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It is the strangest thing in the world to me, that this war has developed so little talent in our generals. There is not a single one… fit for a great command… Union Chief of Staff Henry Halleck Aug 13 1862

The war within the Union high command : politics and generalship during the Civil War Thomas J. Goss Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c 2003 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xx, 300 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-281) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

goss001Cartoon showing President Abraham Lincoln leaning around a door, his left arm extending toward General Benjamin Butler, shown full-length, facing slightly right, standing with carpet bag labeled, “Butler N.O.” next to his feet, holding a bucket labeled “Suds” in his left hand and a brush in his right hand, a mop, brush, and a sword under his right arm and a long bar of soap under his left arm; he has a tired, dejected look on his face.

With Union armies poised to launch the final campaigns against the Confederacy in 1864, three of its five commanders were “political generals”—appointed officers with little or no military training. Army chief of staff Henry Halleck thought such generals jeopardized the lives of men under their command and he and his peers held them in utter contempt. Historians have largely followed suit.

goss002Scott, Winfield; McClellan, George Brinton;Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss; Wool, John Ellis; United States History Civil War, 1861-1865; Military personnel – Union.

Thomas Goss, however, offers a different assessment of the leadership of Northern commanders. In the process, he denies  the evidence of political generals as superfluous and largely inept tacticians, ambitious schemers, and military failures. Goss examines the reasons why the selection process yielded so many generals who lacked military backgrounds and explores the tense and often bitter relationships among political and professional officers to illuminate the dynamics of Union generalship during the war. As this book reveals, professional generals viewed the war as a military problem requiring battlefield solutions, while appointees (and President Lincoln) focused more emphatically on the broader political contours of the struggle. The resulting friction often eroded Northern morale and damaged the North’s war effort.

goss003Antietam, Md. Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand

Goss challenges the traditional idea that success was measured only on the battlefield by substituting military success for the achievement of Lincoln’s political objectives. Examining commanders like Benjamin Butler, Nathaniel Banks, John McClernand, John Fremont, and Franz Sigel, Goss shows how many filled vital functions by raising troops, boosting home front morale, securing national support for the war— even while achieving significant success on the battlefield. Comparing these generals with their professional counterparts reveals that all had vital roles to play in helping Lincoln prosecute the war and that West Pointers, despite their military training, were not necessarily better prepared for waging political war – even though he is not bold enough to suggest that the political generals could have secured victory.

goss004Female figure of Columbia and Doctor Jonathan conversing about a small man, probably John C. Frémont, with his head labeled “Lincoln.” Columbia says: “Tell me doctor, what is the matter with him? Do you think his brain is affected?” Doctor Jonathan replies: “Oh! No my dear Madam; it’s only a rather aggravated case of Sore Head!”

Whether professional or appointed, Goss reminds us, all Union generals could be considered political. He shows us that far more was asked of Union commanders than to simply win battles and in so doing urges a new understanding of the military failures of those appointed leaders who were thrust into the maelstrom of the Civil War.

goss005Print showing Major General Franz Sigel, full-length portrait, facing right, riding on horseback with troops marching in formation.

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The public conviction that a railroad linking the West and the East was an absolute necessity became so pronounced after the gold discoveries of ’49 that Congress passed an act in 1853 providing for a survey of several lines from the Mississippi to the Pacific… John Moody

When Abraham Lincoln was still a failed ex-congressman flailing about for some means of advancing himself Mephistopheles like the railroads came to the fore needing an eager young lawyer to handle titles and conveyances as they dispossessed the poor and the widowed to gain their rights of way and to defend them when their pesky contrivances blew up and killed or maimed dozens at a time. The financial success of Lincoln – without which he would not have been taken seriously as a candidate in anything more than a provincial local election – is tied directly to his representation of the Illinois Central Railroad, among others, from whom he once received a single fee of $5,000 which is the equivalent of about $156,000 today.

South front of the great central railway station, just completed at Chicago, Ill.

South front of the great central railway station, just completed at Chicago, Ill.

Going once again to John Moody we find that in 1850 nearly all the railroads in the United States lay east of the Mississippi River, and all of them, even when they were physically mere extensions of one another, were separately owned and separately managed. The perceived need for a transcontinental railway to distribute the immigrants arriving in the east to western settlements and them supply them with goods from eastern factories required a central government to protect the railroads interests. In the South railroads did not, for the most part, extend beyond State lines being designed for the most part to bring agricultural goods to export points and return with imported goods to the interior markets.

