thecivilwarproject

Like many others, I have a passion for the Civil War era, and for decades have chosen to spend my much of free time researching this topic - particularly the people, as the human component is what I find most fascinating. The site is not a source of revenue for me, nor is it tied in with a company or individual behind the scenes. It is my own personal venture. It is because of this genuine bond of respect and affection I feel towards this period in our history that I created "The Civil War Project." If this is your first time visiting the site, I welcome you and thank you for your interest. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com.
thecivilwarproject has written 150 posts for The Civil War Project (TCWP)

155 Years Ago: Wednesday, February 13, 1861

Feb 13 1861

Source: Library of Congress

U.S. President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his family leave Cincinnati, Ohio at 9:00 a.m., and begin their five-hour journey by train to Columbus, Ohio. It is day three of his thirteen day inaugural journey from Springfield, Illinois to Washington City.

Fifteen minutes into their journey, a live bomb is discovered in Lincoln’s train car. It is set to go off at 9:30am. It is disposed of safely, with no injury to its intended target.

Just like the previous two days, the train stops in many small towns along the way. Lincoln is greeted by large, enthusiastic crowds of well-wishers, and the occasional roar of celebratory cannon fire. In Columbus, a crowd of 50,000 are there to greet him.

After a military parade escort to the Ohio Statehouse, Lincoln addresses a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly. “It is true, as has been said by the president of the Senate, that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position to which the votes of the American people have called me,” he tells the legislature. “I am deeply sensible of that weighty responsibility.”

Afterwards, Lincoln meets with Ohio Governor William Dennison Jr. in his Statehouse office, where they discuss the events that have unfolded in recent months. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina have already seceded. Texas looks like they may be next to leave. The divided state of Virginia has assembled two conventions in the last month: One to discuss secession, and the other that is Pro-Union. Today, former U.S. President John Tyler and former Virginia governor Henry Wise are meeting for the first time at Virginia’s secessionist convention. Four days earlier, the newly formed Confederate States of America had named former U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as President of the Provisional Confederate Government, whose chosen capital is Montgomery, Alabama.

Around 4pm, a messenger arrives with news for Lincoln from the Electoral College, which had been meeting for the last two days in Washington City. U.S. General Winfield Scott had to reinforce the city so the meeting could go on as planned, due to fears that southern sympathizers would try to sabotage the vote.

Lincoln, a Republican, receives 180 electoral votes, all in the northern, non-slaveholding states, including California and Oregon. Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge receives 72 votes from most of the southern states, along with the border state of Maryland; he does not win his own home state of Kentucky. Kentucky, along with Virginia and Tennessee, go to John Bell, a Constitutional Union Party candidate, who receives 39 electoral votes. Stephen A. Douglas, a northern Democrat, only receives 12 electoral votes, having only won Missouri and New Jersey. After the electoral votes are counted, current Vice-president John C. Breckinridge declares Lincoln the winner of the Election of 1860.

The message to Lincoln reads: “The votes were counted peaceably. You are elected.”

 

Source: 270towin.com

1860 Electoral College Results Source: 270towin.com

 

155 Years Ago: Tuesday, February 12, 1861

Feb 12 1861 Map

Source: Library of Congress

It is only the second day of President-elect Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural journey. After spending the night in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lincoln starts the day by addressing the Indiana State Legislature. He then boards the train with his wife Mary and three children (Robert, Willie & Tad). Their final destination for the day is Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lincoln had multiple stops the day before, and spoke at each one. He now finds himself to be a little hoarse, but that doesn’t stop him from greeting the crowds and providing brief remarks at each stop along the route. Hundreds of people line the tracks, shouting and waving flags and handkerchiefs as the train sweeps by.

