Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War 1863 Battle of Mine Run  CSPAN  January 3, 2020 2:40pm-3:33pm EST

2:40 pm
enter the c-span student cam video competition. you have until january 20th to create a five to six-minute documentary. we're giving away a total of $100,000 in cash prizes with a grand prize of $5,000. for more information, go to our website, "american history tv's" look at the civil war continues now with a discussion on the battle of mine run, a small battle in december 1863 between union forces and better positioned confederates near fredricksburg, vij. we heard from chris makowsky who serves as co-founder of the american civil war blog which hosted this symposium on forgotten battles. this is 50 minutes. >> it's my honor and privilege to introduce our final speaker,
2:41 pm
dr. chris mackowski, editor and chief and co-founder of emerging civil war, series editor of the civil war series and the engaging the civil war series published in partnership with southern illinois university press. chris is a writing professor in the school of communication at saint bonaventure university in allegheny new york where he serves as associate dean for undergraduate programs. chris is a historian in residence at stevenson's ridge in central virginia. hets's worked as a historian for the national park service at fredricksburg and spotsylvania national military park. i'm so sorry. i am not crying. my eyes decided to water at a very awkward moment. it's all good. sorry, chris.
2:42 pm
>> i brought tears to her eyes. >> it's all good. he was also a historian for the national park service at fredricksburg and response vein yeah national military park where he gives tours at four major civil war battle fields as well as the building where stonewall jackson died. chris has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the civil war. his articles have appeared in all the major civil war magazines. chris serves on the board of directors for the central virginia battlefield trust and national advisory board for the civil war chaplain's museum in lynchburg, virginia. please join me in welcoming chris mackowski. >> thank you, sarah.
2:43 pm
>> in november of 1879 mark twain was asked to give a speech at a rhee union of the army of the tennessee in honor of ulysses s. grant. he turned out to be the 15th speaker on a long list of people offering accolades. he called it the perilous distinction of batting cleanup. he said he was the last speaker on the list, an honor no person probably has ever sought. you guys are going to see something rare, which is a chris mackowski powerpoint presentation. the whole reason i'm doing it so i have an excuse to show edward's map. make me a map dot-com. for the long time, the battle of mine run has been understudied, unappreciated.
2:44 pm
in fact, nothing happened. so i'll make up a bunch of stuff for about half an hour and we'll see what happens at the end. when edward made this map, that basically doubled the amount of cartography done on this battle. for a long time, the only thing available was what was in the official atlas of the armies. you can see just a little bit some sketchy bits -- this is why i don't do powerpoint. you can see the federal lines and the confederate lines. over here in the margin i have written echoes of fredricksburg. that's because years ago my friend and mentor greg merts, historian of the park service here had to give a tour of mine run. he's the first person to introduce mine run to me. i got to pound around on the battlefield with greg and kind of learn about it. as we talked over the course of the day, this notion of echoes of fredricksburg came up. i'm going to use that as the lens to talk about mine run. the battle of mine run which
2:45 pm
takes place in the end of november, 1863, really echoes a lot of what happened at fredricksburg almost a year earlier. the echos are so strong that at one point in the fall of 1863 george gordon meade wants to shift his axis to the east because of logistics and lincoln said no because of the federal loss in fredricksburg which was so devastating and so lopsided, lincoln said the country could not stand another loss at fredricksburg. so much so that he refused to let his army even go near the place. so that's going to limit in pretty significant ways what meade is allowed to do. so as we take a look at the fall of 1863, we're going to calls be
2:46 pm
looking back to 1861. the first thing to keep in mind is that george gordon meade is going to try a flanking maneuver. throughout the fall of '63, he's been combating on the axis of the orange and alexandria railroad, right up here. starting all the way up in bristo station, they move down in this direction. so lee is ex-paekt f pekting the union army to continue along that axis. he's going to set up his defense on the far side of the river. lee is looking to intercept meade's movements. what meade wants to do is break away from this. he wants to go all the way to the east of fredricksburg, way off the map here. lincoln says no. so instead, he's going to try to find a way to get around the army here.
