The Fast Redemption of Rosecrans and the Battle of Stones River

December 31, 1862 (Wednesday) As the chilly dawn broke over Stones River, Union General William Rosecrans could hear the sounds of musketry on his right flank. This, he thought, was perfect. All was going according to plan. He was mistaken, but we’ll allow him to live in blissful ignorance for a little longer. The planRead More

Both Bragg and Rosecrans Plan a Waltz

December 30, 1862 (Sunday) On Christmas Day, Braxton Bragg learned that his Confederate Army of Tennessee was soon to receive the unwelcome gifts given by Yankees under William Rosecrans, his force of 35,000 had been spread out around Murfreesboro, Tennessee in a thirty-five mile smattering. Immediately, he began to concentrate along a three mile arcRead More

The Stalemate-Turned-Enslaught of Chickasaw Bayou

December 29, 1862 (Monday) In a word, it had been frustrating. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Corps had landed at Chicasaw Bayou, just north of Confederate-held Vicksburg. For two days they had fought a smattering of Rebel delaying actions that worked all too well. The force that had been at Vicksburg when Sherman’s 31,000 arrived had beenRead More

Sherman’s First Push at Vicksburg

December 27, 1862 (Saturday) The Confederate position along Walnut Hill north of Vicksburg, Mississippi was beautifully constructed. Mostly, this was due to Stephen Lee, the man who, nearly two years before, delivered the ultimatum to Major Robert Anderson, demanding the surrender of Fort Sumter. That all seemed eons distant. Lee had been with the ArmyRead More

Sherman Arrives Before Vicksburg

December 26, 1862 (Friday) William Tecumseh Sherman was not in command. Though he assembled the troops and arranged for help from the Naval fleet, this was not his show. Even though the commanding officer, the political general, John McClernand, was still in Illinois, Sherman was merely another officer. Highly placed, true, but not in command.Read More

Rosecrans to Send Tidings of Great Battle to Braxton Bragg

December 25, 1862 (Thursday – Christmas Day) To soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland, Nashville was not home on this Christmas Day. To a man, they wished to be somewhere else; to be home with loved ones; to be at church; at the dinner table; anywhere but here, in the cold Tennessee muck, whereRead More

The Silver Lining of the Gray Pillow Suffocating General Rosecrans

December 24, 1862 (Wednesday) The month of December was not going well for William Rosecrans, commanding the Union Army of the Cumberland. For what seemed like ages, his force of 80,000 or so sat in and around Nashville, Tennessee, waiting. At Murfreesboro, thirty miles southeast, Confederates under Braxton Bragg, 30,000-strong, were doing much the same.Read More

Burnside Accepts the Blame… Again and Again and Again

December 22, 1862 (Monday) Since the Army of the Potomac, under Ambrose Burnside, slide back across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, much had transpired. To the typical infantryman, two armies stared at each other from opposite shores. But behind the curtain of blue, things were quickly spinning out of control (which is saying a lot,Read More

Davis has Some Suggestions (Not Orders) for Arkansas

It wasn’t that Jefferson Davis thought Joe Johnston a mad man. The Confederate president didn’t have a sneaking suspicion that his highest western commander was all messed up on laudanum or even that he was trying to be a relentlessly obstinate little twit. Davis simply thought Johnston was wrong. It wasn’t really even a thought,Read More

Grant’s Main Supply Depot Sacked at Holly Springs

Col. Robert C. Murphy was lucky to still have a place in the Union Army. In September, he abandoned supplies during the Iuka campaign. After narrowly missing a court martial, he found himself in command of a gaggle of troops guarding General Grant’s advance supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. And on the morning ofRead More