Civil War Novels

by Michael J. Deeb

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Michael J. Deeb

is the author of seven novels which take place during the American Civil War.

The Drieborg Chronicles

Duty and Honor is the first novel of The Drieborg Chronicles.
Duty Accomplished is the second novel.
In Honor Restored the character Michael returns to the life of a farmer.
In the fourth novel, The Lincoln Assassination Michael Drieborg works with a team of marshals.
The title 1860 America Moves Toward War explores the issues at stake in the 1860 elections.

  • A Great Read!
    I couldn’t put this book down once I got started. The detail was great and I really like the main character, Michael. Knowing that so much research went into this book made it exciting to read!

    Anon

President Kennedy’s Head Wound

T

The medical professionals at Parkland Hospital’s emergency room discovered two wounds during their initial examination of President Kennedy. The first and most obvious to them, was an entry wound to the president’s throat.

 

The second and most damaging wound was an exit wound on the back right of JFK’s head.  It was this second wound which they judged caused the president to lose almost a  third of his brain.

 

Dr. Robert McClelland attached this crude freehand drawing to his Parkland Hospital emergency report.  He testified that JFK was hit on the right with an exit wound in the back of his head. His testimony to the Warren Commission was supported by Dr. Kemp Clark, Dr. Paul Peters, Dr. Ronald Jones, Dr. Gene Akin in their sworn testimony. All of these medical professionals testified that this head wound was an exit wound.

 

At the scene of the murder, Patrolman Bobby Hargis testified that his uniform and motorcycle windshield was covered with blood and flesh. In the attached photo, Patrolman is seen the rear and left of President Kennedy.

 

Bill and Gayle Newman were standing along the parade route. They  reported to the Dallas police on November 24, 1963 that they saw a bullet hit President Kennedy on the front right of his head

 

The Zapruder film clearly shows a bullet hitting the president’s head in the right front. Thirty eight onlookers testified to Warren Commission personnel that they heard gunfire coming from the Grassy Knoll along Elm Street.

 

Never-the-less, the FBI Report and later, the Warren Commission Report insisted that all shots came from behind and were all fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the Book Depository building.  In his Warren Commission testimony, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover testified, “there is not one scintilla of proof that there was a conspiracy (more than one assassin), foreign or domestic…”

 

Congressman Gerald Ford wrote for Life Magazine in October 1864, “There is no evidence of a second gunman, or of other shots or other guns.”

 

THE FBI REPORT QUESTIONED

 

The FBI Report of December 9, 1963 was leaked to the media. In that report, the Bureau claimed that all shots fired at President Kennedy came from behind the president.

 

However, the report filed by the emergency room doctors at Parkland Hospital lead us to believe otherwise.  Several doctors and an attending nurse stated that they discovered an entry wound in the president’s throat.

 

Dr. Malcom Perry revealed this finding at a press conference held at 3:16 on November 22nd. During questioning, he  repeated three times that the president’ throat wound was one of entry. As a result, the information about this throat entry wound was immediately and widely reported in the press. Following the press conference, Federal officials confiscated the recording of the Perry press conference. In a phone call that evening a federal official told Perry  to change his hospital report about the throat wound being an entrance wound.

 

In the required written hospital reports of their Emergency Room examination of President Kennedy, Doctors Carrico, and Clark supported Dr. Perry’s  finding. They repeated their observation during their testimony for the Warren Commission. In her Warren Commission testimony, nurse Margaret Henchliffe also concurred with them about the throat wound being one of entry, as did Dr. Paul Peters and Dr. Ronald Jones.

Note: The site of the entry wound referred to above was used for a tracheostomy performed on President Kennedy when he was being treated at Parkland Hospital. Thus, the wound in this photo shows the location of the original wound of entry but it does not reflect the small size of that wound. It does show the larger incision made for the tracheostomy.

 

Never-the-less,  the FBI Report issued in December 1962 did not mention  the testimony of these Emergency Room professionals. The Warren Commission Report issued in September 1963, dismissed  their testimony and agreed with the FBI Report that all shots came from behind the president.

