Nathan George Evans

13 09 2007

Nathan George Evans: born Marion, SC 2/3/1824; nicknamed “Shanks” for his thin legs; brother of Chesley D. Evans, signer of SC ordinance of secession; brother-in-law of CSA general Martin W. Gary; attended Randolph-Macon College in Virginia; West Point Class of 1848 (36 of 38); Bvt 2nd Lt. 1st Dragoons 7/1/48; served on frontier duty in Texas1848-55; 2nd Lt 2nd Dragoons 9/30/49; 1st Lt 2nd Cav 3/3/55; duty in Kansas, 1855-1860; Sioux Expedition, 1855; Capt. (5/1/56 per Heitman, 12/20/55 per Cullum); Cheyenne Expedition 1856; Utah Expedition, 1858; Arkansas River Scout, 1859; Kiowa and Comanche Expedition, 1860; duty in Colorado, 1860; leave of absence, 1860-61; married Ann Victoria Gary, 3/20/60; resigned 2/27/61; Maj. SC Militia, AAG, 1/61; Capt ACSA Cav 3/16/61; Maj. CSA 3/16/61; AAG James Island Forces, 6/61 to 7/20/61; Col. CSA 4th SC Inf, 7/61; 7th Brigade, Army of the Potomac (AotP), 7/20/61 to 10/12/61; BGCSA 10/21/61 (n 10/21/61, c 12/19/61); 4th Brig., 4th Div, AotP, 10-22-61 to 10-24-61; Brg. X, Div. X AotP, 10/24/61 to 11/12/61; 1st Brig. 2nd Div. AotP, 11/12/61 to 12/18/61; 12/18/61 received Thanks of Confederate Congress “for the brilliant victory achieved by them over largely superior forces of the enemy in the battle of Leesburg [Ball’s Bluff]; 3rd Subdistrict, District of SC, Dept of SC, GA & East FL, 12-18-61 to 3/14/62; 3rd Subdist, Dist of SC, , Dept of SC & GA, 3/14/62 to 5/28/62; 2nd Subdist, Dist of SC, Dept of SC & GA, 5/28/62 to 6/19/62; Brig X, 1st Subdist, Dist of SC, Dept of SC & GA, 6/19/62 to 7/8/62; 3rd Brig, Jones’s Div, First Corps, Army of Northern VA (AoNV), 7/8/62 to 8/9/62; Evans’s Brig, Hood’s Div, First Corps, AoNV 8/9/62 to 11/6/62; Evans’s Brig, Dist of NC, Dept of NC, 11/6/62 to 3/3/63; James Island, 1st Subdist, Dist of SC, Dept of SC, GA & FL, 5/15/63 to 5/25/63; Evans’s Brig, Loring’s Div, Army of MS (AoM), 5/25/63 to 6/63; Evans’s Brig, Breckinridge’s Div, Army of TN (AoT), 6/63 to 6/21/63; Evans’s Brig, French’s Div, AoT, 6/21/63 to 8/3/63; Brig X, 2nd Subdist, Dist 1, Dept of SC, GA & FL, 8/3/63 to 9/15/63; arrested by Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard for disobedience of orders, Sept. 1863; acquitted of charges 11/5/63; Evans’s Brig, 1st Subdist, Dist of SC, Dept of SC, GA & FL, 3/11/64 to 3/21/64; 1st Subdist, Dist of SC, Dept of SC, GA & FL, 3/21/64 to 10/17/64; wounded after falling from his horse, 4/16/64; 2nd Subdist, Dist of SC, GA & FL, 10/17/64 to 11/5/64; failed to secure a command through to the end of the war; no record of parole; high school principal, Midway, AL, until his death on 11/23/68; buried Tabernacle Cemetery, Cokesbury, SC.

Sources: Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, Vol II, pp 365-366; Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands, pp 228-229,793; Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army, Vol. I, p. 410; Silverman, Thomas & Evans, Shanks: The Life and Wars of General Nathan G. Evans, CSA; Wert in The Confederate General, Vol II, pp 107-108; Warner, Generals in Gray, pp 83-84. 


 Photo credits: a, b, c –; d –



12 09 2007


I promise to post a biographical sketch of one of the real heroes, if not THE hero, of the Confederacy at Fist Bull Run, Colonel Nathan G. Evans.  This will be the first sketch of a Confederate posted to this site.  I think that we’ve been taking enough about Evans’ OR that it’s high time I posted that, and if you haven’t discerned the pattern yet, I pair the ORs with the sketches.

I’m also going to set up a page with links to the biographical sketches I have posted.

On a related note, I sent an email to Art Bergeron at the U. S. Army Heritage & Education Center (formerly the U. S. Army Military History Institute USAMHI) regarding any capture of flags by Wheat’s Battalion at Bull Run (see this post).  Art is an authority on Louisiana in the Civil War.  He was on the road when he responded to my email, and promised to look into the issue when he gets back to his materials.

In Print is In Print, No Matter How Fine the Print

10 09 2007

acw1108.jpgI received an email and a phone call from friends over the weekend to let me know that the November issue of America’s Civil War magazine is out, and I grace its pages once again.  It’s a little different this time, and if I hadn’t asked my buddies to be on the lookout for my name, they undoubtedly would have missed it altogether.




