Sunday, March 24, 2013 by Ethan Rafuse
For those who have 55 minutes and 22 seconds to kill, here is my lecture last June at the Kansas City Public Library on Thomas J. Jackson.
For those who have 55 minutes and 22 seconds to kill, here is my lecture last June at the Kansas City Public Library on Thomas J. Jackson.
81st Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History
“Transformational Conflicts: War and its Legacy through History”
April 3-7, 2014
Kansas City, Missouri
The Society for Military History is pleased to call for papers for its 81st Annual Meeting, hosted by the Command and General Staff College Foundation, Inc., Liberty Memorial – National World War I Museum, Harry S Truman Presidential Museum and Library, and the Department of History, University of Kansas.
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. It is also the 150th anniversary of the third year of the American Civil War, 200th anniversary of seminal events in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, and 300th anniversary of the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. The Society for Military History invites papers that examine these and other pivotal conflicts in terms of how they were conducted, their effects on the evolution of war, culture, and society and how historians and societies at large have remembered them. The program committee will consider paper and panel proposals on all aspects of military history, while especially encouraging submissions that reflect on this important theme.
Panel proposals must include a panel title, a one-page abstract summarizing the theme of the panel , one-page abstracts for each paper proposed, and one-page curricula vitae for each panelist (including the chair and commentator, with email addresses provided for all participants), as well as panelist contact information. Submissions of pre-organized panels are strongly encouraged and will be given preference in the selection process. Individual paper proposals are also welcome and must include a one-page abstract of the paper, one-page vita, and contact information, including email. If accepted, individual papers will be assigned by the program committee to an appropriate panel with a chair and a commentator.
Participants may present one paper, serve on a roundtable, chair a panel, or provide panel comments. They may not fill more than one of these roles during the conference, nor should they propose to do so to the Program Committee. Members who act as panel chairs only for a session may deliver a paper, serve on a roundtable, or offer comments in a different session. Members who serve as chair and commentator of a session may not present in another session.
All proposals must be submitted electronically to the program committee by October 1, 2013. The address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. All presenters, chairs, and commentators must be members of the Society for Military History by December 31, 2013.
The meeting will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City. It is located right next to the Liberty Memorial-National World War I Museum and accessible to the many sites in the greater Kansas City area that are of importance to the military history of the United States. Participants can reach the meeting site via hotel shuttle and cab from the Kansas City International Airport (MCI).
This event is co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation. The other talks in the Kansas City Public Library’s Sesquicentennial Series this year will be:
GRANT’S MASTERPIECE: THE CAMPAIGN FOR VICKSBURG
Presented by Dr. Gregory Hospodor
Thursday, April 18
AFRICAN-AMERICAN TROOPS IN THE CIVIL WAR
Presented by Dr. Terry L. Beckenbaugh
Thursday, July 18
THE SACK OF LAWRENCE AND THE GUERILLA WAR
Presented by Dr. Randy Mullis
Wednesday, August 21
GETTYSBURG: THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT OF 1863?
Featuring a roundtable of historians
Tuesday, November 19
And, hey, if you live on the West Coast and just can’t make it to Kansas City next week, I will be in Seattle next month speaking to the Puget Sound Civil War Round Table.
If you are in the next few months, here are some things to do:
All programs begin at 6:30 p.m.
Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Kansas City, Missouri
Presented by Dr. Ethan S. Rafuse
Thursday, June 7, 2012
A West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson left his job as an educator to serve the Confederacy and became one of its most successful military leaders. Jackson’s performances as a commander at places such as Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Harpers Ferry were critical to the ability of Confederate arms to achieve victories during the first two years of the Civil War.
ANTIETAM: THE BLOODIEST DAY
Featuring a roundtable of historians
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
September 17, 1862, is the bloodiest day in American military history. Hoping to break the will of the Federals, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee pushed north of the Potomac River. But the Union Army under George B. McClellan fought Lee to a draw, resulting in a “victory” that led to President Abraham Lincoln’s issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
THE POLITICS OF WAR
Presented by Dr. Terry Beckenbaugh
Thursday, November 8, 2012
The American Civil War was the product of the failure of the nation’s political leadership to resolve fundabmental debates between the North and South over the nature of the American republic and the meaning of constitutional liberty. As the conflict wore on, it became clear that divisions existed not only between the North and South, but also within each section. This presentation looks at the leaders of both North and South, the issues and ideologies that drove debate, and the effect politics had on the course and conduct of the war.