 

But, if the Parkland Emergency Room testimony  given by multiple medical professionals that the wound in the president’s throat was one of entry is correct,  there had to be more than one assassin.  That would mean Lee Harvey Oswald could not have acted alone. Such a conclusion would have necessarily demanded a more thorough investigation; something President Johnson and FBI Director Hoover,  agreed they did not want.

 

Next week, we will examine more disturbing findings from the Parkland Hospital emergency room.

 

The FBI Report

 

The President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was shot shortly after noon on November 22, 1963 while riding in the presidential limousine in Dallas, Texas. He was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital at 1 PM that same day.

 

On Sunday, the 24th, the man who was accused of the president’s murder was killed while in Dallas police custody. The following day, Assistant Director of the FBI Sullivan ordered the folks in the Dallas FBI office to shut down any further investigation of the murder.

 

On December 9, 1963 the FBI leaked a copy of their report to the media. In that report, they concluded that:

 

1) Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. And that,

 

2) Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building. And that,

 

3) All shots were fired from behind President Kennedy.

 

The Report further attested that:

 

1)The first shot hit President Kennedy’s in his back, five and one half inches down from his collar and two inches to the right of his spine.

 

2)A second shot fired one and eight tenths of a second later, hit Governor Connally in his back.

 

3)The third shot hit President Kennedy in the head, killing him.

Time Out for JFK

You might be aware that the people at the National Archives recently released a batch of documents related to the President Kennedy assassination. Even then, the intelligence folks in Washington DC asked that some documents still be withheld. President Trump gave them additional time to release those.; but not much time.

 

Historians who have reviewed some of the released documents have not yet found anything shocking. Or, for that matter, information that wasn’t known long ago. Comments from reviewers I have read seem to support the FBI and Warren Commission reports. That is, a single shooter killed President Kennedy and that it was Lee Harvey Oswald.

Above is a photo of President and Mrs. Kennedy in Dallas November 22, 1963. He is in a motorcade waving to the thousands of people standing along the parade route that day.

 

As you might know, I have written a historical novel, The Kennedy Assassination: Was Oswald the Only Assassin?This book, and its companion, The Kennedy Assassination: Why was Kennedy Killed?  Can be obtained at Amazon.com. Enter my name Michael J. Deeb and order either a print or an e book. If you go to my website, www.The Kennedy Murder.com.  you can order the autographed books directly from me via pay pal. And, I pay the shipping.

 

So, the purpose of this message is that  I will send you blogs over the next few weeks relating to the Kennedy assassination. The content will be the result of my research and contained in the first volume, Was Oswald the Only Assassin. In these blogs, I will only use information available to the FBI and the Warren Commission before they issued their reports. I hope you enjoy the read.

Spring 1862: Military Moves in the West

Earlier in April the Confederate forces under General Albert Sidney Johnston, prepared a response to the Union victory at Fort Donelson. Because of that loss, the Confederate leader was forced to move his line of defense in the West further south. So, he abandoned both his headquarters at Bowling Green, KY and Nashville, the capital of Tennessee.  Then, he gathered and reorganized his forces at Corinth, Mississippi.

 

He pulled infantry from all over his command in the west. He even took soldiers who had been assigned to the defenses of New Orleans.  By the end of March, he had almost 30,000 effectives under his command gathered at Corinth. He was also expecting another 10,000 men from Arkansas under the command of General Card.\

 

Grant, meanwhile, had moved his force of some 30,000 men south of Fort Donelson to Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee. There, he was ordered to await General Buell’s force of about 25,000 men coming by boat fro East Tennessee. Grant set up his headquarters some six miles north of Pittsburg Landing at an estate on the Tennessee River.

 

General Johnston planned to attack and defeat Grant before Buell’s army arrived with his reinforcements. Then, he intended to turn his victorious army and defeat Buell. With such a Confederate victory, Johnston believed hw would accomplish several things. Among them, the Confederate line of defense could once again be moved north. His forces would also regain the initiative in the West. and, the territorial losses sustained by the defeat at Fort Donelson would be reversed.

Early 1862 Military Moves in the West: Part 3

 

Grant was able to follow-up the naval victory at Fort Henry with an attack against Fort Donelson on Feb. 12, 1862. If victory was to be won here, it would be up to Grant’s infantry. By the time he reached Fort Donelson his force had grown to nearly 25,000 men.

