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tv   The Civil War The Boy General Francis Barlow  CSPAN  August 8, 2022 6:50am-8:01am EDT

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hi peter, carmichael the director of the civil war institute here at gettysburg college. also a member of the history department and it is my pleasure to introduce to you joan wall. who is professor of america of ucla. she has published numerous books and articles on the american civil war and cultural history her. most notary title is right here to my right published by the university of north carolina.
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press titled us grant american hero american myth. she is not currently i think she's have you just stepped down as president of society of civil war story. she just stepped down just last week so she was president of society of civil war historians. she's been on numerous documentaries including the pbs series american experience on us grant and she's also been on the history channel's action of lee and grant she is currently finishing a book project at grant's surrender policy during the civil war. she is a dodgers fan, but we have to excuse that she lives in la that's the only excuse for being a dodgers fan at die hard one as well. i haven't said that was nasty wasn't it? but we both share a great love for john wooden who is a hoosier. of course the great basketball coach. so you agree there. so today she is going to speak on the boy general.
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francis barlow's civil war please welcome joan wall. thank you, peter and go big blue. good morning. here you are again. it's amazing. what a wonderful conference. this is i am delighted to be in gettysburg again. haven't been here since before covid and thank you for pete carmichael for the invitation. my lecture will be appointed a company by powerpoint visuals with a few maps at appropriate places. so be ready for that. on a bright warm, pennsylvania summer day on june 6 1922 the statue that you see before you
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was dedicated to new york's major general francis channing barlow at the gettysburg, battlefield. the eight and one half foot statue rests atop a 10-foot granite pedestal portraying barlow on foot and facing the enemy as he did so long ago on july 1st 1863 when he tried unsuccessfully to stop the oncoming rebel soldiers by 1922 the land formally known as blokers know was renamed barlow's no in his honor with the general's widow and three children among the hundred and forty attendees at the dedication the program included patriotic music a few prayers a sentimental poem and you're this overly long speeches offering praise for by dignitaries. barlow's friend and is one of
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his former brigade commanders lieutenant general nelson a miles exemplified the overall tone quote calling barlow a hero miles stated he was descended from an ancestry representing the highest talk type of american civilization a man of superior intelligence culture and true patriotism in battle. he scorned all danger his skill and fortitude on many of the hardest fought fields were crowned with success. what combination of fate character and circumstance brought the new york born, massachusetts bread harvard educated lawyer and aspiring republican politician to the civil war battlefields and eventually to the killing. of cold harbor and petersburg my talk today will provide background contexts and some
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critical commentary covering his family origins his education and early work career including his gettysburg experience, but also turning the spotlight on barlow's lowest point from cold harbor in june through august 1864 in petersburg, virginia. thus it includes his successes, but also highlights controversies serious injuries and the personal instability that accompanied barlow's military career. as the above comments by general maya miles illustrated harvard educated officers shared a class background that combined a widespread cultural belief in the importance of marshall courage with the idea that they in particular had a calling. duty to lead to educate to control and to lighten the untutored. this this attitude can be found
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in every current harvard graduate as well. this elite calling came out of an upbringing that stress public service and philanthropy born into a generation. we're familiar with in this room in which sectional tensions over the expansion of slavery were constant drum beat harvard and new england men with names like this is alphabetical abbott. abbin, adams dwight higgins' homes lowell lineman pain sandberg shaw and well joined a war that provided an opportunity to test their capabilities to test those those talents as leaders as well as to save the imperiled union. i know this kind of this elite brahman class very well as my first book on a woman named
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josephine shawl low, who was a charity reformer in the late 19th century, very important figure. she was also the widow of charles russell lowe and sister of robert gould shaw and and france is channing barlow was a close member of their family and friends. so let's let's go to the background barlow was born in 1834 brooklyn, new york. the son of a harvard educated of course, unitarian sister from massachusetts disasters struck the young family when his father david began a lifelong descent into alcoholism abandoning his wife and three young sons. elmira barlow raised her children alone and provided them with the good education first in roxbury at brook farm and later in concord. massachusetts went the family hung out with the likes of ralph waldo emerson.
