Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Civil War Defenses  CSPAN  October 7, 2017 6:00pm-6:46pm EDT

6:00 pm
story. there is so much about american connections with american indians and how that went into how it could have gone. diplomacy,shing up trade, the military strength. it is all about importance with the lewis and clark expedition. >> this weekend we are featuring the history of pierre, south dakota. learn more about pierre at c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. war,"on "the civil christopher wright describes the views of early american military
6:01 pm
defense and how was applied to war. he also describes the attitudes of generals before and after the war. this was hosted by the emerging civil war blog. >> ladies and gentlemen. good afternoon. i am glad thatl, you are not stuck in traffic right now. i'm sure some of you have enjoyed that in the past. i'm glad to have you here for this event. introduceivilege to my cofounder and friend. education manager at the civil war trust, and that basically has turned the civil war into his playground across the country. one tobeen going from
6:02 pm
the next to the next. he wants to contextualize this symposium. great defenses of the civil war. we will talk a lot about great title field defenses. successful, non-successful. we also want you to think about defense in a broader context as well. to help us get our gears turning, it is my pleasure to chrisuce my friend wright. [applause] >> thank you, everybody. thank you for coming out to the fourth annual civil war symposium. been fantastic.
6:03 pm
his wife jenny who is floating around somewhere is a proprietor here and she put on a great display for us and it's a great place to have it and next year, i promise you, we will have very special things for the fifth anniversary. and just to let you know, there will be things you have to be here to experience. so, it will be a lot of fun. and my job is to give you the context of the weekend. toave a short amount of time speak and i'm the only non-phd speaking this evening. i don't know what that says about myself, but i think that chris was sending a message. we want to talk about the defenses of the civil war, where they came from, what are some great defenses of the civil war. who trained these men. -- you trained these men?
6:04 pm
without a great defense, you have to have a great offense, too, in the civil war. pickett's charge would be nothing without tickets men and pettigrew's men coming across the field in gettysburg to attack that federal center. menout john bell hood's attacking you would not have thomas and his army. looking at these defenses, you have to keep in mind the great offenses. that was our theme last year. be sure to go back to c-span and see the talks we have last her. they are available online. these great defenses, who did they learn from. we will put that into play in the war it self. talk about how it lingered on up into the 20th century, and how tactics evolved and came about, and then we will close by
6:05 pm
,alking about other defenses some non-battlefield defenses, talk about officers defending newlyhonor and about freed slaves trying to defend freedoms that they are fighting for on the battlefield. to be a crashing course in the american civil war, how these guys learned. so, to have a great defense, you have a great defensive position. so, my version of a fox hole the civil war, these guys are hiding and trying to find cover. is this how they are really trained? is this something they are going to come up with prior to the war? let's jump into it. the united states military academy in west point is founded in 1802. for the first decade to two
6:06 pm
decades is really trying to find itself. what kind of school is west point. we think of it as a military school, training officers to go out in the field to learn to command men out in the field. in the early days of west point, that's not at all what you do. go to west point, you are going there to become an engineer. for a while it was the only engineering school in the united states. the first really prominent superintendent -- not the first, the first really prominent at westendent at -- point is going to start putting together a curriculum that is going to impact our civil war soldier, that civil war generation. most of it will have to do with learning about mathematics. mathematics is the apex of engineering. you have to be good at geometry, calculus. engineering comes with a great number of calculations.