2:47 pm
if you recall in fredricksburg, ambrose burn side is faced with a decision. should he go right after robert e. lee's army which has retreated down to the shenandoah valley after ante tum? instead he decides to do a franking movement around the east to fredricksburg where he's hoping the get around the confederates, lee trying to block the way. meade is going to try the same thing here at mine run. he's going to try to get around the confederate right flank. but, of course, just as ambrose burn side had pontoon problems, so does george gordon meade. you might recall that burnside does get around robert e. lee and get to fredricksburg first. he pulls a march on robert e. lee, something nobody else has been able to do to this point in the war. they get to the banks of the rappahannock river. he called ahead for pontoons.
2:48 pm
nobody at army headquarters thought that was important. it takes a while for those pontoons to arrive and burnside has to wait and wait and wait before he's finally able to get across the river. meade has similar problems. as he's trying to get across the rap dan river, he knows he has a large army that has to get across the river. he splits them into three different wings to send them forward. but just before the start of the campaign, there's a torrential downpour that delays the start of the campaign. it turns the roads to mud, and it swells the rivers. but on the morning of november 26th, thanksgiving day, instead of settling into dinners of turkey and stuffing and all those warm delights of home, the soldiers are told to get up and start marching. they head to the banks of the rappadan. they have the pontoons ready to
2:49 pm
go. they get them into place and the swollen rivers from the rain storms have widened as well as deepened, leaving the army one pontoon short at two of its three crossings. so the engineers will have to try to shuffle together a makeshift trestle to allow that to happen. if we take a look here at our map, the federals will cover here at culpepper mine ford, and over here at jacobs ford. if we use our room as a map -- you guys know i love to use the room as a map, culpepper is out the wooden doors. as the federal army crosses into the chapel and comes forward, they're going to come on the orange turnpike which is going to head into the city of orange that way. they're going to come along the orange plank road which winds through the tables and comes out here. he's also going to send a
2:50 pm
portion of his army through the back hallway, into the restrooms to come this way. so if you think the restrooms have been busy up to got a sig portion of the army there. so, he's going to try to do that. as he gets across this ford and that ford, that's where they find things to be significantly problematic and they run into these pontoon problems. ironically, the wing of the army that's crossing at the culpeper mine road is led by tardy jorng psychs who got his nickname because he was known to be late for everything. he happens to be the one guy who's on time for this whole movement. he gets across the river and nobody else can get across. so, mead tells sikes to hold up.
2:51 pm
so, sikes has to just kind of cool his heals. he's got the first corps following him and they're only able to advance a couple of miles, just enough to camp out and wait for everybody else to catch up. coming down the middle road is going to be the second corp. of the command of kay warren. hancock is still recovering from his wound at gettysburg. warren is the savior of little round top. he's rewarded with corp. command. he bloodies a.p. hill's nose at the station. he's a rising star in the army. in fact there's rumors going around washington that if mead needs to be replaced, warren is the guy. he is that much on the rise. he's finally going to get his men across after building that trestle and come down this road. meanwhile, the third and sixth
2:52 pm
corp. are the ones going down the hallway and through the bathrooms. leading that entire column is henry prince. and he is not having a good time of it. he gets to the banks of the river late because he's late getting out of camp. he decides he's going to do a personal reconnaissance. it takes him an hour. and finally he decides, oh, well, i guess this is the ford after all. we'll cross. he gets his men finally across. the sixth corp. comes across and he's starting down that backhaulway and he decides to take a wrong turn and discovers he's deep within the bowels of the enemy. sounds like a proctologists nightmare. this will lead into the next echo of fredericksburg, key subordinates not understanding their orders. prince is late starting. he gets bungled at the river.
2:53 pm
he gets lost on the side of the river. and then things only get worse. now, the commander of the third corp. is a guy named blinky french. every time i say his name i'm tempted to go like this. his men say the more he drank, the more he blinked. on this particular day, by 11:00, he was well-pickled. i can only imagine him blinking out morse code or something, just really going at it. and rather than have someone other than prince take the lead because of course prince had done such a fabulous job so far, he's going to leave prince in the lead. let's see what other problems we can get into then. now, if we think about fredericksburg for a moment at the south end of the field of what is known as the slaughter pin farm today, supposed to be a
2:54 pm
pre-dawn attack across those fields using the whole core. franklin misunderstands his orders and will only send a single division. and that's going to make the entire battle plan at fredericksburg unravel. mead's going to find himself embroiled in this again because prince is going to misunderstand his orders just as franklin had the year before. if we take a look at what french is supposed to do, he's supposed to come down here and gets to this little intersection, the house owned by widow morris. he's supposed to take this turn here to locust grove. they're supposed to meet at robinson's tavern. the entire union army is supposed to concentrate at locust grove. if -- pardon me as i walk in front of the camera.