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francis proved a brilliant student attending harvard at 17 graduating first in his class in 1855. by then barlow had already developed some of the character traits that would can appear in compelling relief during the civil war. he was very smart supremely self-confident and did not suffer fools lightly. slim and slight of build the gray-eyed five foot 11 inch youth possessed a dynamic and energetic temperament that never
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failed to impress here is a another picture of francis. after and this is before the war continuing with that after harvard barlow moved to new york city, whereby 1861 he was a partner in a prosperous law firm connected to powerful politicians, and he also dabbled in the newspaper business the 25 year old lawyer became a soldier after fort sumter and he enlisted in a prize as a private in daniel butterfield's 12, new york militia regiment the very day before he volunteered. he married miss arabella griffith of new jersey. like his mother almira arabella was an intelligent and an attractive woman. she was also 10 years his senior at 35 to his 25 and since at 25, he looked 10 years younger. the couple drew some nasty comments. this was a really interesting part of the research at least to me. one acquaintance called barlow arabella's quote unquote boy husband another recalled witnessing an embarrassing introduction of frank as arabella's son instead of husband. you know you laugh that said by all accounts that made him a more interesting person to me someone who was not afraid to
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buck tradition and custom. let's go to his military career after. after the initial enlistment, he left the 12 new york and he was then commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 61st new york volunteer regiment in november of 1861 promoted to colonel in early 1862 barlow trained his unit under the direction of the commander of the army of the potomac george mcclellan in preparation for the upcoming peninsula campaign to take richmond frank barlow had plenty of time to get to know and admire mcclellan strick. disciplinary practices when he saw for himself the visible improvement in the soldierly bearing of the youthful inexperience volunteers, who as we know made up the majority of federal forces the hard training definitely fit in with his own views on how to make those
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volunteers combat ready barlow mastered tactical skills by reading training manuals and by learning from the example of the professional army officers with whom he came into close contact like other harvard volunteers. he applied the knowledge of the military arts to actual practice. it wasn't long before he became known for his harsh discipline in the service of good military organizations barlow believed and he wrote about this in his letters which were published in early in the early 21st century. he believed that the union would not prevail in the war unless the volunteer officers and soldiers were trained to be battle ready when barlow took command of the 64th, new york. for example, he wrote a he wrote out his own set of regulations and personally made sure of their implementation. he was determined to impose the strictest discipline on his men
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detesting what he perceived to be the casual anti-authoritarian approach to warmaking that prevailed in the army so early on he established lines of authority, that would make quote what he called a clear distinction between officers and men writing to his mother. he wrote quote whoever comes under me will have to submit to severe discipline for i keep them all underlined in my right hand. with each successive command barlow created what we call classrooms that school both his commission and non-commissioned officers and drill in camp discipline and tactics. what? up. my time barlow stated is the making of rules and regulations and following them up throughout the regiment from the highest to the lowest. with mcclellan in virginia for the peninsular campaign barlow's first combat experience occurred on the second day of the battle
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of fair oaks also known as seven pines june 1st 1862 the 61st new york was part of general oliver howard's brigade of general edwin sumner's second corps in this engagement barlow displayed great resourcefulness, although the battle of fair oaks was a tactical standout barlow was pleased with the outcome of his unit quote. we were the only regiment of the brigade he wrote proudly in a letter home, which did not break or run at some time or another his commanding officer howard confirmed barlow's words when he wrote in his report. fire, especially to notice the coolness and good conduct of colonel barlow of the 61st, new york. barlow was attracting attention from his superiors even as he watched the high hopes of mcclellan's campaign crash and burn as robert e.
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lee's army of northern virginia pushed the union troops. back from just outside richmond to the washington dc camps like many of his harvard counterparts barlow assessed the unions and they all wrote to each other by the way. he assessed the unions war effort at the end of the summer of 1862 and found it to be pathetic indeed many of his wartime letters show him to be deeply pessimistic about the war two examples that i just want to give you if we are beaten. he predicted to one friend the north will give up another letter warned that the affairs of this country are melancholy. i think there is no prospect or hopes of success in this or my favorite line. i am in a state of chronic disgust. kind of like we're in today, right? he did not limit his disgust to the civilian leadership and along with some other junior officers in mcclellan's army.
