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Army Of Northern Virginia

Facts, information and articles about Army Of Northern Virginia, a Confederate Army in the Civil War

Army Of Northern Virginia Facts


October 22, 1861-Most units deactivated January–April 1862, last units deactivated April 9, 1865


Confederate States of America


P. G. T. Beauregard
Joseph E. Johnston
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Robert E. Lee

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Army Of Northern Virginia summary: The Army of Northern Virginia was led by various generals during its formation, but was most known for its respected leader, General Robert E. Lee. In June of 1863, General Lee took over command of the Army of Northern Virginia, along with his commanders, Lt. General James Longstreet and Lt. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Battles Of The Army Of Northern Virginia

Notable battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia, primarily against the Union Army of the Potomac include the Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, the Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill battles, the second battle at Bull Run, the battle at Antietam, and the battle at Fredericksburg. During the battle at Chancellorsville in 1863, General Jackson was killed. Later battles of the Army of Northern Virginia included Gettysburg and Spotsylvania Courthouse. In April of 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant following the battle at Appomattox Court House.

Although the Army of Northern Virginia was typically smaller than the Union forces battled, the force won several notable battles, including the battles at Fredericksburg, Second Manassas, and Chancellorsville, along with Cold Harbor. In addition, the Army of Northern Virginia is known for successfully protecting Richmond, Virginia from General McClellan’s Union forces despite being outnumbered. 


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What a difference a day makes

Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of World History Group archive.
Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of World History Group archive.

War seemed far away to the editors of a Maryland weekly newspaper–until the Battle of Antietam rocked their world

On September 17, 1862, a new edition of the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light of Hagerstown, Md., should have hit the streets, but it didn’t.

Nor had the weekly journal come out as scheduled on September 10. The Torch Light was a Union paper, and the mothers of its editors had raised no fools.

When Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac into Maryland, the editors fled to Pennsylvania, where they stayed at a Chambersburg hotel until the coast was clear. They left behind the half-finished September 10 edition. When they returned after the bloody Battle of Antietam, everything in this agricultural valley in western Maryland had changed. But the editors resumed where they left off. They simply added new copy to existing, half-finished pages. The result, published September 24, was a bizarre compilation of pre-battle editorial bravado juxtaposed against shaky, post-battle prose penned by journalists utterly rattled.

This is the story of how the small-town press covered the Battle of Antietam. But it is also the story of how this Maryland community reacted to the coming of war. The news stories, features, advertisements, editorials, police briefs and public notices tell what locals—in a Union-leaning town in a border state—were doing and thinking before and after the battle. And as the September 10-24 edition of the newspaper clearly demonstrates, what they were doing and thinking before the battle would be quite different from what they would be doing and thinking afterward.

In the middle of September 1862, war tramped barefoot, dirty and disheveled into Washington County in western Maryland. It came in the form of Rebel soldiers whose clothes were muddy and mismatched, and who kept having to run off behind the bushes to flush the effects of unripe corn and green apples. For citizens of this rural county, the war seemed more of a traveling freak show than a threat. Most residents who made their living off the sticky clay soil of the Cumberland Valley knew only what they read in the papers, and the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light disdainfully wrote off the ragtag, hungry-eyed Southern band half marching, half straggling into town:

[T]heir cause is well nigh hopeless. Though determined to fight to the last, they cannot withstand during the coming winter the combined attacks of starvation, cold and our army; and then, if for no other reason, their cause must fail for want of inherent strength to sustain it.

The Confederates were also non-threatening for strategic reasons. General Lee, hoping to stir Marylanders to join their cause, had made it clear that soldiers were not to upset the locals. Crossing the Potomac, the Confederates portrayed themselves as liberators, urging residents to take up arms against the forces that had jailed their lawmakers and fought them in the streets of Baltimore. They didn’t know it, but they were in the wrong part of the state for that dog to hunt. Western Maryland was no hotbed of secession and never had been.

