Civil War Profiles


Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 11

Ending the second adventurous week on the road, the roving travelers pursued new Civil War vistas in Mississippi. We drove south on the Natchez Trace from mid-Tennessee for more than 200 miles to Jackson, Miss., and exited the Trace heading west...

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 9:24am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 10

The travelers, continuing on their quest for Civil War lore in October 1995, drove 10 miles west on Route 96 from Franklin, Tenn., to the Natchez Trace — having clocked 1,750 miles on the odometer since this journey began. The Trace, an old...

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 7:39am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 9

During our trip to Civil War sites more than two decades ago, discovery of our nation’s Civil War battlefields and sites continued after leaving Murfreesboro, Tenn., heading west for 35 miles to Franklin. It was there that a senseless and tragic...

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 9:07am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 8

Our amazing trip continued in October 1995, blessed with near-perfect weather. Leaving the Dover area of Tennessee, we drove southeast about 110 miles to Murfreesboro, with a stop in Clarksville to visit the antebellum Smith-Trayhern Mansion....

Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 7:23am

A brief trip through the Civil War on videos

By Tom Ryan
Special to the Coastal Point

Learning about individual states that engaged in the Civil War in four minutes or less is a novel program the Civil War Trust created as a service to the public. Using videos to convey the...

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 7:29am

Civil War Profiles — Thomas Garrett goes on trial as UGRR stationmaster

Prior to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, slavery was prevalent throughout the American South, including the state of Delaware. Slavery in the First State, however, had gradually declined...

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 6:30am

Civil War Profiles — The metamorphosis of Ulysses S. Grant

A person who failed at most things in life until he passed the age of 30 would not be expected to become president of the United States. Yet, that is what happened in the case of a young man from Point Pleasant, Ohio, whose parents, Jesse Root...

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 7:02am

Civil War Profiles — A bloody day for Delawareans at Antietam

During the Civil War, there were a number of events that occurred that were considered “turning points,” or indicators that one side or the other had taken a significant step toward victory. One such event was a battle in Maryland in September...

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 10:29am

Civil War Profiles — Mapping during the Civil War

In this age of GPS (global positioning system) sophistication regarding the pinpointing of locations worldwide, it is difficult to contemplate the rudimentary nature of topographical engineering in the mid-19th century. To the detriment of Civil...

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 11:08am

Civil War Profiles — On this date in Civil War history

After war erupted between the states in 1861, it lasted four long — and for tens of thousands of people — heartbreaking years. Given the extensive scholarship directed toward this conflict over the past century and a half, it can be said with...

Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 9:27am

Civil War Profiles — Preserving Civil War lands for future generations

Three decades ago, a number of concerned citizens gathered together to address the problem of urban sprawl in Northern Virginia. The focus of their attention was the fast disappearing Civil War battlefields that were being turned into housing...

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 10:29am

Civil War Profiles — Jefferson Davis’ role in the Lincoln assassination

In 1988, two members of the U.S. intelligence community, William A. Tidwell and David Winfred Gaddy, along with James O. Hall, an expert on the Lincoln assassination, published “Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the...

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 8:31am

Civil War Profiles — The Koch brothers during the Civil War

In today’s political environment, the Koch brothers, Charles and David, are well known as the owners of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately-owned companies in the United States, and contributors to conservative candidates for political...

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 9:51am

Civil War Profiles — IR Life Saving Station keeper was a Confederate veteran

Driving north over the Indian River Bridge and continuing for about 3 miles on Route 1, you reach the restored and open-to-the-public Indian River Life Saving Station. It is preserved as a museum to educate visitors about the living and working...

Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 12:41pm

Civil War Profiles — Divulging military intelligence is rewarded

The Confederate prisoner population at Fort Delaware more than doubled following the three days of battle at Gettysburg beginning July 1, 1863. An estimated 6,000 Rebel soldiers captured on those bloody fields were processed at POW “depots” near...

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 8:52am

Civil War Profiles — Why a battle was fought at Gettysburg

On the morning of June 30, 1863, two brigades of Union cavalry rode into a small town in southcentral Pennsylvania. None of the horse soldiers suspected their names would go down in history for what they accomplished that day, and on July 1, just...

Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 10:07am

Civil War Profiles — ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ Delaware connection

Jeremiah Millspaugh Crist was born in Montgomery, N.Y., near West Point, in 1843. He joined the Union army in 1862 and served in the 124th New York Volunteers, known as the “Orange Blossoms,” from Orange County. The 124th’s role in the Battle of...

