tv Controversial Generals of the Civil War CSPAN October 22, 2017 9:00am-12:01pm EDT
that powers entire colonies is pretty much over, yes. and you would never imagine that because, probably because deer were so drastically over hundred because they are such a nuisance in the southeast today, messing up your garden, hitting your car. that it? thanksht, well, hey, very much for being here this evening. i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> we take you live now to petersburg, virginia talk to the pamplin historical park civil war symposium. the theme is "generals we love to hate." leaders covered today include union general benjamin butler and union general george mcclellan. the symposium wraps up with a
before i introduce the speaker. we still have some tickets available on our wonderful plan k, that you will be able to take him today if you want. we've also got some other raffles going on, and at your table you have been given a notecard that we would like you to write down a question for our panel this afternoon. if you have a question for them, and what i will do, i will take up the most objectionable ones -- [laughs] we'll proceed from there. but, so if uyoyou've got a question, write it down, and we will ask our wonderful speakers today. also at the break we are going to bring in my staff and we're going to have a chance to
make knowledge them. our panel discussion is after lunch at 1:00. so, that'll be the end of our day. speaker'sike our presentation title today. mission impossible: rethinking george b. mcclellan. , after what we heard so far this conference, i think it is even more impossible. is therge rable professor emeritus at the university of alabama, roll tide. he is the author of "fredericksburg, frederick's which won a lincoln prize.his most recent book is "damn yenkankees." rabel.elcome dr. george
[applause] >> thank you very much. it is always a pleasure to be here for many different reasons. like to thank des and the staff of pamplin park, certainly the best civil war venue in the country. there is no question about that. alwaysways -- i'm indebted to my dear friend will green who has invited me back year after year despite perhaps a protest from the crowd. [laughter] but will and i give each other a lot of grief but we are dear friends. now, but most of all i want to thank you all, who year after year come to this conference. it is good to see some people here who had not been here before. i consider this group dear
friends. it's always one of the highlights of the year for kay and i to come up here. now, over the years i have had a number of assignments thanks to my dear, derar friend will green. sort of a trifecta of challenges. some of you may remember a number of years ago when we had a different format. it was a series of debates between historians. assignment? will i was assigned that slavery was not a major cause of the civil war. [laughter] my second assignment was even more for middle. -- formidable. i was assigned to debate james mcpherson on soldier motivation. [laughter] and today, thanks to my dear, dear friend will, i have george b mcclellan.
mission impossible indeed. well, i've had to sit back friday evening, yesterday, listening to the speakers, and i've got to say, i am tired of all of this mcclellan bashing. yesterday john hennessy talked byut joe hooker, who rose diminishing the accomplishments of others. the previoushink speakers example fight -- exemplified that in their treatment of mcclellan and some in their treatment of yours truly. [laughter] yourable: now, mcclellan, mentioned george b mcclellan to almost any student of the american civil war, and the response is as predictable as the sunrise. they know mcclellan as a foil to lincoln who might be able to
organize an army but would not or could not fight in an amrmy. as lincoln said, mcclellan has the slows and has to be removed. to call mcclellan controversial in the 21st century is misleading, because students of the war have largely made up their minds about george b mcclellan. and not in the general's favorite. they are unlikely to be interested in rethinking their position. hence, the title mission impossible. when mark grimsley recently published a piece discussing the origins of mcclellan's image as a feckless commander and suggested some revision, the response was both immediate and predictable. thehe next issue of publication " civil war
monitor," letters appear to utterly dismissive of grimsley's efforts and unwilling to consider any other interpretation in the by now standard interpretation of mcclellan. i think opinions about mcclellan and.lmost baked in unlikely to change. hadis own day, mcclellan many warm friends and warm political supporters and, of course, no shortage of critics and enemies. he had the misfortune to clash with abraham like it. who, himself, was a controversial figure at the time, but who quickly became the savior of the union. so i mcclellan had something to do with that, as well. the great emancipator and the marder president in the aftermath of his assassination president.yred the deification of lincoln has
hardly helped mcclellan. as lincoln's private secretary noted in a ltteetter to his co-author, as the two were preparing their 10 volume study of abraham lincoln, and listen to these words carefully. he wrote, "i think i have left the impression of mcclellan's mutinous infidelity and i h ave a perfectlyin courteous manner. it is of the utmost moment that we should seem fair to him while we are destroying him." this mcclellan animus is very, very old. mcclellan himself sought in vein reputation andis his ill-fated autobiography. he did live to complete his autobiography, mcclellan own st
ory. he also had the misfortune as executorary hardly helped matter by bringing mcclellan's partially completed manuscript into print and even worse printing excerpts from the letters that mcclellan wrote to his wife during the war, that was fodder for critics ever since. as for the historians, consider this lopsided line up. wethe anti-mcclellan camp have some of the giants of the civil war field. bruce catton. williams, who try to mentor will green. stephen sears. james mcpherson. cat williams. on the other side who do we have? we have warren hassler's
biography. an excellent unpublished dissertation by joseph harsh. we have ethan -- fine revisionist study. not exactly and even contest there. then there's ken burns. war series presented standard, conventional portraits of generals on both sides. you don't get much military revisionism with ken burns. his treatment of mcclellan simply followed in the steps of williams, sears and mcpherson. why is george b mcclellan so despised by almost all who hold an opinion of the man today? at conference last year, ethan -- i told ethan i was going to steal this line, because i
thought it was so good. ethan remarked only partly in jet tst that mcclellan was like the guy in high school we all knew who was captain of the football team, dated the head cheerleader, seemed africa effortlessly successful at everything and we hated his t guts. it seems that george b mcclellan led a very charmed life. he was a man eager to make his mark in the world. in some ways, he exuded self-confidence, though at times in a cautious way. even as a y ooung man he was wary of what he termed political fools. he deemed his own class, the military1846 at the academy at west point, is the key to national success, not only in the civil war but eventually but more. ibroadly.
in an address to his fellow cadets, mcclellan declared the great difference between the officers and privates is that one is supposed to be an educated, well-informed man, while the other is a passive instrument in the hands of his superiors. i think that statement speaks of items about george b mcclellan. his faith in an elite class, indeed, a natural hierarchy if you will, would hardly sit well in democratic america. but his confidence in the power of superior minds was striking and, at the same time, i think unequivocal. he praised his fellow and presumably like-minded cadets for appreciating what he called "the best literature," essential to the man who would bear the character of an accomplished and polished gentleman. indeed, without educated
officers, mcclellan believed armies would become little better than mobs of th emose mot wicked men who would spread mindless pillage and devastation. he believed that power based on the virtue of intellectual superiority is infinitely greater and more lasting than that which is the result of mere physical quality. he would not ignore the mounting sectional tensions he was always aware of those, even as a cadet. thelluded in his speech to possibility of civil war. but, in such a crisis, he believed that the train officers was point, as he put it, would hold the balance in our hands. and, therefore, the army would ever inclined to the conservative party whose highest goal must be what to preserved the american union. now, as a young men, unlike his great rival, as it were,
abraham lincoln, mcclellan suffered from no crippling emotional crises. he had grown up in quite comfortable middle-class circumstances. his physician father and genteel mother served as models of behavior and success. at the striking young age of 13, george b mcclellan enter the university of pennsylvania. but before he was able to graduate, his father persuaded a friendly congressman to get him an appointed to west point. by the end of his first year, mcclellan stood high in his class. indeed, he impress some of his whosmates as a near genius excelled in any number of subjects and displayed an easy confidence in his own abilities. mcclellan found the cade t from the southern states compatible because as he put i, their manners, feelings and
opinions. as time came for mcclellan to leave -- he finished second but he thought he should have finished first. he was eager to join the corps of engineers. i think early on the outlines of mcclellan's personality were also becoming clear. he often stood on ceremony. once complained to his mother about an overly familiar visitor to west point who kept calling him "george," rather than giving him respect. and mcclellan could be a prickly character who could easily take offense. he was proud of being an engineer, the only engineer in his cohort heading to mexico, and he was determined to show "them," the pronoun lacked -- i suspect refer to some west point
administrators and faculty, to show them i can nevertheless do something. he still kind of resent being second in his class. the prospect of war and success and fame greatly excited young georgian:. e mcclellan. "war at last, ain't it glorious." goes offient mcclellan to fight in mexico where he fellowcriticizes his officers, mexicans and anyone who did not live up to his exacting standards of military professionalism or gentlemanly behavior. in his view, some of the american volunteers who carry on in a shameful and disgraceful manner were the worst of the lot. mcclellan confessed to being embarrassed and exasperated that he had not compiled a more illustrious war record in mexico.
i think his resentments were revealing, revealing about his later career. juniorikor officer -- officer it galled mcclellan to be outranked by volunteers. he share the disdain for president polk's interference of military strategy. an opinion conveniently filed away for later use. he was impatient with the army after he returned from the war. he was impatient with military politics after he came back to west point. and he said he enjoyed military service in the abstract. he found american democracy incompatible with his professional ideals. he wrote "our government may be a very fine one for civilians. it was not intended for military men." ye said "the more trully one like his profession, the
more pride he has, the more disgusted he is. could i think down at once with geyism, ince, and fo would be perfectly content with the army. a it is, it -- the army -- is continual heaping of coals on one's head. i am almost afraid to read history or anything appertaining to my profession because the more i know, the more are my eyes opened to my own -- our wretched condition." mcclellan's performance in mexico, however, despite what he, hi disappointmentss, i think attracted more notice than he realized. both william t sherman and howard recalled by the late 1840's, mcclellan had required a notable reputation as a soldier and student of the military arts. wararch, 1855, secretary of
jefferson davis sends mcclellan man commission to investigate european military policy in an operation in the crimean war. mcclellan traveled over the continent.l he was especially impressed with prussian and russian officers and, finally, was able to visit crimea once the russians gave up sevastopol. he filed a long report on coming back. this report was commercially published. with a fall of 1861 iwht a preface that claimed the captain had been sent to europe on account of the brilliant military qualities he had already displayed. it won him additional recognition in washington at the time and additional recognition in the army. but mcclellan saw little prospect for investment in the army after he was turned -- returned from europe or professional achievement.
in november, 1856, he resigned his commission. jump ahead, four years later, may 22, 1860, george b mcclellan gets married. wedmary ellen-- they were at calvary church in new york city and by all accounts the marriage was a loving and successful in. one. both husband-and-wife were attractive, devoted to each other, deeply religious. he referred to his wife as my little presbyterian. she had an influence on his religious views. in any case, they began their life together with the advantages of family and background in education and social standing. and they soon enough, as husbands and wives sometimes do, but not always, come to view the world with all of its opportunities and perils in remarkably similar ways.