Abraham Lincoln while a traveling lawyer, taken in Danville, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln while a traveling lawyer, taken in Danville, Illinois

In spite of every rational argument that a transcontinental railroad would be easiest to build, least expensive and work best from a mid-atlantic eastern terminus to a southern pacific western terminus the railroad barons were decided that roads would run from Philadelphia and New York to Chicago and from there to San Francisco originally and later to Los Angeles. Lincoln was their lawyer and just as surely as they would bankroll Republicans until Theodore Roosevelt they bankrolled him so this is a history of the country that the railroads built and a very good one.

DETAILED ELEVATION OF SOUTH FACE - Golden Spike, Monument, State or County Road 504, Brigham City, Box Elder County, UT

DETAILED ELEVATION OF SOUTH FACE – Golden Spike, Monument, State or County Road 504, Brigham City, Box Elder County, UT

Rival rails : the race to build America’s greatest transcontinental railroad  Walter R. Borneman Railroads United States History 19th century New York : Random House, c 2010 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xxiii, 406 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

Collis Potter Huntington, 1821-1900, head and shoulders portrait, facing left

Collis Potter Huntington, 1821-1900, head and shoulders portrait, facing left

After the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the rest of the country was up for grabs, and the race was on. The prize: a better, shorter, less snowy route through the corridors of the American Southwest, linking Los Angeles to Chicago. In Rival Rails, Borneman lays out in compelling detail the sectional rivalries, contested routes, political posturing, and ambitious business dealings that unfolded as an increasing number of lines pushed their way across the country.

Illustration shows a man [C.P. Huntington] handing money to a Congressional Page to purchase the legislative services of a Congressman; on the left and in the background, Congressmen are shown sitting in the House or Senate chamber with signs advertising their prices, such as "I will do anything for $20,000, I can be bought for $10,000, My price is according to the size of the job, [and] My price is only $5000.00".

Illustration shows a man [C.P. Huntington] handing money to a Congressional Page to purchase the legislative services of a Congressman; on the left and in the background, Congressmen are shown sitting in the House or Senate chamber with signs advertising their prices, such as “I will do anything for $20,000, I can be bought for $10,000, My price is according to the size of the job, [and] My price is only $5000.00″.

Borneman brings to life the legendary business geniuses and so-called robber barons who made millions and fought the elements — and one another — to move America, including William Jackson Palmer, whose leadership of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad relied on innovative narrow gauge trains that could climb steeper grades and take tighter curves; Collis P. Huntington of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific lines, a magnate insatiably obsessed with trains — and who was not above bribing congressmen to satisfy his passion; Edward Payson Ripley, visionary president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, whose fiscal conservatism and smarts brought the industry back from the brink; and Jay Gould, ultrasecretive, strong-armer and one-man powerhouse.

Jay Gould, half-length portrait, facing left

Jay Gould, half-length portrait, facing left

In addition, Borneman captures the herculean efforts required to construct these roads — the laborers who did the back-breaking work, boring tunnels through mountains and throwing bridges across unruly rivers, the brakemen who ran atop moving cars, the track layers crushed and killed by runaway trains. From backroom deals in Washington, D.C., to armed robberies of trains in the wild deserts, from glorified cattle cars to stream liners and Super Chiefs, all the great incidents and innovations of a mighty American era are re-created with unprecedented power in Rival Rails.

Illustration showing Jay Gould as the Devil holding a paper labeled "Majority of Stock", standing outside an office labeled "Successor to Satan"; he is presiding over the "Hades & World Lightning Transportation Line" which is a railroad train headed for a station labeled "Terminus - President Jay Gould", the locomotive is labeled "Crasher" and uses "Brimstone" for fuel, a passenger car is labeled "Only Anti-Monopolists Carried", also the "Sulphuric Telegraph Co. - Gould Pres." which has many devil-like demons stringing wire cables on telegraph poles and an office where telegraph operators work at desks beneath a sign that states "Any Imp who attempts to strike will be transferred to the Western Union Company", as well as "The Bottomless Pit Roasting Co. - Jay Gould, Pres." where an "Anti-Monopolist editor", "Puck", and "Thurber" are roasted "in effigy". At bottom, a man labeled "Satan Janitor", with bandages, carries a scuttle filled with brimstone?, a watering-can labeled "Kerosene", a broom, and a key ring, skulks down the steps from Gould's office.

