[[ PDF / Epub ]] ✅ Fighting for the Confederacy Author Edward Porter Alexander – Sausageskinsuk.co.uk

Fighting for the Confederacy Originally Published By UNC Press In , Fighting For The Confederacy Is One Of The Richest Personal Accounts In All Of The Vast Literature On The Civil War Alexander Was Involved In Nearly All Of The Great Battles Of The East, From First Manassas Through Appomattox, And His Duties Brought Him Into Frequent Contact With Most Of The High Command Of The Army Of Northern Virginia, Including Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson, And James Longstreet No Other Civil War Veteran Of His Stature Matched Alexander S Ability To Discuss Operations In Penetrating Detail This Is Especially True Of His Description Of Gettysburg His Narrative Is Also Remarkable For Its Utterly Candid Appraisals Of Leaders On Both Sides


10 thoughts on “Fighting for the Confederacy

  1. says:

    I had heard the editor, Gary Gallagher, of the book talk about it I then had lunch with him He recommended it to me for the course of study that I am undertaking in my semi retirement U.S history leading up to the Civil War, the Civil War itself, and the aftermath of the Civil War which brings us up to today, but I am stopping around the 1890s.I had a couple of issues with the book First, it goes into great detail about the various military encounters and the in betweens with an army T I had heard the editor, Gary Gallagher, of the book talk about it I then had lunch with him He recommended it to me for the course of study that I am undertaking in my semi retirement U.S history leading up to the Civil War, the Civil War itself, and the aftermath of the Civil War which brings us up to today, but I am stopping around the 1890s.I had a couple of issues with the book First, it goes into great detail about the various military encounters and the in betweens with an army There is, for example, a lot of discussion about who occupied which ridge and which army flanked which I have little personal interest in the war machinations, other than to know the big picture about the general location, who prevailed in the major battles and how they affected the politics and ultimate outcome So, because of my lack of personal interest in the details of battles and troop movements, this was a hard slog for me Still, there were absolutely great portions of the book that stirred my soul There is much praise for the Generals Lee and Grant and for President Lincoln Grant and Lincoln are praised for their generosity in victory, but, as we all know, Lincoln was assassinated before he could fully formulate and implement his post war plan.Second, as with all recollections presented as biography history, the author has biases that may tilt the discussion in favor of those biases I had a short email exchange with Gary Gallagher, the editor, about this He acknowledged this, because nobody regardless of how objective and fair can avoid them But, Gary,whom I greatly respect for his fairness and objectivity as a historian, said that as much as anyone who has written about the war, Alexander is probably the most objective For example, he has does not always paint the halo over General Lee s head General Lee made mistakes and had his quirks Alexander presents them, although overall as I shall note in quotes below , he presents Lee in a quite favorable light By the way he worked closely with Lee for many years up to Appomattox and certainly has a unique vantage point to talk about Lee.I particularly liked the final chapter, Chapter ___, on Appomattox Here are some excepts from that chapter p 512 After Richmond fell there was nothing left to fight for but honor, that would have been the case, probably, at any time in the war, certainly in the last two years pp 527 528 It was very plain that the prospect of being surrendered had suddenly become a topic of general conversation Indeed, no man who looked at our situation on a map, or who understood the geography of the country, could fail to see that Gen Grant now had us completely in a trap He had stood upon the hills at Farmville that morning watched the last of our column go in We were now in a sort of jug shaped peninsula between the James River the Appomattox, there was but one outlet, the neck of the jug at Appomattox C H., and to that Grant had the shortest road pp 531 532 JAT Introduction This is presented as a quote of a response Alexander gave Lee before Lee surrendered I talked with Gallagher about such quotes He said that the statements were not contemporaneously transcribed but reflect Alexander s recollections many years after the event Still Gallagher thought that Alexander would have fairly presented the gist of the matter he presents as a quote This same comment is true of other quotes if there is no hope, no terms possible, if this is just the end, the wreck of all things there is still one thing that the men who have fought under you for four years now have the right to ask you You don t care for military fame glory, but we are proud of your name record the record of this army We want to leave it to our children Its last hour has come and a little bloodor less now makes no difference And the men that have fought under you for four years have got the right to ask you to spare us the mortification of having you ask Grant for terms have him reply Unconditional Surrender They call him that U S Unconditional Surrender Grant General, spare us the mortification of having you receive that reply 533 JAT Introduction This is not a quote, but is Alexander s recollection of Lee s rejection of alternatives to surrender that Alexander pressed on Lee One alternative was to release the troops and let them try to meet up with other armies They were desparation alternatives, and Lee wisely rejected them The Alexander recalls Then I thought I had never half known before what a big heart brain our general had I was so ashamed of having proposed to him such a foolish and wild cat scheme as my suggestion had been that I felt like begging him to forget that he had ever heard it And not only did my own little plan, of running away if ever I saw a white flag, vanish into thin air, but nothing could now have induced me to miss the opportunity of contributing by presence, example, every means in my power to carrying out the general s wishes in every respect It seemed now an inestimable privilege to serve under him to the very last moment, that no scene in the whole life of the Army of Northern Virginia would behonorable than the one which was now to close its record p 540 Indeed Gen Grant s conduct toward us in the whole matter is worthy of the very highest praise indicates a great broad generous mind For all time it will be a good thing for the whole United States, that of all the Federal generals it fell to Grant to receive the surrender of Lee The terms of the surrender were drawn up by Gen Grant himself in a brief note rapidly written, all the details as afterward carried out seem to me a remarkable model of practical simplicity This is Gen Grant s letter, which, being accepted by Gen Lee in a brief note, then became the contract of surrender Appomattox Ct.H., Va., April 9th, 1865 General R E Lee, Commanding C.S.A General In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged , and each company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked, and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their paroles, and the laws in force where they may reside.I ve always been particularly impressed with the last sentence, which in such few simple unobjectionable words, practically gave an amnesty to every surrendered soldier for all political offences The subject had not been discussed, nor referred to in any way Nor did there seem, at that time, any likelihood that there would ever be any vindictive desire to hang or punish our prominent men for treason Nor would there have been had Mr Lincoln lived


