tv The Civil War Controversial Generals of the Civil War CSPAN January 27, 2018 6:00pm-7:16pm EST
once had been the most loved and hated through history. they also talk about which generals have the best and worst relationships with the press. this discussion was part of a symposium on controversial civil war generals. it is just over an hour. >> well, this is the part of the program that i have been looking forward to the most. the panel discussion. we have some great questions here. you will note that i, on purpose, have separated george and will. [laughter] i am not saying we are doing a point-counterpoint, but i expect that to happen at any moment. i have all the questions here. the are really good ones. not surprisingly, there are four of them that are basically the same, but with a little bit of a twist. there was a question i was
planning on asking anyway, and what i would like to do is start over here. one at a time, tell me who you think was the most hated general of the war? i think we all pretty much know this answer already. we will go down the panel with that, then we will say who you thought was the most loved it general of the war. let's start over here. the most hated general of the war? >> i get not only that question, but i get to go first. [laughter] can you start on that end, so i can kind of be like the rest of us. >> you are on the spot. >> i am not dodging when i answer this. i don't hate any of them. i really don't. from private to
general, got into a harm's way , they deserve admiration, some more than others, possibly. [applause] you all can tell i am not the politician type, so i am not saying that just to be evasive, but i really don't. if i have to answer the question, the one that i am most puzzled, if you will, about some of the decisions he made during the war, in fact all of them, would be joe johnston. >> i am sitting right here. [laughter] >> but i don't hate him. i really don't. i have a lot of respect for him. i don't understand, and i am not
saying i disagree, because i wasn't there, and i do not know what information he had, but from 150 years away and a million miles away, i have a lways wondered why did he do this and why did he do that? there's not a general on either side that i dislike. how was that? >> good. >> i think in terms of who was most hated, it depends on the constituency. i think ben butler was most hated in new orleans by a lot of people for a variety of reasons. i think joe johnson was most hated by people in richmond. it really depends on who is doing the hating. if i had to say the one who came out of the war with the most problematical reputation, it
would probably be ben butler. as we have heard, that depends very much on the criteria you use to evaluate him. if you are looking at him as a general, maybe that is deserved. if you are looking at him as a contributor to american history, there is a different evaluation we can make. >> well, there is obviously no way to be precise about a question like this. i'm not even sure i like the i'm not even sure i like the question. i will answer anyway. i agree with craig, it is butler. he is the most vilified in the south, far more than any other union general and for less reason in many ways. i think far more than sherman. during the war itself. i think in the north, butler is going to have plenty of enemies. during reconstruction, he has plenty of enemies north and south. i will vote for butler all the way. >> i would agree with craig. it is the criteria of who is doing the evaluating. if you want to take the
perspective of the common soldier, i would say it is braxton bragg, who by the end of his tenure had very few friends amongst the command structure of the army or common soldiers. perhaps unjustly in some cases, he was accused of executing a soldier and doing all sorts of horrible things to them, which was not true. many of you have had the chance to read the new book on braxton bragg, which is not an entire revision of the man, but gives a better perspective, a more bragg. -- a more balanced respect of braxton bragg. from the soldier' standpoint, it would have to be bragg. >> i love will's affection for the lovable losers. i suggest at the conference after next year, you should do a lovable losers program and
have will do all of them. all the talks. all seven of them. [laughter] [applause] i would also look at this through the lens of policy rather than popularity. i think the man who perhaps most disappointed those in professional positions who expected much of him or more of him was henry alec. his role as general in chief of union armies devolved into something very different. i think many of us who have jobs we don't like wish we could transform them into something else. he did not want to be a chief in the traditional form. instead, he slowly evolved his job into being essentially a chief of staff. in the process, i think he frustrated many of the men who came under his command and
expected him to exercise command. when he opted not to, he left behind a legacy that was not always a net positive impact on the union war effort. >> we are running out of candidates here who have not been mentioned. bragg obviously comes to mind. i have done work with butler's papers, so i can attest to the animosity people felt for butler after the war as well as during the war. i think will raises a great question. among the soldiers, bragg, and i think another candidate i will throw into this and i will do this because i did the biography, is siegel, who was vilified by the public, even germans during the war. he was a person whose career long after the war was vilified by a lot of germans and non-germans for his maddeningly
frustrating campaign's. so i have some real credibility in being a part of that conference you just mentioned, losers and generals in defeat. maybe that could be a theme. in any case, those are the ones i would say. >> i think you know what i am going to say. ben butler gets my vote, not only during the war but after, in the north and the south. nobody elicits the animosity that butler does. no other general elicits from jefferson davis, the confederate president, an order calling for his execution. if you read his hate mail and papers in the library of congress, i think it is pretty clear it is ben butler. >> well, we are going to turn this around a little bit. we will start over on this end. this was a great question. i think steve has talked about it a little.
