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tv   The Civil War Gettysburg College Civil War Institute Conference  CSPAN  June 23, 2018 1:43pm-3:00pm EDT

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grant's army and used to break and thee of chattanooga famous battles of lookout mountain and missionary ridge. at the end of january in the first week of february 1865, a reverse troop movement was used, this time the 20th core was transferred back from tennessee in the dead of winter through the mountains, again using the rail all the way to washington, added to grant's army, the final richmond and the ultimate surrender of lee's army at appomattox. >> review this and other american artifact that her /history.c-span.org which of on our next town to the top of the page or use the search engine to or topics that interest you.
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>> we are back live now from lunch for more of the gettysburg college civil war institute annual summer conference. our coverage continues till about 4:30 p.m. today and we will be live again all day tomorrow, starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. up next, michael berger of gettysburg college talks about dwight eisenhower and his connections to gettysburg. where he was stationed for training during world war i and later retired after his presidency. you are watching american history tv, live on c-span3. >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm peter carmichael, the director of the civil war institute a gettysburg college and i'm also a member of the history department. it is my pleasure to introduce berger,ague, michael
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obviously, also part of the history department here. taught at gettysburg college since 1989, his scholarship focuses on many of 19th andpects 20th century american political and social history. he has written extensively on the presidency of dwight d. eisenhower and on the role of eisenhower's chief of staff, sherman adams. also is aberger specialist on the presidency of james buchanan, he has co-edited three volumes, the third will be coming out shortly, on james buchanan. it's hard to imagine you could even get a single volume on the canon, that was a cheap shot, i know you were expecting that. the professor is completing a book on the presidential and he isf 1952,
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researching another volume on american correspondence in the pacific theater as well. consider to bee our boot camp for history majors. is very popular and extraordinarily demanding and is often do not go hand in hand. guys a fewa bunch of years ago sitting around and they were talking about various things about their experiences here. every single one of them said the class and the professor that one needed to have fewer history major gettysburg college was professor berger's. obviously, they forgot that i was in their midst, what about me? but i get it. he has trained so many of our history majors who have gone on and i've had very successful careers as academic historians. thisre in for a real treat afternoon.
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michael is going to speak about dwight d. eisenhower and the american civil war. michael berger. [applause] ? i appreciate those kind words, though i always worry that if you get too much of a build up, is only going to be a letdown to follow. it is nice to be here and talk about something other than james buchanan. it will be a treat for me. a couple of things i want to say eisenhowerunch into the legacies of the civil war, the first one has to do with this conference. one of the real merits and values of this conference is not just the individual talks to you here or the panels they listen to and which experts share their wisdom with you and their knowledge. is the way that things ricochet
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from one session to the next and also from the sessions to the meals to the social time. i have his experience myself already here, talking with some of the participants about but robertsons really interesting remarks last night. really af that, it was myue to me to hear him and talk will relate to what he has come out ofgh we from different perspectives and you'll probably notice that. this kind of conference should issueset tired and the are was worth debating. i understand the general need as part of the conversation now. that happens. the second precursor to the formal talk has to do with -- let's not to down for a minute about the subject matter today and recognize that not everything that a president does
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or receives in the white house is something that weighs heavily on his mind. a smalls you even get -- let's see, this relates to something i found two weeks ago in the eisenhower library. i was trying to dig out what i could from eisenhower's papers that would present to you today. one of the things that really struck me was a letter that dwight eisenhower. from 11-year-old cub scout. and there is his letter. if probably can read it, but not i have a little bit of a cutout from it. 11 years old and interested in the civil war, like confederate and he said he wanted to draw the president a picture book of the civil war and its great battles. and he enclosed five beautifully crayon pictures of battles of the civil war.
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normally would show you two. here's one. that's the battle of bull run in 1861. and here is the second one, the battle of gettysburg. the first day. all historian, it doesn't have to be heavy, heavy, heavy. i really was touched by the fact that this young man at the approach of the centennial of war was motivated as a kid might be, in fact there are people in this room who have had somewhat comparable experiences, in my case has no 11-year-old was ordering and receiving the first issue of civil war times illustrated in 1961. and having that as an icon of my interest at that time of the civil war. i still have a special cutout of the battle of gettysburg featuring the cyclorama in my office. these things go around and come around and that is my precursor to what i have to say today.
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starting hisly election night in 1964. presidential election year. almost exactly 100 years to the day that abraham lincoln won that decisive victory over mcclellan. dwight eisenhower was not in gettysburg that day to cast his vote. he was in augusta, georgia, he had a doctors appointment and a golf game on his mind as well. place, of course, at his but in augustine, watching the returns and he grew more and more despondent as returns came in, because lbj, the incumbent president did not simply win reelection, did not simply cruise through reelection, he crushed his role in opponent, senator barry goldwater of arizona, carrying every state in the union outside of the deep south, except for hours on a have a goldwater's home state. this is what i wrote two days
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later in a confidential note to a friend. i have thought that possibly a few of the central states like kansas, nebraska, and iowa might have gone republican. the landslide spared few indeed. in ahen he went further public statement, which i find kind of interesting and relevant to the talk i'm giving you now. he was, let's face it, the most popular living american at that time. more popular than lbj. publicly ineclined 1964 to use and shift the republican nomination to the person that he favored, the governor of pennsylvania. but once goldwater was nominated, he made it clear he supported goldwater and would stick with goldwater, even as he privately anticipated goldwater would lose. on november 5, eisenhower then reclaims his role as the titular leader of the republican party and he released a statement to the press and what he does is he
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reminds republicans across the nation that the party had been quote hurt, but not irretrievably. republicans, he said, have been unfairly tagged in the presidential election as the appearance of the party of the rich and the privileged. it is time, he said, to remind ourselves and the country that we are the party of abraham lincoln. he expanded. republicans, he said, were the party that were true to lincoln's views on humanity, liberty, dignity, equality. histrive to emulate commonsense approach to the nation's political and economic problems. and his integrity in the reaction. we share lincoln space in the worth of every citizen and his trust in individuals and communities to solve their own problems whenever possible.
