Best CW Book Never Written

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Joel Craig

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Jan 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/28/97
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In July 1865, R.E.Lee began collecting data for a book which he
planned to write. Does anyone know how far Lee got with this project?
Is there the possibility of a lost Lee manuscript? What if Gen. Lee
had completed his book? How would such a book have changed the
subsequent books by other Confederates? For example, would Lee have
taken full responsibility for G'burg, thereby releiving Longstreet and
others from the need to protect their honor? Would such a book by Lee
have been more accurate having been written immediately after the
cessation of hostilities, not 20 or 30 years later? Or did those who
wrote later have better access to factual materials, (OR, other
accounts, etc.). How would a book by Lee have changed our perception
of him? Did his silence on the war further enhance the Lee mystique? I
must admit the possibilities are intriguing.

_Joel


Jamie Adams

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Jan 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/28/97
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jcr...@epix.net (Joel Craig) wrote:

>_Joel

IIRC Lee did not get very far in writing gathering materials for or
writing a book. Someone (Freeman?) has a discussion of this and what
the book could have been. The conclusion was that it would not have
been a major milestone because Lee's skills as an editor and writer
were shown to be lacking by his work on the book about Lighthorse
Harry. Lee's concillatory attitude towards the victors may also have
inhibited the contents. REL's book would probably be a necessary
source but it would be in no way considered a masterpiece. (Somewhat
like Jeff Davis's book... IMO)

In a trivia book that one of my kids has, REL's father is consistently
referred to as Lighthouse Harry Lee.

jad...@pioneerdt.com


Rick Veal

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Jan 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/28/97
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In article <32ed9271...@newsserver.epix.net>,

Joel Craig <jcr...@epix.net> wrote:
>In July 1865, R.E.Lee began collecting data for a book which he
>planned to write. Does anyone know how far Lee got with this project?

Lee was still collecting material at the time of his death in 1870. The
collected material was turned over to A.L. Long (Lee's military
secretary) by the estate. With the help of Marcus J. Wright (former AoT
and U.S. agent for collection of Confederate Records) was edited and
published in 1877 as the _Memoirs of Robert E. Lee: His Military and
Personal History_. The volume was published with the full authority of
Mary Custiss Lee and the estate as authoritive. Hope this helps.

--
Rick H. Veal Commander: Brig. General Samuel McGowan
Deo Vindice Camp #40 Sons of Confederate Veterans
22 February 1862 113 McGowan Street
<rv...@cs1.presby.edu> Laurens, South Carolina 29360

Joel Craig

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Jan 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM1/31/97
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On Tue, 28 Jan 1997 13:53:44 GMT, jad...@pioneerdt.com (Jamie Adams)
wrote:


>
>In a trivia book that one of my kids has, REL's father is consistently
>referred to as Lighthouse Harry Lee.
>

Actually recently discovered historical eveidence suggests that the
elder Lee may actually have been known as 'Lighthouse Harry'. It seems
that, rather than being a cavalryman, Lee actually maintained the
lighthouse off Hampton Roads. During the Seige of Yorktown, Harry Lee
so confused the British fleet by periodically forgetting to turn on
the light that he actually caused several troopships carrying vital
reinforcements to wreck off the Virginia coast. The lack of these
reinforcements led to the surrender of Cornwallis shortly thereafter.
It seems that the moniker 'Lighthorse Harry' did not come into effect
until the younger Lee attempted to document his father's wartime
experainces, unfortunately including several grammatical errors, among
them the 'Lighthorse' instead of 'Lighthouse'. <g>

_Joel 'Lightweight' Craig

Joel Craig

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Feb 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/1/97
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On Tue, 28 Jan 1997 13:37:58 GMT, rv...@presby.edu (Rick Veal) wrote:


>Lee was still collecting material at the time of his death in 1870. The
>collected material was turned over to A.L. Long (Lee's military
>secretary) by the estate. With the help of Marcus J. Wright (former AoT
>and U.S. agent for collection of Confederate Records) was edited and
>published in 1877 as the _Memoirs of Robert E. Lee: His Military and
>Personal History_. The volume was published with the full authority of
>Mary Custiss Lee and the estate as authoritive. Hope this helps.
>
>--

Many thanks. I was not aware of what had become of the material.