which of the generals are not hated enough? [laughter] not hated enough? >> not hated enough. start with me? >> yes. >> i will go with nathan bedford forrest, who shall be put declared be one of the two great geniuses of the war. we have had work on him that celebrated him as a tactical genius, and what he does, racial atrocities is really despicable. we have not come to terms with that. i will go with forest. >> i don't know how to follow that. that is a great beginning. i think there is also something to be said for hallock. he is a frustrating, maddeningly individual, who in both the east
and the west perhaps deserves a little more criticism. maybe john will disagree. i would vote maybe hallock. >> sorry, i struggle with these questions, with the nature of the questions, because it gets us back to what george was mentioning this morning where we look at this as an exercise as if it is a sunday afternoon football game, in which team do we like most, in which team do we like least. i would only say rather than answering specifically, and maybe i am dodging the question, that in almost all of these cases, these individuals found themselves in complex situations that our cultural heritage has discouraged us from fully understanding. in this age, doing this bright darkside division feeds
into a simplistic view of history that we need to move away from. maybe on that rather unpleasant basis, i refuse to answer the question. [laughter] [applause] >> that is good. >> that is kind of a sidney crosby type of an answer. [laughter] i will directly answer the question. i think that winning tends to cover lots of sins. one of the great winners of the civil war, who is one of the great sinners of the civil war sheridan, undoubtedly a very good cavalry officer. maybe not at first. he became a very good cavalry officer. he is always almost represented
in the triumvirate of sherman and grant and sheridan. on a personal level sheridan is a rather unlikable fellow, in the way he would relieve people of command on the field. it was the way he dealt with subordinates, it was not to be admired. you rarely see sheridan portrayed in a negative way. >> good point. george? >> i am tempted to follow john hennessy's example. for one thing, i agree with it. having written one book on hatred and studying hatred from the northern side, i am not sure i want to contribute to it. i will give a contrarian answer just to give a contrarian answer. i will say mcclellan was not hated enough during the war, and
he has been hated too much after the war. >> typical professorial answer, george. >> thank you. >> i think what the question implies, at least what i think it is intended to imply is someone whose reputation is pretty good these days. we tend to think, oh, i am impressed with the victories this individual managed to craft, but may not be deserving of that. i am going to go with nathan forest falls in that category. he has gotten a pass, not only from popular media, but even forest gump gives him a pass. i think we give him too much credit. whether he deserves to be hated for that, i think he is an inflated character in the war. >> sam? and now for the unprofessorial response. [laughter]
again, i agree it is a difficult question, and especially for me, since i have spent 10 or 15 years trying to redeem the honor of somebody, to then criticize, i am always loathe to do that. since the question has been asked, and i have already criticized joe johnson, i think i will just keep it at one, and -- [laughter] >> even though you didn't see it, craig stomped on my right toe. [laughter] >> i will just say one thing. i think joe johnston did one
thing that was extremely disappointing as i studied, and that is, in his memoirs, he stated that he accepted command of the army of tennessee the third time in 1865, knowing that the war had been lost, and his words were, and this is almost verbatim, which is kind of an oxymoron. he said he accepted command knowing there was nothing more to accomplish than to accept terms -- surrender terms that might be acceptable to the southern people. but at bentonville, he attacked actually initiated an attack and there were 3000 confederate casualties, including 800 killed. and in his memoirs, he says of john bell hood, that the attack at franklin was useless butchery.
if franklin was useless butchery in november 1864, what was bentonville in 1865, especially when he said we are just trying to get better surrender terms ? i thought that was costly for the 800 troops. again, after criticizing johnston, i will say i don't want to criticize johnston. [laughter] anyway, it would be one particular instance or instance incident that i think deserves more scorn than it has received in history. >> along the same vein, you also have to consider what the soldiers felt about all of these guys and which ones they enjoyed or hated or loved so much. i think we have exhausted that topic. the rest of these i just leave
open to the panelists if they want to answer or not. we will get your opinions on these things. this one i found kind of interesting. it is a speculation, really, but which one of the generals mentioned in our seminar this weekend would have risen to high rank in today's army? anybody want to tackle that one? we have several guys that are west point graduates, and one guy who wasn't. anybody? no comments. ok, we will move on. [laughter] this one is for john, especially, but others can elaborate if they wish. could you elaborate on your
opinion of philip tierney? why is there no modern scholarly biography of the man? there is no right one. there is a fellow in new jersey that has done tremendous work and preserved documentary regarding kearny. kearny is an interesting fellow. he is intolerant of those he sees as inferior to him, which is to say almost everybody. he is highly critical both privately and at times publicly of those around him, but he also exhibited -- and the reason i call him perhaps the best division commander the army of potomac ever had is that he is one of the few who had a not only unbroken, but largely positive record of
aggressiveness, which is really characteristic contrary to the culture of the army of the potomac, which was not only politically generally conservative, but was conservative in its approach in the art of war as well. you can probably count on two hands the number of times a subordinate commander showed initiative on a battlefield in virginia or maryland. it showed in a way that mattered in a great fashion on a civil war battlefield in the junior, virginia, maryland, or pennsylvania. i think kearny is interesting for that reason. his connections overseas. he is a very interesting man. his status -- his instinct to seek out conflicts in combat and to serve the military are just -- art, not just nations, but
military art at the same time. he begs a little more investigation. that may revise my view of him as well. you get someone like brian to ,ork on someone like ben butler that was one of the finest talks i have heard in my life at some of these sessions. that can shine a light on people. kearny is ripe for investigation and discussion. he was often named as a potential army commander. it is hard to imagine that given his personality, but he was highly effective and anomalous on the battlefield for the army of the potomac. >> anyone else want to comment on that? george? >> kearny reminds me of the quotation attributed to teddy roosevelt's daughter, and that is if you can't say anything nice, sit by me.