And coming up in 2013:
The Challenges of Command and Generalship: Good, Bad, and Ugly
The Battle of Vicksburg
African American Troops in the Civil War
Quantrill, Lawrence, and the Guerilla War in the West
Gettysburg and the Meaning of the War
For more information: kclibrary.org, 816.701.3407
Three years ago, the library sponsored a roundtable on Gettysburg, which can be viewed here.
Civil War Historian Kicks Off Pentagon Speaker Series
By John Valceanu
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2012 – Lessons of U.S. Civil War history were brought to life in the Pentagon yesterday during the first of a series of historical presentations to be delivered to interested audiences in the U.S. military’s headquarters.
Ethan Rafuse, professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College on Fort Leavenworth, Kan., delivered a lecture in the Pentagon auditorium in which he focused on the first months of the Civil War. Rafuse is a recognized expert on the Civil War who has authored several books on various aspects of the conflict. The lecture was open to anyone in the Pentagon who wished to attend, and it was webcast live on the Pentagon Channel.
During his talk, Rafuse explored the ideas that drove strategy and tactics on both sides of the war. He showed how the war was part of a larger “sectional conflict,” and he explained that it was interpreted by leaders on both sides as a “people’s contest.” He also discussed the “tripolarity of the struggle,” in which he showed how combatants and supporters on both sides strove to sway unaligned populace to their cause.
The rest of the story can be found here.
Here is something to do if you happen to find yourself in the world’s largest office building next week.
Here is a description of the talk and the series of which it is a part:
Dr. Ethan Rafuse, a widely published author on the Civil War, will give the inaugural presentation of the DoD Historical Speaker Series at 1130 on 11 April in the Pentagon Auditorium. His talk will assess the opening months of the conflict President Lincoln called “A People’s Contest.” The ongoing program is planned and coordinated by the historical offices of OSD, the Joint Staff, and the four military services. A primary theme will be the commemoration of our nation’s past conflicts, to include the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 (1812–1815), the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861–1865), the 100th anniversary of World War I (1914–1918), and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (1956–1975).
Cross-posted from the ABC-CLIO blog:
Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson: A Hero is Born
During the American Civil War 150 years ago, on October 7, 1861, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was promoted to major general in the Confederate Army. Jackson had earned his nickname a few months earlier during the First Battle of Bull Run when he played a pivotal role in the Confederate victory. During the height of the battle, Brigadier General Barnard Bee cried out, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall!”, and a legend was born. In this excerpt from Ethan S. Rafuse’s Stonewall Jackson: A Biography, Jackson is preparing his troops for the upcoming battle.
Jackson had his men up early on Sunday, July 21, but not as early as McDowell had his. At around 6:00 A.M., the sound of artillery and small arms fire could be heard upstream from Jackson’s position. A little over three hours later Jackson received a message reporting that the Federals had crossed Bull Run a few miles above the Stone Bridge that carried the Warrenton Turnpike over the creek and marked the Confederate left—and his command was needed to help deal with the threat. Jackson responded with alacrity and quickly moved his command to the vicinity of the Stone Bridge but, after listening awhile to the sound of an intense fight to the west, ordered his command to move in that direction. At around noon, Jackson reached the eastern border of a large open plateau on which the home of Judith Henry sat.
Upon reaching Henry Hill, Jackson and his men were greeted with the sight of hundreds of bloodied and exhausted Confederate troops. Included among them was artillery Capt. John Imboden. From Imboden and other sources, Jackson learned that the brigades of Col. Nathan Evans from Beauregard’s army and Brig. Gen. Bernard Bee’s and Col. Francis Bartow’s from Johnston’s army had been overwhelmed after a tough fight on Matthews Hill with a massive Union force pushing south from a crossing of Bull Run located near Sudley Church. Imboden also reported that he had used his three guns to support their fight and cover their withdrawal but had been compelled to pull back. “I’ll support your battery,” Jackson replied, “Unlimber here.” Imboden informed Jackson that he had nearly exhausted his ammunition in the course of the earlier engagement and intended to continue moving to the rear in search of ammunition to replenish his caissons, but Jackson persuaded him not to just yet.