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but we recognize also with lincoln that when the problem is beyond their capacity to solve, they must be assured of federal , generously and intelligently given. and that you go. eisenhower connecting the past and the present. his comments are not in fact have affected the core beliefs of the republican party base as it was emerging in the wake of the goldwater campaign, because it was increasingly out of sync with eisenhower's middle way in politics. the republican party was also moving away from the notion of a commitment to the black freedom struggle and school integration in particular. but there is no question that if eisenhower reflected on his party's future and the american mission, his knowledge of abraham lincoln and his own perspectives on the great conflict of that time provided him with what he thought was a usable task.
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what am going to do now is not everybody here is an eisenhower buff or terribly knowledgeable about the life that i lived before he went on to fame in world war ii and beyond. what am going to do is tell you a little bit about eisenhower and about his connections to history in the civil war, because i really do believe that the two do interconnect. we will move on. eisenhower grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a little town called abilene, kansas. that haske gettysburg a storied history, although in od ofof abilene, its peri notability was through the chisholm trail, which was a generation long piece of americana as men drove their cattle to abilene to get on trays to take them to the stockyards in chicago and feed the rest of the country. it was a frontier community and my at least tv methods and
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expressions, kind of a wild town , a place where wild bill hickok had been the sheriff for a while. it was a place but at times to eisenhower is going on in it and really calm down quite a bit. it had become according to one writer, a quiet mid-american small town with a main street of handsome victorian homes, buckeye street for those who have been there. during eisenhower's childhood growing up in abilene, the town boasted 14 churches, for schools, a page main street, theater, county courthouse, not too wild, not too rough and ready. there was a place where people expressed and lived out victorian values. with the eisenhower's as you probably know were not well-off, the father, david, worked as a mechanic and in the local creamery. they didn't necessarily feel themselves poor. they were a respected,
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god-fearing family and they had high ambitions for their kids. their six boys. i grew up without a lot of things, but he didn't feel he was missing anything, and i love this picture of him that i have of right now, you can see i second from the left. he is a handsome, rough and ready kid, who played sports, loves football and baseball in particular, hunt, fish is, does all the things you do when you have lots of wide open spaces. even though he was this rough and tumble a very good student. he had brains, and was able to use them, even if that wasn't his first priority. his high school math teacher noticed how good he was in geometry instead you don't really need to the textbook or teaching, here are theorems, you work them out and eisenhower
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did. how many of us could do something like that? he also was bookish, he wasn't just good at math. teaching, here are theorems, youthe books that eisenhower was most familiar with growing up in abilene was the bible because his parents were extremely religious, read the bible overnight to their kids, it was an important part of their lives. the less well-known about the eisenhower's, i didn't really know this until recently was that the eisenhower's had a large family library. they encourage their kids to read. they were also disciplinarians and they took their kids to be participants in having the family succeed, which meant each kit had major chores each week and i tended to be a little more bookish than his brothers and was often curled up under a tree writing a book when he was supposed to be doing his chores. he tells the story and is meant more at ease. his mother would get annoyed with him and she would take -- he actually had a key and she would take the book that he was reading or books that she thought he might read and she would throw them in the closet unlock the door and go off to
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shop or whatever she had to do. i asked said he was one step ahead of his mother because he knew her secret hiding place and he would get the key, unlock the , sneaknd as he put it out of the books, was just a sign that this guy was serious about his reading. he read a lot of military history. he loves military has. he took a special interest in hannibal. because as he put it in his memoirs, much like young people of all times, i liked lost causes. and i like them more than the success that begets aberration. -- admiration. who represents the lost cause more for a group like this then robert e. lee? we see the robert e lee becomes one of the paragons for eisenhower as he grows up, and alter his life and into his presidency. it will indeed be a piece of the
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story i'm telling here today. it's interesting that it wasn't -- ieight eisenhower eisenhower who noted that like in high school, everybody knew ike eisenhower love history. when he was graduating from abilene high school in 1909, they had an adventurous young scribe in the class who tried -- who decided to write protections for every member of the class of abilene high. what did she write about eisenhower? she predicts that when you look forward 30 years, you would find dwight eisenhower in new haven, connecticut as a professor of history at yale. that is not quite how it worked out, but i understand why she would have written it. when he graduated from abilene in 1909, ike could not go immediately to college. you might say that is understandable, because only two at 100 people -- out of 100
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attended college at the time. the eisenhower's expected their kids to go to college, although they expected them to find their own way to get there. ike cut a deal with his brother, who wanted to go to the university of michigan. he said i will stay behind in abilene and work in the creamery, and pay your way to the university of michigan. and then you will come back and you reverse, you will do the creamery and i will go where i want to go. edgar said sure, as long as i go first. he did. eisenhower was as good as his word. he spent the next two years after high school working in the creamery. but what happens here is he either grew too impatient to wait for this long-term plan or vibeed getting the five -- that edgar was not going to do his end of the deal. he had a pal who had envisions
