An Excerpt from the current issue: Volume 31, #3
From Sailor’s Creek to Cumberland Church
April 6-7, 1865
by Chris Calkins
Seventy-Two Hours Before Appomattox
The smell of fresh dirt permeated the air as arriving Federal soldiers of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s cavalry and the V Corps infantry, newly under the command of Maj. Gen. Charles Griffin, began digging a line of breastworks near Jetersville Station. Running perpendicular to the Richmond & Danville Railroad, the works lay across the path of the Confederate army’s route to North Carolina. Barely seven miles to the northeast at Amelia Court House was Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia which was now beginning its march along the railroad in the direction of Danville and the state line. At this point Lee still hoped to reach this location and combine his forces with those of the Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. It was April 5, 1865, and the Southern commander still had hopes of continuing the struggle which had started nearly four years ago.
The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Sailor’s Creek issue, Volume 31, #3
72 Hours Before Appomattox
This is the final issue of the Civil War Sesquicentennial observance. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when we kicked off the 150th with Hank Elliott’s feature article on First Manassas. Pardon me if I brag a bit, because I’m very proud of how we’ve covered the Sesquicentennial in Blue & Gray. In particular, we maintained balance in our five Special Commemorative issues at the beginning of each year with two features on the Eastern Theater, Hank’s, and Frank O’Reilly’s 2-issue treatment on Chancellorsville; two on the Western Theater, Jim Jobe’s Forts Henry and Donelson and Eric Jacobson’s Battles at Spring Hill and Franklin; and last issue’s feature on the Civil War in Indian Territory by Mike Manning that showcased the Trans-Mississippi Theater. I like to think the vets in Blue and Gray have looked down approvingly upon our efforts.
Chris Calkins is the author of this final feature and his article consumes most of the pages in the magazine. He is well known in the Civil War community as the former Historian at Petersburg National Battlefield. He has written several features for B&G on Petersburg during the war and served as a Tour consultant on other articles about the area when he was not the principal author.
A few years ago, Chris could not resist the opportunity to participate in developing the Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park in Amelia County, Virginia, on the road to Appomattox. He left the National Park Service and became Park Manager and Historian at the new park. Chris has been instrumental in the design and interpretation of the Sailor’s Creek park. There a major setback to Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia occurred on April 6, 1865, during their retreat toward Appomattox to obtain food rations. Chris’ narrative is a revised and expanded edition of a work originally published in 1980 and now out of print.
The new Sailor’s Creek park has a fine Visitor Center and there is room to expand and improve sites to inform the visitor, in particular at the Marshall’s Crossroads area. As Chris is quick to explain, the Battle of Sailor’s Creek is actually three separate engagements, as you will discover. The jewel of the battlefield park is the James Hillsman house, which served as a hospital. Blood stains are clearly evident on the floor, protected with plexiglass. Medical history is important to the park’s interpretation.
A special web supplement, Chris’ 2001 B&G article “Final Bloodshed: The Hospital System During the Appomattox Campaign,” has been made available in PDF form.
This article by Chris Calkins originally appeared in Blue & Gray in 2001. It supports Calkins’ feature article in Vol. XXXI, #3, “From Sailor’s Creek to Cumberland Church, April 6-7, 1865: Seventy-Two Hours Before Appomattox.”
An Excerpt from the current issue: Volume 31, #2
They Fought Like Veterans
The Civil War in Indian Territory:
September 1863 – June 1865
Michael J. Manning
The brutality of the Civil War in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) tore apart the Five Civilized Tribes as they divided their loyalties between the United States and the Confederacy. The course of the war in the region began with the secession of the states of Arkansas and Texas, the alignment of the Indian Nations with the Southern Confederacy, and the evacuation of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Indian Territory by the United States Army. Two Union expeditions into the Indian nations in 1862 and 1863 finally led to the reoccupation of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River, and the Confederates’ evacuation of Fort Smith. The following narrative includes a description of the creation of Indian Territory and a recap of events in the early years of the Civil War, then chronicles the Civil War in Indian Territory from the Confederacy’s loss of Fort Smith on September 1, 1863, through the final surrender in 1865.
The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Civil War in Indian Territory, Volume 31, #2
Civil War in Indian Territory
The Trans-Mississippi Theater always gets short shrift. I’ve been hearing that for years now, and frankly it’s true. I’ve also discovered that the farther west you go, the more well-rounded Civil Warriors you find. That’s because many, if not most of them, are interested in Gettysburg and Petersburg, as well as Chattanooga, Atlanta and Vicksburg, but also Chustenahlah, Pea Ridge, Baxter Springs, 1st and 2nd Cabin Creek, Honey Springs, and Middle Boggy.
The Fort Smith Council of 1865
Submitted by Fort Smith National Historic Site
Lisa C. Frost, Superintendent
In September 1865, the U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs met with representatives of 13 Indian nations in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The purpose of this historic meeting, known as the Fort Smith Council, was to reestablish formal relations between the tribes and the United States Government in the aftermath of the Civil War. While many of the tribes had signed formal treaties with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the war, they had also internally split into factions along Union or Confederate lines. Indian delegates from the following nations were present at the council meeting: Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Osage, Quapaw, Seminole, Seneca, Shawnee, Wichita and Wyandotte.
As 2014 winds to an end, all of us at Blue & Gray wish you a safe and Merry Christmas.
Volume XXXI, #1 • An Excerpt From:
View this issues Table of Contents
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.
Volume XXX Issue #6 • An Excerpt From:
The Battle of Tupelo
View this issue’s Table of Contents
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.