6:07 pm
trying to cross the mississippi as some ofild thomas these civil war engineers do in their prewar careers. these guys are really engineers. at military training almost come second at west point. an importants such school at west point. just to tell you, 48% of the men who entered the school, 48% washed out. because of mathematics, due to will wash out8% in some shape or form. math will be a huge problem. as the military academy at west point stars to evolve, we start to studyre men wanting the science of warfare. and the man they are really going to focus on is napoleon. napoleon had just fought a grand
6:08 pm
campaign through the early 1700's to become the emperor of france. he had one some of the greatest titles and western history, and he is a guy who was ushering in a new way of military thinking. at times, outnumbered by a large aalition, he's able to move small army of across battlefields. on theble to deploy battlefield and able to break up formations with artillery support followed by cavalry support. napoleon is the military soldier of that age. born officer.ss and men at west point read a read deal, but most do not
6:09 pm
much until their senior year at west point and up until the mid-1850's, it is a four-year curriculum. absorb thesert to ideals, they are learning about mathematics and how to speak french. really it's not what we think of as pertaining to the battlefield itself. he will give these guys an idea of the way that napoleon fought in the way that napoleon is going to fight warfare in what we would consider an unlimited warfare fashion. he wants to destroy his enemy. victories to bring on at other places that are going to be feathers in his cap. but he will always have
6:10 pm
coalitions coming after him. that never able to land killing blow. he is coming up during the french revolution. as he is coming up, he is looking at warfare in an important fashion. because of the idea of massing men, mass your army and attack be his greatwill carry over into the united states army. they will concentrate their forces and hit a point that should be the weak point of the army. thatrobert e. lee launches grand assault at malvern hill, asse are attacking en m weakened portion of the union or confederate lines.
6:11 pm
he is the man that many of these men are starting to read in the civil war generation. us and others thought the soldier of his day. army.still in the and when he is out there fighting during the mexican american war, he is really holding classrooms. he puts together what he calls as little which includes young captain named robert e. lee. he got the united states to because helife thought that is how important lee was. so he is learning from his younger subordinates. they are learning from him.
6:12 pm
and they are marching toward the mexican capital. another name that is floated quite a bit -- he wrote the war. treatise on to sum it is a masterpiece. two others it is an incomplete masterpiece because he died before he could finish it. he was a prussian officer. he does fight against napoleon and has fantastic military ideals of his own. the united impact states army like you would think. he is prussian and riding in german. german is not taught at west point. french is. it's easier to read napoleon. but the first translation into english is not until 1873. but he does have an impact on those men just up the road from us where we are standing in spotsylvania, just up the road
6:13 pm
in chancellorsville. many of them would go to prussian command schools before they came over to the united states and many of them would learn the ideas that included -- holy trinity of warfare you read in the civil war about his theories, but these are not the same practices one might think. then in the united states there are two things prior to the civil war. the most prominent is the man on your right-hand side and that is a very famous son. he is a naval strategist. his father is an army strategist. and he started teaching at west point in earnest in 1832. he is the one who is going to start employing in the senior year of many of these cadets the
6:14 pm
ideas of napoleon, holding the napoleon club and talking about the campaigns of napoleon, talking about napoleon's campaign. one of his pupils is henry halleck. he is pictured here, west point class of 1839. he is rightfully nicknamed old brain. each of them will write a number of books about strategy. hallock is a strange one. at first it sounds like he is a very aggressive officer. you go deeper and deeper chapters are of 15 focused on defense. general.an efficient he's not an overly aggressive general. this says a lot about who he is.
6:15 pm
but more so, he has a large impact on young officers. officer i will talk about a little bit later, warren becomes the chief topographical engineer of the union army. over this he takes core. warren takes to these teachings, talks about fortification. talks about utilizing terrain, fortifications. this is a strange notion. ,fficers like william t sherman these guys are going to write about their experiences and their hands-on military , specifically talking about how much they loathe going out onto the drill field because they did not feel they were learning much of anything. instructors throughout
6:16 pm
the 1840's into the 1850's are not teaching you how to use lies terrain properly. they are sticking to the drill manual. they are not teaching you to think outside the box. they are not teaching you to use military crest of the ridge. ug not put your men at the top of the hill. move them a third of the way down the hillside get themhat will help in a defensive position. it will force them not to be silhouetted, and if they are pushed back, they can fall back to the crest of the ridge. but if they are pushed back to the ridge, they are fresh out of luck, but they have that opportunity to fall back somewhere else. the instructors are not teaching these young men.
6:17 pm
flameay go out onto the -- onto the plains. they are learning this firsthand. they are learning hard lessons when they go out into the battlefield. they are not training soldiers the way we think up today. schoolint is a fantastic today, but in the 1840's and 1850's, it was still trying to find itself. there are other schools. there is virginia military institute. there are smaller colleges around. west point bmi. west point is the largest of them all. at the end of the day, they are all about napoleon. riding a horse, doing a wheelie, going over the maps. look at george mcclellan. george mcclellan is always posing like napoleon.
