Quote of the Day January 5, 2013


The Potomac River near Harpers Ferry

“Why in the Nation, General Marcy, couldn’t the General have known whether a boat could go through that lock before spending a million dollars getting them there? I am no engineer, but it seems to me that if I wished to know whether a boat would go through a hole or a lock, common sense would teach me to go and measure it. I am almost despairing at these results. Everything seems to fail.  The general impression is daily gaining ground that the general does not intend to do anything.”  In a rare display of temper Abraham Lincoln chews out McClellan’s chief of staff Randolph Marcy at the White House on February 27, 1862 after learning that the canal boats sent up toward Harpers Ferry did not fit into the locks because the engineers failed to measure them before hand.  From George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon by Stephen Sears.  New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988. Page 158.

Quote of the Day May 7 2012

Lt Custer with Lt Washington a Confederate Prisoner Fair Oaks VA May 31 1862

“My career as a cadet had but little to recommend it to study of those who come after me, unless as an example to be carefully avoided.” George Armstrong Custer comments on his “achievements” at West Point. From The Perfect Lion The Life and Death of Confederate Artillerist John Pelham by Jerry Maxwell. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2011 page 22. Originally from Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen E. Ambrose. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975 page 99.

Quote of the Day May 1, 2012

John Pelham

“The army suits me better than anything else and I feel a confidence that I can succeed in it.”  Cadet John Pelham in a March 31, 1861 letter to Judge A.J. Walker concerning his prospects of remaining at West Point to graduate even though his home state of Alabama has seceded from the Union.  From The Perfect Lion The Life and Death of Confederate Artillerist John Pelham by Jerry Maxwell. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2011 page 43.

Quote of the Day April 24, 2012

John B. Gordon

“He dressed for a battle as others would dress for a ball, and when the boys saw his clear gauntlets and his shining epaulets on him, they ate all their rations, lest they should die before they had a chance to finish them.”  One of John B. Gordon’s soldiers describes his commander. From A Glorious Army by Jeffry D. Wert. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011 page 242.

Quote of the Day April 19 2012

Tidball's Battery


“rode along the line and gave orders to the commanders of batteries to fire slowly and deliberately; stating that the rapid firing did little execution and was a waste of ammunition….a small grizzly man with an effeminate voice….an experienced and able artillerist…”  Charles Cuffell of Durell’s Battery recalls Henry Hunt at the Battle of Antietam.  From Artillery Hell The Employment of Artillery at Antietam by Curt Johnson and Richard Anderson. College Station:  Texas A&M University Press, 1995 page 7.  Originally from Durell’s Battery in the Civil War by Charles A. Cuffel. Philadelphia:  Craig, Finley & Co., Inc 1900, page 78.



Henry Hunt

By the way and speaking of artillery, check out my post at South From the North Woods on the big move of artillery at Antietam which has resulted in 16 new or updated artillery positions at the park.  Henry Hunt would be happy.

Quote of the Day April 13, 2012

Territorial Map of Minnesota

“Since that time a cavalry and an infantry regiment have been offered to me, which I declined. They are Pennsylvania troops and maybe it would have been better for me to accept a regiment from my state, but I have been a long time with the Minnesota people and they know me.”  Captain Alfred Sully writing in a letter home of his preference for command of a Minnesota regiment.  He would become the third commander of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry on March 4, 1862 and lead them in battle on the Peninsula and in the Maryland Campaign.  Sully served at Fort Ridgely during the 1850s.  From the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry website:  http://www.1stminnesota.net/SearchResults.php3?ID=1240

Quote of the Day April 5, 2012

Confederate artillery behind the Sunken Road

“Gen. Longstreet working like a man god in center.” Thomas Goree describing Longstreet’s herculean efforts to hold the center of the Confederate line at Antietam.  From A Glorious Army by Jeffry D. Wert. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011 page 140. Originally from Longstreet’s Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree by Thomas W. Cutrer, editor. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995 page 26.

Quote of the Day March 30, 2012

Clara Barton

“but when she did speak she could tell more facts to the point with no possibility of misunderstanding than any person I have ever known.”  Julian Hubbel describes her friend and confidante Clara Barton.  From Reading the Man – A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. New York:  Penguin Group, 2007. Page 47.

Quote of the Day March 16, 2012

“The smoke rolled backward to the mountains in their rear, but their destructive shot and shell were falling, it would appear on every foot of land behind us. I doubt not that at one time there was one piece of artillery firing at the hill to every five men we had defending it.” Lieutenant William Wood of the 19th Virginia describes the effect of Union artillery at Antietam. Found in  Grape and Canister – The Story of the Field Artillery of the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865 (Second Edition) by L. VanLoan Naisawald. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 1999 page 159. Originally from Reminiscences of Big I by William N. Wood, Willey I. Bell editor.  Jackson TN: McCowark-Mercer Press, 1956 page 38.

Quote of the Day March 15, 2012

The view that Miller's Battery had in the Piper Orchard looking north into the Sunken Road

“that little battery [Miller’s 3d Co Washington Artillery] shot harder and faster, as though it realized that it was to hold thousands of Federals at bay or the battle was lost.” James Longstreet describing the battery in the Piper Orchard that his staff temporarily manned.  Found in Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 page 186. Originally from “The Invasion of Maryland,” by James Longstreet in Robert U. Johnson and Clarence C. Buell, eds., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, New York:  Century, 1887-88.