tv The Civil War CSPAN April 4, 2015 10:00pm-10:51pm EDT
ian cooke: thank you all for coming. next month jim barber with everett dirksen. [applause] >> you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook, @cspanhistory. >> american history tv recently visited longwood university in virginia. the program was cohosted by the university at appomattox courthouse national historical park. next, a talk about the military
maneuvers of the union and confederate armies that brought them to appomattox. >> thank you, patrick. our final speaker tonight is christopher calkins. he a proud graduate of longwood university. longwood college when he went here. you were one of the first male graduates of longwood. chris has had a long career with the national park service. he worked at appomattox, spotsylvania, and was chief of interpretation at petersburg for many years. in 2008 he took over the position of park manager for battlefield state park. it is only 15 minutes from here. he has done an amazing job in revising sailor's creek. -- revitalizing sailor's creek. as a mentioned in the beginning he will be available tomorrow for some tors of their cash for some tors out there -- for some
tours out there. he is responsible for the retreat route. he is actively involved in battlefield preservation, the association of preservation for civil war sites, particularly building up petersburg in the past -- getting a large amount of land for petersburg battlefield. received an award for marriage in 2015. -- for merit in 2015. numerous books on sailor creek and appomattox. also a study of the 29th division in world war ii. his talk tonight is entitled "the appomattox campaign." please welcome chris. [applause] chris: this is déjà vu for me.
when i went to longwood college back in the mid-1970's, as dr. cole said, as one of the first males we were day students. this stage here was used for all kinds of performances. when i was in the drama department i work this stage here with such groups as the grassroots. i even remember the country-western fellow, roy clark, performed on this stage.
it is back to be he -- it is kind of weird to be back here doing this. back in 1971 i was living in detroit, i was 20 years old. i had a chance to come down to work for summer at appomattox courthouse at the national historic park. i remember the fact that i didn't have a car, i got to live in one of the houses in the park, and one thing in particular i remember is the large number of staff -- appomattox county has per capita the best looking women. josie, with the black-and-white stripes, she is one of them. i ended up falling for one of them. i went back to detroit, found out there was a job opening. i applied for it, got it, and the day after christmas 1971i moved back. unfortunately the young lady i was interested in was not interested in me. or at least her parents weren't.
you have to remember i had long hair and was from michigan. i ended up dating her 15-year-old cousin. that was 43 years ago. we have been married that long. when i was at appomattox at the national park there, our story began in petersburg. there wasn't much information about the final campaign. more commonly known as a leisure treat. the only book that attempted to give the story of those final days was called -- "to appomattox" by bert davis.
i use that in my talk today. this book is what inspired me to write most of my other books. when i read this book i had a lot of questions. what does he mean by this, what is he talking about? i was fortunate enough that living in this area i could read about what happened here at sailors creek and go out and study the land and talk to people. and the story of how i found sailor's creek will be tomorrow's topic. it will be with a lot more personal stories to it. with this in hand and a lot of questions coming from this i began researching this campaign and continue to do so to today. what i thought we would do tonight, because we are going to
talk about the minutia of sailor's creek, appomattox, the battles and everything -- and so i'm going to just give a tactical, strategic explanation of what this campaign was all about and how they got to appomattox and why it happened there. also when i worked at appomattox i worked with a gentleman with the 29th infantry division. they had this young son who they used to bring to the park occasionally. this young fellow would come and sit down on a bench next to me. you met him first this morning or this afternoon. he was a little kid then. i was his boss. it is interesting how local folks got interested in it. basically it is march 29 1865 to april 9, 1865.
