Question: Was this man incompetent?

No, seriously.  How would you describe Ambrose Burnside’s generalship? What words would you chose to describe him? Where I’m going with this – what is at the heart of the “ratings” we often give to a general and his performance?  Burnside just happens to be a handy target example to select, given the upcoming AntietamContinue reading “Question: Was this man incompetent?”

June 25, 1864: Sandbag day at Petersburg

Building field fortifications requires a lot of “consumable” materials.  Even in modern times, when the soldiers fortify a position, they tend to displace a lot of earth and use stockpiles of building materials.  One material that comes in high demand is the lowly sandbag.  In 1863, engineers on Morris Island recorded using over 46,000 sandbagsContinue reading “June 25, 1864: Sandbag day at Petersburg”

Wainwright’s Diary, May 1, 1864: “The army was never in better condition”

For Colonel Charles S. Wainwright and the rest of the Army of the Potomac 150 years ago, the waiting for the word was the preoccupation of the day: Culpeper Court House, May 1, Monday.  We are still here but expecting orders hourly almost …. Things here look so very near a move that the chancesContinue reading “Wainwright’s Diary, May 1, 1864: “The army was never in better condition””