2:55 pm
if we're looking at our room, locust grove is right here. sikes is supposed to wind up here, come this direction, warren is supposed to come straight up, the guys out of the bathroom are supposed to come here concentrating at locust grove pushing forward to orange getting in robert e. lee's rear. this is going to allow the flanking move we talked about. when we get to the widow morris's intersection, henry prince stops which is remarkable because he's under explicit orders to take the left road when he gets to this int intersection. instead, he stops and says i better scout out these roads to see which one i should take. and it's going to take two hours and he's going to send cavalry detachments down both roads. ironically, the cavalry that
2:56 pm
goes down the road he's supposed to take gets captured. had he marched down the road with his group he would have been able to sweep away the confederate army down there. and blinky french showing exceptional leadership rides forward and makes his camp some 300 yards behind prince. and instead of riding up to prince to say hey, what's going on? they send couriers back and forth over a 300-yard distance. and so that's why this is going to last for some two hours while french decides i'm going to let prince figure this out. prince is like i don't know which road i've been explicitly told to take. and instead of continuing on, he's going to be there. and then finally he'll decide do you know what? why don't i take the road i'm not supposed to take. and the reason he does is because the scouts he has sent
2:57 pm
down in this direction run into what he thinks are confederate cavalry scouts. but in fact, they are squirmishers from edward al johnson's division. mead said don't take that road because you might run into confederates which is exactly what happens. and prince being amazed that this has happened decides to develop the situation. so, here we can see prince is up here widow morris's and he starts sending men down here bumping into these confederates. the confederates think that the federals bumping into them are dismounted federal cavalry. so, here we have the confederates thinking the federals are dismounted cavalry. they don't really know what's going on. and had prince just followed his explicit orders, none of this
2:58 pm
would have happened. instead, he's going to start sending two brigades forward to try to continue to develop the situation. as this is all going on, the sound of guns can be heard off to the federal left. here at locust grove on the 27th, k. warren has made his way to locust grove waiting for the fifth and first corp. and waiting for the third and sixth corp., concentrating here to push forward. and as he gets to this spot, confederates begin to approach from the opposite direction. robert e. lee has had guys off on clarks mountain and has seen all of this happening. the delay getting across the river has given lee the chance he needs to respond. so, mead has lost his element of
2:59 pm
surprise. but because warren gets to this spot first, he's able to command the topography, a ridge right here along the front row. and he deploys his men and he's able to repulse those confederates that come forward. but he's not confident enough to take the fight to the confederates because he's still waiting for sikes and french. when we finally find out what happens to sikes, confederate cavalry starts to delay him and he pushes forward. as he does so, more confederate infantry comes up to try to stop him. here's a forecast of it. leading the way is henry heath. now, you're right, remember, henry heath led the way in front of the third corps into a small town in gettysburg and he was
3:00 pm
told not to bring on general engagement. how did that work out for heath? so, here, lee says don't bring on a general engagement because i need to see what's in front of me. but lee himself will arrive on this part of the battlefield, and he'll see sort of what's going on. and first he'll tell heath go ahead and pitch in. but more federal infantry keeps pushing up and lee says hold on just a second. let's let this kind of develop just a little bit more. so, then heath pulls back and sikes is able to come to an area called new hope church. they sort of settle in. the first corps under john newton because steve's good buddy john reynolds was killed at gettysburg and steve's back there in mourning -- let's take a moment of silence. i feel a little better. so, john newton is in charge of the first corps. he's going to side between this
3:01 pm
area between sikes and warren. you guys look like good first corps soldiers to me. so, then the question becomes where's french? he's over here in a place called payne's farm getting into trouble he was not supposed to get into, that he was explicitly ordered to avoid, that he could have gone around. what makes this even worse is because of those roads, french has bottlenecked the sixth corps behind him. so, basically we have got just over a third of the federal army out of commission because of what's taking place on the slide in front of us. in the meantime, the confederates, as they've been moving down this road start to get embroiled in this fight that has been happening at this intersection, johnson's ready to swing in on warren's flank. and prince, bumping into the rear of johnson's column, causes
