tv The Civil War CSPAN April 12, 2015 9:40am-10:31am EDT
president -- medical reports on the dying president's condition. and on sunday on american history tv on c-span3. >> each week, american history tv's reel america brings you archival films to tell the story of the 20th century. johnson: since 1954, every american president has offered support to the people of south vietnam. we have helped to build and we have helped to defend. thus, over many years, we have made a national pledge to help south vietnam defend its independence, and i intend to keep that promise. [applause]
>> mr. johnson then projected america's policy in vietnam, saying the united states was ready to begin without conditions diplomatic discussions to end the war in vietnam. he calls it the only path for reasonable men. johnson: demands and independent south vietnam, secure guarantees, and able to shape its own relationships to all others, free from outside interference, tied to no alliance, a military base, or no country. >> he called on southeast asian nations for economic development and he asked the united nations to join in the plan. johnson: on our part, i will ask the congress to join in a billion-dollar american investment in this effort as
soon as it is under way. [applause] president johnson: and i would hope that all other industrialized countries including the soviet union will join in this effort to replace despair with hope and terror with progress. >> the president said the task is to enrich the hopes and existence of more than 100 million people. he pointed out that education in trades and modern agricultural methods are vital. food is ever a problem, as is modern medicine, in countries where life expectancy is 40 years. mr. johnson further proposes to make u.s. farm surplus available, even to north vietnam, if they desire it. mr. johnson then quotes the bible.
president johnson: we may well be living in a time foretold many years ago when it was said "i call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that i have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. " well, we will choose life. and in so doing, we will prevail over the enemies within man and over the natural enemies of all mankind. >> for the first time since the red blockade of west berlin, in 1948, access routes to the city are shut down by the communists.
soviet authorities gave varied reasons for the blockade including the one that traffic would interfere with east german wargames. the real reason was communist resentment over meeting of the german parliament in west berlin. they did all in their power to harass this demonstration of democracy in action. as the bundestag met, russian fighter planes swooped over the city, at times, darting within a few hundred feet of the hall. they buzzed commercial airliners, disrupted air transport, and broke windows on the ground. as they shattered every safety regulation. the reds lost. parliament stayed in session until the scheduled recess. >> american history tv recently visited longwood university in form one virginia for a seminar on the closing of the civil war.
the program was cohosted by the university and appomattox historical park. next, author chris talks about the military maneuvers of the union and confederate armies that brought them to appomattox. following the fall of richmond. >> our final speaker tonight is christopher calkins. many of you know chris. he is a detroit native and a proud graduate of longwood university. longwood college when you went here. you were one of the first male graduates of longwood. right, chris? chris, as you all know, 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. but in 2008 he took over the position of park manager for battlefield state park. and sailors creek only 15 minutes from here. he has done an amazing job in
revitalizing sailor's creek. a new museum has opened up in the last year or two. as i mentioned in the beginning he will be available tomorrow for some tours out there. he is responsible for the lee's retreat route. where they have the poll also with audiotape you can listen to -- pull offs with audiotape you can listen to. 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 2014 for his leadership and the history awards committee. and again, authored numerous books on sailor creek and appomattox. also a study of the 29th division in world war ii. the new picture book that he was
one of a co-authors of. his talk tonight is entitled "the appomattox campaign." please welcome chris. [applause] chris: this is deja 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. and when i was in the drama department i work this stage here with such groups as the grassroots. and i even remember the country-western fellow from roy clark, performed on this stage.
this is kind of weird to be back here doing this. back in 1971 i was living in detroit, i was 20 years old. and i had a chance to come down to virginia and work for a 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 at the park for these beautiful young ladies. i fake appomattox county has per -- were these beautiful young ladies. i think 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 1971 i 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. anyways, i ended up marrying her, dating her 15-year-old cousin. that was 43 years ago. we have been married that long. anyways, when i was at appomattox at the national park there, of course our story began in petersburg. and went to appomattox itself. there wasn't much information about the final campaign. of course, more commonly known as lee's retreat. the only book that attempted to
give the story of those final days was called "to appomattox." 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. you know, what does he mean by this, what is he talking about? and i was fortunate enough in that living in this area i could read about what happened here at sailors creek or whatever 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. with a lot more personal stories to it by first-person accounts. anyways, with this in hand and a lot of questions coming from this, i began researching this campaign and continue to do so
to today. anyway, what i thought we would do tonight, because tomorrow 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 at the park i worked with a gentleman who was in the 29th infantry division in world war ii. he had this young son who they used to bring to the park occasionally and i would end up babysitting. this young fellow would come and sit down on a bench next to me. listen to me talking to the visitors. you met him first this morning or this afternoon. he was a little kid then.