In Cincinnati, the train route is blocked by people at the foot of Fifth Street. Military and police forces are brought in to clear the way. Cincinnati Mayor Richard M. Bishop introduces himself and welcomes Mr. Lincoln to the city. Amid the deafening cheers, Lincoln takes a seat in a barouche (a four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with a collapsible hood over the rear half) drawn by six white horses. The procession makes its way through the main streets, and arrives at the Burnet House on the corner of Third and Vine Streets around 5:30pm. Lincoln had stayed here before, back in September 1859 when he was campaigning for the Ohio Republican Party. Now the band is playing “Hail Columbia” and “Star-Spangled Banner,” with a crowd of approximately 10,000 surrounding the hotel.

Lincoln takes a few moments to rest inside. He then appears on a balcony, after a brief introduction by Mayor Bishop.

Addressing a crowd, Lincoln jokes that people had not come to see him; that they had come to see the President-elect of the United States. This is met with great cheers and applause. He continues to say that this is as it should be, even if his other opponents had been elected instead of him. He points out that no other country on Earth would have seen so many people gather to welcome its new leader, and that the country owed this to the free institutions which had guaranteed freedom of assembly.

With the slave-holding state of Kentucky just across the Ohio River from where he was standing, Lincoln gives assurance that he has no intention to interfere with the institution (slavery) where it already existed. He states that other than their different opinions on the expansion of slavery, there is no difference between them. He reminds them that he was once a fellow Kentuckian, and plans to treat them as the Founding Fathers had treated them.

Lincoln closes by addressing Ohioans, asking them to harbor no ill will towards their friends and brethren south of the Ohio River. He expresses his hope that the country will yet again come together as one nation.

As Lincoln heads back towards his room, he is rushed by people, throwing their arms around him, patting him on the back, and pulling on his arms.

Lincoln heads to a nearby location, where he addresses a large population of German immigrants. He declines to announce what course of action he might take towards the South when he becomes President. However, he does tell them that he will treat the Germans – who have been facing heavy discrimination – no better and no worse than Americans. He states his support for passing a Homestead Law, which would provide free Federal land to anyone who would want it; they would just need to work the land for five years before it would be theirs.

Mr. Lincoln returns to the Burnet House, where the grand hall has been decorated for the occasion. The papers state that he looks well and is in good spirits. Today he turns 52 years old.

155 Years Ago: Monday, February 11, 1861

Great Western Depot155 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln went to the Great Western Railroad Station in Springfield, Illinois, not far from his home. He was the President-elect of the United States, and it was time for him to make the journey to Washington City. As he stood in the depot, he saw the faces of his friends and neighbors in the huge crowd that had gathered to see him off. Before he boarded the train, he spoke these words:

“My friends—No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe every thing. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you and be every where for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

The Future: The American Civil War – 155th Anniversary (2016 to 2020) #CW155

Since the time I was 2 years and 10 months old and in the presence of Lincoln’s tomb, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time reading, visiting, researching, talking and writing about the American Civil War. In honor of this unique period of time and the people who lived during it, I started The Civil War Project (TCWP) in April 2011, in time for the 150th anniversary.

Within less than a month after TCWP was launched, I was plunged into countless health issues that would plague me the entire duration of the 150th anniversary. While I made several attempts to catch up, revamp, etc., my health never improved enough to where I could truly have the website I had envisioned for so long.

I’m still dealing with health issues, but I’m hopeful that in the very near future I will finally get some answers that will lead me to an improved quality of life. I have many things that I want to accomplish in my life – I’m not done yet, not by a long shot.

One thing that is most dear to me is this website. The people I was writing about, and want to continue to writing about, deserve more than what I was able to give them these last four years. 150 years is a good “mark” in time to remember, but in reality we should all give this war, and the people who lived during this time, more than just our attention during symbolic or “key” anniversary years.

Starting April 2016, TCWP will relaunch into what I had always envisioned. I have always believed that the best way to learn about this complex war is to look at it from a daily perspective, and that is the format I will utilize here. For my Twitter followers, I plan on using hashtag #CW155 (and I hope that many of my fellow Internet writers & researchers will do so as well).

What should you expect?

