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tv   The Civil War Army of The Cumberlands Defense at Stones River  CSPAN  October 28, 2017 7:05pm-8:01pm EDT

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troops. this 45 minute talk, part of the symposium on great defenses of the civil war, hosted by the emerging civil war blog. , i was like to say my next bigger knees no introduction. it's because i have introduced chris 9000 times, which is why he needs no introduction. my great friend and political other is a trick of the memorial in virginia, which is a fantastic resource and a must see place to visit. once upon a time he was a civil war guy. he started as an intern at the -- he was the site manager and did some work with the civil war trust.
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he went on to the george patton museum, which got him involved with world war ii. he has written a couple of fantastic books, one on. though and one of the stones river and the tullahoma campaign. though -- one even per and one on the stones riverryville and the tullahoma campaigns. it was overshadowed by gettysburg and vicksburg. he is here today to talk little about stones river, that sets out tullahoma. that will wrap up 1862 and literally bring us into 1863 with one of the most great defenses of the civil war. chris kolakowski. >> it's great to see everyone here today. i have a tough job.
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we follow those two. i'm going to move with some of lack to you and keep ourselves on point. i want to talk about the battle of stones river. i refer to it as stones river. war.a great defense of the unpacking why this battle matters. you've got a lot more than i thought. sense of the ground, things like that. the first two days of 1863, just outside of tennessee.
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actually smack dab in the center of tennessee. spas between the federal army of cumberland. it will be formally designated after the battle. against 36,000 men. here.bout the army's in this summer of late's -- late 1863. in the beginning of this you gave us a hard-earned victory that had been defeated instead. that makes the -- makes the
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experience of stones river. one of the great defenses of the civil war and one of the great defenses of american history. the first is context. the other aspect is if there is some sort of trauma and live aspect. the escape from the near-death experience endures one of the great near-death experiences of a large -- of any large federal army, cementing only july 2 in in terms ofysburg the near-death experience that the potomac has. the army of the cumberland whether survives a near-death experience on new year's eve.
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and how the leadership makes a difference is a compelling story. for those who have been out to the battlefield, hopefully the rest of you will be motivated to go after this. i'm going to spend some time developing those themes. why the odds are so hi. before we actually get to december 31 i want to rewind the clock a little bit and the talks up, the true story to understand, you have to rewind the clock to september of 1862. we missed the deep trough of the
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union fortune in early winter of 1862. the confederates, after being on the ropes, the union army 1862ved as late as may of they may stop recruiting. the confederates launched massive counter affect -- massive counteroffensive -- counter offenses. you have confederates and kentucky on the offensive. abraham lincoln's birth state, he believed to lose kentucky was to lose the whole game and it sure looked like that was going to happen. you have confederates on the at -- on the offensive in charleston. confederates in the offensive in baton rouge, louisiana. it has word back to life and has come off the ropes and is
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putting blows against the union. there is also a great debate that has been going on in the summer of 1862, a political one in the north, about the nature of this conflict. in other words, how hard is this war going to be? we are fighting the southern .we are fighting the southern armies and the southern economy. that includes everything from do you burn fence rails if you are troops and you need to build fires? do you live off the land when you're in the south? two other issues including emancipating slaves. presently can has also been persuaded to wait for a victim jury before his emancipation proclamation. the plot is fairly well known. the battle of antietam gives it lincoln the victim -- victory he seeks. he then issued the luminary emancipation proclamation. -- preliminary emancipation proclamation. he still has to sign the final
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proclamation, january first, 1863. there is no guarantee that he is going to do that and he will face and credible political pressure in the north not to do that because it recaps the war. it is no longer just a war to preserve the union, it is a war of abolition and liberation. quite frankly, in sectors of the north, it is not what they signed up for, to put it mildly. the kentucky terminates in october 1862 with a victory at perryville. the other confederate offenses are turned back. october and early november of 1862, lincoln faces another battle as well. this is important to bring up. it is a political battle. you have the fall midterm elections. you have congress and quite a few state houses, both