 

Grant had an additional advantage in that the defending Confederate force was led by two political appointees Generals Pillow and Floyd. Neither of them had ever  led men in battle. After their performance at Fort Donelson, neither would ever be allowed to do so again.

 

Fort Donelson had been better positioned and build by Confederate engineers than Fort Henry and it had better armament. Defended by well over 15,000 men, it would be be as easily captured wither.  Never-the-less, Grant intended to move against the fort as soon as his troops were in position.

 

On Feb., 14th, Captain Foote sailed his fleet of ironclads and timberlands vessels withing 350 yards of the fort. Moving on swift water his ships suffered such serious damage from the defender’s guns that he had to withdraw all of his ships. In fact, Foot’s ship, the st. Louis, was hit, too. The ship’s  pilot was killed and Foote was fatally wounded.

 

Meanwhile, Grant’s force began to dig in, surrounding the fort.

 

Before he could complete these arrangements, however, CSA General Floyd orderd an attack against the weakest part of Grant’s position. This attack was designed to forge an escape route away from Donelson and a path toward Nashville.  After what has been described an fierce fighting, the Confederates were successful. But, instead of taking advantage of the opening, thus saving his army, CSA General Pillow ordered a withdrawal to the safety of the defenses of the fort.

 

Grant then moved quickly to close the opening in his lines and ordered a general attack of his own. As a result, the original lines were re-established. Where-upon, Generals Floyd and Pillow decided to flee. Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest refused to surrender and escaped instead with his cavalry to Nashville. General Buckner was left to surrender Fort Donelson and with it, an entire Confederate army of over 15,000 men.

 

When Buckner asked for terms, Grant replied, “No terms except unconditional surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.”

 

General Buchner surrended Fort Donelson and with it over 15,000 soldiers. From this point on, Gen Ulysses S. Grant was referred to in the Northern press as ‘Unconditional Surrender Grant’.

Early 1862 Military Moves In the West: Part 2

 

 

Once he approved the joint naval and land operation against two Tennessee River fortifications, Fort Henry and Fort Donelson twelve miles away, General Halleck gave the project his full support. He even transferred 5,000 soldiers to Grant from General Buell’s army.

 

The stakes were high. At stake for the Confederates was their entire position in the state of Kentucky, control of Nashville, Tennessee and the fort which dominated the Mississippi River at Columbus, Kentucky. Also, at risk was the Confederate  control of the Memphis & Charleston railroad in western Tennessee.

In preparation for the attacks, Grant had difficulty finding adequate river transportation for his approximate 15,000 man force. Divided into two divisions, he could only move one at a time into position for his move against Fort Henry. That problem and bad roads & streams swollen by spring floods slowed him down, too. So, naval Captain Andrew Foote, began the attack against fort Henry without infantry support on the 6th of February, 1862.

 

Foote’s ironclads led the attack firing directly into Fort Henry.  The Timberland boats under his command followed in line to lob mortar shells into the fort, as well. In short order, the fort’s building and tents were ablaze and only four of it’s eleven guns remained in operation. But, the Confederates gave as good as they got, damaging several of the Federal boats.

 

Never-the-less, anticipating the expected arrival of Grant’s force of 15,000 men, the Confederate Commander, General Tilghman, ordered the white flag of surrender raised. Then, he directed his troops to leave for Fort Donelson twelve miles away.

 

Several of Foote’s boats were damaged in the fight and would not be available for the attack on Fort Donelson. The capture of Fort Henry had been a naval victory. But the subsequent assault on Fort Donelson would be up to the Federal infantry.

Early 1862 Military Moves in The West: Part 1

 

 

After the Union’s disastrous defeat at Bull Run, Virginia in July 1861, Lincoln appointed an Ohio militia leader, General George McClellan to reorganize the Union’s shattered army. Thereafter, McClellan seemed loath to take direction from his superiors. Writing to his wife, he described Lincoln as a baboon. He related to her “… the Prsdt is an idiot, the old General (Scott) in his dotage – they cannot or will not see the true state of affairs.”

 

That opinion prompted McClellan to ignore Lincoln’s repeated suggestions and even Lincoln’s pleas for the general to do something with the Union’s new Army of the Potomac.

