Tuesday, July 29, 2014

150 Years Ago: Two Weeks That Doomed the Confederacy


Late July – Early August 1864:  Atlanta, The Crater and Mobile Bay

Historical Event:   If July 1863 was the turning point that showed the South could not win the Civil War, late July-early August 1864 was the turning point that showed it was doomed.  Hood’s incredibly wasteful offensives around Atlanta, the carnage of the Crater at Petersburg – where Lee’s army was finally immobilized by chaining itself to Richmond- and, finally, Mobile Bay, where a triumphant Union Navy damned the torpedoes, stormed past massive forts, battled a monster ironclad and brought a great port city to its knees.

Game ConnectionRebel Raiders on the High Seas focuses on the naval aspect of the Civil War, but also represents the land campaign, albeit in a more abstract way.  Thus the battles around Atlanta and the siege of Richmond can be fought with cards and dice, and Mobile Bay can be played out in the game – complete with a card with Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s famous phrase (which according to historian James McPherson he may or may not have actually said) and cards and counters representing the great sailor, his rival, Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan, and some of their mighty ships (Farragut’s flagship, USS Hartford; Buchanan’s own ironclad ram, CSS Tennessee;  the giant “unsinkable” screw sloop USS Brooklyn,  and the armored gunboat CSS Gaines but to name a few).

Many stories of those ships, and of Farragut, Buchanan, their encounter at Mobile Bay have appeared before in this blog over the last year, and more will appear again – especially on the date of the 150th anniversary of their epic contest of August 5, 1864.

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