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governorships and state legislatures up for election. why does that matter? here is why. think of all the regiments that you know and many of you are familiar with, who actually musters these guys in? who equips them and gives them at uniforms? who gives them training before they go to join the federal service? it is the states. lincoln has been driving a coordinated team of horses, but if the elections go wrong, that team is going to get a lot bulkier. to be quite frank with you, in that atmosphere, there is a real good chance some of the
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elections are going to go against lincoln and his allies. that is exactly what happens. early november, the republicans lose 34 seats in congress and barely hang onto control of the united states senate. more importantly, they lose the governorships of new york and new jersey. the governor of new york that is collected in the summer of 1863 will create the new york draft writers that are resisting. you will greet them in union square in new york. my friends, how do you think he is going to do? how supportive do think he will be of the lincoln administration and the war efforts when he takes office in january of 1863? by the way, let's not forget that new york is not only the economic hub of new york city, but it also provides the largest number of troops to either side of the war. that is a very, very egg issue that new york's governorship -- big issue that new york's governorship is going democratic in january. they also lose the legislatures in the following states, indiana, illinois, and new jersey. with apologies to some of my
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friends in new jersey, the two that really matter because of the quantity of troops they provide and the quantity of munitions they provide, are illinois and indiana. the governor can call bolland tears the president can call volunteers, who in the constitution both federally and state constitutions, provides for the armies? it is the legislatures. divided government means that this team of horses that lincoln is driving, this team of horses since 1861 is about to get a lot bulkier. lincoln also knows with the emancipation proclamation issue not too far away, he has already used antietam. antietam was victory enough. he realizes and not only does he have one more chance with the team in place, he also realizes to give the mx patient proclamation teeth, he needs to have another victory.
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-- the emancipation proclamation teeth, he needs to have another victory. lincoln has burnside and the armies of potomac and virginia. he has tennessee with the army in the cumberland and ulysses s. grant. he pushes all of them to "engage in hard, tough, fighting that will hurt somebody." all three a men will undertake campaigns in december 1862, which is unusual by 19th century standards. this is why. it is the political imperative of lincoln pushing his troops forward. what will happen in december 1862?
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first, december 13, 1862, burnside crossed the river two days before in the army of the potomac holes itself against fredericksburg. it has been called robert e lee's easiest victory. in one portion of the field, they break the line. for all intents and purposes, it is a one-sided fight. it is a complete disaster for the north. out west, grant starts moving overland and goes pretty well until the summer 20, 1862, earl van dorn at holly springs and cuts grants supply line and forces grant to turn around and go back to tennessee. even though grants army is saved for another day, they will eventually move by ship down the river toward vicksburg. it is an overland retreat and in the north, it is viewed as a significant defeat. on the 27th of december, william t sherman leads an exhibition against vicksburg, and has a smaller western bayou-based version of the battle of fredericksburg.
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the news from the battlefront is not good. on top of everything, lincoln is facing incredible political pressure. he also has voices on the other side telling him go ahead and issue the emancipation proclamation no matter what happens. all of this news is updated cabinet crises in the week before christmas 1862. it was only through political maneuvering that lincoln is able to prevent radical republicans from taking control of his administration. even as it is, lincoln confesses in to a friend that they want me
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to resign and i am half willing to gratify them. he is thinking about resignation. he tells another friend at the same time, just before christmas 1862, if this is hell, i am in it. the pressure on the lincoln administration is enormous. it is a political nadir for the lincoln administration. there is one hope left. there is one card left that lincoln and the united states army have not played, and that is rosecrans's 46,000 men in nashville. on the day after christmas, rosecrans marches out of -- marches out. the stakes could not be higher. it is the second-largest army. the army of the potomac has failed. the third largest army is diminishing with its tail between its legs. the second-largest army is the army of the cumberland. if they fail, i am not sure lincoln will withstand the
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political storm that will turn. that is the stakes of stones and river. that is the stakes of the late december 1862, when on boxing day, rosecrans and his men leave nashville. there is five days of maneuvering in cold and rainy weather. their pants are so frozen they have to crack them. at the end of december 30, the two armies are lined up in parallel lines. decided to battle. consulting with their commanders, he has three core commanders roughly 10 to 15,000 men.