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-- ambitions to be in one of the military academies. he particularly wanted to go into the nav he said to ike, why don't you apply to the naval academy? free education. you do not have to rely on edgar or anybody else. ike said that sounds pretty good to me, then he needed to get a sponsor. there was a u.s. senator from whoas named joseph bristow was willing to sponsor eisenhower, although he said he had to apply to both west point and and the naval academy. ike did,id, because -- because he was looking for a free recommendation. he does fine on the test, but he cannot go to the naval academy because by spending that extra two years in abilene, he had gone past the entry age to get into the naval academy. fortunately, west point of the age of entry was one year beyond the naval academies, and he went off to west point. fatal --ed to be a
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fateful decision for him and a fortunate one for us as a nation. eisenhower went to west point, it didloved football, not work out because of injuries, but he did make it through. longhe went on to a professional apprenticeship, one of it -- some of it rewarding, some of it less so. but it was always at crucial hosting,he right whether it was in washington, d.c. as an assistant to the secretary -- the assistant secretary of defense, or as special assistant to douglas -- douglas macarthur, or working in the battle monuments commission book that he did for don -- john pershing in europe in the late 1920's, or going off to the philippines with macarthur 1935 to 1940, when he gets a much larger view of the world. but the most critical posing eisenhower had in his years,
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what some would say the wilderness, but really, they were the apprenticeship years, 1922-1920 four, where he is in panama. that is where he comes under the tutelage of a general by the name of foxconn are -- foxconn connor, who is a highly successful military man. i will say just briefly about connor, he gave eisenhower a kind of postgraduate education that was invaluable to him for the rest of his life. they would go out on horseback in panama every morning after eisenhower had been assigned a book to read. the book might be a history of a campaign of the civil war, it might be something about hannibal, he might have to read something else. eisenhower said he read the article war three times. and he would be quiz. and connor was very particular about what he asked eisenhower. is ord you like this book
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what was the fun of it, he would say what did the people you are reading about think about what they were doing? how do they rationalize what they were doing? where were they going with this and what was the result of the decisions that they made? -- this firedd him up to think harder, deeper, more intentionally about any subject in history as it impacted his thinking about how as a military man he might move things forward if there were a war. so fox connor is a key person. what did eisenhower do as a reader, given he is a full-time military guy, once he leaves fox connor's tutelage? for fun, he reads western. he reads them by the bucketful. just writtens suggesting eisenhower must have read hundreds and hundreds of westerns over his life. he just devoured them. that was his diversion.
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readingreal serious remained american history. it, it comes right down to it becomes an ideal in his historical reading, and that ideal is not abraham lincoln, it is george washington. this guy right here. he found that washington's stamina and patience in adversity and daring and capacity and self-sacrifice -- his capacity for self-sacrifice were what he saw as the makings of a leader. this is eisenhower's worth talking about george washington. i might add that washington's sense of duty and the way he filled his duty would be the way eisenhower would try to model for himself in the career and he , and as general of the army and as president.
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number two, this guy, robert e lee. and washington and lee, according to their leading biographer at the time, were basically the same man, just wearing different uniforms. sense of dutythis and obligation, care for their men, integrity, intellect, ability to think on their feet, all of these things. it is not maybe a coincidence that eisenhower read the works of a man named douglas freeman, the leading biographer of that time of both men. freeman really liked eisenhower. in fact, he tried to get eisenhower to run for president in 1948 because he said you are the next george washington. we need you. when eisenhower does agree to run, freeman is pumping him. you are george washington. i think some of that has to filter in. there you go. eisenhower had been interested
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in other books about the civil war. he had read frank haskell's work, arthur lion fremantle's work, grant and sheridan's memoirs. all of those had impacted him, but i think really, it is safe to say washington is the beau ideal. it is interesting though -- i do not want to make this to southern a talk -- i was looking for something where eisenhower talks about the northern generals that in 1946, eisenhower was given a book finalulysses grant's campaign by a man i have never heard of, william brooks. he wiped -- he writes a fan letter to brooks about the book, and tells him that this book really made a difference for him. he said grant could see the big picture. my respect for him has been high, despite for the fact that he gets a lot of bitter criticisms about both his military ability and his personal habits. rest in thisa
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letter and says how could somebody who is drunk have him, "a i will quote single course so steadfastly and made the numbers of decisions that were close decisions that involve the balance between risk and advantage? could someone who was under the influence of alcohol maintained the respective people like sherman, sheridan, meat, and president lincoln? was doing was balancing out his respect for grant against the respect i have already suggested for lee and washington? the thing that most interested eisenhower is right in the hallowed ground you are sitting on -- gettysburg. he lived here briefly in 1918 as a commander, he came back and bought a house here in 1950. inretired in gettysburg 1961. and he studied this battle and studied this battle.
