Threads From The National Tapestry: Stories From The American Civil War

Threads From The National Tapestry: Stories From The American Civil War header image 1

16 - Hell On Earth: The Battle Of The Wilderness

grant-donelson_use_as_cover_photo_.jpg

About this episode: 

Since the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863, the two, George Gordon Meade and Robert E. Lee, and their respective armies had shadowboxed down in Central Virginia. The sparring continued throughout the fall and winter, but in spring, there was a new federal presence, and he meant business. General-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant now wore a third star; the first true lieutenant general since George Washington, and rather than be mired in political intrigue in the capital, he chose to travel with Meade's Army of the Potomac. Before, Union generals ordered the Army of the Potomac forward, gave battle, retreated, and then sat on its haunches for months at a time before the next offensive. That would not be the case come spring of 1864. U.S. Grant was going to give battle and do so in relentless fashion, and so in May, he launched a campaign unlike anything the Federal Army of the Potomac had ever experienced before. This is the story of the first battle in what would be called "The Overland Campaign." This is the story of the first encounter between Lee and Grant.
Read the rest of this entry »

15 - Shiloh

grant-donelson_use_as_cover_photo_.jpg

About this episode: 

It was April of 1862, and the war was just about to enter its second year. The beginning of that year had been a bleak one for the Confederacy. In February, Fort Henry, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and Fort Donelson all fell. Now there were invasion routes into "The Old North State," the interior of Tennessee, and the very heartland of the Confederacy. In the first week of March, Missouri was for all practical purposes lost to the confederacy thanks to Union victory at Pea Ridge. In the east, more cause for southern concern. The ironclad USS Monitor had revolutionized Naval warfare, and neutralized the Confederacy's CSS Virginia, and George B. McClellan finally stirred from his slows to land 121,000 men on the Virginia peninsula with its sights on Richmond. Though there had been all these military events, there were still some, North and South, who believed that particularly if the southern capital fell, the conflict would soon end. In fact a year earlier, A.W. Venable of Granville County, North Carolina declared that he would wipe of every drop of blood shed in the war with "this handkerchief of mine." Naive words. In his most vivid and terrible nightmares, he never dreamed of two days like April 6th and 7th, 1862. Neither had an entire nation. Two horrific days that churned and burned near a river landing and a little Methodist church built for the Prince Of Peace. Two bloody days that served as a national wake up call; a call that announced the sobering reality of how terrible civil war would truly be. This is the story of those two days. This is the story of the Battle of Shiloh.
Read the rest of this entry »

14 - “With Malice Toward None” - Lincoln’s Greatest Speech

grant-donelson_use_as_cover_photo_.jpg

About this episode: 

The Associated Press reported the address would be brief. The day of the speech, Saturday, March 4th, 1865 dawned with steady rain. Streets oozed with mud. Like a shroud, fog wrapped its gray arms around the city. At 11:40 that morning, the rain suddenly ended. The clouds began to part, and finally, on a wooden platform before the east portico of the Capitol, the 16th president was introduced. He arose from his chair, put on his steel-rimmed eyeglasses, and stepped forward to speak. In his left hand was a copy of his inaugural address. It was his second, and with a nation weary of civil war, with a population hoping for peace, and before an expectant crowd that needed a soothing message, he began. As he did, the sun broke through the clouds . This is the story about what he said; his second inaugural address, and despite what you may think, the one he truly believed was his greatest. 
Read the rest of this entry »

13 - Thunder On The Rivers Tennessee And Cumberland: Forts Henry And Donelson

grant-donelson_use_as_cover_photo_.jpg

About this episode: 

At 750,000 square miles, the Confederacy was huge, and to put down the rebellion, Mr. Lincoln's armies had to go on the offensive. They would have to be the aggressor. It was a daunting task; even more so in the Confederate West where there existed poor transportation and communication networks. Known early on as The Western Department or Department Number Two, three major rivers offered invasion avenues into the heartland of the south: The Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland. This is the story of a federal campaign led by an officer who was a most unlikely hero, one forced to resign from the United States Army back in 1854. This is about his campaign to blast open doors into the interior of the Confederacy. This is the story of Thunder On The Rivers Tennessee And Cumberland: Forts Henry And Donelson.
Read the rest of this entry »

