War Chat Room
|These are the members of the chatroom who met at Manassas on June 10, 2000 for an annual muster. For the full story, just click on the image.|
This portion of my website is dedicated to the members of the Civil War Chat Room. First and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to thank Henry, the owner of this chat room, for without his dedication, skill, and willingness, this chatroom would not be in existence. Let me try to explain.
Some years ago, about 1995 to be exact, I stumbled onto a chatroom that was in the WebAmerica domain. They had set up several chatrooms on their server and one was called "The Civil War Room." When I first went in, no one was there, so I just left a couple of posts. Pretty soon an individual that called himself cwc3 started answering. For what seemed like months (I suspect it was just a matter of days looking back on it) it seemed liked cwc3 and myself were the only ones there. Then came Korky, then ks, then many many others. We would would all banter back and forth about the late unpleasantness. As time progressed, we got more and more folks involved. This was a great room, because no matter what the subject drifted off to, it always came back to the Civil War. Then we began to develop little rules for discussion. We would allow no "Cussin." Even using words where the spelling was not actually there, like "as_, sh_t, h_ll, etc." to make a point was forbidden. Then other problems started to crop up. As most of you know, the Civil War is a difficult subject to discuss in the best of circumstances, it is impossible to discuss if folks are continuously "flaming" one another. So we made up another, unwritten, unspoken, rule. If you disagree with someone, that is your right. However, you must do so in a civilized manner. So, therefore, if you disagreed with someone's position, be it North or South, you must state the reason and your source. If the source was your opinion, you should say "of course, this is just my opinion," or if you had a book, pamphlet, TV program, etc. as your reference you were welcome to say that. You just could not call someone a "stupid ignoramus" because their opinion happened to be different than yours. This worked out just wonderful for several years. As time went on, we had authors, teachers, reenactors, historians, and just plain ole "buffs" join the group. Then disaster struck!
About a year or so ago, WebAmerica decided to go where the money is, "Porno!" They took down the chat room without any warning whatsoever. We were stuck! We had about a hundred or so members with no where to go. The email started flying. No one knew where to go or what to do. All we knew was that our home away from home that we had held so dear was no more. Then someone found a nice little chat room that was maintained by just a super nice guy. So we all kinda flocked over there and that is where we have been ever since. That is the chatroom that you see today. If you would like to join us, we welcome you with open arms. Just remember that the same rules that applied in the old chatroom are still enforced in the new and will quickly get you expelled if you break them. If you love the war, if you love discussing the defining point in this nation's history, if you love discussing why one American took up arms against another, come on in, the waters fine!! We really look forward to interesting discussions
I'm very sorry but the Chat Room just described is no more and we are looking for another. Please bear with us until we can get one up and running.
The following are some thoughts from some of our members from the old room. All, with the exception of one who has passed away (Irish), are still with us. I hope you enjoy.
One of the old maxims of military history is that generals always fight the last war. The last war for the US and CSA was Mexico, which was fought with smoothbored weapons. It was a grand Napoleonic assault. CW tactics were an extension of that. Definitely Napoleonic tactics...standing elbow to elbow, and all that. The rifled weapon made a vast difference. It took time for tactics to adjust to that. Just look at Grant's assault on Cold Harbor...he once wrote that the second attack there was the only order he ever regretted giving. In turn, WWI was Grant's attacks on Cold Harbor on a much grander scale. To some extent, it was weaponry, to some degree, tactics and leadership, and to some extent, strategy. Some generals, like Lee, were great strategists. Others, like Burnside, were not. It's that simple.
You know as one reads the papers and watches the news on TV about 13 year olds having babies, 15 year olds killing one another, 17 year olds dying of AIDS and 18 year olds with diploma's they can't read, one could almost believe that we have spawned the worst group of teenagers since the birth of the Republic. I know I get discouraged sometimes. Then, out of the blue, I get an essay that jolts me back into reality. The news only presents the sensational side of life. Most are exactly as the young man that wrote this essay. It is a distinct pleasure to put this writing on my website.
LOYALTY! This essay was written by a young member of the Chat room who re-enacts with the United States Sharpshooters and one whom I have personally met. He's a fine young man who participates in some of the most complex of discussions in the room. A great deal of thought went into this beauty and I hope you enjoy it.
Here's a great quote from Grant on his first experience as commander, Colonel of the 21st Illinois, as he encountered Colonel Thomas Harris in a fight near Florida, Missouri. This is what Grant said:
"As we approached the brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris's camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do: I kept right on. When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted. The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly visible but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before: but it was one I could never forget afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I always felt more or less anxiety. I never forgot that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was valuable."
