Searched & Answered: Robert E. Lee

Open a history textbook, find the Civil War chapter. If there are photographs, I can almost guarentee you’ll see an image of Robert E. Lee. He has become the face, the figurehead, as the Confederate leader (because we all know that the war was only fought in Virginia and on the battlefields – sarcasm, folks).

As I typed his name into an internet search engine, I wondered what suggested search questions would appear. Would it be a way to “take a pulse” on Lee’s memory in this modern era? Interestingly, his beliefs involved the first question, but then there were several questions focused on his military, battlefield success.

Check out the new video to see the questions and how we dug up some history for short answers and discussions…

Continue reading

1864: “Checked The Progress Of The Enemy Towards Richmond”

The Commanding Gen takes pleasure in announcing to the Army the series of
successes which by the blessing of God, have recently been achieved by our arms. A part of the enemy’s force threatening the [Valley] of Virginia has been[illegible] by Gen Imboden’s and driven back by the Potomac, with the loss of their wagon train and a number of prisoners. Another body of the enemy under Gen Averill penetrated to the Va and Tennessee RailRoad at Dublin’s Depot, A portion of this force has been defeated by Genl WE Jones, who are in pursuit of the remainder.

Continue reading

1863: “This Fight Will Not Make Any Difference In The Issue Of The War”

[spelling and punctuation is original]

HdQrs. Stonewall Brigade

19 Oct 1863

Dear Robby,

Your very interesting letter of the 4th inst. was received yesterday and I wrote an answer to it last night but was prevented from sending it by unavoidable circumstances. I suppose our campaign, from which we have just returned, will entertain you most, so I will give a brief account. October 8th we attempted to flank Meades Army by Madison C.H. and Warrenton. Meade fell back rapidly and in good order. Several cavalry fights took place, in which we always wounded the enemy, taking in all 1500 prisoners, killing probably 60, losing ourselves some 30 men killed and wounded. It seems that Genl Lee wished to avoid a general engagement, for he laid at Warrenton half a day, and at other places he loitered considerably. Continue reading

1863: “I Have No Complaints To Make Of Any One But Myself”

Camp Orange

8 Aug 1863

Mr. President

Your letters of 28 July & 2 Aug have been recd., & I have waited for a leisure hour to reply, but I fear that will never come. I am extremely obliged to you for your attention given to the wants of this Army * the efforts made to supply them. Our absentees are returning, & I hope the earnest & beautiful appeal made to the country in your proclamation, may stir up the virtue of the whole people & that they may see their duty & perform it. Nothing is wanted but that their fortitude should equal their bravery to ensure the success of our cause.

We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies & to prevent our falling into greater disasters. Our people have only to be true & united, to bear manfully the misfortunes incident to war & all will come right in the end. I know how prone we are to censure, & how ready to blame others for the nonfulfillment of our expectations. This is unbecoming in a generous people & I grieve to see its expression. Continue reading

Blockade Running: A Primary Source

After the Civil War (1876 to be exact), John Wilkinson wrote and published his memoirs of his blockade running days as captain aboard the Giraffe – later, renamed the Robert E. Lee. This excerpt describes the Giraffes arrival in Wilmington, North Carolina with a tense situation adding to the blockade running challenge.

(Note: This is the second maritime blog post today. I accidentally missed a post in November and decided to post double today. If you’re looking for today’s first post, it’s here: 5 Blockade Runner Captains You Should Know About)

Everything being in readiness, we sailed on December 26th, 1862. Having on board a Charleston pilot, as well as one for Wilmington, I had not determined, on sailing, which port to attempt; but having made the land near Charleston bar during thick weather on the night of the 28th, our pilot was afraid to venture further. We made and offing, therefore before daylight; and circumstances favouring Wilmington, we approached the western bar on the night of December 29th. We had been biding our time since twelve o’clock that day close in to the shore about forty miles southwest of the bar and in the deep bay formed by the coast between Wilmington and Charleston. Continue reading