nellie mcclellan is very much like her. husband. both were quick to take offense and could be touchy ove perceived slightsr, especially from those considered to be their intellectual, moral or social inferiors. jumping back in time, beginning in 1857, mcclellan had become a railroad executive. t, despite more than doubling his army salary, mcclellan harbored regrets over leaving the army. he has the statements criticizing life in the army but yet at the same time, he regrets leaving. in any case, weather in the army or as a railroad executive, he had not yet achieved the distinction he so longed for. he eventually becomes a railroad superintendent with what at the time was a princely salary of
$10,000 a year and moved to cincinnati. the bar of ambition for mcclellan was still set high. success with the railroad and his marriage to ellen occurred as the nation was plunging towards the abyss. politically, mcclellan had absorbed a good amount of his father's weakest conservatism, including at sometimes disdain for the mass of humanity. exposure to politicians in washington had given him in equally jaundiced view of that breed. mcclellan himself later described his own views as that of a strong democrat of the stephen a douglas school. he was one of these sort of blameds war gusys who the crisis on both sides. he remained wary of republican politicians in washington who failed to represent what he
considered to be the true sentiments of most northerners. mcclellan always tried to steer a middle course at this point. but, regardless of his political assumptions and expectations, meanthe war came, this that george b mcclellan's long frustrated ambition for marshall distinction was presumably gratified. he accepted an offer from the governor dennison to take command of the ohio troops. newellan reveled in this assignment, remarking he much preferred dealing with soldiers than managing railroads and adding up columns of dollars and cents. and, eventually, he becomes, of course, a major general in the regular army. soon sending off plans to winfield scott about how to win the war. he propose entering western virginia for an advance on
richmond. oddlye plan, rather dismissed any difficulty in crossing the mountains in a single sentence. by may 17, 1861, he had turned flight ofion to the the unionists in western virginia but also prepared, despite the absence of any instructions from scott, to across the ohio river with as many as 40,000 men rather than see the royal union men of kentucky cross it. scott, elderly general scott, tries to rein in his young subordinate by pointing out that commanding three-month volunteer hardly call for expeditions beyond its borders. referring to mcclellan's kentucky scheme. in turn, mcclellan begins to do something that he is going to do for the next several months. complained about winfield scott. wasing that scott
sensitive and is not at all times take suggestion from subordinates especially when the conflict with his preconceived notions. views himself as indispensable. this will not only to lead mcclellan to worked too long and hard but also prevent them from sharing his plans and problems with subordinates or even the war department or later president lincoln. there's no question, i think mcclellan was an extremely, extremely hard worker. in fact, i think too hard a worker. the first heft for mcclellan in the field would come in western virginia with confederates concentrating around rich mountaineer beverly. mcclellan was in the field and, with a hopefulness that expressed widely held in northern views, including president lincoln's at this time, he remarked "it is
wonderful to see how rapidly the minds of many of these people become enlightened when they find we can protect them. fear and ignorance combined have made most of the commerce -- converse to secession. the reverse process is now going out with great avidity." thatnortherners assumed secession was in my north position in the south at this time and soon the southerners would come to their senses and the union would be restored. in any case, after skirmishing on july 12, troops commanded by what u.s. rosecrans turned -- one u.s. rosecrans turned -- and suffering light casualties, mcclellan gets the credit that perhaps better belongs to rosecrantz. never was so complete success gained with smaller sacrifice of life, he wrote, declaring
victory in western virginia. the newspapers agreed. the " washington national republican" would become the semi-official organ of the lincoln administration praised mcclellan "in ostentatious manner," along with his executive ability -- rarely equalled. he was a leader who might assume the mantle of winfield scott, who the paper called the greatest captain of the age. presumably mcclellan would become the next great captain of the age. the general was becoming the napoleon of the present war. i resisted the temptation to put up the classic photograph of mcclellan in his napoleonic pose. only elicit more derisive comments from the audience. thethis article that ran on
editorial page, the harold compared mcclellan to the great commanders of history. the editorial concludes that the backbone of the rebellion is broken. it made virginia is waterloo and it has been defeated. it resolve detested strength there and that strength has proved to be perfectly this. the road to richmond is open thanks to george b mcclellan." well, mcclellan when he had traveled from cincinnati to western virginia for this campaign was greatly impressed by all the people that greeted virginia, heburg, talked about the crowds of country people gathered around and cheering him as their savior and with condescension, he ad ded," it was a proud and glorious people, simple and unsophisticated looking up to me as their deliverer from tyranny.
" mcclellan closely connected military discipline with hum ane treatment of civilians. he instructed his men to respect virginia's persons and property. because he believed, as many northerners believed at this point, that the only real enemies were the armed traders, the minorities. so his troops should show mercy. even to them when they are in your power, he put into his men, or many of them are misguided. and these reflect mcclellan's views, his approach to the war, and an approach that would not change. as a conservative democrat, he rejected secession but he had also maintains that southern states had some legitimate grievances. he was determined to fight a conservative, conciliatory war. he was not interested in remaking southern society. to the unionists of west
virginia, mcclellan noted how "armed traders had attempted to bring on a reign of terror, at your homes, your families and your property are safe under our protection." federalion he said " forces should refrain from any interference with slaves." now, mcclellan realize he was politically aware enough to realize that these statements and proclamations might be controversial. and so, he wrote to lincoln explaining how in his view they were based on the president's previous couresse. he said he felt confident that i have not erred on this very important matter. niether lincoln -- neither lincoln nor winfield scott ever replied to mcclellan. so, the general naturally and simply reiterated his views in a
later addressed to soldiers in the department of the ohio. war was noten the going well, it is hardly surprising that many northerners regarded -- regardless of politics were not only welcome the news of mcclellan's victories in west virginia but consider him a budding. military genius in fact, on july 21, winfield scott wired mcclellan that within a few hours general mcdowell will turn the enemy's flank. but, of course, instead, it reinforced confederate army whipped the yankees at the first battle of bull run and sent them in retreat back towards washington. the following day came a telegram to mcclellan. from the adjutant general in washington. " circumstances make your presence here necessary. come without delay." upon arriving in the capital, mcclellan was immediately flattered by all the attention. he was what we used to call the
toast of the town. i find myself in a new and strange position here, he wro te. "the president, the cabinet, general scott deferring to me. by some strange operation of magic, i seem to have become the power of the land." even some small success might now lead to calls for him to become a dictator." a possibility he tried to treat with a light touch. but, given his standing and obvious talent, mcclellan felt he could readily diagnose the main causes of the recent failure. he could remedy any problems and me these armies of men to victory once more. indeed, he told his wife, he would start doing this the very next morning. he seemed inordinately proud of suddenly sot he was busy that he would have to decline dinner invitations from four and no less than
cabinet members. certainly mcclellan's appointment up for to lift the spirit in washington and perhaps elsewhere. pictures of the young general appearance in shop windows and around dining room tables. matthew grady offered a variety of photographs. newspapers printed laudatory biographical sketches. the gifted mcclellan, declared orator, willtic wipe out the memory of bull run and be crowned with complete victory. to speak of great expectations for mcclellan's success in some ways understates the case. two of lincoln's private secretaries, john hay and also william stoddard, filed anonymous newspaper dispatches praising mcclellan. john hay will not tell you about that later, of course. hay described at the time mcclellan as hard at work bringing order and efficiency to
the army, rounding up absentees, keeping soldiers away from the rum shop keepers in washington. according to the other secretary stoddard, it almost is seem as if the nation had a new army. better one week of mcclellan than a whole year of the red tape officials that preceded him. horace greeley's new york tribune, another organ that would become critical of mcclellan emphasized how mcclellan cared for the troops in both mind and spirit. junior officers enlisted men echoed, these reports in praising mcclellan for instilling great determination to the recently demoralize regiments. given all this attention, almost any human being's head would be turned by all this praise and attention. on this score, i have to be very sympathetic to mcclellan.
i think most of us would probably not be strong enough to at least embrace some of this flattery. to the troops, mcclellan became not only a highly visible commander but a very humane one. an approachable figure. because they did not know about his privately expressed contempt for volunteer soldiers. . they thought he was a great man who had a there he dignified bearing, and impressive appearance on horseback but seemed approachable by the troops. and stories about this circulated widely. now, mcclellan may have been no he could dropt others and officers into his orbitr. a cynical hoosier volunteer thought that mcclellan became popular by shamelessly flattering the enlisted men and their officers at every opportunity. but at the other extreme, an articulate and conservative message is claimed that virtually the entire army learned to love mcclellan. thecertainly they saw -- rodeal wrote about --
about washington spending 12 hours in the saddle. nobody could doubt mcclellan's hard work. he said he felt compelled to do so because my army covers much space. and unfortunately, i have no one on my staff with whom i can entrust the safety of affairs. the inability to delegate. this wore him out. e mcclellan outrte mcclella an oldhaps brought back malarial complaint from his days in mexico. but he assumed visibility was the key to leadership and i think he is right. the boss does need to be visible. the boss does need to be seen by the troops. that is a good thing. and even though mcclellan claimed he was not interested in oppressing the public or the politicians, the larger trooper reviews weoop
importantr to mcclellan. that his edges and to follow their coverage in the press because the newspaper account sometimes very detailed of the larger troop reviews, really keep the general's name in the public eye, even when not much is going on. it gives the impression of a commander who seldom slept. there were daily discussions about -- daily dispatches about mcclellan was here or there. mcclellan would have to come up with a strategy. along with general scott. though mcclellan figures it is up to him rather than general scott. we'll talk more about that in a minute. writes2, 1861, mcclellan a memorandum on northern war powers. he talks about the need for military success based on overwhelming strength. which is in many ways a modern,
very 20th century ideal. , go inlike colin powell with overwhelming strength, very much so. he proposed a force of 273,000 men. critics, of course, have ridiculed the preciseness of 273,000. that's a cheap shot, myself. he said he would use the atlantic ocean and rivers as points to assail confederate positions. he wanted to prepare a very large force and not risk defeat that would only encourage the rebels. he wanted a campaign that would be short and decisive. mcclellan always believed he could overwhelm the other side with numbers in one great campaign. that is his strategy in a nutshell. in some ways, he simple he sticks to it. but then there is, of course, the difficulty of the mcclellan- lincoln relationship, a
relationship that has been written about endlessly and certainly not to benefit of george b mcclellan. now, mcclellan had long been skeptical of politicians. whiggish distinctly between politicians and statesmen. i tried to remind my father a statesman is a dead politician. sawin any case, mcclellan himself as principal and his opponents as politicians. 's at times doubted lincoln statesmanship, though i think if you read the mcclellan relationship, lincoln relationship closely, it was kind of a roller coaster. it wasn't all of one kind or cut out of the same cloth. it varied according to mcclellan 's temperament. at times he saw lincoln as
crude. he did not always appreciate lincoln's storytelling. sometimes he did. with mcclellan himself, politically ambition early in the war. that is an open question. i think there's no doubt that both abraham lincoln and george b mcclellan were terribly ambitious. that may have been one source of difficulty, as well. in any case, mcclellan does get involved in politics. not sure mcclellan would say he was involved in politics but he politics.ed in produc at a meeting with radical republican senators in 1861, he tells them he was fighting to preserve the union and not for the republican party or for emancipation. that was an honest expression of his views. but he expressed them to the wrong people. then there's the question of mcclellan and slavery.
