Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Thomas Jonathan (“Stonewall”) Jackson was born in Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1824. His father and older sister died of typhoid fever when Jackson was just two years old. His mother raised Jackson and two siblings by herself until she was able to remarry in 1830. His new stepfather did not like his stepchildren, however, and they were sent to live with an uncle when Jackson’s mother died in 1831. Jackson’s older brother, Warren, died of tuberculosis in 1841.

Jackson was mostly self-educated when he managed to secure admission to West Point in 1842. He began his schooling there in last place academically, but through sheer determination and hard work managed to graduate 17th in a class of 52. He participated in the Mexican-American War as an artillery officer, and received two brevet promotions for bravery, as well as a Regular Army promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

He left the army to teach at Virginia Military Institute in 1851. Jackson was not popular with his students, because he memorized his lectures and delivered them verbatim in class. If a student asked a question, he simply backed up and repeated that part of the lecture. He also taught Sunday School for black persons at the local Presbyterian Church, and was apparently very popular with those students. He owned six slaves, but was widely known as a “fair and humane” master.

Jackson supervised a contingent of VMI artillerists during the 1859 hanging of John Brown. When war broke out, Virginia Governor John Letcher appointed him a Colonel. Jackson organized the military unit that would later be named after him: the Stonewall Brigade. He was known as a rigid disciplinarian, but was nonetheless popular with most of his men because he was personally fearless, and because his methods seemed to work.

He earned his nickname at First Bull Run, where another general rallied his own troops by saying, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians!” His direction of his troops on the battlefield had made him a legend by the time he was wounded in an accidental shooting by his own men on the Chancellorsville battlefield (2 May 1863). His left arm had to be amputated, and he died of complications from pneumonia on 10 May 1863. His wife, Mary Anna, moved to North Carolina but never remarried. She was known as the Widow of the Confederacy, and died in 1915.

Alexander, Bevin. Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson. New York: Holt, 1992. HG-973.73092

Cozzens, Peter. Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008. ST,BU-973.732

Davis, Don. Stonewall Jackson. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. HU-B JACKSON

Gallagher, Gary W. Lee and His Generals in War and Memory. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998. ST-973.73013

Hamlin, Augustus C. The Battle of Chancellorsville: The Attack of Stonewall Jackson and His Army Upon the Right Flank of the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville, Virginia, on Saturday Afternoon, May 2, 1863. Bangor, Me: The author, 1896. ST-973.733

Johnson, Clint. In the Footsteps of Stonewall Jackson. Winston-Salem, N.C: John F. Blair, 2002. CB-917.540444

Krick, Robert K. Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. ST-973.732

Krick, Robert K. The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy: The Death of Stonewall Jackson and Other Chapters on the Army of Northern Virginia. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. ST-973.7455

Redwood, Allen C. Stonewall: Memories from the Ranks. Livermore, Maine: Signal Tree Publications, 1998. ST-B JACKSON

Robertson, James I. Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. New York: Macmillan Pub. USA, 1997. ST-B JACKSON

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


William S. Rosecrans (1819-1898) was born in Ohio and educated at West Point. He graduated fifth (in a class of 42) in 1842, having excelled in mathematics, French, drawing and English grammar. He was assigned as an engineer in Virginia, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC, and then served for some time as mathematics instructor at West Point. Rosecrans converted to Roman Catholicism at a time when the vast majority of Army officers were Protestants. He resigned in failing health in 1854, and spent the next seven years regaining his strength while working as an engineer and businessman. He ran several companies, and was awarded several patents.

When war broke out in 1861, he volunteered his services and quickly received promotion to Brigadier General. Successes in western Virginia and at the Battles of Iuka and Corinth (Mississippi) led to him being named commander of the Department of the Cumberland. After a disputed victory at Stones River (Tennessee), he commanded the army during the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863). A mistake in troop placement on the second day resulted in a near disaster that was only averted by a desperate holding action by Union soldiers commanded by General George Thomas.