  • A daily blog that gives you a perspective of a wide variety of people over the course of time
  • Biographies on people that TCWP is following in the daily blogs
  • Information on historical sites all around the country that need support and are eager to educate the masses, including video spotlights by TCWP
  • An occasional review on books, TV shows and movies related to the Civil War
  • Is there something you would like to see? Email me at thecivilwarproject@yahoo.com!

I want to thank the thousands of people who have visited this site in the last four years, and the countless questions, thank yous, and comments of support I have received. Though the experience these last four years was not what I had envisioned, I have been extremely uplifted by the interest in this topic. It’s not just about battles and dates; it really is about the people, and how the war transformed each and every person, for better or for worse. This period in history has certainly transformed me, and I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to write about such a diverse and complex group of people that inspire and drive me every day.

– Carrie S., Creator/Author of The Civil War Project (TCWP)

50 Facts About William Tecumseh Sherman

Today on Twitter, the hashtag #50factsaboutme is a popular one. One of my newer projects still in development, which I call “Sherman Kitty,” will be geared towards children yet also will be entertaining for adults. I thought that it would be fun to list 50 facts about Sherman through the @GenShermanKitty Twitter account. And, since it’s relevant to the Civil War, I thought I would post them here as well.

William Tecumseh Sherman is a very unique individual with a lot of different complexities. He has been simplified in history books; he helped General Ulysses S. Grant win victory in the North, and is a villain in the South. Some of the things said about him include: He burned Atlanta to the ground; he raided homes & stole everything from the Southerners they came across; he was crazy. He is also called “The Father of Total War.”

As it turns out, it’s not that simple. And while you may disagree with some of his tactics & beliefs, I have personally found him to be so wonderfully complex & intelligent that he has become one of my favorite people in history to talk – and learn more – about. So here are 50 facts about Sherman:

1. He was born in Lancaster, Ohio, the 6th of 11 children.

2. His father, Charles, served on the Ohio Supreme Court until his unexpected death in 1829; Sherman was just 9 years old.

3. Original birth name was Tecumseh Sherman. His father had a great respect for the Shawnee Chief, who actually fought against the Americans with the British in the War of 1812, and died in battle in 1813. But he had earned a great reputation from both sides, for his “courage, fortitude, ambition, generosity, humanity, eloquence, military skill, leadership…above all, patriotism and a love of liberty.” As for Sherman, his nickname throughout his life was “Cump.”

4. His mom, Mary Hoyt Sherman, couldn’t support the 11 children. A close family friend, Thomas Ewing, took Cump into his home just a few doors over from Cump’s family home. Ewing, at the time, was a leading member of the Ohio Bar Association.

5. The reason Cump was chosen was because Ewing wanted the “smartest boy.” After some discussion between Mary & her oldest female child, Mary Elizabeth, it was decided that “Cump” was the best choice. At the time the decision was made, Cump was playing in a nearby sandbox.

6. W.T. Sherman was baptized & given the Christian name “William” by Ewing’s very religious wife Maria. She was shocked that the boy had not been baptized and remedied it immediately after he became a part of their family. She also felt “Tecumseh” was not an appropriate name, hence how he earned “William” as his new first name. Those that were close to him, however, would forever call him “Cump.”

7. He was appointed to West Point at age 16 by his unofficial adopted father, Ewing, who at this point is a U.S. Senator for the state of Ohio.

8. At West Point, William excelled academically, but could have cared less about their demerit system. He would write in his memoirs that “At the Academy I was not considered a good soldier, for at no time was I selected for any office, but remained a private throughout the whole four years. Then, as now, neatness in dress and form, with a strict conformity to the rules, were the qualifications required for office, and I suppose I was found not to excel in any of these. In studies I always held a respectable reputation with the professors, and generally ranked among the best, especially in drawing, chemistry, mathematics, and natural philosophy. My average demerits, per annum, were about one hundred and fifty.” Fellow cadet, Ohioan (& later fellow Civil War General) William Rosecrans would say that Sherman was “one of the brightest and most popular fellows” and “a bright-eyed, red-headed fellow, who was always prepared for a lark of any kind.