Maryland was historically and culturally a Southern state, but slavery was never terribly popular in Washington County. In 1820, 14 percent, or about 3,200 of its residents were enslaved, about half the state average and far below figures for states in the Deep South. By the time of the war, there were more free blacks in the county than slaves. The German Protestant religions of western Maryland tended to shun slavery, and some free black residents were more popular than the prowling slave catchers who itched to send them into bondage.

Slavery was legal, however, and people of Washington County abided by the law. Slave auctions were held in the Hagerstown Public Square. Runaway slaves were jailed. A notice in the Torch Light advised that the slaves (including a couple of children) of a Hampshire County, Va., family had been caught and thrown in the county clink; the rightful owners were urged to come and get ’em. This was ho-hum stuff—an adjoining notice urged readers to be on the lookout for a stray cow, black, with white feet. As with slaves, a “liberal reward” was promised for return of the wayward bovine.

When Lee first crossed into Maryland, he was nearly 40 miles southeast of Hagerstown; so the Torch Light editors didn’t lead with war news, but a memorable piece of fiction about a woman named Louise who is unhappily married to a man named Maurice who was supposed to be on the train to Glencove, but wasn’t, and it was a good thing too, because a bridge collapsed and “the mangled lie heaped together.” All this is too much for Louise, who, when she discovers Maurice is still alive, needs to be “restored” by a stiff belt at a roadside tavern, at which point she realizes, “to the singing of the birds of May,” that she still loves her husband after all.

Other Torch Light items included a report about a boa constrictor in an Ohio sideshow that went berserk and attacked his handler, who managed a “narrow escape” from a “horrible death.”

Whatever thoughts the people might have had about the war, states’ rights and slavery, the columns of the paper reflected the community’s more pressing concerns: arranging marriages, setting up households, selling merchandise, raising crops and making money.

They enjoyed as idyllic a lifestyle as any in America, as a Torch Light correspondent’s description of the region that became the Antietam battlefield attests:

Numerous fine farmhouses dot the valley in every direction—some standing out plainly and boldly on the hilltops, others half-hidden down the little slopes; and, with the large comfortable barns about them, and their orchards of fruit trees, these hitherto happy and quiet homes greatly enrich the view, at least to the eyes of old campaigners. Nearly every part of the valley is under cultivation, and the scene is thus varied into squares of the light green of nearly ripened corn, the deeper green of clover, and the dull brown of newly ploughed fields. Toward the north, where our right lay, are some dense woods. Imagine this scene spread in the hollow of an amphitheatre of hills that rise in terraces around it, and you have the field of last Wednesday’s battle.

With harvest time coming, dealers were touting greatly improved reapers, hullers and thrashers in the pages of the Torch Light. On Franklin Street, Samuel Yeakle produced cane-seated chairs of mahogany and walnut. At a stand near the Lutheran church, Emanuel Levy hawked racks of newly arrived clothing, as well as bolts of tweed, linen and velvet. A pair of merchants had just returned from Baltimore with a wagon loaded with household goods such as clocks, mirrors, brooms, brushes, washboards, table settings and Japanese tinwear. M.H. Miller was unfortunate enough to sell something the Confederates had a real need of—shoes. Those under the weather could down a swig of Dr. Swayne’s Blood Purifying Panacea. For $10 a quarter, E.C. Bushnell would teach you to sing.

An advertisement from the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light touts the sale of headstones and monuments. Image courtesy of Washington County Free LIbrary.
An advertisement from the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light touts the sale of headstones and monuments. Image courtesy of Washington County Free LIbrary.
Some ads even played off a battlefield motif, like the one for Bombshell Hats. If they were amusing before September 17, the mirth wouldn’t last. Washington County, Md., was about to be brutally shaken to its limestone core.

