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"Lincoln Takes Command: The Campaign to Seize Norfolk" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2020 2:46 p.m. PST

…and the Destruction of the CSS Virginia

"On a rainy evening during the Civil War's second May, President Abraham Lincoln and two of his cabinet secretaries boarded the revenue cutter Miami and sailed to Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, Virginia. There, for the first and only time in our country's history, a sitting president assumed direct control of military forces, land and sea, to launch a campaign with wide-ranging consequences. This fascinating and multi-dimensional slice of the war and its effect on the president is but little-known. Thankfully, that gap in the war's historiography has been ably filled by Steve Norder's Lincoln Takes Command: The Campaign to Seize Norfolk and the Destruction of the CSS Virginia.

Lincoln recognized the strategic possibilities offered by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's ongoing Peninsula Campaign and the importance of seizing Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the Gosport Navy Yard. For five days that May, the president spent time on sea and land, studied maps, spoke frankly with military leaders, suggested military actions, and—in his quiet, respectful way—issued direct orders to subordinate commanders. His participation set in motion a host of actions that included the naval bombardment of a Confederate fort, the sailing of Union ships up the James River toward the enemy capital, an amphibious landing of Union soldiers followed by an overland march that expedited the capture of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and the Gosport Navy Yard, and the hastening of the destruction of the Rebel ironclad CSS Virginia. Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln's treasury secretary, described all this as a "brilliant week's campaign." Hailed as a military and civilian leader of consequence, the president returned to Washington in triumph. Some close to the president even urged him to assume direct command of the nation's field armies…"


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rmaker17 Jun 2020 9:13 p.m. PST

An excellent book.

arthur181518 Jun 2020 3:25 a.m. PST

I agree – except it would be even better if the maps had scales!

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2020 5:52 a.m. PST

And another book featured on Civil War Talk Radio:


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jun 2020 2:31 p.m. PST



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