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The Civil War – A Waypoint in Military History (Lecture)

September 13, 2019

Welcome to today’s talk my name is Bill
Hewitt and the subject matter is up on the board
you might ask what is a waypoint if you’re going from point A to point B you
can go along any rope any route you want to any road will take you from point A
to point B if you have a waypoint though you got to go through that spot you got
to do that if you’re going to get to B and the Civil War is one of those spots
for us and so what I’m going to do over the course of an hour is talk to you
about that Waypoint maybe an hour and a half I don’t know Steelers ain’t playing
you know why worry here’s the agenda for today now this talk is being
photographed again and be put up on YouTube and I want to tell you if you
haven’t already done it we’ve gotten some help from our friends and this site
on YouTube has all of our talks on it and Matt’s been videotaping them for
well not it’s a campfire just a regular talk a battle walk these talks they’re
all there if you’re if you’re a teacher and you got to teach the Civil War put
it on take a nap wake up in an hour these things are a wealth of knowledge
and I would just encourage you to to use it as frequently as you can and again
thanks to our friends for helping us do this over the course of the talk today
we’re going to cover some macro stuff and some micro stuff we’re going to go
from one to the other so at points you’re going to say I’m lost
I’m not following I’m not track and I don’t understand stay with it because at
the end we’re just going to put it all back together and package it for you ok
I’m going to bring some things up let them hang toward the end I’m going to
say up remember that we talked about that and
here it is now okay so just stay with it now over the last
few years if you’ve been on some of my talks whether or not it’s sacred trust
or midwinter conference or the park seminars I have been showing you parts
of an elephant at times and so today we’re going to kind of look at the whole
elephant if you will okay in that regard down at the bottom I have tried at times
we might have been talking like last year we talked about railroads and how
important they were but I had an ulterior motive and I was trying to show
you the difference between a historian and a military historian you can know an
awful lot about the Civil War you can know everything about the Civil War but
if you don’t know what came before it and you don’t know what came after it
how do you know what relevance the Civil War has how do you judge those people
how do you evaluate them and so that’s what a military historian does and so
we’re going to kind of get into that a little bit more than what we have in the
past as well okay your bear with me now I know that irritates you 623 thousand
seven hundred fifty thousand men dead millions wounded get over it we’re going
to analyze things I know you have emotional ties to some people and some
events here and in the Civil War in general get over it for the next hour
and thirty minutes if you’re going to do analysis it has to be unemotional you
cannot be tied to it you can’t see the relevance of it because your emotion
will not let you see the relevance of it the worst thing you can have is winning
a war we’ll talk about that why no reason to
change I just one but consequently sometimes the best thing you can have is
losing a war because then it causes introspection because you don’t want it
to happen again if you want to honor the men to 623 thousand men and women that
died let them be the last to have to pay for that mistake honor them by making
sure no other person dies because of that mistake understand of a point
that’s why it’s got to be unemotional and remember the other guys learning
he’s the guy that just lost he’s he’s gonna go I’m gonna get you next time so
if you’re gonna do analysis you got to make your army better than what it was
because that other guy got out there and he’s trying to learn too and you got to
whip him next time as well okay you’re with me okay we’re going to talk about
capabilities of an army and there’s essentially four categories of
capabilities doctrine leaders equipment and units we’re going to cover a little
bit of each one of these in general and I’ll tell you what relevance that has
okay doctrine is more than just tactics it’s procedures its habits that an army
does let’s say you do an attack every time you’re doing an attack – in
preparation for the attack you’ve put you put an artillery barrage in on the
enemy what’s he doing he’s sitting there waiting in his little cubby hole until
the garage is over then he comes out it’s a habit it’s part of your doctrine
okay we’ll talk about mobilization you would have thought that the civil war we
would have learned a lot about mobilization we didn’t learn nothing we’ll talk about that – okay under leaders we talk about command and
control we talk about communications there’s not just processes but it’s also
clarity of communication getting your subordinates to understand you it’s also
interface with your government how many times in the civil war do you always
have to hear about this general didn’t get along with that general that general
was in Washington causing trouble interface with the president interface
with the secretary award goes on and on and on all those personality things
that’s part of the leadership thing okay leaders you have two things you have
leadership you got management we have some fellows in the Civil War there were
great managers lousy leaders you know the difference right leaders is all
about getting somebody to do something that he really doesn’t want to do and
get him to do it willingly that’s a good leader there not many of them we’ll talk
about a couple of them as we go through the process equipment I was reading
about a shop in I think there was Illinois
it made Union uniforms there were 800 women working in that shop making Union
uniforms you don’t think of that you look at an artillery piece a carriage
and a limber how many pieces hundreds of pieces little wedgies pins nails all of
that stuff’s equipment okay so not only is it the strength of your army it’s the
