Friday, August 5, 2011

Rec'd: Spartan Feats I Trust You to Notice

In which we revisit the best articles I read this week

Links shortly, but first:

Today in history there was a skirmish at Point of Rocks, MD. The Baltimore American had a reporter on hand to report the story of the 28th New York Regiment and the Loudoun Cavalry under Captain W.W. Meade. The cavalry was officially Company K, of the 6th Virginia Cavalry, and was on loan to Colonel Eppa Hunton to help guard the Potomac crossings. The 28th New York had been part of Robert Patterson's Army of the Shenandoah that missed Manassas, and was now stationed at Point of Rocks to make sure Patterson's replacement, Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, wasn't surprised.

A company of New Yorkers under the second-in-command crossed the river the night of August 4 to scout out the
Confederate position and Meade's cavalry chased them off. Both groups did exactly what they were supposed to: the New Yorkers advancing  until they were stopped by the enemy, and the Virginians making sure they saw no more than cavalry. The message to Banks would be the Confederates are here in force, but it is not clear what force.

For our illustrious journalist, though, there were only statistics to send back. He was a pretty good reporter or the regiments colonel, Dudley Donnelly, had a keen sense of PR, because the message sent back to the editors in Baltimore is pretty thorough. But he must have felt something was missing, because he went ahead and submitted a copy of an official report from a skirmish several days earlier at Edwards' Ferry to fill out his report, since Lt. Colonel Brown's wouldn't be ready for at least twenty-four hours. For fun, I'm running his correspondence down the side-bar instead of the usual Harper's Weekly political cartoon (they're not that good this week).

And now, the links!

The National Postal Museum got in the spirit with a piece on Confederate postal systems.

Civil War Visions has an excerpt from a letter from U.S. Grant ("Sam", of course) to his father on being promoted as part of the gang of U.S. Volunteer generals I blogged about the other day.

I fear I've been neglecting the Southern army with all the crazy that McClellan foists upon the capital, but All Not So Quite Along the Potomac writes a better post on James Longstreet's brigade after the battle of Manassas anyway.

If you want a Civil War date, I recommend checking out the Civil War wine tour. I'm not sure the quality of their history, but the wines aren't bad at all!

The Smithsonian has put together a remarkable cross-section of how West Point graduates dealt with choosing between states they regarded as their home and the oaths they swore.

Bull Runnings has the transcript of a letter from the wife of a private in Ambrose Burnside's 1st Rhode Island Regiment that formed part of his brigade at Manassas. The soldier was wounded and captured there, and died in Richmond on August 2.

Finally, G.T. Beauregard's complaining to everybody he could reach about his shortage of supplies at Manassas Junction finally triggered a snide response from provisional President Jefferson Davis on August 4. The American Civil War has us covered with a transcript.


  1. Thanks for the compliment. I am also enjoying your blog--don't know how you have time to write so prolifically!

    Last year when I started my blog, I spent a lot of time on the Union Army from September 1861-March 1862, so I suppose it was time to look at the Rebs!

  2. Thanks, glad you enjoy! I often rue the decision to torch the Confederate records in Richmond, as well as the overall smaller amount of personal correspondence to equal what we have for the formation of the Army of the Potomac. Between his prolific writing, fierce personality, and decision to abscond with all of his papers, McClellan is a gift to historians of the North.