Archive for May, 2016

A bit of Bragg

May 22, 2016

I present to you part of a letter from Lt. Col. Bolling Hall, Jr, of the 59th Alabama Infantry. It was written on December 6, 1863, addressed to Hall’s father. I find it very interesting.

Speaking of the battle of Missionary Ridge, notes Hall, “All blame Hardee with it that I have seen. Every body says Bragg is not at all to blame. You would be, I can almost say, astoundeBolling Halld were you to go into the army to see what a calamity all without exception regard the removal of Bragg.

I have talked to many from different commands & the confidence is universal in him. Of course I do not refer to general officers. I talked to none of them about it. Col. Sawyer [of the 24th Alabama Infantry] told me he always knew that Btagg was popular with a majority but he has been astonished to find how strong & universal the feeling is for Bragg and how great the confidence in him.

I heard several say the defeat at Missionary ridge was not as great a calamity as the removal of Genl Bragg & the latter has demoralized the army more than the former. What are we to come to if newspapers and politicians too cowardly themselves to go into danger are thus to break down our best & bravest Generals.

I have seen but one man who thinks Hardee can replace Bragg, i.e. is competent to take his place.”


Not the usual sort of commentary.



A day at Perryville

May 6, 2016

Last Saturday I spent a (soggy) day at Perryville, Kentucky’s state battlefield park commemorating the engagement of October 8, 1862. I was there because I was coming home from Chattanooga, and the Western Theater Civil War Historians’ conference, an annual event I try and attend every spring.

Good friends Andy Papen and Darryl Smith, both of whom have often joined me at Chickamauga for the March Study Group, were at Perryville – Darryl acting as guide for Andy’s CWRT, out of Missouri.They invited me to tag along.

I have been to Perryville several times, and once designed a game on it. The park has grown exponentially over the years – when I first visited, the entire park encompassed something like 98 acres. Now, it boasts of over a thousand acres. Heady stuff, for preservationists.

We spent the day on the field, despite the morning’s light rain. The park is now amazingly well interpreted, and Darryl delivered a solid interpretation. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
We ended the day discussing the fighting at Starkweather’s Hill, where one of my favorite stories to emerge out of the battle of Perryville was played out. At Perryville, the 1st Wisconsin Infantry supported and helped defend the 4th Indiana Battery. The 4th Indiana did not forget that service. In the summer of 1863, the men of the 4th took up a collection to help purchase a new set of colors for the 1st Wisconsin – which were presented with all due ceremony.

1st Wisc flag

On September 20, 1863, the men of the 1st Wisconsin were carrying this same flag when they were in support of the same 4th Indiana Battery.

If you are interested in exploiring Perryville with Darryl, I suggest his new venture, Walking with History; or follow his own musings about the battle on his blog, Ohio at Perryville.