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he expressed dismay at its defeat in the peninsula campaign and i love this one. it just shows he's very sarcastic. he's funny. he's not idealistic at all and in his letters, but he's he's funny. i think well, he wrote he said we are surprised mean speaking for the army of the potomac and his unit. we are surprised to hear from the new york papers that we want a great victory. we thought we had made a disastrous retreat leaving all our dead and wounded and many prisoner prisoners and material and munitions of war in the hands of the enemy. so so it goes arlo moved with the army of the potomac in early september 1862 in its pursuit of lee in western, maryland. i have a map here that no one can see so just in enjoy the i won't even i won't even talk
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about it. but this is this is the battle of antietam. barlow was now in charge of both the 61st and 64th new york in the second brigade second division second core on september 17th near sharpsburg his two regiments. which only which combined total 350 men participated in some nurse mid-morning attack where he showed himself again to be an adept an aggressive officer receiving orders to attack the enemy in bloody lane to stop the confederate attempt to destroy the union line barlow was credited with capturing over 300 prisoners and three others in that action later in the fighting. he was severely wounded in the groin by artillery fire and suffered an injury to the face by an errant shell. after antietam, he required a seven-month recuperation in new york city.
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and he was tended to his wife. now a nurse barlow's wounds did not heal quickly, but his spirits were revived with the news that he was promoted to brigadier general for his various actions in battle and this is a nice picture from harper's weekly. he was beginning to get some attention. in the press eager to return to duty barlow sought reassignment to the second corps, but instead found himself a brigade commander with howard's 11th corps new to the army of the potomac the 11th already had established a poor fighting reputation partly due to verses surrounding its large german-american contingent both officers and men that comprise just over half of its 11,000 soldiers. barlow's appointment was no no small part due to his reputation as a disciplinarian who might
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improve the morale and fighting readiness of what was perceived to be subpar troops in april 1863 barlow introduced himself to his new staff officers and begin implementing his teaching and educational methods his style of leadership worked. well with the men of the 61st and 64th, new york once they saw the benefits of organization and efficiency in camp and on the battlefield his tough approach. however was not welcome by his new regiments whether yankee or dutch or irish from 1861 to 1865 barlow cultivated a deliberate aloofness to the soldiers under his command believing it the best way for making real soldiers out of undisciplined volunteers. he came back to that point again and again in his letters charles fuller a member of the 61st new york published a regimental history in which he recorded
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that barlow was that first despised by his men for inflicting undeserved cruelties crispy crisply summed up by one soldier quote. the general was exceedingly unpopular showing his dislike of his men by the exhibition of many petty acts of persecution and tyranny. popularity counted little in barlow's mind honestly would he cared about was the fact that his units enjoyed a good reputation as discipline and well-trained with good morale and high confidence overall as charles fuller also noted a majority of barbless men came to a gretching appreciation of his ability to instill battle readiness in them. that would actually reduce combat injuries. the distinguished officer and i'm just going to go forward a little bit in time francis a walker of the second corps praised barlow's training methods after witnessing an
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expertly done maneuver by barlow's division in a later campaign the overland campaign quote. most regiments in the service had as little idea of skirmishing as an elephant walker explained. that's a wonderful. turn of phrase there, but he went on to say but to barlow's brigades the very life of military service was in a widely extended formation flexible yet firm. we're soldiers were thrown largely on their individual resources, but remain in a high degree of control of the resolute sagacious keynote officers who urged them forward or drew them back as the case required. praise was also forthcoming for barlow's courage in battle one soldier who disliked his treatment of men still admitted that he was commonly counted a brave fearless soldier barlow's officers took to laughing at his
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favorite exhortation before a fight quote make your peace with god and mount gentlemen, i have a hot place for you. picked out today indeed barlow seemed to seek out those hot places for himself a friend of his wrote home. i'm very much afraid for barlow for as we know. he's not only brave, but reckless, i think i never knew anyone so perfectly without fear of physical injury. scholars have commented that quote unquote courage was at the core motivating 19th century men to enlist to fight and to stay in the war connected with duty honor godliness and manliness courage. however was redefined downward for most as the war went on a simply doing your duty in a little more that was enough but not for officers like barlow who aspired to the classic definition of courage as quote action taken without regard for fear.
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after the war francis barlow of the second. oh, this is a quote after the war union soldier frank wilkerson commented quote. it is true major general francis barlow of the second corps commanded the universal respect of the enlisted men. we knew the fighting generals and we respected them. we knew the cowers and despised them. i'm sorry. i have a fly that's been crawling all over my hands. so i'm a little bit distracted here. thank you peter. did you send that? the 11th corps followed general joe hooker now head of the aop as he began his campaign to defeat lee's army in may of 1863 just before the battle of chancellorsville, virginia barlow's brigade was detached from harlow and sent to assist sickles third corps.
