Amidst all the cries about a climate of hate and whether anti-government violence can ever be justified, it bears remembering that we formed this country with violence against a government and that we fought the bloodiest war in our history against ourselves. 620,000 American soldiers and countless more civilians died in the Civil War. How much that war was about slavery and how much was about state's rights can be honesty debated, but both sides fought hard and well. It's easy to know that the Civil War happened and yet forget its monumental scale and the horrors that happened right between my house and there. The US Civil War is widely studied and rightfully so. It would be fair to say that some of the best Generalship we have ever displayed happened during that conflict.
Concrete Bob was born and bred in Richmond, Virginia and Saturday he took me around some of the memorials on Monument Avenue there. There are some wonderful statues of the Confederacy's greatest Generals that really brought home just what a tremendous job they did against overwhelming odds. Most people would agree that the South had the better leaders and that the successes they had against superior numbers and equipment were tremendous feats of military strategy, leadership and warrior spirit.
Robert E. Lee was a West Point graduate who opposed both slavery and secession, but when Virginia left the Union he went with her. His Army of Northern Virginia fought some amazing maneuver campaigns and won fixed battles time and time again. There is no question that Gettysburg was a crushing blow and the South never regained the initiative again. His decision to invade the North rather than defend Vicksburg is also questioned, but he is still regarded as a brilliant tactician and strategist.
Stonewall Jackson earned his reputation as one of our greatest tacticians ever with successes at both Battles of Bull Run, stopping a Union attempt to take Richmond in the Valley Campaign and his flanking movement at Chancellorsville which carried the day. His use of terrain and maneuver serves as a standard to teach from to this day.
J.E.B. Stuart was a complete bad ass and the prototype Virginia Cavalier. He dressed the part with an ostrich feather for his rakishly-tilted hat, a red-lining for his cape and a yellow sash...oh and that saber. His statue really brought the war home for me, almost viscerally. It is easy to picture him waving his troopers to follow him and then off at a gallop and into the fray. He caused the Union huge amounts of trouble as he would appear in places it seemed impossible for him to be. His horse marauders disrupted supply lines, destroyed rail lines and bridges and made sure that Lee always knew what the Union was up to. He died right there in Richmond at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. He was a brilliant cavalryman and a living representative of the chivalrous gentleman.
It was best that the Union won the war, but that doesn't diminish the accomplishments of the officers and men of the Confederacy. We can all be proud of their place in the military pantheon of America.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.