A soldier needed to tear off the top of the cartridge in order to fire his weapon - part of the nine steps to fire a muzzle loading gun or five to fire a breech loading gun. Casemates were often used to protect gun positions, powder magazines, storerooms or living quarters. Cash Crop : A crop such as tobacco or cotton which was grown to be sold for cash --not grown for food like corn or wheat.
Cavalry : A branch of the military mounted on horseback. Cavalry units in the Civil War could move quickly from place to place or go on scouting expeditions on horseback, but usually fought on foot. Their main job was to gather information about enemy movements. Until the spring of , the Confederate cavalry force was far superior to its Federal counterpart. When several cheval-de-frise singular, pronounced she-VAL-de-freez were bolted together they created an effective barrier for roads and fortifications. Colors : A flag identifying a regiment or army. By the end of the Civil War, the columbiad was rendered obsolete by rifled, banded artillery.
Company : A group of 50 to soldiers led by a captain. Confederacy : Also called the South or the Confederate States of America, the Confederacy incorporated the states that seceded from the United States of America to form their own nation. The military draft became a necessity on both sides of the conflict.
While many conscripts were excellent soldiers, veterans often considered draftees to be inferior, unreliable soldiers. Contrabands : Escaped slaves who fled to the Union lines for protection. Corps : pronounced kohr or korz A very large group of soldiers led by Union a major general or Confederate a lieutenant general and designated by Roman numerals such as XI Corps. Confederate corps were often called by the name of their commanding general as in Jackson's Corps.
Coup de Main : pronounced koo-duh-mahn A French term used to describe a quick, vigorous attack that surprises the enemy. They were named after Admiral John A. Dahlgren, their inventor. This occurred when units were unable to support one another, often because of distance. Democratic Party : The major political party in America most sympathetic to states rights and willing to tolerate the spread of slavery to the territories.
Democrats opposed a strong Federal government. Most Southern men were Democrats before the War. Dropsy : pronounced drop-see Nineteenth-century term for the condition known today as edema. Fluid builds up in the tissues and causes limbs to swell up horribly. Dysentery was a leading cause of deaths by disease. Earthwork : A field fortification such as a trench or a mound made of earth. Earthworks were used to protect troops during battles or sieges, to protect artillery batteries, and to slow an advancing enemy.
Emancipation : Freedom from slavery. Enfilade : pronounced en-fuh-leyd To fire along the length of an enemy's battle line.
Entrenchments : Long cuts trenches dug out of the earth with the dirt piled up into a mound in front; used for defense. Federal : Loyal to the government of the United States. Also known as Union, Yankee, or Northern. Feint : pronounced feynt To pretend to attack in one direction while the real attack is directed somewhere else. Fieldworks : Temporary fortifications put up by an army in the field. Flying Battery : A system where several horse-drawn cannons would ride along the battle front, stop and set up the guns, fire, limber up, and ride to another position.
This practice gave the impression that many guns were in use when only a few were actually being used. Fortification : Something that makes a defensive position stronger, like high mounds of earth to protect cannon or spiky breastworks to slow an enemy charge. Fortifications may be man-made structures or a part of the natural terrain. Man-made fortifications could be permanent mortar or stone or temporary wood and soil. Natural fortifications could include waterways, forests, hills and mountains, swamps and marshes.
The furloughed soldier carried papers which described his appearance, his unit, when he left and when he was due to return. Gabions : pronounced gey-bee-en Cylindrical wicker baskets which were filled with rocks and dirt, often used to build field fortifications or temporary fortified positions. Garrison : A group of soldiers stationed at a military post.
Green Troops : Phrase used to describe soldiers who were either new to the military or had never fought in a battle before. Hardtack : Hardtack is a term used to describe the hard crackers often issued to soldiers of both sides during the Civil War. These crackers consisted of nothing more than flour, water, and salt. They were simple and inexpensive to make in very large quantities. However, these crackers became almost rock solid once they went stale. Although it saw use in the early stages of the war, soldiers quickly learned that it cut off circulation around the head and face, leading to the eventual abandonment of the havelock.
A howitzer's projectiles had a smaller powder charge.
Also, canister projectiles contained more small balls than other types of canister. Howitzers were useful in defending fortifications and causing disorder within with in an attacking force. Industry : Manufacturing goods from raw materials, such as cloth from cotton or machine parts from iron.
Captain Confederacy (Collection)
Infantry : A branch of the military in which soldiers traveled and fought on foot. Hunley - the first successful submarine. For example, Robert E. Juggernaut : pronounced juhg-er-nawt An overwhelming, advancing force that crushes or seems to crush everything in its path. The artillery piece could be attached to the limber, which would allow both to be pulled by a team of horses. Also verb: The practice of attaching a piece of artillery to the limber that holds its ammunition. It presented two or three sides to the enemy but the rear was open to friendly lines.