Rosecrans and most of his staff officers had fled to Chattanooga while Thomas held off the Confederates at Chickamauga. Rosecrans was shortly thereafter removed from command in Tennessee, and was later given command of the Department of the Missouri. He commanded that army during Price’s Raid (September-October 1864). After the war, he was stationed in California, where he died in 1898. Rosecrans is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Baumgartner, Richard A. Blue Lightning: Wilder's Mounted Infantry Brigade in the Battle of Chickamauga. Huntington, W. Va: Blue Acorn Press, 1997. ST-973.7359

Cozzens, Peter. No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990. ST,BU-973.733

Donald, David H, and Robert Cowley. With My Face to the Enemy: Perspectives on the Civil War : Essays. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2001. ST.SC-973.7

Korn, Jerry. The Fight for Chattanooga: Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge. Alexandria, Va: Time-Life Books, 1985. ST,MA-973.7359

Lamers, William M. The Edge of Glory: A Biography of General William S. Rosecrans, U.S.A. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1961. ST-B ROSECRANS

Miles, Jim. Paths to Victory: A History and Tour Guide of the Stone's River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville Campaigns. Nashville, Tenn: Rutledge Hill Press, 1991. ST-973.73

Pearson, Thomas A. Railroad Boys: The Story of the 89th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment (1862-1865). St. Louis, Mo: Infinite Mirror Press, 2009. HG-973.7473

Strayer, Larry M, and Richard A. Baumgartner. Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga : an Illustrated Collection of Union and Confederate Narratives. Huntington, W. Va: Blue Acorn Press, 1996. HG-973.7359

Woodworth, Steven E. Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide with a Section on Chattanooga. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. HG-973.735

Woodworth, Steven E, and Grady McWhiney. A Deep Steady Thunder: The Battle of Chickamauga. Fort Worth: Ryan Place Publishers, 1996. ST-973.735

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Albert Sidney Johnston (1803-1862)

Johnston was born in Kentucky, and graduated from West Point in 1826. He served in the Black Hawk War, the Texas War for Independence, the Mexican-American War, and the Utah War. When the Civil War began, he was commander of the Department of the Pacific in California. He resigned his U.S. Army commission and was soon thereafter commissioned a full general in the Confederate Army by his friend, Jefferson Davis. He was commanding Confederate forces at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862, when he was wounded behind his right knee. He didn’t think the wound was serious, and remained on the battlefield. His boot soon filled with blood, and he lost consciousness. He died later that afternoon. After initial burial in New Orleans, his body was re-interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin in 1867.

Cunningham, O E, Gary D. Joiner, and Timothy B. Smith. Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862. New York: Savas Beatie, 2007. ST-973.731

Eicher, David J. Dixie Betrayed: How the South Really Lost the Civil War. New York: Little, Brown (2006). ST-973.713

Frank, Joseph A, and George A. Reaves. "Seeing the Elephant": Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989. ST-973.731

Gifford, Douglas L.. Shiloh Battlefield Tour Guide: the First Day. Winfield, Mo: Douglas L. Gifford, 2005. ST-973.731

Hafen, LeRoy R, and Ann W. Hafen. Mormon Resistance: A Documentary Account of the Utah Expedition, 1857-1858. Lincoln, Neb: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. ST-978

Hanson, Victor D. Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think. New York: Doubleday, 2003. HU-355.02

Luvaas, Jay, Stephen L. Bowman, and Leonard Fullenkamp. Guide to the Battle of Shiloh. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 1996. ST-973.731

Roland, Charles P. Albert Sidney Johnston, Soldier of Three Republics. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964. ST-B JOHNSTON

Mitchell, Joseph B. Decisive Battles of the Civil War. Dorset, NH: Dorset Press, 1989. ST-973.73

Woodworth, Steven E. Civil War Generals in Defeat. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999. ST-973.73

Woodworth, Steven E. Jefferson Davis and His Generals: the Failure of Confederate Command in the West. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006. ST-973.7462