Citizens spent a few white-knuckled days watching Confederate columns pass by—and pass, and pass. It seemed there was no end to the wagon trains. Quartermasters hungry for goods of any type mobbed stores, only to find many merchants had already packed up and, like the newspaper editors, headed out of town. Some merchants stayed on, hoping all this unpleasantness might at least yield a profit. These hopes were dashed when the Confederates paid for their purchases in worthless Confederate scrip. Some saw the money as a metaphor for the men:

The condition and morale of the army is beyond description. They came among us not only badly clothed and unclean in person, but in a half-starving condition. For days, indeed, since the fights at Centreville, they have subsisted on rations of bread, irregularly issued, and green corn and fruits. Hundreds are weakened by diarrhea, and worn out by their long march, but they fight desperately because forced by hunger and want. Many express an ardent desire to lay down their arms, while on the other hand the officers and those better cared for are determined to fight to death rather than submit.

Locals hoped the intrusion would be brief, and indeed it was supposed to be. “Their conduct while among us,” the Torch Light grudgingly admitted, “was generally correct and considerate.” Pennsylvania was the target, and the Rebels saved their ire for the Keystone State.

Then a strange thing happened. The massive, northwestern-bound surge suddenly reversed itself and began oozing back. The locals didn’t understand. They had no way of knowing that a couple of Federal soldiers had lucked onto the “Lost Orders,” a scrawled outline of Lee’s entire battle plan found on the side of the road, and Union General George McClellan was ambling toward South Mountain with the intention of splitting the Army of Northern Virginia clean in two.

The returning Confederates held the Federals at bay at three mountain passes long enough for Lee to scramble back to some high ground near Sharpsburg on the west bank of a creek called Antietam. He arrived in time to confront a swelling sea of blue spilling down from the mountain heights.

In between these two streaming masses of men stood an unadorned white box of a building, a simple church consecrated to the prospects of peace. Nearby lived one of its founders, Samuel Mumma, whose thoughts in any given September would have been on the upcoming harvest. His neighbor, David Miller, might have been thinking about his promising crop of corn. They weren’t ready for what was about to happen. Nobody was.

To the casual Civil War student, the newspaper’s account of the ensuing conflict might be almost unrecognizable as the Battle of Antietam. The landmarks that have become historic icons—Bloody Lane, the Cornfield, Burnside Bridge—were, of course, not so-named at the time of the fight. Nor did the paper have the time or disposition to break down the day’s fight into separate elements as has been done since. The portrayal instead calls to mind two boxers rooted in the center of the ring, landing one big haymaker after another.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, I Corps commander, got the ball rolling, and before the sun could dry the dew, Miller’s precious cornfield, his life blood, was gone—as clean, Hooker later recalled, as if it had been cut with a knife. Things looked good for the Federals early, then the tide turned and all seemed lost; this would be the pattern for the day.

[T]he rebel forces gave way, though they certainly did not “skedaddle.” Slowly, and in very fair order, they fell back, disputing every foot they gave up with the greatest obstinacy. Still our boys pushed onward with magnificent courage and determination, every man, from Hooker down, intent only on victory. Occasionally a more determined resistance at some point in the line or some difficulty in the ground would check our advance for a few moments; but, with this exception, it was almost steady from its commencement until ten o’clock in the morning, when Gen. Hooker was wounded and carried from the field. General [James] Ricketts at once assumed command of the corps; but our victorious movement had lost its impulse….While our advance rather faltered, the rebels greatly reinforced made a sudden and impetuous onset, and drove our gallant fellows back over a portion of the hard won field. What we had won, however, was not relinquished without a desperate struggle, and here up the hills and down, through the woods and the standing corn, over the ploughed land and the clover, the line of fire swept to and fro as one side or the other gained a temporary advantage.

And so it went, back and forth all day, the thrill of victory shattering into the agony of defeat and then back, over and over again. Press coverage of the action at Antietam naturally benefited from the first-person experience of the writer, who is never identified, and reading the coverage, it’s almost possible to feel the reporter’s heartbeat pick up and settle back down with each turn of fortune. Here, there was no such thing as unbiased coverage. Our Northern reporter rooted and rooted hard for “our boys.” From his vantage point, he could describe the contrails of artillery shot crisscrossing the sky and forming a fishnet of smoke. “From every little hill a battery thundered until the mountains seemed to be shaken with the roar.”