strength of what’s backing it up the depots and the Arsenal’s go with me okay when you talk about units everybody
always talks about the infantry and artillery and cavalry but how about the
industrial base who’s going to train those people how about filling out forms
clerks farriers I was reading getting ready for today’s talk I’m sitting there
going Holy Smoke City point you know down at the end of the war down there in
southern Virginia City point how many blacksmiths did it have anybody know
1800 it’s amazing so units are all of those kinds of people that goes on and
on and on down at the bottom the character of your soldiers each army is
different each army has its own characteristics strengths and weaknesses
and you have to understand that as well if you’re going to talk about an army
capabilities how adaptable are they how determined are they how persevere are
they some armies well we won’t list them there by name but you know they fire a
couple rounds in surrender that’s fine always glad to have those guys around when you line up these four things it it
talks about combined capability you have to have all four of them to give you a
certain capability in potential you may not live up to your potential but that’s
the that’s the end state that’s the extreme that you can do when you line
those things up it tells you what’s possible not what you’re going to get
but what’s possible so consequently usually end up with something like this
there’s an imbalance you may have equipment that is much more
sophisticated than your needs that you’re
leaders don’t understand yet that they haven’t fully assimilated yet we’re
gonna talk about that today too and so you got to kind of move fix the weak
links figure out how to do it yeah bear with me so far you have the past you have the current
and where you’re trying to go if you’re trying to divine or devise a new piece
of equipment a new artillery cannon we’ll talk about that today what does it
have to do and why how many of them are going to make what’s they gonna do
what’s it gonna give me okay I call it a journey over time journey is an
interesting word you can use the word progress he turned and said I have
watched the progress of the Army of the Potomac ever since it was organized and
have been greatly interested in reading the accounts of the splendid fighting it
has done and so this is a Civil War general commenting on the Army of the
Potomac and talking about how it has progressed how its capabilities have
improved over time okay we talked about this a little while ago you got to be careful when you analyze
stuff because people are gonna start to think you’re crazy if you draw
conclusions that are too far out there that cannot be understood that’s one of
the downsides of doing analysis can you imagine after four years of fighting and
at the end of the war you have the Battle of five forks and now the Union
Army is starting to push through the hole and after a day or two
grant links up with Meade means not feeling well he’s in the wagon but he’s
staying up and he’s given orders but he’s just kind of immobile and grant
talks about pushing Lee and grants responses I don’t want to push him I
want to get ahead of him we’ll come back to that in a little while as well but
now you understand the difference in leadership and expectation I don’t want
to push him I’ve been pushing him for four years I want to get ahead of him
and so grant will say that and Meade will issue the instructions and then
here we go Katie bar the door you know now these capabilities of an
army you surely would like them to all go in unison that would make it a great
plan wouldn’t it it never works that way after all you’re dealing with the army
you know what I mean the grand plan nope
usually you get something like that we’re going to talk about the cartridge
today rifle bullet okay and then that one little change has got to drag the
other ones forward sometimes slowly sometimes quickly but it’s got to drag
the other ones forward to make improvements to make sure that line
stays constant leaders units equipment and doctrine all stay in line more or
less now the other guy remember I told you he’s studying too and so if you get
out there and you got something that’s really good and really going to change
the battlefield he’s going to attack it that’s his job minimize your strengths
attack your weakness okay I used to tell my students everything I teach you this
for the first battle that’s my job gets you past the first battle that’s it
after that you’re on your own the first demand that evolves the quickest will
win almost always if you kept politicians out of it you know there was a middle-eastern prophet some
time ago you might have read about him that talks about a prophet in his own
town there’s a lot of resistance to change in the military
here’s listed some things it’s good enough we won that is a great trap a top three bullets are essentially
learning no lessons from an event punished advocates for change if your
historian you made it remember recall that the one of the great early
proponents for air power was who Billy Mitchell what’d they do to him
court-martial him it’ll be doing that stuff we’ll fix you right so there’ll be
some resistance to change and you got learning the wrong lessons quote some of
our generals failed because they worked out everything by rule they knew what
Frederick did at one place they knew what Napoleon did at another they were
always thinking about what Napoleon would do unfortunately for their plans
the Rebs were thinking about something else
I don’t underrate the value of military knowledge but if men make war in slavish
observation to rules they will fail no rules will apply the condition of war as
different as those which exist in Europe or America consequently when our
generals are working out problems of an ideal character problems that would have
looked well on the blackboard practical facts are often neglected to that extent
I consider remembrances of old campaigns a disadvantage okay so sometimes
learning the wrong lesson or learning the half lesson will occur and so we’ll
talk about a couple of the half lessons learned in the Civil War and some of the
wrong lessons we’re going to talk a little bit about the history and how the