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thus he was blissfully absent when and made his famous flank attack sending the men of the 11th corps into panic retreat resulting in another loss to lee's army. barlow and his brigades saw some action and acquitted themselves very well and and he was most alarmed to read that the northern newspapers cast blame over the whole core not making the distinction between himself and the rest privately he fumed to a correspondent. correspondence you can imagine my indignation and discuss at the miserable behavior of the 11th court to another he wrote the dutch won't fight their officers say so and they say so themselves and and they ruin all with whom they come into contact. to be fair barlow cast his blame
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more widely when he admitted some of the yankee regiments behave just as badly. barlow's open contempt for the men who would fight under him at his next battle which would take place in gettysburg, pennsylvania reveals a weakness in a leader these kind of denigrating remarks for immigrant troops was widespread among his friends harvard officers all who viewed who viewed the men as almost impossible to make into good soldiers. barlow's rise up the military command continued and he was appointed commander of the second division in his core the 11th made up part of the course forces of general joe george meads army, of course mead replaced hooker moving toward the pennsylvania town where we are right now on the morning of july 1st 1863 from emmitsburg, maryland, and this is another map that i'm sure not and only even i can't see so just just let it go. upon his arrival barlow was ordered to hurry through
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gettysburg and position the division to prevent confederate forces from taking the the town and seizing the hills to it south. he deployed his his men on blockers. no forming a defensive salient that that caused him to lose contact famously with the next division. despite the gap created by the salient barlow believe that taking the high ground would offer him a better fighting position a thought he held on to for the rest of his life. many historians of the battle have on the other hand condemn barlow's action as rash still a few historians concluded that nothing really could have been done to prevent the disaster that struck his flank as the confederate slammed into him. amid confusion and chaos barlow tried desperately to rally his troops and in doing so was once again severely injured shot through the body by a mini ball. which passed out close to his
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spine leaving him paralyzed fleeing federal troops. went by his body assuming he was dead as they fell back to cemetery hill and left barlow the only federal general captured on july 1st. i cannot let this lecture pass without a discussing the barlow gordon incident of a romanticized version of the incident taking place right there. what exactly happened when barlow let was left for dead on blockers knoll has long been a subject of speculation in post-war publications and speeches my favorite confederate general john b, gordon who commanded the confederate troops fighting the 11th corps told his eager northern audiences of how after the battle he came upon barlow and rescued him providing him water and helping him
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helping to move him to a shady or spot which is what you can see. on the visual according to gordon barlow asked him to tell arabella that he loved her and that he died in the service of his country. thinking barlow's wounds were fatal. gordon left the scene sad that such a gallant pull would perish. some 15 years ago gordon now a us senator from georgia related that he attended a dinner party in new york in new york city where a man named francis barlow was also a guest gordon asks general. are you related to the barlow who was killed in gettysburg barlow responded why i am the man, sir. are you related to the gordon who killed me? i am the manser gordon replied. the happy ending to the story in
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gordon's reconciliation is telling was that the two became fast friends until barlow's death in 1896. subsequently killed joy historians challenged gordon's account. well, it is true. that barlow's letters written right after the battle did not mention the incident. he did however referred several unnamed confederates who aided him. until fairly recently tourists visitors to the park to the that scene could read gordon's version on a national park service plaque. not far from from barlow statue on the no. this is in part due to the fact that longtime gettysburg park historian in battle expert harry fonz came to believe that it was true. he found documents took testimony from one of barlow's son saying well, it could have
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happened. there was some missing pages from a letter, but but there is another puzzling factor in in this tale before i end and move on with his military career barlow never refuted it and and he wasn't the kind of guy to just let that go by but i'm sorry the plaque was removed because it's a great teaching tool. i took a number of my my student tours there and it was a really good way to talk about reconciliation after the war. well what let's get back to what we do know we do know that the stricken general was taken to a confederate hospital to await his death late that evening on day one his wife appeared on the battlefield and was given permission to go to her husband after a miraculous survival. do largely to arabella skilled nursing barlow was first exchanged and then return to
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duty after 10 months in the hospital to fight again. as after antietam his wounds did not heal quickly and he was very ill still barlow as barlow rested. he asked for another position outside of the 11 core as you might imagine. thing he had sought strenuously since chancellor's bill. his choice was always to be with the second core and under the man. he admired most in the army of the potomac general winfield scott hancock. the feeling was mutual and insured his return to the second corps and barlow joined the newly reorganized army of the potomac under general ulysses test grant this is a famous picture. he it was argued at the time and