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there is an image i have earlier here, i will go back for a second. this is eisenhower on chambersburg street in gettysburg on his first visit to gettysburg, with his west --, circled in red. this is just a wonderful application of the beginnings of a love affair, a lifetime love affair with gettysburg and with the battle. eisenhower does what he does in gettysburg, studies gettysburg in 1918 to the point where he drives himself around the battlefield in the summer of 1918, when he is commander of the camp, and find the spot he thinks lincoln gave the gettysburg address at. he would bring a dogeared copy of the gettysburg address with him and read it over and over again as he reflected in his memoirs, because he wanted to
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understand how one human being could say so much of worth in so few words. to be asked,begs what does all of this reading and thinking i have been talking about have to do with statecraft? did it matter? if it did matter, how did it matter? is a subject, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has really ever looked at. there are several lines from eisenhower's speech in gettysburg on november 19, 1963 that have been talked about in different books about the commemoration. but that is pretty much it. ike's thinking about history and his historical mindedness to his public policy when it comes to race relations in the 1950's, racial policy, nobody has talked about it. i want to spend much of the rest of this lecture telling you what i think is going on. and whether it is persuasive or not is for you to judge. the most surprising thing about habitable's
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conversation about the civil war, from my perspective, is his waristent term "the use of between the states." it, "the conflict between the states." referred to the war between the states in december 1960, when he met them to have a pat onp and give them a the back and urge them on with their activities. this.thinking about does that mean anything act though i think there are two possible expirations for this choice of words. the first and to me, the most obvious, is that he was trying to suggest a certain psychological complicity with on southerners perspective the war and to win sympathy and perhaps build opportunities for mutual understanding between the north and the south. one isblem with this
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that he used the locution the war between the states quite often in other circumstances. with northerners as well. i am left to conclude that his references have to do with his sensibility, which was somewhat southern in many ways. context, his reverence for lee, i think, outweighed his respect for lincoln. when you mention robert e. lee today, you are more likely than not, i think, to generate some really good discussion about lee's qualities. but let's go back 70, 60 years to the 1950's and realize that if you did not criticize robert e. lee in this country at all, lee was almost unassailable. the picture i have up for you here is a good example of the point i am trying to make. that picture shows eisenhower and general bernard montgomery, the famous montgomery of alamein
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who came to visit eisenhower to visit the battlefield, of course, in 1957, and caused quite a ruckus, as some of you know. it was inevitable that when he came to gettysburg, monti was going to ask eisenhower to take him out on the battlefield, which he does. i complied. trailed by a flock of reporters, the two generals traversed the battlefield over two days, stopping at the major locations where the fighting occurred. theye course of two days, have a lot of observations back and forth about the generals and those engagements. eisenhower expresses admiration for the iron brigade. he criticizes jan ewell sickles for the movement out of his position on the second day. nobody seems to have taken any toense whatsoever eisenhower's criticism of siles, but on day two, something different happened. they went out before they went to church, because they wanted
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to see cox hill, they wanted to go to the virginia monument, confederate avenue and on to cemetery ridge. --n they are at coke cell cox hill and walking down the goadingonty starts eisenhower about lee's actions on the third day and says eisenhower basically, you would admit that this was a major blunder. this was terrible. i would never have done this. never. eisenhower is expected to respond. goading,ird eisenhower's as well, monty, if you had acted as we acted -- as lee acted at gettysburg, i would have sacked you. among the press corps. the tour continued, they went to confederate avenue and the virginia memorial, where this is taken. and it concluded, presumably, on a successful note.
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newspaperman -- newspapermen were with them and ike's comment is soon splashed across the papers. and boy, did it generate some heat. southern blood boyles was the headline in a mississippi paper. or, as a cheeky headline in the washington star put it, the cotton really hit the fan. [laughter] moment to read excerpts from a couple of the letters, some of the many letters eisenhower received from southerners who velti crossed the line he never should have crossed. let's start with florida. mr. president, i am afraid that you are wrong. we hear that stevens is buried cemetery by his
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request. mislead you. poor old a blanket was pushed into the most unholy slaughter of all the ages. -- abraham lincoln was pushed into the most unholy slaughter of all the ages. you are getting riled up by constitution rapers. another observed that your remark about general lee placed yourself in the same categories with thousands of jds who sought to criticize general lee -- -- yankees who sought to criticize general lee. an outstanding job, there can be nothing done by any yankee to change that. and then there was one from t they d just read this article in the houston post. quoting a test is -- texas state that he she declared lee'st worthy to --
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shoes. my favorite came from barnesville, georgia. the man enclosed not just a theer, but a package, and package included a razor strap and a home for the razor strap. this is something you will only remember if you are over 50. it is something that old-time , as did manyad homes. the suggestion, he wrote, was that anytime you feel -- i will make the suggestion that anytime you feel inclined to speak disparagingly of general robert e we, the confederacy, or the lost cause, you get someone to .pply this razor strop and then he said he was sending the same apparatus to every member of the u.s. supreme court. do not think eisenhower was especially troubled by these letters, which he apparently did read and asked his chief of