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thomas.enry william hardy is going to be on the confederate left opposite cook and the other two. both army commanders are going to come up with exactly the same plan. we are going to left hook the enemy. we are going to cross stones river. and hopefully force him to retreat. leftgoing to start on the and move like this. , closese the jackknife the army, the federal army. .
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the nashville pie can runs right here. close push that jackknife you cut the army off. it will be destroyed. here's the essential difference between the two men. he's going to start his preliminary movement at seven. we are going to be in position and attack at six. he likes to stay up late. the confederates who have spent thenight in tennessee in 30's, in the case of one of the divisions labors from one line to the other end afforded stones river in the process. and about four hours of sleep.
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it's going to be a factor. and the first federal right here on the line can see the confederates coming. federals are not expected to be rid of the position. as a matter fact confederates take advantage of the federal breakfast, which is just about cooked and as they go by, the jackknife begins to close, they enjoy a nice hot coffee and breakfast. it was courtesy of the united states army. the two divisions are jefferson c davis and richard johnson and they collapse and the jackknife begins to close. the hinge -- he has been up and his men stand. on the other end of the line, rosecrans here's a firing. he is superintending the
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movement across stones river which began at 7:00 in the morning. general mccook on the right is heavily pressed and needs reinforcements. he is fine. rosecrans said he was fine. 7:00 turns to 7:15 which turns to 7:30, all of the sudden things aren't sounding good. the sound of battle is moving back to hear. this means it is getting north of me. the other thing is i can look over and am starting to see stragglers and people who have fled from the line and are reaching where i am overlooking the national pike. another courier arrives repeating the message and saying mccook has been defeated. this is a moment where leaders are measured.
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rosecrans had a choice. he goes pale. he has a choice. things are not breaking the favorably on the right, but he has enough time to bring brack the troops -- bring back the troops on the left to help out. what does that mean? image abandoned your entire plan and just arrived the day. -- it means few abandoned your entire plan and just survived the day. this is where a commander earns his pay. rosecrans is the only one who can make that decision. he makes one of the greatest decisions of the war. to abandon the move across stones river, bring back the troops and send them marching in the direction of cook to try to stabilize the line and try to hold the army. rosecrans will immediately tell the staff we are going to the front.
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for the rest of the day everybody will see him. he'll be everywhere, he'll be at the critical point. i have to fight one battle for the dominion of the universe i would give rosecrans command of as many men as he could see and could see him. presence isactive going to make a difference for these men. this is true of any organization. the fact rosecrans will be there all day, we will organize people. through, leading defenses makes a hughes difference. leadership makes the difference.
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rosecrans is an active participant. and that leadership makes a difference on new year's eve. to moveng to take time from the federal left over to the right. reinforcements here and sheraton's division right here have taken position in cedar force. in, tells his brigade commanders to hold it until hell freezes over. the hinge is at being attacked from three there is a young lieutenant who would say he wouldn't give and hence -- wouldn't have given a snap.
