Tag Archives: Ulysses S. Grant

April 2017 Southern MD Civil War Round Table

April 11, 2017

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh

The Civil War represented a momentous change in the character of war. It combined the projection of military might across a continent on a scale never before seen with an unprecedented mass mobilization of peoples. Yet despite the revolutionizing aspects of the Civil War, its leaders faced the same uncertainties and vagaries of chance that have vexed combatants since the days of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. A Savage War sheds critical new light on this defining chapter in military history.

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In a masterful narrative that propels readers from the first shots fired at Fort Sumter to the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox, Williamson Murray and Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh bring every aspect of the battlefield vividly to life. They show how this new way of waging war was made possible by the powerful historical forces unleashed by the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, yet how the war was far from being simply a story of the triumph of superior machines. Despite the Union’s material superiority, a Union victory remained in doubt for most of the war. Murray and Hsieh paint indelible portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and other major figures whose leadership, judgment, and personal character played such decisive roles in the fate of a nation. They also examine how the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Northern Virginia, and the other major armies developed entirely different cultures that influenced the war’s outcome.

A military history of breathtaking sweep and scope, A Savage War reveals how the Civil War ushered in the age of modern warfare.

Williamson Murray is professor emeritus of history at Ohio State University. His many books include The Iran-Iraq War. Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh is associate professor of history at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of West Pointers and the Civil War. They both live in Fairfax, Virginia.

Reviews:

“[An] outstanding account of the American Civil War. . . . This expertly written narrative will draw in anyone with an interest in the Civil War at any knowledge level.”Library Journal, starred review

“A genuinely fresh, persuasive perspective on the Civil War. . . . [A Savage War] will make even readers with a strong knowledge of the war think about how it was fought and why it ended as it did. A winner for Civil War history buffs.”Kirkus, starred review

“[A] very important new history of the American Civil War by two important historians.”–Newt Gingrich

“[A] new and interesting military history of the American Civil War.”–Francis P. Sempa, New York Journal of Books

“The best, clearest, and most instructive military history of the Civil War I have ever read. . . . [A Savage War] hit a home run.”–Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

Endorsements:

“If you think that there is nothing new to write about the Civil War, this book will prove you wrong.”–H. R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

“More than just another narrative of the Civil War, this thoughtful and often provocative book is an engaging analysis of the leadership, personalities, and strategies of both sides during America’s great nineteenth-century trauma.”–Craig L. Symonds, author of Lincoln and His Admirals

A Savage War is not just a riveting military narrative of the American Civil War written by two military historians with singular pragmatic experience, but a rare and much needed strategic assessment of the aims and methods of the Union and the Confederacy–highlighted with incisive, blunt–and persuasive– appraisals of all the major generals and supreme commanders.”–Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture and The Savior Generals

Southern MD Civil War Round Table Film Series

March 8, 2016

Come out and join us from 5:10pm – 6:47pm as our series of Civil War movies continues prior to the regularly scheduled Round table meeting tonight.  Movies will be shown at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.  Admission is free!

Tonight’s Feature:  “Field of Lost Shoes

Field of Lost Shoes

Based on a true story, culminating at the Battle of New Market, VA in May 1864, this film follows a group of teenage cadets sheltered from war at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) who confront the horrors of an adult world when called upon to defend the Shenandoah Valley.  Leaving behind their youth, they must decide what they are fighting for.

Starring David Arquette, Keith David, Lauren Holly and Tom Skerritt as General Ulysses S. Grant, the movie starts with Lincoln appointing General Ulysses S. Grant as Chief of Union Forces.  Grant acts decisively, bringing total war to the pristine Shenandoah Valley, the breadbasket of the South.  The superintendent of VMI volunteers 274 young cadets to protect the valley.  They march northward toward the strategic valley choke point of New Market, VA.  On the day of the battle, Confederate General John C. Breckenridge, former Vice President of the Unites States and now commander of southern forces in the Valley, is faced with a horrible decision to order the young and inexperienced cadets into battle.

Please join us after the movie for our regularly scheduled meeting from 7 – 9pm, where Carol Randell will discuss Southern Relief Societies.

 

May 2015 Southern MD Civil War Round Table Meeting

May 12, 2015

The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table is pleased to announce that its next meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:00pm at the College of Southern Maryland’s Center for Business and Industry, Chaney Enterprises Conference Center, Room BI-113, at 8730 Mitchell Road in La Plata, MD.

Guest Speaker:  Edward Bonekemper

Image of Edward H. Bonekemper

Ulysses S. Grant was the greatest general of the Civil War and the overrated Robert E. Lee was part of the Myth of the Lost Cause!  These are the conclusions of historian Edward Bonekemper, author of “Grant and Lee:  Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian”, a war-long comparison of the two most famous generals of the Civil War. Mr. Bonekemper will reveal how Lee’s hyper-aggression resulted in his army suffering approximately 209,000 casualties, while Grant’s army lost “only” about 154,000.  He will explore and explain how Grant won and Lee lost the Civil War.

by Edward Bonekemper, III

Mr. Bonekemper will show to us that Lee was far too aggressive a general for the Confederacy, which did not have the burden of winning the war and could not afford to squander its manpower.  He will demonstrate that Lee was a Virginian first, a Confederate second – priorities that led him to a bloody stalemate in the East and had disastrous impacts on Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Chattanooga and elsewhere. Mr. Bonekemper will show that throughout the war Lee either did not know or did not care what was occurring outside his theater and committed blunders that aided Grant and later William Tecumseh Sherman in the Middle and Western theaters of the war. The inter-theater relationships and interplay between Grant’s and Lee’s campaigns; even before they fought head-to-head in 1864 and 1865, will be described by Mr. Bonekemper.  He will detail Lee’s draining of the entire Confederacy to replace his intolerable losses, his resistance to sending needed reinforcements to other theaters and his role in facilitating Sherman’s critical capture of Atlanta.

