The Sudley Road Trace

28 04 2007

I apologize for not having upheld my promise of Friday photo postings.  Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way.  Let’s just say it’s been a very busy year for me in lots of ways, with no signs of letting up any time soon.

Here’s a shot of one of my very favorite spots on the Bull Run battlefield.  This is about all that’s left of the original Sudley Road. 

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Part of the road generally formed the western border of the Henry Hill fighting, though technically I think the hill continues west past the road before the land rolls into Chinn Ridge, the scene of Howard’s undoing.  Also known as the Manassas-Sudley Rd., the Sudley & New Market Rd, and even simply the Manassas Rd, this tract led from the crossings of Bull Run at Sudley Ford and then Catharpin Run at Sudley Mineral Springs, through the intersection at the Stone House on the Warrenton Pike, all the way to Manassas Junction.  Two divisions of McDowell’s army, first Hunter’s and then Heintzelman’s, followed this general route south toward Henry Hill.

How to get there 

If you park at the main Visitor’s Center, walk back down the driveway (west) toward Sudley Rd.  At the road, turn left (south) into the grass (you know, you are permitted to leave the beaten path at the park!) and head toward the woods.  There you’ll find the original trace separated from the modern road by a thin screen of trees.  It’s only maybe 100 yards long, but this will give you a better idea of what constituted a road in 1861.





More on “The Coaling”

25 04 2007

I keep forgetting that I have plenty of photos of my own to post.  Here are a few from a Spring 2006 trip to the Shenandoah Valley (hmmm.. looks like I never labeled these).  Our guide was the previously mentioned Gary Ecelbarger.  The site is Port Republic’s “Coaling”.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

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a) view from base of the hill; b & c) views from atop The Coaling to the Port Republic battlefield; d & e) exhibits on the site – d shows Keith Rocco’s painting featured here.





…but I know what I like

24 04 2007

I know this isn’t Bull Run related (other than in ways itemized here), but it updates somewhat this post.  The other day I picked up a used copy of Daniel Barefoot’s General Robert F. Hoke, Lee’s Modest Warrior for $9.98.  On the back of the dust jacket is a painting titled Ranger Willie, by Jack Amirian.  It depicts a stretcher borne Willie Hardee, his father standing over him, a mounted Hoke nearby.

The painting is not my style.  In fact, most modern day Civil War art is not my style – I generally find it too “cartoony”, and the overwhelming use of soft blues and grays leaves me with the image of a tattoo on the forearm of an 80 year old sailor – a blue-gray blob (though I’m sure it seemed like a good idea that night in Tokyo).  And why does everyone’s hat look like a gentle breeze would blow it off the wearer’s noggin?  Even the works of painters who strive for more realism bug me.  I mean, the subject matter!  Do we really need to see a young Nathan Bedford Forrest carrying a damsel across a creek, and how many paintings of Stonewall Jackson being alternately kind and gentle with his horse and bathed in heavenly light while at prayer – sometimes both at the same time – can the market bear (apparently a bunch)?

I only own one piece of Civil War art, and it’s by one of the few artists working in the genre whose work I like.  Keith Rocco’s Always Ready is hung above the fireplace in my family room.  It depicts the 9th NY Hawkins’ Zouaves at Antietam.  The print appeals to me on several levels:  I like Keith’s work (check it out in this book); I serve on the board of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation; and the model for the officer holding the Stars and Stripes was an e-quaintance of mine, the late Brian Pohanka.