Jackson then began methodically posting his five regiments in a tree-line in support of Imboden’s position and, to bolster the position, brought up the four guns of the Rockbridge Artillery and two guns from a Richmond battery. Meanwhile, the forces that had been so roughly handled on Matthews Hill began to rally in the area behind the right of Jackson’s line. One of their commanders, Bee, rode over to Jackson and excitedly reported, “General, they are driving us!” “Sir,” Jackson sternly replied after quickly looking over the field, “we will give them the bayonet.”
Ethan S. Rafuse is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the author of several books about the Civil War, including Stonewall Jackson: A Biography; A Single Grand Victory: The First Campaign and Battle of Manassas; McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union; and Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865.
Photos from the 7 May Springfield Civil War Symposium described in Mark’s post below.
The Clark County Heritage Center, site of the symposium.
Mark speaking on the election of 1860.
The symposium speakers (l to r): Mark Grimsley, Ethan Rafuse, Fergus Bordewich, and Nicole Etcheson.
Was back in Virginia a few weeks ago helping Chris Stowe and the rest of the CGSC teaching team at Fort Lee on the third iteration of an Appomattox Staff Ride. In the time since the first iteration of the ride in April, Chris wisely adjusted the ride to start at Fort Gregg instead of Five Forks. This avoided the problem last time of spending a huge chunk of time (time management is always the biggest challenge on these rides) on the events of 1 April and the whole background and conduct of the Battle at Five Forks. Instead, we simply started out saying, “OK, it is the morning of 2 April, Five Forks has happened, what is the situation?” After discussing this and the events of 2 April that led up to the fight for Fort Gregg, the four groups (led respectively by Chris, Fort Lee team leader Bob Kennedy, Fort Belvoir’s Chris Keller, and myself) did stands at Sutherland Station, Amelia Court House, Hillsman House, Kershaw Ridge, Cumberland Church, Final Battle, McLean House, and ended at the Gordon-Chamberlain salute/Grant-Lee second meeting site.
Some photos from the ride are below, courtesy of Kaysteine Briggs, who belonged to the staff group assigned to me, which proved to be an outstanding one. Although a bit chilly, we were spared the rain that accompanied the recon we did the day before and the April ride.
Hillsman House Here, and throughout the ride, a major point of debate was just how much faster Phil Sheridan would have ended the war if not for that punk George Meade. (Boy, wouldn’t it be great, especially at a time when people are trying to figure out how to spend gift cards, if there was a really good recent book out there on Meade–or even just a decent essay? For that matter, wouldn’t a book that discusses Lee during this campaign–especially one that, in the words of one unimpeachable source “shows once again why [its author] is one of the finest Civil War military historians at work today”, also be a great addition to one’s bookshelf? )
Near Appomattox Court House
I guess no matter how hard you try to resist, at this time of year the mind of the Civil War enthusiast invariably turns to that wonderful little crossroads town in Pennsylvania and the great campaign and battle of June-July 1863. Last summer, it was Ted’s program in Chambersburg (discussed here) that ensured Gettysburg would have a prominent place in my mind. This year three events are serving this purpose and keeping me from focusing my efforts outside the classroom on the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign of 1864-65, which is where my collaborator on the staff ride guide and publisher no doubt agree they should be. On the other hand, as illustrated on the right, it doesn’t look like Charles is have any better luck in his efforts to resist the lure of Gettysburg.
Anyway, the first of these events (although I know in mentioning it I run the risk of being banned from Eric’s blog for shameless self-promotion) is a panel discussion Wednesday night at the Kansas City Public Library, co-sponsored by the CGSC Foundation, on Gettysburg, a sequel to the program on Lincoln I moderated at KCPL in February. Two of the other three participants will be familiar to followers of this blog as collaborators in staff rides documented here, here, and here. Here are the details:
A panel of military historians will discuss the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg on Wednesday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Moderator Wilburn E. Meador Jr., an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, sets the scene, explaining the events of the Civil War leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, which began 136 years ago on July 1, 1863.
Ethan S. Rafuse, associate professor of Military History, U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and author of Robert E. Lee and The Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865, discusses the actions of the Army of Northern Virginia, in the days leading to Gettysburg.