6:18 pm
he loves to be called the young napoleon, and he is a guy who never lives up to who napoleon really was. he is more the antithesis of napoleon. this is the census. that is moe. he is my absolute favorite character in "the simpsons." , also good, too. when these men go off to work, the first thing they are going to learn is war is difficult. the friction of war, the fog of war really comes into play, especially at first manassas or first bull run. one of the first great defensive battles takes place outside of washington and it includes chris's favorite general, , and he goeskson
6:19 pm
into a counterattack. this is one of those great defenses that he is just naturally taking a position that seemed logical -- hold the top of the hill. have your men lay down. use the woods for cover if you can. these are not being taught. lead to theields choking woods of shiloh and a sunken farm road around a place called the hornets nest today. that is just a portion of the shiloh battle. i think we can look back through history -- my colleague will be talking about another battle, the tan death march. that was a great defense but did not go right. the battle of the alamo is another one. a great defense for 13 days. but again, is not a victory.
6:20 pm
shiloh is not a victory. armyught time for grant's to reorganize itself and ultimately helps to bring a great victory for the reunion, -- for the union, but at a horrific cost as men start going really the fields, prelude to pickett's charge a year later, robert e. lee charging across those open fields. and the union army, 40 canon at least. standing there, standing in open fields. the confederates with grievous assault. robert e lee, john bell hood. a great defense usually has to go with some sort of great offense.
6:21 pm
in looking at antietam, who kevin will talk about tomorrow. that is a perfect example. robert e. lee using interior lines to move quickly from right to left. lines,nemy has exterior it will take a lot longer -- interior lines versus exterior lines. a big deal for napoleon. these are things they would've learned at west point if they went to the class in their senior year. some of those great defenses are not always successful. the confederates held. the confederates held. then they gave way. they finally take it. they hold on those great defenses. those are unorthodox defenses. keep in mind, not all of these
6:22 pm
officers went to west point. some are officers. some are merchants. they are fighting with mississippians and fredericksburg 12 miles away. actionsl have delaying and defense along the riverfront. use the river as the first line of defense. uses the city streets. houses. in puts them on the second story of those houses. he's in the city where he finds the high ground. the high ground are those second, third story homes. that is what he is doing. he is thinking outside the box. starts to change. the war starts to take on the that these mass casualties are not the way to fight the war. to the next question --
6:23 pm
fortify or not to 45. to fortify prior to the war was to put up coastal defenses. a fort in springfield and the simpsons again and they also have the museum of sideburns. burnside is just up the street. you guys really need to get on your simpsons. the battle of fredericksburg is the first time robert e. lee digs his entire army in. are overlooking the bridge. bloody lane. the sunken road. just of the road. hey, it is dog out. trench.erfectly made the confederates to the same thing. they utilize the stone road. largeen lee puts up
6:24 pm
fortifications. he is going to put up imposing fortifications. the union army makes two grand assaults. nearlyend of the day, 13,000 union soldiers become casualties whereas 5000 confederate soldiers become casualties. that height sector you are looking at here -- less than 1000 confederates become casualties. utilizing terrain, fortifications and they will change the way these men are going to fight the war. how they are can -- how they are going to conduct the war. he attacks the fortified line. he attacks the wrong direction. he came from the west and he rolls up the line. one of the officers fought at chancellorsville. graduate.a west point
6:25 pm
he's the first mayor of san francisco. pennsylvaniarn native. he is going to talk to a guy named george sears green and green is going to push the fact that we need to use fortifications. his response will be it makes fieldsuitable for open fighting. if we go on the defensive, let's just use the natural terrain. gettysburg, this was his response. he says, if he wants to, he can in trench. those same trenches -- more reinforcements come to each side.