Civil War was it evaluated you know we got we had a lot of foreign observers
here from lots of countries and they went back and told their bosses
whatever they’re going to tell them but those bosses were generals and they
didn’t like change sometimes and sometimes those observers were going
they were looking at a minut thing for example the British spent a lot of
effort on cavalry they realized that the sword Faber was overcome by the rifle
well there’s a lot more to it than that but that’s what they got out of the
Civil War they learned a little bit about maneuver but not much the Civil
War was viewed primarily by the Europeans as anomaly it wasn’t going to
happen here you know you studying it World War 1 is going to change their
viewpoint over in Europe they’re going to realize World War 1 was not the first
war it was the u.s. Civil War and we should have paid attention but we didn’t
and as for us us being the Yankees we won
why should we change we’re in America we’re going to develop coastal artillery
see how that worked out for us right that’s it that’s what we got out of the
Civil War and a couple other things we’ll talk about some of the Europeans
were paying attention JFC fuller Major General British Army is going to start
paying attention in the 1920s and also a theoretician named Liddell Hart about
the indirect approach frontal attacks after the World War One are going to
kind of realize the same thing we should have realized in the Civil War don’t do
final attacks not anymore they’re done and so they’re going to
advocate maneuver in Europe what you see there advocating for change so is
anybody going to pay attention not much we did have some forward
thinkers we’ll come back to that a little while here we’re Fuller’s
observations now Hart Goodell Hart is going to talk about in the 1920s again
the indirect approach he’s going to talk about grant Act Vicksburg you know at
Vicksburg now grant is going to cross the Mississippi River below Vicksburg
and then continue on go toward the east run a couple battles then come back on
Vicksburg to do that he’s going to break his supply lines so this is 1863 the
most vocal opponent to breaking his supply lines where he was who Sherman
don’t do it why the rules say don’t do it remember my quote about rules so
grants going to do it in 63 and who does it in 64 Sherman Sherman was learning
from Grant don’t be so attached to the rules that
should become ineffective interesting huh we showed you this slide last year the
indirect approach is simply not attacked and frontally here’s a Sherman’s advance
against Johnston Johnston’s set up here what Sherman do goes around Johnson has
to pull back they have a little battle Sherman stocks up moves to the flank has
to pull back Johnston has to pull back and so it goes so again not attacking
strength and Liddell Hart would say this campaign under Sherman was the most the
greatest example of indirect approach and he used a civil war our civil war in
that campaign is an example okay now we have a half lesson learned why Sherman was the indirect approach to
Lee after Sherman got to Atlanta grant
suggested he go to mobile shown here by the red line Sherman goes no we’re going
to go the other way we’re going to put General Lee in a box and so sometimes
even great theoreticians only learned a half lesson hey bear with me who’s lost
don’t be embarrassed I was lost last night when I was
reviewing this don’t be embarrassed so we have a lot of work in the England
in the 1920s but no one was paying attention a couple of guys were you see
the other guy he’s not emotionally tied to your problems or to your set of
circumstances or constraints and so when Liddell Hart was asked to edit some of
the Rommel papers he came in contact with a lot of generals that Rommel
worked with in the family and things like that so he had to ask him that
Rommel ever talk about my work oh yeah all the time
and Guderian also made comments see they don’t have anything to overcome in her
own country and so they were paying attention and it interesting how things
work out they had no vested interest that they had overcome with their local
authorities okay the American response to the Civil
War time and time and time again what did the generals say that West Point
training is great well given that there were thousands of leaders and for every
Chamberlain you had dozens and dozens of colegrove’s Chamberlain being the
defender on Little Round Top did pretty good coal Grove was the other guy on the
other end of the line did pretty bad so everybody said yeah West Point training
was good but nobody cared about the thousands of regimental commanders and
brigade commanders that had no training at all in a civil war and how many men
paid for that did we change no why I went to West Point why should I change
I’m Hancock you know grant whatever you were with me and we also talked about
coastal artillery was our only response later in study in the Civil War Jail
Uvas you all know his works sailu vas did some works on Five Forks
was Sheridan but he limited it again – what Sheridan did it five forks move
your cavalry to a flank have rifles instead of swords put firepower down and
that sort of thing he missed mr. Lu boss missed the bigger
lesson of five Forks how many chances did Li have at doing a
pursuit seven days campaign second Manassas Chancellorsville and you might
want to say Fredericksburg too but I don’t know I’ll cut you on that one
how many chance to did General Meade have on pursuits one after Gettysburg
what see everybody finds fault for because he didn’t do it okay over 110
miles in seven days and your mom remember my discussion earlier I don’t
want to push him I want to get ahead of him grant knew exactly what to do and
how to do it and he did it with the likes of those people that have been
slugging it out for four years not only is this a great example of indirect
approach but also deep attack disrupting the chain of command and control of an
enemy by going so deep that he has to fall back he is in disarray is not in
command of his forces this is what the deep attack process is well
good for grant some Americans weren’t paying attention you all know that
General Eisenhower and General Patton were early proponents of tank warfare
