Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Hard Hand of War


A Review of Joseph W. Danielson, War’s Desolating Scourage: The Union’s Occupation of North Alabama, University Press of Kansas, 2012; Charles A. Misulia, Columbus Georgia 1865: The Last True Battle of the Civil War, The University of Alabama Press, 2010.

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, Union forces under the command of General James Harrison Wilson attacked, captured, and sacked Columbus, GA in the last major battle of the War east of the Mississippi. Wilson’s campaign began in North Alabama and quickly moved South.

By this point in the War, Alabama could offer little resistance. Even the great Forrest could not stop Wilson at Selma. The “army” defending Columbus–like Forrest’s army at Selma–was little more than young boys and old men. Hastily constructed forts on the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee River were unmanned.

The Battle of Columbus began well enough for the Confederate defenders. They duped the Union cavalry into trying to cross a bridge packed with oil soaked cotton bales. As the Union charged the position, a Confederate battery overlooking the bridge opened fire and the bails were set ablaze. This temporarily halted the assault, but when the rest of the cavalry showed up later that day, Wilson decided on a night attack.


  1. Very, very good article. Thank you again!

    On a more personal note, by the time they reached central Alabama ( where our families lived then and where we still do....I currently live less than 27 miles from where my folks settled here in the early 1800's and my wife less than 8 ), they had an appetite on for destruction. They burned/destroyed practically every business, railroad, mill, bridge, large home, and what-all they found when they came through here, before turning East towards Columbus, Ga. The only known business of any size that they missed ( and how they missed it is still a wonder, what with their ability at finding every last chicken and bag of cornmill they ever come across ) was the Confederate Armory at Tallahassee, Ala.

    The outhouses, cribs, and log homes they left pretty much intact across our area, but not much more than that, including the crops and animals. If it was edible and/or able to be carried/lead off it was generally taken, if it could be found. Not many keepsakes from before 1865 that are larger than pocket-watch size are to be found around here.

    We know of Mr. Wilson around here, we surely do.

    Central Alabamaian

    1. Wonderful and I'm sure you have it all down.

      From my family:

      (My G Aunt Bithiah Matilda Pippen.. Saves The Mansion)

  2. I don't believe this to be true. I recall in Savannah,
    Georgia, a black lady would take care of me and my brother
    when my mom would need to do some things and we neither one
    thought any thing of her, in fact we liked her. We were
    five and three yrs old. More psy BS.

    1. I don't believe this to be true.

      What exactly?

    2. It must be a reply to this:

      I also doubt it somewhat. I think what a person is familiar with matters a great deal.

      I like the existence of racial differences, to give people a sense of community. And there are some significant behavioral and mental differences. But differences can be exaggerated as well.