6:26 pm
the battlentegral to of gettysburg. alsoaltimore pike will fall, which is the main line of for treat, communication, and supply line for the union army. everyone loves joshua lawrence chamberlain. loves david ireland's, his unit isnd probably the easiest to remember the casualties. war innging face of 1864. this is grant turning the east flank. part of harpers weekly. like,nt is turning his the war is really taking a life
6:27 pm
of its own. he is going to tell his students that fortifications are good. this is the way to defend. odds, andthree to one it's true. the battles are coming out from the wilderness. they are down to the siege of petersburg. welcome to the trenches. they will clear fields of fire and use those trees to stack up the earth. one union soldier thought the ground was bleeding because it was so red, the clay, and so much of it was churned up by the
6:28 pm
confederates. they protect your head and they breastworks.gh that's their name. the men would dig down into the trench. you stop. you start to dig. they would ask, how did they dig seven miles of earth work? how did they dig 35 miles of earth were question mark when your life is on the line and is nothing else to do and you have thousands of men standing around, you dig. you dig. you dig. you open those fields of fire. you have this early version of foxholes. in 1864.our foxhole you chop down trees to break up formation.nic style then you would have reverses inside your main line of works in case the enemy attacks from either side. you can fall back.
6:29 pm
draw the enemy's fire. these guys are terrible shot, shots,y to -- terrible contrary to popular belief. this is a sketch two miles from where we are standing. impracticality, this is what they look like. sticks -- theyd .reak up massive formations they zigzag their line to create fields of fire. when you are charging across the field, you will be caught in the field of crossfire. they are going to be high. they will not only be pressed high. they will be as high as your head.
6:30 pm
143 pounds, and these are some of the works they would dig, not too far from where we are standing. the fortifications are becoming more and more intricate. they are becoming more and more imposing. you need to find a -- upton, he is going to come out with the idea to mask his men. he is going to act to the time of the romans and greeks, back to the pikemen. he's going to learn from history. why are we going to be a mile across? cap and lakhs reinforcement. what do many of these other those confederate
6:31 pm
attacks, they were powerful. they were not always that way. upton wanted to take advantage. field.ged across an open napoleon might to roll his military a. use the military to not only blasts a hole in it but also to , then youhat morale send in your infantry, then you send in your horsemen. but the tactics have to change. napoleon had the musket, the 1855 springfield, that model is going to field -- going to give you the range. zone of 300d a kill yards or in. eight rounds or 10 rounds before
6:32 pm
the army gets there. and by the time of napoleon, if you got two shots off you are doing pretty well. time havectics of the not kept up with the attacks or the technology. annexation and using a sit -- using a sudden attack goes across and helps break up the formation there. they use those three to one odds like i said in an area we call the breakthrough and charge across the open fields and no man's land and break open those lines. but lee started to lack enough men. so they are trying to find new ways to break them up area european observers are over here.
6:33 pm
they are figuring out what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. and into the war to end all wars, the first war to end all in., men are going to take the first six weeks were open fighting. the german's swinging down into france. when they dug and they had to make massive attacks. british lose anywhere between 50 to 58,000 men trying to go over. they barely make a dent in the german lines. men or 750,000 men die in the civil war. 35 million are going to die in the first world war.
6:34 pm
they are going to use these trenches up in the wilderness and other places. going to have a long-lasting impact, to a point where we have to break up these formations, break up these large for the vacations. they get the tank, they get the airplane. and the battlefield you are looking at here is not a first world war that -- world war battlefield. this is the battlefield at gettysburg. you can see one of the monuments here. you are used them a lot, the training camp, the munition grounds. captain name young
6:35 pm
played eisenhower. the defense weis start looking across the battlefield. we think here at fredericksburg and spotsylvania. these are going on after the war. as you start hearing about these men and women after the war, think about what their end goal was. the governor goes on the great things in the civil war. he becomes the gate commander. second corps commander, fifth corps commander. command.s relieved he should have lost it months and months earlier. the way to talk about the
6:36 pm
governor, i love to talk about his chief of artillery. warren has a screw loose and isn't accountable for all those little freaks. that is all you need to know. he is the smartest guy in the room. he's going to stay in the army. taken to thets 1880's and goes up against men like u.s. grant. against these up men he is going to pass away before the verdict finally comes. he is going to be buried in a plain black suit. his friends get together and put
6:37 pm
up the first monument to a new york officer, tonight -- to eu -- to a new york gentleman. it's trying to whitewash what had happened to him from everyday until the day of his death. those are friends trying to show you their version of guba and rk worn. who i think guy does as much fighting with union soldiers and does as much fighting with confederate soldiers after the war. doesn't get along with anybody except for leeann jackson. but he is defending what these guys are doing during the war. let's talk about our reasoning. they have led a rebellion and
6:38 pm
these guys were not lined up against the wall. they were allowed to go back into society. there are allowed to go back into the planner's life. taken some time like jefferson davis. once they are able to, they are able to tell their side of the story. and a lot of times they starts batting with each other about what is the right story and loves to play with long street. these two guys go back and forth trying to defend what they had done or what they hadn't done in the war. down here in the bottom , this is a guyr who didn't defend himself after gettysburg. and then in the winter of 63 and 64 he is brought up on charges against him.