and they were ostracized for it just like I mentioned earlier not gonna do
that stuff we’re infantry them tanks are bad you
might remember the Louisiana maneuvers General Patton understood about the
indirect approach she just went into another state they said here’s your area
of where you’re supposed to conduct an attack I’ll just go in this way went
into another state to attack the enemy in the flank after World War two the
last MacArthur did you ever consider indirect approach he said I called it
island-hopping yes I’ve heard you remember we’re not going to take every
island in the Pacific we’re going to take one island we’re going to hop take
some more indirect approach okay so now we’re going to cover the
Civil War which is why you all came here I hope we’re going to talk about some
obvious ones and some ones missed we’re going to focus on the cartridge the
rifle cartridge the cannon and the change of warfare it’s warfare itself in
the Civil War here are some of the obvious ones we talked about railroads
last year and Matt’s got the VC the video so just you toggle that I’m going
to talk about that whole program but railroads were important by 1864 after
three years of hard work your supplies had to come from someplace else and so
with the size of the armies here’s the railroad with the size of the armies how
are you going to supply railroads here’s what they’re going to build a
city point to supply the army the requirements are for a little bit over
800 tons a day but they’re gonna be able to have the capability and push 1400
tons a day using the railroads they’re by World War one the zone would for the
American army was selected for solely one reason and one reason only
and if you read general Pershing’s report he will tell you it’s for
railroads why because he needs a lot of stuff when you look at World War one
you’re gonna say okay the Brits were up here the French and the Americans were
down here right the Brits they’re going to use the ports
closest to France and the railroads up there
the French likewise through Paris and so the only railroads that were available
were not being used by anybody and so that’s where Persian goes I want my
sector down here because he knew he needed the railroads railroads were the
key by then okay as just they were in 1864 and five we had some other
improvements in the Civil War you all know Jonathan Letterman some of the
innovations he had medical records Ashkelon duties William Keene is a
neurosurgeon serves in the military during the Civil War after the war he
comes up with antiseptic surgical techniques first use of clinical x-rays
operates on the President of the United States treats a young teenage boy with
polio from New York and wearing a bell so these 23,000 surgeons that were
trained up in the Civil War are now mostly going to have their impact on the
civilian life in America but there’ll be some leftovers between these two and you
see dr. keen there’s in the uniform of a World War one
the age of 80 he volunteers to go over and be a doctor for our boys in Europe
so you can well imagine the dedication that he had I’m 20 years younger and I’d
have a hard time getting up in the morning when you consider prior to the
Civil War I think I’m out okay when you consider prior to the Civil War in
America we had less than 200 surgeries and after the Civil War by 1870 in one
Hospital alone in Massachusetts we did 2,500 surgeries in one year so who was
doing those surgeries Civil War doctors so you want to talk about impact of the
Civil War some other things to go back here’s the UN naval hospital ship Red
Rover up and down the Mississippi there’ll be other ones that work to
Coast here’s a picture of a inside of them this is during the Civil War Surgery surgical room nurses elevators
kitchens all on board the ship Jonathan Letterman okay and here’s the legacy one
of the couple of ships we have that do these kinds of things 1,000 beds twelve
operating rooms dental support optometry pharmacy two labs freshwater condensers
to make almost a million gallons of fresh water a day on board that ship
legacy Civil War telegram Telegraph by 1864 now grant can
notify all his commanders to move all at once on or about three May and
everybody’s going to be moving on three or four May if anybody has a problem
along the way they’re going to send telegrams back to the grant and grants
going to answer them and so now he has control of all armies and he can direct
them all and he can change the plan I want you to go to mobile I really want
to go to Savannah okay go to Savannah all done with telegram I’m going to leave you hanging with this
for a while we’ll come back to it they they tried to use balloons early on in a
war the French had tried it prior to the Civil War and done a little bit of work
on it but now we’re gonna use it for observation on the enemy and gathering
intelligence but by 1863 it’s too much trouble and then then we’re okay fine
not used again but it’s an example of now using what elevation to gather
information on the enemy right now think about this a minute in a civil war we
and before for a long time thousands of years we lined up linearly one dimension
and now of a sudden we’re going to use elevation as well and if you recall my
discussion on five Forks we talked about depth so now we have length and depth
and height of a battlefield where to come from civil war we’ll come back to
balloons very interesting you know the metal ships we started out
France was the first one to get a metal ship in 1856 monitor Merrimac used the
metal ships for war down the bottom as to honey I didn’t know this they had
torpedoes before the Civil War but you had to kind of place them and then back
up well after after the civil war couple
years later now they had torpedoes that would go three or four hundred yards
self mobile kind of stuff but you think about this now since the dawn of
recorded history what have we used wooden ships for
military purposes all of a sudden now what we got metal ships so what are we
going to do with that somewhere around 700 BC we have the
first description of ships used for military purposes we know there were
some before but we don’t have any pictures of might have been raft I don’t
