Showing posts from September, 2020

Taking Fort McAllister with the 70th Ohio

     Private Thomas W. Connelly served four years in Co. G of the 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and saw action throughout the western theater, from fighting at the first day of Shiloh through Vicksburg and then the Atlanta campaign. As part of the hard-fighting 15th Corps, Connelly had seen and survived a lot but storming a Confederate fort with 21 frowning heavy guns must have given him pause.       It was December 13, 1864, and the place was Fort McAllister near Savannah, Georgia. Connelly and his comrades in the 70th Ohio had marched from Atlanta nearly a month ago on the epic March to the Sea. The men marched roughly 20 miles a day and subsisted off the country; they avoided pitched battles for the most part but with the Atlantic Ocean nearly in sight and the campaign drawing to a close, Fort McAllister needed to be taken to open the Ogeechee River to Federal ships. Opening communication with the powerful Union Navy would ensure General William T. Sherman's army supplies and br

David Dixon Discusses August Willich

    Dan Masters'  Civil War Chronicles is proud to feature an interview with author David Dixon who discusses in his new book one of the more fascinating characters who served in the Army of the Cumberland, Brigadier General August Willich. Born into a noble family in Germany in 1810, Willich trained under Carl von Clausewitz and served as an officer in the Prussian army. Willich became an early proponent of Communism, and left his career in the army to dedicate his life to social justice. He was an important leader in the failed 1848 revolution in Germany, and by the 1850s he had moved to the United States and became a newspaper editor in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Dixon's new book entitled Radical Warrior: August Willich's Journey from German Revolutionary to Union General (University of Tennessee Press, 311 pp., 2020) examines Willich's extraordinary life in detail with a particular focus on his life as a revolutionary in Europe and then his services in the Civil War.  Gen

Flags of Chickasaw Bayou

     For General Stephen D. Lee, repulsing the Federal attack at Chickasaw Bayou on December 29, 1862 was almost too easy. “At 11 a.m., Federal infantry 6,000 strong moved gallantly up under our artillery fire, crossing the dry lake at two points, one being in front of the vacated pits and the other about 200 yards from my line. Here our fire was so terrible that they broke, but in a few moments they rallied again sending a force to my left flank. This force was met by the 28 th Louisiana and 42 nd Georgia and handsomely repulsed. Our fire was so severe that the enemy lay down to avoid it. Seeing their confusion, the 26 th Louisiana and a part of the 17 th Louisiana were marched on the battlefield and under their cover 21 commissioned officers and 311 non-commissioned officers and privates were taken prisoners, four stand of colors and 500 stand of arms captured,” Lee wrote. [1] Federal casualties in the assault at Chickasaw surpassed 1,700 men, while Confederates losses numbere