horred slavery. he says this repeatedly, but mcclellan shares the racial views of his times. sometimes expressed in very strong line which. hanguage. he used the "n" word, but then so did lincoln. he favored the eventual ending of slavery but he was certainly no anti-slavery zealot by any definition. he was a moderate on the question, and accused at the time of being pro-slavery. the wonder at some point if statue of mcclellan, erected in dupont circle in washington, should be taken down because of his lukewarm opposition to slavery. in any case, i do think it is clear mcclellan was hurt by his close association with democratic politicians. that did not serve hiim well.
whether mcclellan sough that attention or not he received it and did not repudiate it. then there is also the question of mcclellan's relationship with lincoln and with other generals. i think, for his part, lincoln makes the mistake early in the war. it's a mistake of an experience, forgivable mistake but nevertheless a mistake, and that bypasswing mcclellan to the chain of command, including winfield scott, to communicate directly with the president and cabinet members. in fact, disrespect for the chain of command was often rampant in the army of the potomac. we've already heard cited joe jjhooker writing directly to stanton, going over burnside's head at the beginning of the fredericksburg debacle. so, this kind of thing went on
too much. and the president tolerated. that's a problem. and mcclellan often try to ignore winfield scott are simply treated with contempt. and this undermined scott. led to scott's angry resignation as general in chief. mcclellan's insubordination but it is rewarded because scott resigned and mcclellan is appointed general in chief. toldvember 1, mcclellan lincoln, because it is important and it is revealing about mcclellan, he said to lincoln, "i can do it all." more dangerous words were probably never spoken. a famouser 13, 1861, event occurs. hayoln, seward and john
call at mcclellan's home. in the evening, they were told the general whaas at a wedding. john hay railed against mcclellan's unparalleled influence. -- insolense. ce. ewardresident, hay, sw wait for an hour. mcclellan goes upstairs without seeing him and goes to bed. lincoln took no offense. sort of brushed it off. they callin the evening, ok? and notice the only source for ais is john hay's diary, hostile source but a good source. you realize that hay has his president she's -- his prejudices. there is some evidence that there were other occasions in
which mcclellan treated people in a similar manner. 's biographers and others have tried to offer explanations. warren hassler said mcclellan may have been intoxicated having been at the wedding. green is all presbyterian, so he likes a drink now and then. the wedding may have saddened mcclellan because he missed his wife nelly. she was in cincinnati because she would shortly give birth to their first child. however that may be, this incident, this snubbing of lincoln, is probably one of the prime bits of evidence that the & mcclellan -- anti mcclellan camp like to haul out. it is a serious incident.l i is there any mitigating --
we don't know. mcclellan blows hot and cold on the president. sometimes he seems to welcome the president. more often, he finds the president kind of an annoyance. and he keeps his plans to himself. in some ways, he reminiscent of joe johnson, not wanting to communicate with jefferson davis. he keeps his plans to himself. he blows hot and called on the president. december, 1861, mcclellan is wary of talking to anybody. there had been too many leaks to the administration including a premature release of simon cameron's report. experts from lincoln's and will message that appear to "the new york times," had published a map of union positions in virginia. so mcclellan has some reasons to be concerned about leaks.
but in the meantime the country is increasingly impatient. fall has gone by. the army is not taken -- except for a little disaster -- in december, 1861, congress creates the joint committee on the conduct of war. whose members knew very little about military matters but thought they did. and they sought out generals with radical political views to promote. they wanted to denigrate generals with more conservative political views. the timing here was very bad for mcclellan, because by december 23, mcclellan is ill with typhoid fever, which was a great killer at the time. did notely, mcclellan have a horribly bad case of typhoid fever. he'll recover but it will take him a little while. this allows a number of generals to appear before the joint committee on the conduct of the
war who were critical of mcclellan with no chance for mcclellan to reply. again, you10, and see the chain of command violated in an interestingly, lincoln meets at the executive mansion with mcdowell and general franklin. along with several cabinet members, mcclellan because mcclellan because mcclellan is too ill to attend and they talk about plans for the spring. mcclellan gets wind of this and gets out of his sick bed and meets with lincoln and several generals and cabinet members on. january 13 now, again, we have a problem in terms of sourcing. the main source we have for all of this is a long memorandum by mcdowell, a very detailed memorandum, that certain mcdowell is a hostile witness in terms of mcclellan. so, you have to again use that
document for what it's worth. and mcclellan remains, to his detriment, reticent -- he claims he fears they would be leaked to the press. though mcclellan himself was not above contacting a friendly reporter from "the new york herald." and on, they meet again, and mcclellan won't be clear on what he plans to do and at the same time, lincoln appointed new secretary of war, stanton who is presumably mcclellans friend. mcclellan had stayed with stan for a time in washington. stanton had consulted with mcclellan on various things and plans and that sort of thing. himself, of course, had a checkered background, his relationship with lincoln before the war, had been very testy. marvel hold bill
forth on stanton. stanton was a political chameleon, he changed colors many times. williams, no friend of mcclellan , would tell his civil war class like when there was no reason -- would like when there was no reason to lie. mcclellan thinks that stanton and his friend but in fact mcclellan will face great hostility. and mcclellan was also facing criticism and hostility from seniors and division commanders. mcclellan had reason to fear his authority was being undermined at this point, and that president perhaps was involved. though i don't see lincoln, lincoln's not maneuvering against mcclellan. i think lincoln's still feeling his way along as commander-in-chief.
issuesary 27, lincoln his famous order calling for the general advance to the armies of washington's birthday -- on washington's birthday which was meaningless because there was going to be no advance. by this time, however, mcclellan does have a plan. you have your handout there. noy oou know, ik am military historian so we are not going to tactically refight the mcclellan campaigns. i have a few maps to buffer my credentials perhaps. map.e you the first do i have the first map> ? yes, i do. the peninsula campaign and look up there. you see the name of mcclellan a move to the southeast and you see our banner. -- urbana. mcclellan originally plans to land troops at urbana thinking
that the general will draw from manassas. and that was his original plan that he draws -- he presents to lincoln. there's going to be a serious difficulty at the beginning because the president rejects the urbana plan. he thinks mcclellan should go over land and directly confront the confederates. he even talks to mcclellan about rumors in washington that mcclellan was not moving because perhaps he had treasonous motives. that's why he did not want to directly attacked the confederate forces at manassas. you can imagine mcclellan bristled at such charges. not sure lincoln was wise to repeat such rumors. but lincoln did not like the plan. but 8-12 division commanders approved it. and so, lincoln says ok. some military historians
point out, why did the president go along with the plan he had no faith in? haved -- should he supported the general and say, i support your plan or release him? instead, he has a little of each. he does not really approve it, but he lets it go forward. lincoln also decided to combine the armies divisions into five corps. both lincoln and a number of members of congress had favored a corps organization. lincoln appoints division commanders as corps commanders. mcdowell, edwin sumner, erasmus keys, nathaniel banks, all generals who opposed mcclellan's strategy in one way or another. and he appoints corps commanders who he knows mcclellan is going to have trouble with. this in turn contributes to dysfunction in the army of the
potomac. as others h aave pointed out. the army ofmarch 9, the potomac advances on manassas, only to discover the confederates had already retreated with as much derision and criticism of mcclellan on this point. it does undo the urbana plan. on march 11, lincoln removes him has general in chief but names no successor. for the time being, lincoln and stanton and the war council will manage union strategy. so, the urbana plan is out. mcclellan is no longer general in chief. on march 13, lincoln and his corps commanders, newly appointed, approve the famous peninsula plant. -- plan. you have that map there. on march 17, the first
transports had out for the virginia peninsula. now, there is going to be much controversy then and later whether mcclellan had fulfilled his pledge to lincoln to leave washington adequately defended. most military historians agree washingtone adequately defended, even though he fiddled with some of the numbers and he had definitely not explained it carefully to lincoln before he left, which he should have done. i think there is no doubt on that score. not again, mcclellan was very good at explaining things he was suspicious of politicians, etc. once he arrives at the peninsula, another decision is taken that's going to have fateful consequences. consequences. corps will be withheld and mckellen --
mcclellan sees his enemies at work. the corps will be diverted to the shenandoah valley campaign against jackson. you can debate on whether it was a mistake on lincoln or not. a fairly recently published book presented at this conference several years ago, most memorable for the strong criticism of stonewall jackson, but the author also said at the time that lincoln's mistake to serious mcdowell was a one. and it certainly seemed serious to mcclellan. at the same time, lincoln urges mcclellan to break the enemy lines and warn against further hesitation. as you know, yorktown is besieged, there is a slow advance on the peninsula, and mcclellan always thinking he is outnumbered come he calls for reinforcement.