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 9:59am

Civil War Profiles — Lee and Grant meet again at the White House

The beginning of the end of the Civil War dated from March 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln promoted Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of lieutenant general and placed him in charge of the entire Union army. Grant’s single-minded goal from that...

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 9:12am

Civil War Profiles — The strange case of Provost Marshal Edwin Wilmer

In 1863, as the Civil War progressed into its second year and casualties mounted in the Union army, the federal government decided to institute a draft. To organize Delaware’s portion of the draft, U.S. Provost Marshal Gen. James B. Fry...

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 9:52am

Civil War Profiles — A retrospective on the past six years

In May 2011, this column was born as the result of a discussion over lunch at the Bethany Diner with the editor of the Coastal Point, Darin McCann. The agreed-to proposal was writing a series of articles for the newspaper titled “Civil War...

Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 9:33am

Civil War Profiles — Robert E. Lee’s resounding victory at Chancellorsville

When Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker took command of the Army of the Potomac in January 1863, these Union forces were in disarray following a crushing defeat at the hands of the Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg the previous month.

...

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 9:56am

Civil War Profiles — The pre-Civil War plot to assasinate Lincoln

The outcome of the 1860 presidential election was a foregone conclusion before voters went to the polls. The Democrats had split asunder over how to handle the slavery issue, thereby ensuring their candidates would lose to the Republican nominee...

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 8:34am

Civil War Profiles — President Jefferson Davis’ refusal to surrender

Gen. Robert E. Lee’s capitulation to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Virginia town of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, is widely regarded as the dramatic event that brought the Civil War to a close. Yet, the president of the Confederacy...

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 11:02am

Civil War Profiles — April 14: Requiem for a day of ‘horror & grief’

On April 18, 1865, the New York Times reported that abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher had delivered an “eloquent and impressive” oration at Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 14, 1863, in commemoration of the American flag once again flying from its mast...

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 10:08am

Civil War Profiles — Delawarean Wilson defeats Forrest at Selma

Selma, Ala., is well-known as the starting point of Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent march to the capital at Montgomery in 1965 to gain voting rights for African-Americans. A century earlier, in a precursor of this struggle for freedom, Selma...

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 10:10am

Civil War Profiles — Back to Gettysburg: A personal memo

Nearly 30 years ago, while attending a course at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., I had the good fortune of participating in a “staff ride” at Gettysburg National Military Park. This was part of a leadership training program that featured...

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 5:40am

Civil War Profiles — When spring arrives, combat is renewed!

Weather conditions played a significant role in the progress and outcome of military operations during the Civil War. This was particularly true in the eastern part of the country, and especially in Virginia, where a number of major battles took...

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 2:27pm

Civil War Profiles — Out of Ireland, into the Union army

St. Patrick’s Day is an appropriate time to recognize the more than 200,000 men born in Ireland who fought on behalf of the North and South during the Civil War. By far, however, the predominant number of Irish served in the Union army.

...

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 7:52am

Civil War Profiles — The Northwestern secession conspiracy

Stories out of California these days describe a secession movement under way in response to the outcome of the recent presidential election. One group would like to “peaceably, legally transform the West Coast of the United States into a ‘...

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 8:12am

Civil War Profiles — P.W.A. reports the war for Southern newspapers

Civil War documentation, such as letters, diaries and memoirs, frequently surface after being forgotten over the past 150 years in trunks, attics and official archives. Such is the case for the collection Peter Wellington Alexander produced...

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 8:43am

Civil War Profiles — The demonization of President Abraham Lincoln

Since the inauguration of Donald John Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, members of the opposition have endeavored to cast him in an unfavorable light. The typical “honeymoon” period for a new president has been short-...

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 8:37am

Civil War Profiles – African-Americans in 19th-century Delaware

Black History Month prompts a review of significant historical events affecting African-Americans in Delaware during the Civil War era. This includes antebellum years, the North-South conflict of 1861-1865 and Reconstruction.


...

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 8:19am

Civil War Profiles – Before ‘Glory’: 1st S. Carolina U.S. Colored Troops

The 54th Massachusetts U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) is generally recognized as the first black regiment to serve in the Union army. Free blacks made their way from many different states, including Delaware, to muster into this unit soon after...

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 8:34am

Civil War Profiles – Chronicling events on the Delaware homefront

Beginning in April 1961, the Delaware Historical Society commemorated the 100th anniversary of the war between the Northern and Southern states. The society commissioned historian Norman B. Wilkinson for this project, titled, “The Brandywine Home...