know but now we went from there on wooden ships all the way to there and
within 25 years now we’re building that thing where did it start the Civil War massive ships dreadknots they called him
battleships okay little micro stuff gonna put a
plunger a bunch of pieces together real quick how am i doing with time real good what happened prior to before the Civil
War doom doom come on should a round ball to a smoothbore
musket Maxima range about 100 yards right how long does it take to load that
thing 20 to 30 seconds 20 seconds good can you run a hundred yards in 20
seconds when I was younger I could my point is you close up the lines you
shoot at each other a couple times then what do you do you put the band out on
the rifle and you charge in between volleys and it was that simple and some
of the biggest proponents for bayonet charges or who these two but we get into
the Civil War we’re not shooting them round balls anymore are we with a cartridge we can now shoot 300
yards and by the time we add smokeless powder to it we can shoot 800 yards
accurately we can put these bullets in a Gatling gun to Jim or wonder if the
Yankees have had one Gatling gun at Pickett’s Charge
I sometimes wonder that and if I had five so we’re gonna put these cartridges
now in belts and the first machine-gun will be developed in the 1818 OOS 1880s
I’m sorry 1880s we spend a lot of time in funding the Civil War as a commander
I’m going to set up behind a river or stream or have a marsh in front of me
why do I want to do that you’re gonna stay here till I get done
so if you’re not gonna participate I’m just gonna why do you why do you set up
and like to have a marsh in front of you it slows down the enemy and you may get
lucky he’s got to deal with the marsh or the stream or a river maybe a stuff will
get wet maybe I’ll get really lucky but every 30
seconds he’s struggling with that obstacle I get another Wally on him that’s what the value of that barrier is
so now I’m gonna make my own barriers what I’m going to use our blyer grenades
mines the ED grenades in the Civil War but I know that you remember when
Sherman was going from Atlanta to the coast
the Confederates started placing grenades berry and grenades on the March
I’m gonna call that a minefield and when Sherman’s men started having casualties
he called it barbaric he had never seen such things so he’s gonna make captured
Confederates walk in front of his army to explode the grenades but it slowed
him up so now I’m gonna put minefields in front of my forces and use barbed
wire and bring that Marsh I’ll put that Marsh anywhere I want using those tools
that got their start in the Civil War linear frontal attacks now that I’m
going to keep you in front of me for a little while and I got machine guns
that’s going to cause an awful lot of damage in a hurry and so linear attacks
frontal attacks are obsolete I was looking to show just last night on World
War one general Hague British field marshal 1916 one battle 270,000 men dead
dead not wounded dead because he liked frontal attacks and after he did it he
did it again remember learn your lessons so I’m not gonna do frontal attacks
anymore what am I gonna do I’m going to use short rushes but what that means
that means the captain’s and sergeants are important to whether or not I move
forward you know every once in a while in a
civil war brigade commander might make a choice a change a doctor or a tactical
change sometimes every once in a while regimental commander would do it like
Chamberlain or who’s the fella over on Culp’s Hill hmm Ireland yeah David
Ireland here’s the spanish-american war at the Battle of Loess Gwyneth showed
that the u.s. that quick-thinking American soldiers would not stick to the
linear tactics which would not work effectively anymore Spanish troops who
had learned the art of covering concealment from their own struggle with
Cuban insurgents never made the error of revealing their positions while on the
defense Americans advanced by rushes and stayed in the weeds so that they were
too invisible to the Spaniards who used untargeted volley fire to mass fires
against the advancing Americans well some troops were hit this technique was
mostly a waste of bullets as the Americans learned to duck as soon as
they heard the word Fuego obviously means fire in Spanish so now we’re
starting to trust our captains and sergeants not our Colonels to make
decisions on the battlefield if you look at the spanish-american war the Battle
of San Juan Hill and Reedy accounts it’ll talk about a company doing this or
B Company doing that or sergeant the sand so doing that so we’re not going to
do the linear tactics okay that’s going to require some changes though this
little cartridge it’s going to require changes in what it’s going to require
changes in training it’s going to require changes in the officers it’s
going to require changes in doctrine remember I showed you that earlier about
one little item it’s going to make changes if you’re smart enough to do it let’s talk about cannons you got a picture of a muzzleloader on
the left and a breech loader one of the whit worse over there on the right so
again since about 950 when the Chinese developed cannons they used them all
muzzle loaders so for a long time up to 1854 we used muzzle loaders then we use
breech loaders what did it get us well it could shoot five miles muzzle ordered
one or two depending upon the rifling right about with me what are you gonna
do with five miles nothing makes a funny noise that’s it are we going to change
No with a muzzleloader that shoots a mile
maybe two I start shooting when I have an enemy in front of me I don’t shoot
before then right I got none to shoot at number of rounds at Pickett’s Charge
that’s an estimate some people say 13,000 okay average fine when I can
shoot five miles or six miles or ten miles I move my cannons to the rear and
take them off the line and then what they can shoot day and night I got to be
able to adjust fire so that they do damage and be able to do that I got to
have somebody looking where it hits Oh move a little bit to the left
shoot again we’re going to call that a forward observer okay then I got to have
a way to communicate with the guy on the ground to move that cannon the right