12 - The Gibraltar Of The Confederacy - Fort Fisher

antietam-80552_640.jpg

About this episode: 

By late December of 1864, dark waters were closing over the Confederacy. Back in August, David Farragut's fleet successfully bottled up Mobile Bay. Two months later, up in the Shenandoah, federal victory at Cedar Creek opened the valley to fire and desolation. In November, William Sherman marched his army across Georgia, and as he entered Savannah in December, he envisioned a similar path of destruction north through the Carolinas. That same month, over in Tennessee, George Thomas won a decisive victory at Nashville, and in Virginia, U.S. Grant continued to pin down Lee's army at Petersburg. Though the noose was being tightened round the neck of the Confederacy, there was still one major supply line and portal from which the shrinking Confederacy could count on supplies from the outside world. That railroad line was so vitally important Robert E. Lee tabbed it "the lifeline of the Confederacy." It ran from Petersburg south to Weldon, North Carolina and then down to the port city of Wilmington. This is the story of the massive fort that protected that city; that lifeline. Fort Fisher: The Gibraltar Of The Confederacy.
Read the rest of this entry »

11 - Fredericksburg And The Winter Of 1862-’63

antietam-80552_640.jpg

About this episode: 

Fredericksburg, Virginia was a little town with a long history. It was here that a young George Washington roamed. And, there were others of national fame who once made this locale home; John Paul Jones and James Monroe. But during civil war, its location made it, some 51 miles north of Richmond and 52 miles south of Washington City, a military target. On November 7, 1862, some forty miles or so to the northwest, there was an event that, when played out, would put Fredericksburg squarely in the cross-hairs of civil war. This is the story of the Battle Of Fredericksburg and the shared winter of 1862-'63.
Read the rest of this entry »

10 - Mr. Lincoln Goes To Gettysburg

antietam-80552_640.jpg

About this episode: 

This is the story of a man and his words. It begins in the aftermath of bloody consequences that emanated from the first three days in July, 1863. This is the story of Mr. Lincoln's trip to Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address.
Read the rest of this entry »

9 - The Ram Of The Roanoke - The CSS Albemarle

antietam-80552_640.jpg

About this episode: 

This is the story of the Ram Of Roanoke - The CSS Albemarle, an ironclad constructed not in a shipyard, but incredibly, in a Halifax County, North Carolina corn field. It would completely reshape Federal strategic plans in North Carolina, Virginia, and the entire Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. 
Read the rest of this entry »

8 - Sheer Unadulterated Violence: The Battle Of Antietam

antietam-80552_640.jpg

About this episode: 

This is the story of the Battle of Sharpsburg, of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in the history of this nation. It was an engagment that moved popular historian Bruce Catton to write that September 17, 1862 was a day of sheer, unadulterated violence. 
Read the rest of this entry »

7 - Little Mac: Letters From George B. McClellan

Little_Mac_Pic_1.jpg

About this episode: 

It's been written that Helen of Troy possessed "the face that launched a thousand ships." Well, may I introduce to you Ellen Marcy McClellan, the wife of Union MG George Brinton McClellan, who launched thousands of words. Her husband wrote to her daily, and through his letters, we know so much more than, perhaps, he ever intended for us to know. 

Excerpts of more than 250 of his letters to her were included by Geroge McClellan's literary executor, William C. Prime, in his biographical work McClellan's Own Story which was published in 1887-two years after the general's death. Prime wanted to honor McClellan-to tell his side of the story. However, the biographer's work reopened old wounds and damaged, forever, McClellan's military reputation. This is the story of the brilliant yet controversial "Young Napoleon"...the Union's "Little Mac." 

Read the rest of this entry »