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later that hancock's general staff was the best core staff in the army historian gordon ray wrote quote. hancock's exceptional subordinates barlow bernie gibbon to name a few were of core commander caliber this famous picture you see before you taken by matthew brady in june of 1864 shows three of
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hancock's division commanders from left to right a clean shaven barlow the most youthful of the group by a full decade first division, major general david bell, bernie and third division major john jay gibbon. gershom mot is was the fourth of that group barlow was also shown. along with his rising reputation and increase in responsibility barlow was also acquiring a bit of a rotation as an eccentric is battle outfit as you see here consisted of a checkered flannel's shirt, and he always wore a cavalry saber cutting a strange figure it to put it nicely although almost 30 when the picture was taken barlow was already widely known as one of
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the quote unquote boy generals of the civil war. his extremely youthful appearance prompted the remark that he resembled more quote a highly independent mounted newsboy than a highly ranked officer and we would have to agree, right? civil war author bruce catton provided a rather vivid even lured description barlow. he wrote was quote a slight frail looking man with no color in his cheeks a loose jointed unsoldierly air about and when
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he walked with deadly emotionless eyes looking out of a clean shaven face and when he spoke voice seemed thin and lackluster cat and soon reminded his readers. however that appearances were deceiving underneath everything. there was a ferocious fighting man who drove himself in his men as if the doorway to hell were opening close behind them. barlow commenced training
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immediately for the expected spring campaign which drew the usual grumbles from his men barlow was especially hard on the newest recruits who were the bounty volunteers or draftees it seemed to some of his comrades at barlow was overly obsessive about preparation. but at least one soldier said of barlow's men that everything snaps in the division. with when grant and medes army crossed the rapidan and early may barlow and two of his brigades were assigned to guard
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the artillery at the extreme left of the federal line where they stayed throughout the wilderness battle. and the first clash of the overland campaign when the union forces begin their shift towards spotsylvania the second corps covered the rear of the army. i'm trying to find i think i had a i think i i was supposed to have some kind of thing. that would let me at least point out to you. but the spotsylvania this is leading up to the spotsylvania on the maps. and you'll just have to imagine it. morning of may 9th. shape leaves army manned line of entrenchments that produced a salient quickly called the mule shoe by soldiers federal lines parallel the southern position with both sides entrenching on may 9th hancock sent barlow across the poe river with orders to capture confederate supply trains with the object of testing their strength on may 10th. barlow was in a precarious position when lee counter attacked with his position untenable barlow conducted a textbook fighting retreat deploying his men in a skirmish line formation barlow rested. what while the almost successful assault led by emory upton upon the confederate lines on the west face of the muleshoe convinced grant. to try again the next day turning to the second core as he always did to make the assault hancock held a council of war with his division leaders and staff at 7pm on may 11th. barlow's division was one of the two selected by hancock to attack the confederate salient at spotsylvania on may 12th with 30 colors and 20 guns captured both. hancock and mead recommended barlow for a brevet promotion to
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major general for his actions in the offensive taking effect not much delighted with the performances here though. this is a letter written to a friend on may 24th 1864 provides barlow's an easy state of mind quote. i am not much delighted with the performances here though. this is in the strictive strictest confidence. cautioned he criticized the command structure the leadership grant and mead for lack of planning. he said that throughout the army there was a lack of intelligence. there was poor communication between mead and his core commanders the whole thing. he described made for a dreary mess. now barlow who had always been incredibly energetic aggressive enthusiastic in pursuing action and with that action victory began to doubt seriously that the army could continue to fight in late. may he stated the men feel just at present a great horror and dread of attacking earthworks again and the unusual loss of officers leaves us in a very unfavorable condition for such enterprises the almost daily combat the loss of leadership the unfamiliar and difficult campaign, jesus it it it it
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combined with the battle fatigue that the soldiers were feeling understandably the whole army was developing severe morale problems. clearly barlow must be counted among the soldiers whose previously strong coping mechanism became strain to the breaking point during this time. whatever barlow's misgivings and here's a picture of frank during this time, whatever his
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misgivings about the prospects of continuing fighting in early, june grant's army was on the move again toward coal harbor and so was the second core at dawn on june 3rd. the second core assaulted along the bethesda church cold harbor line, and we're slaughtered at all points as part of that assault barlow's division was
