tv The Civil War CSPAN October 25, 2014 10:00pm-10:53pm EDT
campaign 2014 coverage. follow us on twitter and like us on facebook to get debate schedules, video clips of key moments, previews from our politics team. you can instantly share your reactions to what the candidates are saying. stay in touch and engaged by following us on twitter and liking us on facebook. >> next on the civil war, the way the union and confederate commanders attempted a variety of innovations in the final year of the conflict. mr. white is a co-author. this is part of a symposium hosted by the emerging civil war blog. >> our first speaker today is a
man for whom i hold the most -- the utmost respect. three years ago this weekend, we sat on the back porch of a little building, and we were thinking, what can we do to help people become more invested in these stories of the civil war? that is when it came into being. we have expanded from our blog to a publishing series. of course the symposium and a number of speaking engagements as well. we are continuing our outreach to help people become invested in these important and engaging stories. chris is a former historian. he is one of these men you could drop on any battlefield, and he can tell you how many people were there, who their kernel
was, and what their shoe size was. he is a man i have learned a tremendous amount from, a man i have written all of my books with, and a man who continues to challenge me as a historian every day. i am pleased to introduce mr. chris white. [applause] >> thanks, everybody. thanks for that introduction. as a side note, the story of creating an emerging civil war, my wife said to me, not too bad for three idiots sitting on a back porch smoking cigars. that is what we came up with. today what i am doing is a little continuation of some things i talked about as a roundtable discussion. that would be the changing face not only of the american civil war but american military strategy and the way americans changed their fighting ways.
the war in 1864 is going to have a deep impact on the way the military is going to fight on the planes in the 80's and 90's against the natives, and then when we enter the first world war and the second world war. the second world war has many parallels with the fighting sherman and grant are going to start employing in 1864. we are going to talk about that. i am also going to give a background and to set the stage for the weekend talking about where we are in the war of 1864. so everybody is on the same page. we are going to have speakers on a variety of topics including our keynote speaker. chris is going to follow with confederate navy talk, and we have politics coming up as well.
i want to make sure everybody is on the same page. as i start off, i am going to use a quote by military historians time and time again. the quote comes from a great german military thinker. he is thought to not have come to the united states yet because we have not taken and transcribed from german into english what he is saying, but he came up during the time of the napoleonic wars. during the napoleonic wars, a lot of what we see during the american civil war is going to influence those officers who
went to the military academy at west wind, virginia military institute norwich, to learn how to go out and wage war. that is a good man, and he is going to state war is a continuation of politics by all other means. in 1864 this quote has a great deal of impact. if we look at 1864, the political stage that is going to be set by abraham lincoln is an important one. 1864 is an election year. if abraham lincoln doesn't bring home a number of victories or completely turn the tide of this war for union favor, his party is not going to be in power. if he is not in power, the confederates will be able to sue for peace. a man will take the presidency. we will have peace, but we will have a divided nation. it is going to be predicated on what lincoln does early in 1864, and that would be appointing ulysses s. grant as all departments and divisions to go into the field, and lincoln is going to give him a mandate. he is going to try to apply pressure across the board. i applying a pressure winfield scott called in 1860 one the
anaconda plan we can completely annihilate the south. the idea with grant and lincoln is going to be to apply pressure at various points. grant and robert e lee have been intertwined since 1864. grant has been known as the butcher of shiloh. he has been known as a drunk, but ulysses s. grant is a fantastic general. he is not a pit bull who is going to smash against the wall. he is going to follow orders, and he is going to do it very well. when grant is appointed to lieutenant generalcy, the first one since washington, he has this mandate, and the mandate is, i want you to go out. i want you to destroy the confederate armies.