In contrast to Lee, Mr. Bonekemper depicts Grant as doing exactly what a Union general was supposed to do:  aggressively taking the fight to the enemy, winning the Mississippi Valley and the East and saving the critical Union Army in the Middle Theater. Perseverance, deception, alacrity and appropriate aggressiveness were the hallmarks of Grant, the Civil War’s greatest general.

Edward Bonekemper is the author of four other Civil War books covering Grant, Lee, Lincoln and McClellan which include, “How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War”, Lincoln and Grant:  The Westerners Who Won the War”, and “McClellan and Failure: A Study of Civil War Fear, Incompetence and Worse”.  Copies of “Grant and Lee:  Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian” will be available for purchase and Mr. Bonekemper will be available to sign them after the discussion.

 

 

2014 Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table Spring Field Trip

Wilderness & Spotsylvania Battlefield Tour

Saturday April 26, 2014

9:00AM – 5:00PM

140th New York at the Wilderness

The Tour:

Join us for the 2nd annual Spring Tour presented by The Southern Maryland Civil War Round Table.  This tour, led by National Park Service historian Phillip Greenwalt, will begin in La Plata (CSM Campus).  The cost of the trip (bus, lunch and guide) is $50 for members and $60 for non-members.  Save money through early bird registration period (through March 11, 2014) – $45 for members and $55 for non-members.

Participants will board a chartered bus for the trip to the Chancellorsville/Wilderness NPS Visitor’s Center. After a quick stop, the tour will start at the command post of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on the the Wilderness Battlefield and follow through the bloody fighting at Saunders Field, down the park road to the Widow Tapp field and then back up the Orange Plank Road to where Confederate General James “Pete” Longstreet was severely wounded.

From here we will follow the Brock Road, just as the Union and Confederate soldiers would have done on May 7th toward Spotsylvania Court House.

After a delicious box lunch, we will tour the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, following the ebb and flow of the combat that erupted around this quiet and quaint Virginia town.  Sites include the “Bloody Angle”; the spot where Union Major General John Sedgwick was killed, and retracing part of the route Union Brigadier General Emory Upton utilized to strike the Confederate line, in a prelude to heavier fighting two days later.

During the program, accounts; some well known, others lesser known will be used to explain the horrors of the battlefield, the observations of the soldiers and officers and the overall picture of what war in Virginia in May 1864 was all about.

You will have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, stand in the spots where other generals; including John Sedgwick breathed their last and taken all together will tour a landscape that is considered one of the bloodiest in all of North America. Within 30 miles of Fredericksburg, VA (which encompasses both of the battlefields we will visit) over 100,000 men were killed or wounded.  That is approximately 1/7th of al the men killed or wounded in the entire Civil War!

Come join this bus and walking tour of the 2 battles that set the tone for the rest of the Overland Campaign plus was the final nails being hammered into the coffin of the Confederacy by the Northern war machine.

The Background:

On May 5, 1864, Major General George Meade, in command of the dependable Union Army of the Potomac, being overseen by newly minted Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, made contact with Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his vaunted Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the Wilderness, west of Fredericksburg, VA.

What ensued was two days of bitter fighting through the clearings, along road traces and even within the tangles and brushes of the second and third growth forests.

With casualties mounting and no progress being made, Grant stepped into a more active role and decided to move the Army of the Potomac around Lee’s right flank toward the strategic town of Spotsylvania Court House.  Lee and his army were able to get to Spotsylvania Court House first and dig in.  What would ensue was approximately two weeks of fighting, including some of the most savage on May 10 and 12, 1864.

These two battles set the tone for the rest of what history now knows as the Overland Campaign. From May 5th until the armies were ensconced around Petersburg in mid-June, the two antagonists would lock horns in a death struggle across central and Tidewater Virginia.

Historians now agree that the beginning of the end of the war in the Eastern theater, and the start of the collapse of the Confederacy as a whole, began at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.  This is where our battlefield odyssey will commence.

The Guide:

Our trip leader will be Phillip Greenwalt; historian with the National Park Service at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument and the Thomas Stone National Historic Site.  Mr. Greenwalt began his NPS career as a historical interpreter intern at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He holds a bachelor degree in history from Wheeling Jesuit University and a graduate degree in American History from George Mason University.

Mr. Greenwalt’s first publication, co-authored with Dan Davis; “Bloody Autumn, The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864“, is part of the Emerging Civil War Series and was published by Savas Beattie LLC in  November 2013.  His second book, also co-authored with Dan Davis, entitled “Hurricane From the Heavens, The Battle of Cold Harbor” is due out in June 2014.  He is also a full time contributor to the blog Emerging Civil War (www.emergingcivilwar.com) and has spoken at lecture series and history round tables in numerous states.

Come join us for a fantastic day on April 26th!