Christopher S. Stowe, associate professor of Military History, U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, Ft. Lee, Virginia campus, is presently writing a history of General George G. Meade and discusses the actions of the Army of the Potomac in the days leading to Gettysburg.
Terry Beckenbaugh, assistant professor of Military History, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, historical essayist in the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War and a scholar on the right wing of the Army of the Potomac, discusses the conduct of the Battle of Gettysburg, and why its outcome was more important to the Union cause than many people realize.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Click here or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage located at 10th and Baltimore.
The event is co-sponsored by the Command and General Staff College Foundation.
The second event that has July 1863 on my mind will be a good follow up to this program, namely a trip to Gettysburg on 9 July with a group of staff riders from Fort Belvoir.
The third is participation in a blogger collaborative project proposed by Brett Schulte a few weeks ago. This deserves a post of its own, which will appear tomorrow.
Eric Wittenberg at Rantings of a Civil War Historian, Feb. 10:
For the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion about the state and future of North & South magazine. It began with a post on Kevin Levin’s blog. After quite a few comments (including one by me), Ethan Rafuse pitched in. Ethan has put up two posts at the Civil Warriors group blog that also address the situation with North & South.
I think I can lend some insight. By way of introduction, I own a major block of voting stock in the company. I am in the top ten of the group of largest shareholders, and until two years ago, was a member of the company’s board of directors. I was kicked off the board by founder/editor/president Keith Poulter when he realized that I had turned hostile and would no longer approve his actions in managing the company without question. Consequently, I have some inside knowledge and insight that few others have. . . .
Over on Kevin’s blog there has been a series of rather rigorous discussions on the matter of North & South Magazine. I began pitching in a few days ago and figured this morning that instead of letting Kevin get all the “dap” for them, would post my contributions, revised and edited, so we could continue the discussion here if anyone wishes to. I have published two articles in N & S, contributed to the round table on guerrilla warfare that will be in the next issue, and have had only cordial dealings with editor Keith Poulter. I also have what I consider to be a very good relationship with Dana Shoaf, the man who edits Civil War Times Illustrated and America’s Civil War, N & S’s main competitors in the field. So, in the interest of full disclosure, that is where I am coming from.
Anyway, my first response after following the discussion at Civil War Memory for a while was to be amazed at how so many of its complaining contributors seemed to be, to quote Lincoln, “blind to the signs of the times.” Any discussion of N & S must take into account that these are not exactly the best of times for a business, and that is what N & S is. To expect its operations, as it seems many did, not to be affected negatively by the current economic climate is just not realistic. After all, CWTI has recently decided to cut back on the number of issues it publishes each year. Is there anyone who does not see in this a reflection of larger forces that are also effecting N & S?
Moreover, there is the question of whether what many see as problems at N&S are not only a reflection of problems in the larger economy, but the fact that interest in the Civil War seems (due undoubtedly in part to an oversaturated market) to have peaked a while ago and has been in steady decline. In fact, we may well look back on the arrival of N & S as the point when it tipped. At that time, we already had CWTI, ACW, Blue and Gray, Civil War, Columbiad, and Civil War Regiments competing for (and no doubt diluting the overall level of quality of) the popular history market, while Civil War History, Lincoln Herald, and innumerable topical, state, and regional journals provided outlets for academic Civil War material. Civil War, Columbiad, and Civil War Regiments (perhaps not coincidentally all works that made the same effort N & S has made to find a happy medium between academic and pop history that may well not exist) all went by the wayside, while the academic journals have benefitted from their not inconsiderable insulation from the market. In this light, I think N & S’s ability to survive as long as it has (undoubtedly benefitting from the diversion of quality material that would have gone into the three aforementioned late outlets) says something positive about the man running it.
Thus, I took exception to some of the shots folks were taking at N & S editor and publisher Keith Poulter. Is the question, as some argued, his “incompetency” as an editor–or simply the consequence of one person trying to do too much because in this economy he can’t afford the necessary staff to assist him? I seriously doubt there is much different between the Keith Poulter of the late 1990s who started the magazine and got it (as all the contributors to the discussion seem to agree) running great and the Keith Poulter of today . . . but it ain’t 1998 anymore. Frankly, that Keith has managed to get the magazine as far as he has in this economy is no little accomplishment, one that I doubt many in the peanut gallery could have pulled off.
More to come.
Part 1 – Part 2