you cannot blame pinkerton for that. he was exaggerating even before pinkerton was providing intelligence. because of various uncertainties about when and if mcdowell would join with their forces, mcclellan forces him to have troops remain on the chickahominy. may 31,ederates attack, june 1, and again at this point mcclellan is still sure of success. he writes, he is sure of success, the troops are in good shape, but he says i am tired of the side of the battlefield with its mangled corpses and suffering wounded. victory has no charms for me, when purchased at such cost. this statement has often been criticized, yet in our time we are more sensitive i think the casualty figures, than people perhaps were at the time. you read brian jordan's book
about the results of the war and i think you become more sensitive to casualty figures. i was speaking with craig simons about this yesterday, we seem to whore civil war generals pile of the largest casualty lists and who is the most aggressive, and i'm not sure that is a standard we should follow. in any event, lincoln's advancement on the peninsula is delayed, and eventually robert e. lee takes command. it is a bold movement against mcclellan. you have the seven days. and mcclellan issues his famous boss against the lincoln administration, the government failing, utterly failing to support him. and a great victory for the confederates. and mcclellan at harrison's landing, ending up issuing the famous letter suggesting into typical fashion, because this is
what mcclellan believed, the war is not a revolution, it is a war to preserve the union. you have got to protect property. you have got to go slow on a emancipation. and at this point, the radical michigan republican says that mcclellan is an awful humbug that deserves to be shot. [laughter] ok. is eventually withdrawn from the peninsula. we will not get into the controversy about whether he or not, orope whether he and fitzjohn porter undermine pope at the long and tedious process. he is brought reluctantly back to command the army of the atomic in -- potomac in the antietam campaign. stanton and others had drafted documents wanting mcclellan's removal, instead lincoln brings
him back. then you have all the controversy surrounding the antietam campaign, which after all was a union victory, a union victory that does lead to the emancipation proclamation. an incomplete victory, there has been much criticism, justified criticism of mcclellan's conduct at antietam. and eventually, mcclellan does not move rapidly enough after antietam, and is removed from command. though it is amazing how many people still want mcclellan back in the army, including rumors that he will be back with the army to continue through the gettysburg campaign, and even beyond. now, i want to close with this. a famous statement from ulysses s. grant -- most of you come i
think i've heard some of this before -- you, i think have heard some of this before, but most of us i think have not gotten the full quotation. here is grand on mcclellan. he described him as one of the mysteries of the war. we've all heard that, indeed. what is left, often noted, was grant's conviction that no commander was likely to succeed early in the conflict. only seemedd, "it to me that the critics of mcclellan did not consider this vast responsibility. the war, a new thing to all of everything to do from the outset with the restless people in congress. mcclellan was a young man when this devolved. and if he did not succeed, it was because the conditions of success were so trying. if mcclellan had gone into the
war as sherman, thomas or me ade, had fought his way up, i have no reason to suppose that as would not have won high as a station as any of us." thank you very much. [applause] >> we have time for questions. >> mcclellan, did he develop close relationships with his staff were subordinates? did he develop plans with them for the peninsula campaign? >> mcclellan did not often share details, even with his subordinates.
he was fairly, he was fairly reticent. burnside was too, at fredericksburg. [indiscernible] >> the antietam battlefield guide and -- name came up. the guy says, he hates mcclellan , so what does he do? he writes a book about him. which biography would use it is to read? george: that is a difficult question. is the question reasonable or best? i like his biography. it is very hostile toward mcclellan. there is no reason that you can write a biography that is hostile toward somebody. -- wrote a biography, and he hates his guts.
[laughter] nevertor said you should do a biography of somebody that you despise. he only said i could not write a biography about herbert hoover or jefferson davis. that is what he said. sometimes when there is a certain amount of prejudice and evolved, i mean -- involved, i make my read the biography on stanton. bill does the research. and -- does the research. even his research is excellent. and sears' neweset volume is even more hostile toward mcclellan. he has gotten even more hostile over the years, not less. even -- read them together, they are the best. and read some of the articles, too, because mark is not uncritical of mcclellan, but he is more sympathetic as well.
um, there is a famous incident after the 70's battle where mcclellan sunday telegraph to the war department and basically says that the administration is responsible for the defeat of the army. no he takes out -- [indiscernible] would he have been sacked at that? george: eventually those become known. and again, lincoln has opportunities. i think lincoln gets certain credit for being patient with mcclellan. some would say that he was far too patient with mcclellan. but of course, the other thing is -- what are his choices at various points? i remember, if you studied burnside's appointment, there was criticism. or the alternative, hooker had
been wounded. he was triggered -- what direction do you go? i think we also need to keep in mind, and mcclellan's defenders point this out, that mcclellan was as close to richmond in 1864 as a grant was. and it is very difficult, for a difficult for any commander in the word command effectively the large armies, given the limits of communications and a staff. in every campaign, every campaign of any size has major blunders. you pick your favorite general find a number of not only mistakes, but pretty serious mistakes. and it is the nature of the beast. these armies i think were far too large, given the available technology, the staff, etc.
so i tend to be more sympathetic and not be a monday morning quarterback on a lot of these things. and we tend to treat the civil war to often as it is almost like a sporting contest where we are evaluating the coaches and players. read the book, you will tend not to do that. [indiscernible] memoirs, where is that from? george: travels with general grant, interviews he gave around the world. grantan interesting book, unburdened himself. it surprised me how some pathetic people like grant, and sherman, how they work toward mcclellan, how they were some pathetic toward mcclellan. i read sherman's correspondence fairly recently and i was struck by his favorable comment about mcclellan.
and mcclellan is this, this neat thing, he has all these people that despise him, and all these people that love him. and i figure if there are so many people that love him, there should be something to the man that is worth loving. [laughter] you know? [indiscernible] was thencoln, he active-duty general in the union army. what about soldiers seeking political office at that time? george: apparently not. mcclellan keeps waiting to be reappointed with another command and there was even talk in the summer of 1864, the blair family, one of the great political families of the day, the missouri branches, there was effort by the, i think the elder statesman of the family, frank
senior, to have mcclellan brought back to some responsible position in exchange for him not running for president. if the, the thinking is democrats nominate mcclellan he could be a formidable candidate. heproves not to be, because was nominated in part by piece platform, when he was not a peace candidate. and mcclellan is reluctant to endorse the platform. lincoln joked, maybe he was entrenching. [laughter] that was another great lincoln story. i wonder if it was true. it is almost too good to be true. you know, mcclellan is put into a difficult position. and the reaction of the soldiers, though there is new evidence that maybe some of the soldier -- was suppressed. there has been controversy over the election, now.
but i have read countless diary entries and letters saying, i but i liked mcclellan, cannot accept the platform. and i cannot accept a nomination worthy arch traitor plays a big role in the convention. john hennessy's point about the copperheads and their role, sort of forging greater unity in the army is well taken, and it is true in the western theater as well. read about with the soldiers say about copperheads. i think a lot of them have much more hostility, and they express more hostility toward the copperheads than the confederates. mightyou think mcclellan have been influenced --[indiscernible] strategy by his -- ?nd how that you evolved
george: well, it was a difficult courtship, because she was at one point engaged, seemingly engaged to a.p. hill, although her father vetoed that. and there were rumors about, well, hill's the new aerial ill's disease that came back to the family. it did not go over well. [laughter] and her father did not want her to marry a military man. well, by the time -- and mcclellan falls in love with her when he is still a military man. [indiscernible] overwhelmedof was by this. what john wrote about in his book. so by the time, over the course of several years, they keep in contact, and wow -- she falls for him, after he is no longer a
military man. george: that is right. then her father can improve. and they love mcclellan, and his father in law becomes his chief of staff. >> worked out perfect. george: yeah. something of a perfectionist. [laughter] >> he was known to follow up on the voter suppression of the soldiers in the election. kind of interesting, i have seen documentation aware actually the republican soldiers are released to go home to vote, where as the democratic soldiers were required to stay and man the guns. so i wanted to hear more of your observations in terms of voter suppression. george: i think there was suppression, but the problem is not the selective treatment of democratic and republican soldiers, although there is some of that. the state law was different. some allowed the soldiers to go statesd vote, and others
did not. jonathan white, if i have the author's name right, his recent book, which i have just looked at and i have not read through yet, is making the case. i still think even if there is suppression i think the majority of the soldiers are undoubtedly for lincoln, but probably not in as great of numbers as we have thought. consider this, i think one of the miracles of the american civil war, and one that speaks wonderfully about this country, is we even had a presidential election during the civil war. what country has a presidential election during the civil war? and even if there were irregularities, a reasonably fair election? i think it is one of the amerco presidential elections -- of
the miracle presidential elections and it is not given enough credit for that. it is a remarkable achievement. thank you very much. [applause] >> a valiant, it was a valiant, if somewhat futile effort -- um. have in your registration packet some survey forms. i hope you will take a chance to actually answer some of those questions, or make some comments. we value your opinions and we want to make this conference what you wanted to be, so take a look at those. let's try to be back before 10:40 a.m. [chatter]
announcer: you are watching live coverage of the pamplin historical park civil war symposium on c-span3's american history tv. after the break, we will be back with sam houston state university professor -- who is the author of "marching home." he will talk about union general benjamin butler. for the next 30 minutes, we highlight the history of portland, maine. adrienne: the portland head light is the most photographed lighthouse in the country. c-span's american history tv's in maine to learn about this great icon. [sound of waves and surf]
jeanne: this is portland head light located in cape elizabeth, maine. we are about five miles outside the city of portland. the lighthouse was first lit in 1791. construction probably started several years earlier, but was halted at one time when it ran out of funds. maine was part of the district of massachusetts at that time and the funds weren't coming through. the lighthouse act of 1789, that took all of the lighthouses ther federal control, and portland light house was the first lighthouse that was finished after the act was signed by george washington. it rises above the surrounding land, so it is the portland head. at that time it was the portland head light. you will see the rocky coastline
surrounding the lighthouse. it was very treacherous for ships to sail into a harbor, when they didn't have much control over a sailing vessel at the time. a lighthouse was supposed to guide a ship to a harbor on the right path. and this piece of land on portland head, there is nothing on this side of it or that side of it that is blocking the view. so it was a perfect place to build a lighthouse. the ships coming from the south or east could view portland head light and know that was the correct entrance to go into the harbor. the lighthouses at that time were lit by whale oil or justene, and they were guiding the ship in at nighttime. the light was put out during the daytime, but lit during the evening and was lit all night until dawn. it served the light the pathway at nighttime for the most part, because the ships cannot see where they are going during the
nighttime. and there were several crashes along the rocks, and that would not be good. there were several keepers that operated the lighthouse in the early days and eventually the coast guard took over the operation of lighthouses. in our museum, we have pictures of the strout family and the father and son team were keepers for over 60 years. this circle out here is named captain strout circle, named after the strouts who were the keepers here at the lighthouse. they were a friendly family. they welcomed guests here and treated everyone with stories about different events at the lighthouse. the lighthouse keeper had a harsh life. they had a lot of work with little pay and were expected to do it every single day of the year. and there was not really any time off. they were expected to bring fuel up to the top of the lighthouse, into the lantern room, like the -- light the light. come back in the morning and put the light out. they had to make sure the wicks were long enough to burn throughout the night.