Above the din he heard an unfamiliar rustling, a “stir and a murmur” that didn’t quite fit. Then he turned and saw it—Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin’s VI Corps coming into play after Hooker had lost his early gains. For once, the writer curtly noted, the reinforcements did not arrive too late or too exhausted from their march to join the fight. Once again, the spirits of our correspondent are lifted: “Two fresh divisions at such a time—what can they not achieve?” It helped that by this time the Southern boys had left everything they had on the field, and could hardly be expected to stand before a new column of blue. But a lesson had been learned.

It didn’t matter what the Confederate army looked like. It could fight like hell.

It is beyond all wonder how men such as the rebel troops are can fight as they do. That those ragged and filthy wretches, sick, hungry and in all ways miserable, should prove such heroes in fight, is past explanation. Men never fought better—There was one regiment that stood up before the fire of two or three of our long range batteries and of two regiments of infantry and though the air around them was vocal with the whistle of bullets and the scream of shells, there they stood and delivered their fire in perfect order, and there they continued to stand, until a battery of six light twelves was brought to bear on them and before that they broke.

Confident the situation to his right was in hand, the reporter turned his attention to his left, where General Ambrose Burnside was busy being Burnside. That is to say, the course of action alongside an arched, stone bridge over the Antietam Creek was not as purposeful as might have been hoped. The journalist was more polite than today’s models. “Whether anyone ‘blundered’ on the left is impossible for us to say.”

But there were clues. It was afternoon before Burnside could get his men across the creek, and once there he advanced until he found himself in a tight spot, raked by artillery. The day was saved, the writer assured his readers (perhaps too generously), when “word was passed along the hill for [Brig. Gen. George] Syke’s [sic] men to ‘fill in,’ and the tough old soldiers of the regular regiments, who had been lounging on the hill, quiet spectators of the battle, hurried gladly into line, joyful at the prospect that their turn had come and there they stood, ready to check the progress of any sudden disaster.”

If, as many experts believed, the battle had ended as a tactical draw, no one bothered to tell the Torch Light: “Let it be clearly understood that we were only entirely successful on the left—we suffered no disaster.” The way things had been going for the Federals in the Eastern Theater that summer, “suffering no disaster” might have seemed like a great victory. But the reporter did get carried away when he stated the enemy was “flying in the direction of Winchester,” and unlikely to stop until it hit Richmond.

But the flush of “victory” quickly wore off. The sun came up the next morning on an appalling scene. What was recognizable on Tuesday, by Thursday was not. The Torch Light tried to wrap its prose around the calamity, but even its own correspondents understood the impossibility of the task.

To one who has never seen a battle-field it is impossible to describe intelligently this, or, indeed, any one. Old landmarks are forgotten or effaced, distance loses itself in the mind of the spectator, and space is measured only by the results which its occupancy produces. Thus has it been here. Corn and stubble, pasture and fallow contribute their boundaries to the one great charnel house of the nation’s host, and on hill, in hollow, through field are strewn the bleeding, mangled bodies of dead and dying humanity.

The editors of the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light returned to their posts after the battle, and were mystified to find that while the Rebels had used the presses to print a few handbills, they had not destroyed the office. There was almost an element of disappointment that the Confederates had judged the newspaper to be of such low importance it wasn’t worth wrecking.

In this sense they might have been correct: Southern Washington County, Md., still physically existed, but the war seemed to have hollowed out its soul. Shock was too tame a word, horror too mild an emotion.

But few persons can form even the faintest conception of the horrors presented by a battle-field, the eye beholds but the lips can but faintly express the misery here exhibited — the soul is sickened, the heart grows faint. Here and there, in the ravaging course of the shells and shots may be seen the stalwart man, whose stout frame promised many years of natural existence, suddenly terminated by the death-dealing missile brought to bear upon our numerous and invincible hosts. The Union and the Rebel soldier, in many instances, lay close side by side, cold in death.