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arthur mcarthur, 75 years in the future. a little postscript, a little sidebar is 79 -- 75 years in the future his son, douglas will , marry a murphy's word -- a murphy's burger girl. she had relatives fighting's, they weren't literally shooting at him, but their units were shooting at arthur macarthur in 1862. douglas will refer to himself as the reunion of blue and gray personified, this is one of the things he was talking about. but i digress. 10:00 in the morning of the jackknife is almost closed and as the confederates slam into russo here and they repeatedly slam against the hinge, it gets real tough in the cedars. after about an hour through the fighting, russo orders his men to retire. one of the brigades determined that hell has in fact frozen
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over very best hell has in fact frozen over. -- from the national pike to half a mile, there is an open between cedars and the pike. that's where stones river national cemetery is today. you put artillery on the hill, infantry in the road, and where does that sound familiar? it's a familiar playbook you see a lot in the civil war. again a
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little further. there's no retreat beyond the national pike. the national pike is cut in the jackknife will be closed. going to be the last stand for rosecrans army. closing, but it hasn't stopped closing. rosecrans needs time. he needs time to coalesces on the national pike. he needs time to organize the men as they come back and replenish them to bring up the reinforcements that are arriving increasingly. even for the engineer brigade in position. he needs time to build that line. how is he going to buy it? he makes the cold-blooded decision to sacrifice the regular core of his army. thearmy of the potomac --
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army of the cumberland has a 1400 strong regular brigade, 15th, 16th, 18, 19 united states of injuries, also on active duty today. the slightly sunken road as a makeshift earthwork with a little behind it started with artillery. and as russo begins to fall back, confederates pushing to the open field. sheridan and negley's division is the anchor, right at the hinge. they have to retreat. sheridan's boys are almost completely out of ammunition and his responses fixed bayonets and cuts your way -- cut your way to the hill. it was like 10,000 men suddenly arrested from -- erupted from the cedars and they raced across the field with the confederates coming in hot pursuit. it's 11:00 in the morning and the jackknife has closed again a little further. there's no retreat beyond the national pike. the national pike is cut in the jackknife will be closed. going to be the last stand for rosecrans army. the jackknife is closing, but it hasn't stopped closing. rosecrans needs time. he needs time to coalesces on the national pike. he needs time to organize the men as they come back and replenish them to bring up the reinforcements that are arriving increasingly. even for the engineer brigade in position. he needs time to build that line. how is he going to buy it? he makes the cold-blooded decision to sacrifice the regular core of his army. the army of the potomac -- the army of the cumberland has a 1400 strong regular brigade, 15th, 16th, 18, 19 united states of injuries, also on active duty today. rosecrans gives the order to george thomas, who goes over to the brigade commander oliver shepherd, a hard case old regular, asus and order. take your men in there and stop the rebels. alumina clock in the morning, the 1400 men of the regulars will margin prevent formation back across the open field, back into the cedars, where they will collide head-on with four forget -- confederate brigades. fight last 20 minutes, a short, sharp fight and both sides will
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give as good as they get. then shepherd will order a retreat, covered partly by general russo in the cedars as a fallback. those four 200 men the march -- 4,400 men the march across later in the day, when they muster, 806 will respond to the call. 44% of the united states regulars, those professionals, have been left back on the battlefield. as another sidebar, there were two men whose names you probably wreck guys for different reasons. one of the men of the 18th u.s. who survives that expedition, william federman, and gives his name to a massacre in 1866 in wyoming, and the other one learns the medal of honor for this battle, if you are familiar with new york in the civil war, particularly the monumental history of new york in the rebellion, he's the one who
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wrote that after the war. a couple of connections for you. but regular sacrifice enables rosecrans to stop the blade shutting. it enables them to coalesces line on the national pike. as the last afternoon of 1862 dawns, confederates are going to do what they can to break this last line. first, the division will hit the center-right where the visitor center is today at the park.
