Reely on December 19th, 2014

The Civil War was a second round category on the game show Jeopardy! on 12/18/2014. That means the clues were worth double what they are worth in the first round and are supposed to be more difficult.

$400 – By June 1862 the Union held this river as far south as Memphis

$800 – After completing his “March to the Sea”, this General led another march through the Carolinas

$1200 – Although he was but one of 4 division commanders with Trimble, Pettigrew & Anderson in an attack at Gettysburg, the charge is named for this General

$1600 – On Oct. 19, 1864, this Union General known as “Little Phil” made his ride to stop Jubal Early at Cedar Creek

$2000 – In February 1865 Lincoln met with this Confederate Vice President aboard the River Queen at Hampton Roads, Virginia

Kurt Fritzsche and David Emery-Peck each got one and Kevin Hozey (who is a history teacher and went on to win the game) got 3, including the last clue, asking for the guy who was on the Confederate States of America’s $20 bill.

CSA $20 bill

Civil War Slang on Jeopardy

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Officers of the 50th New York Engineers

Officers of the 50th New York Engineers

One of the key elements of the Union battle plan at Fredericksburg Virginia in late 1862 was the timely arrival of pontoon bridge building material that would enable Federal forces to cross the Rappahannock River before the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee could arrive and fortify the town and contest the crossings. But the pontoons arrived late and Lee was able to set up his defenses before the Union Army could cross the river.

Major General Ambrose Burnside, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac, decided to launch an attack on Fredericksburg anyway. That meant the pontoon bridges had to be built and deployed despite enemy fire. That task would be done by the Volunteer Engineer Brigade and a battalion of Regular U.S. Army engineers.

The Volunteer Engineer Brigade consisted of the 15th and 50th New York Engineers. On December 11th, 1862, the 15th Engineers and the regular army engineers built two bridges about a mile south of town, and faced relatively light opposition. The 50th New York had the more difficult job of building three bridges in two locations at the more heavily defended town itself. The engineers were repeatedly under fire from General William Barksdale’s Confederate infantrymen. The riflemen would drive the New Yorkers off the bridges, Union artillery would shell the Confederate positions, the engineers would return to work only to be again driven back by musket fire. Finally, the Federals sent some infantry regiments across the river in boats to deal with Barksdale’s Rebels. The attack was successful and the Confederates withdrew back from the river, enabling the engineers to finish the bridge building. Continue reading “Major Ira Spaulding’s Report on the 50th New York Engineers at the Battle of Fredericksburg” »

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Mark on December 5th, 2014
Henry Clay Work (1832-1884)

Henry Clay Work (1832-1884)

Songwriter Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) was a Connecticut native and staunch supporter of the Union cause. Work was born into an abolitionist family whose home was a stop on the Underground Railroad and who assisted many fugitive slaves escape to Canada.

A self taught musician, Clay began his songwriting career in the 1850s while working as a printer.  Clay wrote several patriotic songs during the Civil War, but by far his most famous–and financially successful– song was “Marching Through Georgia”, written in 1865 and inspired by General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea.  It sold over a million copies, which in those days before recorded music, was a million copies of sheet music.

While the song was immensely popular in the north, and was a particular favorite of Union Army veterans, Sherman himself reportedly did not like the song.  This was probably due to it being played whenever he made public appearances, and he got tired of hearing it.  Sherman may have seen it also as a bit more antagonistic towards the defeated south than he wanted in the postwar world.

Continue reading “Song: Marching Through Georgia” »

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