Illustration showing Jay Gould as the Devil holding a paper labeled “Majority of Stock”, standing outside an office labeled “Successor to Satan”; he is presiding over the “Hades & World Lightning Transportation Line” which is a railroad train headed for a station labeled “Terminus – President Jay Gould”, the locomotive is labeled “Crasher” and uses “Brimstone” for fuel, a passenger car is labeled “Only Anti-Monopolists Carried”, also the “Sulphuric Telegraph Co. – Gould Pres.” which has many devil-like demons stringing wire cables on telegraph poles and an office where telegraph operators work at desks beneath a sign that states “Any Imp who attempts to strike will be transferred to the Western Union Company”, as well as “The Bottomless Pit Roasting Co. – Jay Gould, Pres.” where an “Anti-Monopolist editor”, “Puck”, and “Thurber” are roasted “in effigy”. At bottom, a man labeled “Satan Janitor”, with bandages, carries a scuttle filled with brimstone?, a watering-can labeled “Kerosene”, a broom, and a key ring, skulks down the steps from Gould’s office.

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Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty… George Washington

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George Washington’s military genius Dave R. Palmer Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub., 2012 Hardcover. Originally published by Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, in 1975. xvi, 254 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-248) and index Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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1794 : America, its army, and the birth of the nation Dave R. Palmer Novato, CA : Presidio, c 1994 Hardcover. xiv, 290 p. ; 24 cm. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The debate is heated. Among the questions to be resolved are: What kind of armed forces does America need in an era of peace? Where will the troops be stationed and the ships be based? How large an army does the United States of America need? What is the best mix of active duty and reserve forces? How much can our country afford to spend on national defense? Should active duty troops be used to help maintain local law and order?

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1794, over two hundred years ago, with the ink barely dry on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our founding fathers sought solutions to these vexing problems in order to protect the fledgling republic from attack by enemies both foreign and domestic. Their ultimate success can now be measured over centuries. Palmer’s analysis of those tumultuous times shows that both the process that the founding fathers employed and the solutions they reached are just as relevant today as they were at the birth of our country.

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In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end… Alexis de Tocqueville

The rogue republic : how would-be patriots waged the shortest revolution in American history William C. Davis Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 400 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p.373-385) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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When Britain ceded the territory of West Florida — what is now Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida — to Spain in 1783, America was still too young to confidently fight in one of Europe’s endless territorial contests. So it was left to the settlers, bristling at Spanish misrule, to establish a foothold in the area.

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Enter the Kemper brothers, whose vigilante justice culminated in a small band of American residents drafting a constitution and establishing a new government. By the time President Madison sent troops to occupy the territory, assert U.S. authority under the Louisiana Purchase, and restore order, West Florida’s settlers had already announced their independence, becoming our country’s shortest-lived rogue republic.

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Meticulously researched and populated with the colorful characters that make American history a joy, this is the story of a young country testing its power on the global stage and a lost chapter in how the frontier spirit came to define American character. The first treatment of this little-known historical moment, The Rogue Republic shows how hardscrabble frontiersmen and gentleman farmers planted the seeds of civil war, marked the dawn of Manifest Destiny, and laid the groundwork for the American empire.

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No one who is not a seaman can realize the blow which falls upon the human heart of a commander, upon the sinking of his ship. It is not merely the loss of a battle – it is the overwhelming of his household… The ALABAMA had not only been my battle-field, but my home, in which I had lived two long years, and in which I had experienced many vicissitudes… My officers and crew formed a great military family, every face of which was familiar to me; and when I looked upon my gory deck… and saw so many manly forms stretched upon it… I felt as a father feels who has lost his children – his children who had followed him to the utmost ends of the earth… Rear Adm. Raphael Semmes

The Alabama & the Kearsarge : the sailor’s Civil War William Marvel Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c 1996 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. x, 337 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 315-323) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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On June 19, 1864, the Confederate cruiser Alabama and the USS Kearsarge faced off in the English Channel outside the French port of Cherbourg. About an hour after the Alabama fired the first shot, it began to sink, and its crew was forced to surrender.

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Working with personal papers and diaries and contemporary reports, historian William Marvel interweaves the stories of these two celebrated Civil War warships, from their construction to their climactic encounter off Cherbourg. Just as importantly, he illuminates the day-to-day experiences of their crews. From cabin boys to officers, sailors have been one of the most ignored groups of the Civil War.

