On the importance of Novembers in the Civil War
"Tell me, tell me weary soldier will he never come again? Did he suffer with the wounded or die on a bleak Virginia plain?"
 
 
November, 1861:--- In earlier conversations with his new President, U.S. Army General-in-Chief, Winfield Scott , proposed 'The Anaconda Plan' as his plan for winning the Civil War:--- "Isolate, then strangle the Confederate States." But it was on November 1, 1861 that the brilliant but aged Scott was relieved of his duties as General-in-Chief, and was replaced by the charismatic General George B. McClellan whose superb organizational and training skills covered up what would later become his inability to command in combat situations.  Meanwhile, another West Point graduate, Ulysses S. Grant--- having previously resigned his commission in 1854 after an argument with his commanding officer, tried in vain to win a commission of any rank from the War Department.   And in his disappointment,  Grant instead signed on as a Colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteers.  Communications were so slow that Grant read in a newspaper that President Lincoln had already promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General.  And it was Grant who would command a raid on the Confederates in Belmont, MO, the results of which were generally inconclusive, for a fierce Confederate counterattack forced Grant to retreat.  But it was from there, in early 1862 that Grant led the Union to decisive victories at Forts Henry and Donelson in western Tennessee.  These two victories were impressive, for they served to open up the Confederate heartland to further Northern incursions via the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers.  And for the eventual outcome of the Civil War that was yet to come 3-years later, it was Grant's victories at Forts Henry and Donelson where he first issued his demand for unconditional surrender, thus mirroring his own initials.
 
November, 1862:--- After successive refusals to even engage the enemy, it was in November of 1862 when McClellan was relieved of his command of the Army of the Potomac, the most important command within the ranks of the federal military.  Meanwhile, by November 1862 Grant was already making plans for what eventually would become his capture of Vicksburg the following July.  Despite the mounting number of Union casualties in each of Grant's campaigns and the criticism that came with them, Lincoln stood firmly behind his man:---  Said Lincoln of his General: "I can't spare this man---he fights."
 
November, 1863:--- And once again, the Union victory at Vicksburg was significant in that it opened the Mississippi river to federal shipping.  And again, it was yet another great battle in November, 1863 which marked the real turning point of The War Between the States.  Following the Union victory at Gettysburg, Lincoln traveled to that bloody site to participate in ceremonies to dedicate the hallowed ground where so many from both sides had died.  Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863.  His address fell flat before the audience of about 15,000 that day, for audiences then were accustomed to two-hour stem-winders, yet Lincoln's speech was only 10 sentences long.  But, by the end of the day, the principal speaker, Edward Everett, assured the president "that he had said more in two minutes" than he, Everett, had said in two hours.  And then just days later, on November 23,1863, the Battle of Chattanooga took place, opening the door to Atlanta and the deep Confederacy.
 
November, 1864:--- Buoyed  by victory after victory, President Lincoln was assured of re-election in November of 1864.  And by November 16, 1864, General William T. Sherman began his march to Savannah, GA, and to the sea beyond.  It was Sherman's march to the sea that split the Confederacy into three distinct and separate parts.  Both Richmond and Petersburg, VA were under siege, and it was only a question of time before the Confederates had to accept defeat.
 
Significance of all the Novembers, 1861-1864:--- Any one of these Novembers could be considered as a precursor of the Confederate defeat.  That the Confederacy endured through November... after November... after November... after November... is in itself a monument to the determination and resolve of the Confederacy--- its soldiers and its citizenry.  And for all the men on both sides of the conflict who fought and died in defense of the principles in which they believed, it was such a dedication to duty as theirs that signifies what Americans everywhere--- then and now--- are all about.
 
...Bruce*******still working on his 'Raisins and Almonds---A Civil War Story'
 
Like none other before it, mine is a story put to such period music as this:--- the McGarrigle Sisters, "Was my Brother in the Battle?" --- to be sold with a CD of its music
 
Playing 'ratch hyar 'n nah' is a song that is brought into my story for a Sunday Evening Vesper Service at John Whitehead's Westminster Presbyterian Church
in Middleton, Ohio...a song introduced by John's wife, Emily Ellen Clarke Whitehead--- my Great, Great Grandmother--- while John is in a
far away place called 'The Wilderness,' serving as a Chaplain in the Union Army.  John would later be captured at the First Battle of
the Weldon Railroad and spend the duration of the war in Libby Prison, tending to the spiritual needs of his desperate comrades,
each suffering from disease...and from their thirst for potable water...and from their hunger, even to the point of starvation.
 
A Union POW photographed in April1865 upon his liberation from Andersonville.
The death toll at Andersonville was roughly equivalent to the total number of Union soldiers killed in the six bloodiest battles of the war—Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, the Wilderness, Shiloh, Stone’s River and Chickamauga. 
Only 329 Union POW's survived Andersonville.
 
"Tell me, tell me weary soldier will he never come again?  Did he suffer with the wounded or die on a bleak Virginia plain?"
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