and when i was at petersburg, i was his boss. although i have retired. it is kind of interesting how local folks got interested in it. well, to begin with and talking about the appomattox campaign, we will go into detail but basically it is march 29, 1865 to april 9, 1865. nine april days. as the book said. but i found that the nemesis of this campaign really started as tracy talked about, the siege of petersburg when lee's army , or the union army was besieging the confederate army
outside of richmond to the northeast at cold harbor. grant, being unsuccessful in attacking the city, breaking into the city, changed his tactics and moved around and crossed over. and, of course, the petersburg as tracy told you. -- attacked petersburg as tracy told you. 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. and in a one sentence line i always refer to the siege of petersburg as the wearing down of lee's army. anyways, foreshadowing what happened in spring of 1865, on february 22 general lee wrote to secretary of war john c. breckenridge of the confederacy.
he said, "grant is preparing to draw out his left flank with the intent of enveloping me. he may wait until his columns approach near or he may be waiting to anticipate my withdrawal. i cannot tell yet. i am endeavoring to collect supplies convenient to birkdale." any of you that come from the east no -- know burkeville is just down the road, it is still a railroad junction. the same day we also sent a message to general james long street. one of his commanders. he said, with the army concentrated at or near burkeville, our communications will be through railroad, that is the railroad that did come through farmville recently.
we might also seize the opportunity to strike at a grant before they could unite. i desire you to make every preparation to accumulate all the supplies you can. general grant seems to be preparing to move out by his left flank and he is accumulating his army near hedge's depot -- hedge's run depot of supplies. with those two messages, general lee now prophesized that he was going to have to leave petersburg and head towards north carolina. again, the appomattox campaign overlaps the peterson's campaign. march 3 to april 65.
and of course the petersburg campaign runs from june 15 to april 2 1865. at the time the army commander of northern virginia that was born in 1807 was 15 years old. -- 58 years old. grant, commending the army of the potomac and the army of the james, 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. bringing supplies from north carolina and the deep south. the roadway is now present-day route one. it was called the road and
supplies were being brought in from the confederate lines through in and then of course the south side railroad, which ran from petersburg through farmville here. and then through appomattox on to lynchburg. it terminated there. and so the battles of lewis farm -- ok, what we are talking about over here is the fighting to the west of petersburg. lewis farm is right in here, the client road. -- the plank road. all the fighting is around here and the south side railroad is running along here. this was the final objective when the south side railroad was caught. -- was cut. 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. five forks. just a sidelight on five forks when i began working at petersburg it was private property. even though a well-known battle. the national park have spent six efforts to try to bring that into the petersburg national battlefield. all were unsuccessful. one day i got a phone call from the carnegie mellon foundation. they wanted to know if there was any battlefield land around petersburg that needed to be bought. just so happened that the fellow who owned the 2800 acres was my accountant.
so i went to him and i asked him if he was interested. a year later, the petersburg national battlefield acquired five forks battlefield. that is where tracy works. for the most part now. 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 one is going to be five forks. i bought a battlefield that is now on a stamp. the beginning of the appomattox campaign and the ending of the 2 at which time the evacuation of the confederate lines at richmond and peterson 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 had general gordon's corps and longstreet's corps or heading in that direction. coming from near chester through chesterfield. general mahone's division. here, coming out of richmond was general ewell's command. this line is a wagon train of general custis lee gets captured. and the other line is this one here, which stays south of the of the river and goes to familiar courthouse. those of you who drive our lee's retreat driving tour, that is the route that you follow. the reason that we chose that is you can see here that along that route they were pursued by union troops so they will be fighting
a long way in places to see. mahone's division leaves bermuda hundred line. it is part of a confederate line between the appomattox river and the james river. that is bermuda hunter. lung street's first and third, the third corps was under ap hill. as tracy pointed out on april 2 he was killed. his troops were added on to long street. all of those will then come from the petersburg area. there was a fourth quarter under richard anderson. of course had escaped from this area down here. from five forks. and they are going on this right here.
