What if you could be that proverbial fly on the wall for a single Civil War event?

Pete Longstreet

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Mar 3, 2020
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Hartford, CT
If you were that fly on the wall, what single Civil War event would you want to witness? It could be anything, battles, Lee on horse riding by, Pickett's Charge...

For me, I would want to be in the McLean House on April 9th 1865. I would like to see and hear Grant and Lee discuss the terms of surrender. What they said, how they responded, body language, expressions and emotions. How the two men shook hands, their eye contact, etc.
 

RoadDog

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May 29, 2008
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The Great Midwest
Though coming as no surprise, I would like to listen to Genl Butler, when confronted by 3 runaway slaves, use his profound logic and legal brain to twist the Rebs seeking their return into a pretzel then declare the 3 contraband of war. Thus opening the past due floodgates for freedom.

That is just one of the things I'd like to see about Genl. Butler. I'd like to be there throughout Benjamin Butler's Civil War career. Hey, Baltimore, his private fiefdom at Fort Monroe. And, what was his relationship with Lincoln and Grant? Did he really do the "Spoons"? What about that powder ship explosion at Fort Fisher?

A real interesting character indeed.

Indeed, You Do. --RoadDog
 

Kimscholes

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Aug 17, 2019
I know this response sounds obtuse, but I think it would be the third day of Gettysburg for a chance to save my third great-grandfather before he and his cousin were cut down (they’d made it through so much already), although I am unsure if I’d even exist now if I could go back in time and do so. His widow ended up marrying my other second-great-grandfather’s younger brother who actually witnessed Lee surrendering at Appomattox. All their children grew up alongside each other which allowed my great-grandparents to meet and wed. Anyway, those times were tough for the entire nation. Hostility born of such great losses ran deep in those families for a very long time.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
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Mid Hudson Valley, New York
Pete,

If I had to pick a single fly on the wall event I'd go back to the Spring of 1863 when Lee made his pitch to Jefferson Davis for a second Northern invasion. Knowing at that time the results of the 1862 invasion and the dire situation in the West at this point in the war it was surely stressful. But the momentum from the Chancellorsville victory must have done much to help Lee to get the go ahead for the Pennsylvania invasion and Davis' desire to send more aid West was taken off the table. We visited the White House of the Confederacy back in May, 1989 and I remember standing in Davis' office and just thinking about all the conversations that took place there. If only walls could talk.

Bill
 
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A. Roy

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Sep 2, 2019
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Though coming as no surprise, I would like to listen to Genl Butler, when confronted by 3 runaway slaves, use his profound logic and legal brain to twist the Rebs seeking their return into a pretzel then declare the 3 contraband of war. Thus opening the past due floodgates for freedom.

This would be a great one to observe. While we were clinging to the wall, I would want to be able to confirm the names of those three slaves. Oral tradition supposedly names them as Frank Baker, James Townsend, and Shepard Mallory, but I haven't been able to find any primary source that confirms that. Just one of those details I'd like to know about...

Roy B.
 

John Moyle

Private
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
And a second … albeit a somewhat strange choice. I would like to have observed the fighting at the Battle of Dranesville on December 20, 1861. The battlefield is located very close to my home, and my son researched, designed, and installed a historical sign on core battlefield land for his Eagle Scout project. It would be fascinating to see how the battle unfolded.
 

Sgt. Tyree

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Apr 29, 2020
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Wyoming Territory
Too many to narrow it down to just one. But being horsefly buzzing around Forrest’s mount at Brice’s Crossroads is high on the list. You don’t have to be a Confederate sympathizer or admirer of Forrest to want to see such a tactical achievement unfold.

Then again, witnessing some of the cavalry actions that happened in Wyoming in ‘64 and ‘65 is right up there too. A war of Native raiding parties against cavalry detachments made up of loyal Unionists and Galvanized Yankees captured in ‘63 fighting together. Desperate actions even if they paled in size and scope to the big battles in the east.
 

Jantzen64

Corporal
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
One meeting that interests me.....after the first days fighting at Shilo....Grant saying" We'll whip em tomorrow." The detailed planning and the utter confidence Grant and Sherman had in each other.
You got there first, Biggun54 - didn't mean to "steal" your idea. (See my post 74) Something about the circumstances of that evening have always created high drama for me (maybe cuz I saw "How the West was Won" as a little kid), and in some ways they encapsulate the story of the war.
 

Jantzen64

Corporal
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Without being too morbid, as a fly I would like to buzz over the battlefield carnage and into the hospital tents where the amputations were taking place. A rather multi-pointed view of those scenes.
Lubliner.
Have you read "This Republic of Suffering" by Faust? Interesting reminder of Lee's cautionary about war being so terrible - and I'm sure as a fly you would have had plenty of company.
 
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