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ordered to attack the confederate position along a shrunken road. with little information for his superiors to go on barlow made an unexpected and deceptive success. he drove the confederates from their lines capturing many of them before the rebels successfully counter-attacked. hancock's written report of that bloody failed assault praised barlows heroic actions, but no praise could suffer the terrible loss to barlow's division in the second core a few days later on june 6 barlow stated that the quote attrition suffered as a result of the army's recent campaigning had damaged perhaps forever the army's will to fight his division had lost two of his best officers. and one to serious injury and one to death barlow declared that i think the men are so worried and worn out by the harassing labors of the past weeks that they are wanting in the spirit and dash necessary for successful assaults. the war was now a relentless exhausting horrific experience the army of the potomac never the same after the battles of the overland campaign and the second the army of the potomac's strongest core was now one of its weakest specifically the second endured 20,000 casualties between may 5th and june 23rd 20 brigade commanders were killed or wounded with roughly 100 regimental leaders wounded or killed as well. their casualties only reflected the larger problems for decided to of the potomac. grant frustrated at the stalemate after cold harbor decided to cross the james river. ideas petersburg on june 12 the army march 50 miles to the river by june 16th 1864 the entire union army was on the south bank moving swiftly. the federals were closing in on petersburg with the intention of taking it by force. barlow's division moved too fast toward the james in general
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meade sent a message to tell barlow that he you know to slow down he was moving he was moving to swiftly. he didn't want to lose contact with the other units when the messenger sent by me caught up with barlow he reported to his boss that he found barlow sitting on the branches of a cherry tree eating the sweet fruit. from that time wait for it barlow was occasionally found sitting in trees whether or not there was fruit to be picked incidents of his odd behavior such as i just gave you increased bringing him to the un. memorable attention of his core commander soon after barlow crossed the james hancock went looking for him to discuss the next move, but was told that barlow was asleep and asked not to be disturbed by anyone angered general hancock publicly public publicly commented on what he considered to be barlow's unprofessional behavior another incident occurred when grant sent june 15th as a date to take petersburg in preparation hancock directed barlow to bring up his division. unfortunately, he got lost. he took the wrong road he later in the afternoon barlow realized his his heir and backtrack when barlow finally came into hancock's lines. he sent his unlucky a to ask
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hancock what position he should take hancock angrily asked barlow's aide. why are you here? where is barlow aide sent that barlow? quote unquote bathing his feet arlo hancock angrily replied that's it. that's it always asleep or washing his feet. he did not believe barlow's explanation. now i'm going to get toward the end of this. we're going to the richmond petersburg campaign from june 15th to through june 18th union forces threatened to overwhelm this smaller confederate defenders grants plan, of course was to take petersburg by storm cut off all confederate supply lines and defeat lee's army on the way to richmond due to a combination of long-standing command problems within the army the potomac confused and
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contradictory communications between units and the extreme battle fatigue of the men weeks of heavy fighting and union assaults failed to capture the petersburg works. barl troops faltered badly during the doomed attacks on petersburg on july 15th, barlow and bernie were ordered to storm across an open field near the chant house where they came under intense fire general barlow led the charge from the front as he always did wearing his checkered shirt and waving his hat high in the air. come on boys. he shouted but his boys this time didn't follow him. he had to fall back he tried to mount two more attacks both were equally unsuccessful describe. he described the movements around petersburg as a world of marching and picket fighting all of which has accomplished nothing disgusted and angry barlow sank into depression driving himself in his men harder and harder, but with little to show for it.
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complaints against barlow from his soldiers increased greatly during this time. one soldier of the 136 new york said general willow had the happy faculty of making himself disagreeable to every officer and private of the brigade. not a blurb you'd want on your resume in the fighting from petersburg from june 13th through june 26th. barlow's division suffered 2,276 casualties the highest number of suffered by any of the divisions of the second core. specifically barlow performed badly at the battle of jerusalem plank road on june 21st, 1864 in which a large number of his men refused to fight and were taken as prisoners after that battle one of his soldiers bitterly exclaimed. it is an open secret that bar that barlow just isn't right at
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in the head. he also performed badly at the battles of deep bottom on july 26th and second deep bottom on august 13th at both. was painfully clear that he could not summon the energy to organize and direct an assault. it was also painfully clear that even if he could do that his men would not make it. he had an ongoing physical and mental breakdown that accelerated during the summer and his wife arabella got who was serving as a nurse through the war sanitary commission nurse in a hospital near city point fell very very ill. she died of malignant typhus on july 27th 1864. he was near his breaking point nelson miles barlow's brigade command to remember that quote. he had been more like a dead man than a living man.