9. He spent 4 years at West Point & graduated in 1840, 6th out of a class of 40. Sherman also would state in his memoirs that his demerits cost him his ranking; without them, he would have placed 4th.

10. After West Point, he was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Artillery & stationed in Florida. There, he fought in the 2nd Seminole War, which was against the Seminole Tribe. He served well but nothing happened that propelled him to a larger role or fame.

11. While many of Sherman’s fellow military generals during the Civil War received great experience while fighting in the Mexican-American War, Sherman was instead stationed in California at the time. He greatly disliked being stationed so far away from the action, but performed his duties well.

12. Sherman fell in love with one of the Ewing daughters, Ellen. He was 23, and she was 19, when he took a four month leave of absence so he could spend time with her & officially propose. They became engaged Fall 1843.

13. William & Ellen had to wait years before they could marry. Sherman’s unofficial foster father, Thomas Ewing, had gotten him in at West Point. However, he had hoped Sherman could join the Corp of Engineers. Since Sherman was not able to do so, Thomas opposed his daughter becoming a “soldier’s wife.” He was very close to Ellen, and Ellen was very attached to her parents. She did not want to travel with Sherman around the country, going wherever he was stationed, though she did love him. But given that he was sent to California, it further delayed a marriage. Ellen would live in Washington City (DC) at the time, where her father continued to have roles in politics.

14. It wasn’t until May 1, 1850 that William & Ellen married. Sherman had just received a promotion to Captain, and that seemed to satisfy Thomas enough to allow the marriage.

15. They married in Washington at the Ewing’s home – the Blair House – which was across the street from the White House. It was a highly social affair. At the time, Thomas was serving President Zachary Taylor as Secretary of the Interior. Not only did the President attend the wedding & reception, but it also included Senators Daniel Webster & Henry Clay.

16. After the wedding, Sherman served as Captain of the Subsistence Departments in St. Louis, Missouri & New Orleans, Louisiana. He resigned in 1853. During that time they had their first of eight children, Maria & Mary.

17. He had spent 13 years in the military, serving with honor but no real distinction. He had seen very little combat, unlike many of his former West Point classmates. Having a family to support, he turned to business.

18. A friend, Major Henry Turner, offers Sherman a job in San Francisco, California, where he would be responsible for opening a branch bank of Lucas & Symonds. He accepts the position.

19. While Sherman does a good job of running the bank in San Francisco & earns a reputation of being very honest, a severe economic downturn will force the bank to close in 1857.

20. Sherman heads to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he joins with brother-in-laws Thomas & Hugh Ewing. He attempts to become a lawyer.

21. Sherman spends less than two years trying to make a go of law, but is no good at it. He is offered a Superintendent position at the Louisiana Military Academy in 1859, which he accepts.

22. Sherman is not anti-slavery & sympathizes with the South. However, he is very against the idea of secession. He explains to a friend of his, a professor in Virginia, what he predicts would become of the South if they are to secede:

“You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.”

23. Sherman is in Louisiana when it secedes from the Union in January 1861. He can see that the Southern people are very serious & willing to go to war. It’s a perspective many in the North will not fully understand for months to come.

24. William resigns his post in Louisiana, much to his displeasure. He enjoyed the people & the students there, but could not support an institution that would supply troops against the United States government. He would head to Washington City at the request of his brother John, now a U.S. Senator from Ohio.

25. John arranges a time for his brother to meet with newly elected President Lincoln. At this time John is hoping his brother will make a push to become a high ranking officer in the military effort that is likely to come together to bring the Southern rebellion to an end.

26. William meets with President Lincoln at the White House shortly after he has been sworn into office in March 1861. At first, the President wraps up a meeting with a few of his department heads. William’s brother John introduces him, saying “Mr. President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just up from Louisiana, he may give you some information you want.” “Ah!” said the President, “How are they getting along down there?

William is shocked, and abruptly answers “They think they are getting along swimmingly. They are preparing for war.

Oh well, I guess we’ll manage to keep house” responds the President.