3:02 pm
johnson to stop. and johnson immediately turns around and heads back to pitch in to the threat in his rear. now, this becomes important because johnson, commanding a single division, has about 5,300 men. i can look at my notes here because between the third and sixth corps, there are about 32,000 federals over here. johnson just very wisely says i'm going to pitch right in. i don't know what i'm going into. let's just take it to them. okay. and in doing so, what happens over the course of these next few hours ties down a significant portion of the federal army which then ties -- pulls back and decides he's going to do what's called the
3:03 pm
doubl double-enveloping maneuver. entire portion of his division this way and this way. steve, you're in a very bad spot. i apologize. >> story of my life. >> story of your life. you're going to get help from steve over here. he's going to protect your flank just as we see here. we've got federals coming in to help, carr's division. and as the double-enveloping happening, the confederates come in in disorganized attacks. they're non-coordinated because the guys that are attacking straight in front of steve have a lot less distance to cover than the guys who are way out on the end pin wheeling up. does that make sense? so as a result the confederates pitch in in really uncoordinated fashion, and we can see here that the stonewall brigade for instance finds himself out in the middle of the field with no support and they get chewed up
3:04 pm
and fall back. and their commander stonewall jim walker grabs the flag and flies out trying to rally troops and realizes nobody's followed them and turns around and goes back. so, there's really brutal fighting that happens. one carolinan says there were many buckets flying through the air. they said this battle was every bit as intense as the fighting they had faced in gettysburg, just vicious brutal stuff across this field. but because walker doesn't have support yet because it takes leroy stafford a while to get into position, stafford finally shows up and doesn't have support on his right. jones comes up and around. he'll get shot in the head. he'll survive. he'll get killed at the battle of the wilderness in the spring. this really prevented the confederates from getting out
3:05 pm
there taking it to the federals. doesn't really matter though because what johnson has done here is tied up 32,000 men. these are 6-1 odds, and johnson's just the in there swinging. and as a result, that prevents warren from assaulting. it prevents sikes from assaulting. and mead finds his entire element of surprise gone. and i can just imagine mead who as you all know has a very calm, cool demeanor, one of the most temperate men in the entire army. and the exasperation that he felt and the staff officers talk about it because he's got a great plan. he's got an excellent plan. he had the jump on robert e. lee and through no fault of his own, his subordinates have not been able to execute so far. so, here we've mentioned
3:06 pm
division versus a corps. it was george warren meads division. here we've got the same confederate second corps men allocating the division taking on not one but two federal corps. every time i talk about echos, i'm sure my friend wchris who writes the echos of the war blog is like ooh, i'm teaching him something. johnson is able to extra kate himself and get across mine run. mine run is about a mile to the rear of the intersection we've been talking about. joel decides he's going to fall back because he saw a good strong defensive spot on the back of that stream. so, all the confederates pull
3:07 pm
back. so, on the morning of the 28th, mead finally feels ready to advance. he's got his whole line connected, his whole line finally connected, and he pushes forward to find no confederates. so, he pushes forward a little more and a little more and his men finally get within sight of the stream and they see on the far side this formidable defensive position the confederates have taken. they've fallen back and started digging in. if we think of all the formidable position at fredericksburg, we're going to talk about the stonewall and murray's heights, a line stretching all the way down to prospect hill. we all know the story of fredericksburg of the union army trying to throw itself against the sunken road and stone wall. that's still a strong memory in the minds of these federals as they see those confederate works. so, nobody's excited about
3:08 pm