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as of the artilleryman on the knoll said, the confederates came on like demons. both sides sensed that this was the final shot. as one of the confederate brigade commander said, as we came out of the woods, the federal artillery fire was so intense, it it was cutting bargain branches off the trees. we got into the field and we were in the field 10 to 12 minutes it was determined that no troops could live under that fire. and so mccowen skies, after six hours of fighting and marching fallback in the center is now safe. but the federal right is not. for the north, cleveland been able to take position just short of the national pike. about 11:30 is the regulars are
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falling back, vancleave encounters a confederate division of 8000 guys under patrick cleburne. these the guys who have been marching and fighting since about midnight and the ones who afforded stones river and have been doing this on about three hours sleep to read they sensed victory is nine. they had vancleave, vancleave actually goes down with a wound. he pushed back his brigades and actually put their skirmishers in the early afternoon on the national pike. the confederates have it right here. this is where leadership makes the difference. vancleave and his brigadiers rally the division and launch a counterattack. they put what they have in front of them, which is three regiments, 13th, 15th. they go in and just attack. do something to blunt the romance them. -- the momentum. and it works. the confederates, believing they have the victory, these exhausted confederates,
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believing they have the victory in their hands suddenly, the shock is too much. in war, the moral is to the physicals three to one. the shock of the flank attack from their southern flank was too much. and is one of the brigade commanders would later say, since i thought it was a general retreat, he was way on the other end of the line, his men didn't even get engaged. everybody starts falling back. these exhausted men have had enough. they fallback and he says i was mystified at why we did that. we just congratulated ourselves on winning the day. but they fell back. they were exhausted. and there were no confederate reserve. and vancleave is able to restore
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his line and restore the federal line on the national pike. they won't write up later at about 3:00 in the afternoon and call off any further attacks by either mcallen or cleburne. it would be folly, not valor to attack the federal positions. we're not quite done. because the jackknife, the blade has been -- no longer has essential pressure on it. but the hinge will now become the focus. there's a four acre cedar break known to history as the round for us. the confederates throughout the afternoon will launch repeated charges against that position. the firing will be so intense that men will actually pick cotton out of the cotton fields and put them into the ears because the din is so loud. a attack repeatedly to the point at one point where rosecrans late in the day, the last attack is going in, he is concerned that the federals might be wavering. so he rides down and as he rides down following his staff off the knoll, confederates shall assess him and decapitates his chief of staff. his goal, offering here -- his skull, cut off right here. rosecrans essentially doused in the guys blood.
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everybody in that sector sees it. all shared and in that area recall vividly in his memoirs the horrible public death. he says at that moment, the ability to carry on stoically was what was needed. and rosecrans set the example and carried forward and did his duty. later, he will go make sure his body has been recovered and he likely cut the buttons off of his now ruined uniform and put them in a box that he will keep for the rest of his life. they were very close. he says the buttons i wore the day he was killed. it impacted him. but he did his duty as a leader first. imagine if he lost control at that moment, when it might've done to the defenders, especially in that high-pressure moment. as dusk falls, the fighting ends. it has been quite a day.
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the army of the cumberland has come very, very close to death. but it has managed to escape every time. that night, rosecrans calls a council of war, held free-form style and produces a lot of conflicting accounts. it comes down to rosecrans's trying to decide if you should stay or go. but the guy who turns everything is the center wing commander, george thomas. everyone is trying to discuss whether we should retreat and george thomas closes the matter by saying his army does not retreat. and that's what rosecrans wants to hear. what he needs to hear. his immediate response is yes. go back to your commands and prepare to fight and die, gentlemen.
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and the army of the cumberland will be here on new year's morning. bragg, for his part, has recorded an incredible victory, which was certain extent is probably true. he doesn't expect the federal to be there in the morning. and when they are, he's a loss for what to do. they spend new year's day essentially skirmishing and consolidating their positions. january 2, late in the dave brat will launch -- launch of us that -- an offensive at mcfadden's fort, which rosecrans had visited on december 31 and had asked brigade commander there three times, will you hold this force. the first time, i will try. we will this fort, i will die right here. we will hold this fort. yes, sir. that's what rosecrans needs to hear. now, the confederates are going to go after mcfadden's fort again. read about here.
