Donald R. McClarey

Ten Years of TAC: July 18, 1863: Assault on Fort Wagner

  (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 July 18, 2013.)       We would not have his body removed from

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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

Black Jack Logan and the First Memorial Day One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

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 at

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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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Donald R. McClarey

May 10, 1863: “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”

“I have but to show him my design, and I know that if it can be done it will be done.  Straight as the needle to the pole he advances to the execution of my purpose.” Robert E. Lee on

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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

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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

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Donald R. McClarey

April 16, 1862: District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act

It is sometimes asked why compensated emancipation wasn’t attempted instead of fighting a Civil War, as if that had been the choice.  Although Lincoln was in favor of compensated emancipation, neither the slave states nor the border states, in spite

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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

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Donald R. McClarey

March 13, 1865: Confederate Congress Authorizes Black Troops

      Perhaps a war winning measure if the year had been 1861, by 1865 the action of the Confederate Congress authorizing the enlistment of black troops could only be regarded as a just before midnight measure of a

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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

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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

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Donald R. McClarey

February 11, 1865: Robert Todd Lincoln Goes To War

      A  biography of Robert Todd Lincoln a few years ago is entitled Giant in the Shadows, and that is an accurate description of him.  One of the foremost attorneys of his day, a noted philanthropist, Secretary of War

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Donald R. McClarey

January 28, 1861: Sam Houston Stands Alone

But if, through division in the ranks of those opposed to Mr. Lincoln, he should be elected, we have no excuse for dissolving the Union. The Union is worth more than Mr. Lincoln, and if the battle is to be

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Donald R. McClarey

Glory Music

We bide our chance, Unhappy, and make terms with Fate A little more to let us wait; 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

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Donald R. McClarey

Make the Sign of the Cross, and Go In!

  My avatar when I blog and when I comment on blogs is Major General William Rosecrans. Outside of his family, General William S. Rosecrans had three great passions in his life:  His religion, Roman Catholicism, to which he had

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Donald R. McClarey

Reb Marines

  Born on March 16, 1861 by an Act of the Confederate Congress,  the Confederate States Marine Corps had an authorized strength of 45 officers and 944 enlisted men, increased in 1862 to 1026 enlisted men.  The Marines never had

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Donald R. McClarey

Yankee Marines

      During the Civil War the United States Marine Corp had its authorized strength increased to 3000 men, minuscule compared to the Union Army that reached over a million men.  Marine Commandant Colonel John Harris was a traditionalist

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Donald R. McClarey

I Guess They Don’t Teach History at UW Madison

My bride obtained her master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  Judging from a recent event, I guess they don’t teach history, at least American history, there anymore:   The University of Wisconsin-Madison certainly shows

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Donald R. McClarey

September 13, 1862: Special Order No. 191

George B. McClellan throughout his life up until 1862 had been a very fortunate man.  Born into a family of wealth and prestige, he had gone through the Mexican War without a scratch and had been incredibly successful in civilian

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Donald R. McClarey

The Bonnie Blue Flag

Donald Sutherland as Confederate General Pierre Beauregard calms a group of Confederate civilians under bombardment by Union forces in besieged Charleston by singing The Bonnie Blue Flag.  This is from the 1999 movie The Hunley, a film about the Confederate

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Donald R. McClarey

Grant Puts a Stop to Treason Trials

    It is  little remembered now, but in 1865 there was a brief attempt to conduct treason trials against Confederate generals.  On June 7, 1865, U.S. District Judge John C. Underwood in Norfolk, Virginia issued indictments against Lee, Longstreet,

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Donald R. McClarey

The Entire Civil War

      Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in

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Donald R. McClarey

One People

Something for the weekend.  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band.  When I read Civil War history I do not read it in an us v. them spirit.  Everybody involved is an American:  Confederate, Union, black slave. 

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Donald R. McClarey

Think It Will End With Confederates?

He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn’t a spread-eagle speech, but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed

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Donald R. McClarey

Give ’em Hell 54th!

The negroes fought gallantly, and were headed by as brave a colonel as ever lived.” – Confederate Lieutenant Iredell Jones, who observed the 54th’s fateful advance on Fort Wagner. In a Civil War mood lately because of current events.  The

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Donald R. McClarey

One Reason We Didn’t Have Unending Civil Wars

          One reason we didn’t have unending civil wars after the one that ended in 1865 is because of the generosity of spirit by Abraham Lincoln, Lieutenant General Grant and by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, he of

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Report of Stonewall Jackson on the Battle of Cedar Mountain

    On August 9, 1862, Stonewall Jackson, spearheading General Lee’s offensive against General John Pope’s hastily assembled Army of Virginia.  At Cedar Mountain in Culpepper County Virginia he attack his old Valley adversary General Nathaniel Banks, known affectionately by

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The Man Who Helped Convert General Rosecrans

  As faithful readers of this blog know, I have often written about General William Rosecrans, Union general and zealous Catholic convert.  One of the men who helped in the conversion process was Julius Garesché, who would serve under Rosecrans

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Our Under Studied Civil War

    It seems shockingly counter-intuitive to suggest that the Civil War is under studied.  Beginning while the War was being waged, and continuing to the present day, there have been an avalanche of books about that conflict.  However, certain

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July 21, 1861: Battle of Bull Run-Lessons to Learn

  The First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, was the first major battle of the Civil War.  A Confederate victory, it gave lessons to those paying attention: 1.    It amply demonstrated the hazards of sending half-trained troops into

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