and they have to make sure that there was enough whale oil and kerosene in the pan to keep the light burning throughout the night. and then they were expected to come back at dawn to put the light out, and clean the light and the lantern room of all the soot that the whale oil or the kerosene would leave in the lantern room on the inside glass. and that was what they were expected to do every single day. and then eventually you had a bell. the keepers were expected to go out and ring the bell several times an hour, when the fog was in, coming in. and they were expected to just go out there and keep that bell going several times an hour until the fog lifted. here at the coastline of maine, the fog can last for hours or sometimes days, so it was another expected duty that they had to perform, being a lighthouse keeper. originally, there was a fog bell at portland head light, then it was later converted into a
foghorn. and the foghorn will probably sound during this piece, and you will hear the actual fog horn. it is located in the whistle house in front of the tower, maintained by the coast guard station of south portland. simplelly, it was a power 72 feet high and the , lantern room was very narrow, and it was lit by a spider lamp. which, i do not know why it is called a spider lamp, but basically it was a lamp filled with whale oil and the light keepers were expected to light wick in the evening. and then they added a couple of mirrors on either side of the light in the lantern room, hoping it would reflect the light out further into the bank. y. and then there was a new invention in the 1800s developed by a french physicist and he
developed the furnell lens. and those lenses improve the quality of every lighthouse they were used in. the lighthouse, we received a lens from france in the 1800s. and the lenses come in different sizes, but they call them orders. and when the lighthouse was raised up, we received a larger lens. from that ring around the tower you are looking at, you will see that that is the part where it was adjusted up and down over the first 100 years of its existence. sometimes it was raised by 20 feet and lowered by 20 feet, and every time they would perform one of those operations, they would either have to change the type of light that was in the lantern room, whether was a different lens or different light depending on the height of , the tower. the last coast guard personnel stationed here, they finished in 1989, and after that the museum was opened in the former keepers
quarters, in 1992. portland head light is adjacent to for williams. -- fort williams. you have to come to fort williams park to approach the lighthouse. the surrounding area was a former fort that is now a park. originally, it was a military installation and it was opened in 1899. and it was used through world war i and world war ii, and after it was not necessary to have that type of fort any longer, it was deemed surplus property by the government and the town purchased it. most of the buildings have been removed, but we still have some batteries located in the park, right where you come into the blair withis battery panels that show what was there
when it was active. but for the most part it has been converted into a park with lots of open spaces. when it was first lit, it was probably in the middle of the forest, so it was not a taurus destination -- tourist destination by any means. but as the population grew and spread out from portland, you had settle out here in cape portland and visiting this spot became a thing to do. go out and visit the lighthouse, maybe have a picnic walk around, , and it eventually grew to be a destination, definitely a tourist destination in maine since the 1920's. you see postcards all the time of portland head light and they guessent in 1905, so i that event it was the place to come see and pick up a postcard and say, we were here. the famous poet henry wadsworth longfellow lived in portland. and at that time it was a bustling city with a lot going
on, kind of noisy at times, and longfellow used to like to take a walk through the city of portland and take a long walk out to portland head light. and he became great friends with the keeper here. and he used to set for hours out on the rock and later he did , write a poem about lighthouses and it is primarily thought to be about the portland head light. the rocky ledge runs far out into the sea and on its outer point, some miles away, the lighthouse lists its masonry a , pillar of fire by night, a crown by day. in many respects, portland head light is a symbol of maine. it represents what people think mainene come out what -- from other states. ,we have the lighthouse. there is lots of buzz going back and forth all the time. you see the islands. there are sailboats. all of the activity that people
probably think about what a main visit would be. announcer: our cities tour staff recently traveled to portland, maine to learn about its rich history. learn more about portland and other stops on the tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> when i first went in it is, -- in, it was a long story, but i was able to get back to the surface. then a bunch of them jumped in. and there is a picture of them pulling me out of the lake. you can see my arm is broken. and of course, once they pulled me out they were not happy to see me -- [laughter] >> why not? >> because i just finished
bombing the place. [laughter] so it got pretty rough. broke my shoulder. and hurt my knee again. but look, i do not blame them. i do not blame them. we are in a war. but at thelike it, same time, when you are in a war and you are captured by the enemy, you cannot expect -- you know, to have tea. after his capture, senator john mccain talks about the impact of the vietnam war on his life and the country. today at six ago p.m. and 10 p.m. -- today at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on c-span3. >> fort gorge is is a mile from portland. it has been abandoned for over 150 years.
american history tv will hear about a group trying to save the historic landmark. >> today we are in casco bay, one mile off of the mainland shore of portland. we are on hog island ledge, where they built fort gorgeous to help defend portland harbor. 1865, builteted in with two sister forts to the south. fort preble and the other on house island. they were designed to work in conjunction to defend of the harbor. everybody thinks this fort is a civil war fort, but it was actually approved and funded as a response to the war of 1812, things that occurred much earlier. gorgeous is a handmade, granite
fort. if you looked at it from the top view looking down, you would see a gigantic "d." what people do not realize is just like the "d" it is open in the middle. it has a wonderful parade ground. some people have never been here and they think it is a solid structure. it was named after ferdinando gordiz, it was a proprietor for the state of maine. i am told he never set foot here. i think the design was modeled after a lot of forts at that time, fort sumter, big difference being sumter was made out of brick, and this is jack and it blocks of granite. to think they came in on a sailing vessel and unloaded that stuff, moved it, and directed the entire structure by -- erec ted the entire structure by hand, it is amazing.
two levels designed a whole 26 guns, one port where the troops could come and go, and originally it had a massive gate and a secondary gate. if you are standing and looking back at the port, you would see the rooms to the north of the sally port, the opposite quarters. the rooms to the south side were utility rooms. the vegetation is he was never designed. to be here the dirt -- to bee here. the dirt was put for the canon five. and if you see photos from 50 years ago, there was only grass. 25 years ago, bushes. today, we have over here a 15 foot maple tree behind me. so here we are on the second floor, in the case mates on the east, southeast side. if you look up, you will see
these transfer cracks that we are finding in this area. they only exist in this one area of the fort. again, this is partially because of the dirt on top and lack of drainage. and probably after 150 years, some settling that is happening in the inner and outer walls. on the floor, you can see these outlines of where a metal track would have been mounted to these studs that remain. of on the track the rear end a large cannon carriage would have rolled. up here by the window, you can see an opening where the front of the carriage, a big tongue would stick into the groove. you can still see the hole where a big pin would drop in, and the
enormous carriage it would allow the cannon to swing back and forth and cover quite a big range. the opening where the cannon ball flew through, the windows remained shut at all times. they had big springs on them and the force of the explosion of the cannonball would open the shutters, then they would immediately slam shut. over here, you will see the flu. as you can imagine, all the smoke, the black powdered, each casemate has its own flu. and up here, you will see some brackets, where we suspect the soldiers stood on the canon carriage -- cannon carriage and hung their tolls here -- tools here. the soldiers lived here with
their cannon. here, we are in an anti-chamber to the great magazine, so only one room away. you see these massive floor timbers that burned out decades ago. given the size of this room, not a very big room, maybe 10 by 16. i would always wonder, what could have been so heavy that they needed these that massive. it came to me one day, gunpowder and cannonballs. so i think this is where they kept the cannonballs. if we walk this way, you will be able to see where they kept the gunpowder. now this is a great magazine. you can see the large room, it bird thee two stories floor was -- stores. ies. the floor was removed at some
point. this was a large room. the earliest use of concrete i have ever seen. you can see the old slates where the -- slats where the individual boards were made or formed. then giant granite blocks with shims stuck into the mortar to take up the space. room does have some slots in the wall, so that some error can circulate -- air can circulate through here. you will also see two small openings in the brickwork, one on the first floor, and one on the second. ere from the little room on the other side, called the candle room. in the opening they would place a lantern. and that lantern was the only means of illumination for this
area, for obvious reasons. cobblediers who wore boots with nail heads on the bottom would have to don some kind of wool or silk sock over their boots to enter the room and work in here. the fort was designed to have 500 troops. it was never fully garrisoned and it never fired a shot. advancing soe rapidly at the time. well, it sat here for a long time, then caretakers came along and they lived in it and they watched over it. and in world war ii, they built the concrete pad we can see in the parade ground, and it was used to store torpedoes. we now call them mines, that were used in an elaborate system throughout casco bay, because as we know u-boats came all along
the coast during world war ii. and they were manufactured two islands over. there is an old building in place where you can see where they were manufactured and tested. then there is a narrow railway where they would bring them to the water and over here to store them. eventually, the fort was put on the national register. i think it was 1971, the city of portland acquired the property. since then, it has remained sort of neglected. just recently, the city took a renewed interest in the property and now we have the army corps of engineers doing a program, making it safer, because due mostly to social media, this place is on everybody's radar, everybody is curious about it and everybody wants to be here. friends of four gorgeous is committed to seeing that this place does not fall apart.
we know we can do that, we know we can save the structure. then it becomes about making it accessible to more people so we can have a sustainable model to do the work that needs to be done. then, it becomes about stewardship, making sure that this wonderful spot never falls into the hands of a condo development, or casino, or something that would be clearly inappropriate for the space. there are lots of challenges. the immediate ones are access, because this is an island. so everyone needs to come here by boat. luckily it is only one mile from land. right now, two thirds of the 7000 people that come in the summer are coming by kayak. some of them come from the island, some from the mainland, and they do chores -- tours all day and every day, all summer long. kayaking is the easiest way to get here because you are not
bound by the tides, and it is only one mile. we encourage people who do that to hire a guide or have some sort of experience. you can also come out with a boat. we are hoping in the coming and makeput a dock in it more accessible to the general population. i have been coming here since i was a teenager and it is just a mystical place, especially when you start coming here as a child. like i said, we do not build structures like this anymore, so it is unique. it is the only place like this that i know of in maine that is accessible. you have this amazing structure that we will never see again, so we have to save it. it is also special to me because for a long time now, i have wanted to see a performance happen here, shakespeare or something along those lines. it is important to the people
who live here, and the people who visit, for the reasons i mentioned before -- everybody is affected by the space.how could you not be when you step to the port and into the parade ground and ecb archways, and all the stonework -- it is phenomenal. and most times people's jaws drop when they first see it. announcer: r cities tour staff recently traveled to portland, maine to learn about its rich history. learn more about portland and other stops on the tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> closer eyes for a moment.
