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Committee on the Conduct of the War

As usual the current (November 2000) issue of America’s Civil War contains much food for thought. Please keep up the good work in producing such a high-quality magazine.

I fully agree that the Committee on the Conduct of the War was a distinct hindrance (see the Editorial) and that the leaders, all the way from President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton to the generals in the field, could have done their work better without the interference of the committee.

There are many Ohioans who played key rolls in the war and of whom I am proud. But by no stretch of the imagination is Ben Wade among them.

Just one bit of criticism. How can you include Benjamin Butler in your category of “Republican Party stalwarts”?

Norman A. Bowen
Norwalk, Ohio

Editor’s note: While Benjamin Butler was still ostensibly a Democrat during the Civil War, his political loyalties were unmistakably with Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party. As proof, Butler was elected to Congress in 1866 as a Republican, and he remained a Republican until 1878, when he again switched parties, this time becoming a Greenbacker. Whatever his party label, Butler was a Radical who favored harsh treatment of the South and consistently sided with that wing of the Republican Party.

Fort Pillow

My compliments on the article “Fort Pillow: Massacre or Madness,” by Roy Morris, Jr., in the November 2000 issue, which was well laid out. What a classic example of war-time propaganda and that “to the victor belongs the spoils.” Keep up the good work!

Colonel Barton Campbell
U.S. Army Reserve (ret.)
Midlothian, Va.

Dam No. 5

Jason Barrett’s article, “Stonewall Assaults Dam No. 5,” in the September 2000 issue was interesting. The only minor correction required is on P. 52, when he makes reference to the Stonewall Brigade as the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 27th Virginia regiments. He left out the 33rd Virginia.

Michael Werner
Yardley, Pa.

Editor’s note: Thanks for making that important correction. The 33rd Virginia was an integral–and apparently somewhat undisciplined–part of the famed Stonewall Brigade. As Jackson noted in a dispatch, the 33rd’s Company E made a rowdy trek to rejoin its former brigadier in late 1861. The company arrived in camp without an officer after its first lieutenant had slipped away without leave. Stonewall noted that the 33rd’s Colonel Arthur Cummings reported he “could not undertake another march with the company, as it was composed of unmanageable Irishmen….” Cummings most likely had his hands full on St. Patricks Day!

January 2001 Issue

Superb! The January 2001 issue of America’s Civil War arrived today, and I’d like to express my appreciation for the wonderful presentation of my Battle of Franklin article (“Union Stand That Destroyed an Army”). I would also like to compliment your editorial and art team on a beautifully executed redesign. As someone who has spent more than 20 years in magazine publishing, I can appreciate the work that obviously went into that process, and the magazine looks great. The new departments are a superb addition as well. Please pass along my compliments to Mr. Morris and the staff of America’s Civil War, both for the masterful redesign and for making my work look so good!

Gary W. Dolzall
Newton, Conn.

Editor’s note: Thanks for the kind words, Gary. We hoped that our readers would like the changes, and so far it seems they have. You probably noticed how we related your piece on Franklin to our “Preservation” department. America’s Civil War hopes to continue tying that department to a feature or another department to emphasize the concerns and positive issues affecting the battlefields that our writers bring to life.

Port Royal

I enjoyed the article “Big Gun Bombardment of Port Royal,” by William G. Lowe, in America’s Civil War’s January 2001 issue. How amazing that people saw Samuel DuPont as a hero at Port Royal but that after his failure at Charleston, he found himself retired.

Paul Dale Roberts
Via e-mail

Editor’s note: DuPont did not really retire; he resigned from active duty and continued to serve on a naval board. He is not as well-known today as some of his contemporaries such as David D. Porter and David G. Farragut. Part of the reason for his relative obscurity is that he had a falling out with the Northern high command after the failed attack at Charleston to which you allude, and part of it stems from the fact that he died in 1865 and was therefore not a part of the war commemoration and memorialization that took place in the North during the postwar years.

New Mexico Invasion

I enjoyed reading David Rosenberg’s article on Sibley’s campaign in New Mexico during 1861-62 (“Rebel Invasion of New Mexico,” July 2000), but I am puzzled by the map that accompanies the article on P. 52. A key to the map and a mileage scale would help. I do not know what the light colored trail is that winds through the center of the map. It is labeled the Santa Fe Trail at the top but that stopped at Santa Fe. Perhaps it is supposed to also represent the Camino Real, but the trail on this map tends to follow the Rio Grande on the wrong side in places. It also does not show mountains between the Jornada del Muerto and the river.

I assume that dark arrows represent Sibley’s advance northward and the broken arrows represent his retreat. If so, it fails to show that Sibley used Fort Thorn as a kind of base camp on his push northward. It has Sibley going on the wrong side of the river to Valverde and again from Valverde to Albuquerque. The whole point of the battle at Valverde was whether Canby could prevent Sibley from crossing the river in a push north above Fort Craig. Sibley was able to cross and go on up to Albuquerque, but this is not reflected in the map.

Dr. Robert Bouilly
Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Sibley did start on the east bank of the Rio Grande, and then crossed to Fort Thorn–which is not reflected on the map. After leaving that post, however, he crossed back to the eastern bank, and after defeating Canby at Valverde, he crossed once again to the west side of the river before moving north to Albuquerque. The map correctly shows that portion of the campaign.

Regarding the proper name of the trail, we only meant the portion of the trace that led to Santa Fe to bear the name of that locale. As for the precise location of the trail that ran along the Rio Grande, different sources show it crossing the river at different points, and considering the large area covered by the map, we were simply trying to show the path’s general location. Sorry for any confusion.

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