The paper described the region as mile after mile of triage. “From Hagerstown to the Southern limits of the county wounded and dying soldiers are to be found in every neighborhood and in nearly every house,” the papers reported. “The whole region of country between Boonsboro and Sharpsburg is one vast hospital. Houses and Barns are filled with them, and nearly the whole population is engaged in waiting on and ministering to their wants.” Men missing arms, legs or eyes waited for help. Sometimes it came, sometimes not. “The real horror can better be imagined than described, and a visit to the hospital where amputations are being made will fully impress the visitor with its startling horrors.”

The people of Sharpsburg, Boonsboro and Keedysville could either attend to the wounded or bury the dead that Rebels left on the field. They couldn’t do both. “Their dead were thickly strewn over every part of the field, and they left them for our men to bury. The number of dead was so great that up to Monday of this week many of them were still unburied, and the stench for miles around was almost intolerable.” Farmers such as Mumma and Miller looked out over what remained of their livelihood. For many, it had all vanished—crops, barns, homes, food. Winter was on the doorstep and what would there be to eat?

For some, the issue of food was more immediate. “The region of country between Sharpsburg and Boonsboro has been eaten out of food of every description. The two armies of from eighty to a hundred thousand each have swept over it, and devoured everything within reach. At Sharpsburg, we understand that the rebels sacked the town, and when they left many of the citizens had not a morsel of food to eat.”

Then came the hordes that descended on battlefields like flies on carrion—sightseers and photographers, tourists plucking grisly souvenirs, and heartbroken parents, searching for the faces of their boys. Carriages backed up for miles, as people far and wide came to see. Washington County never asked for the war, and it didn’t ask for these people either.

But the people of the county endured. The paper bucked them up. The first blood had been spilled in Baltimore; maybe it wasn’t too much to hope the last blood, this blood, would be spilled at Sharpsburg. It wouldn’t be, of course, and after witnessing the ferocity of the fight and the gumption of the enemy, the editors knew it.

But following the Battle of Antietam, they made their readers a promise: “We shall continue with unabated zeal to oppose [the South’s] unholy cause to the bitter end.”

Tim Rowland is a regular contributor to America’s Civil War and the author of the upcoming Quirky and Bizarre Stories of the Civil War (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011). See an interactive version of the newspaper at on the Western Maryland Historical Library Web site.


Articles 2

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The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
‘A Stupid Old Useless Fool’William Nelson Pendleton was far more effective behind a pulpit than he was as Robert E. Lee's chief of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia.
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the CraterLieutenant Freeman S. Bowley was fighting for his life in the man-made hellhole that was the Petersburg Crater when he noticed that the former slaves in his company of the 30th United States Colored Troops were not the only men of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning …
Custer’s Last Stand Still Stands UpThe Battle of the Little Bighorn is like a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle on the south-central Montana landscape - the stuff of legend and historical gamesmanship.
Burning High Bridge: The South’s Last HopeIn the final week of the war in Virginia, small villages, crossroads and railroad depots previously untouched by the fighting took on enormous importance as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant sought to bring General Robert E. Lee to bay and the Confederate chieftain struggled to escape a Federal encirclement. Among the most important of these …
Ulysses S. Grant: The ‘Unconditional Surrender ContinuesFor most general officers, a headline-making victory accompanied by the abject surrender of an entire enemy army, such as Ulysses “Unconditional Surrender” Grant accomplished at Fort Donelson in February 1862, would have been quite enough for one career. But Grant would make the most of two more opportunities for practicing the “art of surrender,” starting …
Battle of Cold Harbor: The Folly and HorrorThe blame for a broad command failure that led to 7,000 unnecessary Union casualties in a single hour applies to more than just the commander in chief.