there would need nothing between us and atlanta. he wants to wear out the confederates. he wanted to go through the south. a fantastic campaign of maneuver he is a maneuvering general. grant, when he wants to employ this, has some resident he sets. he unleashed men under sherman. sherman is going to cut a wide swath through alabama -- through mississippi. he is going to cause damage. he makes it about destroying railroads. it would drain morale on the war
front. strategies will play out in the end. lincoln has another idea. that is to find a decisive point and batter at davis's army. when grant gives lincoln an initial breakdown of what he wants to do, grant had a strategy in early 1864 of trying to send men through southeastern virginia and north carolina. he caught the underbelly of robert e lee's army. when he gives the plan of annihilation, grant takes it
wholeheartedly. the army of the potomac had a major issue. washington politicians, governors from the northern states will always make their way into the cap. they did this in 1862 and in 1863 during that winter. it turns into another topic. grant realizes the biggest problem is not meet. meet wants to fight. meade impresses grant by telling him, you can sack me. you can put me where ever you
want. just make sure you bring the best person to this army and put me wherever you can do well. this impresses grant greatly. he is a good soldier, but he keeps him in demand because grant is coming from the western theater, and he wants to make sure he maintains supplies between that eastern army. the eastern army hasn't done much since gettysburg. they fought a union victory but had a failed campaign at my and run, which is going to be the solidifying factor that rings grant into fight in the eastern theater of the war.
it was early november and he was about to make a massive assault. his second corps commander refused to go forward. it was a decision that was fateful in more ways than one. it is going to spare the same list of casualties, and it is going to show the fact that meade really couldn't get the job done, so it was getting turned to grant. grant has won at shiloh and also vicksburg. he went to chattanooga to save the city from siege. now grant -- lincoln is going to put the onus on him, but the confederates are going to have their best commanders take on grant. the confederate strategy in 1864 is in a way similar to what the union strategy will be.
they want to make this war as luddy as possible, as untenable as possible so the northern electorate when they go to the polls in november are going to have no stomach for this war. they want to essentially win by a draw. the union armies have to conquer the south. they have to eradicate those men who have come to power in the confederate government. they have to get them out of power. on the confederate side, if lee, davis, joe johnson out west can prolong this war and bring home victories, they can essentially win by a draw. the democratic peace party takes power, and by 1865 the confederacy can be an independent nation in itself. the confederates in 1864 have very high expectations. the georgian journal wrote in
1864 that the print -- the spirit of officers and men .21 result, and that is success. the texas officer wrote that on the eve of the campaign if the people at home could only see the spirit of this army, i am confident confederate currency would appreciate the value and be worth as much as gold. it is high hopes the people have in the south. yes, they had setbacks. they lost chattanooga, which would be a fantastic jumping off point in 1864. then we have the setback at gettysburg. the south is still holding its
own. lee's army is still together. they thwarted in the east. this is what lee and davis have to do. keep the war going on. lee's army is an army we are pretty much familiar with. if we go into 1864. if you go into gettysburg, this is the command structure lee took into pennsylvania when he crossed the border. the man on the top left would be james long street, his first corps commander. the second corps commander is just across from him. that is richard yule. then ambrose powell hill and jeb stuart, the confederate cavalry. it is a pretty good list of officers. we had a solid command structure. when he entered the wilderness in 1864, long street will be taken out of the equation. when you go to the courthouse,
he will be out sick. richard yule will be relieved of command. we will have the death of jeb stuart, so by the time lee is making his way toward richmond, lee's command staff is completely shaken, something we talked about last night at our roundtable discussion. lee is not going to be working with what he had when he steps off. on the second day of battle, he loses his most trusted subordinates, and that is long street. everything is going to start to go downhill. mainly because lee is a commander who wanted a strategy that would keep his army on the defensive only until he had an offense of opportunity and take the battle to the enemy, much like he did on the seven days. then he does the same thing post chancellorsville.
he is going towards gettysburg. grant is a different kind of general. when he came up with the idea he has to fight lee's army, he is going to do it on a wide front. he is going to send forces into virginia. then butler, not the greatest choice by lincoln, but he needed him politically. then he is going to send two more armies into southwestern virginia. he will send an inept franz sigel into the shenandoah valley. then we will send sherman through georgia and eventually the faneuil bank up the george river. what they are going to do is apply pressure all at once. when grant anders the wilderness in 1864 -- enters the wilderness in 1864 he is acting essentially as dwight eisenhower did during the invasion of normandy in 1844. he is going to seat all of these
pieces. unlike ike, grant wants to be the alpha male. he wants to have his hand in the pot. in a few hours grant is already putting an impact on the army. rent is essentially writing behind meade, looking over his shoulder the entire time. it is a tough position to be in. i love -- grant is essentially writing -- riding behind me. meade is a fascinating character. he had one the battle of gettysburg, which was good enough for grant. meade is going to turn into a high-ranking staff officer. he will turn into grant george marshall, so grant is going to be a different kind of beast. mainly i want to focus you on the red and blue lines.