what's going to happen next. making things even worse, at one spot along mine run where the road passes the stream, there's a mill, rose mill. confederates dam up the stream and it backs up, makes a huge flooded plain. one mainer says it was a red sea, rebels dammed the sea and we dammed it too, as frustrated as they were trying to cross that. they talk about seeing miles of cleared high ground facing them. every advantageous spot for an artillery piece pointed right at them. oh, boy. so, mead's got to figure out what to do next. so, he comes to an interlude that has nothing to do with fredericksburg. mead's got to figure out should
3:09 pm
i assault that? i don't think so. but he calls corps commanders and asks them are there favorable conditions for an assault anywhere along the line. nobody has anything positive to say until k. warren comes to them and says i've got this idea. rather than assaulting straight across, why don't i take a portion of the army and backtrack just a little bit and cut across country and swing back over here toward new hope church and then we'll get even further beyond the confederate right flank and we'll put ourselves in position to assault their flank. and mead has no other options. so, he tells warren to go ahead and make preparations for this maneuver. now, he trusts warren pretty implicitly by this point. after all, warren did good, did
3:10 pm
well, at gettysburg. i'm a writing teacher. i should know that, right? he did well at gettysburg. he has done well so far in the fall. and so he has mead's ear. he has mead's trust. other corps commanders including blinky french are a little apoplectic that mead is giving so much weight to warren at this point. but mead's like what do you got for me? oh, well, nothing. so, warren is going to take more than half the army on this march. as he pulled out of his line, the fifth corps is going to slide in and fill in the spot. he's going to take elements of the corps with him and finally get into position. it's going to take them so long to get into position that night faul fall is going to come. and nobody really wants to attack at night. so, this is the evening of the 29th. as he gets off into position after making this march, he's
3:11 pm
just going to kind of camp out in this area over here. now, one of the popular stories of mine run for being a forgotten battle that has no popular stories, but if there is one, this is one of them, is that warren told his men to build as many campfires as possible. make us look like we are a huge host knocking on the door of the confederate army. let's try to intimidate them overnight. in fact, warren does not do that. that becomes one of the popular misconceptions after this. those men probably wish they had fires because again as it happened at fredericksburg the year before, there's going to be bitter, bitter cold. at fredericksburg when the men are making those assaults on the 13th of december, temperatures rise into the 40s but drop below freezing as the men are trapped on the battlefield. here at mine run, the temperatures drop below zero. men have water in their canteens
3:12 pm
freeze solid. men who are out on picket duty freeze to death because they are out there isolated and not allowed to move around and don't have these fires that i talked about. it becomes bitter, bitter cold. the plan calls for an attack starting at 8:00. guns are going to open up. sedge wick is going to down at that end of the line try to keep lee distracted and warren is going to come swinging in. after that happens, sedgewick is supposed to go in. as light illuminates this part of the battlefield and warren has the opportunity to see the confederate line, he suddenly has grave misgivings. confederates overnight were not intimidated by the federal force that had appeared on their right flank. instead, lee sends in every
3:13 pm
single reserve he can to extend and fortify this position another fimile to the right. and they spent all night digging in. now, it's important to remember up to this point in the war, we have not seen extensive use of field fortifications. drew earlier talked about one of the very few instances where we have seen field fortifications of the war. there were some thrown up in the chancellor's campaign during the fight. but as far as a stationary army digging in, federals haven't really had to face that too much. and suddenly these materialize overnight. and warren is an engineer, so he's looking at these confederate positions with an engineer's eye. as he sees the topography and how the confederates were able to take advantage of that, he's
3:14 pm
like i don't think i want to charge across that field. he estimates it will take his men eight minutes to cross the distance, during which time they will be in the open, under the exposed fire of artillery. and then as they get closer under the exposed fire of infantry. and not only that, but anyone who's injured will then be lying on this field in the freezing cold. the chances of men surviving injuries because of that weather are slim. so, he does not want to send his men across that field. so, 8:00 comes and the signal guns do not. and everyone in the army gets tense. soldiers in the ranks write their names on pieces of paper and pen them to their uniforms in one of the first recorded instances of that happening. they know the grim prospects they face across that field.