level so we didn’t do any cannon work after the Civil War except coastal
artillery what did it get us spanish-american war no cannon we had to
borrow French cannon for World War one because we hadn’t solved the problem yet
we’ll come back to the history about it but look at the number of rounds fired
in one battle four and a quarter million because I get to fire all day all night okay we’ll come back to that little
while another one of them strings I’m gonna change the warfare we talked a little bit about this about
the length and now we’re going to start stacking units and certain battles
there’s an interesting report at the Battle of Chancellorsville which if
you’re a student you might want to consider reading which is interesting
Jackson is now moving to the flank of the Union Army at Jacksonville at
Chancellorsville Jackson’s got three divisions underneath them one division
is going to be behind another and behind another so they’re right behind each
other in the second and third divisions the brigade commanders were told if the
brigade commander in front of you request your support don’t go to your
division ask permission go ahead now this is interesting I’m not done
studying on this but that’s what I mean by stacking units they’re going to
disrupt the entire chain of command for the Confederates so why to put more men
on success as quickly as they can I don’t have time to go find my division
commander to go have time to go find General Jackson ask permission you
brigade commanders are to go in immediately whenever asked for help I’ve
not ever seen that before has anybody seen that in the Civil War I’m not
and it was general Jackson that did it remember the spirit of the bayonet so
maybe old Jack could learn a few things I don’t know and we talked a little bit
about the balloon as an aerial platform right that’s another thing we’re going to
dangle for a while we’ll come back to I got a lot of things to come back to
here’s the defenses around Richmond with the parallel trenches we showed you this
last year or two years ago rather at sacred trust and a World War one trench
line no difference why they didn’t fight the American Civil War they had not
learned their lessons and so the trench lines in Europe and World War one are
going to be just like you see here give me a machine gun boy you can defend
a long time in a trench line total war the Civil War was not only long for us
for years but the level of devastation and the duration was unparalleled in our
history but there was something else that’s going to evolve and that’s that
armies are not going to fight wars just among themselves army against army now
it’s country against country economics against economics political against
political it’s going to be a nation go to war not an army okay think about some
of the early battles in the Civil War yep yeah you restock you get new people
new equipment you go fight your battle and you go hibernate until you get fixed
again and when you get fixed you come out and do it again right that’s what
happened look at the Overland campaign in 64 five battles in 40 days Atlanta 18
battles in three months Vicksburg eight battles in 20 days this was unheard of now you’ll say well wait a second
General Lee did it in 1862 had a battle of seven days we’ve got
done that went up and had second Manassas right got the net and then went
Antietam but the straggling was so bad at
Antietam he couldn’t do it again but now the Union Army is going to solve that
how because of their logistic system they worked out I can do battle after
battle after battle continuous read the Overland campaign itself fight during
the day move at night fight again the next day move at night I don’t know when
they slept continuous fighting spanish-american war two and a half
months when you study and I’ve forgotten I knew we’d fought in the Philippines
and Cuba but I didn’t know we did Guam and Puerto Rico – all in two and a half
months we mobilized 80,000 men for the spanish-american war how many we
mobilize in the Civil War you know both sides maybe five million I don’t know
yeah four million so now we have this continuous war once we get started even
in during World War one we got there we had 20 22 divisions they all didn’t get
it there at once they had to go train after they got trained then they go
fight for the British or the French or whoever and then once all the Americans
got trained up now we’re going to have our sector now we’re gonna do our attack
once that started 100 days that’s it and then the war is over continuous fighting
again okay unfortunately in World War one our guy
worked for their guy and their guy like his a British counterpart like frontal
attacks Pershing did not want to do what the British and French wanted him to do he liked indirect approach he wanted to
do an indirect kind of thing but it made the guy on the right nervous so twenty-six thousand casualties
twenty-six thousand deaths for the Americans in those hundred days because
of the guy on the right what was missed well we obviously missed artillery we
didn’t do a darn thing we missed the balloon and the impact
that the balloon would have we missed mobilization in the Civil War and we
also missed how to conquer trenches just missed them why we’d won now I’m going to bring some things back
together again I didn’t know this 1861 in fairfax City Virginia Union artillery
fired indirect on Confederate supply areas and a balloon was launched to
adjust fire for the artillery and flags were used left or right or elevate or
depress and so the cannoneers adjusted their fire without being able to see the
enemy or where the rounds were landing based on the aerial platform in 1861 in
fairfax city sent a message from a balloon to to abraham lincoln from the
lawn of the white house it’s kind of interesting would have liked to have
been grant in an in a balloon like at Five Forks with a telegram well this mechanization altogether they
developed the internal combustion engine in 1872 and put it on what’s the first
platform they use put it on balloons terrible’s you know Zeppelin’s so now we
go cross Atlantic the first bombing raids in Paris and London in World War
one were done by white balloons they had planes and when the plane started
working what did they use them for observation and intelligence just like