_Joel

Brian Pickrell

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Feb 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/2/97
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Joel Craig (jcr...@epix.net) wrote:
: On Tue, 28 Jan 1997 13:53:44 GMT, jad...@pioneerdt.com (Jamie Adams)
: wrote:

: _Joel 'Lightweight' Craig
:

Reading this reminded me of the exploits of the 5th New York Interior
Decorators, a story posted in this group about 1 1/2 years ago. I looked
in my archives but I didn't find that article. Instead, I found one by
yours truly on a related subject, one that I'd almost forgotten about.
So, at the risk of sounding like I'm laughing at my own joke, here is the
story of the battle of Third Manassas Run (again):


"A Powerful Bad Smell"

The Battle of Third Manassas Run

No battle is so representative of the Civil War as the Battle of
Third Manassas Run. To many, it represents the zenith of the
Confederacy. There were more men engaged at Antietam, Gettysburg
lasted longer, and more prisoners were taken at Vicksburg, yet
Third Manassas Run was by far the more representative battle. To
the men who fought on that long-ago field, it was the most
interesting thing they did all day. As one Union soldier so
eloquently put it in a letter home, "Fit a battle to Day. Please
sen me some mor of those [illegible] post kards Mr Tusont braut
from France." [9]

To Confederate historians, Third Manassas Run was a golden
opportunity missed. Montgomery [21] makes a convincing case that
if Alban's brigade had pressed the assault on the Old Barn with
more vigor, they could have rolled up the Union left, pinned the
Union supply train against the Stone Wall, routed the Union
sutlers, and swept on to capture New York. A simultaneous sweep
to the northwest by Dickey's Army of the West Pecos could have
secured Alaska and northeastern Siberia, and this victory,
combined with an unusually rainy summer in the Indian Ocean,
could easily have caused hemp prices to rise to such levels that
the Union would have no choice but to recognize the Confederacy.
For the participants, this was a source of controversy for ever
after. Union diehards still remember Hosea Edison's famous
remark, "I don't think that would have happened." [44]

THE BATTLEFIELD

To the casual eye, Third Manassas Run is a scene of peaceful
tranquility. Located only a mile from the Kentucky-Alabama
border, it is now covered by an arm of the Chairman Steinman
Reservoir, built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1977. Jet
skis roar between old tires and catfish gasp for oxygen where
once Union met Confederacy in a mighty clash.

Little is known of the topography of Third Manassas Run, because
the area was never mapped before it was inundated. Third
Manassas Run is believed to have been a creek that ran in the
area. Local legend has it that one of the original white
settlers in the area, a Mr. Cady, dug an irrigation ditch that
diverted water from two streams on his neighbors' land into a
formerly dry gully, causing the neighbors' farms to go bankrupt.
Hampton [225], however, believes that Third Manassas Run may have
been a dog track. Be that as it may, place names such as the
Dirt Road, the Fence, the Grassy Meadow and the Other Fence
became synonyms for awful struggle in the minds of all who took
part in the battle. A good understanding of the locations of
these landmarks is essential to a grasp of the battle.

THE GENERALS

Although both later denied under oath that they had ever been at
the site, the two commanding generals at Third Manassas Run are
believed to have been Hiram Allixter Bixby and "Comanche" Conroy
Cosgrove.

Bixby, better known as the "Little Stone Rock of the Potomac,"
was born in 1844. After an undistinguished career as a small
child, he entered Monson University at the age of eleven,
graduating with honors and becoming the University's youngest
full professor at fourteen. He became well known in the local
towns for erratic behavior that most townspeople attributed to
mercury poisoning. By the age of sixteen, his academic career
had stagnated so that when war came in 1861, he gladly joined up.
His meteoric rise in rank was marked by wildly exaggerated
statements to the press, impromptu polka parties under enemy
fire, and the habit of riding his horse backwards. At Third
Manassas Run, after personally leading a regiment in a bayonet
charge against their own empty tents, he was escorted to the rear
area in a straitjacket, whereupon his left arm was amputated in a
misguided attempt to shock him into reason. After the war he
served for a brief time as Spanish Minister of Administration.

Conroy Cosgrove, born in 1807 and educated at West Point, was as
stern and reserved as Bixby was flamboyant. He was chiefly
remembered at West Point for never having said anything at all.
In the prewar Army he acquired a fearsome reputation for sitting
in his tent, glaring at all who entered. After a twenty-year
Army career he retired, but when secession came in 1861, he, like
so many others, flocked to the colors. His bushy eyebrows and
piercing gaze marked him immediately for high command. Cosgrove
is not on record as having done anything at all at Third Manassas
Run.