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 7:27am

Civil War Profiles – January: The Civil War’s cruelest month

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Everett Burnside commanded the Union Army of the Potomac from late 1862 until early 1863 and presided over the disaster that occurred at Fredericksburg, Va., on Dec. 13, 1862. Formidable Rebel positions on Marye’s Heights...

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 8:21am

Civil War Profiles – ‘You’re in the Army Now,’ Mr. Locke

Eufaula, Ala., native William Herrod Locke wrote his wife from Fort Barrancus near Pensacola, Fla., on May 10, 1861, that he anticipated combat against Federal troops would soon begin. Locke was a member of a militia unit the Eufaula Minute Men...

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 8:00am

Civil War Profiles: ‘I heard the Bells on Christmas Day’

The 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow experienced tragedy during his lifetime. His beloved wife Fanny died in a fire, and his son Charles sustained a devastating wound as an officer in the Union army during the Civil War....

Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 8:02am

Civil War Profiles – From hatred and malice do wars begin!

Recent protests against the national anthem, burning the American flag, banning the flag on college campuses and attempts to depress freedom of speech are eerily reminiscent of events prior to outbreak of hostilities between the states in the mid...

Thursday, December 22, 2016 - 7:10am

Civil War Profiles – Centenarian General Bisbee: A national hero

The Arlington National Cemetery website identifies William Henry Bisbee as “Brigadier General, United States Army.” Born in Woonsocket, R.I., in 1840, he followed his trade in retail merchandizing to Philadelphia, Delaware and Ohio while the...

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 8:07am

Civil War Profiles – Ballooning: ‘Would you like to ride…’

The Union Army of the Potomac had high hopes, so to speak, for a new technology that became available shortly after hostilities between the states erupted in April 1861. As the Northerners faced Confederate troops across the Rappahannock River in...

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 7:52am

Civil War Profiles – Delawareans who served with distinction

Delaware’s participation in the Civil War has received limited coverage in the annals of history in comparison with other states. Yet, the First State’s sons and daughters played important roles in the outcome of the four-year-long national...

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 6:50am

Civil War Profiles – A day set aside to thank the Almighty

After two and a half years of sectional conflict, President Abraham Lincoln believed it prudent to “give thanks for the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”


On Oct. 3, 1863, the president instructed Secretary of State...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 3:55am

Civil War Profiles – A fateful ‘change’ election in 1860

On the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, millions of people awoke to the news that a man without previous governmental experience, Donald John Trump, was the president-elect of the United States. The ballots counted late into the night determined this...

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 8:04am

Civil War Profiles - Awaiting election results with trepidation

As Election Day, Nov. 6, loomed ahead, the mood throughout the country in 1860 was one of nervous tension. Despite the fear that a number of Southern states were preparing to secede from the Union if Abraham Lincoln became president, torch-light...

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 9:15am

Civil War Profiles – Presidential election turmoil

Hostility was at a fever pitch as the presidential election drew near. Irreparable disagreement among candidates in one of the principal political parties tore it asunder. As a result, four candidates running under separate banners contended for...

Friday, October 28, 2016 - 6:07am

Civil War Profiles – Georgetown’s Brick Hotel in Civil War Days

In January 1791, the Delaware General Assembly passed an act authorizing the Sussex County seat of government moved from Lewes to a more centrally located area. George Mitchell and several others received a commission to acquire land to construct...

Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 9:59am

Civil War Profiles – Novels shape our understanding of the Civil War

Instructors at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., led students on a “staff ride” at Gettysburg battlefield to expose them to the strategy, tactics and rigors of warfare. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Gettysburg, “The...

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 10:24am

Civil War Profiles – Protecting the flag was the primary mission

The most precarious role on the battlefield is serving as a member of the color guard. The standard-bearer leads the unit into battle and absorbs the brunt of enemy gunfire.


During the Civil War, it was not uncommon for a half-...

Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 9:01am

Civil War Profiles – Spies, counterspies and Ginnie the quilter

Stories about espionage during the Civil War abound. Documentation, however, is often wanting, while legends of what occurred survive through the generations.


One such tale involves sisters Ginnie and Lottie Moon, natives of Ohio...

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 9:35am

Civil War Profiles: Reverse Underground Railroad — Texas style

Unlike in the United States, slavery was banned in Mexico in the 19th century. As a result, Mexico became a haven for the enslaved in this country.


The so-called “Underground Railroad” flourished in the upper-South states, such as...

Friday, August 19, 2016 - 8:46am