Soldiers in the Civil War era had little use for trenches early in the war. Trenches were used somewhat in some European wars, before , but not to any great affect. Actually, soldiers began realizing the effectiveness of trenches almost by accident. Union troops hunkering down in the shallow road at the Hornets' Nest checked the Confederate onslaught. Later the Bloody Lane at Antietam also caused a great deal of turmoil for troops attacking the Confederate center. But not really until Fredericksburg did both armies understand the importance of having entrenched position anchored by well placed artillery. By 1864, each time either army stopped for the night, they immediately began building trenches. If they had time, they would construct abatis along with loop holes for their trenches. Troops and generals became very nervous when confronting trenches. Many stories can be said of the various trench networks both early and late in the war. But to answer your question trenches were very good for defenders usually.
Lee at Gettysburg
Concentration of strength, activity, and a firm resolve to perish gloriously -- The art of war consists, with a numerically inferior army, in always having larger forces than the enemy at he point which is to be attacked or defended. But this art can be learned neither from book nor from practice: it is an intuitive way of acting which properly constitutes the genius of war. Lee vs. Meade - both engineers. One was intuitive the other was not known. Lee did know how other engineers performed in the heat of combat--Beauregard and McClellan. Too much thought going into preparation and not enough intuition. Lee made a move that probably would have been approved by Alexander, Frederick, Hannibal, and Napoleon, he acted on instinct.
Here's more of Irish's contributions to the room:
I wish to remind you that there are three truths in life; (1) The truth as you see it, (2) The truth as others see it and (3) The truth as it really is. The odds against all three coming together at the same time are astronomical. These are his truths, the ramblings of an old combat vet (WWII and Korea) who just happens to have been be a retired Military History Professor (now deceased). Hope you enjoy.
Bragg and Artillery "During the 1840's there were some very fine artillery commanders in the U.S. Army. They were: Captain Samuel Ringgold, Captain Randolph Ridgely, and Lieutenant Braxton Bragg... " Want to know more? Come on in!
Fredericksburg "Irish, Here's a good topic for discussion. If you had been in command of the AOP on Dec 13, 1862 at Fredricksburg. What would you have done, attack head on like Burnside, try to flank, like Hooker did in the Spring or retreat and wait till spring. Or something else altogether?" The answer is here!
Napoleon On American Battlefields This is a great insight as to how the Civil War generals should have conducted the war. They all studied Napoleon at the "Point."
Longstreet Napoleon Bonaparte once said that "The ancients had a great advantage over us in that their armies were not trailed by a second army of pen-pushers.".... Good thoughts on Longstreet!
Lincoln and the Constitution. Here is a great little essay written by one of our members (A High School student I might add!). It seems that the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Lincoln's Abuse Of Power During The American Civil War
Here are some very good contributions by Saber
"Why They Fought" This is a very good little article, given to us by Saber, on why he believes the boys on both sides were willing to go to war.
Mr. and Mrs Saber at the Ball This is a nice picture of Mr. and Mrs. Saber as they appeared at the Blue and Gray Ball.
Greatest American Fighters, Worst Americans Soldiers An article written by Saber for his units newsletter describing the make up of the soldiers on both sides. I think you will find it interesting.
A former Union private from Maine, Theodore Gerrish, wrote in 1882 -- "The survivors are still a numerous company. Great changes are taking place within our ranks. Some of our comrades are now aged men, and we who then were mere lads are now sweeping on beyond the point of middle age. We are now an army for which there are no recruits. We shall all soon be "mustered out." Many of us may not leave to our children much worldly wealth or high social position, but, I would rather have my boy stand by my grave and say, "My father was wounded in the Wilderness, and fought with Phil Sheridan at Five Forks, and saw Lee surrender at Appomattox," than to have him say that I was a millionaire or a member of the United States Senate. "The country will always honor our memory. Our graves will not be neglected when there are no Grand Army comrades to scatter their floral offerings upon them. This ceremony is to be handed from one generation to another. Perhaps we may be permitted to view these ceremonies, looking down over the ramparts, a hundred years hence."
Let's hope, that our little "chat room" is helping to honor their memory, and they can, indeed, look down over the ramparts.
Here an individual who has very very deep beliefs about the Confederancy. He is the the Grandson of a confederate veteran. You read it right, a Grandson!! I am 60 years old and he is a lot younger than me. Drop into the chat room one morning and he will tell you all about it. In the meantime, check how what he has to say
What The Gettysburg Address Means To Me
Mohawk is a young student and a reenactor who is currently entered in an essay writing contest on the subject of "What The Gettysburg Address Means to me." An interesting aside about Mohawk is that during the school year when it is time to teach about the Civil War, he dons his reenactors uniform and literally teaches the history class.
The results of the essay contest is not know at this time. However, win, lose, or draw, Mohawk is indeed a multifaceted individual and a great contributor to the conversations in the chat room. I hope you enjoy the essay as much as I did. Mohawk's Essay