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bragg loses just over 10,000 men, 27% of his army. bragg council's losses and realizes he can't stay here any longer and retreats generator. on january 5, he occupies murphysboro. the battle of stones river is over. some people would argue it's a draw. the federals didn't win by attacking, they hung on by dogged determination, survival, and being able to stay get one round longer than the confederates. that's good enough. january 1, 1863, the final proclamation is issued. that's why stones river's a great defense. the unbelievably compelling story, and underappreciated battle in many ways. a compelling story about how the army of the cumberland repeatedly is pushed to the brink, but they always manage to escape through hard fighting,
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good leadership, and steadfastness of the united states shoulder -- soldiers. it needs one criteria for greatness. it meets the other one as well, because the odds could not have been higher when those armies meet in central tennessee. think about the political crisis we're on. think about what's going on in the north. think about the context of the battle. and you begin to realize why lincoln told rosecrans later this was a battle, had it been a defeat instead, the nation could have scarcely lived over. and i think he is probably right. because of bragg had taken the national pike, he would have surrounded the army of the cumberland and is a really excellent chance that rosecrans's army would cease to exist for all intents and purposes. and what would that have done to the north? and to the south? into the balance of the civil
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war? it's not too much to say that the course of united states history was altered in a few hours of fighting along the national pike on new year's eve 1862. for those two reasons, first, the absolutely incredibly dramatic story of the defense put up by the army of the cumberland, particularly on new year's eve, 1862, but also january 2. but also the fact that the odds were extremely high, it makes stones river not just a great defense of the civil war, but one of the great defenses in the history of the united states army. i like to thank you for your attention. if you have questions, i'm happy to answer them. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> we will take a few questions. please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from. >> bob ruth, columbus, ohio. as you rightfully noted, rosecrans was decisive, courageous thinking at stones river. what happened at chickamauga? >> [laughter] that is a great $64 question. if rosecrans is -- i think the biography of him is written entitled "edge of glory," is very true. the difference between rosecrans at stone river in chickamauga -- the rosecrans at stones river has fought a very short campaign. it's also a very straightforward battle and a fairly open place. you can stand on than all -- on the knoll and see your battle line. he has a good visual sense of what's going on. in chickamauga, it's like fighting in jungle. rosecrans gets very out of touch with the situation. couple that with the fact that the guy has a very exuberant
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personality -- he has a way of giving a lot of orders and being very enthusiastic. he also has a terrible time managing his sleep schedule. he averages as the campaign goes on, only about 45 hours of sleep tonight. considering the fact that you left nashville on december 26 is not really that much of an effect, adrenaline is a way of taking over. but by the time he gets chickamauga, he's been three weeks on campaign and maintaining that schedule. there's an exhaustion of mental reserves that there is well. you put all of that together and the formula that works at stones river because of certain other circumstances we talked about doesn't work and get some of the trouble at chickamauga. he's a fascinating study as a leader. another question over here. >> jim rose brock, frederick, maryland. you talked about the men in the artillery. henry hunt was the artillery guy
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in the army of the potomac. to the army of the cumberland have a similar artillery reserve that allowed them to master guns like that, and what overall is the result, with respect to defense and artillery in the civil war? >> that's a really broad question. i will take it this way. unlike the army of the potomac, where there was a central artillery reserve, the army of the cumberland didn't have an army artillery reserve. however, each of the core, right-wing, center wing, left wing seem to be 14th, 20th, and 21st corps of their own. that enables the massing of guns. that's why thomas crittenden when the attack on january 2 goes in, he turns to his chief artillery and says now is your chance. and mendenhall promptly masses the artillery left-wing plus a bunch from the center wing and they are able to mass fire pretty quickly. in terms of the broader question you asked about artillery and its role in civil war defense, i would say the strongest piece in the civil war chess is a hildebrand buyer tillery with
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infantry support. artillery is comparable to what the machine gun will be on the western fronts. its ability to put a lot of firepower downrange and reach out entice touch that range that is far beyond our rifles can do. it makes it a powerful, powerful asset on the battlefield. artillery, and i say this is a descendent of artillery, artillery is known as the king of battle. you begin to realize that artillery plays a very important role. the infantry, we talk a lot about infantry, because they are the most mobile elements, but the artillery, particular stones river was definitely the anchor of the federal defense, no question about it. >> tim is sitting here with a book called guns of gettysburg.