  2. says:

    Porter Alexander was one of the most famous artillerymen in both armies Starting off as an engineer, he was Lee s head of ordnance for the Army of Northern Virginia, and then a colonel of artillery in Longstreet s First Corps he soon was promoted to Brigadier General, to become the First Corps Chief of Artillery Highly talented and intelligent, an outstanding engineer and artillerist, Porter served in all the campaigns of the First Corps After the war, he wrote two sets of manuscripts one, Porter Alexander was one of the most famous artillerymen in both armies Starting off as an engineer, he was Lee s head of ordnance for the Army of Northern Virginia, and then a colonel of artillery in Longstreet s First Corps he soon was promoted to Brigadier General, to become the First Corps Chief of Artillery Highly talented and intelligent, an outstanding engineer and artillerist, Porter served in all the campaigns of the First Corps After the war, he wrote two sets of manuscripts one, a military analysis of the battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, was published in 1907 as Military Memoirs of a Confederate A Critical Narrative The other manuscript, written at the urging of his children, was a farpersonal memoir of his participation never originally meant for publication, it lay unnoticed for decades Unlike the Military Memoirs, Alexander includes a great deal of description of the places he saw and personal observations and impressions of a great many people, both civilians and military Given his rank and position, Porter gives quite candid personal sketches of figures such as Lee, Longstreet, Stuart and others Unlike just about every other former Confederate who wrote after the war, Porter was critical of Confederate icons such as Lee and Jackson he questions decisions made by Davis and by Lee, for example, that he felt contributed to the loss of the war, and Longstreet comes in for his share of criticism as well return return Alexander writes in a very easy style that is correct but easily accessible by a modern reader He records dialogue as he remembers it, stories of camp life, of the hardships endured by the army He also comes across as arrogant at times and a typical Southerner Georgian of his period, who talks casually about darkies and clearly never felt that slavery was wrong He records without censure the fact that after the Union began using African American troops in battle, Confederates went after them with a vengeance, killing them when they would have taken white troops as prisoners It doesn t seem to bother him Typical of many ex Confederates, as you read, you do get the feeling that the Army of Northern Virginia never lost a battle and that somehow the Yankees won despite their stupid blunders and the brilliancy and unmatched heroism of the Southern army There are times when this is so blatant that you want to shake him and yell, But YOU lost At the end, describing Sherman s march to Savannah, he says that Sherman carried all the slaves away with him, implying that somehow the Union army took away reluctant African americans who really wanted to stay with their ol massas The truth is that thousands of ex slaves followed Sherman s army,and he gave orders to try to keep them away since he could not feed or take care of the hordes that greeted him with joy at every stop so much so that he got into political hot water back in Washington with the radical Republicans Through three quarters of the book, you get the feeling that the Union armies suffered terrible losses while the Confederates due to innate superiority hardly lost a man Only towards the end in the fighting that led to the siege of Petersburg does he talk about the tremendous losses suffered by Lee s army return return He does retain a good deal of objectivity as far as military leadership is concerned There was plenty to criticize on both sides, but he gives unstinting praise to Grant, whom he obviously admires He was unstintingly admiring of Lincoln and recognized that Lincoln was indeed the South s best friend in the North he, like other Confederate military leadership, understood immediately that Lincoln s assassination was a disaster for the South return return As far as the military side is concerned, Alexander