grant realizes, as does lincoln and jefferson davis, the fastest way to get the confederate army to battle or a union army to battle is to threaten their capitals. politicians don't like when armies come knocking on their doors. grant and tends to aim on the area of richmond. he is going to say the union army is his objective. that is his idea. grant is stalemated. he is going to go to the courthouse. stalemated. then he has terrific losses down there. what grant is going to do is something no other commander did since robert e lee fought. he's going to keep the initiative. it doesn't matter what happened. grant is going to keep pushing staff. that is going to apply pressure on robert e lee's army.
we saw fortifications, but they don't actually dig fortifications. he is going into open country. to paraphrase one officer, he essentially said by the third day they are in pregnant. they seem to do the three days work in less than 24 hours. these men are going to be digging. they are going to be constantly digging. those are going to be very impressive. it will take place less than a month later. as the campaign of evolved, lee has to adjust tactics, as do the union forces, and both sides have to dig in.
and the american civil war, you stood shoulder to shoulder. you fired the musket. you see them bashing every time at fredericksburg. as this happens these works are going to grow. even though lee is willing to lose men, he is going to keep trying to nullify grant numbers by not only trying to get reinforcements but by building those negotiations.
they are dubbed regulars after he instilled rockhard discipline he puts into that unit. upton comes up with an idea. he is going to look into the old way. even though we are moving forward we are going across the field in little squares. that is the best way i can tell you how to re-create a battlefield. go sit in a booth or a diner and get out the sugar packet. if you turn it sideways there is the force. if you turn it the other way there is your battle line. that is how you can do it. go out and do that. my brother says, if you want to learn football you can play joel madden's football. what upton comes up with -- he steps all the way up to the time of greece and rome. i had to learn him for college,
so i wanted to learn his name. the lion of the north comes up with these -- what we essentially think of as a compact formation, but what upton does is look through history. he realizes these long lines like pickett's charge, are not the best way to break a line. with those attacks lack is depth. he is going to find a weak point. it is a pimple in the line. it is a flaw. here is spotsylvania courthouse. they wake up the next day. it is -- the bad problem is this as it can be popped at the base. you can attack the base and cut them off. that is a bad thing to happen. it is similar to 1944.
they are going to act like a bazooka. they want to bore through that armor. you will attack a place. that will rip open the line. the second and third will come on through. they will keep moving forward, essentially exploding through the ranks. then the fourth wave is supposed to sit back and be an active reserve. what upton wanted to do is a lot of at one point. upton will break through the lines in less than an hour. they told them, we are going to do that all day.
they are showing that tenacity they broke through the line. upton wasn't supporting them. faulty intelligence and faulty maneuvers and other in competent subordinate officers are going to fail. now upton gives grant in idea. if i can do that with one brigade, what can i do with an entire core? this is where the confederate command structure has fallen apart.
richard is going to telly he thinks he can still hold the line. unwisely, lee listens to richard ewell. lee is going to order out all the artillery, except for eight guns. grant, even though he is doing a strategy of annihilation, he is also maneuvering. we have one chapter with maneuver. what hancock's core is going to do is break through the line. they are going to take an entire confederate division.
he has no lot. another man named stuart. with those tactics, grant is unable to dislodge leave. the union army -- that strategy they needed to do on a smaller scale on the battlefield. grant eventually have two disengage. richard ewell is out. grant is unable to finish the killing blow. he is very upset.
then exhaustion takes over. those assaults took place, costing the union army so many casualties. those are going to be shifting to the left. his idea is simple. the confederate army will have to attack to get down to richmond. the reason he doesn't choose the shenandoah valley is simple. he leaves it open. if grant goes to the shenandoah valley, it is a wide open stretch.