nine april days. i found the nemesis of this campaign really started when lee's army -- the confederate army outside of richmond to the northeast at cold harbor. being unsuccessful in attacking the city, breaking into the city, changed his tactics and moved around and crossed over. it was at that point that lee prophesies it will become a siege, meaning if he gets to
petersburg it will become a siege and then will become a mere question of time. i always refer to the siege of petersburg as the wearing down of army. foreshadowing what happened in spring of 1865, on february 22 general lee wrote to john c breckenridge of the confederacy. he said, grant is preparing to draw out his left flank with the in tent of enveloping me. -- with the intent of enveloping me. he may wait until his columns
approach near or he may be waiting to anticipate my withdrawal. i'm endeavoring to commit my resolve to burke bill. any of you that from the east know that burkeville down the road, it is still a railroad junction. the same day we also sent a message to general james long street. he said, with the army concentrated near burkeville -- that is the railroad that did come through farmville recently. we also see the opportunity to strike at grant before they could unite. i desire you to make every preparation to accumulate all the supplies you can. he is accumulating his army and his hedges run into supply.
with those two messages, general lee now prophesies that he was going to have to leave petersburg and head towards north carolina. march 3 nine to april 65. -- again the appomattox campaign overlaps the petersburg campaign, which is what tracy talked about at the end of his speech. and of course, the petersburg campaign runs from june 15, 1864 until 1865.
at the time the army commander of northern virginia that was born in 1807 was 15 years old. grant was born in 1822 and he was 43 years old at that time. as the campaign was winding down at petersburg and again, as tracy pointed out, the two strategic points of contest at that time were a roadway and a railroad. the roadway is now present-day route one. supplies were being brought in and then of course the south side railroad, which ran from petersburg through farmville here. and then through appomattox on to lynchburg. what we are talking about over
here is the fighting to the west of petersburg. all the fighting is around here and the south side railroad is running along here. the battle that took place where the railroad was physically cut was on april 2 at sutherland station. that was on april 2 and that means lee's army would withdraw. the fighting that led up to it lewis farm on march 29, and on april 1 the straw that broke the
camel's back. when i began working at petersburg it was private property. the national park have spent six efforts to bring that into the petersburg national battlefield area all were unsuccessful. one day i got a phone call from the carnegie mellon foundation. just so happened that the fellow who owned the 2800 acres was my accountant.
i asked him if he was interested. the petersburg national feel acquired forks battlefield. that is where tracy works. the most interesting thing is i found out that two new stamps are coming out in the next couple of weeks. one on appomattox and the other is going to be five forks. the ending of the petersburg campaign -- at which time the evacuation of the confederate lines at petersburg began to take place on the night of april 2. when lee's army left the site there were four main routes from petersburg here who have long streak or heading in that direction.
coming from near chester through chesterfield. here, coming out of richmond was general ewell's command. and the other line is this one here, which stays south of the record -- of the river. those of you that do drive -- around for 20 years or so. that is the route to you follow there. the reason we chose that is because you can see along that route they were pursued by union troops and so they will be fighting a long way in places. write in here. -- right in here.
it is part of the confederate line. that is bermuda hunter. the third quarter had been ap hill. as tracy pointed out on april 2 he was killed. his troops were added on to longstreet's. all of those will then come from the petersburg area. there was a fourth corps under richard anderson. of course had escaped from this area down here. and they are going on this right here. also was the confederate calvary.
in the federal army you had general george gordon -- and they will be following for the most part here. army, which was mentioned in the confederate white house pictures. he will be following what is basically route 460. the army had 76,000 effective and by the time they get to appomattox they will have 63,000 with a loss on this entire campaign of 8600 men. on the other hand the confederate army ran between 55 and 58,000. general lee will surrender about 30,000 of his men and their casualties.
