The Union Generals Speak

Student of the American Civil War

With this book, editor Bill Hyde gives us transcripts of the testimonies US generals gave to the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War regarding the battle of Gettysburg. Along the way Hyde provides his own comment to put the testimony in perspective and provides his interpretations of the testimony and the actions of the committee. His basic argument is the mean Radical Republicans wanted to get Major General George G. Meade removed and replaced with his predecessor, Major General Joseph Hooker, and they were willing to manipulate the record to make that happen. His viewpoint is the Radicals looked askance at any Democratic general, unless of course that general was Joe Hooker or Dan Sickles, or any other Democratic general who disagreed with Meade’s actions at Gettysburg. He writes, “The hearings on Meade, then, were not simply exercises in fact gathering. Far from it. For the most part…

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The History Behind “Field of Lost Shoes”

Great article and a cool website for anyone who is into the American Civil War!

Belle on the Battlefield

Besides Winchester, one of the most well known Civil War battles to take place in the Shenandoah Valley – thanks to some Hollywood magic – is the battle at New Market on May 15, 1864. And the most famous aspect of the battle is the charge of the Virginia Military Institute cadets across the muddy field. The movie “Field of Lost Shoes” has sparked the imagination of moviegoers and budding historians. While the movie definitely stretches the truth in some respects, few can be unimpressed by the cinematic grandeur of that fateful charge, and the stories of the young men who tug at the heartstrings of the viewers.

However, as most historians know, it’s rarely a good idea to get their history from a movie, whose producers and writers may be more concerned with box office proceeds and ratings.

In the spring of 1864, the new commander of all Union…

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