[laughter] kearny, if you dislike george mcclellan, read kearny's letters. he hates mcclellan in spades. they are delightfully critical, negative, colorful. i think kearny is worth a great deal of study, and he certainly provides a lot of fodder on many issues. >> one little-known footnote to phil kearny, his death place at chantilly is really the origin of the civil war preservation movement. back in 1986 and 1987 when there was a proposal to develop the land at chantilly where kearny and stevens were killed on september 1, 1862, some local folks got together and said we have to do something about that. we got together in my living room in july 1987 and out of that was born the association for the preservation of civil
war sites, which gave way to the civil war trust. kearny gave another contribution in death 100 and some years later to the war preservation movement. >> anybody else on that one? i think this is a great question that somebody gave us. it is actually probably more about how each one of the generals reacted with the press, but the actual question is, could the positive things set of -- said of mcclellan by grant and a sherman have been out of empathy since they had their own careers sabotaged by military intrigues and had been personally ripped in the press? maybe you can comment, each one of you, on how your guy reacted with the press, and then we will talk about the press, i guess. anybody want to start that one?
[laughter] >> i will say something. i think one of the things that almost all of these individuals did after the war, and i will be happy to hear exceptions, is try to preserve their reputations. they lined up testimonials, if you would, not only from the people they fought with, but the people they fought against. it was very import for joe johnston, sam's best friend, to have sherman tell the press how joe johnston was such a difficult foe. they actually became quite close after the war. there are pictures of them going through maps of georgia and asking, i did this, why did you do that? if each can make the other be
accepted as a military genius, think how much better that makes them look? sherman because he beat a military genius and johnstons because i stood up to a military genius. also that they went out and found testimonials from friends and allies of the don't you agree that i was right at this location and the other guy was wrong? they collected these things. sam showed us letters yesterday that are samples of those kinds of those kinds of things. they sought to find support for the public resurrection for public protection of their names and their honor in the 19th century that they would have found important. these played out not just in newspapers and literature of the day, but when buell and johnson got together and asked each of them to provide some information. they didn't just provide information, and they didn't just do what granted in his
-- grant did in his memoirs and just give a narrative from the view of the headquarters, they instead point by point show by why their critics were wrong. there is a lot of that in the post-civil war literature. some of the research materials we all rely on to do our work also. >> anybody else? >> is there any public -- major public figure in american history who has liked the press they got? they almost never do. joseph hooker railed against the press. mcclellan did. i think the reason for why grant would have been sympathetic to mcclellan on that account is that grant understood the complexity of what mcclellan faced in maneuvering with the press. there is not just the press.
the press was complicated in maybe even more so than it is in 2017. this idea that the american press is objective and nonpartisan is not rooted in a knowledge of the history of the press in the united states of america. these officers, mcclellan actively cultivated connections with press that were favorable to him. up anmber one guy kept incredibly important and illuminating correspondence with the owner and editor of the new york world, which was probably the most prominent conservative organ in america at the time. these men, while they moaned the press didn't like them, they cultivated the press they did.