6:39 pm
all these different allegations. in the guy who won one of the greatest battles is now on the defensive end is always going to live in the shadows of those hearings that eric wittenberg had just written a book about. infantry,assachusetts he's an african-american soldier. the medal of honor, taken on fort wagner. these are men trying to defend their newfound -- their newfound liberty. they are changing their standing in life by taking up arms. she is like some of the women of the south who are going to lose their husband at a relatively and build them up in
6:40 pm
their own ideals and sometimes to the anger of the men who fought underneath or fought with george ticket. she is defending what she thought is her great duty and her great husband. then there are these guys that everybody loves to hate. a if people ask me who i would have dinner with, it's a down with joe hooker. joe hooker with toys some great stories. joe hooker is going to defend what he did or what he didn't do. he will never write in an official report. he just loves this guy. dam fiddles with do the same ring.
6:41 pm
dam tickles, who is even going to take off with his own money for his own monument is going to talk about how gettysburg is this great monument. the first time we successfully see the use of temporary insanity in a courtroom. the two of them bring it on themselves. booker to the point where she has a big painting. look how great i was. look at me on the big white charger. and ulysses s. grant is like that is great. look what sherman did on the other side, look what sheraton did. so this is if you go to lookout mountain. it fantastic. and very imposing once you are standing there.
6:42 pm
is one of these guys trying to defend his reputation that is soiled. how these guys were trained, i want you to think about how it evolved. how the defense you fault. and what these guys are doing. there more motives behind their biographies? were there more motives trying to take on someone else? they are human, they want you to be remembered -- they want to be irma the way they want you to remember them. that is ulysses s. grant. grant is going to issue out the old way of war. and they are going to usher in that new way of war. usy are going to show
6:43 pm
mobility, living off the land, using unlimited warfare on the enemy. these are going to be ideals that we start to see especially. grant, who is a plane and spoken man that point but a man is pretty simple. he says the art of war simple enough. find out where your enemy is, get at him as soon as you can. strike at him as hard as you can and keep moving on. thank you. [applause] >> this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, tonight sonomaures in history, state university professor laura lott discusses the evolution of the national park system. not just a case of setting aside an already natural landscape and leaving it alone, which is what we tend to think of when we part protection.
6:44 pm
what he was doing was making nature out of what at the time was old sheets meadows. there was a big grassy area in central park called the sheep's meadow. there were sheep on it. >> on american artifacts, preservationist on saving slave houses. >> one documentation is a type of presentation. slave houses are buildings that are disappearing from the landscape. by documenting them is one way of preserving them. it's also a way to share information and get it out there. oral histories, we continue our theories on photojournalists with an interview with lucian perkins. >> a woman ended up on the front
6:45 pm
yelling at's her these freshmen who are lined up against the wall with their chins tucked in like this. and that photograph is everywhere in the world. that story helped me get a job at the post. >> all weekend, every week and only on c-span3. >> all weekend long american history tv is joining our cable partners to showcase the history of south dakota. to learn more about the cities on our current turnover -- current tour, visit our website. we look at the history of p ierre. >> describe the state of south dakota. >> south dakota is an agriculture state.

74 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on