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staff and secretary to respond he did respond publicly to the criticism which was mounting about that one .ff-the-cuff remark about lee at a press conference on may 15, only a couple days after monty's visit, he said he brought in the press especially to his office and said no doubt, no doubt you .ave noticed the walls there are prints here of four men. i will get to that in a second. -- can see two of the walls that i consider in my book the four top americans of the past. franklin, washington, lincoln, and lee. anyone tries to be in any other relationship with the respect to general lee is mistaken. but here is the further defense of lee that i think is most interesting. a dentist by the name of leon wrote a very well argued
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letter to eisenhower in which he not great. you are doing all the right things, or terrible, you are doing all the wrong things because you want to sack lee. this is what scott writes. i do not understand how any american can include robert e. lee as a person to be emulated, and why the president of the united states of america should do so is beyond me. the most outstanding thing that devotee lee did was to his efforts to the destruction of the united states government, and i am sure you do not say that a person who tries to destroy our government is worthy of being hailed as one of our heroes. scott closed by asking eisenhower to tell me just why you hold him in such high esteem. this is interesting, because this letter did not go into the pile of forget it. this letter was read by eisenhower's aides, who thought
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well, you can get right with bobby lee by responding publicly to mr. scott's letter. ike said ok. you draft something, i will edit it, you sign it -- i sign it and we get it out. he wrote a fairly substantial letter to scott in which he basically reaffirmed his belief in lee's high character, his leadership skills, his personal mobility. i could read you -- nobility. i could read you a long quote where he basically says we could not as a country today survive the threats we face the rod without people of the caliber of -- faced abroad without the caliber of robert e lee. what is interesting to me as a historian, with the historiography of today and what would be interesting to you, particularly those who teach but anyone who cares about the civil war is what is not in the letter defending lee. that is any mention of the confederacy, its foundations on
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slavery as a positive good, lee's own ownership of slaves and trade in slaves, etc. the things that, you know, have recently been brought out my good historians. for eisenhower, that was not a winning point to make. robertply had to accept e lee as a role model. i cannot help but make the off-the-cuff comment that what you heard last night from the distinguished historian from virginia tech really fits the way eisenhower felt about robert e. lee, right? i do not think that is even in dispute. sparking discord in this country over lee and slavery and racial questions, for that matter, that was not on eisenhower's agenda in 1957. lincoln's task as president was to thwart the slave power and disabled the union, and he did that. eisenhower's job as president
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was to keep the union safe and prosperous in light of the threat from international communism. that was job one, international communism. his admiration is publicly expressed for robert e lee, i would argue, has to do with his desire to get americans to close ranks, not to think in sectional terms, but to feel that as a unity, as a nation with certain values, overcome a threat from godless communism abroad. talking about white supremacy, talking about slavery was not going to serve the purpose because it would just get people agitated. was seriousir business at a time when trying to keep a lid on any disruptive narrative focused on the black for civil rights. let me close this piece by saying it was not all heavy duty.
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again, ike could and did get a laugh out of the whole episode as a result of a cartoon that appeared in the new yorker magazine in wake of the whole flap over monty and the sacking business. there is the cartoon. this is too elderly gentlemen, as you can see, southern in appearance. they look like the kentucky fried chicken guy, right, and they are sitting on a veranda. one of them has a cigar, the other is just a chelating -- ulating and talking. i tell you this. if generally had $71 billion to generalund with, -- if lee had $71 billion to play around with, i wouldn't even be in the white house today. -- ike wouldn't even be in the white house today. his brother finds this and sends it to him, and she writes back,
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the president loves the general lee cartoon, but i shudder every time another letter on ike's now famous remarks on robert e lee comes into my hands. so he got a bit of a laugh out of it. four months out of the episode with montgomery and lee, a larger issue lamps on his desk -- lands on his desk, and that is little rock. i will try to telescope a little bit my comments about that in the interest of time. i think most of you know and have studied, or in some cases story,the little rock the closing of the school and the attempt to integrate central high, which i think i have depicted here. eisenhower put up with a fair orunt of nonsense fro doubletalk, really, before he decided he was not going to get any cooperation there. he sends in the 101st airborne
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to make sure that the nine indents trying to integrate little rock hi -- thank you to a court order, by the way, they did not just show up. racial desegregation had to be supported, and it was. he was decisive. he had not been decisive in 1956, when there was a ruckus about integrating mansfield high school in texas, but this time he put his foot down, and, as we all know, he was quite decisive. the south did not like it. eisenhower had been pretty popular in the south. he had gotten close to 50% of the vote in the south, which was pretty much unheard of for a republican. now, views percolated into the white house. i won't go into a lot of detail, but i want to share one piece of abuse that he got. eisenhower, as you know, is pretty mild mannered and did not
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politicalive over opponents, was happy to get 60% or 65% of whatever he was looking for. middle-of-the-road guy. and he worked very closely with a number of leading democrats, including southern democrats, for the programs that mattered to him, and they had been very supportive of him. but little rock triggered outrage, and the senator who most expressed this in a pungent way, in a badly pungent way, was senator russell of georgia, a giant in the senate in those days and someone who eisenhower had worked with very closely. russell writes a letter to eisenhower in which he denounces did inisenhower little rock, and then hits a trigger, saying you are sending the 101st airborne to integrate central high school to me is nothing less than sending hitler's storm troopers and arkansas.