they faced the circumstances in a different medium than today but almost identical in terms of political viewpoints and philosophical complexity as the press is today for politicians and leaders. >> another footnote, if any of you are interested in the subject of the civil war and the press, there is an annual conference at the university of tennessee at chattanooga that deals with that very subject every year. i think it is actually free. it is not an expensive trip. if you are interested in that subject, go online to the university of tennessee at chattanooga communications department, and they sponsor the conference annually. >> there were actual punitive damages taken against the press. general sherman and general meade had terrible relations at times from the press and the stories there are interesting. >> i would be remiss if i didn't
give a shout out to my friend harold holzer's book on lincoln and the power of the press, which won the lincoln prize year before last. it takes not only lincoln's dealings with the press, but the way the press worked in the 19th century and particularly in the civil war. it gives you insight into how that institution is different and how it is the same today. a recommendation. >> this one actually was something you mentioned earlier that i thought was a pretty good question regarding joe johnston. was his postwar relationship with sherman, did that result in a loss of respect in the south for joe johnston? >> there wasn't much to lose. [laughter] for poor old joe. i don't think it did. in a way, johnston craved the approval and back patting from his opponents almost more than he did the people of the south.
there always was a group within the south that looked upon joe johnston as a path not taken. a lot of this is a product of saying, attacking jefferson davis. it is not that we love joe johnston, it is that we hate jefferson davis. by saying if only davis has d selected a different strategy, if only he listened to joe johnston's approach. johnston always denied a fabian approach. it was forced on him. there was always a large portion of the southern society that admired joe johnston and made him a hero in spite of his lack of success. what he wanted was approval nationally of the north and his relationship with sherman gave him that. >> do you want to add anything? anyone else on that one?
this one is for brian, and the rest of these questions are more specific to your topic and the overall topic of the conference. do you see ben butler seemingly positive actions with an eye to his political advantage, or was there a genuine altruistic conviction behind them, particularly in new orleans? >> butler, i think his wartime political ambitions have been overstated. there has been a lot of talk and scholarship suggesting butler was angling for a run for the presidency in 1864. i have not seen the evidence. he had a respect for abraham lincoln. they did not always agree, but they had a generally respectful relationship. i do not think the radicals were angling to put him up in 1864, and that threat has been a bit overstated. a lot of that comes to us from
the diaries of some of lincoln's cabinet members who were persuaded of this, gideon welles and edward bates in both their diaries. in large measure because they were flummoxed that lincoln refused to intervene in butler's actions in norfolk in particular . they could understand lincoln's refusal to do that. a lot of historians suggest lincoln refused to intervene and sanction butler because he was worried about the challenge from his right. i just do not see that. i think he has been overstated as a political opportunist during the war. he certainly is ambitious. and he certainly will run in 1884 run for the presidency on the greenback ticket. he will have a postwar career in massachusetts. i really don't think -- politics is something he immediately announces he is going to
subordinate to the union cause. he signals that in a number of these public addresses. he is a master at using public addresses to demonstrate that. he has that meeting with lincoln right after baltimore. he said i will not play politics. he understood the stakes. even more importantly, he put his cunning legal mind and just the deft mastery he had of language to work on behalf of the union cause. then, of course, very effectively played politics after the politics of reconstruction. >> brian's talk intentionally minimized butler's military tactics around petersburg.
i spent quite a bit of time studying that in the last couple years. couple points about butler. his campaign was not nearly as bad at it has been portrayed. there are a couple of good books. they are both good books, but glenn robertson gives you a different perspective on butler's performance. he was handicapped by his two commanders, who are incompetent. grants, in his memoirs, has a very unfortunate phrase that has always followed ben butler, is that he was bottled up. if you look at any map of chesterfield county, you realize how ridiculous that statement is. butler could easily cross the james river when he wanted, and he built a pontoon bridge across the appomattox river to go to the outskirts of petersburg any time. the only direction he couldn't go was west. that, i think, has influenced
our opinion of butler. the last thing i will mention is that there is a very interesting episode in early july 1864 that involves butler and grant. some of you might be familiar with this. i don't think it gets a lot of attention. butler was, as brian said, there he unpopular with henry halleck. -- very unpopular with henry halleck. grant had a pretty good relationship with butler, but there was impetus that maybe it was time to get butler out of the field command and put baldy smith in charge of the tactical operation of the army of the james. orders were actually promulgated to that effect. the concept was to send butler back to fort monroe to be the administrative head of the department, but to give baldy smith the actual field command. butler was unaware of all of this. smith was unaware of all of this. smith went on furlough, went on leave for 10 days to take care
of a sick relative, and all of a sudden, these orders come down and butler's chief of staff happened to be in washington and heard what was happening and tipped off the general that he was about to get demoted. butler goes to visit grant and confronts him with this alleged order, and grant says, oh no, no, no, i don't want this at all. in fact, i want to give you the 19th corps and expand your responsibilities. baldy catches wind that there is something going on. smith was told to go see grant. grant says you are out. go home. ben butler emerges and retains an expanded command. there is a lot of controversy about how that happened.