along with anderson and pickett was was the confederate calvary. in the federal army you had general george gordon mead three army corps, and other groups, and they will be following for the most part here the army of the james. 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 55,000 and 58,000. general lee will surrender about 30,000 of his men at appomattox, their casualties will number 28,000. most of those will be prisoners as we talk about tomorrow at sailor's creek. when lee 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 at burkeville. 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. lee 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 day's lead he had on grant's army, which does not pull out of the richmond petersburg area until the next day. after those two cities fell. by losing that, when he pulls out of amelia, he begins his movement. his goal was to follow the 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 and burkeville supplied, he could have continued his continuous march. by losing that one day lead the union army swings around to the south and cross the railroad at jetersville station. when lee pulls out of amelia, he finds the union army in front of him. he 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
heres at amelia springs that there are 120,000 rations waiting by the southside depot. rations of meat and mail. 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. hopefully he can get there before the union army tails him. he gets to farmville, has the supplies issued here, and then cut south to keysville and reenter sets -- re-intersects the railroad at keysville and continues his march to danville. 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. whenever they came to a crossroads, union cavalry would attack the confederate line of march, burn wagon trains, retreat 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. it's spelled sailor's -- not sayler's. think of it as three three separate engagements, all going on at the same time. one is a mile from another. both of those are two miles from
the third. there are three separate engagements. the warned that the majority of the park owns is the hillsman's farm ewell is fighting the sixth corps. this land on marshall's crossroad, which you can't really see here. at marshall's crossroad, that is where we recently acquired a large amount of property. finally, lockett's farm, double bridges, this is where general gordon's corps will attack. consequently at taylor's creek -- consequently come here at sailor's creek, general lee will
lose 7700 men and 8 generals. most of those are prisoners. but that resulted to be is somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of lee's army. no longer part of his army of northern virginia. they have taken prisoners and unlike those that have surrendered at appomattox they , will go to prison camp and will remain there until all confederate forces have surrendered, which is not 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.
of the original bridge from the civil war period. what happens on april 6 earlier in the day the union cavalry with a group of inventory will attack the high bridge in try to get to it and burn it before the confederate army could use it. they will be unsuccessful. the next day after sailor's creek union forces will pursue confederate forces across the bridge. confederates themselves burned the western edge of it. there is a small wagon bridge underneath, which doesn't get burned and the armies used that to cross high bridge. now lee's army is concentrating on this area around farmville. trains have opened up with rations. those rations are issued. before we can move his army
south to keysville union calvary and infantry moved around to the south of farmville near the area of hampden sydney college. thus, they cut off the avenue to lee's army. w what lee does is he decides that he will cross to the north side of the appomattox river here at farmville. he will burn all the bridges behind him. two bridges north of town, a wagon bridge and a well read -- a railroad bridge. those are burned successfully. a section of high bridge is destroyed. by leaving that smaller wagon bridge under it, union forces will use that and cross over 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 russian trains, -- there are more ration trains food and supplies located , there. his next point is to march through the town of appomattox three miles from appomattox station. appomattox station is currently the town of appomattox. that is where the next point of contact or supplies could be had. while lee is heading in this direction on the north side of the appomattox river, two union corps army follow him. gordon and longstreet. as that is 38 miles from here to here, with this line of march from here to here, it is only 30 miles. basically what is happening is with lee making this move to the
north of the river he has left a short road open to the union army. in the military, there is a maneuver called a pincer movement. that is what is happening here. the infantry 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 the engagement on the night of the eighth where union calvary attacked confederate artillery at appomattox station 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 shortly thereafter union infantry on the side. basically, lee is trapped in a pincer movement at appomattox courthouse. of course the rest is history. , tomorrow a couple of us will go into further detail. you can see how the military maneuvers of the union and the confederate army brought the armies to appomattox. that was not where he planned to go. he was still planning on going to north carolina. even when he got to appomattox courthouse he had been able to , break through this union surrounding maneuver, his next movement was not to lynchburg but to campbell courthouse. campbell courthouse is
present-day rustburg, 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 into bivouac. 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. because he was unable to break through the union army. general lee 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 court house national historical park, i had the opportunity to converse with thousands of visitors and with -- get the story on what that placement to them. many, particularly southerners found a sad environment which they care to eradicate in their mind. i empathize with them, as do many. the appomattox surrendered represented 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 than the field of conflict. this war would lose the talents of over half a million men who
might have served future generations to a better capacity than canon fodder. in a broader sense, appomattox symbolized to our nation a new beginning on its path of destiny. the question of dispute has been posed to an arbitration of arms and settled in a small virginia county seat village. on that sunday we went from being "the united states are" to "the united states is." the word indivisible is reaffirmed and the makeup of our government most were willing to stoically accept the outcome and worked to build what has been lost. robert e lee himself instructed his fellow southerners that "the war being at an end and having
been decided, i believed 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." for these feelings alone, the story of appomattox should be as proud an episode as any in our pass for all americans. i have you will join us in a couple weeks starting april 8, in the county of appomattox where the sign says where our nation reunited. from april 8 through april 12 there will be numerous programs honoring and commemorating what happened there 150 years ago. thank you. [applause]
>> questions for chris? it's a big campaign to cover. would anybody like to ask chris any questions? yes, sir? >> why were there no rations at a million courthouse -- at amelia courthouse? after the war, the south lost there were no investigations. there were postwar memoirs written. what happened? chris: there are numerous hypotheses as to what happened. the one i think that is most realistic, tracy mentioned this. the very end of the siege of petersburg, general lee's headquarters was to far west of the city. at ed chill -- at edgehill.