-- close your eyes for a moment. stretch. close your eyes. i see you. [laughter] trust me. empathy. i want you to stretch your imagination. [crashing sound] >> open your eyes. that is how fast it happens. in a blink, no warning. announcer: tonight, executive director of paralyzed veterans of america and retired officer, sure williams junior talks about his own paralysis and has worked to help veterans bid >> i tried to tell them this is the problem. froma policy perspective, an advocate perspective, you have to empathize, that is what v.a.make it -- make the the ideal provider for those who
have gone into combat. announcer: tonight on c-span's q & a. announcer: tonight on afterwords. endhey and in settlement -- in settlement? what does that mean? the woman never works in her chosen career again. and you can never talk about it. now, how else do we sell sexual-harassment suits? we put in arbitration clauses in the employment contracts, which make it a secret proceeding, so again no one finds out about if you file a complaint. you can never talk about it. nobody ever knows what happened to you. in most cases you are terminated from the company and the predator is left is the work, in many cases, in the same position in which he was harassing you. this is the way society has decided to resolve sexual-harassment cases, to gag
women so we can show everybody else out there that we have come so far. announcer: gretchen carlson talks about sexual-harassment in ierce.' book, "be f she is interviewed by sally quinn. watch tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on book tv. ♪ washingtonc-span's journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up, usa today washington correspondent paul singer, and white house reporter darling super bowl discuss the week ahead in washington. and economist christopher sell the audit talks about his mortgage reduction. be sure to watch washington journal, live at 7:00 a.m. monday morning. join the discussion. ♪
announcer: monday on the communicators, russia's involvement in the 2016 election. senior reporter julia england. >> they have said they had learned a bunch of ads placed during the election were placed by russian outlets under anonymous accounts. and they were politically itisive ads, not necessarily seems like aimed at one candidate or another, but aimed at divisiveness on charged topics. announcer: watch monday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. in, it is arst went long story, but i was barely able to get back to the surface. but then a bunch of them jumped in and there is a picture, which i'm sure he will show, of them pulling me out of the water, out of the lake.
you can see my arm is broken. and of course, once they pulled me out, they were not very happy to see me. >> why not? >> because i just finished bombing the place. [laughter] >> so it got pretty rough. broke my shoulder. kneemy knew again -- again. look, i do not blame them. we are in a war. i did not like it, but at the same time -- uh, when you are in a war and you are captured by the enemy, you cannot expect, you know, to have tea. announcer: 50 years after his capture, senator john mccain talks about the impact of the vietnam war on his life and the country. today at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. announcer: you are watching live
here we go. grab your seat. welcome back. welcome back to our c-span viewers. first thing i want to do is introduce my staff. we have them lined up back there. um, these people have been working very hard this week to make this a great experience for you. very briefly, starting with the tallest guy on the end, we all know him, patrick. he has been here almost from the beginning. 18 years, he is the director of operations and he is invaluable. next to him is tim, the educator. he gave a great tour yesterday, it was very good. [applause] our marketing genius.
and he showed up with me, so we have shared the same experiences. we are first-timers. mike, right there. [applause] we were takingen and trying to find the right plank to sell to you -- [laughter] >> mike is an expert on wood. mike knows wood. [laughter] >> so it became kind of a slogan for us. carly. [applause] carly has about eight jobs. she is our collection manager, and also runs the store, and probably the smartest person on the campus. well, second smartest. [laughter] >> grayson and travis. [applause] >> they work outdoors.
they have a great time. i wish sometimes i was outside with them. they were very careful this time to get the most odorous mulch they could find so you could enjoy it outside. our technician, he has been working out back. he has been doing a good job working with c-span. we are happy to have him. amanda. [applause] amanda is the mother to everybody here. [laughter] >> and really is the controlling force. i do not know what i would do without amanda, she is an administrative assistant, but she does so much else. she is the one that picked the menus, the food this week. [applause] >> then there is jerry. [laughter] >> my boss.
[laughter] >> jerry wyatt. [applause] [cheers] jerry has this whole conference planned to the last wave of the hand. she has it all down. she gave me my crib notes. i would not be able to do it without her. she is invaluable also. she is a lovely person. she cares about everyone of you, she knows you all personally. she is always wanted to write you letters and find out how you felt. and it is something that she is my just comes naturally -- is, just comes naturally to her. [applause] [indiscernible] >> that is just some of the staff, but they are all great
and i was very lucky to actually inherit them from will. ok, you have had your moment. go back to work. [laughter] [applause] >> now, i want to introduce our next speaker. teasing brian all week that we save you for last. you are the anchor. him last for one important reason, i did not want the hate level to be too high too early. [laughter] >> because he is doing ben butler. which is quite a task. [applause] an assistantan is professor where he teaches graduate courses on the civil
war and reconstruction. dr. jordan is the author of "marching home, union veterans and their unending civil war." which was a finalist for the 2016 pulitzer prize in history. he is currently at work on the life of the controversial union general in reconstruction leader, benjamin butler. he serves as the book review editor for the civil war monitor, and is a member of the society for civil war historians. let's give him a warm welcome. [applause] brian: thank you so much for the introduction. thank you to all of you for being here. thank you for particular to will green for the invitation to be a part of this stellar program this weekend. it is truly an honor to be included on this roster of
historians who i have read and admired all my life, and now am fortunate to call a number of them friends. thank you also to my parents. for being here this weekend texas, we do to not get a seat much of each other, so when i come to the east coast they come up. and it happens to be my mother's birthday. so -- [applause] so this one will go down as the one we spent together on c-span. [laughter] brian: i think my subject this morning, benjamin franklin butler, truly embodies the theme of this conference, perhaps better than any other commander. we really love to hate benjamin butler. i am in the early stages of this project, but already i've learned it is necessary to reassure my host, especially at
the after dinner lecture, about -- that i have no interest in absconding with their tableware. [laughter] brian: whenever it is announced i am working on butler, even the most well meaning folks will great the news with a snicker. or sometimes more directly they will ask, why? why would one want to spend five or six years with benjamin butler? so i have approached the talk this morning as an opportunity to address that question. i am a butler revisionist, but rest assured, that only go so far. i will not stand before you this morning and tell you that butler is an underappreciated tactical genius. he is still a clumsy affair. and turned in a less than spectacular performance on the bermuda -- and met with a disappointing end at fort fisher.
but this will not be a tactical -- and deliberately so. benjaminll argue, butler met the civil war generation, but he actually has little to do with the poor performance on the battlefield of the civil war. it was not yet 10:00 on the morning of january 16, 1893. but already, several thousand people huddled outside of huntington home in massachusetts. undeterred by the biting winds that squad across new england. the columns of griever's, led by wrinkled old veterans in the grand army of the republic uniforms, extended down dutton street and reached into the humming town on the merrimack. finally, the appointed hour arrived.
was committed into the hall, one observer remembered, and they almost carried the doors off of the hinges. mourners surged into the civic form throughout the afternoon. ingesting the auditorium where major benjamin butler's flag draped casket lay in state. a huge crowds did not diminish. hundreds remained shivering outside when the hall was sealed at 5:00. cannot to be denied, some men boweled over the place to gain entrance, shouts ringing in the air. with no spot for, the police beat the people into lines, because ben butler of course would not depart life without one final ruckus. [laughter] brian: throughout his 74 years
on earth, then butler proved especially adept at taunting, riling, and the exiting those around him -- vexing those around him. no man excited such personal animosities as general butler, one newspaper concluded. and one did not have to spend much time with the general before detecting the faint odor of sanctimony. even his visage could offend. obliged toalding, squint from a lazy eye, he was by his own admission the homeland man on earth. they called him a nave, they called him a liar, they called him a coward, a thief, where marks the celebrated biographer -- at the turn-of-the-century. the vocabulary of abuse has rarely been employed with a more elegant and efficient variety.
journalist one editorialized one year after appomattox, is the best hated man who ever lived. [laughter] this confined to the state of the former confederacy. in the early 20th century, a rowdy debate in the massachusetts state legislature led politicians to table a proposal to erect a statue of butler on boston common. nor would 20th century historians be especially kind to him. james ford roads for instance, deeming him devoid of capacity and character. receiveler did not full-length biographical treatment until 1954, more than six decades after his death. in reviewing that slender volume, robert. ttleen butler -- li
surprised by the delay. a number of possible biographers, the university of pennsylvania -- in his review, decided they did not wish to live with them butler that long. and generally explained as one of those characters, who repels while the interests. what is it about them butler then that we so a poor? -- abhor? after all, restless ambition, wit, keen opportunism, and a sharp tongue, as we have learned our no exceptional qualities among the generals. much like ben butler energetically engaged in self-promotion. nor does his utter poverty of military experience mark them as unique among the litany of federal commanders who maneuvered their command from blender to blunder in the early
months and indeed years of the federal war effort in the eastern theater. americans -- a dutiful topticism about general's -- patronage. again, the lawyers proved especially useful in the field. all the same, the score and heat up on butler for his heavy-handed and minister joe new orleans, neglects both the challenges that he confronted in louisiana, and the result of his remedies. which fed tens of thousands of hungry civilians, forwarded a potentially deadly romp of yellow fever, and midwife unionism in a city of secessionists. this morning come i hope to explain why so many civil war americans detested him. and why we still find it so difficult to love him.
was bornbutler november 5, 1818. in deerfield, new hampshire, a tiny village whose steeples announced the midway point between concorde and portsmouth. his father john had raised a company of drug use during the war of 1812, and served on andrew jackson's staff at new orleans. not long after the war, john butler abandoned his young family and unborn son. along with the many debt collectors who were eager to catch up with him. john butler succumbed to yellow fever while on a mercantile voyage in the west indies, or so the story went. throughout his life, then butler would harbor a deep and suspicious resentment for the father he never met.
political opponents who wanted to battle butler needed only to conjure the memory of his father whose sleazy reputation was not a mystery in new england. this was done on occasion and to great effect. he did a door his mother charlotte who made an's as a boardinghouse matron. that he would be prepared for a job in the ed astry was later dash he had off to what is now today colby college. waterville, butler earned a hottertion for being a democrat than andrew jackson. in fact, his politics was really is only inheritance from his father. it was a true liability on a
anti-slaveryn society. for the first among many instances among his life, he refused to truckle to prevailing sentiments. forecried abolitionists threatening peace and harmony. they were warned to stop spreading papers, and yet they persisted he lamented. you believe that they would destroy the union with their efforts to abolish slavery. after graduation, regimen butler returned home to direct his attention to the law. he apprenticed with a local
lawyer. by then, the town had become the seat for textile production in america. a maze of canal and cobblestones. with its collection of more than 30 cotton mills, dye houses, representing an astounding $11.6 million in capital, the town expert event had exceeded beyond even the most sanguine expectations of its contemporaries. almost 2000duced miles of cloth every day. this would be before even james henry hammond made his speech on the floor of the senate should -- of the senate. the looms provided the orchestra
to butler's first campaign, an effort to institute a 10 hour workday in the mills. his law practice soon outgrew its office space and was soon boasting a second, satellite office in boston. those who underestimated alert as just a country lawyer, and there were many, did so at their peril. mostt only mastered the simple details of his cases, but he thought it through education relevant fields. when representing a plaintiff scurvy contracted because his captain had not taken a fresh supply of veretables, he poured o
encyclopedias and spoke with old sailors, and he studied five treaties on scurvy. old german onean that his opponent had never encountered. his deep research was rivaled only in the courtroom by his theatrical flair. perhaps inspired by his wife, a talented stage actress who in the 1840'sces and 1850's. then butler would rehearse for the role of his life in the civil war. by april of 1861, he was among the most prominent of democrats in the state of massachusetts.