3:15 pm
so, warren sends word back to mead that he is not going to attack. and mead, again very calmly, very coolly, has his head explode. he says what! that man has half my army! mead who is also an engineer looks at that confederate positions and realizes that warren is right, that the confederate position looks impregnable. and so he, as commander of army chooses to hold off. he takes warren's recommendation. and as they ride back, they pass
3:16 pm
william blinky french who is like where's your wonder kid now, ah. and mead is like i don't want to hear it and continues back. meanwhile, he calls off the attack down here. sedgewick was supposed to go forward. in fact his men started to go forward. a courier goes riding in. the horse falls. he's trapped. it's mead's own sun. he sends his own son to call off the attack. the men down here who also has patches pinned to their shirts recognizing they are about to march into the teeth of death feel this huge relief. the two armies sort of stare at each other for the rest of the day taking pot shots and artillery shots across the open d distance between them. and mead will try to find some
3:17 pm
other opportunity that might allow them to still salvage this campaign. and i want you to think about this for a moment. put yourself in mead's shoes. he had a victory at gettysburg that was second-guessed almost from the moment it was over. he has had political enemies including dann sickles, abner al talking about him. congress has thanked him and joe hocker for the victory at gettysburg. so, he's got all that going on, okay? he has not been able to score the knock out punch that everyone wants him to score. he's done okay at bristow and rap hammock station.
3:18 pm
he hasn't done anything wrong but hasn't done anything right. does that make sense? just before the army leaves the camps, word comes from chattanooga that ulysses s. grant has lifted the siege and driven the confederate army away. so, out west things are happening. gosh, we need something to happen out here too, don't we. and they haven't, have they. if we consider all of that on mead's soldiers as he looked across this field ready to launch that assault and he calls that off knowing the great personal and political peril it will put him in, but he does not want to sacrifice his army. and he's got to somehow try to
3:19 pm
salvage this. and he can't. so, he will cut the orders to begin to withdraw. and so on the evening of the 30th, he will tell his men build big bonfires. make it look like you're there so that they can slip away under disguise. robert e. lee in the meantime has been hunkered down behind his formidable defenses content to wait for the union army to attack them and they don't and they don't and they don't. and lee finally loses his patience. on the morning of december 1st, he's going to send a.p. hill in against the federal left and they are gone. lee realizes he's lost an opportunity. he sends his entire army across the river trying to catch up to the federals who quickly slip away back toward culpeper. and the mine run campaign is over. not a lot happened there, did
3:20 pm
it? and if we think about as mead gets back to his headquarters, he writes a letter to his wife. i want to read just a portion of this to you. what i love about mead's letters to his wife is at least completely candid. he's not trying to show off to the press. he's not trying to impress anybody in washington. he's just telling his wife, his partner, the person he trusts the most. he says, i expect your wishes will now soon be gratified and that i shall be relieved from the army of the potomac. he basically tells her what happened, the plan was a good one, but due to the execution of others, it failed. and this next paragraph, to me, really has made me respect mead in a way that -- and i have
3:21 pm
always liked george gordon mead. listen to what he says here. i'm fully aware it will be said i did wrong deciding this question by reasoning and that i ought to have tried. and then a failure would have been evidence of my good judgment. but i trust i have too much reputation as a general to be obliged to encounter certain defeat in order to prove that victory was not possible. political considerations will, however, enter largely into the decision and the failure of the army of the potomac to do anything at this moment will be considered a vital consequence. and if i can be held responsible for this failure, i will be removed to prove that i am. i therefore consider my fate as settled. but i have told you before i would rather be dismissed and suffer anything than to
3:22 pm
knowingly and willfully have thousands of brave men slaughtered for nothing. george gordon mead puts the lives of his men ahead of himself. the commander puts his army in front of himself. now, in march of 1864, ulysses s. grant will come to the army of potomac as the commander of all union forces. when he meets mead for the first time, mead will immediately offer his resignation saying i'm sure you will want to put one of your own men in charge of the army instead of me. grant decided on the spot to keep mead in command. grant said mead's offer to resign impressed him even more than the victory at gettysburg.
3:23 pm
that's the kind of man mead was. but i look at this decision on the banks of mine run as being mead's greatest moment. the moral courage it took to say no attack when everything said attack. to save the lives of his men over his own reputation and career. and this is something that will earn mead the undying affection and loyalty of the army of the potomac. he will have his critics dismiss him and say he's a failure and this and that, and say we all would have been slaughtered had we been sent across those fields. this man saved our lives and did not waste them for nothing.