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when eisenhower saw this comment the veins in his face turned purple. rough his aide draft a response to russell, and then he rewrote it himself. het he said was that completely failed to comprehend your comparison of our troops to hitler's storm troopers. in one case, military power was used to further the ambitions and purposes of a ruthless dictator. in the other, meaning what he was doing, to preserve the institutions of free government. that is a pretty strong statement. eisenhower sent versions of this to others. it is interesting, though, that eisenhower did not -- that was in a private letter to russell. eisenhower did not want to pick fights with southerners. he would not even concede that what was going on in the south in massive resistance to brown versus board was basically nullification revisited under the new phrase, interposition,
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that the two were effectively the same thing. he would never acknowledge that was the case because he did not want to pour any oil on flames. he wanted to emphasize national unity. let me move on to talk a little theabout eisenhower and centennial commission, and then his final effort to grapple with the civil war in 1963 at the centennial, and then we can have some questions. briefly about the centennial commission, not only did he use the phrase war between the states, but he actually tells the centennial commission when he beat the commissioners that he feels like a southern man because his mother had been born in virginia and because he had served for so long primarily with southern officers. he says i do have a special affection for the south. again, i think there is a bit of politics in that, trying to , but a sense of the south
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the civil war and its commemoration was not just a northern thing. whether eisenhower in fact was interested in advancing the black struggle for civil rights was another story. i will slide over that quickly now in the interest of time, and if you have a question about it i would be happy to expand on it. i was a eisenhower's head and constitutional thinking were very much in favor of equality for every american, and he did many things within his purview of the united states, within his federal authority to a dance the cause of civil rights. to give you one example, he is the one who integrates the armed forces. harry truman spoke it, but eisenhower did it. he integrated all of the military facilities for school, px, everything like that. he integrates washington, d.c. and appoints a black man as his first executive assistant, that
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kind of thing. he could never, and i have all kinds of quotes in a larger version of this piece, he could never really bring himself to feel comfortable with the idea progress on civil rights. he thought this was something that would take generations, and he did not think it could be pushed. he felt that hearts and minds in the south needed times to change , and i have all sorts of quotes and here were eisenhower says he is sympathetic to the southerners opposing the brown decision. he says this because he thinks you cannot turn things around. one of the most compelling things he says and striking, not compelling, because i believe it, is in 1956, when his attorney general, a pro-civil rights guy named parnell, brings to the cabinet of the president a very forceful civil rights bill, which gets enacted in a watered-down way in 1957, he .resents it to the cabinet
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when eisenhower has the opportunity to comment, he says i think we don't want you going full charles sumner out there. does that tell you something? go fulllpable -- don't charles sumner. back it off. and i would make the argument that eisenhower did not have enough interaction with african-americans to truly see the indignities that they had to deal with on a daily basis, to see just how many ways they were disadvantaged in our society, that he was the president of. for eisenhower, the phrase invisible man for blacks, which phrase of the great novel by ralph elliston published in 1952, i think that applies. having said all that, and i could say more, i will get you to the end. the end is 1963 for our purposes because eisenhower is able to speak his mind about what the
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civil war meant into different important occasions. 1963, 100 years after the battle here, and november 1953 at the cemetery. one of the speeches, in my awful, and one of them is terrific. the awful speech is the one he gives in july, in which he has not one word to say about why the northern army was there, what was being accomplished by the war, what could be economist after the war. speecht 80% of that talking about the intrusiveness of the federal government in people's lives, the paternalistic state, the need to stop looking for a hound out and be behind their own initiative. that is a perfectly reasonable argument if you cover that up with your own view. , theothing about race
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black struggle, this is the southern of 1963. things are happening in 1963. he gives that speech, lyndon johnson comes to .peech here on memorial day lyndon johnson gives a speech and says everything that eisenhower should have said about gettysburg. he talks about martin luther king's letter from a birmingham jail, the slow change of pace on patients --s, and patients was no longer good enough. as we maintain the vigil of , we must keep this in our streets and schools and the lives of all of our people, that those who died here on native soil should not in vain. 100 years ago, the slave was freed. 100 years ago, the -- 100 years
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later, the knee grow -- negro maintains the bondage of his skin. eisenhower had nothing to say about this in july. but he redeems himself a bit later on. this is one time he met with black leaders in 1958. this is ike in november -- i'm closing this. i was invited to give the speech here in gettysburg on november 19, 1963. and everyone knows he made a different decision about where he was going to spend his time in november. he was going off to texas. when kennedy declined, eisenhower was pressed into service to be the main speaker on the 100th anniversary of the gettysburg address. this time, eisenhower does not talk about a truce of government
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or the need for self-reliance. he steers away from that. what theis audience gettysburg address meant to him. he noted that my standing where , he washad stood expressing his own deep dedication to freedom and our own dedication takes on added strengths. lincoln, he said, lifted his eyes to the future. the future that is our present, in calling for liberty and equality for all. eisenhower challenged his audience to live ligands credo -- lincoln's credo and submit itself to the country's good. the worker democracy, eisenhower alwayss unfinished. he made no connection to lincoln and the black struggle, but here in gettysburg, november 19, 1963, ike got right with lincoln.