how did it go from butler having orders -- i can't remember the name of the special order -- the number of the order, but it was written and published. all of a sudden, smith is out, and butler is back in with an expanded command. i don't know exactly what that says. baldy smith was an inveterate liar. his explanation is that butler was present at his headquarters sometime in late june, when grant was so drunk that he threw up all over his horse and that smith knew that butler was going to use that against grant, and that was basically some kind of blackmail. i don't know. we talked a little bit about that, brian. i don't know if you have delved deeper into that, but that is an example of how butler and grant
have this relationship. if you like grant, and grant doesn't dislike butler, you have to wonder is grant is completely wrong? >> the backup on that is what background did butler have on lincoln that allowed lincoln to keep on having this man in command long after his usefulness, after the election 1864, his usefulness declined somewhat. , the noodleackup 100. did ben butler accomplish his mission? >> if you ask butler, he would say yes. [laughter] what were butler's orders? was he to capture petersburg? no, he was not. he was supposed to go to
richmond and cooperate with mead and butler would come up from the south side, and they would trap lee's army between the two. firmr had established a bridgehead at bermuda 100. position. it was safe. -- he fortified the position. it was safe. one thing he failed to do was to break the railroad and he and grant share responsibility in the first offensive, june 16 and 17, butler is actually on the railroad and was tearing it up. his subordinates let him down, and they retreated back off the railroad in the face of less than overwhelming confederate force, and he was never able to get the railroad again. that was his biggest failure, to cut the connection between richmond and petersburg on the railroad. otherwise, butler would say i did everything i was supposed to do.
>> i would just point out that will's list of losers he loves is getting longer and longer as we go along. [laughter] i can only imagine you started life as a mets fan in 1962. [laughter] [boos] >> being a white sox fan qualifies for that. >> i was just going to say that. >> we will move over to john bell hood. we got a couple questions for sam. this one is interesting. is there any evidence that hood during the spring hill campaign, there are lots of accusations made to that effect. what have you found? >> i was sitting here and i was thinking, isn't this great that i am at a gathering on
controversial generals, and all been about ben butler. [laughter] i am not used to this. i was enjoying being a spectator. the answer to that is, no, none, zero. it is kind of hard, as we all know, it is difficult to disprove a negative, and actually the bulk of the work that was done on "proving" that lautinum or he did. and i built on steve's research. as i have said in my presentation last night, if you take sources and you start
working backwards from source to source to source, quite often on a lot of things, you hit a dead end to where there is no source. what happened with hood and laudanum was the first mention, and by the way, it is a lot easier to do now with internet and information so easily at hand, the first mention of john opiates ornd painkillers of any kind was in a biography of richard you'll in 1940. it would have been 80 years after the fact or 75 years after the fact. in the biography, they are injuries and the biographer says something very passive or secondhand that other generals or soldiers with similar injuries may have used
laudanum. laudanummay have used mention in a biography in 1940, it builds and builds and builds until it is at one point that some author actually gave the dosage that he took. another one was alcohol. it was alcohol and laudanum. he even mentioned that he liked bourbon. it wasn't scotch. actually, there is none. i think what may put an intellectual exclamation point on that and i didn't mention this last night, among chood's hood's papers that i found, it was one that astounded me, was the original handwritten daily
journal of hood's physician of dr. john thompson darby, who was not at chickamauga when hood was injured. he was there two days later. gave ajournal description of hood's wound. by the way, i am convinced it was friendly fire, just from the medical description of how hood was positioned. darby arrives two days later and takes charge of the case. i guess it is the 1863 version of the little computer the doctor has beside your table. every day he gave a detailed hood's condition. the entire report runs from
september 20 or september 22, and the last entry is in late november in richmond when hood apparently has completed his rehabilitation. in the report, darby, among many other things, gives the medication that hood is being given every day, gives the dosage every day, and often gives the effect. hood received reasonable -- when i say reasonable, i checked with physicians, reasonable dosages of morphine or morphea as they called in at the time, only at night and was only given morphine at night to induce sleep. later on in october, late october, darby starts weaning hood off of the morphea. he cuts down on the dosage and starts recording, slept last night without morphea, continues
to sleep without morphea. hood was weaned off of the only opiate that was mentioned, and it was to induce sleep. the other thing, what i discovered in the papers, and again, it is the absence of evidence, there were 59 letters that hood wrote to his wife anna in the 1870's as he traveled and sold insurance. there are 59 letters, and i transcribed them all, and there is not a single mention of any medication, other than he was in savanna and he had a head cold and he mentioned i wish you would have packed something. there was no mention of pain. there is one mentioned. he is in st. louis, so he says, it was icy on the sidewalk so i thought it best not to go out today. there is only one mention of his handicap condition and zero mention of pain and no mention