most of those will be prisoners as we talk about tomorrow at sailor's creek. when he pulled his army they would all consolidate and move upon here. amelia courthouse you can see runs along the richmond railroad and then crosses the south side railroad here at brookville. that is what he hoped to have supplies waiting for him. when he gets to amelia courthouse he expects to find ration trains waiting for him there through some mixup they are not there. he decides to spend a day in that area asking his troops to go out and ask the local people if they have any surplus food
items if they could provide for the confederate army. because he spends the day here he loses the one days lead he had on grants army, which does not pull out of the richmond petersburg area until the next today. by him losing that, he begins his movement. his goal was to follow the richmond danville rated -- danville railroad and crossover to north carolina and to join up with general joseph johnston's army. that was the immediate goal at that point, to continue down
like this. had his wishes taken place there would have supplied with any continuous march. by losing that one day lead the union army swings around to the south and cross the railroad at cheers bill station. he finds the union army in front of him. he has to turn around. and he begins what becomes a third night march in a row. from that point on until he gets to appomattox, his army will be marching day and night. so what he does is with the union army here, he swings around to the north of it and here he hears that there are 120,000 rations waiting by the southside depo. what he hopes to do at that
point is to take the night march and go around the union army. they will continue to move into farmville. he gets to farmville, has the supplies issued here, and then cuts south and re-intersect the railroad. that is what he is looking for. as he moves in making his night march to farmville, he plans to go in this direction. late on the evening of april 6 the union calvary pulling hit-and-run tactics.
union cavalry would attack and go to the next crossroads. that is basically what happens here at sailor's creek. that is part of tomorrow's talk. keep in mind one thing we point out in our museum. the battle for sailor's creek. think of it as three separate engagements, all going on at the same time. one is a mile from another. there are see -- there are three separate engagements. here you have confederate general richard stuttered you'll fighting against general wright six core.
this land on marshall's crossroad, which you can't really see here. that is where we recently acquired a large amount of property. finally at lockets farm, also known as double bridges, this is known as the second core. tomorrow we will go into the detail. here on failor's creek general lee will lose 7700 men and eight confederate generals. most of those are prisoners. what that resulted to be his somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of lee's army.
they have taken prisoners and unlike those that have surrendered they will go to prison camp and will remain there. it usually isn't until the end of may. that is what happens to them. there is a strategic item right in here that was of high importance to both armies. that is high bridge, where the southside railroad crosses the valley of appomattox river. it is part of our new state park. you can walk out there and if you look off to the side you can see the original pillars.
what happens on april 6 earlier in the day the union cavalry will attack the high bridge in burnaby for the confederate army could use it. they will be successful. the next day after sailor's creek union forces will pursue confederate forces across the bridge. confederates burned the western edge of it. there is a small wagon bridge underneath, which doesn't get burned and the armies used that the high ridge. not only are these armies concentrate on just concentrating on these areas here. trains have opened up with rations. but before lee can move his army south to keys bill -- keyes
ville, grant moves his army and cuts off that avenue to lee's army. what lee does is he decides that he will cross to the north side of the appomattox river here. he will burn all the bridges behind him. there are two bridges right north of town. a small railroad bridge. . the highbridge, a section of that is -- by leaving that smaller wagon bridge under it, union forces will use that and crossover to the north side of the river. what is happening then strategically is that lee's next point of destination is over here at appomattox station.
there are more foods and supplies located there. his next point is to march through the town of appomattox which appomattox station is currently the town of appomattox. that is where the next point of contact or supplies could be had. while heading in this direction on the north side of the appomattox river, two union corps army follow him. as that is 38 miles from here to here, with this line of march from here to here, it is only 30 miles. with lee making this move to the north river he has left a short road open to the union army.
in the military, there is a movement called a pincers movement. that is what is happening here. now the union cavalry are moving around and getting in front of lee's army on the station at the appomattox courthouse. on the morning of april 9, after an engagement on the nine of the -- on the night of the eighth where the cavalry attacked and captured the trains for lee's army and the next morning general lee, whose main army is in the village of appomattox here, they now have union infantry behind them, union infantry in front of them and
short after union infantry on the side. so basically lee is trapped in a pincers movement at appomattox courthouse. and of course the rest is history. tomorrow a couple of us will go into further detail. hugh can see how the military maneuvers of the union and the confederate army brought the army to appomattox. that is not where he planned to go. he was still planning on going to north carolina. he had been able to break through this union surrounding maneuver. his next movement was not to lynchburg but the campbell courthouse. this is present-day restaurant virginia. trying to reach danville once again.
