Henry Wager Halleck replaced Fremont as commander of the Department of Missouri on November 9, 1861. Halleck was a military theorist and able administrator and quickly sorted out the chaos of corruption, fraud and disorder left by his predecessor. Seldom close to either superiors or subordinates, throughout his career he strove to ensure that credit for good work came to him but that blame for bad fell on others.
While administering the department from St. Louis, Union troops won victories at Pea Ridge, Belmont, Island Number 10 and New Madrid under field generals Samuel Curtis, Ulysses Grant, and John Pope.
Halleck was leery of the talents of his most successful subordinate, Grant. Being risk-averse, Halleck viewed Grant as overly pugnacious, unreliable and carrying a reputation for alcoholism. Grant’s victory at the small battle of Belmont allowed Halleck to give him a bit more leash in Tennessee, after which both their careers pointed south and then east.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Posted by HankC at 3:18 PM
Friday, January 13, 2017
Fremont is the most famous man to become a general in Missouri. Famous western
explorer, first Republican presidential candidate and controversial adventurer,
he was appointed commander of the Department of the West, headquartered in St.
Louis, on July 1, 1861.
Posted by HankC at 9:04 PM
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Posted by HankC at 6:01 PM
Monday, August 15, 2016
A few years ago, John Cummings discovered the previously mysterious position of a famous Gettysburg photograph usually titled 'Harvest of Death'. His notes are here. His research also reveals ways in which that era's photographs were artistically manipulated and don't necessarily record reality.
His work leads me to identify the position of another Gettysburg photograph, conjectured to be on the Confederate right in the 2nd day's battlefield near the Rose farm, but whose actual location is also unknown. No one else has made this leap.
In this photo of partially buried Confederate dead, several landmarks appear: the scraggly trees in the background, the up-sloping topography and the pile of white-washed fence boards.
Posted by HankC at 1:10 PM
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Our mythical company of 100 originally enlisted for 3 months and then re-upped for 3 more years.
Now the time to muster out and return to homes and occupations has at last arrived.
Through more then 3 years of warfare, with discharge, disablement, disease, desertion and death thinning the ranks, the 100 soldiers count only 35.
Their ages at the last muster are :
18 or under 1
over 28 1
Posted by HankC at 11:46 AM
Thursday, August 4, 2016
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1 1911:
Posted by HankC at 2:39 PM
Friday, July 29, 2016
Let's use the Adjutant General's data and recruit a mythical 100-soldier infantry company.
At the first drill, the company lines up by age.
As we inspect the ranks, the first 4 'men' are 15 or younger!
Walking the line of soldiers, we see:
finally, last in line is an old greybeard over 43!
Posted by HankC at 10:51 AM
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Here is the transcribed text from the booklet, with words replacing the actual ditto, double-quote, marks :
Grand Army of the Republic
The veterans’ organization was founded by Dr. Stephenson, in Decatur, Illinois, in 1866. The final encampment was in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1949.
Number of men, by age who served in the Union (from the Adjutant General’s report)
Age 10 and under: 25
Age 11 and under: 38
Age 12 and under: 225
Age 13 and under: 300
Age 14 and under: 1,525
Age 15 and under: 104,987
Age 16 and under: 231,051
Age 17 and under: 844,891
Age 18 and under: 1,151,438
Age 21 and under: 2,159,798
Age 22 and over: 618,511
Age 25 and over: 46,626
Age 44 and over: 16,071
TOTAL . . . . . . 2,778,304 [actually 2,778,309 ]
Posted by HankC at 6:04 PM
Friday, July 22, 2016
Before continuing an analysis of the 'soldiers ages', let's acknowledge some issues with them.
1) the 'Adjutant General's Report' is an elusive one. I've not seen an original form. The same text I posted can be found in only 3 or 4 places on the web, but strictly as cut'n'paste. Is it in the official records? Is it the GAR AG or the War Department AG, or someone else?
2) The figures *are* somewhat mind-bending. Most sources use 2.1 million as the number of Union servicemen. The 2.7 million may be double-counting multiple enlistees? Many men would have enlisted for 3 months and then for 3 years.
3) Some numbers are problematic. Only 46,626 servicemen were 25 or over. This number seems way low.
4) many reputable historians use 26 as the average soldiers age. That number is impossible given this data. From where did these writers obtain *their* figure?
Posted by HankC at 9:56 AM
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Earlier this year I commented on another blog that 40% of Civil War soldiers were 18 or younger and 75% were 21 and under. These are numbers that stuck with me from a lecture sometime last century. Politely challenged, I was unable to find *any* backup for my figures.
This surprised me given the massive Official Records and census data readily available and the web on all topics Civil War.
Browsing randomly (as I tend to) through the booklet "Civil War Union Monuments" published in 1978 by the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, I found this page:
Some quick math reveals that 41% of Union soldiers were 18 or under and 78% were 21 and younger. Only 2 in 9 were 22 and older..
Naturally, one source does not a solid conclusion make.
However, my primary thesis is that movies, battle reenactments and living history has instilled in us the idea that Civil War soldiers were old, well-fed and graying.
These numbers tell us that 3 in 4 weren't even eligible to vote.
Posted by HankC at 5:53 PM
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Southern life has too long been shackled (literally and figuratively)
to fealty to the CSA and the flag.
Art, culture, politics, literature, heritage, history, education, architecture - anything brushing up with the Confederacy's 4-year life has to pass a test of 'Confederate-correctness'.
It's been a case of WWJDD, 'what would Jefferson Davis do?'. Virtually everything 'southern' has been viewed through the lens of confederate memory. Anything in conflict with that memory is discarded and the purveyor derided. Now, in a new era, ideas can stand or fall on their own merits.
The flag should have been lowered when the last CSA veteran was buried
Posted by HankC at 2:46 PM