Donald R. McClarey

November 21, 1864: Letter to Mrs. Bixby

Executive Mansion, Washington, Nov. 21, 1864. Dear Madam,—I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the

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Donald R. McClarey

Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

Johnny Cash in the above video does a superb job of reading the Gettysburg Address.  Go here to read my analysis of the Gettysburg Address.  Winston Churchill, certainly the greatest orator of the English language in the last century, deemed

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Donald R. McClarey

November 18, 1861: Report from the President

  On November 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis issued a report to the Confederate Congress on the progress of the War.  It is a fascinating document.  It details how he perceived the War at this early stage.  Here is the text of

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Donald R. McClarey

Gettysburg Animated Battle Map

The things you can find on the Internet! Longstreet considered Chancellorsville the kind of flashy spectacle the South could ill afford. Facing what Lincoln called ‘the arithmetic’, he perceived that four more such battles, in which the Confederates were outnumbered

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Donald R. McClarey

July 28, 1861: Death of Sullivan Ballou

    Thirty-two years old in 1861, Sullivan Ballou was already well-established in life.  Married with two sons, he was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, and had served as speaker of that body.  When Lincoln called

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Donald R. McClarey

Lee’s Charge

  It is the third day. The morning wears with a stubborn fight at Culp’s Hill That ends at last in Confederate repulse And that barb-end of the fish-hook cleared of the grey. Lee has tried his strokes on the

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Donald R. McClarey

June 27, 1864: Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

    I have heard men say that if they ever killed a Yankee during the war they were not aware of it. I am satisfied that on this memorable day, every man in our regiment killed from one score

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Donald R. McClarey

June 25, 1863: Mine Exploded at Vicksburg

I have always been somewhat bemused by the fact that vast attention is paid to the Battle of the Crater at the seige of Petersburg on July 30, 1864, while the mine explosion at Vicksburg on June 25, 1863 tends to

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Donald R. McClarey

Because, Tolerance

The Tolerance Taliban have been active:   At least a dozen Confederate statues have been defaced around the South so far in 2019. The vandalism and heated protests last year around the University of North Carolina’s Silent Sam statue in

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Donald R. McClarey

June 18, 1862: Capture of Cumberland Gap

    Few areas were of more obvious strategic significance during the Civil War than the Cumberland Gap.  A gap in the Cumberland Mountain chain at the juncture of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, it  had to be taken by the

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Donald R. McClarey

June 10, 1864: Battle of Brice’s Crossroads

  Forrest is the devil, and I think he has got some of our troops under cower…I will order them to make up a force and go out to follow Forrest to the death. If it costs ten thousand lives

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Donald R. McClarey

Black Jack Logan and the First Memorial Day

  Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience — almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both

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Donald R. McClarey

Our Banner In the Sky

The response of artist Frederic Edwin Church to the firing on Fort Sumter.  Painted in May of 1861 it quickly became a symbol of the nation throughout the North.  Lithographs of it were made and sold, with the proceeds being

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Donald R. McClarey

We Are All Americans

    I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy;

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Donald R. McClarey

May 7, 1864: Grant Wins the War

    Grant has come East to take up his last command And the grand command of the armies.                                     It is five years Since he sat, with a glass, by the stove in a country store, A stumpy, mute

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Donald R. McClarey

May 6, 1863: What Will the Country Say!

One hundred and fifty-six years ago Robert E. Lee had inflicted on the Union its most stunning defeat of the War, and brought the Union to its lowest point in that conflict. Lee had won an incredible victory against an

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Donald R. McClarey

Sam Davis-Nathan Hale of the Confederacy

The Civil War seems colorful to many of us in retrospect, grey against the blue, all the romance that has built up about the War, etc.  To those who lived through it, I suspect the War seemed more like a

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Donald R. McClarey

April 24, 1862: Farragut Runs Past the New Orleans Forts

The largest city of the Confederacy, New Orleans also controlled all shipment from the Mississippi and into the Mississppi.  Even a cursory look at a map would indicate that New Orleans was a crucial city for the Confederacy and a

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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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