after the attack on the night of april 8, after three night marches in a row, lee's army goes in the morning of april 9. there is the battle of appomattox. when i used to work at appomattox people would always say, i guess general lee got here to this pretty village and decided to surrender. that is not the case. because of the battle of appomattox on the morning of april 9, lee was forced to surrender. generally and general grant would be at mclean's home and surrender. at 3:30 on the afternoon of april 9, the surrender had taken place. i would like to close with in my years at appomattox i had the opportunity to converse with
thousands of visitors and with the story of that placement to them. many, particularly southerners found a sad environment in which they care to eradicate in their mind. i empathize with them, as do many. appomattox surrendered a way of life to a long-ago generation. i would agree the story of appomattox is indeed a sad one. sad that we as an intelligent democratic society could find no other alternative to our disagreements then the field of conflict. this war would lose the talents of over half a million men who have served future generations to a better capacity than canon -- cannon fodder.
appomattox also symbolize to our new nation a new beginning on its path of destiny. the question has been posed to an arbitration of arms and settled in a small virginia county seat village. on that sunday we went from being both the united states power to the united states is. most were willing to stoically accept the outcome and work to -- the word indivisible was now reaffirmed in the makeup of our government. most were willing to stoically accept the outcome and worked to rebuild what has been lost. robert lee instructed his fellow southerners that the war being at an end and having been decided, i believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony. all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the
effects of the war. and to restore the blessings of peace. the story of appomattox should be as proud and episode as any in our past. i hope you will join us in a couple of weeks in the county of appomattox starting on where the april 8, sign says where our nation reunited. from april 8 through april 12 there will be numerous programs , honoring and commemorating what happened there. thank you. >> it is a big campaign to cover. would anybody like to ask chris any questions? yes, sir?
>> why were there no rations after the war? the south lost, the can read or see lost. there were postwar memoirs written. what happened? chris: tracy mentioned this. -- there are numerous hypotheses , and the one i think is most realistic -- again, tracy mentioned this. general lee's headquarters was to far west of the city. while lee was there one of his
aides, walter taylor, instead of being available had gone off to richmond to get married. apparently in richmond they got a message from lee's headquarters, saying we are preparing to withdraw our troops from the city. then send a message back to the house in lee's headquarters asking her more specific instruction. they broke through the union lines and lee was forced to abandon his headquarters. when that second message came for where do we send them, nobody was there to receive them. that comes out of the four vines. it is the tendency -- the appendixes.
-- lee was forced to abandon his headquarters. so, when that second message came for where do we send them no one was there to receive them. to me, that comes out of the four volume set and appendix in the back of volume number four. i think knowing that area quite well, i think that is probably what happened. >> anyone else have a question? ron has a question. he is making his way to the microphone. i will throw something out for chris here. over seven days, 100 miles, is there a particular incident that is most intriguing to you during the campaign that you covered in
your talk here? humorous incident, kind of a wild moment? chris: one of the things i am preparing for is we are starting off the programs that appomattox, with a talk on the battle of appomattox station will start the program with talk by myself at the apt is church -- baptist church. when i worked there and even when ron was working at appomattox we had no idea where the battle of appomattox station took. we had an idea because we knew where the station was but by all accounts it says the battle was miles from the station. you take a compass and going a mile, it could be anywhere.
in fact, the area, we hypothesized it was located, it was in a triangular plot of land where route 26 and 460 come together. that is where we thought it was for the most of time. when i was writing the book on the battle of appomattox, i happened to stumble across a diary journal of an ohio cavalryman. he was in all of these battles on the retreat, particularly appomattox station.