balloons okay but it’ll take a while we used airplanes and trucks against Pancho
Villa then it went we lost it no one was thinking here’s an interesting one 1862 a balloon
landed on a barge in the middle of Potomac River I don’t know why I can’t
figure out why they even wanted to do it but think about this we have an aerial
platform we’re gonna land on a boat and we did it in a civil war now they might
have been that a you know local brewery before they but I don’t know but but
it’s interesting that we would even attempt this why would you go out
sieving land on a moving boat well I believe we can do that anyway so now you
see the timelines for airplanes taking off from ships we learn to take off
ships in 1910 and we learned to land in 14 I don’t know what we did in the extra
four years I don’t know how successful we did it but there’s your first
aircraft carrier right there in the Civil War
we talked a little bit about mobilization there’s a Secretary of War
in 1889 now think about this in our history we mobilized 5 million people
are four million people in the Civil War and we learn nothing from it we
mobilized 80,000 in the spanish-american war and realized we got to fix this mess
and secretary root would be instrumental very innovative you’ll start a series of
cannon or artillery conferences by 1907 they will decide on what cannons to make
and what what capabilities they’re to have etcetera etcetera they can’t make
them in time for World War one but at least we’ve started the process routes
going to come in and start talking about training captains and NCOs because they
have the responsibility of the small unit leaders right how many times have
you heard an interview of a general saying well general today
general what’s the secret to the American army what’s his answer
sergeants have you ever heard anybody say anything different
sergeant’s no other army in the world would say that we’re going to address
the mobilization and the training problems no more colegrove’s well let’s
see if we can minimize it a little bit so we’re going to start the National
Guard that’ll solve two problems hopefully get some training to some
folks so that when they do get mobilized they will have some experience at higher
level leadership okay and the units will have a some level of success now for a
long time you know the National Guard was a sister if you will to their army
units but now they’re almost interchangeable so there we didn’t learn
the lesson on mobilization now we’re gonna put a couple of these
ideas together this is where you get into that you remember at the beginning
I said that guy’s crazy well let’s see now oh how about that and
a little bit of that a little bit of that okay
purging notes and his reports about our weakness as an army which we’ve already
identified during the course of this talk haven’t we because we didn’t learn
anything from it so let’s see now okay metal ships air platforms mmm aircraft
carrier just putting a couple ideas together I got to get across that trench
line I got to get through that barbed wire I got to have it in a vehicle that
bullets bounce off of what are we going to come up with the tank remember that
here for every action there’s a reaction what am I going to develop when I see
this thing on that battlefield the bazooka or some equivalent right every
action reaction okay what was missed altogether let me see
how is grant portrayed in history slow does he ever talk about what
Napoleon did what did he read at Westpoint romance novels was he a member
than Napoleon’s Club up there no what’s his interest we don’t know he just kind
of sits and squats and goes whip them tomorrow right at Pittsburg Landing long
after the war when grant traveled around the world
John Russell Young who accompanied him tells us that one day quote walking up
and down the deck grant went on to describe all of Napoleon’s campaigns
from a rento down to Leipzig speaking of each battle in the most minut manner the
number of men engaged on either side the range of their guns to tactics used on
both sides why victory came and why defeat came as
thoroughly learned as a problem in mathematics then he went back to the
battles of Frederick to great Lutheran Lutheran the campaign’s of the 30 Years
War back to the campaign’s of Caesar and always illuminating as he talked the
progress in change in the art of war and how machinery and projectiles and
improvements in arms had made what would be a great victory for Napoleon almost
impossible now for his only on this occasion on which I had heard grant ever
speak of the art of war at all you remember the fellas that we read
about who know all the rules they follow all the rules Napoleon would do this now
Frederic would do this remember that I read you that quote I call those people
mechanics they can fix the car you give them a manual and they can fix it
they’re good at what they do they can’t design the car they are not an architect here is a man that may be an architect he knows the rules he’s not tied to him he’s described as unconcerned with
casualties a drunk I don’t know why I think he deserves a little bit more
attention and his work at Five Forks is something else okay I’ll let you read that I brought with me everybody done so far
I hope over the last hour 10 minutes we have attempted to show the difference
between a historian and a military historian using the battle of the war of
the Civil War as a platform for you to consider what you’re reading and how
significant it was and how relevant the Civil War is in our history that it
really is a waypoint without that Civil War where would we have been where would
we be today what are your questions pardon
Oh grant and Lee fuller okay oh good question people always ask me if you
want me to send you my slides I’ve included a slide with the bibliography
okay I’ve read I had to read an awful this the most of I didn’t not all but
had to read an awful lot of books because while there a lot of them here
and I didn’t want to carry all the other books you know I’m just trying to show
you the level of intelligence that Grant had and so this I hope that that quote
did it what are the questions do you have nothing hmm go Steelers we’ll see you next week you


