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.


5 thoughts on “A Stroll Through Arlington: Part Two

  1. Noma July 11, 2014 / 5:51 pm

    “Schofield’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.”

    “I was in favor of Sherman’s plan (to cut loose from his supply line and march to the sea) from the time it was submitted to me. My chief of staff [Rawlins], however, was very bitterly opposed to it and, as I learned subsequently, finding that he could not move me, he appealed to the authorities in Washington to stop it.”

    Grant’s Memoirs – Chapter LIX
    To me, this final paragraph of Grant’s Chapter LIX, reveals a great clue about his feelings about Rawlins. On one hand, as he notes elsewhere in his Memoirs, he was quite fond of Rawlins. He was so loyal to Rawlins that he made the dying Rawlins secretary of war instead of Sherman.

    But loyalty went two ways with Grant. Once you were admitted to that closely guarded inner circle of loyal associates, you must not betray that trust.

    Rawlins did exactly that, by secretly writing to Washington to quash Grant and Sherman’s plans for Sherman’s march to the sea.

    I’m surprised that I have never seen this betrayal discussed. Everyone (starting with Dana and Harrison?) seem to think Grant was silent about Rawlins because of Grant’s supposed dependence on Rawlins to keep Grant from drinking.

    But the placement of this little statement by Grant makes me think that Rawlins betrayal cut him to the quick, and at least in the tiniest way, he had to let the world know how much it hurt him.

  2. TF Smith July 12, 2014 / 10:49 am

    Schofield also was the first general officer to recognize the importance of Pearl Harbor on Oahu; there’s a reason Schofield Barracks was named after him.

    Also, “Crooks”?

  3. Mr Dave July 14, 2014 / 8:41 am

    Assuming you’ve finished posting about your recent visit to Arlington, allow me to mention a few more Civil War sites:
    Johnny Clem, Joseph Wheeler, Abner Doubleday (much baseball memorabilia is left there even though he had nothing to do with the game) Montgomery C. Meigs (sec 1, grave 1), Johnathan Letterman, Dan Sickles (who died 100 years ago),
    James Parks http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jparks.htm
    Section 27 which has (among others) the graves of many of the resident’s of Freedman’s Village and also of Pvt. William Christman the first military person buried in Arlington http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/history/Facts/AncSec27.aspx
    This June was the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington.
    James Longstreet has two sons buried there (he’s not). http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jameslon.htm
    Also WS Rosecrans who was re-interred in Arlington in 1902. Here’s a book that tells the story of that event

    Finally among all these luminaries let’s not forget those who really fought and won the war.
    Section 13 is the original Field of the Dead. By the end of 1864 7,000 Union dead would be buried in that section. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/field-of-the-dead-1907.jpg
    I sometimes think in all the discussion and disputation about generals, politicians, writers, historians, flags, etc we forget about the one essential part of an army: ordinary soldiers.

    (I used to work in the cemetery. I’m sure the historian would give you a tour with sufficient notice but if not you have a standing offer of a tour from me)

  4. Mavris May 11, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    Arthur McArthur buried near Arlington house. Famous for his famous son and almost dying at the battle of Franklin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s