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informed by historical knowledge, ike pointed his countrymen to better days ahead. thank you. [applause] if anyone has a question or comment, i would be happy to respond. i overwhelmed you. [laughter] i see someone coming. >> hi, 1959, the 100th anniversary of john brown's raid there is a lot of pressure to not commemorate, certainly not celebrate or even mention the anniversary, and eisenhower
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seems to have caved into that. could you give some background on that? >> that is a great question and a logical question. i can say this. i knew the vacuum cleaner to look at everything in the eisenhower library that they had relating to slavery and the civil war, and they had nothing. if i had looked at his diaries at that time, maybe there would have been something about it there. but i think it sort of fits into the hands off, do not touch a hot stove, because as you said, the brown raid is kind of a flashpoint for people to disagree. i do not have a better answer, good question. >> i am wondering why ike called out the 101st airborne instead of the national guard? in particular? >> another good question, and one i can answer. eisenhower was making a
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statement. some of you world war ii buffs was ahat 101st airborne big part of d-day, and eisenhower was making a statement that he meant business. -- and he said that when a state and federal authority collide, the state authority loses area that was established by the civil war. loses.-- it that was established by the civil war. he was making a statement to the country. he also doesn't quite trust what the arkansas national guard will it.hen he federalize is it was more of a statement he was making, and it was a powerful statement indeed. yes sir? >> the big flap about not yet gettysburg when he visited. eisenhower also hosted khrushchev and gettysburg once. do we know about him referring to the civil war anyway in his
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meetings with khrushchev? >> keep in mind, that was primarily a camp david. the gettysburg thing happened sort of as an inspiration, but talks of khrushchev, which had to do with what was going on in berlin and whether there would be a treaty that openly turned berlin over to east berlin, etc. etc., eisenhower is not making with any progress with khrushchev at camp david, so he gets the notion that if he can get him to gettysburg, he can warm things up a little bit. in particular, he wanted to introduce chris jeff to his -- khrushchev to his grandchildren, which he does. the short version here is that it did warm khrushchev up. he put little communist pins on the four grandkids, which their mother immediately took off and threw in the garbage when he left the room. moscow,nvited them to
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he wanted the kids to come with eisenhower and said come next april and we will do all kinds of great things. eisenhower said we can't come in april, because we are not taking them out of school. unfortunately in between april and june, there was something which stopped that. but they never talked civil war, he almost took everybody else, degaulle, nero, everyone else out to the battlefield. he never got khrushchev there, but it was a good meeting in the end. >> hello. i might be wrong with this, but i believe that abilene has an important part two in the formation of the buffalo and there is a statute of them now i believe. did eisenhower ever refer to those? >> that is a great question. i don't know. i just spent a week in abilene
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and i have been there may be 15 times previous. i have never seen a statue to the buffalo soldiers in abilene. there is a great statue of eisenhower as a little boy in the main part of town in front of the library or the park near the library, but if there is a statue to the buffalo soldiers, it is not at any prominent location, and i have written my bicycle and walked through the town. her promo in -- your promise might -- your premise might be right about the buffalo soldiers being in abilene, but it does not show up in any of eisenhower's writings. >> hi. i always thought two of the great legacies of dwight eisenhower were the construction of the interstate highway system , you know the story, the genesis of that. the other thing was his last speech is president, the one about the hazards of the military-industrial complex. could you elaborate on what informed him on that?
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had a lot of experience with the power of our country. is a great question, and i do not want to bore folks at a civil war conference about eisenhower in the military-industrial complex, but you deserve a quick response from someone who studied eisenhower. eisenhower was deeply influenced by sputnik not in ways he wanted to be, because people began to conclude that we were behind in race with the russians, we needed to start spending $80 billion a year more on our defense, and while eisenhower did not go to that reports recommendations, he vastly increase the number of projects we were doing in terms of icbms and satellite development, right? what william hitchcock, who has written an excellent book called the age of eisenhower, what hitchcock argues is when eisenhower gave that speech, he was reflecting on his own
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complicity in creating a larger number of ways in which the military-industrial congressional complex, that was his original formulation, a it contributed to this ongoing, what would you call it, enhancement of the military budget perhaps beyond our needs. what hitchcock argues, and it will not be the last word but is a reasonable word, is that eisenhower was reflecting on what had happened in the 4 years in his second term and how much money would be devoted and would ever be devoted. and if you think about it, it is petty change list on what we spend in the military over the last 50 years. hi, you had mentioned that some of the influences were that he served with southern officers. we know he had this long-standing relationship with george patton, and a relationship with patton in the
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war and the fact that his uncle died on that very campus. do you think they had any kind of discussions, influences between patton and eisenhower? >> sure, why not? patton went back from the days of camp need when they were both arguing over the coming needs of the military and they got slapped down by their commanding officer, who told them they would be court-martialed if they continue their conversation. i go is admired patton's many good qualities that he -- i always admired patton's many good qualities that he dealt with. i think there is a lot of conversation. i do not think it is racist conversation and any intentional is more than just casual remarks that fit what is .n the ether at the time to me, it is the broader picture of who he is talking to. almost all of these folks that he deals with our southerners.
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in 1946, when he is invited to testify before congress about whether to integrate the army, he says i do not think it works. i do not think it -- integration works for anybody. and he is tasked with that issue in 1952 and admits he misspoke, but he said it was because of my southern connections. that is the best i can do on that one. >> hi. i was wondering if you could talk, comment on if you taught eisenhower's hands-off policy on the civil rights and if it was influenced by his admiration for lincoln and his own attempts on racial rights and presidential powers, especially in the beginning of the civil war and [inaudible] >> i can't prove an answer to you. you framed it in a very interesting way and probably a very accurate way. eisenhower's sensibility was that of a moderate. lincoln was not an extremist. lincoln had principles, and you
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know that slavery's ultimate extension was a central principle for lincoln, as well as treating people how they should be treated, which eisenhower followed also. this is a good point, eisenhower was not going to be on the front lines, begging to move us where beyond the national consensus was. the difference between eisenhower and lincoln, in my opinion, is eisenhower is focused much more on consensus because we have this faux outside of us, the soviets, with nuclear capacity. lincoln is doing something more. he is trying to win a war, save it is a new burst of freedom. the war becomes more to sacrifice so many young men and so much use of treasure. the greatest speech lincoln ever gives is in the second
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inaugural, really. , this war has to happen and we had to do what we are doing. eisenhower is aware of lincoln. i think you are thinking along the lines that we just mentioned. that is a great question. i want to thank you all. that was great. [applause] laterwill have a speech on about the battle of the crater. thank you very much.