of any medication whatsoever. i think by adding the absence of any witnesses, requisitions, or anything from his physicians, and the fact that nothing was ever mentioned about it until 1940, and it was never mentioned even by hood's rivals and his adversaries, which there were many, that it is pretty much been disproven. >> this one is for anyone, and probably especially for john. did general hooker receive his head injury at chancellorsville before or after the battle? if before, could this have been a major factor? >> on the morning of may 3,
which was the third day of major combat, hooker was on the upper floor of the chancellor house, and a pillar of the house was struck by an artillery shell and probably fired from hazel grove. it split the pillar, and a portion of the pillar struck hooker, and he was knocked unconscious. he was unconscious by his own account for about 30 minutes, and other witnesses suggest he was insensible for the same time. it's very clear that he suffered what we would call today a traumatic head injury. disorientation, the lack of awareness, the sluggishness that attends, if any of you have had a head injury. i have had a couple of concussions in my life, and they are difficult to deal with. others confuse that for a drunken stupor. some have suggested he drank to
medicate himself. will worked at the park for as long as i had, and i don't know what his views are, but i have not seen any real evidence to suggest that hooker's disability and the effects were real. there is no question about that. that disability was the dysfunction from a head injury and not from alcohol. what do you think? >> i agree. >> the subsequent effect of his performance after the head injury? >> i don't think there is any question about that. after wielding fiercely independent command that often ran contrary to the wishes of his subordinates, he retreated into the collective thinking of a war counsel in the days following that, although he did largely ignore the advice of his
senior commanders underneath him and decided ultimately to retreat against their orders. i do not think there is any question that the ability to focus, the ability to really work problems through in a traditional way are deeply affected when you have a head injury like that. in fact, that is one of the primary symptoms of a head injury like that. he did revert. i think recognizing his disability to a council, perhaps also counsels were a great way to distribute the responsibility of the decision. he ultimately, and through many of his subordinates, agreed with a couple of his favored commanders under him. and danielsickles
butterfield who is the most obscure important figure in the history of the army of the potomac. i don't think there is any question that the head injury had a profound effect on hooker and on the battle of chancellorsville. >> this one is for steve. it is basically about the relationship between grant and buell. >> there really wasn't a relationship between grant and buell. they had only met one time. that was at shiloh. there really wasn't any real opportunity to have any sort of relationship. so basically, whatever existed was through official correspondence. >> and their performance together on the second day of the battle? >> the performance on the second day is largely because where
grant's army retreated. the defendable ground in charlotte. get,loser to the river you the higher it gets. there was a slight ravine. the arrival of buell's troops that were fresh from transporting and thrown into what the confederates thought would be a fairly defensive position the next morning and were not prepared for what buell and grant had planned for them early the next day, on monday. collectively, they managed to pull out of defeat a fairly prominent victory. >> the last two questions basically are about civil war research. this is a good one. how has the recent research changed any aspect of the civil war history as opposed to what was going on before that?
>> i will start with that one. largely because there was a question earlier about the press. one of the things that has happened in our profession is that everything has become digitized, which is terrific. before that, everything was either microfilmed or archived. i can remember when i was chair of the history department, one of the things i did was purchase a microfilm reader with extra funds. when i was working on the latest book, i decided to read three or four newspapers for every one of the northern states for every day of the war. i would come in early and decide i am going to read whatever newspaper for the entire war years. xeroxed hundreds of articles. when we talk about the importance of the press, it was
absolutely incalculable how important the press was. like it is today. for me, the way to use the press was to use it the way the readers of the 19th century would use it, information, and how they used information and how editors informed and instructed the readership. that became the great conduit between what was going on at the front and how it was interpreted at home and how home responded to that. after the battle of fredericksburg, one of the things that some of the new and newspaper said, they printed a list of casualties from all the battles at fredericksburg. it was incredible the readership that came from it and the letters that came in from that to the editor. you just got caught up in how the public used that information to gauge their mobilization, their patriotism, their
frustration. you could see it with articles to the press, in many ways letters to the governors. iece of theclip a p newspaper and send it along with their letter about their outrage and condemnation. the press was extremely vital. these days, everything is digitized, so there are a number of newspapers you couldn't get on microfilm 25 years ago. today, you can look at the main e farmer, a little local paper that no one thinks of, but their y are printing the same types of information. from local to national to the new york times, you still see the usage of the press in a way that helps inform the public, and how the public reacts to that. i thought it was fascinating. one of the things i wanted to do after i retire maybe, i think -- everyone else is retiring up here.