3:24 pm
if we think about fredericksburg for a moment and those men assaulting the stone wall and waive aft wave after wave after wave and those assaults, completely impotent to do anything about the lives of his men, we see a much different echo here. we're going to see some previews of the wilderness campaign that take place here at well. we should look forward at the overland campaign. first of all the turnpike here and hill and heath here on the plank road, defensive warfare. lee chooses to be on the defensive at mine run. he will not have that choice during the over land campaign as his army continues to suffer the affects of attrition. he will be forced to take the defensive rather than just choosing. warren, he decides to disobey
3:25 pm
orders. turns out to be the right decision, but warren always thinks he's the smartest guy in the room. he will exercise his judgment over the judgment of his commanders and in those instances he will not always be right. mead and grant again their relationship and personal integrity of these men. there's plenty to still see out at mine run even though it is a forgotten battlefield. you have to know where to look, but there are extensive earth works that are still out there. there's a fantastic preservation opportunity waiting to happen. almost the entire confederate line is still in existence out there, and they are incredible earth works even today. you can stand in them. and if you look at sarah over there by the bar, that's sort of what it's like standing in those works. the works are still that high. it's incredible stuff to see.
3:26 pm
this is a map that edward made for me, -- >> llc. >> llc, thank you very much. but you can see how the confederate lines are still in existence, incredible stuff. you can see by this picture it looks like a big pile of leaves. earth works are hard to photograph. even though this campaign tends to be forgotten, it is still written on the landscape out there. we can still learn something important as a result. and by looking backward and forward, we can see just how pivotal this moment in time was. nothing happens and yet everything is at stake. and the example that this man sets for us in personal leadership. one union soldier said of mine run, the pretty brook, mine run,
3:27 pm
perhaps had ranked in story and verse with other streams that had been reddened with human blood with man's inhumanity to man. but the attack never took place. the charge was not made. the battle was not fought. and mine run as a great battle has no place in history. thank you. [ applause ] >> we have time for about one or two questions. stand up for us and tell us your name and where you're from. >> i'm jim and i'm from williamsburg, virginia. i've got two questions but they should be easy to answer. >> yes and purple. >> there you go. why do you give so much credit to mead and i didn't hear any to
3:28 pm
warren? is the first question. and the second question is by looking at your map, did you really mean that at the end of this aborted effort that he went back to culpeper behind where lee was? >> no. mead is -- lee is back toward orange. >> orange. >> orange, yes. so, mead goes back to culpeper where he had been. the men go back to the camps they had been a few days earlier. i give less credit to warren for two reasons, one because warren has a habit of second guessing everybody. there's a little bit of chicken who cried the sky is falling to warren. and mead is the buck stops here guy. it's up to him. he could have ordered warren forward. in fact warren even said i will not go forward unless ordered to do so. mead could have said go and he didn't.
3:29 pm
>> in fredericksburg, there was a major artillery concentration preparation on the union side. what kind of artillery moves did mead or warren try to do at mine run? >> that's right. one reason that warren is delayed in his flanking maneuver to get over here to the confederate right is he's trying to find a path to get field artillery out there. it's rough terrain, not a direct road. that's going to delay a portion of his advance. so, that plays into that delay. along the original line at robinson's tavern, he's got the ridge and place to deploy artillery. but for the most part this is still the edge of the wilderness so there are not a lot of places to deploy artillery. he complains he has no way to deploy his infantry, let alone artillery. >> one more question so we can move on to our raffle. >> everybody wants the raffle. i don't blame them, i don't blame them.
3:30 pm
>> gene at winston salem. i'm curious you show the wonderful map of the existing entrenchments. i thought those were largely on private-held lands and i would caution those of us interested in preservation, you don't want to get the land owners on that. >> that's why i said there's a preservation opportunity. the works do exist. they are on private land. many of the land owners don't even realize they've had works. as i've been out there mapping these works i've knocked on peoples' doors. can i look at your earth works? we don't have earth works out here, yeah you do. let me show you. i'll haul them out there, they'll be like i'll be darn. they don't know what they have in their own backyards. that's why a lot of these works have escaped obliteration because people don't know what they have. thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. i appreciate it. >> chris murkowski.
3:31 pm
all week we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3, lectures in history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nation's history. enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span3. this week american history tv is on c-span3 every day with prime time features every day. tonight the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge where adolf hitler launched counter offensive against allied forces. watch american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span3. american history tv products are now available at the new
3:32 pm
c-span online store. go to to check out all the c-span products. >> the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. next, on american history tv, author and schoolteacher dan welch discusses the 1862 battle of secessionville, a union attempt to take control of nearby tower


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on