 

The situation in the West wasn’t much better. When Lincoln urged General Halleck, commander of the Western Department headquartered in St. Lewis, to begin military operations, he was told that orders from Gen. McClellan were needed; more excuses for delay.

 

For the Confederate States of America to win its independence, it was essential that they maintain control of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Toward that end, forts were established on tributary rivers like, the Tennessee and Cumberland on the Upper Mississippi and at New Orleans and Vicksburg on the Lower Mississippi. To wrest control of the Mississippi from the Confederate government, the Union had to capture such strong points.

 

Ulysses s. Grand, was a political appointee of the Illinois governor. Grant commanded state militia stationed in Cairo, Illinois on the Upper Mississippi. In January 1862, he suggested to his military superior, General Halleck, that he be allowed to attack Fort Henry guarding the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson, ten miles overland, guarding the Cumberland River. Halleck refused to approve Grant’s proposal. It wasn’t that Halleck did not feel the project had merit. Rather, he just did not want to approve any venture under Grant’s command.

 

Halleck did not like Grant. His animosity went back to their military service in California.  There, Halleck knew Grant as a man who could not hold his liquor; a man who was forced to resign his army commission or face a court martial for being intoxicated on duty.

 

But, the Grant of 1861, was a much different man. He was now a sober man and a determined one, too.Without orders,  he sent some of his men east to occupy the undefended town of Paducah,  which town commanded a key position on the Ohio River. He also enlisted the support of naval Captain Foote for a joint naval/army operation against forts Henry and Donelson. He and Foote proposed the joint attack to Halleck again on January 28, 1862.

Halleck knew the strategic importance of the two forts. And, Grant and Foot’s proposal came at a time when Lincoln was putting pressure on Halleck to begin some sort of offensive operation in the West early in February. So, this time, Halleck approved the joint proposal to attack the two river forts.

 

The approval came precisely at the same time that the new specially designed military river craft were delivered to Halleck’s command. In January 1862, Foot took delivery of seven City Class ironclads. Designed by Sam Pook to manage the river shallows, they were built by James Eads. He employed thousands of men in round the clock work at several sites. These boats were heavily armored and well-armed.  Awarded a contract in the summer of 1861, he promised delivery by year’s end; and he delivered.

 

The Confederate government never had anything on the western waters to match them.

The 1861 Confederate Strategy

In 1861, the Confederate government’s goal was to maintain its independence. And, once their military forces in Charleston, South Carolina were ordered to fire on Fort Sumter, they, in effect,  declared their intention to use armed force to obtain that goal.

Upon the loss of Fort Sumter, the President of the United States asked for 75,000 volunteer troops in order to force the states in secession back into the Union. A war was thus initiated between the two governments. How did the Confederate government intend to win that conflict and thus achieve their goal of independence?

Jefferson Davis decided the best strategy was to adopt a defensive posture. This was called a ‘cordon defense’ and it involved defending all the borders of the new nation while not taking offensive action against the North.  The Confederate victory at Bull Run in July 1861 left the Federal capital of Washington City virtually undefended. But, Davis resisted the advice of his victorious Bull Run general, P.T. Beauregard and refused permission to advance against the undefended Federal capital.

Almost immediately, Davis ordered the Barrier Islands of South Carolina and Georgia to be abandoned because it was decided they could not be successfully defended.

 

To the north, the Confederate claim that the Ohio river was their northern-most border was successfully challenged by Federal forces. The western CSA command, under Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston had his command headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky Early in 1862 however, the loss of Fort Donelson, TE to Grant and his Union troops, forced General Johnston to withdraw entirely from Kentucky. Thus, that state was lost to the Confederacy as was an entire army of between 15,,000 and 18,000 men captured at Fort Donelson.

 

The loss of Fort Donelson had other consequences, too. Nashville, Tennessee, the capital of that state was also lost to the South.  The dominating fort at Columbia, Kentucky had to be abandoned to the Federals, too. Thus, the defensive line had to be moved considerably south of the Ohio River.