gives a great many details of how the various campaigns were planned and how they were carried off, particularly from the point of view of the artillery These are fascinating, since the general histories, even such excellent ones such as Shelby Foote s 3 volume narrative, can t go into such detail One example is the defense of Petersburg, where his accounting of the digging of the trenches, the placement of artillery, and the increasingly desperate tactics used by Lee to defend the ever lengthening fortifications with his dwindling army is absorbing In one section of the narrative, Alexander describes life in the trenches it was a misery of never being able to stand up, of vermin, of baking in the sun It s quite graphic return return His maps are in reality sketches, and they are excellent, far surpassing in quality and relevance many of the maps included in modern books on the war that are computer generated by professionals Also included are portraits they appear to be lithographs of many of the Confederate high ranking officers, such as Braxton Brag, Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Bell Hood, Jubal Early, John Gordon and others it s about the only book, though, with which I m familiar that does no have the nearly obligatory portrait of lee, which is just as well The frontispiece is a portrait of Alexander himself, in uniform return return The book is really the published manuscript with some editing Since Porter wrote it while serving in Nicaragua for the US government in the late 1890s, he left many blanks for dates, casualties, names, etc which he intended to fill in when he returned home to his plantation in South Carolina He never did The book remains faithful o the manuscript in that respect the notes fill in the blanks and are quite informative The text is 552 pages, which means that there were quite a few times when I had to use the index to place a particular officer or civilian whose name cropped up later on return return Fighting For The Confederacy is not a book for the casual reader of the US Civil War, but neither is it simply for buffs and specialists Alexander s personal reminiscences of the life he led while serving in the army as well as his recollections of the engagements in which he fought are extremely well written and easy to follow I certainly would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed, for instance, Sam Watson s Co Aitch it s Sam on a higher level of the military heap return return Highly recommended for those with somethingthan a passing interest in the US Civil War


  3. says:

    An extremely well written and balanced view of the experiences of General Alexander in the Civil War I recommend this as highly as Shelby Foote s The Civil War Unless you are a true reader of histories of the Civil War you might have overlooked this man, but rectify that quickly Although, on second thought I qualify that by saying if you saw Gettysburg or Gods and Generals you might have caught on that he wasimportant than you realized.Besides Gettysburg, General Alexander was at Chic An extremely well written and balanced view of the experiences of General Alexander in the Civil War I recommend this as highly as Shelby Foote s The Civil War Unless you are a true reader of histories of the Civil War you might have overlooked this man, but rectify that quickly Although, on second thought I qualify that by saying if you saw Gettysburg or Gods and Generals you might have caught on that he wasimportant than you realized.Besides Gettysburg, General Alexander was at Chickamauga with Longstreet And then back north to the siege of Petersburg and actually suspected the Yankees were tunneling under the lines of the Confederates before the Battle of the Crater, but was not taken seriously The General was at Appomattox with General Lee where he made a suggestion regarding the end of the war that he was rebuked by General Lee You will have to read the book for that story.An interesting life postwar as well Oh, did I mention he was a Georgia boy Washington, GA that is A teacher of mathematics and arbiter for President Grover Cleveland, a duck hunting friend.Great life


  4. says:

    A really interesting and honest first hand account of the Confederate side of the war.