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>> you're watching american history tv on c-span3. we are alive from gettysburg, pennsylvania today for the annual civil war institute's subtle conference -- summer conference at gettysburg college. our live coverage continues at 3:15 tm with today's final speaker, former historical parks director abel for an green, talking about -- a. wolfen
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green, talking about the battle of the crater. until then, more history from c-span3's american history tv. >> during the civil war, selma became the largest -- second largest manufacturing and distribution point of war material within the confederate states of america. in the latter part of the war, the last year and a half of the war, it is estimated that elma supplied one half -- selma supplied one half to two thirds of all the supplies used in the northern portions in the confederacy. ed and madetalog a matter of record, and there were over 60,000 artillery shells, on and on and on. selma was not insignificant. at the beginning of the war, selma was not really involved in
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manufacturing processes, and at the time of secession, selma was not in the role or even being looked at as becoming such a manufacturing and distribution site. in the first year of the war, selma contributed almost 600 men to the war effort. as federals began to tighten the news on the confederacy through the blockade of ports and the taking of vicksburg, memphis, and the mississippi river, the confederate leadership realized they needed to move their manufacturing distribution points deeper into what was called the dark gray interior of the confederacy. at that point, they began to look at what areas would be conducive to producing more material and distributing. the confederacy really had two avenues, east-west distribution. the rail lines from chattanooga to memphis, and then down through the lower south, from atlanta, west point,
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georgia, and then west into mississippi. with this southern line, let's call it, was that it was not complete. the rail lines came to montgomery but ended. anything that was transported had to be put on steamships and brought down to selma, then back onto the rails. that was not ideal, but when some of the northern areas fell, the northern route was gone. so they began to look elsewhere. selma was prime for this. selma has deep river access to as iort of mobile, it has, mentioned, accessed by river to montgomery and the rail lines to the east and west, and is also a very short distance from the cahaba river valley coal and iron fields. so we had an almost inexhaustible supply of cold and -- coal and iron, the woodland
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supplying timber for ships, the agricultural areas that were essentially part of the bread basket of the confederacy nearby. selma had many positives going for it. so shortly after that, an existing foundry in selma was able to secure contract with the new government to produce heavy cannon, iron plating, and munitions. that foundry would later develop in 1863 into a joint navy-army venture and eventually just a navy venture, which would start out as the selma gun foundry. escape selma a focal point of manufacturing as well as distribution. enable gun foundry was actually located -- and the naval gun foundry was actually located on the area we are today. at this site, you would have found multiple buildings and it would have encompassed 13 steam engines and boilers. it had a facility of eight acres
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that was designed and purpose built to manufacture great cannons at the time. they ranged in weight from about 8000 pounds to about 25,000 pounds. these were not small weapons. time, they were considered the best muzzle loaded weapons in the world. to manufacture a seven inch brook rifled cannon required hundreds of hours of machining. this was not done with period tools of today, but with just this was not done with tools of today, but with period tools of the time. this is not an example of the had here.the they this would have been used for some of the smaller components to go along with it. the manufacturing of these cannons was an exacting thing.
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and produced here, as i have rifle and cannon, consider the finest of its day. we are on that property here, but adjacent to us towards the river is the shipyard, which encompasses 13.5 acres. its importance is that selma produced more ironclad warships than any other site in the confederacy during the war. there were four produced here. the css huntsville was in tuscaloosa, as well as the css phoenix, sometimes known as the memphis. and were produced here also, not as well-known, a submarine was produced here as a private venture. it was called the saint patrick. the four ironclads were most famous in the war of tennessee. to give some idea of scale of ship, this was an ironclad vessel that was 209 feet long. to put that into perspective,
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think about the last football game stock. this ship is two thirds length andhat football field, there was no manufacturing industry in selma at all, but they were able to produce this. and they did it in such a rush that when production started, the trees that make the timbers were still standing in the forest around selma. so this was an effort that was put forth by people that did not originally have the skills, the .anpower it was awesome they could hold things together and become as .mportant as they were in late march of 18 625, general james harrison wilson moved on some of from his winter camps river,f the tennessee and he had spent the river -- winter there training his troops and what was the largest and best equipped calvary force that the war and this country had
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ever seen. selma, moved down on to confederate defenders were unsure of their destination, at the same time wilson began to move, general frederick moved up from the coast and what general forest and general taylor, who were the department commanders thought was a movement on montgomery. so they had wilson coming down from the north, steel coming up from the south, and were not sure what to do with their limited manpower. to sendt was forced some men towards steel in anticipation of that. it was not until wilson had been moving for four days that they realized with certainty that selma was the ultimate goal. wilson appeared before selma on the morning of april 2, 1865. forest met him in the trenches of selma. selma had been, at that point, protected by a series of
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continuous earth warps that stretched from the each side of selma near beach creek in a mileshoe about 3, 3 .5 around to the west side of the city, again to the bank of the alabama river near valley creek. it was obviously defended on the south side by the river, but general forest was forced to defend the town with a cobbled group -- cobbled together group. he only had about 1500 men who were dependable troops. then you had militia, state troops, so, general forest did not have his normal complement of men at selma, whereas general wilson had available for combat at selma at 9000 battle-hardened troopers, equipped with spencer rifles which enabled them to fire seven shots without reloading, where the confederates with muzzle loaders
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were forced to fire when shot and reload, so they were at a distinct disadvantage to the federal troopers. the battle of selma was a short, intense affair. from themen came down north to selma and were attacking the city from the north and work essentially on the north and east and north and west sides. militia,ddle was this untried troops, older men, younger boys who were not battle tested. they were the weak link in wilson was aware of that. and when long attack he attacked those meant primarily, and they put up little resistance and quickly collapsed and allowed federal troops to come over the wall and within the federal -- and within the fortifications to what we call the confederate rear. confederate troops had no choice but to fall back closer to town

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