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>> [laughter] >> he's asking artillery question. tonight on lectures -- and how the suits were used to challenge conventional racial identity. >> visitors were viewed as public enemy, if not number one, behindone be right japanese-americans. at 6:00 p.m., the green hill plantation to reflect
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.ide as the original slaveowner very active in the slave trade and so one of the things he decided to put in his yard was a slave auction block. >> you can definitely feel the power of this place. the lastd have been men and women would have put their families. after this, they would gather .ll across the united states >> 10 8:00, and interview with william seale who is the outer wall of the white house. >> it is carved with lilies and flowers and acorns and everything you could income. it is very lush, probably the
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in america in 100 years. american history tv all weekend, every week and on c-span3. theonight at 11:00 eastern, book publisher 70 and a -- 70th anniversary and the -- 70th anniversary in washing the -- washington, d.c. in her book, unbelievable, and the road seat to the craziest campaign in american history. >> it is no secret that politicians don't like reporters. there are legendary stories about susan.
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what was unusual was the public nature of it. the way he would go after crowd andand have the encourage the crowd and blew us. >> and on :00 p.m., the former host of ubs is based in nation on the impact of changing technology on journalism confining the truth in today's daily as of news. >> the person we have to keep doing is trying to sort out from the false and that is an overwhelming job now. it is a bigger responsibility. we now have access to more information than any people in history of the world, but we running short on the raiders.
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-- the curators. secret history of the kennedy assassination in here to talk about the impending release of documents. release?ee >> we will see thousands and thousands of pages of documents online. is going to be difficult to understand what is in there. includes 3100 documents about the assassination that have not been seen in something like 30,000 that have been redacted. we have no work from president trump on will be released in >>
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have the ability to hold some back? -- there's aerson requires the release. deal with person who can block that is president trump. he says he will release all unless there is a national security reason not to. mind, what would classify as a national security concern? >> i think it should have been released years ago. we have been dealing with literacy series. it is time to put an intimate rest became, but apparently the argument may be made that some of these documents prepared in -- 1990's involved
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there's a website you can go to see a document already exists. tot does it take so long have a release of all the information some years later? stone produceser them which produced a million conspiracy theories. congress reacted by -- commerce released the law try to camp down some of the receipt theories and as a result, millions of pages were made public. a small handful of about 4100 documents have been held back because agents like the fbi and cia sent in my danger -- might endanger national security.
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here to talk about the release of the documents, what information would you like to them these documents? other still unanswered questions about what happened? >> the material on most to sit in involves what i consider the hidden chapter in the assassination story, which it involves mexico city. whereolves serious trip he met with cuban spies and peoples spies and other who might want to to see is a kennedy dead. --know he was a supporter the cia had him under aggressive surveillance.
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in mexico city, he apparently was talking openly. >> does it change the he acted alone narrative? >> doesn't point to second, but as you suggest he may have been in contact with people who encouraged him to do this. oft leads to the question whether there were sensors to this crime. >> when it is released people don't website is its material that the average person can understand? what you wanted when the poor through this material. this the official writing to other government officials. the will be hard
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even for people who have some background to make sense of documents for even years to >> that they can reveal how the cia and fbi have a active after -- how they acted after? >> yes. from the idea that oswald was a puritan with some the fbi and cia are vivid did not have a chance to stop it. sourcing to be the oswald told other people. may have gotten help what he was going to do and i think a lot of documents are going to show how knew before the assassination. >> do you plan to revise the book at all?
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christ is something really rewrite the story as i understand it, would be intrigued to rewrite some of my book, but i don't think that will be the situation. i think will be presented with lots more evidence to show there's a cover-up by the cia and fbi about what they had no. a cool andor of shocking act. and-span, where history staley carried in the and 79, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> next, luis alvarez teaches a class on the 1943 zeus susan rice.
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-- zoo suit rights. riots.ting -- this class is about one hour and 20 minutes. you of ouremind ongoing narrative on mexican history. last week we kept about 1910 and the mexican revolution and the dramatic changes that this made it for the northern side of the border. this week we are going to begin classsion of our third point in the course which is 1933. really at the stand in for world war ii. if you recall, at the end of last week we had been discussing those million plus mexican migrants who moved north of the border into the united states. many of them, under its of thousands of them, a t


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