The Man Pursued by War (McLean) II

Lead: In 1861 the first major battle in Virginia took place in the front yard of Wilmer McLean along Bull Run Creek. Seeking to protect his family from the fighting he moved them to south central Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was not uncommon for civilians to remove themselves from areas of intense fighting. Up to this point war was, for the most part, left to soldiers. As the war intensified Federal generals such as Sherman in Georgia and Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley made destruction of civilian property a matter of military policy. Sherman, in particular, boasted that he had destroyed $100,000,000 in property during his dash from Atlanta to Savannah in the fall of 1864.

 

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The Man Pursued by War (McLean) I

Lead: In 1850 Wilmer McLean, a prominent merchant of Alexandria, Virginia married the widow Virginia Beverley Mason. They lived at her plantation, Yorkshire, in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: McLean was a son of one of the most prominent commercial families of Alexandria. His marriage to Virginia Mason, among Virginia's wealthiest women, brought him extensive responsibilities as manager of the family's holdings. Yorkshire was a 1200 acre tract close by the small creek known as Bull Run just outside of the village of Manassas Junction.

In the spring of 1861, the McLeans and their neighbors were well aware of the approach of war. The Confederate army stationed troops at Manassas to protect the area as it was a vital rail junction linking the principle north-south line with one that rest west into the Shenandoah Valley. This made the region a military target and on June 1st, General Pierre G.T. Beauregard arrived to take charge since in was becoming evident that Federal forces were beginning to move into the area with an eye toward taking the junction.

 

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Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign – III

Lead: In less than sixty amazing days in the wet spring of 1862, the foot cavalry of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson transformed the strategy of both North and South in the Civil War.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: After an initial tactical defeat at Kernstown in March, Jackson re-organized his forces and relieved his best subordinate General Garnett for retreating unbidden when his brigade had been out-flanked and out of ammunition at Kernstown. This sent a chilling warning through the ranks. Retreat for Stonewall was a tactic to be employed as a prelude to attack. There would be no unauthorized retreat. Jackson also convinced Richmond that he could use re-enforcements and they sent General Richard Ewell’s division. In late April, Jackson began to demonstrate his two rules of engagement: Firstly, mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy, and Secondly, find only part, preferably the weakest part of your enemy, and crush it.

Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign – II

Lead: His name evoked witchery and profound admiration, but Thomas J. “Stonewall,” Jackson largely remains an enigma to students of his brilliant Valley Campaign of 1862.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Stonewall Jackson has been called everything from a military genius to a blue-eyed assassin. His students at the Virginia Military Academy called him Tom Fool behind his back, but later came to regard him with near worship after his talent for strategy and leadership in desperate circumstances, help turn the tide for the South in the early months of the Civil War. He was an orphan who grew up in near poverty, passed from one set of relatives to the other. A chance opportunity landed him ill-prepared in the ranks of the United States Military Academy at West Point, but through sheer academic sweat he elevated his graduating class standing to number 17.

 

Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign – I

Lead: In the annals of the Civil War no name is more renown than Stonewall. T. J. Jackson earned his reputation as a supreme strategist in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862.

 

                Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Despite early victories, the prospects for the Confederacy in the Spring of 1862 were exceedingly bleak. New Orleans was in Federal hands as was most of Tennessee. General George McClellan had landed on the Virginia Peninsula and was pressing Richmond. Union troops in large numbers were moving south down the Shenandoah Valley to remove that breadbasket from rebel hands and come at Richmond from the west. All that stood in their way were 3500 troops thrown together by Major General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, an austere, rather eccentric former professor at the Virginia Military Academy, whose firmness in the face of Union assault at the First Battle of Manassas in June 1861 had earned him the nickname Stonewall.

 

George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – II

Lead: During the Civil War, the Confederacy faced serious challenges, not the least of which was having no source of gunpowder. To solve that problem they turned to George Washington Rains.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The key ingredient in gunpowder is saltpeter, the general name for three naturally occurring nitrates, the most common in North America being potassium nitrate. Called by some niter, it was combined with sulfur and charcoal, and together they were rolled, pressed crushed, granulated and dried in a process that was conducted almost nowhere in large quantities in the South prior to 1861. To defend itself the Confederacy would have to solve that problem. Ordinance chief Josiah Gorgas appointed Artillery major George Washington Rains, third in his West Point class, and who had served with distinction in the Mexican War.

 

George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – I

Lead: When it became clear that the Federal government would not permit the South to depart without a fight in 1861, one of the most pressing needs of the newly formed Confederacy was gunpowder.

 

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

               

Content: Despite its wealth of leadership and agricultural resources, the South in the 1860s, was ill equipped to fight a war. What ordinance it had was confiscated from Federal arsenals in Confederate territory and was not nearly enough to prosecute the major campaigns that lay ahead. Few foundries could roll the iron that would be required.  The South had provided mostly raw agricultural products to the factories of the North and the industrial mills of Europe. That it was able to field numerous armies, a credible naval effort, and a war machine that held the North at bay for the better part of three full years is a testimony to the raw talent, dedication, and energy of its leaders, the many sacrifices of its white population, and, at least at first, the vigor of its free blacks and slaves. Yet in the end, the South had been bled dry, overwhelmed by the industrial might and superior numbers the North could bring to the conflict.

Stonewall Jackson and Friendly Fire – Part II

Lead: At Chancellorsville, in May 1863, Robert E. Lee achieved his greatest military victory. He paid at a terrible price. Among the 13,000 Confederate casualties was his right arm, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 1862, Lee’s 60,000 men spent the winter in camps just south of that small Rappahannock village. Just across the river Joe Hooker’s Army of the Potomac, 130,000 strong.