THE ARMIES

An understanding of the two armies at Third Manassas Run is
essential for an understanding of the battle, or of the armies
that fought it. Although in many ways typical of Union and
Confederate armies of the time, they were in some respects
unique. While many soldiers on both sides were fiercely
dedicated to their respective causes, others were lukewarm or
even apathetic. While some were well-read and eloquent, others
were almost illiterate. The men often went hungry, but at other
times ate well. When on the march, they seem to have spent a
great deal of time walking, except at night, when they generally
slept. In battle, there are many recorded instances of great
bravery, while other troops are known to have run away. Their
views on slavery are expressed by two soldiers, one of whom
wrote, "It seems like a good idea, but I don't know if I am
really for it," [14] while another wrote "It seems like a bad
idea, but I don't know if I am really against it." [28]

There, then, is the Union army on the eve of Third Manassas Run.
There, too, is the Confederate army, more or less.

THE BATTLE

That morning dawned clear and cold for the men of the 19th North
Dakota. They breakfasted on Quaker oats, pieces of wood
cunningly disguised to look like oatmeal. Moving silently
through the trees, they surprised the men of Jethrow's brigade
with a shattering attack. One participant described the fire as
"the heaviest seen in the entire war." As the confused
Confederates retreated, Birney's and Hinton's brigades came up to
reinforce them. Dug in at the top of the hill, they pumped
volley after volley into the advancing Federals. As one private
later recalled, "They was all shootin' at us."

Colonel S. P. Forster, smarting from a tongue-lashing he had
received the day before, moved rapidly to fill the gap. In
charge after charge, his men held the advancing enemy at bay,
then with a brilliantly executed flanking movement they
disappeared into the brush at the riverbank. One participant
described the fire as "the heaviest seen in the entire war."

Meanwhile, at the other end of the line, events were rapidly
becoming confused. While the Federal artillery began ranging in
on a troop of Confederate cavalry, Dobson's Third Corps held fast
in their hastily-constructed earthworks, threatening to collapse
that sector of the Confederate line. One participant described
the fire as "the heaviest seen in the entire war." Major General
Grover Eaton of the Carolina Volunteers recognized the danger,
but a bullet killed him before he could issue an order. Private
Llewellyn Hunt immediately took command of the regiment, taking
them on a seventeen-mile forced march over the mountains in a
driving rain. They reached Greeve's Landing mere minutes ahead
of an advancing Federal force. One participant described the
fire as "the heaviest seen in the entire war."

Although Hunt's action had saved the Confederates from immediate
danger, the situation was still serious as the two sides stopped
for lunch. When fighting resumed, Laidlaw's 16th Manitoba, which
had spent the morning resting some distance behind the salient,
launched a push aimed at the Lipton Place, a farmhouse with a
small outhouse located about twenty feet away. One participant
recalled the scene vividly:

We were all in the trees on one side of the meadow, firing
at that farmhouse as fast as we could load. There wasn't
anybody in the building. The Rebs were all on the other
side of the meadow, firing at the house as fast as we were.
I never saw a building hit by so many bullets. It looked
like a toothpick factory in a tornado. When we were done,
we were all out of ammunition and the house was
a pile of sawdust. The outhouse was gone too, leaving
nothing but a powerful bad smell. The fire was the heaviest
seen in the entire war. We didn't do any more
fighting the rest of the day.

It was during this action that one of the most heroic actions of
the day occurred. Corporal Malachi James of the Flaming
Cuirassiers, a dashing unit recruited from New Mexico, braved the
hurricane of fire to plant the regimental colors in the muzzle of
a Union cannon, shouting "Fie! Ye shall never be annointed!"
One witness described the fire as "the heaviest seen in the
entire war." As Yankee soldiers looked on in wonder, he grabbed
a paintbrush and painted fleur-de-lis patterns on the gun until a
bull, escaped from a nearby paddock, chased him up a nearby tree
where he was forced to remain until nightfall.

By this time, the Confederate push had nearly run out of
momentum. Dazed by the tremendous noise and the blinding heat,
the men were clearly too exhausted to resume their attacks. Some
collapsed where they were; others simply sat down and began to
play pinochle, refusing to move "until someone gets fifteen
hundred points."

The last major attack of the day was launched by the Third East
Florida Regiment. After a grueling march down Chickahowitchie
Mountain, through Myersville, around the Blackberry Bramble by a
deer path, back through Myersville, across the Dunsmuir Gap
bridge, and into the works vacated by the Army of West Virginia
six months previously, they were finally in position to attack.
Raising the rebel yell and running at top speed, they began to
wonder after fifteen minutes if they had charged in the wrong
direction. But the Yankee lines soon came into view, and the
desultory "pop...pop" of enemy fire steadily increased. One
participant described the fire as "the heaviest seen in the
entire war."