 

The federal strategy of re-capturing control of the Mississippi River was being successfully carried out on the lower Mississippi, too when admiral Farragut captured New Orleans in April of 1862. He then followed this by taking by Baton Rouge and Natchez that same spring. Memphis on the northern Mississippi River would soon follow. When Vicksburg fell in July of 1863, the Confederacy was split in two and the ‘cordon defense’ strategy was in shambles.

 

By then, the only hope for the Confederate government to achieve their independence was for Lincoln to loose the November election of 1864 to the nominee of the Democrat Party. That party’s platform promised to end the war by negotiating a peace with the Confederate government.

The Civil War Policy and Strategy of the United States

 

At the outbreak of war, President Lincoln insisted that the war policy of the United States government was to restore the Union.

 

“If I could restore the Union without freeing one slave, I would do it.”

 

General Winfield Scott was Lincoln’s chief military advisor. Lincoln asked the general to recommend a strategy to accomplish his policy of restoring the Union.

Scott’s recommendation had several elements, all designed to accomplish the policy of restoring the Union as quickly as possible while causing the least destruction and loss of lives.

1. Blockade all the ports of the Confederate States of America thus”

a. Preventing the export of goods

b. Preventing the importation of civilian goods and war material.

2. Recapture control of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, thus:

a. Splitting the Confederate States of America virtually ihn half.

b. Regaining control of tributaries of the Mississippi, New Orleans, and other important river ports                                      on that river.

c. Answering the demand made by leaders in the Midwest.

3. Raise and train an army of 300,000 men for a war lasting two to three years. By the time this                                           army  was ready, the achievement of #1 & #2 above would render the CSA too seriously weakened                                   to offer much resistance. Then, Southern Unionists would lead their states back into the Union                                           without major blood-letting by either side.

 

In derision, the Northern press called Scott’s plan, the ‘Anaconda’.  Instead of supporting it, they trumpeted the widely held belief espoused by Secretary of State Seward, that one or two battles would settle the issue and result in the collapse of the CSA and thus the re-uniting of the United States as it was in November of 1860.

 

So, the battle-cry, ‘On to Richmond’ was trumpeted throughout the North.  Toward that end, Lincoln hoped jhis ninety-day volunteers would be enough to end the war quickly.

 

General Edward McDowell warned Lincoln and his cabinet that the expanded Union army was not ready for combats. Never-the-less, McDowell was ordered to march his men south to meet the equally inexperienced Confederate army under the command of General Pierre Beauregard, the hero of Fort Sumter.

 

The two forced met in Virginia on July 20, 1861. The battle was fought on a plateau along a creek called Bull Run. The Federals were on the verge of victory. Then, General Joe Johnston (CSA) arrived on the battlefield just in time to surprise the Federals, turn the tide in favor of the Confederates and start a general rout of Lincoln’s young army.

 

Angry over the surprising loss, public opinion in the North forced Lincoln to move quickly. He announced that an Ohio general of militia would be given the responsibility of rebuilding the Union army so recently shattered at the battle of Bull Run.

 

That Ohio general, George McClellan had become somewhat of a hero in the North. Under his leadership his Ohio militia army had helped the people of northwest Virginia break away from Virginia and form the state of West Virginia.

 

So, it was to General George McClellan that Lincoln gave the responsibility of rebuilding the Union army in the East. By the end of 1861, McClellan’s influence had proved to be so great that he was was able to replace his mentor, Gen. Winfield Scott, and thus take over command of all Federal forces. He wrote his wife that he had been given so much power that he believed he could become a dictator if he chose to do so.

 

He did not. But, he resisted all of Lincoln’s efforts to make him use his newly organized Army of the Potomac. He kept insisting that his army was too small and not sufficiently trained to move into battle. So, for the remainder of 1861, he managed to avoid Lincoln’s wish for him to use the new army and therefore to avoid engaging the Confederate armies in either the East or the West.

 

By January 1862, both President Lincoln and his new Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton were out of patience with General McClellan in the East and General Halleck in the West. So, Lincoln issued  Executive Order #1 requiringGenral Halleck to initiate offensive operations in the West by February, 1862.

 

Thus it was that Halleck ordered General Grant and naval Captain Foote to attack and capture Forts Henry and Donelson. They did so successfully. So began the Union’s war in the West to regain control of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.