By Robert N. Thompson

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America’s Civil War: Defense of Little Round TopUnion Colonel Joshua Chamberlain has long been lauded as the hero of Gettysburg's Little Round Top. But do Chamberlain and the 20th Maine deserve all the credit, or did he have some unheralded help?
Battle of Gettysburg FinaleGrievously wounded in body and spirit, the Army of Northern Virginia limped painfully away from Gettysburg while Union commander George Gordon Meade followed slowly -- too slowly, thought Abraham Lincoln.
Battle of Antietam: Two Great American Armies Engage in CombatThe opposing armies at Antietam were two very different forces commanded by two very different men.

By Ted Alexander

Battle of Ox HillWith Union General John Pope reeling in defeat after the Battle of Second Manassas, Stonewall Jackson confidently set out to block Pope's retreat. It would be easy pickings--so Jackson thought.

By Robert James

Battle of Gettysburg: Fury at Bliss FarmBack and forth, for 24 hours, soldiers at Gettysburg contested possession of a no man's land with an incongruous name--Bliss farm.

By John M. Archer

Battle of Dinwiddie Court HouseUlysses S. Grant sent his trusted cavalry commander Phil Sheridan to flank Robert E. Lee out of Petersburg. The crossroads hamlet of Dinwiddie Court House soon became the focal point for one of the most pivotal cavalry battles of the war.

By Mark J. Crawford

17th Maine Infantry in the Battle of GettysburgThe 17th Maine helped transform a Gettysburg wheatfield into a legend.

By Jeffry D. Wert

James Longstreet: Robert E. Lee’s Most Valuable SoldierThe words resonate through Confederate history like an unwelcome truth. As General Robert E. Lee made preparations for an assault on the center of the Union line at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, his senior subordinate, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, voiced objections. At one point in the discussion, Longstreet recounted his experience as a soldier …
Robert E. Lee and His Horse TravellerRarely have horse and rider gone so well together as Traveller and Robert E. Lee.
Battle of Fisher’s HillGeneral George Crook's flank attack at Fisher's Hill swept down on the Rebel left like a force of nature.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.

Articles 3

Account Of The Battle of the WildernessIn the dark, forbidding woods of Virginia's Wilderness, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stumbled blindly toward their first wartime encounter. Neither had a clear idea of his opponent's intentions, but each planned to do what he did best--attack.
Battle of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry was the scene of an important 1862 battle in Lee's Maryland campaign and a prelude to 'Bloody Antietam.'
Account Of The Battle of ChickamaugaOverconfident and overextended, the Union Army of the Cumberland advanced into the deep woods of northwest Georgia. Waiting Confederates did not intend for them to leave. At Chickamauga Creek, the two sides collided.
America’s Civil War: Major General John Pope’s Narrow Escape at Clark’s MountainWhile Robert E. Lee's entire army massed behind Clark's Mountain to attack the Union Army of Virginia, a daring Yankee spy swam the Rapidan River to warn Maj. Gen. John Pope of the imminent danger. It was, said one military historian, 'the timeliest single product of espionage' in the entire war.
Second Battle of Manassas: Union Major General John Pope Was No Match for Robert E. LeeBrash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong.
Battle of Sailor’s CreekThe April 6, 1865 Battle of Sailor's Creek constituted one of the darkest days in the Army of Northern Virginia's history.
America’s Civil War: Images of Peace at AppomattoxEvery picture tells a different story about Lee's surrender.
44th Georgia Regiment Volunteers in the American Civil WarThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.
Father John B. Tabb: Aboard Confederate Blockade RunnersFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners.
America’s Civil War: Pre-dawn Assault on Fort StedmanLed by select groups of sharpshooters, the weary, muddy troops of the Army of Northern Virginia made one last desperate push to break out of Petersburg.
Battle of Antietam: Carnage in a CornfieldMr. Miller's humble cornfield near Antietam Creek became the unlikely setting for perhaps the worst fighting of the entire Civil War.
Lieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter: Eyewitness to the Surrender at AppomattoxLieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter provides a firsthand account of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
America’s Civil War: Assault at PetersburgSixth Corps Yankees stumbled out of their earthworks and toward the muddy pits of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was the beginning of the end at Petersburg.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
Battle of Gettysburg: Fighting at Little Round TopThe Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top.
Life at West Point of Future Professional American Civil War OfficersWhether they spent their energy studying or sneaking off to Benny Havens's tavern, the future professional officers of the Civil War left West Point with enough stories for a lifetime -- and an enduring common bond.
Eyewitness to America’s Civil War: William W. PattesonTeenager William W. Patteson fled his Virginia farm and fought at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
America’s Civil War: Union General Phil Sheridan’s ScoutsCivil War Union General Phil Sheridan put together a group of daring scouts who wore Rebel uniforms and captured Confederate irregulars, dispatches and generals.
America’s Civil War: XI Corps Fight During the Chancellorsville CampaignDisliked and distrusted by their comrades in the Army of the Potomac, the men of the XI Corps would find their reputation further damaged by a twilight encounter with Stonewall Jackson's troops in the dark woods at Chancellorsville.
Battle of Chancellorsville: Day OneNew Union commander 'Fighting Joe' Hooker planned to encircle Robert E. Lee at the Virginia crossroads hamlet of Chancellorsville. The plan seemed to be working perfectly, until....
Battle of CorinthThe strategic railroad town of Corinth was a key target for Confederate armies hoping to march north in support of General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky.