went to antietam on the fourth of july. 50 miles. as you are going along, as grant is going along to the left and the right, grant is utilizing the union naval superiority. he can supply his army that way. they can capture those forces. if he goes to the shenandoah valley it is much more difficult to supply the army. lee, if you let him loose, he is going to go right for your throat when he tried to do in 62 and in 63. grant is going to make his way to petersburg. he is going to set into a general siege.
lee said, we must support these until he gets to the james river. if he gets there it will be a mere question of time. the battle for petersburg starts. some people say it is a seed. some people say it is not. i go with the siege. the battle in petersburg does the greatest thing for the union cause. it follows up robert e lee in one spot. there is no way he can get out. he is unable to break out from that siege. he is going to try time and time again. he is stuck. grant is going to turn to the west. this is where the war -- i am
sure everybody is turning it in across the nation. i don't care. i put it out there. the west is where i believe the war was mostly one. don't get me wrong. there were things done in the east to help win this war, but the war was won in the west. it is going to be a series of victories out west. as we go west we have sherman taking on johnson. the man calling this the west was not robert e lee. he commanded troops during the mexican-american war. he was also a very fickle man. he was also a very testy man. if he had your back the hallway. joseph johnson who came to fame
this goes all the way to greece. he might be able to attack the supply lines. they are going to have to string the army out and leave men behind to protect vital points. the problem johnson has is he is losing real estate. as he is losing real estate, he is going to give off the initiative. he is also going to allow atlanta to be threatened. the paper spot at length that could fall. if atlanta falls we are still ok. what the newspaper efforts did not realize is if atlanta falls, it is a huge plume in the hat of abraham lincoln. if lincoln brings home this victory that is one more step
towards the republican party taking back over, and that is what the confederacy cannot have. there are a number of battles. it is going to be a series of retreats and a series of mixed opportunities for the confederates as well as union forces. they are going to make it to atlanta. by mid-july they are across the river, which is five miles from atlanta. at this point something has to be done. johnson has given up too much territory. joe johnson is going to be questioned by davis. he has to turn to two different commanders. he has two choices. william hardy or john bell hood. could definitely wants the job.
it is going to get the job. when hood gets the job, he is going to ask johnson a simple favor. before you leave this army, can you help with may be delivering a strategy? show me what strategy you have. joe johnson says, no problem. i will take care of that. here comes john. he has never commanded an army in his life. he is going to employ a strategy of annihilation. not on the union army but on his own army. he is going to start attacking. if he starts attacking, he is going to attack and start sustaining casualty after casualty. if he starts absorbing casualties, grant and sherman are just ecstatic. if they are ecstatic, grant said, my satisfaction being
placed in command with this. that is just what we wanted. in september sherman is going to give the city of atlanta. he is going to try to hit the supply lines. he is going to go up into knoxville or to franklin. he is cutting a 60 mile swath to atlanta. he is going to give savannah as a christmas resin to abraham lincoln. -- christmas resident -- present to abraham lincoln. he is going to hit knoxville and franklin.
he is going to destroy the confederate army of tennessee. as he does that he takes the force and allows sherman to make that exhuming north into the carolinas. -- takes wing -- big swing into the carolinas. what lee would have is sherman at the back door and grant at the front. these men, who employed these tax takes -- tactics, these men came up with a strategy that is going to be employed. it is so cruel the enemy does not want to wage it. they are going to employ the strategy they used against the natives, which is a campaign of
annihilation. once they crossed over, the united states army will try to use a mixture of annihilation as well as maneuver. the united states army in northwestern europe is going to try to use maneuver when they can, but they will try to do what they can to concentrate firepower, airpower, seapower, anything they can. this is a doctrine that carried over. it gave lincoln another 177,000 men. the united states army throughout the next 80 years are going to look on what they did. they are going to try to
annihilate the enemy. to sum up this morning, what grant strategy meant comes up for a man named theodore gerrish. he said, it, meaning grant army, has retained a grip on the confederacy, a grip that will not the relaxed until it breathes its last breath. if you have any questions, i will stick around. i will turn it over to our mc.