i think that would be a great way to use the press as instructional in how we digest information and how we as a nation have digested information, especially during war. >> can i jump into this a little bit? i am almost certainly the oldest person on this panel. i will adopt my role as crotchety old man and say that i am concerned on a level i can't really articulate a bit about research methodology that digitization of so many sources has made it remarkably easy to do all of your research from your computer console. as a crotchety old man, i think that is unfortunate. not many people have the experience sam had of finding the proverbial chest of old papers in the attic. that almost never happens. it is less likely to happen if research consists of pushing buttons on your console and
getting copies on the screen. don't get me wrong, it is wonderful. when i did my book on lincoln, i was in the national archives and a docent came up to me and said, you know, all these are online you don't have to do this. not only were they online, there was a photograph of the original document next to a transcription so you could compare one with another. i said, to heck with this, i'm not going to drive into d.c. anymore. even after i took advantage of that, i think something was being lost. joe johnston had a very rich correspondence after the war. discussed the expedition into central america. i was holding the original papers in my hand. that is kind of cool. i think the next generation of historians will probably not experience that.
except for sam. >> i did my master's thesis on the secession crisis in maine. you mentioned the papers. there were 68 newspapers in maine in 1860, and i found everyo one of them. it took about a year to find all of them. most of my research was trying to find newspaper accounts for when you finally find something like the maine farmer, which is obscure, you do get that sense of accomplishment. >> you will be happy to know that all of the governors papers ,ere on onion skin paper handwritten. not to disappoint you on that. >> on the other hand, i have to top that. [laughter] at the pennsylvania historical society where joe johnston's letters to his wife are housed,
paper was so scarce they would write in cursive on one side, and turn it over on a thin onion skin paper and write back and forth. it bleeds through, and then they turn it sideways and write again. read that. >> a couple of years ago i took and took manassas book three chapters and decided to see what percentage of the footnotes for each chapter i could have done and documented online through online resources. i was surprised at the results. right around one out of every four citations in that book was available online. yes, there is a tremendous
amount available online, no, if you want to write a really important and great book, you cannot do it by writing or doing research solely online. it is just impossible. >> second that. >> we have about five more minutes. this is the traditional last question. we want to ask each one of our authors what they are reading now or what book they might recommend that we read. let's start with brian. just go down the line. >> i will say the most recent book that i've read that i found impressive is a book by jonathan w. white called midnight in it is a really thoughtful study. it has an excellent first chapter on exhaustion, among common soldiers which i found particularly enlightening. then he dives into 500 dream
reports that he finds from soldiers, civilians, slaves, and it was really for me a profound meditation on the way the war annexed people's lives and the way it was intruding on their dreams. i found it to be fascinating and keeping in the recent trend of historiography, getting away from the war as an event and thinking about it as a complicated experience. it is a good 10 to be a civil war historian. we will see much more work that will help us eliminate the way illuminate the way the that authors spoke your two weeks ago and it was really fascinating. i do recommend it. >> i am reading free books at once. we are reading two books right now. one is called "mistakes were made, but not by me" which
should be required reading for every freshman so they learn how to apologize, even when they are not sure they are right. the other is "never caught" which is a story about a judge who is a slave who escapes to freedom during her enslaved term with george washington while he is the president in pennsylvania. pennsylvania laws prohibit -- residency can be established after one year. he has to be returned to virginia for a number of weeks or months. so that he can retain slaves. this is on that list. i am also reading the election of 1860 which i find fascinating. anything by michael holt i find terrific. >> the last book i read i am not going to identify because i did not like it and i do not want to say bad things about someone's hard work on national television.
the book i am reading now is peter cousins book which is illuminating and well done, and much appreciated. getting back to one of the earlier questions, i am astonished at the amount of historical work that has been done on memory in the last 25 years. it has fundamentally altered how we write our books, how we interpret to the public, i would suggest any of you who have not read some of that genre, don't read it all because it will eventually kill you, it is so voluminous now, but it is important, some of that is important to read. i would start with "race and reunion" which is a thoughtful book. it is being challenged right and left these days but still a powerful argument.
>> before i answer that question i just want to take a second to express what i think was a wonderful conference. [applause] there are lots of people responsible for that. i see two of them standing over here. if you have any idea of the amount of detail, to physically get ready for a conference like this and have it executed, just ask patrick and his staff about how many details that he has had to manage. and then his daughter down there -- [laughter] jerry does tremendous work, and is invaluable to all of us.