Articles 4

Battle of Gettysburg and American MythologyMuch of what Americans believe about Gettysburg is myth, but their flawed knowledge of the battle nevertheless serves to sanctify their national memory of the fight.
America’s Civil War: Last Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgAfter nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle.
Battle of Boydton Plank Road: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock Strikes the Southside RailroadWith Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia stubbornlyclinging to Petersburg, Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North's proven heroes -- Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.
America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding GeneralsIt sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South's demise.
An Englishman’s Journey Through the Confederacy During America’s Civil WarSuave, gentlemanly Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards picked an unusual vacation spot: the Civil War-torn United States.
Battle of Nashville: Enemies Front and RearUnion forces under George H. Thomas destroyed the Confederate Army of Tennessee at Nashville as Thomas endured his own battle of resolve with Ulysses S. Grant.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart: Last Stand of the Last KnightMajor General J.E.B. Stuart posted his horsemen at Yellow Tavern -- between Union attackers and Richmond -- and waited for the collision. It would come with a deadliness he could never have imagined.
Siege of Petersburg: The City and Citizens Were Impacted from the StartCircled by Confederate trenches, hard pressed by Union forces, the people of Petersburg had nothing left to do but endure -- and pray for a miracle.
Winchester, Virginia: A Town Embattled During America’s Civil WarWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or South.
Battle of the Wilderness With General Robert E. LeeAs the Union army crossed the Rapidan River to commence its powerful 1864 spring offensive, Confederate General Robert E. Lee scrambled to divine his enemy's intentions. But not even Lee could fully pierce the fog of war.
Old Dominion Brigade in America’s Civil WarThe Virginia regiments originally under the brigade command of William Mahone seemed to save their best for last. After two years of average service, they became Robert E. Lee's go-to troops in the Wilderness and at Petersburg's Crater.
Eyewitness to American Civil War: Iron Brigade Soldier’s Wartime LettersTimothy Webster survived Fredericksburg and Gettysburg with the Iron Brigade, but not Petersburg.
Battle of Yellow TavernBadly misunderstanding his opponent's intentions, Jeb Stuart played into Phil Sheridan's hands at Yellow Tavern. A swirling cavalry fight ensued.
Book Review: Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer (Jeffry D. Wert) : ACWGeorge Armstrong Custer's controversial life ended in an equally controversial death at the Little Bighorn.
Book Review: Lee vs. Pickett: Two Divided By War : ACWLee vs. Pickett: Two Divided by War will stand as a groundbreaking study of a fascinating relationship.
Book Review: A Place Called Appomattox (By William Marvel): ACWTwo volumes offer new interpretations and shatter some myths about the end of the Civil War. By A. Wilson Green William Marvel knows how to tell a good story. He is also a master at debunking myths and reinterpreting historical orthodoxy. Readers familiar with his monograph about the notorious Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia, …
Book Review: The Confederate War (Gary Gallagher) : ACWIn his provocative new book, The Confederate War, author Gary Gallagher revises the revisionists. By Richard F. Welch Over the past 15 years an influential school of Civil War historians–now perhaps the dominant orthodoxy–has argued that class, race and gender divisions so wracked the South that the Confederacy was foredoomed to defeat. Exponents of this …
Book Review: The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope (James R. Arnold and Roberta Wiener) : AHThe Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope, by Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., Savas Publishing, Campbell, California, (800) 848-6585, 623 pages, $32.95. While most aspects of the American Civil War have been examined in minute detail by an infinite body of historians, journalists, novelists, and writers in general, it actually is possible for a probing …
American History: December 2000 From the EditorAn American Named UlyssesRecent months have seen the publication of no less than three novels about Ulysses S. Grant. Even taking into consideration the public’s enduring fascination with the Civil War, I find that somewhat astonishing. Yet, on further reflection, Grant’s life does provide the raw stuff of fiction, an epic tale of an ordinary …
MANTLED IN FIRE AND SMOKE – July ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureMANTLED IN FIRE AND SMOKE By David F. Cross The Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top. In June 1863, Confederate military fortunes in the East were at their zenith. The Union Army of the Potomac …
South’s Feuding Generals – November ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureSouth's Feuding Generals By Richard Selcer It sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South’s demise. Imagine a situation in the modern American army where officers refuse to fight under other officers, where generals openly defy …