he would draw a little maps of each of these battles and annotate them. general custer was here. i took this basic sketch map and cleaned it up, superimposed it on then 1867 map of that area. with that i put it over a topographical map and low and behold is the battlefield. it was a location none of us have ever would have thought of. my talk on april 8 was the history of appomattox station, in which i will move and meet up with pat. the civil war trust bought a large acreage of the battlefield. it is now being preserved and developed as battlefield park. pat and i will do a tour there that will be some living history moving into the village.
that is one of the most exciting finds i can think of. once i superimposed the battle map on a total graphical map i got permission from the landowner. a large portion of the woods in the topography was still there. it is tucked in among some businesses. where hannaford showed the confederate artillery was located, i borrowed a middle to tender and went over the ground. it was covered with friction primers, which is when you fire a cannon. the woods were filled with canister balls. as you read about the battle of appomattox station, it was union cavalry attacking confederate artillery, who were using canisters to knock down the horses. if you are around april 8, come
and join us. >> i wanted to point out what a difficult task general lee faced in trying to coordinate the different units to assemble in one location at a specific time. the route that he chose is 18 miles further toward a million than the union route to the south. chris can talk about this more about the union rebuilding of
the southside railroad between petersburg and brookville. they did that in a period of nine days. and henry young. maybe a couple of things chris may want to address. chris: to go along with what you mention about the union army and the southside railroad to burkville, that is 60 miles. those of us who are where road -- are railroad buffs know it is separated by a gauge. the southside railroad, the two rails were five feet apart. the rolling stock had to fit that. the army railroad that tracy talked about, the military railroad, the engines and cars
about this campaign overall, if you think about the fighting in virginia through the four years of war, most of this runs from washington to fredericksburg richmond to petersburg. most of which are cities that are on the fault line of the rivers. most of the fighting is going north and south. other than a cavalry raid or to, southside virginia saw very little action through the war until that last week. consequently, since the armies had not been here until that time folks were pretty much running blind. lee did not have good maps. he relied on his army. general lee would say where does this road leads? for the union
army the same thing. they didn't have a lot of good maps of this area. to contraband inside the union army could tell you go on that land, that will be dear to -- that is exactly why i enjoy researching this area. the first book i wrote, which was out of print. i graduated. it is called 36 hours before appomattox. it covers sailor's creek, farmville, and the church. the new version came out just yesterday. the only book we had at the park to learn from i was trying to figure out how the armies
actually got around from sailor's creek in this area where most of the heavy fighting takes place. i remember the editor of the farmville herald some historian asked him how the troops got from highbridge to arm till. i remember he said it would take a philadelphia lawyer to figure out how the armies got through this area. i'm not from philadelphia but i think i've figured it out. >> would you speak on major henry young? chris: yes, henry young was, i think in the second union cavalry? another thing the union cavalry used on this campaign and tracy ably talked about what the union cavalry was at this point of the war, they wore confederate uniforms and took the persona of
-- i think they took the ninth virginia cavalry, fake southern accents, and what they would do is running into the confederate line. they would tell the teamsters go the mules or the horses. as much as they could, interrupt the confederate army. a group of north carolina cavalry under general rufus behringer made a stand at the church. they were pushed back by custer's cavalry. as they fell back they ran into this group of masquerading confederate cavalry who proceeded to capture general rufus behringer. he becomes the first confederate general to be taken prisoner on this campaign. you had these union soldiers
dressed as confederates and they were spies. did that answer your question? 's tomorrow we will go into greater detail on the battles. -- where did ron -- did that answer your question, ron? well, tomorrow we will go into , greater detail on the battles. in fact, somebody told me -- pat was telling me some of the media was writing about this seminar. of as you will find out tomorrow it wasn't an error.
and those who have not been, i see a lot of people who have been out to sailor's creek, he will go out there -- we will go out there and see the new museum and go to the house, which has been restored. >> thank you, chris. [applause] >> the civil war air is here every saturday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time. to watch more civil war programming, visit our web right, c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. >> monday night on "the communicators," the development of cloud storage, big data, and how government is using it. >> they built one of the world's largest cloud data centers. in a secure facility