It became a symbolic division between free states and slave states. Militia : Troops, like the National Guard, who are only called out to defend the land in an emergency. The bullet was designed for muzzle-loading rifle-muskets. It was small enough to load quickly, and had a special feature that let it take advantage of a rifled-barrel. When the rifle-musket was fired, expanding gas from the gunpowder blast was caught in the hollow base of the bullet forcing it against the rifled grooves inside the barrel.
Monitor : Originally, the U. Monitor fought the C. Virginia formerly the U. With its 13 inch bore it was capable of launching two hundred pound shells. Musket : A smoothbore firearm fired from the shoulder. Thrust from exploding powder shoots the bullet forward like a chest pass in basketball. Muzzle-loading : Muzzle-loading muskets or rifle muskets had to be loaded from the end by putting the gunpowder and the bullet or ball down the barrel.
This lighter, more maneuverable field artillery piece fired 12 pound projectiles and was very popular with both Federal and Confederate armies. His tactics were brilliant for the technology of warfare at the time he was fighting. Navy : A branch of the military using ships to conduct warfare.
North : Also called the Union or the United States the North was the part of the country that remained loyal to the Federal government during the Civil War. West Virginia became a Northern state in and California and Oregon were also officially Northern but they had little direct involvement in the War. Parole : A pledge by a prisoner of war or a defeated soldier not to bear arms. When prisoners were returned to their own side during the War in exchange for men their side had captured the parole was no longer in effect and they were allowed to pick up their weapons and fight.
When the South lost the War and the Confederate armies gave their parole they promised never to bear weapons against the Union again. Parrott guns were used by both the Army and the Navy, and ranged from pounders to pounders. Percussion Arm : A musket or rifle-musket that requires a cap to fire. A tiny cap is placed on the gun so that when a trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes the cap. The chemical in the cap fulminate of mercury ignites and flame shoots into the chamber that holds the gunpowder.
Percussion means striking—a drum is a percussion instrument and a gun that uses a hammer to strike a cap is a percussion arm. Picket : Soldiers posted on guard ahead of a main force. Andrew J. Tozier of the 2nd Maine quickly emerged as an unlikely hero, and he was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Color sergeant was a dangerous but coveted position in Civil War regiments, generally manned by the bravest soldier in the unit.
When their ammunition had almost run out, Chamberlain decided to fix bayonets and charge down into the two Alabama regiments. Spear, however, claimed he received no such orders. Holman S. Melcher, the acting commander of Company F, actually conceived the idea to advance the colors and that Colonel Chamberlain initially hesitated, fearing that it would be extremely hazardous.
Coan said other officers joined Melcher in urging a forward movement. Chamberlain — whose right foot had been pieced by a shell fragment or a stone chip — then limped along the regimental line giving instructions to align the left side of the regiment with the right. After Chamberlain returned to the regimental center, Melcher asked permission to retrieve his wounded from the front.
Chamberlain replied, Yes, I am about to order a right wheel forward of the whole regiment. Chamberlain himself claimed later to have said, yes, sir, in a moment! I am about to order a charge. Chamberlain ordered a right-wheel maneuver and took up a place behind Tozier. There is some disagreement about exactly what Chamberlain said to order the bayonet charge.
One story is that he screamed: Bayonet! Forward to the right!
Chamberlain claimed later that one word — Bayonet! Nor was there time. Right wheel or Bayonet! With all the confusion and noise on Little Round Top that day, if anything other than bayonet had been said it probably would not have mattered, anyway. An infantryman who is out of ammunition, faced with being cut down on the next enemy charge, and hearing the metal-to-metal sound of bayonets being put on en masse knows the intent of the upcoming order without actually hearing it.
In all likelihood Lieutenant Melcher conceived the idea to advance the colors to retrieve the wounded, but Chamberlain expanded upon the idea, deciding to have the whole regiment conduct a bayonet attack. In doing so, Chamberlain exercised effective battle command. Captain Spear said he never received a formal order to charge — he charged only after he saw the colors start forward. The Rev.
Theodore Gerrish, then a private in Company H, stated that Melcher led the men down the slope when the enemy was only 30 yards away. Corporal Coan said the men hesitated when Melcher ordered them forward because they were not sure if the colonel had sanctioned the attack. Chamberlain claimed there was no hesitation and said that the line quivered for the start. Captain Nichols wrote in that Company K never hesitated. Perhaps Company H did hesitate on the left because they were taking heavy fire when the charge started.
Company K probably did not delay since the right side of the regiment was not experiencing heavy fire at the time. Most evidence indicates that Chamberlain ordered the charge, and Melcher was the first officer down the slopes. Melcher was an inspiration to the tiring regiment as he sprang a full 10 paces to the front with his sword glittering in the sunlight. Another crisis soon faced the Maine soldiers when the left side of the regiment drew even with the right, short of its planned position.