William found himself with nothing to say. His brother & the President exchanged a few quick words, and then the two Sherman brothers leave. Sherman would write in his memoirs that he was sadly disappointed, and that he broke out in anger to John, “damning the politicians generally, saying ‘You have got things in a hell of a fix, and you may get them out as best you can.‘”

27. William feels there is no use for him in Washington after his brief discussion with President Lincoln. He heads to St. Louis to take a position as President of a streetcar company. He signs a contract stating it is a position he will hold for one year.

28. On April 6, 1861, Sherman was offered the Chief clerkship of the War Department with a promise to be made Assistant Secretary of War when Congress came back into session. Sherman declined, wishing the “Administration all success in its almost impossible task of governing this distracted and anarchical people.

29. Cump witnesses the St. Louis riot on May 10, 1861, along with his son William (Willy), between the U.S. militia and Confederate supporters backed by the Missouri governor Claiborne Jackson. He will write an account to his brother John.

30. Sherman will correspond with his now father-in-law, Thomas Ewing, who is still in Washington. Ewing asks what Sherman wants; Sherman says he will come back if made Colonel in the U.S. Regular Army (not the volunteer army that President Lincoln had formed to combat the Southern rebellion).

31. Thomas Ewing will meet with U.S. General Winfield Scott & other political allies to get Sherman what he has requested. Eventually Ewing has a one-on-one meeting with President Lincoln. It results in William being made Colonel in the U.S. Army. He resigns his President position in St. Louis with the streetcar company. He hates backing out of obligations, but at this point Missouri is still up for grabs as to whether it will be kept under U.S. control or if it will officially become a part of the Confederate States of America.

32. Sherman writes to his brother John on June 3, 1861: “I still think it is to be a long war – very long – much longer than any Politician thinks.” This is important & unique, as most people – on both sides – were saying it was going to be a “90 day war.”

33. Colonel William T. Sherman led his men at the Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. It was considered the first major battle of what would be called the Civil War. The Union originally had the advantage, but the Confederates rallied and were claimed the victors. It was a startling realization to both sides; the North realized that the South had the energy & enthusiasm needed to make this beyond just a “one battle & done” scenario. At the same time, the South realized that even though many of the Union men were from a more “industrialized” part of the country, they still put up enough of a fight where a total victory of independence wasn’t going to be easy. This would be no 90-day war.

34. William was promoted to Brigadier General, back dated to May 17, 1861, after his actions at Manassas were thought to be impressive. Sherman was much harder on himself & didn’t think he had been any good. He was sent to Kentucky to serve under General Robert Anderson, who was there overseeing the Department of the Cumberland.

35. U.S. General Robert Anderson had been the hero of Fort Sumter. However, he was older in years, and the organization of troops & defenses within the Department of the Cumberland territory was too much for him. Shortly after Sherman arrives, Anderson steps down & Sherman is put in command. Sherman is upset. He had asked several months before to never be the one in charge; he always wanted someone over him. This move, he felt, went against that promise made to him by President Lincoln.

36. Sherman begins to request hundreds of thousands of troops to defend the region, which the U.S. cannot supply. Though the Confederate threat is strong, he makes it out to be much worse than it really is. Newspapers begin to report that Sherman is crazy. There is a history of insanity on his mom’s side, which further propels gossip. A local Cincinnati newspaper called the Cincinnati Commercial calls him “insane.”

37. Secretary of War Simon Cameron visits Sherman in October 1861. At that time he does not believe Sherman is fit to oversee that command. Instead of being completely relieved of duty, General Henry Halleck who is stationed in St. Louis has Sherman transferred under him. However, by December 1861 Halleck puts Sherman on leave, feeling he is unfit for duty at that time.

38. Sherman returns to his boyhood home of Lancaster, Ohio. His wife & children are there with him. He is severely depressed & without a command. He feels like a failure & contemplates suicide.

39. William’s wife Ellen writes his brother John & also President Lincoln in an effort to help her husband. She asks for their help in restoring him to command. She also asks John to reach out to William & help him through what was likely a nervous breakdown, though it was never officially classified as such.