  • Reply alexwhite71 January 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Recites a quote, but doesn't identify who said it. Said Grant twice, instead of Meade once and Grant once. Mr. Hewitt needs to clean up his presentation. He's a little too cavalier in his approach.

  • Reply alexwhite71 January 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    But still, an informative presentation.

  • Reply Blair Maynard July 7, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Douglas MacArthur is not a good example here. He didnt scatter his aircraft after Pearl Harbor, this caused great losses and helped result in the fall of the Philippines and Bataan. He was not very competent and very egotistical and greatly disliked by many in the Army. He wasnt responsible for Island hopping either, that was Nimitz and the Marines (mostly).
    Also, "maneuver warfare" was very popular in Europe before the First World War. The whole German attack on France was an outflanking maneuver, like Grant did repeatedly. Sure, it settled down into a seige, but that happened a lot in the Civil War too.
    I dont know if any Europeans paid attention to the US Civil War or not, but I dont quite understand what Rommel and Guderian learned from the US Civil War that they wouldnt have learned from the First World War.

  • Reply Frank Dantuono March 18, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Talking more about The Spanish American War as a precursor would have made the talk better.

  • Reply Jill Mahaffey Camezon July 24, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Thank you war is an awful issue promises are made, R.I.P to the family's of our fallen brothers. I had a great grandfather back there we can't find..

  • Reply TiamatXV Xianash December 28, 2017 at 1:02 am

    As always, Bill Hewitt represents the best of the Park Ranger Historians. Keep these posts coming. Invaluable to all future history students.

  • Reply Lew Dooley January 4, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    This guy's personality and voice is so annoying

  • Reply zettle 234 May 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Thank You NPS and Mr. Hewitt, for all the information in this video. It could have, and should have been researched better, coming from an establishment such as your own. Cartridges added little in the way of range. There best known addition to the battlefield, was reload speed, and weather resistance. Firing 4 million shells from artillery placed behind the lines, only added an obstacle course to the frontal assault challenges. As far as I know(and I don't know about the German tactics, near as well) Generals Bing and Curry, introduced the tactics of fire and maneuver, to the WW1 battlefield. Like I said Thank you

  • Reply Status1985Quo July 16, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    The speaker says that Guderian and Rommel didn't have to overcome anything in their country which is just plain wrong. Prior to the (even to the Germans) astonishing successes of 1939-40 the concept of mobile warfare was disputed among high ranking officers, a lot of who'm were deeply conservative.

  • Reply Nick Roberts November 28, 2018 at 8:16 am

    I enjoyed this, but it could've been more streamlined. In other words, instead of telling all he's going to cover, saying "we'll come back to that" or "we'll talk about that later", …. just cover it now. The lecture was barely over an hour, and half of it was going over what's going to be gone over, lol.
    Again, I did enjoy it and I did learn.

  • Reply Defensor Rationis January 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Man! That is one steep auditorium!

  • Reply oil9vinergar June 11, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    those people over there were/are inbred aristos…………

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