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"Burlington's Capt. Lonergan: Hero of Gettysburg" Topic


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313 hits since 15 Mar 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 2:55 p.m. PST

"In early July of 1863, as tens of thousands of men in blue and gray clashed in battle, a Burlington resident distinguished himself with conspicuous gallantry in his only fight during the Civil War.

Midway through the war, two key victories for the federal army struggling to preserve the Union marked a turning point in the conflict. The audacious invasion of the north by Gen. Robert E. Lee that posed a threat to the nation's capital was repulsed at Gettysburg on July 3. The next day Maj.r Gen. Ulysses S. Grant forced the surrender of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, which gave the Union control of the Mississippi River and split the Confederacy in two.

Lee's defeat prevented a situation that might have ended the conflict with victory for the southern states. Public reaction to the capture of Washington by the rebels or yet another stunning defeat of Union forces this time on their home territory could have forced President Lincoln to come to terms with the Confederacy, allowing them to secede from the Union as they desired.

The crucial task of opposing Lee at Gettysburg fell to a new commander as Lincoln replaced "Fighting Joe" Hooker with Maj. Gen. George G. Meade on June 28. Hooker had constantly demanded that more soldiers be assigned to his Army of the Potomac. Before Lincoln ran out of patience with Hooker, the president had agreed to transfer major units from the defenses of Washington to augment the field troops pursuing Lee north.

One such unit was the Second Vermont Brigade composed of five regiments from the state, the 12th through the 16th, nearly 5,000 soldiers who had enlisted for nine months service the previous fall. Their enlistments had almost expired when the brigade was assigned to the First Corps, the lead element of Meade's forces already well to the north. Guarding a quiet sector of Virginia along the Occoquan River with only an occasional skirmish against rebel cavalry, these Vermont units had never been tested in battle…"
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