40. William is restored to duty by mid-December under Halleck in St. Louis. The army is restructured & he now falls under the Department of the Missouri. He starts with receiving admin duties, as well as “rear-duties” that keep him & any men he commands at the back instead of the front of the lines.

41. In February 1862, while U.S. Grant makes a push to take Fort Henry & Fort Donelson in Tennessee, it’s Sherman who is back helping him with troops, supplies, etc. Every time troops arrive, they come to Grant with a message of support from Sherman. Even though Sherman is higher in rank (and older), he tells Grant he will help in any way he can, and if needed he can help out on the field & will gladly follow his orders & surrender his authority. Sherman technically didn’t have the right to make such an offer, but Grant was still very impressed by it. Grant, up until this point, had dealt with so many people fighting for the command spotlight that he thought it was very noble. He had never met Sherman, but he liked the man. One of Sherman’s messages: “Command me in any way.” The interaction was a start of a friendship & bond that would last throughout the Civil War & beyond (though not without a few misunderstandings along the way).

42. Sherman joins Grant in the field & once again is put in command of men, though it’s under Grant’s leadership. Sherman’s first major assignment is at Shiloh, Tennessee. While waiting for reinforcements & Grant to arrive – where the plan is to then head to Corinth, Mississippi, a key railroad depot for the South – Sherman & his men are taken by surprise by Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, who attacks them at camp while many men are asleep or just making breakfast. Sherman had been receiving reports of Confederates in the area for days, but he dismissed them as he thought they were just patrols or scouts. The incident in Kentucky a few months prior where he thought the threat was worse than it was likely made him more cautious. Unfortunately it left the Union army completely unprepared.

43. Though Sherman is caught of guard, his men put up a fight. Though the Confederates almost entirely take their camps on the first day of battle, that night Grant arrives. Sherman, who has been shot in the hand & had three horses shot from under him that day, goes to find Grant to tell him they need to retreat. He finds Grant under a tree by the river. It’s pouring rain, cold, but there sits Grant against the tree, with his army brimmed hat pulled down slightly to shield his face, smoking a cigar. Instead of giving him the recommendation he had prepared in his mind, Sherman instead says “Well, Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” Grant takes a puff of his cigar and responds “Yup. Lick ’em tomorrow though.” Sherman decides against saying anything about a retreat. The next day U.S. troop reinforcements that arrive in the night help push the Confederates back to where they started, and by the end of the day the victory is the Union’s. One thing that also helped the Union was that the key Confederate commander who had planned the attack, C.S.A. General Albert Sidney Johnston, was shot in the leg the first afternoon of battle. He had an injury from the Mexican-American War that left him with no feeling in that leg, so he didn’t realize he was shot until blood was later pouring out of his boot & his officers found him reeling on his horse. He died, leaving C.S.A. General P.G.T. Beauregard in charge. Beauregard had won the Battle of Fort Sumter the previous year, but he did not win on that day as he had not been involved in Johnston’s plans. The end of the second day, the Confederates retreated from the field.

43. Shiloh was a bloodbath. Up until that point, casualties had not been as horrific as what they were these two days of battle. While the Union celebrated victory, they were shocked when the numbers came in to see what the price of that victory had cost them: 13,000 Union & 10,600 Confederate casualties (dead, wounded, missing). It was called “Bloody Shiloh.” But much of the criticism fell on Grant, not Sherman. Sherman was promoted to Major General of Volunteers as of May 1, 1862.

44. Questions arose as to why Grant was not on the field that first day at Shiloh, and accusations started that Grant was a drunk & that is why he was unprepared. General Halleck started to take over Grant’s men, essentially leaving him without a command. One day in May 1862, Sherman came across Grant at his tent & noticed his stuff packed. Grant said he was going home on leave, but Sherman could tell that Grant wasn’t planning on coming back. Sherman begged him to stay, telling him to at least not make a decision until saying goodbye to him. Sherman told Grant that “Before the battle of Shiloh, I was cast down by a mere newspaper assertion of ‘crazy’, but that single battle gave me new life, and I’m now in high feather.” He told Grant that, if he remained in the army, “some happy accident might restore you to favor and your true place.” Sherman’s words worked: Grant stayed in the Army. His words were also correct, as Halleck was sent to Washington in July 1862 & Grant was given his old command back.

