Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"A rich man's war and a poor man's fight..."
Southern opposition slogan, in The Civil War by Shelby Foote

"A chicken could not live on that field when we open on it."
Porter Alexander, commander of Longstreet's artillery battalion, at Fredericksburg, Virginia, December, 1862

"We'll fight them, sir, 'til hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice."
A Confederate soldier at Gettysburg, in The Civil War by Shelby Foote

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

"My plans are perfect, and when I start to carry them out, may God have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I shall have none."
General 'Fighting' Joe Hooker

"There stands Jackson like a stone wall!"
General Bernard Bee, Fourth Alabama Brigade, of Thomas Jackson and his First Virginia Brigade, Manassas, Virginia, July 21, 1861

"Jackson possessed the brutality essential in war; Lee did not. He could clasp the hand of a wounded enemy, whilst Jackson ground his teeth and murmured, 'No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides', and when someone deplored the necessity of destroying so many brave men, he exclaimed: 'No, shoot them all, I do not wish them to be brave.'"
Major General J.F.C. Fuller, British military writer, on Stonewall Jackson

"Order A.P. Hill to prepare for action! Pass the infantry to the front! Tell Major Hawks..."
"Let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
Last words of Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson, Guinea Station, Virginia, 3:15 pm Sunday, May 10, 1863

"Any victory would be dear at such a price."
Robert E. Lee, on the death of Stonewall Jackson

"During a mock battle attended by President Warren Harding in 1921, Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler exhumed the arm [of Stonewall Jackson; he didn't believe it was buried there] and reburied it in a metal box."
from Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

"I know Mr. Davis thinks he can do a great many things other men would hesitate to attempt. For instance, he tried to do what God failed to do. He tried to make a soldier of Braxton Bragg..."
General Joseph E. Johnston

[Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston stood bareheaded at the February funeral of General Sherman in New York.] A concerned bystander leaned forward. "General, please put on your hat; you might get sick." But Johnston would not. His warrior's heart would not let him deny his old friend a soldier's last honor. "If I were in his place," Johnston said, "and he were standing here in mine, he would not put on his hat." Ten days later, Joe Johnston was dead.
in To The Last Cartridge by Robert Barr Smith

"It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it."
General Lee to General Longstreet

"It was my habit either to go myself,with one or two men, or to send scouts, to find out some weak and exposed place in the enemy's lines. I rarely rested for more than one day at a time. As soon as I knew of a point offering a chance for a successful attack, I gathered my men together and stuck a blow. From the rapidity with which these attacks were delivered and repeated, and the distant points at which they were made, a most exaggerated estimate of the number of my force was made."
"I endeavored to compensate for my limited resources by stratagems, surprises, and night attacks, in which the advantage was generally on my side, notwithstanding the superior numbers we assailed.For this reason, the complaint has often been made against me that I would not fight fair. The accusations that have been made against my mode of warfare are about as reasonable. In one sense the charge that I did not fight fair is true. I fought for success and not for display. There was no man in the Confederate army who had less of the spirit of knight-errantry in him, or took a more practical view of war than I did. The combat between Richard [the Lionhearted] and Saladin...is a beautiful picture...but it isn't war, and was no model for me."
"I never admired and did not imitate the example of the commander who declined the advantage of the first fire. But, while I conducted war on the theory that the end of it is to secure peace by the destruction of the resources of the enemy, with as small a loss as possible to my own side, there is no authenicated act of mine which is not perfectly in accordance with approved military usage."
"I had no faith in the sabre as a weapon. I only made the men draw their sabres to prevent them from wasting their fire before they got to closer quarters."
"War loses a great deal of romance after a soldier has seen his first battle. I have a more vivid recollection of the first than the last one I was in. It is a classical maxim that it is sweet and becoming to die for one's country; but whoever has seen the horrors of a battle-field feels that it is far sweeter to live for it."
from Mosby's War Reminiscences by John S. Mosby

"Only three men in the Confederate army knew what I was doing or intended to do; they were Lee and Stuart and myself."
from Mosby's War Reminiscences by John S. Mosby

"General, did you ever hear of Mosby?"
"Yes, have you caught him?"
"He has caught you."
Captain John S. Mosby capturing General E.H. Stoughton, March, 1863

He practised law, watched his family grow to four sons and four daughters and struggled with grief when a son, George, died in 1873, and Pauline and an infant son, Alfred, died in 1876.
...reconciled himself to the outcome of the war and eventually became friends with President Ulysses S. Grant...
Grant and future Republican presidents rewarded him with a consulship in Hong Kong, a post in the General Land Office, and an assistant attorneyship in the Department of Justice.
On May 30, 1916, at the age of eighty-two, John Mosby died in Washington, D.C.
from Mosby's Rangers by Jeffry Wert

"If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell."
General Phillip H. Sheridan

"War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."
General William Tecumseh Sherman

"Humphreys and Sherman, said [Assistant Secretary of War] Dana, commanded the most 'distinguished and brilliant profanity' of any men in the army. General John A. Logan was good, too, he said, but after all he was only a civilian soldier: Humphreys and Sherman were West Pointers."
"Meade and Burnside had a furious argument that afternoon, and Horace Porter, who was present, wrote that the row 'went far toward confirming one's belief in the wealth and flexibility of the English language as a medium of personal dispute'."
from Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton

Henry Stanley [of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" fame] was at Shiloh, along with U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Lew Wallace [later author of Ben Hur], John Wesley Powell [who lost an arm there, and went on to explore the Grand Canyon], William Le Baron Jenney [future Chicago architect and 'father of the skyscraper'], and Ambrose Bierce [who wrote it up in What I Saw at Shiloh].
from Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

"Mars is not an aesthetic God."
John Brown Gordon, commanding an Alabama regiment at Shiloh, Tennessee

"If I tap that little bell, I can send you to a place where you will never hear the dogs bark."
United States Secretary of War Stanton

"At the outbreak of the war it was found very difficult to raise infantry in Texas, as no Texan walks a yard if he can help it. Many mounted regiments were therefore organized, and afterwards dismounted."
Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, 1863

"...O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle-- be Thou near them! With them-- in spirit-- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of their guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief... for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."
from The War Prayer by Mark Twain

"It is marvellous with what wild-fire rapidity this tune of Dixie has spread over the whole South. Considered as an intolerable nuisance when first the streets re-echoed it from the repertoire of wandering minstrels, it now bids fair to become the musical symbol of a new nationality, and we shall be fortunate if it does not impose its very name on our country."
"The word 'Dixie' is an abbreviation of 'Mason and Dixon's line', as the line separating Maryland and Pennsylvania is called."
Henry Hotze, Mobile Cadets, May 5, 1861

"Mrs. Davis had a small levee today in right of her position as wife of the President. Several ladies there probably looked forward to the time when their states might secede from the new Confederacy, and afford them the pleasure of holding a reception. Why not Presidents of the State of Georgia, or Alabama? Why not King of South Carolina, or Emperor of Florida? Soldiers of fortune, make your game. Gentlemen politicians, the ball is rolling. There is, to be sure, a storm gathering at the North, but it cannot hurt you, and already there are condottieri from all parts of the world flocking to your aid, who will eat your Southern beeves the last of all."
William Russell, correspondent of the London Times, June, 1861

"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. Honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."
President Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, 1862