  5. says:

    This is a wonderfully engaging memoir, written by E Porter Alexander, engineer, staff officer, and, as most recall him, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia s First Corps artillery guru What sets this book apart is its honest, candid view of events from Alexander s perspective Not the usual glorification of the cause and its leaders as with many other actors from the Civil War This book stayed hidden from sight for many years after it was completed it is a blessing to those who study t This is a wonderfully engaging memoir, written by E Porter Alexander, engineer, staff officer, and, as most recall him, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia s First Corps artillery guru What sets this book apart is its honest, candid view of events from Alexander s perspective Not the usual glorification of the cause and its leaders as with many other actors from the Civil War This book stayed hidden from sight for many years after it was completed it is a blessing to those who study the Civil War that it came to see the light of day with publication The Introduction concludes by stating that page xxiii Fighting for the Confederacy is a book to be savored, one of those wonderful volumes that is both instructive and pleasurable to read One line that exemplifies this, focusing on Lieutenant General Leonidas Pope, a corps commander in the Western Theater s Army of Tennessee, is enchanting Polk was a bishop in his church and, for some unfathomable reason, had the confidence of President Jefferson Davis and General Braxton Bragg When Alexander and the troops of General James Longstreet s First Corps joined Bragg s army at Chickamauga, he observed that page 289 So all our pious people with one consent with secret conviction that the Lord would surely favor a bishop turned in made him a lieut Gen., which the Lord had not A sly way of saying that Polk was a disaster as a general and, indeed, Alexander was accurate in his assessment A couple passages that make this volume and Alexander s method so refreshing At the close of his discussion of the battle of Chancellorsville, Alexander notes that Union Commanding General Joseph Hooker lost his courage and will as did his top commanders Alexander observes that the Union Army was intact, outnumbered the Confederate force and could have won the battle with better leadership Then, in a passage extraordinary for a Confederate officer, he says page 217 Had it been Grant in command, he would not have dreamed of giving up the fight This suggests a perspective on the war that many partisans whether Union or Confederate never had Indeed, had the Union Army listened to Generals Meade and Reynolds who were arguing strenuously to counterattack the Confederate forces, the end result might have been a significant Union victory We ll never know, of course, but Alexander does suggest an alternative history Then, Gettysburg Here is the poignant scene, told from Alexander s perspective, where Longstreet must order Pickett s forces and others to advance But Longstreet fears a disaster, and obviously is in a state of inner turmoil see pages 254 and following At one point, it is almost as if he were giving Alexander the task of deciding whether or not the charge takes place At a later time, Longstreet expresses openly his fear page 261 I don t want to make this attack I believe it will fail I do not see how it can succeed I would not make it even now, but that Gen Lee has ordered expects it So, in the end, this is a wonderful first person description of the war, one of the finest of Civil War memoirs


  6. says:

    This is one of the most fascinating and readable Civil War books I ve come across I don t know how I overlooked it, or failed to hear of it, for so many years.Alexander s tale of service in the Confederate Army goes from the beginning of the war to Appomattox, almost all of it in the Army of Northern Virginia His narrative is thorough, with fascinating details and showing what appears to be pretty remarkable recall Because this book was compiled many decades after Alexander s death, and was n This is one of the most fascinating and readable Civil War books I ve come across I don t know how I overlooked it, or failed to hear of it, for so many years.Alexander s tale of service in the Confederate Army goes from the beginning of the war to Appomattox, almost all of it in the Army of Northern Virginia His narrative is thorough, with fascinating details and showing what appears to be pretty remarkable recall Because this book was compiled many decades after Alexander s death, and was not intended by him to be published in this form, it carries an un edited feel of authenticity Even given its rough form, Alexander s writing is fluid and shows a laconic sense of humor.The work by Professor Gallagher of editing these narratives together, and providing detailed footnotes and commentary, is also impressive, and helps tie Alexander s recollections neatly together with other writings both from contemporaries of the war and of modern historians.I loved reading this book and generally found it hard to put down