Melcher broke this momentary disruption by running down the slope screaming: Come on! Come on boys! Great responsibility also fell upon Captain Spear, whose flank was to start the attack — otherwise the charge would not pivot and work to its fullest potential. But Spear gets curiously little credit for marshaling and organizing the tactics of the left flank of the 20th. Spear literally controlled half the regiment during the climactic counterattack.
The lack of credit perhaps helped create the rift that later developed between him and Chamberlain. During the charge, a second enemy line of the 15th and 47th Alabama tried to make a stand near a stone wall. For a moment it looked as though the Confederates might succeed in halting the Unionists and breaking their momentum. Confederate reports showed that the Union company had been magnified into two regiments.
According to Confederate Colonel Oates, it was the surprise fire of Company B that caused the disastrous panic in his soldiers. Chamberlain, for his part, wrote incorrectly to his wife that his regiment had been attacked by a whole brigade. Chamberlain seemed to have been blessed with both good timing and luck. He not only had made the right command decisions but also had managed to survive when by all rights he should have been dead. An Alabama soldier twice failed to pull the trigger of his rifle because he had second thoughts about killing the brave colonel. Without the private stand of Sergeant Tozier inspiring others to close up and bolster the sagging middle of the regiment, the Confederate attacks could have eliminated the 20th Maine as a fighting force.
Without Tozier, there would not have been an opportunity for Chamberlain to attack. Spear, who would later become a brevet brigadier general, believed that all the officers at Little Round Top shared in the battle fully and honorably, but that the bayonet charge was a success largely due to the spirit of the enlisted men.
Captain Howard L. Memorial Day has the tendency to conjure up old arguments about the Civil War. The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together. There is little truth in this. Lee was a devout Christian, and historians regard him as an accomplished tactician. But despite his ability to win individual battles, his decision to fight a conventional war against the more densely populated and industrialized North is considered by many historians to have been a fatal strategic error.
There are unwitting victims of this campaign—those who lack the knowledge to separate history from sentiment.
Confederate heroes have their own medal of honor
Then there are those whose reverence for Lee relies on replacing the actual Lee with a mythical figure who never truly existed. In the Richmond Times Dispatch , R. Lee was a slaveowner—his own views on slavery were explicated in an letter that it often misquoted to give the impression that Lee was some kind of an abolitionist.
The argument here is that slavery is bad for white people, good for black people, and most importantly, it is better than abolitionism; emancipation must wait for divine intervention. That black people might not want to be slaves does not enter into the equation; their opinion on the subject of their own bondage is not even an afterthought to Lee. When two of his slaves escaped and were recaptured, Lee either beat them himself or ordered the overseer to "lay it on well.
Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done.
Who Remembers "Captain Confederacy"? (Not Coming to a Wal-Mart Near You) - Heavy Metal
Every state that seceded mentioned slavery as the cause in their declarations of secession. Hill, the Confederates paraded the Union survivors through the streets of Petersburg to the slurs and jeers of the southern crowd. Lee never discouraged such behavior. After the war, Lee did counsel defeated southerners against rising up against the North. Lee might have become a rebel once more, and urged the South to resume fighting—as many of his former comrades wanted him to.
The war was not about slavery, Lee insisted later, but if it was about slavery, it was only out of Christian devotion that white southerners fought to keep blacks enslaved.
And it is only this consideration that has led the wisdom, intelligence and Christianity of the South to support and defend the institution up to this time. Lee had beaten or ordered his own slaves to be beaten for the crime of wanting to be free, he fought for the preservation of slavery, his army kidnapped free blacks at gunpoint and made them unfree—but all of this, he insisted, had occurred only because of the great Christian love the South held for blacks.
I wish them no evil in the world—on the contrary, will do them every good in my power, and know that they are misled by those to whom they have given their confidence; but our material, social, and political interests are naturally with the whites. Publicly, Lee argued against the enfranchisement of blacks, and raged against Republican efforts to enforce racial equality on the South.
Lee is not remembered as an educator, but his life as president of Washington College later Washington and Lee is tainted as well. Lee died in , as Democrats and ex-Confederates were commencing a wave of terrorist violence that would ultimately reimpose their domination over the Southern states. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in ; there is no evidence Lee ever spoke up against it. On the contrary, he darkly intimated in his interview with the Herald that the South might be moved to violence again if peace did not proceed on its terms.
That was prescient. Lee is a pivotal figure in American history worthy of study. Neither the man who really existed, nor the fictionalized tragic hero of the Lost Cause, are heroes worthy of a statue in a place of honor. To describe this man as an American hero requires ignoring the immense suffering for which he was personally responsible, both on and off the battlefield.
It requires ignoring his participation in the industry of human bondage, his betrayal of his country in defense of that institution, the battlefields scattered with the lifeless bodies of men who followed his orders and those they killed, his hostility toward the rights of the freedmen and his indifference to his own students waging a campaign of terror against the newly emancipated. It requires reducing the sum of human virtue to a sense of decorum and the ability to convey gravitas in a gray uniform. But there are no statues of Longstreet in New Orleans. In fact, they have every reason to admire him.