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Bermuda Hundred

Volume XXXI, #1 • An Excerpt From:

Bermuda Hundred

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by Herbert Schiller

In the early spring of 1864, the Federal and Confederate armies began preparing for their fourth campaign season. Much had changed in three years of war. The shrunken Confederacy was largely on the defensive. Facing the large Federal Army of the Potomac in the east was Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In the west, William T. Sherman’s Union forces at Chattanooga, Tennessee, faced Joe Johnston’s Army of Tennessee in northwest Georgia.

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Battle of Tupelo, MS

Volume XXX Issue #6 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of Tupelo

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by Tom Parson

Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army—or rather his army group—was on the move. In the first week of May 1864, his blue columns had left their camps around Chattanooga and begun the 120-mile march to Atlanta. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee stood ready, if not able, to halt the Union commander’s endeavors. Sherman’s 98,000 soldiers nearly doubled Johnston’s force of 50,000.
Johnston had no illusions whether he could stand up to the three Union armies as they entered Georgia from the north: a stand up fight was out of the question. What Johnston could do, and in fact did, was to maneuver when he could, fall back when he had to, and wait for his adversary to make a mistake. If he could take advantage of an error on Sherman’s part, Joe Johnston might be able to even the odds.

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Editors Letter: The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo

The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Battle of Tupelo, Volume 30, #6

The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo (or Harrisburg), Miss.

This is an interesting campaign full of twists and turns, revenge, military trickery, displays of incredible human endurance, command disputes with high-drama obstinacy, bungled assaults, new characterizations of an oft-ignored Union commander (and his oddly named troops), and a new perspective on the purpose of the campaign—one that includes the consummate Southern cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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The Battle of The Crater

Volume XXX Issue #5 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of the Crater

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by Emmanuel Dabney

In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Ulysses S. Grant to be the new general-in-chief of the Federal forces. The Civil War turned three years old in the spring of 1864, and for Lincoln and the War Department the conflict was no closer to victory than when it started. Despite assertions made in the years since the war that the South was doomed to defeat after the Battle of Gettysburg, the truth is that the Confederacy was still motivated to fight the war. Grant and Lincoln both recognized this and for Lincoln it was particularly important to end the war, as he faced an election in the fall of 1864. General Grant decided to accompany Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac for the spring campaign of 1864.

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Editors Letter: The Battle of the Crater

The Battle of the Crater

This issue features one of the most brutal contests of the Civil War, displaying on the one hand the worst attributes of mankind, and on the other hand the kind of spunk and ingenuity that made America the greatest country on the globe. Then, as usual, politics got in the way to ruin a perfectly good plan.

The campaign in Virginia in the spring of 1864 pits Grant and Lee against each other for the first time. The recently appointed commander of all United States forces chooses to make his headquarters with the armies of the Eastern Theater to face the South’s greatest general.

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The Battle of Franklin

Volume XXX Issue #4 • An Excerpt From:

The Battle of Franklin

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by Eric Jacobson

In the fall of 1864, as the Civil War dragged toward its fourth brutal year, the last great campaign of that epic struggle unfolded across Middle Tennessee. Hood’s Tennessee Campaign, as it became known, saw old antagonists confront one another yet again, as the beleaguered Confederate troops desperately tried to stave off defeat, and Federal soldiers worked feverishly to prevent the war from dragging on and achieve ultimate victory. For nearly 150 years the events which swirled through Tennessee that autumn have been an integral part of Civil War history, yet are sadly overlooked by many. In the past decade great strides have been made to return the campaign to a place of national prominence.

At Spring Hill and Franklin, scenes of high drama, human error, bravery and bloodshed, were fused together in a frantic period of barely 36 hours. As a result, the very names of those places were burned deep into the minds of those who fought, marched, and struggled there. They understood how important it all was, and as we approach the 150th anniversary of Spring Hill and Franklin, the events there deserve the attention they were so long denied.

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Editors Letter: The Gettysburg Town Fight

The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Gettysburg Town Fight, Volume 30, #3

Gettysburg Town Fight

While walking the streets of Gettysburg and seeing a small bronze plaque identifying a house or shop as a Civil War building, have you ever wondered who lived there during the battle, was it a home or a business (or both), were the occupants owners or tenants? Well, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Gerald Bennett experienced that, and did something about it.

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The Gettysburg Town Fight!

Volume XXX Issue #3 • An Excerpt From:

The Gettysburg Town Fight

by David G. Martin

Gettysburg in the spring of 1863 was a bustling market town typical of those in southeastern Pennsylvania at the time; the fact that it was the Adams County seat and nexus of ten roads and one railroad added to its activity level. The town had been painfully involved in the great Civil War that had been waging for two years and had sent its fair share of soldier boys to join the conflict. Though the town was located just a day’s travel north of the Potomac, Gettysburgians little expected that the war would physically come to them. That is exactly what happened at the beginning of the summer, when two great armies converged on the town to fight what is generally considered to be the most important battle of the war.

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The following is the Editor’s Letter from Chancellorsville Pt.2, Volume 29, #5

Lee’s Greatest Victory

The reaction to last issue’s part one of a two-issue treatment of Chancellorsville, Blue & Gray’s choice to kick off the 1863 Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration, has been highly favorable, and a curiosity to some readers. Longtime subscribers, some as far back as Vol. I, #1, were surprised to learn, or to realize, that during the past 30 years we had never done a feature on the battle.

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Chancellorsvile Pt. 2

Volume XXIX Issue #5 • An Excerpt From:

Action from May 3-6, 1863

by Frank A. O’Reilly

Gen. Robert E. Lee faced a monumental crisis on the grim morning of May 3, 1863—one of the darkest Sundays in American military history. Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s brilliant flank attack at Chancellorsville on May 2 had created an opportunity for Lee to either escape his opponent’s overwhelming clutches, or dare to win the battle decisively right then, right there. At the same time, Lee knew he was weaker and more vulnerable than ever before. He had divided his small army into three parts: two divisions (McLaws’ and Anderson’s) of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s corps, under Lee’s direct control; Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s command holding the line at Fredericksburg; and Jackson’s forces to the west. Lee’s command structure was also in turmoil; in short, Lee had no corps commanders. Longstreet’s corps, less two divisions, had been sent to southeast Virginia on detached duty, and Stonewall Jackson had been felled by the mistaken fire of his own men. Stonewall’s replacement, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill, also had been hit and had to relinquish command. Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart of the cavalry now commanded Jackson’s infantry by virtue of his rank. It remained to be seen what kind of corps leader the cavalier would make.

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