  7. says:

    I did not read this book word for word, especially about the movement of individual military units I did love the book, however, for the personal opinions General Alexander revealed about many of the major participants in the Confederate and Union military The stories he tells about every day life, both the mundane and horrific and serious and humerous, were fasinating Since I am not a military expert, General Alexander s explanation of why individual battles were won and lost was revealing a I did not read this book word for word, especially about the movement of individual military units I did love the book, however, for the personal opinions General Alexander revealed about many of the major participants in the Confederate and Union military The stories he tells about every day life, both the mundane and horrific and serious and humerous, were fasinating Since I am not a military expert, General Alexander s explanation of why individual battles were won and lost was revealing and helped my understand the conduct of the war This book incorporated much of what I have read in other books about the conduct of the war and what soldiers went through General Alexander, for example, tells of taking clothing, money, and letters off dead soldiers and deserting to take care of families back home I m sure his memoires have been used as source material for many writers We are fortunate to have his words 150 years after the start of the Civil War


  8. says:

    I very much enjoyed this book, edited by Gary Gallagher Alexander made the challenges of an army engineer and artillery officer fascinating , by his obvious dedication, thoroughness and interest in his role Far from being dry, its full of interesting vignettes and stories of his early and military life and the people he met and with whom he spent his fighting years His descriptions show, in spite of spirited determination to succeed amidst hardship and deprivation, the steady decline of the S I very much enjoyed this book, edited by Gary Gallagher Alexander made the challenges of an army engineer and artillery officer fascinating , by his obvious dedication, thoroughness and interest in his role Far from being dry, its full of interesting vignettes and stories of his early and military life and the people he met and with whom he spent his fighting years His descriptions show, in spite of spirited determination to succeed amidst hardship and deprivation, the steady decline of the South His opinions on various decisions made by the leadership, and events are logically and frankly given, as these recollections were originally intended for his family, not for general publication They are also made valuable for the time lapse, written later in life, thus giving Alexander time to reflect with gained perspective on these past events


  9. says:

    What an astonishingly great book Despite the differences between our politics, I d have liked to have known Edward Porter Alexander This book is much deeper than almost any other memoir I ve ever read, and it s definitely muchinteresting than most biographies of the Civil War genre EPA wrote this book without any intention of its being read by anyone but his children, and his candor is coupled with his being at so many significant events in the war EPA s views are surprisingly differen What an astonishingly great book Despite the differences between our politics, I d have liked to have known Edward Porter Alexander This book is much deeper than almost any other memoir I ve ever read, and it s definitely muchinteresting than most biographies of the Civil War genre EPA wrote this book without any intention of its being read by anyone but his children, and his candor is coupled with his being at so many significant events in the war EPA s views are surprisingly different from what I expected of a Rebel, and his references to blacks and slavery are not at all the stuff of KKK pamphlets very much to my relief even when racism comes with the territory, I detest reading racist beliefs This is by far, regardless of genre, one of the very best books I ve ever read, and it s a helluva lot of fun to read


  10. says:

    This is the autobiographical account of General Edward Porter Alexander who served for the Confederacy during the War Between the States Civil War He served as a combat engineer, aide to General Robert E Lee, and commander of artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg I learned a lot about the role of engineers and the staff in planning and conducting battles It is an excellent inside account from the confederate perspective It is also enlightening about the conciliation, and hindsight after t This is the autobiographical account of General Edward Porter Alexander who served for the Confederacy during the War Between the States Civil War He served as a combat engineer, aide to General Robert E Lee, and commander of artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg I learned a lot about the role of engineers and the staff in planning and conducting battles It is an excellent inside account from the confederate perspective It is also enlightening about the conciliation, and hindsight after the war The national vision of the New England colonies prevailed in driving the destiny of the nation


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