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Why the South Lost the Civil War – Cover Page: February ’99 American History FeatureTen Civil War historians provide contrasting and controversial views on how and why the Confederate cause ultimately ended in defeat.
Pope’s narrow escape – July ’98 America’s Civil War FeaturePope's Escape By John W. Lamb While Robert E. Lee’s entire army massed behind Clark’s Mountain to attack the Union Army of Virginia, a daring Yankee spy swam the Rapidan River to warn Maj. Gen. John Pope of the imminent danger. It was, said one military historian, ‘the timeliest single product of espionage’ in the …
Hancock’s ‘Well-Conducted Fizzle’ – Jan. ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureHancock's 'Well-Conducted Fizzle' With Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia stubbornly clinging to Petersburg,Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North’s proven heroes– ‘Hancock the Superb.’ By Bruce A. Trinque General UIysses S. Grant had hammered and probed the defenses of Petersburg, …
The Lightning Brigade Saves the Day – July ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureThe Lightning Brigade Saves the Day Armed with their new, lethal seven-shot Spencer rifles, Wilder’sLightning Brigade was all that stood between the Union Army and the looming disaster at Chickamauga Creek. By Hubert M. Jordan Historically, the Battle of Chickamauga is recorded as a two-day battle starting on September 19, 1863. For the men of …
George Smalley’s Vivid Account of the Battle of AntietamNew York Tribune reporter George Smalley scooped the world with his vivid account of the Battle of Antietam.
Father John B. Tabb Aboard Confederate Blockade Runners: Jan ’96: America’s Civil War FeaturePERSONALITYFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners. By Charles A. Earp The Tabbs of Amelia County were one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Vir-ginia, owning vast acreage and many slaves. When the Civil War came, 16-year-old Johnny Tabb wanted to join his brothers …
Battle of Gettysburg: Union General George Stannard and the 2nd Vermont BrigadeThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.
Mexican War: The Proving Ground for Future American Civil War GeneralsFor young American army officers of the time, the Mexican War was not only the road to glory, it was the road to promotion--a proving ground for future Civil War generals.

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