Monday, February 26, 2007

E.M. McCook, Irvin McDowell, A. P. Hill and Stirling Price

Four more American Civil War biographies today: Edward Moody McCook, one of many members of his family to fight in the Civil War, and a good leader of Union cavalry; Irvin McDowell, the defeated Union commander at First Bull Run, and unfortunate scapegoat after Second Bull Run; Ambrose Powell Hill, one of Lee's lieutenants in Virginia, who died on the last day of the siege of Petersburg and Stirling Price, one of many conditional Unionists who ended up fighting for the Confederacy.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Kharkov, February-March 1943 and F.I. Tolbukhin

A look at the eastern front during the Second World War today, with articles on Fyodor I. Tolbukhin(1894 – 1949), one of the finest Soviet generals of the war, and on the battle around Kharkov in February-March 1943: Manstein's Counterblow, one of the finest examples of a victory won with inferior numbers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fort Pulaski, Fort Pillow (1862) and Fort Fisher

Into the 'Fs' today, with three Civil War battles that involved forts. The siege of Fort Pulaski, 10-11 April 1862, saw Union forces seize the key fort defending the approaches to the port of Savannah, denying it to Confederate blockade runners. The Battle of Fort Pillow, 10 May 1862, was a minor Confederate victory on the Mississippi, won by their fleet. Finally, the siege of Fort Fisher, 13-15 January 1865 saw the Union block Wilmington, the last port providing supplies to General Lee's armies around Richmond.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Black Week, Colenso and Stormberg

Black Week saw the British in South Africa suffer three defeats in six days at the hands of the Boers. Magersfontein we have already added, and today we complete the set with the battle of Stormberg (10 December 1899), the first of the three defeats, inflicted on a British army that had got badly lost during a night march, and the battle of Colenso (15 December 1899) at which the British commander in chief in South Africa, Sir Redvers Buller, revealed how little suited he was to battlefield command.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cedar Mountain, Chantilly and Crampton's Gap

A return to our alphabetic American Civil War updates today with the battles of Cedar Mountain, Chantilly and Crampton's Gap, all battles of the late summer and early autumn of 1862.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The first attempt to relieve Kimberley, 1899

The first year of the Boer war was dominated by sieges. Today we look at the first attempt to relieve the siege of Kimberley. After two hard fought but uncomplicated victories at Belmont (23 November 1899) and Rooilaagte (25 November 1899), Lord Methuen's expedition came close to disaster at the Modder River (28 November 1899), before being stopped in its tracks at Magersfontein, one of three defeats that made up "Black Week".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Anderson, Evans, Hooker and Beauregard

For our last update of the week we add four American Civil War biographies. For the Confederacy we add Robert H. Anderson, a general who was present at just about every major battle in Virginia, Nathan George Evans, a general whose early achievements results in promotion beyond his abilities, and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, one of the victors of First Bull Run. For the Union we add Joseph Hooker, one of the more controversial general of the war. Despite a very high profile failure at Chancellorsville, and a resignation only days before Gettysburg, Hooker's career continued until he resigned for a second time, just outside Atlanta.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Raid on Zeebrugge, April 1918

The raid on Zeebrugge of 22-23 April 1918 is a lesser known British success of the First World War. The raid blocked one port used by the U-Boats, and provided a great boost to British and allied morale during a period of great German success.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Siege of Ladysmith

A look at the Siege of Ladysmith (2 November 1899-27 February 1900) today. The siege started with two British defeats on 30 October 1899 ("Mournful Monday"), at Nicholson's Nek and Lombard Kop. However, the Boers did not conduct the siege vigorously. Their only major attack on the British lines was the Battle of the Platrand (6 January 1900), an assault that was beaten back with comparatively heavy loses on both sides.

Reports on the Siege of Yorktown of 1862

We continue our series of reports from the Official Records of the American Civil War with five more reports relating to the siege of Yorktown in 1862.

The most interesting are the Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter, U. S. Army, as Director of the Siege of Yorktown from April 7—May 5. and the report of Brig. Gen. John G. Barnard, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer Army of the Potomac, of operations during the siege. Barnard's report is especially interesting, runs to over 12,000 words and contains a wealth of information about the Federal preparations for a regular siege at Yorktown.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga, 1775

We turn to an earlier American war, with a look at the capture of Fort Ticonderoga (11 May 1775). This is seen as the first offensive action take by the American rebels. The guns captured at Ticonderoga would soon be put to use around Boston.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Battle of Rietfontein or Moddersprui, 24 October 1899

The battle of Rietfontein or Modderspruit (24 October 1899), was a sign that British fortunes in the Boer war were about to change for the worse. After two early victories in Natal, this battle saw the British fight to prevent the Boers from blocking a retreat.