Few men in American history have had a more meteoric rise than Ulysses S. Grant.  In March 1861 at age 38 he was

Read More »
Donald R. McClarey

What If Abraham Lincoln Had Died Young?

On his 209th birthday it is perhaps appropriate to consider how the world would have changed if Abraham Lincoln had died young.  Unlike many great figures in history, Lincoln did not matter in a historical sense until around the last

Read More »