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on august 17th, the suffering barlow was taken to the core hospital at city point where as doctors place them on the disability list his official absence from the army was from november 5th 1864 to april 1st 1865 for all practical purposes. barlow's war was over his devastating experiences in the overland and peter. petersburg campaigns led to what contemporaries call an extreme battle fatigue and what might later have been described as post-traumatic stress disorder.
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his eight-month convalescent ended on april 6 1865 when he assumed command of the second division of the second core and rejoin the fray for the final part of the last campaign of the
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army of the potomac held in reserve at sailor's creek on april 6th near farmhill barlow took possession of a key bridge needed by desperate confederates to stop the on rushing federal advance helping to quicken lee
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surrender on april 9th. barlow was rewarded for his action with with promotion to the rank of major general volunteers on may 25th. 1865. frank barlow here you see him in civilian close resigned his commission returning to civil. life where he prospered as a lawyer a republican politician and a reformer. he was elected to new york secretary of state in november 1865. he re-established his new york city law firm the next year and soon after helped to found the new york later american bar association. in 1867 frank wed ellen shaw of staten island the sister of his close friend. the late robert gould shaw the 54th.
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they had three children two sons and a daughter in 1869 president grant appointed him united states marshal for the southern district of new york where his work earned him high praise? a firm believer in civil service reformed the independent and characteristically blunt barlow instituted a number of improvements which made him highly unpopular with his fellow republican politicians. barlow went on to hold. member of public offices in the empire state serving two terms of secretary secretary of state and one as attorney general in the latter capacity. he used the power of his office to initiate. the prosecution of the tammany hall political machine known and loved by us all as a tweed ring. barlow's final act on the political scene came when grant selected him to assist the investigation into the irregularities surrounding the haste children election of 1876 retiring from public life in 1877. he tended to his law practice in various business and banking enterprises. he maintained an act of interest in veterans affairs as well as keeping up on the publications of the civil war until his death on january 11th, 1896 died of bright's disease. in summary barlow was a practical. done with a sharp edge who rely success in military life lay in his clear perception of the actual situation and is fearless readiness to realize that perception in action relentlessly, unsentimental and practical he emerged from the war as an acclaimed warrior despite the wounds inflicted in the losses suffered francis channing barlow survived and flourished achieving a happy private life and a distinguished career as a public citizen of the reunited nation. he fought so unsparingly to preserve. thank you. i'm sorry the quan. i'm sorry the quan. yeah, it's been buzzing. he sent it. i think everyone wants to eat lunch. obviously general barlow very interesting figure as you so eloquently describe for us, but i'm curious what initially drew you to him as a research
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project. you alluded to you know his relationship with his first wife was kind of interesting, but i wonder if you could maybe speak a little more about that. well, that's a great question. and in fact, i spent the early part of my scholarly career immersed in this group the new england brahmins the civil war soldiers. i wrote a biography of josephine shah low barlow mary his second wife was her sister and i publish essays on on robert gould shaw charles russell lowe, and this was my last essay, and i'm i have a book project of i'd like to do two or three more of these guys and and in a book of examining these soldiers and i just became interested. they are the transcendentalent movement the abolitionist movement. he was not an ardent
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abolitionist not like not like the shaw family for example or so many others of his friends, but but they just had a particular attitude toward life and and this opportunity it reminds me when i read pete's book on on the generation of young confederate officers and what kind of social class they came. i think it's very much like those don't you with the with the sense of public public duty and responsibility? to lead sorry. hi. thanks for your presentation. you mentioned towards the end of it that contemporary explanation for his erratic behavior during
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the campaigns might have been combat trauma or post-traumatic stress and there's been some scholarship around that trying to look back at the civil war with 21st century glasses, you know to look look for that and i'm wondering in your research on his story is is there any scholarship particularly looks at that and tries to you know,
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look look at his causes in his behaviors as you are you speaking of post-traumatic stress syndrome in particular or just dramatic stress or post-traumatic stress disorder? yeah. yes, i mean you obviously that the talk before me covered downs has written very a very important book on on that and but i think that that you're right the 2020th and 21st century scholars are interested in the wars that that we've endured specifically vietnam. i think had a huge influence on the way that historians have come to look at applying post-traumatic stress syndrome to to barlow and to many other soldiers who of course suffered from mental distress, and i think that makes sense and and sometimes it goes a little bit too far. i mean every generation generation put comes to the past air frame of reference don't they and but there are plenty of there's plenty of evidence showing how disturbed men were from the records of of the hospitals and then later insane asylums and and that but but most of them it seems to me that a majority of veterans like barlow recovered at least to some extent and went on to live pretty full lives. and and so does that answer your question? yes. thanks. i'm assuming that his men were armed with the springfield