chris. [applause] >> we have a few questions. if you do have questions, i will pass the microphone on. let the microphone get to you before asking your questions. i have a question up here. >> many people in the south are asking about the war. >> that is absolutely correct. i'm going to make a statement. i want to do listen carefully to how i word this.
davis is going to say it -- he knows were then commanders do. lee will take what advice davis gets. he had a way of talking to him. jefferson davis commanded the war department essentially the way adolf hitler is going to command in world war ii. i am not comparing them as being war criminals. hitler wanted control over everything -- the minutia of the war. that is going to tie down his commanders. hitler would never give the commanders the autonomy they needed. davis would to lee, but he would not give that to a man like joseph johnson. he would not listen to his commanders.
in 1864, jefferson davis is going to go up and give a speech. he is going to say, our cause is not lost. sherman cannot keep up his long lines of communication, and sooner or later retreat he must. the retreat will be reenacted. he is talking about the attack at the margins of the siege. he is comparing it to napoleon's invasion of russia. the problems jefferson davis in the south had was georgia does not get a tough winter like moscow to drive away the union army. this is after hood had done most of his damage.
to give one point, when he goes out after hood started to damage the army, he gets off a train, and there are tennessee boys, and they are going to start chanting, we want johnson. we want johnson. his men are questioning him. his commanders questioned him constantly, except for leave. the war is one out west. -- won out west. it wasn't cohesive like it should be. it was too little, too late. >> from your presentation this morning, along with the discussion we had last night, i think there is agreement grants approach to lee was one of the primary factors that brought the board to an end.
looking from lee's approach to when grant entered, i sometimes think lee's strategy was flawed. i think the confederacy would have been better served to prolong the war. if lee would have taken a different strategy instead of trying to interpose in front of grant. to put pressure on washington, if that would have been a better way considering the northern populace. >> i agree. i had a conversation with
another historian very recently where war needs to be prolonged. robert e. lee is fantastic. they cannot sustain the casualties inflict it time and time again. grant is able to shift troops from defenses in washington. he is able to come to the front. he is able to at least keep throwing more men into the meat grinder. if lee is unable to -- he reached his peak in 1863. the confederacy reached the peak in manpower.
the losses between chancellorsville and gettysburg, his army cannot sustain those losses. it is going to make it more easy to try to defeat the confederate force. the attempt to play cat and mouse would be the most effective way to do it. try to wear down the enemy. the thing that really turns the tides are the shenandoah valley campaign and the fall of atlanta. that is showing the breaking point for the electorate, and lee's hands are tied at that point. >> you are talking about the command structure and the armies.
would you say something about the civilian population, particularly starvation all the way from culpepper south. >> that is a great point. we were at the courthouse 50 miles south of washington, d.c. this area has seen four major engagements over 18 months. this area in 1862 had 25 square miles of stafford county completely divorced it. -- deforested. one said they could not find food and a bird known as the chicken could not be found. you also have the confederate people around here -- although the confederate people love
their soldiers they also hated them. they needed so much. you need 600 tons per day of rations and other material to keep them moving. the union armies and confederate armies will go foraging. they will exhaust the area. fredericksburg and spotsylvania does not return to its wartime population until the 1950's because of the devastation. people will leave this area because there is nothing left. the armies were like locusts. what sheridan was supposed to do was prove they are large enough to sustain an army. they were still american people in the hearts of both sides.
sheridan what he did. the civilian population, even with all their hardship, they are going to have shortages of sugar, coffee, anything they can think of. they are still going to have a high morale. dr. gallagher has written a fantastic essays. even though the war is lost, the folks at home have that glimmer of hope. it is all falling in around them. they have that mentality they might be able to pull it out in the end. >> the civil wwar airs here every saturday. to watch more of our civil war programming any time, visit our website.
>> the president and ceo of the wireless association. ce i was of the calommer department. in this process, the lessons learned is going wonderfully. the spectrum is paired, has been harmonized, it is 65 megahertz. we are so excited about it. we will turn around and have the broadcast incentive option. i think we have the report which the fcc put out. those numbers have really turned the discussion from a policy discussion to a business decision. we are excited about those options and certain the carriers will come to them. it is going to be a win-win tu