Tuesday, January 30, 2007

George Meade and James Longstreet

George Meade and James Longstreet both owe much of their fame to the battle of Gettysburg. Meade had been handed command of the Army of the Potomac just before the start of the battle, and it is a tribute to his skill as a general that he managed to hold off Robert E. Lee's strongest army over three days. Longstreet is perhaps most famous for disagreeing with Lee's plan to attack at Gettysburg, especially on the third day, when he opposed Pickett's Charge.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines, 1862

Today we add the Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines (31 May-1 June). This was the first major Confederate attempt to push McClellan's Union army away from Richmond. The Confederate commander, Joseph Johnston, hoped to take advantage of a split in the Union army, but the attack was badly handled. The most significant result of the battle was that Johnston was seriously wounded, allowing Robert E. Lee to take command of the Confederate armies around Richmond. We also add the army lists for the battle of Fair Oaks. These lists, complete with the commanding officers of each unit (where known), were originally published in the Battles and Leaders of the Civil War volumes, and were based on the official records. The original format is not very easy to use, so we hope our clearer versions will be of use.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Second Bull Run (and other battles beginning with B!)

We start today with the Second Battle of Bull Run or Manassas, one of the most important Confederate victories of the war, and one that made it clear that Union efforts to win the war in 1862 had failed. We also begin a new series of army lists with the armies at Second Bull Run.
Continuing with an alphabetic theme, we also add the battle of Baton Rouge (5 August 1862), a failed Confederate counterattack on the Mississippi (with army list), the battle of Bayou Forche (10 September 1863), a Union victory during the invasion of Arkansas, the battle of Brandy Station (9 June 1863), the largest cavalry battle of the civil war and the battle of Bristoe Station (14 October 1863), an incident in the indecisive fighting that followed the Gettysburg campaign.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Operation Downfall - the planned invasion of Japan - Part Three

We continue our major series of articles on Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of Japan in 1945. Today we add the third article in the series, looking at the Allied intelligence about the Japanese plans for the defence of the home islands.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Battle of Wake Island

The battle of Wake Island (8-23 December 1941) was one of several Japanese attacks launched on the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor. Their first attack (11 December) was a rare early failure, but a second assault captured the island, which remained in Japanese hands until the end of the war.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

West Virginia in the American Civil War

As the rest of Virginia moved to leave the Union at the start of the American Civil War, West Virginia moved to leave Virginia. Today we add articles on six of the battles that followed in 1861, as the south attempted to force West Virginia into secession - Philippi (3 June), Rich Mountain (12 July), Corrick's Ford (13 July), Gauley Bridge (3 September), Cheat Mountain (10-15 September) and Carnifex Ferry (10 September). The Confederacy lost all six battles, and with them West Virginia. The fighting in West Virginia saw George McClellan win prominence after commanding at Rich Mountain, and saw Robert E. Lee's first battlefield command, at Cheat Mountain. We also include a timeline of events in West Virginia.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Battle of Elandslaagte

The Battle of Elandslaagte (21 October 1899) was a minor British victory early in the Boer War. It helped keep open the railway between Ladysmith and Dundee, but the British soon retreated into Ladysmith, where they would be besieged until the end of February 1900.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Edward S. Bragg

Edward S. Bragg is an example of a civilian who made a successful transition to military service during the American Civil War. A pre-war lawyer, Bragg started the war as a captain. During a military career that included Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Grant's Overland campaign against Richmond and the battle of Petersburg he was repeated promoted, reached the rank of Brigadier General in June 1864. His final command was the "Iron Brigade", the unit that suffered the highest proportion of casualties in the Union army. Bragg was not a political general. He had no pre-war contacts to ease his rise, instead earned each promotion by merit.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Battle of the Somme

Our first article for 2007 looks at the battle of the Somme (June-November 1916), one of the most controversial battles of the First World War. The first day of the battle of the Somme saw the British army lose 19,240 dead, the worst single day in British military history. Over the next five months Haig kept attacking, suffering huge casualties, although also inflicting massive loses on the German army, including crucial loses amongst the highly skilled German junior officers.