Today in History:

An Irresistible Force Like No Other: James Wilson's Mounted Army


American military might has always manifest itself in massive force as
it moves towards victory--so too was it in the Civil War. By 1864, Union
forces were organizing in huge numbers--Sherman commanded an Army group
of three armies and Grant superintended two primary armies anda
supporting forces elsewhere in Virginia. In early 1865 that momentum
carried over to the Mounted Army--Grant protege, James Harrison Wilson a
young Major General from Grant's staff would command a massive mounted
army to sweep away the last vestiges of the Confederate arms in Alabama.
In his way was the seasoned but grossly overmatched Confederate Wizard
of the Saddle, Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest. It would not
be pretty.
BGES is offering a unique rarely seen view of the original Confederacy
and the final acts in Alabama on September 8-10, 2017 from Birmingham.
Join us at 6 PM where historian Norm Dasinger Jr. will overview the
great Wilson raid from its inception near Florence to its end at Macon,
Georgia. In the lecture you will learn about Wilson and his advancement
and staff in 1865. It will be juxtaposed against the experiences and
resources of Lieutenant General Forrest. The resulting movement of
13,000 Federal troopers was unprecedented.
On Saturday morning we will start early to see Wilson's HQ at Arlington,
one of the few remaining ante-bellum homes left in Birmingham.We will
follow Wilson's trail to Montevallo and then to the Ebenezer Church
battlefield. We will return to the 19th century in the town of
Plantersville and will join Wilson's encampment prior to the fight at
Selma. Selma is steeped in southern history and while we will see
remaining earthworks, discuss thye battle, see period homes associate
with Lincoln, Catesby Jones and the site of the massive southern
arsenal. While there we will not miss the chance to see sites of
international significance to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Highlights involving Martin Luther King include the Pettus Bridge and
Brown AME Church. We will then run over to Live Oak Cemetery to see the
grave of the well known Lieutenant General William J. Hardee and other
Civil War notables. The day ends at the ghost town of Cahaba visited by
the Marquis de Lafayette and location of a social meeting between
Forrest and Wilson after the fight at Selma.
On Sunday we will head to Montgomery and visit sites involved with the
formation of the new Confederacy including the Exchange Hotel where the
delegates organized the new government, the law office of the Southern
Fire eater William Loundes Yancey (who expected to be the Confederate
President) and the White House where moderate Mississippi Senator
Jefferson Davis took the oath of office. At Oakwood cemetery we will see
the grave of William Oates of Little Round Top fame and Country Western
legend Hank Williams. En route to Marion, Alabama we will pass the home
of Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks. In Marion we will see where Sam Houston
was married, the first Confederate flag was designed and sewn and
Forrest's HQ after his last battle at Selma. Then the tour will end a
little after 4 PM on Sunday.
This is a marvellous tour touching on tons of great history and
personalities such as Davis, Forrest, Lincoln, Hardee, Stonewall
Jackson, Stephen A. Douglas, Corretta Scott King, San Houston, F. Scott
Fitzgerald, Rosa Parks, Strom Thurmond, Hank Williams, Natalie Portman,
Anitia Bryant and many more names you know. You will also touch on the
Sultana Disaster and the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March. This program
will appeal to everyone--it is a great tour to bring your spouse or
This is a trip that has been overlooked in a great fall line up. Alabama
food is great and the heat will be breaking. This is a weekend well
spent. I will be honest we are on the bubble with this. I need five
people to go ahead but I think if you think about the content we should
have far more than that. Click here to register. If the program must
be cancelled we will make that decision by August 8th so don't delay.
You will love this program.
Len Riedel, Executive Director

Email us: Len Riedel, Executive Director –
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