Rocco’s work is often reminiscent of N. C. Wyeth.  If you don’t recognize the name, or can’t remember which Wyeth he is, think pirates.  His illustrations of buccaneers graced the pages of books like Treasure Island.  He also did Civil War work, like this one of Stonewall Jackson:  

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Compare that style to Rocco’s Port Republic below (reproduced with his kind permission):    

 This painting illustrates the early stages of an action in which Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat’s Louisianans assaulted Federal artillery on high ground now famous as “The Coaling”.  Wheat was seriously wounded at First Bull Run, leading his men in the critical action on Matthews Hill.  He was shot in the chest, through and through, and was told he would not recover.  The 275 pound commander of the 1st Special Louisiana Battalion responded: “I don’t feel like dying yet.”  So he didn’t.  He recovered and once again led his battalion in Richard Taylor’s brigade of Ewell’s division of Jackson’s army in the Valley in 1862.  On page 412 of R. K. Krick’s Conquering the Valley is this description by a Louisianan of the scene around the Coaling on June 9, 1862:

 Men ceased to be men.  They cheered and screamed like lunatics – they fought like demons – they died like fanatics…It was not war on that spot.  It was a pandemonium of cheers, shouts, shrieks, and groans, lighted by the flames from cannon and muskets – blotched by fragments of men thrown high into trees by bursting shells.  To lose the guns was to lose the battle.  To capture them was to win it.  In every great battle of the war there was a hell-spot.  At Port Republic, it was on the mountain side.

 wheat.jpgWheat (pictured at left) and his even larger cohort, 300 pound Lt. Col. William R. Peck of the 9th LA, moved among the Federal guns on the Coaling.  The Louisianans had determined that killing the battery horses would prevent the enemy from removing the guns should they be able to retake the ground.  Wheat used his own knife, and was reported as looking “as bloody as a butcher” while doing the job.

Rob Wheat would eventually meet his end at Gaines’ Mill on May 25, 1862.  He’s buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.  I will get around to a biographical sketch, but it will be awhile yet.

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Ecelbarger on Logan

19 04 2007

logan.jpgLast night at the Western PA Civil War Round Table I enjoyed a presentation on John A. “Black Jack” Logan given by friend Gary Ecelbarger, author of this bio of the Illinois “political” general.  The talk was well organized, informative, and witty.  It’s always good to see Gary, and I spoke with him for a few minutes before he went on.  He has a new book on the 1862 Valley Campaign coming out, and has written very fine books on Kernstown and Frederick Lander.  I’ve spent time in the field with Gary, but this was my first time seeing him in a round table setting: he did not disappoint.  So now I can recommend him both as a guide and a speaker.  Drop me a line if you want to get in touch with him for either purpose.

 On a Bull Run note, then Senator Logan was in the field during the campaign in the role of Congressional observer.  During the fight at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18th he borrowed a weapon (perhaps from a member of the 12th NY) and took a few shots at Longstreet’s men.  Thanks to Gary for the sketch below.  I don’t know anything else about the drawing.  Click on the thumbnail for a larger image:

 

 

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Logan spent the rest of that day helping to carry off wounded, stayed with the troops on the next, and returned to the capital on the 20th, convinced he should enter the fray. Accounts of his fighting at Blackburn’s Ford can be found in the St. Louis Daily Republican, April 6, 1902, and the New York Tribune, December 30, 1886.  The musket Logan borrowed on July 18th, 1861 is reportedly on display at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, IL.

   I’ve been working on a blog post detailing my failure to write a magazine article on the opinions of various academic historians on internet resources.  As I worked on it, it struck me that maybe I do have an article in this thing.  So I’m going to finish it up and send it to the editor to see what he thinks.  If he says “nay”, I’ll post a version here; if it’s “yea”, you’ll find it on your newsstand sometime later this year.  I’ll keep you posted.