while lee was there, one of his aides, walter taylor, instead of being available to lee had gone off to richmond to get married that night. apparently in richmond where the supplies were to be sent from, they got a message from lee's headquarters, saying we are preparing to withdraw our troops from the city. send the supplies down the line, but they didn't say exactly where.
the commissary or whoever was in charge of supplies ascsent a message back to the house in lee's headquarters asking for more specific instruction. they broke through the union -- what happened, 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 of re lee, it's an appendix at the end of volume four. 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. it is a large campaign.
seven days, 100 miles, is there a particular incident that is most intriguing to you during the campaign that you did not cover in your talk here? humorous incident, kind of a wow moment? chris: one of the things i am preparing for this forthcoming is we are starting off the april 8 programs that appomattox with a talk on the battle of appomattox station, will start the program with talk by myself at the local church, liberty baptist church. whose predecessor was there at the time of the battle. when i worked there and even when ron was working at appomattox, we had no idea where the battle of appomattox station was. we had an idea because we knew
where the station was but by all accounts it says the battle was a mile from the station. you take a compass and going a mile it could be anywhere. the area we hypothesize that was located was in a triangular plot of land where route 24, 46 and 460 come together. it was built up as a shopping center. 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. what he did, he would draw a little maps of each of these battles and annotate them.
general custer was here. confederate artillery was here. i took this basic sketch map and cleaned it up, superimposed it on an 1867 map of that area. with that i put it over a topographical map and lo and behold we found battlefield. it was a location none of us have ever would have thought of. my talk on april 8 is the mystery of appomattox state. after which, i will move and meet up with pat. because of what we found, the civil war trust bought a large acreage of the battlefield. particularly the confederate position. it is now being preserved and developed as a battlefield park. after that, pat and i will do a tour there that will be some
living history and we will move into the village. that is one of the most exciting finds i can think of. by the way once i superimposed , the battle map on a total -- a modern topographical 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 metal detector and went over the ground. it was covered with friction primers, which is when you fire a cannon is the physical remains out in front. 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. >> ron is waiting. >> 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 towards amelia than the union route to the south. so the distances involved precluded his early start. i might also like to make chris
talk about this more. about the union rebuilding of the southside railroad between petersburg and burkeville. they did that in a period of about nine days. and also about the use of henry young and his young people that general sheridan utilized. maybe a couple of things chris may want to address. chris: to go along with what you mentioned about the union army and the southside railroad to burkeville that is 60 miles. those of us who are also railroad buffs know it is , the rails are separated by a gauge. the southside railroad, the two rails were five feet apart. the rolling stock had to fit that. the union army railroad that
tracy talked about, the military railroad, the engines and cars were four foot 8.5 gauge. the union army spread itself out from petersburg and did nothing but pull railroad spikes out. they had the line open from burkeville for 60 miles. that was quite a feat. the important thing about that, all the major union hospitals were over at city point. now that the rail line was open to burkeville, it became a major hospital center. all the wounded from sailor's creek, eventually they ended up at burkeville or they can be
placed on hospital train cars and sent back to petersburg. one other thing of interest 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. all of which are cities that are on the fall line of the rivers -- rappahannock, appomattox james, etc. most of the fighting is going north and south. other than a cavalry raid or two, 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 men and his army
somebody, let's say from dinwiddie general lee would say where does this road lead? for the union army the same thing. they didn't have a lot of good maps of this area. the free slaves as they went along, the contraband, as they fell along side the union army could tell you go on that land that will lead you to jetersvill e, etc. that is another reason i enjoy researching this area. the first book i wrote, which just went out of print. i was still in college. it is called 36 hours before appomattox. it covers sailor's creek, highbridge, farmville and cumberland church. >> we have a few left. chris: the new version just came out yesterday.