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The sailors’ lot was one of constant discomfort and monotony, interspersed with riotous frolics ashore and, occasionally, a few minutes of intense excitement and danger. Housed in damp, crowded quarters, their wartime mortality rate did not reach that of their army counterparts, but service-connected diseases shortened their postwar lives disproportionately. Most of the crewmen ended their lives in nameless obscurity, and their story has remained unwritten.

 

Statue of Rear Admiral Semmes of the C.S. Navy, Mobile, Alabama
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Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes (1809-1877) was an officer in the United States Navy from 1826 to 1860 and the Confederate States Navy from 1860 to 1865. During the American Civil War he was captain of the famous commerce raider CSS Alabama, taking a record sixty-nine prizes. Late in the war he was promoted to admiral and also served briefly as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army.

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Out where the world is in the making, Where fewer hearts in despair are aching, That’s where the West begins… Arthur Chapman

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Kearny’s march : the epic journey that created the American southwest, 1846-1847 Winston Groom New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011 Hardcover. 1st ed. xiv, 310 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-294). Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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A thrilling re-creation of a crucial campaign in the Mexican-American War and a pivotal moment in America’s history.

In June 1846, General Stephen Watts Kearny rode out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with a thousand cavalrymen of the First United States Dragoons. When his fantastic expedition ended a year and two-thousand miles later, the nation had doubled in size and now stretched from Atlantic to Pacific, fulfilling what many saw as its unique destiny.

The Warner Ranch is a Registered National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark #311. It was the focal point for emigrants traveling over the Santa Fe Trail to the California settlements and gold fields from 1844; and it served as a way-station for Butterfield's Overland Mail Company from September 16, 1858, until April, 1861. It was the first well supplied trading post reached by emigrants after the long trek across the southwest deserts. It figures prominently in events incident with the arrival of the Army of the West under command of General Stephen Watts Kearny during the United States war with Mexico and the Battle of San Pasqual which was the sharpest engagement in the conquest of California. During the Civil War, Camp Wright was established on the ranch for the final staging of the California Volunteer Battalion under Colonel James H. Carleton. The buildings, extant, are of adobe brick and hand-hewn timbers put together by mortise and tenon and wood pegs, typical of the early west.

The Warner Ranch is a Registered National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark #311. It was the focal point for emigrants traveling over the Santa Fe Trail to the California settlements and gold fields from 1844; and it served as a way-station for Butterfield’s Overland Mail Company from September 16, 1858, until April, 1861. It was the first well supplied trading post reached by emigrants after the long trek across the southwest deserts. It figures prominently in events incident with the arrival of the Army of the West under command of General Stephen Watts Kearny during the United States war with Mexico and the Battle of San Pasqual which was the sharpest engagement in the conquest of California. During the Civil War, Camp Wright was established on the ranch for the final staging of the California Volunteer Battalion under Colonel James H. Carleton. The buildings, extant, are of adobe brick and hand-hewn timbers put together by mortise and tenon and wood pegs, typical of the early west.

Kearny’s March has all the stuff of great narrative history: hardships on the trail, wild Indians, famous mountain men, international conflict and political intrigue, personal dramas, gold rushes and land-grabs. Winston Groom plumbs the wealth of primary documentation – journals and letters, as well as military records – and gives us an account that captures our imaginations and enlivens our understanding of the business of country-making.

kearny006

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I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race… Abraham Lincoln

abelinc002I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.

Lincoln on race and slavery edited and introduced by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ; coedited by Donald Yacovone Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c 2009 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. lxviii, 343 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

abelinc001In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, “It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and in their places be, pari passu [on an equal basis], filled up by free white laborers.”

Generations of Americans have debated the meaning of Abraham Lincoln’s views on race and slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, yet he also harbored grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African Americans, publicly used the n-word until at least 1862, and favored permanent racial segregation. In this book – the first complete collection of Lincoln’s important writings on both race and slavery – readers can explore these contradictions through Lincoln’s own words. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the full range of Lincoln’s views, gathered from his private letters, speeches, official documents, and even race jokes, arranged chronologically from the late 1830s to the 1860s.

abelinc004I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Complete with definitive texts, rich historical notes, and an original introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this book charts the progress of a war within Lincoln himself. We witness his struggles with conflicting aims and ideas – a hatred of slavery and a belief in the political equality of all men, but also anti-black prejudices and a determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of preserving slavery.

abelinc003Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man.

At turns inspiring and disturbing, Lincoln on Race and Slavery is indispensable for understanding what Lincoln’s views meant for his generation.

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