Daniel Tyler

12 04 2007

Daniel Tyler: born Brooklyn, CT 1/7/1799; father was a veteran of Bunker Hill; nephew was Bvt MGUSA Robert O. Tyler; daughter Gertrude Elizabeth Tyler Carow was mother of First Lady Edith Roosevelt; West Point class of 1819 (14 of 29);  served in artillery and became an authority on the arm, studying in France at the artillery school in Metz and translating French artillery manuals into English; superintendent of inspectors of arms supplied the army by private contractors; resigned 1st Lt. 5/31/34; worked in iron manufacturing, developing blast furnaces and rolling mills (unsuccessful); president of Norwich & Worcester RR, then Macon & Western RR (GA); did not serve in the Mexican War; was a volunteer ADC to MGPA Militia Robert Patterson in April 1861; Col, 1st CT Militia 4/23/61; BG CT Militia 5/10/61; Tyler’s Brigade, Army of NE VA 6/3/61 to 7/8/61; First Division Army of NE VA 7/8/61 to 8/11/61; MOV 8/11/61; BGUSV 3/13/62 (n 3/4/62 c 3/13/62); 2nd Brig, 1st Div Army of the Mississippi, 4/62 to 5/1/62; took part in siege of Corinth; part of commission which investigated MGUSV D. C. Buell’s campaign in KY & TN; Harper’s Ferry, 8th Corps, Middle Dept., 6/13/63 to 7/3/63; Dist. of Delaware, 8th Corps, Middle Dept. 7/3/63 to 1/19/64; resigned 4/6/64, to NJ; in 1870’s, after establishing the Woodstock Iron Ore Co. in the area, he helped found the city of Anniston, AL (named after his daughter-in-law, Annie – “Annie’s Town”) – the town became the site of an industrial complex, and Fort McClellan was established nearby; rescued the Mobile & Montgomery RR and became its president; acquired significant tracts of land in Guadalupe, TX; died on visit to New York City, 11/30/1882; buried in Hillside Cemetery, Anniston, AL.

Sources: Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands, pp 538-539, 767; Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army, Vol. I p 977; Sifakis, Who was Who in the American Civil War, p 665; Warner, Generals in Blue, pp 514-515. 

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 e – Edith Carow Roosevelt; f – Edith & TR; g – Roosevelt Family; h – Edith (on ground) and TR (left) as teenagers

 Photos: a,b,c – www.generalsandbrevets.com; d – www.findagrave.com; e -littleflowerufsd.org; f, g – theordore-roosevelt.com; h – theodoreroosevelt.org

Note on Edith Carow Roosevelt

“After taking a devastating drubbing in a race for mayor of New York City, T.R. went off to London to marry Edith Carow, a childhood sweetheart. The Carows had lost their money and were now living in Europe where it was cheaper to keep up appearances. The family, however, had not always known hard times. (Her maternal grandfather was Union General Daniel Tyler, whose leadership bears some of the blame for the disaster at Bull Run, but who later became a successful iron manufacturer and railroad president) – worldroots.com, 8/31/2006, The Roosevelt Dynasty, article written by Stephen Hess in “America’s Political Dynasties”, Doubleday & Company, Inc., NY, 1966

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Kurt Vonnegut Dies at Age 84

12 04 2007

Off topic, I know.  But I just wrote about him last week.  See the story here.





More Manning Moniker Madness

11 04 2007

allardice.jpgAn update on the previous posts regarding the relationship (if any) between Peyton Manning the quarterback and Peyton Manning the Confederate staff officer (if you have not read the posts, go here, here, and then here): Bruce Allardice, author of More Generals in Gray, sent me this note:

I’ve done some research and Major Peyton Manning and the QB Peyton Manning are NOT closely related. The two descend from different Manning families and the name Peyton is a recent addition to the family of Elisha Archibald “Archie” Manning.

I responded:

Thanks for the info. Where were you when I needed you two weeks ago? A bit on this will be published in a national CW magazine in the near future, with the disclaimer that a positive link has not been established. Do you happen to know if there is any link between Archie Manning and Eli Peyton of the 3rd MS?

Unfortunately, the upcoming issue of that magazine has already gone to press.  It would have been nice to include the information provided by Bruce.  But these things happen, I guess.

Bruce Allardice’s book More Generals in Gray is a must-have for the reference section of your personal Civil War library.  While you can’t see it in the photo, my copy of the book sits on the lower shelf seen here. 

UPDATE: Bruce contacted me again today with a little more info.  It seems that Archie Manning’s family has its roots in South Carolina, so there is likely no close link to the 19th century Alabama/Mississippi Mannings.  However, there is still a possible Bull Run thread here, in that former SC governor J. L. Manning was a volunteer ADC to P. G. T. Beauregard during the battle.








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