he supported his southern -- his , and's southern traction he cast 57 ballots for jefferson nationalthe democratic convention in trenton. the radical act of secession changed his calculus. absolutely, it left no room for compromise. from governor john andrew, butler manage to wrest command of the baystate volunteers and started towards washington. the spirit of secession was impressed upon him almost immediately when a mob armed greeted hisand iron outfit of massachusetts troop. of the menre six
killed in the streets of baltimore, but the rebels also sealed off the roads to the nation's capitol. butler, who was in philadelphia at the time of the right, would be undeterred. floating down the chesapeake bay in a exit radius d tort -- detour, he freighted his troops into washington. he was earnestly advised to disembark his troops elsewhere. butler'st only invited
suspicions of the man's allegiances. it seemed to butler that threat to the union could lurk behind the mask of loyalty. heimportant message learned in the very first day in the field. at the united states naval academy, superintendent blake was alarmed for the safety of the old frigate constitution. mount the butler to relic from its mouring place. all the while, sympathizers pr l wled around his troops. they were being overrun are the most minas and despicable type added traitorous
and line reports in which to injure us. likewise, there was serious questions about the loyalty of the maryland state legislature. preemptively, general butler absconded with state steel. he had clear instructions from washington. he was to adopt the most prompt and efficient means to counteract any effect that any effort by the state alleges -- to counteract any effort by the state legislature to arm the people of the united states. acquired further evidence of maryland's loyalties , the railroad company had taken roads inils upon the order to prevent passage of federal troops into washington. he told his men to seize control
repair milesad and of track before pressing on to washington. tarried a few days at the nation's capitol before he would move on. he was told to await instructions for a drive on baltimore. cumbrous,l oiled on a multipronged plan to capture the city. blood eager to avenge the of fallen troops, and he spurred the action on his own accord. on may 15, he part his troops on top of federal hill in baltimore. courage," butler insisted years later, "to rely on my courage."
butler insisted that no loyal citizen would be disturbed. the operations of baltimore would proceed, and he earnestly invited municipal authorities to cooperate with his command. he wanted to demonstrate that baltimore was in fact patriotic and loyal to the union, to the constitution, and to the laws. he prohibited the display of the rebel standard in baltimore, and he threatened to confiscate any articles aimed at supporting the confederate states. thef to set the tone of occupation, the eighth massachusetts detained a civilian who applauded the april 19 writers loudly. -- april 19 rioters loudly. of thes treatment
millionaire machinist ross minas , a gray-haired men o -- man who was nothing more than a better rebbel. -- bitter rebel. he's refinery was turning out s andts and -- out canon weapons for the south. he declared him a proper specimen traitor to the hanged. " i also thought that if such a hangedth $15 million was for treason, then it would convince the people of maryland that the expedition we were upon was no picnic. we would show those disposed of joining the rebel army that we were engaged in suppressing a
treasonous rebellion." maner's troops arrested the impact them off into a holding cell in four henry. the prisoner was released following the intervention of the maryland state legislature days later. butler scott upgraded for his hazardous occupation of baltimore which is a bit of a understatement. was looked at as one of the war's first genuine heroes. "butler has performed a real service. his actions in maryland were wide and vigorous. the rebels cannot escape this contest." ,ith characteristic immodesty
butler boasted to his wife that no man had accomplished more in 10 days than he had. apparently president lincoln agreed, pinning a second star to his shoulder boards. soon after, he met with the president and promised to subordinate his democratic po licy sympathies to the union cause. the president responded, when you see me doing anything for the good of the country that ought not to be done, then come and tell me what you think so -- why you think so.
perhaps then, you will not have the chance to resign your commission. it was the beginning of a relationship built on mutual respect if not admiration. believing that he was spiriting butler off to the war's margins, winfield scott ordered butler to take control of the military department of for genia and -- virginia and north carolina. first, butler responded to a serenade of several thousand gathered outside the national hotel in downtown washington dc. in his remarks, he chastised those who doubted the necessity of the war. "woe to them who have made the
necessity. our hands are clean and our hearts are pure. the union must be preserved. the day of compromise is passed." the general confirmed for the crowd with his actions in maryland had already demonstrated to the nation, that he would mince no words and spare no remedy in suppressing the rebellion. scottturned out, winfield had merely shown his new nemesis awake to his next and much larger stage. just one day after butler arrived at fort monroe, nearby
legislators were ratifying the recession ordinance. three freedom seeking slaves who had been pressed into mandatory labor on a nearby battery slipped within the federal lines sanctuary.tura -- gleaning information about the enemy forces, the adopted them into his own lines. the following day, a confederate agent of thekered slaves' owner, requested a meeting with butler hoping to reclaim the lost property. you mean to do with
these negroes?" was swift andnse direct. "i intend to hold them." "you need to set aside your constitutional obligation to return them." itsneed to take virginia at word. i am under no constitutional obligations to a foreign country which virginia now claims to be. i shall hold these negroes as contraband of war, as they are claimed as your property. the question is whether they the be used for or against government of the united states." what he achieved at fort monroe was significant.
for one, i do not think it is especially useful to think of his "contraband of war" declaration setting the nation down a new passports emancipation. path towards emancipation. for another, military emancipation as a doctrine with something new as of may in 1861. both the british forces and the continental army had availed themselves of the remedy during the revolution. freeing slaves in wartime was a mainstream idea that had origins outside the abolition movement. what butler really accomplished in how monroe rests
he, as a lawyer, weaponized language. he reduced to the span of an epitaph the complex legal niceties of military emancipation. policymakers for years in congress when it came to reimbursing those who had lost slaves. within a few days, a new phrase was on everybody's lips. historian has argued, in a matter of hours, the word contraband became culturally powerful, and butler knew it. heapeo-emancipation press d accolades on their new hero.
offered his critics a wed ge. in june, his forces staggered into a clumsy fight, an engagement that the trade not just the inexperience of his men but also two miserable traits he would demonstrate throughout the war. finesse,for tactical and a bad response to in subordinates. as the lincoln administration reeled from a defeat at bull run, winfield scott approached -- appointed john rule to command the department of virginia and north carolina. the angstpected that ridden atmosphere in washington
after bull run had merely provided rhetorical cover for his ouster. that as a brazen declaration of his very decided opinions on fugitive slaves. in addressing the war secretary, butler seek to address the increasingly untenable situation on the ground at fort monroe. after the contraband announcement, hundreds of inflated mince and women -- --laved men and women sofaugh saught sanctuary inside their walls and lines. butler decided on his plan of action. thatnfided in his friend
the secession articles had abolished any need to respect sable -- slavery. he acknowledged that it was time to eradicate it. this was in the early summer of 1861. butler wrote to secretary cameron simply to seek clarification on the administration's official posture on emancipation. if property, do these men and women not become property to their slavers? he assumed cameron would the trade this simple -- would
betray this simple point. series ofshed off a questions. we will assume no such ownership. has not therefore all proprietary relations ceased? thereupon become men, women, and children no longer under the ownership of any kind? masterstive relics of have acted in rebellion to their masters. a condition which we hold to be a normal one of those made in god's image. my duty is very plain. i should take the same care of these men, women, and children as i would of the helpless, homeless, and unprovided for.
cameron was not ready for war in his letter, and he dodged butler with an insipid response. thatnfessed to his wife the lincoln administration was not up to the occasion. the negro will be free. we make hatchet as we please, patch itfact -- we may as we please, but that fact will work its way out. butler got his revenge a few weeks later at the head of a column aimed at cape hatteras. news fromencouraging notedont, one observer that the news seized abraham
lincoln with the light. butler took command of the seize the president's ear. he used it to pursue another job, heading a group of new englanders in the department of the gulf. they would join a joint navy-army occupation on the shores of new orleans. had met all but three ships that passed for jackson and saint hours in the wee morning in aprial 1862. he proceeded directly to new orleans now outlined in smoke
due to the burning of cotton bails. he received her surrender. the largestirst, city in the confederacy was handed off to benjamin butler. on that day, he declared a proclamation to the city and since best to the citizens of new orleans, demanding the surrender of arms to the united states. he argued that the utmost deference be paid to the american flag he argued that only those who surrendered to the united states would receive protection of property. supply sufficient force in upholding law and order. the armies of the united states can not here to destroy but to restore order out of chaos he
counseled. he then immediately got to work. choked by the federal arcade for a year, the men -- the federal de for a year, the men and women were hungry and eager for employment. brigades in broom exchange for food rations. he liberated other foodstuffs, and fastened a spirit of unionism. this hunger does not pinch the wealthy and influential, they are now endeavoring to prosecute it without regard to the starving childthe working man, his and wife.
ther affluence was made on stores of war for their reberl army and not out of concern for their neighbors. he regarded the confederacy as an oligarchy. this was something example only a few weeks before with the confederate legislature's laws.e of the 28 negro "how long will you be made the serfs of these leaders?" ben butler reached for the clarity of contrast.
as one historian has argued persuasively, then butler approached new orleans -- ben butler approached new orleans as a performance, and i indeed believe he approached his entire life as a performance. he used it to speak on oligarchy and democracy, the wealthy and the poor. it outlined his later general orders 28 which declared that any woman who displayed contempt for any officer would be treated as a woman of the town, implying her profession. he now of appropriated the secessionists most cherished b i
views on gender. women who astounded -- who was spouted -- women who freely shared their political views were considered no better than harlots. it was the public women who famously overturned chamber pots soldiers, but they were hardly the priority of his concerns in new orleans. persuaded, mostly accurately as it turned out, that they were noiselessly abetting the rebellion. when the mayor and city officials proved allergic to butler's policies, they were shipped down the mississippi river to fort jackson as political prisoners. -- to underscore the
further emphasis on loyalty, butler refused a rebel sympathizer who maliciously ,emoved the stars and stripes and then went on to trail through the streets. he did pledge to financially widowt william mumford's should she ever find yourself or their family in financial need. word,ed up true to his helping her to pay off her mortgage by the end of the war. loyal slaveholders, of which there were many in the hinterlands of berlin, -- maryland -- the hinterlands of new orleans, feared for a
rebellion. intuited that the situation on the ground in the bayous of louisiana was complex. as lincoln went -- lincoln would come to realize that too as he attempted to model reconstruction in the states. butler sparred with his abolitionist opponent who stopped the immediate destruction of slavery in louisiana, and he thought to train regiments of african-american soldiers. it would be an especially intense summer as they traded barbs. solidif --ay have may have used some concerns of union slaveholders, what it --
slaveholders, but it also raised more voices for the abolitionist cause. president lincoln eventually relieved butler of his command of the gulf. in a farewell message to the citizens of louisiana, butler offered some parting advice that portrayed the lessons the war had provided to him on the grounds. months of experience and observation, he began, have forced the conviction that the existence of slavery is incompatible to the safety of your selves within union. the system has gradually grown to huge dimensions, and it must thus be gradually removed. it is far better that it should be taken out at once then it should longer contaminate the
clinical conversations in our country. significantly, despite the relentless rumors that butler traffic in the worst type of profiteering in new orleans, president lincoln refused to get rid of him altogether. instead, he was taken north which afforded him to deliver a major new york city address on how to prosecute and end the war. the new york times noted approvingly of the speech, remarking that it was performed with the frankness and earnestness that marked his character. not surprisingly, buster -- butler announced in a speech that there could be way measures in suppressing the rebellion. with secession, the rebels have repudiated the constitution. not only that, but they took
their arms in their hands, and they took by force lands of the government which seemed to them the fairest porition of the inheritance our fathers gave to us. when they did that, they forfeited every constitutional right and every constitutional obligation so far as they were concerned. it is the duty of every man to be loyal to the government. was as all the copperhead activity on the northern homefront began to swell. it is the necessity of every man to be loyal to the government, to sustain it, and to help rectify it. can to help you carry on in the country with glory and grandeur. restless summer in
exile, he noted that he was sick at heart what a great game of the life of our country is playing out by the hour. butler returned to fortress theoe, and on november second 1863, he once again took control of the military department in virginia and north carolina. back on the job, he clearly illustrated that he did not lose insatiable appetite for controversy. when he attempted a reprise of his new orleans performance in norfolk, he invited the wrath of a prewar wig and unionist.