of course, no one knows better than i do, the multiple tasks that a executive director has to accomplish in order to pull one of these things off. not the least of which is the challenge of crafting an original and very clever and absolutely hilarious reference to my hairline. [laughter] now, the book. as george knows, my reading tends to be focused on military history because of what i do. leading tours and giving talks on military history, there is so much out there that if i stray from that path, i am going to be way behind. in that regard, i have to say the obvious and that is ordinary gordon ray's book on
petersburg, which is just as good as his first four. if you have not caught to that yet, i would certainly recommend it. the book i am reading that is not about the civil war is one that has been out for probably almost a decade, it is called ought" and it is in the history of america of the united states. it is the study of the united states between 1815 and 1848. it is an absolutely brilliant book. and if you're not familiar with decades leading up to the civil war era, then i would recommend howell's book on "what to got hath wrought." >> what i read recently, it is a sad story because the author died in a tragic auto accident fairly recently. elizabeth brown prior's six
encounters with lincoln. i do not know how to categorize the book. that is not a criticism. it is a very original piece of work. it is not really a biography, as the title suggests, six different encounters, she talks about soldiers, frederick douglass, indians, women, throws in some shakespeare, it is gloriously written. extremely well researched, no matter how much you read on lincoln or the civil war, you will learn from this book. you will enjoy the book. and you will be deeply saddened we will not have any more books from this author. >> i have spent the last 10 years reading all world war ii books. because i have written a couple in that decade and i have a gigantic one coming out this spring on world war ii at sea,
all maybes, all nations, -- navies, all nations, all theaters, so i do not have as much time as i would like to do civil war stuff. i do think is 2017 is turning into, just as 2009 was the year of lincoln when you cannot turn around without bumping into a new lincoln book, this seems to be the year of grant. ron white's new biography and ron chernow's new biography. which is just out on the shelves. at 1074 pages, it will keep you busy for a while. and almost simultaneous with the publication of that is the publication of a new annotated version of grant's own memoirs, edited by john marzo lack. and some of his assistants. what is useful about two of them together is the grants memoirs is it focuses on the war years. it finishes the story that grant
himself did not finish as he was writing his own memoirs. i would recommend both of those. i'm actually writing a book, not reading one right now. and, as i guess we are all aware of the social situation with civil war history, monuments, that sort of thing, i a few months ago decided i am going to study, compile, and to somehow or another construct and present in an efficient way -- i have spoken to some of the fellows here about it -- ex confederates. what a lot of confederates did after the war.
these guys had lives -- they did more in their lives than yankees -- shoot at yankees for four years. in the research that i am doing, i am reading a lot of books and crimson confederates, most of the compilations, crimson confederates, yale's confederates, bobby kirks book on staff officers, army of northern virginia, as you are -- ezra warner's book, and i am compiling what former confederates did after the war that contributed to the building of america. i knew of the four generals who served in the united states army, spanish-american war, but really i did not know much else. i found out there were four
supreme court justices, a secretary of the navy, secretary of the interior, two attorney generals, these are all federal, and so forth. what i am focused on right now almost exclusively and i say sadly, because i would rather be reading and studying and filling voids of ignorance in my mind on other things, but i have been studying up on what to confederates did after the war to put what is going on today in context. >> very good. that concludes our composing -- symposium as far as the panels go. please everybody stick around because we want to drop raffle prizes and we will finish up, so . >> american history tv on c-span3. "saigon: target zero."
>> not far from downtown saigon. denying army succeeded the communist the chance to use women and children as human shield. >> interviews from the west point center for oral history. they made a major assault during that time. that was a big deal. firstt 24 aircraft the day. the memories i have are a string of -- chinook flying down the valley with fire coming out the back. >> wake forest university professor david lubin shares
images from his book, "grand illusions: american art & the first world war." watch american history tv this weekend c-span3. >> we are taking a look at 50 years to 1968 when the north vietnamese made a surprise attack on the south on the new year holiday called tet. give us your comments on \cspanhistory consumere you to the conference and talk about the latest development. 360 degree cameras. enhanced medication for self driving cars. selfmmunication for driving cars. watch on c-span2. >> two days before president
trump the lives his state of the union speech, watch past state of the union speeches. featuring president ronald reagan. president bill clinton. president barack obama in 2010. >> raising taxes will not balance the budget. it will encourage more government spending and less private investment. growth andw economic to destroy future jobs, making it more difficult for those without jobs to find them and more likely those who know how jobs lose them -- have jobs could lose them. i will not ask you to balance the budget on the backs of the american taxpayer. the educationt summit, the governors and i agreed to look for ways to help make sure our kids are ready to
learn. the very first day they walk into the classroom. i have made good on that commitment by proposing a record increase in funds. an extra $500 million for something near and dear to us, head start. >> our approach protects the quality of care and people's true voices. it builds on what works today in the private sector. coverage,lawyer based to guarantee insurance for every american. employer-based insurance was proposed 20 years ago by president richard nixon to the u.s. congress. it was a good idea then and it was a better idea now. >> we cut taxes. we cut taxes for 95% of working families. we cut taxes for small
businesses. we cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. to cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. we cut taxes for 8 million americans trying to pay for college. >> watch sunday, starting at noon eastern. on c-span3. >> you are watching american history tv on c-span3. joining us is david lubin. he is the author of "grand illusions: american art & the first world war." published by oxford university press. researching this book, what surprised you the most? what surprised me was how much impact the first world war had on american artists. the received wisdom has always been artists -- the war had very little impact. it had a huge