Earlier this summer, editor Dana Shoaf asked if I would consider being a contributing writer for the magazine in addition to sharing Reviews in Brief duties.  As a contributing writer, I’m expected to write three pieces for the magazine each year, and to discuss random topics with the editor from time to time.  I’m to write Reviews in Brief for new releases in capsule form, not as detailed or as critical as the full blown reviews.  Each column will typically cover three to five books.

A few very cool things attach to this offer, which I eagerly accepted: I get free books; I get paid to write the reviews; the reviews count toward my three-piece commitment; and I get listed in the masthead of each issue as a Contributing Writer.  Not bad.  And as you can see from the list, I’m in some pretty good company.

As we talked about here, Dana has moved on to take the helm of Civil War Times Illustrated (sorry, I’m set in my ways and haven’t dropped Illustrated from the title).  I’m now working with Tobin Beck at America’s Civil War.  Tobin seems pretty cool so far based on emails.  No, he is not named for the author of Tobin’s Spirit Guide made famous in the film Ghostbusters.  I asked.

I’m going to do my best to write at least three more posts this week.  Not because I feel compelled to write something for the sake of writing something (I think you readers are smart enough to tell when we bloggers do that), but because there are some things I’ve promised to write which I haven’t got around to writing. 

Also, a couple of comments seem to have slipped past the email notification I usually get from WordPress each time a new comment gets posted.  I think I have found and replied to any that begged a reply.

Slocum Bio

6 09 2007


slocum.jpgHenry W. Slocum was the colonel of the 27th NY Volunteer Infantry in Col. Andrew Porter’s brigade of Col. David Hunter’s division of McDowell’s army at Bull Run.  He was wounded while withdrawing up Matthews Hill in response to the unexpected appearance of Hampton’s Legion.  Slocum recovered and went on to lead a corps in the Army of the Potomac and rose to army command under fellow Bull Run veteran William T. Sherman.

slocumbook.jpgThe other day I picked up a new biography of Slocum, Sherman’s Forgotten General, by one Brian C. Melton, an assistant professor of history at Liberty University.  This is the only modern biography of Slocum as far as I know.  You can download an older one of him here.  Given his role at Bull Run I felt obligated to buy the book, though I did so not without some misgivings.  The chapter on Gettysburg is subtitled McClellan at Gettysburg by Proxy.  Oh boy. 

The first thing I do when I see something like this is check the bibliography and notes to see who the author cites when referring to McClellan.  Sadly, I found the usual suspects, or more specifically the usual suspect – unfortunately my vow of silence prevents me from typing his name.  Also, while Melton’s bibliography does list Ethan Rafuse’s study of First Bull Run, A Single Grand Victory, that same author’s now or soon to be standard study of McClellan before and during the Civil War, McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, is nowhere to be seen.   And Melton’s book is a 2007 release.  Not a good sign.

But I’ll withhold judgment until I read the book – I have to be fair.  I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get to it, but when I do I’ll at least talk about the Bull Run parts here.  And yes, I know I still owe you the recap of the Bull Run bits of the Heintzelman book.  There are quite a few things I’ve promised to write about that I just haven’t been able to get to.

The Business of Civil War

5 09 2007



 Washington, D.C. Brig. Gen. Charles Thomas, Assistant Quartermaster General, with Benjamin C. Card and George D. Wise, Division Chiefs, and other staff on steps of Quartermaster General’s office, Corcoran’s Building, 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW Courtesy LOC


Right now I’m reading The Business of Civil War by Mark Wilson.  It’s an account of the politics and economics of the giant military supply project in the North during the war, and the development of the systems that existed at the outbreak of the war.  It’s a fascinating study.  The federalist method, in which the states provided for their troops’ needs to be reimbursed later by the national government, pretty quickly gave way to one managed almost wholly by the War Department.  But the state-based system still prevailed at the time of First Bull Run, as evidenced by the well known stories of uniform based confusion on the battlefield.

So far the book is illustrative of the truly massive logistical problems the Bull Run campaign must have presented to the military establishment.  Consider that the biggest mobilization that took place post Mexican War was the 5,300 man expedition to Utah in 1857-58.  While about 85,000 men took the field in the war of 1846-48, no single army exceeded 15,000 troops.  McDowell’s army, on the other hand, numbered in the neighborhhod of 33,000 not counting Runyon’s reserve division.

This is a decidedly un-sexy topic.  It’s not fun or exciting reading, and it doesn’t appeal to what interests most of us lay enthusiasts.  But I learned long ago to force myself to read about topics that on the surface don’t necessarily interest me.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty short leap from only reading what you find enjoyable to only reading what serves to confirm that what you already know to be true is, in fact, true.  I remember once in an email discussion group a member asked what we found most enjoyable about doing research.  Some members responded that some of the most enjoyable and rewarding discoveries were those that challenged previously held notions.  But one person actually replied that he found that most of his research merely confirmed what he already knew.  Setting aside the supreme arrogance of that statement, I had to ask myself: If that’s the case, why in God’s name does he persist in this line of study?

I think we all need to challenge ourselves in our reading.  I guess that’s the only point I have to make.

Tomorrow I’ll try to post my thoughts on the Ken Noe essay in Civil War History that I talked about in my last post.  Dmitri mentioned it here, and it seems the topic of the problems with the narrative form in the study of war has been heating up the blogosphere.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 849 other followers