from the start, butler county himself among the restored project's in virginia biggest skeptics. civilians were only loyal inlet service only. so, -- 19% or 20% of the population was disloyal or so, and so he punished -- he promised punishment for any citizen who had words against union soldiers and officers. he ordered that a tax be paid into the provost marshal's fund . he demanded new boats of allegiance for anyone -- new oaths of allegiance for anyone seeking a government license.
when they become loyal in hard ip, they will speak of taking the own of allegiance not duty,equirement but as in then it will be time to discuss their constitutional rights. the governor registered his complaints in a forceful letter, letter toorceful general butler in january of 1864. when butler's reply he did not a bit of remorse, the governor admonished his gross abuse of power in a missive to governor stanton. after carefully reviewing the grievances compiled, president lincoln requested from butler in writing an official accounting of his actions in norfolk.
the general was more than happy to oblige, describing a ham-fisted government that was incapable of cleaning, controlling, or eliminating the orty streets -- fou illuminationg the city streets. i think this further persuaded butler of his righteousness which was something he rarely needed to be persuaded of. he later caught up with george armstrong, a washington college chemistry professor turned presbyterian minister. the author of a christian doctrine on slavery. delivered a thanksgiving
sermon preached after the confederate victory in manassas which was later serialized by a norfolk publisher. oaths of had sworn an loyalty to the union despite this. interview that resulted in armstrong being hauled off to captivity in hatteras, butler survived that he really -- he only wanted to avoid a submission of his oath.ty taking the in june, citing views represented to him by many citizens of norfolk, butler called for a controversial
public referendum on the future of norfolk's civil government. him civilians snubbing altogether. the provost marshal tallied up the returns, and the results were rather preordained. to men of norfolk opted spend the media civil government in norfolk and allow butler's military rule to rain. on the last day of june, other -- butler ordered that all civil office power in norfolk she's at once -- cease at once. attorney general edward bates had summoned to say about this, and he demanded that resident lincoln intervened -- that president lincoln intervened at once.
ordering an election by the people on any subject without reference to the laws of the land, and i decided the abstain from making any observations on the certainty of appealing to a popular vote on whether or not the role -- the law of the land prevail or that martial law be established in its bed -- in its stead. lincoln brooded over the matter for days. there was an especially spirited discussion that later ensued. although he was no friend of ben butler, one secretary of state thought that any assessment of butler's actions in norfolk depended on a question of military necessity. to the gending
ripes, he perhaps knew how tiring in dispute with ben butler would be. with the confederate army swinging the state around petersburg, lincoln was, much to chagrin, a debate on military law which he would later come to regret. butler may well have been encouraged by the president's silence. when a norfolk circuit court judge named edward sneed advertised in the city paper that he would literally flout butler's orders and gavel in a new term of his circle court, butler summoned the judge to his headquarters for a little discussion. butlerout the grilling, portrayed his views on martial
law. "a military commander must exercise his duties empowered within his department, or he is unfit to hold command. " -- when asked if he would be ordered to slaughter all the infants in norfolk, when then he have to under butler's orders. butler said yes, but it is against law to murder a civil human being, and now i am to kill my soldiers your fellow citizens of virginia over in these trenches. may i not do so? it is possible that it might become necessary to slaughter all the mail infants in norfolk
in retaliation for a like outrage. military law is the supreme one year, and you will take care to here, and you will take care to open it. he added him to a list of foils, and butler ordered the judge he stayed and quieted, held as a prisoner until he gives his word that he will in no way of hose the military orders of the commanding general of the department. reaching for aas contrast between those who risk all for the union caused, and those who impeded the war effort. butler ordered that sneak the treated with tenderness and care, so that he may take no detriment in sharing what the soldiers of the united states treated as camp life.
sneed attended to support butler in norfolk. butler's troops were working in their efforts on the bermuda 100. would of 1864, the ller march his army -- butler would jameshis army of the for in advance on richmond. he would approach the rebel in the from the south army of the potomac would march on it from the north. the ill-fated endeavor might have turned out differently, as .omeone reminded him later to historians have he was pushed out,
failing to coordinate effectively the actions of the army of the potomac and the army of the james. still, the campaign came to grief in the image of a bottled up ben butler. it was a career ending failure fort.t control of the african-american soldiers earned 14 of the 16 medals of honor. butler vowed that if he ever failed to honor the rights of the men who gave their blood for me and my country. he paid out-of-pocket for 200 medals be cast for his black troops, emblazoned with a latin phrase which translated reads
"freedom will be theirs by the sword." although his military career met end, heunsatisfying would yield nothing for the larger struggle of the union and emancipation. on generate 29th of 1865, he warned an audience at huntington hall that the war was far from over. he warned that they should be carried away by any elusive cry for peace. if all men were perfect, then this rebellion would not have existed. it was the imperfection of men who brought it upon us. d himself withgir still greater efforts. he would carry that message forward into the use of reconstruction. as he did during the war, butler
announced with clarity what was at stake. he looked on as thousands of white supremacist terrace -- south in aseized the contest which they failed. he held white northerners equally accountable. did we liberate the negro to hate him? thought for his emancipation after four years to only deepen our dislike for him? called upon him to stand side-by-side with us only to intensify our pride of race? have we broken up a social existence and put him into a new one where his freedom is a utter impossibility? butler persuaded that a second
amendment -- second rebellion lurked on the horizon. that only by punishing treason and safeguarding newly freed slaves could the nation escape ruin. the negro, butler earnestly contended, needed to learn how to be a citizen. governor -- the white southerner needed to learn how to be a loyal one. i propose that when we build up the nation again, we build it up with all the modern improvements. froms elected to congress a massachusetts district in 1866. it was the same year that he argued and fought on behalf of the government. author ofrincipal
legislation that president grant wood used to suppress ku klux klan activity in south carolina. he was a cosponsor of the civil rights act of 1875 which demanded equal treatment in public accommodations and conveyances regardless of race. no name is more honorably associated with the cost of freedom than your own, he was praised. he was a giant among pygmies, another noted. he was elegant and persistent and unwavering. hand have the other righted -- derided ben butler as a political committee and
motivated -- political chamel eon, motivated only to get the best copy at the top of the headlines. i think his life instead reveals a certain consistency of thought and action. a general desire to be the voice of the exiled. regardless of who it may be. the care and caused of disabled soldiers after the war was a cause he made close to his heart for the rest of his life. he lies tucked into a corner of his family's cemetery.
the true touchstone of civil liberty is not that all men are treated equal, but that every man has the right to be the equal of every other man if he can. hatedutler was feared and bespoke his power not his impotence. it was a power derived not from marshall feeds or commandeering on the battlefield, but instead from his vital work, absolutely vital work, at translating the war's complexities into his bold, unflinching candor. we have poor butler -- we ab hore butler, because few other complexityresent the of the conflict. with flair, he invited his generation to confront the meaning and consequences of the
war. issued urgent and necessary reminders that the war was a contest between treason and loyalty. appomattox echoed that the fruits of loyalty remained at her. in short, he weaponized words. irritant for an increasing number of americans who desired to bury the war in eternal oblivion. nuisance for those who prefer to embrace the increasingly popular notion as the century went on that the war was not politically -- the war was not about ideas or in any way ideological. he practiced the rhetoric of anti-reconciliation, waving a bloody shirt on the floor of the
house of representatives. liberty?he the liberty we were promised at appomattox? he asked at a memorial day address before john andrew post. the southern states redeemed, the violent sun abated. has the country carried on this long and bloody war for no greater result than this? this is a question, i think, we could reasonably ask today. writtenhistorians have about our collective longing to repackage a deeply ideological war as a tale of glory and heroism. to deny its cause and charge so toto further reconciliation,
achieve healing at the expense of racial justice. we hate ben butler, because he made sport of mocking those anti-dilutions and romances of civil war memory. he demanded that we come to terms with the conflict's deepest meanings. we hate ben butler, because, even still, we cannot help but love the civil war. thank you so very much. [applause] >> i think we will save some questions until this afternoon. we will go to lunch now. remember that i need to have questions from you for our
panel. you can write them down and give them to me or one of our people out here. we will see you back here at about 1:00. [inaudible] >> this is american history tv on c-span3. after the lunch break, we will be back live for the final session today, a panel discussion featuring all the speakers on this weekend's civil war symposium. for the next hour, we have a battlefield tour from our american artifacts series. next each week, american artifacts takes megan citizens to historic sites around the country. the civil war battle of
chancellorsville was five in 1863 in spotsylvania county virginia. many historians consider the battle to be robert e. lee's biggest victory. he divided his forces, sending forces under stonewall jackson to deliver a flank attack. national park two service historians as they walk the same ground years after jackson munched his attack -- launched his attack. >> a couple of things to think about on the tour. first, we are going to be covering ground that people have not yet had a chance to walk. much of this is private property. we are on this property as guests at the behest of the families which owned them and are stewards to its history.
are you ready? welcome to the 150th anniversary of the battle of chancellorsville. it was one of the great hallmark moments of american history if not all military history. what stonewall jackson did 150 years ago caught the imagination of the entire english speaking world. this was the very pinnacle of stonewall jackson's career. day, ins ago to this 1863, a confederate army severely outnumbered match the union army of the potomac and its newest commander. he had the advantage of numbers and supplies and defensible ground. he could ove a