45. In mid-1862, Sherman was made military governor of the now-Union occupied Memphis, Tennessee.

46. From Memphis, Sherman assisted Grant in taking Vickburg, Mississippi. On several occasions Sherman led his men down to Vicksburg, often having to abort plans; the city was practically a fortress with water almost completely surrounding it. However, to have Vicksburg meant that the Union would once again have full control of the Mississippi River. It also would cut the Confederacy in two. Vicksburg finally fell on July 4, 1863. Out East, the Union was celebrating at the same time their victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

47. When Grant is promoted to General of all Union forces & is moved East to fight C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee & his Army of Virginia, Sherman is given command of forces in the West. This was a far cry from the individual who never wanted to be in charge & always wanted a superior right above him. Though Grant was still his superior, it was still William’s responsibility for troop movements, battles, etc.

48. Sherman & Grant would meet at the Burnet House in Cincinnati, Ohio, just blocks from the Ohio River. It was also within a mile of where Grant’s parents lived in Covington, Kentucky, and not too far from where Sherman was stationed in 1861 when he came to Kentucky. It was there that they planned strategy for how they would win the war for the Union. Grant would take Lee; Sherman would take C.S.A. General Joseph E. Johnston.

49. Sherman would send a telegram to the White House on September 22, 1864, stating “Atlanta is ours & fairly won.” He would order his men to burn factories, military & government buildings, though some homes & stores were also burned. While many say that Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground, in reality about 30% of the city was burned.

50. He had to work hard to convince President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton & even Grant himself that his next move should be a “March to the Sea.” He told Grant he could “make Georgia howl.” His plan was reluctantly approved. He would be out of communication range from November 15 through December 21, 1864. Sherman & his 62,000 troops basically made two columns/paths and lived off the land during their march. Sherman’s orders were to only take what they needed to survive. While they had a few skirmishes along the way, for the most part there was no fight from the Confederacy, as most of the troops were kept with Lee in Virginia or with General John Bell Hood in Tennessee.

So those bring us to 50. Think we are through? Well, we are for today. But stay tuned for Part 2 in the near future!

If you are ever in the Lancaster, Ohio area, the Sherman House is a great place to visit to learn more!

Video Spotlight: Memories of Gettysburg

I recently took my long-time best friend, Maurice Barnes, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the first time. While we had less than 24 hours there, we managed to hit a lot of places. He captured it with his video camera and I used my trusted camera (though I already have over 4,000 photos from previous Gettysburg visits; you can never have enough, right?).

A few weeks after we returned home Maurice surprised me with a video keepsake. It is a compilation of the video he took, along with some photos I took, and a few “fillers” from the Library of Congress. The song he used, “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, is one that I have listened to when I drive into Gettysburg, and as I drive along the battlefield roads. Words like “one step closer” and “every breath, every hour has come to this” seem fitting in their own ways.

I was so moved by this gift that I asked his permission to share it with all of you. As it turns out, we are launching our own companies today as well, so we are launching this video as our first collaborative project. The dedication he has to me is something he strongly wanted to keep, and I appreciate that. He has always been one of my biggest Civil War Project supporters, and as you will be able to tell from the video, he also has a sincere passion and respect for history. I hope you find it as moving as I do, and it will hopefully give those who have not been to Gettysburg an idea of what it is like, and for those who have been there I hope it captures a small piece of your own experiences:

(If you are on a mobile device, you can watch it here): Memories of Gettysburg

For those of you who want all the specifics on the images shown on the video, you can find them here.