The Union soldiers, most of them recent immigrants from Livonia,
were so unnerved by the sight of the ragged Confederates that
the began to break and run. The Third East Florida, suspecting a
trick, launched what their commander later described as a
"counterpanic." [177] They fled west over the hills, dropping
guns, haversacks, and other equipment, many never to be seen
again.

The battle was now essentially over. By a narrow margin, the
Confederates had stopped the Union invasion, restored the Bourbon
monarchy, invented the telephone, dammed the Missippi and ensured
that cotton would remain King. For the Union, the battle meant
the end of the doctrine of e pluribus unum, the beginning of
profeessional baseball, and the capture of the birthplace of the
great racehorse Albino, never again to fall into Confederate
hands. As a British newspaper was to remark, "The Union cause
has found a leader it can depend on for meaningful action." [1]

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brian Pickrell | "...strange, quaint face and head, covered with its
| thatch of wild republican hair"
| - William Howard Russell on Abraham Lincoln

Dennis Maggard

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Feb 6, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/6/97
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On Sun, 2 Feb 1997 04:28:20 GMT, pma...@eskimo.com (Brian Pickrell)
wrote:

[Scholarly remarks on Lighthouse Harry Lee snipped.]

>Reading this reminded me of the exploits of the 5th New York Interior
>Decorators, a story posted in this group about 1 1/2 years ago. I looked
>in my archives but I didn't find that article. Instead, I found one by
>yours truly on a related subject, one that I'd almost forgotten about.
>So, at the risk of sounding like I'm laughing at my own joke, here is the
>story of the battle of Third Manassas Run (again):
>
>
> "A Powerful Bad Smell"
>
> The Battle of Third Manassas Run
>

[Story of Third Manassas Run snipped.]


How can I resist an invitation like that? Herein follows the story of
the 5th New York Interior Decorators. My thanks to Terry King for
having saved a copy of my original posting after I lost mine.


Originally posted September 18, 1995.....


Landscape Turned Lavender

The recent posting about the Battle of Third Manasas Run does remind
me of"Landscape Turned Lavender" the regimental history of the 5th New
York Interior Decorators. Initially this elite unit was hurriedly
pressed into service by George McClellan during the Peninsular
Campaign when he found his field headquarters in desperate need of a
complete makeover and it quickly became a favorite with George
Armstrong Custer who first conceived of its use as an offensive
weapon.

Brave volunteers from the 5th New York would slip behind rebel lines
to redecorate the domiciles of high ranking Confederate general
officers in their absence using totally inappropriate color schemes,
often with profoundly disorienting and demoralizing effects. Early
raids against Beauregard, Bragg and D.H. Maury left them in a bad
mood for the remainder of the war. The daring infiltration of Ft.
Donelson resulted in its immediate surrender by men who did not want
to spend another night with other men whom they believed to have
suddenly developed a penchant for pink pastels and frilly lace
doilies, (except for Nathan Bedford Forrest who was saved to fight
another day by his own color-blindness and kind of liked lace doilies
anyway).

The first attack on Lee's headquarters in September of 1862 succeeded
beyond the Union high command's wildest expectations when it so
unnerved one staff officer with a particular aversion to chartreuse
that he used a copy of Lee's orders to wrap his cigars. And the rest
is history.

But the 5th New York's finest hour surely came at Gettysburg where a
major assault on Lee's headquarters on the night of July 1, 1863 while
Lee was sleeping left him so confused in the morning that he could not
find his way out of his own bedroom for three crucial hours. (At the
time his aides were forced to circulate the story that he was ill by
way of explanation.) While some details of this raid are still
classified, it may well have resulted in the infamous "Sleep till
noon" order which Longstreet later claimed Lee gave in explanation of
his tardiness in attacking on July 2.

This raid was followed up on the next night with an attack on
Pickett's quarters about which he was still muttering even after his
famous charge. In this case men of the 5th New York were caught
red-handed by Pickett in the very act of hanging polka-dot curtains;
however, one quick witted private said they were operating under the
direct orders of General Lee and they brazenly stayed to finish the
job. Pickett never questioned this story and years later, after his
only postwar meeting with Lee, Pickett is said to have remarked,
"That old man butchered my decor."

All in all, this book made for an exciting read. The only thing I
found disappointing about "Landscape Turned Lavender" was the
repetitive use of the phrase, "They were the loudest colors seen in
the entire war."


Dennis

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