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rifled musket. a rifle musket and i was wondering if they ever got it upgrade as far as their arms during the war. so at the end at petersburg, did they have like breech loaders or anything or you know? repeaters at all i would assume i would assume that they did not okay, but but you know, i'm not you know that question. i would have to look up okay to give you a fulsom answer. okay. thank you. you're welcome. hello, i'm dennis from gerald illinois. and i have a just a quick question barlow was under the command of carl schwarz here at gettysburg and call shores was a very talented man and his own right and he's often criticized barlow for what he did at gettysburg barlow acting without orders. he didn't properly scout the knoll very well. and after the war barlow neverly
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spoke about his actions here at gettysburg and schwarz schwarz was often very critical of him. speak a little bit more maybe about that role between the two of them. i i would say that that you're right his actions on the know were not the high point of his career, but i would suggest to you that it was it's easy to be critical of many. decisions that were made at gettysburg and in every battle and certainly i think it has to do with his sense of self-confidence that he add an arrogance. so yes, i would say that possibly that criticism was deserved and the fact that he he didn't really write that much about or speak that much about he wasn't one of those veterans who went like john gordon who went in front of audiences, but he did give a paper in in front of a massachusetts audience on spotsylvania in which he he does. he didn't cast criticism on himself, but rather grant and
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mead and the whole mess that was that was the overland campaign. so i think he could be critical, but it doesn't appear that self-criticism was was one of his strong suits and i would suggest that that goes pretty deep and wide. thank you. oh, thank you very much for that talk professor. we'll always very interesting. my question for you is as a biographer of general grant did what? the grant barlow relationship like because i i don't recall and some of the things i read about grant that he was ever brought up as someone grant who grant was particularly close to however i do recall grant being very close and very respectful of winfield handcock who was barlow's it was a direct superior. so what was good? well what yes and grant obviously wouldn't be acquainted with barlow, but you're right
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through hancock and you certainly i mean barlow's. record with stellar. i mean it was it was pretty good. so grant grant thought very highly of him and but your if you remember, i mean the overland campaign is is a really interesting one to study, isn't it? because whose army was it was it grants or was it meads? and and what barlow honed into was exactly the problem there was miscommunication there was you know, you know, it just seemed like it was it was a big mess from from me from grant to mead and then mead was the one responsible to to identity, you know, send messages to the core commanders. it was it was a difficult terrain to fight over. but so i think i think that that i can't remember.
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grant saying anything right now about barlow his memoirs, but i think he did mention him a couple times. i mean, i can't point out the and he did single him out because he took the for praise when he was you know, when he when his actions were praised were the as they were often but not during petersburg though. that's but i think i think barlow's experience and i mean one of the things that i like to do as a biography what makes biography interesting to me is that you take an individual even though frank barlow was high in rank. i mean, this is what all the soldiers were suffering. i mean everybody was exhausted hancock was sick and ill and had to take a leave of absence. so i mean it was just endemic in the army by this time, which is why they settle down to a siege with occasional attacks. thank you. oh one more.
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the after the three year enlistments my understanding that thousands of members of the army of the potomac left veteran troops and they were replaced by new recruits many of whom were joined to get these massive bonuses enlistment bonuses that the union army and the federal government was issuing. do you think that had an impact on the troops that basically refused to fight and did not follow his orders in various battles of the overland campaign that these new truths probably not properly trained. we're sent out into the battlefield. well if they weren't properly trained that wasn't from lack of effort by barlow as as you might imagine, but yes, i think that that was a huge part of it. definitely the fighting unlike any other i mean gettysburg a
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horrific searing battle, but was over in three days. this went on for six weeks six weeks and it was fighting almost every single day. and so even if you weren't well trained even if you were well trained you suffered from from extreme battle fatigue everybody did but i think that couldn't help but affect the army and the morale the army
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or watch online on >> in "travels with george: in search of washington and his legacy," nathaniel philbrick discusses the historical journeys by george washington through the new united states and describes his own experience as he followed the same experience in the present day. nathaniel philbrick's progress and fox are conveyed in washington's own words and preserved in his diaries. transcriptions of those diaries in his correspondence on founders online hosted by the national archives, through the national historical publications.


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