In regards to our two companies: I just launched my company called Visions on Fourth St. It will not just focus on my own creations such as The Civil War Project, but will aim to help others achieve their own vision, whether it be for an event, business start-up, or marketing initiative. The other company, Firefly Productions, is owned by Maurice and his brother Michael. Firefly’s mission is to capture the fire of people, events, places, companies, etc. through a wide range of videography and production services. I think this video is a beautiful representation of the work they produce, and I look forward to doing many more with them in the future.

Time for a Change

I started this website in April 2011 with the idea that it would be a daily website, providing day-to-day information on the events of the Civil War in honor of the 150th anniversary. It was an aggressive project to take on, especially considering I had been dealing with several spinal surgeries and many related procedures since 2005 that put me in a constant state of pain. I was also working a full time job that demanded more time than just a 40-hour work week. But my entire life I have had a deep, personal love and passion for that time period and the people that lived during it, and I wanted to tell their stories. When I thought of the sacrifices and the pain that people endured during that time, it made me want to push forward even more. They were my inspiration. So I created this website.

While I have had the pleasure of making wonderful connections and sharing some amazing stories, it’s obvious that the idea of the “daily blog” has failed. I admit that. My health issues have continued and can often leave me unable to even write, let alone do 6-8+ hours of fact checking, research and writing for each daily post. I have countless posts that I have started but could never finish. So the site became dormant, much to my frustration. But I have to look at the reality of my situation, and I made a choice to give up on this site being a “daily” site. I never wanted to let this part go, but I have to. And as of today, I’m making that official.

However, the website itself has not been a failure. It has a lot of good information and I want that to grow. I’ve been to so many Civil War related sites over the last few years, and I want to share that with my followers. I want to write more in depth about people that are unknown but did amazing things, or about people who are known but are misperceived. I want to write about events or acts that received little notice in the history books. I still want this to be a place where people can find interesting information that hopefully makes them eager to go out and learn even more.

I will continue to add bio pages about people, and you will see a lot of pages added on Civil War sites to visit, many of which I’ll likely blog about as well. I will give reviews of books, TV shows & movies focused on the war, and will write about special events as they happen. This will go back to being a more active website, just not daily. And you will also see me branch out into other ventures that involve history, whether it be for children or on different historical topics, and I’ll share those things with you as they develop.

150 years ago it was 1864, and the war was changing. Grant, Sherman & Sheridan are the men who are going to take this war to its end for the North. Lee and his men will continue a strong fight, but every loss of a man weakens them; the high point for the South is behind them, whether they realize it or not, but they will keep fighting. The North is still wondering at this point if it’s worth the fight. It’s an election year, and Lincoln’s opponent is the beloved (by some) General George B. McClellan, who is running on a peace platform. Their will to keep going will be tested even further in these next few months, as Grant is a different General than they’ve ever had in the Eastern theater; he will push his men forward and not retreat. Losses will be huge, and people – including First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln – will label him a butcher. Sherman will struggle to take Atlanta, the hub that supplies a great deal of the South with what they need to survive. Sheridan will go wherever Grant needs him, and will help protect Washington City and the Shenandoah Valley. It’s an action packed year, and it’s my goal to still share some of the more interesting stories with you.

I want to thank each and every follower and visitor out there for their support over these last few years. People continue to visit this site, and I continue to get emails thanking me, and that means a lot. But what means the most to me is that I feel a growing interest in history again amongst our population. History is more than just dates, places & names. It’s about the people. And these people are not one-dimensional characters; they have personalities, flaws, feelings, life experiences, opinions, and these things drive them to do the things they do. And what I find fascinating is how the actions of one person or a group of people can set off events that affect us in ways one never would have guessed. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. Even little events and interactions can change the course of history. And that, at least to me, is what makes history so exciting. I hope to continue to share that excitement with you for years to come; because it doesn’t just stop at the Civil War. The war itself will lead the country down a road that is usually ignored in most history classes, yet greatly impacts our country even today.

So welcome to The (“New”) Civil War Project. I have greatly missed this site and am eager to make it come alive once again in its new format.

Sincerely,

Carrie L. Suntken, Creator/Author

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