Another Battle for Atlanta … Won?

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the battles around Atlanta (I’ll have something to say about that later). Yesterday, on the 150th anniversary of what is called the Battle of Atlanta, came this announcement concerning the moving of the Atlanta Cyclorama from Grant Park to the Atlanta History Center.

This may put an end to discussion about the ultimate fate of the cyclorama. Indeed, it appears that the new space will offer an opportunity to restore the cyclorama to its original dimensions, including the restoration of panels that had not been part of the Grant Park exhibition.

I’ve been to the cyclorama several times, and it is very impressive. The display at Grant Park was somehow more intimate that the display of the Gettysburg Cyclorama, but then again there was not quite the demand to see it. This seems a fitting way to mark the sesquicentennial of the event it portrays.

(h/t Rob Baker)

Update: Kidnapping Story

You may recall that a person associated with the Virginia Flaggers has been charged with kidnapping her daughter in violation of court orders. I’ve posted about this story before here and here.

The person, one Megan Elizabeth Everett, is currently wanted by the FBI. Her daughter’s name is Lilly Abigail Baumann.

Everett has taken her daughter to several events attended by Flaggers, where they have been in the company of one C. C. Lesters, who has commented here and elsewhere as a proud Flagger.

Lesters 0ne Lesters three Lesters two

Among the Flaggers who know Lesters are Susan Hathaway and Grayson Jennings, who reported yesterday that he was camping with Lesters.

It is to be hoped that the Flaggers, many of whom know Lilly, cooperate with the ongoing search for her.

Jen Murray on the Gettysburg National Military Park

I have always found the evolution of the Gettysburg National Military Park to be a fascinating topic, and Jen Murray’s new bookOn a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933–2012, provides a terrific examination of that process. Here she is offering a presentation based on that book at this year’s Sacred Trust lectures at Gettysburg earlier this month.


July 17, 1864: Hood Replaces Johnston

If you believe that the fall of Atlanta in September 1864 guaranteed Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, and in turn you also believe that John Bell Hood’s performance during his first seven weeks as commander of the Army of Tennessee crippled Confederate efforts to hold on to Atlanta or to frustrate William T. Sherman’s offensive operations, then today’s an important anniversary.

Simply put, was Jefferson Davis right to replace Johnston? Was he right to replace Johnston with Hood? How do you evaluate Hood’s performance as an army commander over the following seven weeks?

You may want to read this insightful essay on Hood by Eric Jacobson.

How Do They Feel at Washington & Lee?

One of the questions that several people have asked is what do the people at Washington & Lee feel about the recent decision to remove replicas of Confederate flags from the Lee Chapel (while displaying actual Confederate flags in the museum downstairs near the Lee crypt).

After all, it should seem important to find out what the people who graduated from or attend W&L think about how their president responded to a set of demands offered by a group of students calling themselves The Committee.

Well, we now have some idea of what alumni and students think of the situation, thanks to this poll undertaken by a student-run campus magazine.

Continue reading

A Stroll Through Arlington: Part Two

Continuing our stroll through Arlington National Cemetery, on the grounds near Arlington House … DSC01804

Some people know John Gibbon best as one of the commanders of the Army of the Potomac’s Iron Brigade; others know him best for his service as a division commander at Gettysburg (where he was put in charge of II Corps) and through the 1864 campaigns (where he did not always get along with his corps commander, Winfield Scott Hancock). By 1865 he was in charge of the newly-created XXIV Corps, which he led from Petersburg through Appomattox. I’ve also visited another battlefield where Gibbon fought: the Battle of Big Hole in 1877, where the Nez Perce handled his command roughly and Gibbon was wounded.


John Schofield’s most memorable service came at Franklin, where his men fended off a series of attacks made by John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, inflicting heavy losses. His curious career path included serving a stint as secretary of war in 1868-69 (under both Andrew Johnson and Grant) before rising to the position of general-in-chief upon the death of Phil Sheridan. Schofield also headed the board of inquiry in the Fitz John Porter case.DSC01784Schofield’s replacement as secretary of war in 1869 was none other than John A. Rawlins, who is best known as Ulysses S. Grant’s chief of staff. Rawlins did not serve long in that position, dying that September. People still disagree over how much influence he exercised on Grant. DSC01799

Not too far away lies Hiram Berdan, commander of the famed 1st United States Sharpshooters. His encounter with Confederate troops under A. P. Hill on July 2, 1863, led to Daniel Sickles’s decision to visit a particular Peach Orchard in force.

DSC01798Like John Gibbon, George Crook fought both Confederates and against various Native American foes; like Gibbon, he was involved in the 1876 campaign best known for the Battle of Little Big Horn.

DSC01800One of Grant’s most trusted subordinates, Edward O. C. Ord replaced John C. McClernand in 1863 and Benjamin F. Butler in 1865, thus ridding Grant of two difficult subordinates. Like Sheridan, Rawlins, and several other people, he was present in Wilmer McLean’s parlor when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant.

A Stroll Through Arlington: Part One

P1030339Not too long ago I paid a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. There you can see Arlington House, once Robert E. Lee’s home, surrounded by the final resting places of many famous Americans.


To the south of the mansion is a rather fine equestrian monument dedicated to Phil Kearny. When people ask questions about what if this commander or that commander had survived their encounter with death during the war, one should not forget Kearny. The Army of the Potomac would have been a different army had he not been killed at Chantilly.


Here’s a closeup of the general, who does not seem to be distracted by a nearby fly.

P1030376Many Americans know that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at Arlington National Cemetery, but not as many know of this memorial to the unknown Union soldiers whose remains were collected in 1865 in the area ranging south of Bull Run to Richmond. It is also south of Arlington House.


Three rather famous Union commanders are buried on the lawn immediately east of Arlington House. Here’s David D. Porter’s final resting place. The temporarily erected marker persists.


And here one finds Phil Sheridan and his family. I declined to leave a copy of Eric Wittenberg’s book. Often this monument goes unnoticed because its back is blank and obscured from view by the tree just behind it.

P1030367Finally, here’s the final resting place of Horatio G. Wright, who took over the Sixth Corps when John Sedgwick went down at Spotsylvania on May 9, 1864. Wright’s men would later help defend Washington from Jubal Early, so it’s appropriate that his monument looks out on the capital city. Sheridan probably appreciates that Wright’s nearby given their cooperation during the 1864 Valley Campaign that resulted in the defeat of Early at Third Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, and Cedar Creek.

Our journey will continue shortly.