Monday, October 7, 2019

Coming November 7, 2019


Ed Flanagan will discuss General Grant at the Battle of Belmont. Ed Flanagan is a librarian and the branch manager of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Ulmer Park Branch. Ed graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a B.A. in History and a M.S. in Library from Clarion University. ED has been a life long student of the American Civil War since he visited Gettysburg Battlefield as a 10 year old in 1972. ED is a member of the Nassau County CWRT and the CWRT of New York. As a member of the Nassau County CWRT, Ed has given talks on “How to Build a CW Library”, “Fort Pickens: The First Shots of the CW”, “Captain Henry Walke: The Man who Ran the Gun and Lived to Draw About It”, “Newspaper Battle Maps of the CW” and “Fort Hatteras: The First Move in the Game.”

Ed’s talk will be on ex-Captain Sam Grant’s transformation to General Grant at the Battle of Belmont in November of 1861. How does a perceived ne’er-do-well town drunk in the small Illinois town of Galina in April 1861 and six months later he leads a raid that disrupts Confederate operations in Missouri and catches the attention of President Lincoln!

The Battle of Belmont was fought on November 7, 1861 in Mississippi County, Missouri. It was the first combat test in the American Civil War for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the future Union Army general in chief and eventual U.S. president, who was fighting Major General Leonidas Polk. Grant's troops in this battle were the "nucleus" of the Union Army of the Tennessee. On November 6, Grant moved by riverboat from Cairo, Illinois, to attack the Confederacy's small outpost near Belmont, Missouri across the Mississippi River from the Confederate stronghold at Columbus, Kentucky. He landed his men on the Missouri side and marched to Belmont. Grant's troops overran the surprised Confederate camp and destroyed it. However, the scattered Confederate forces quickly reorganized and were reinforced from Columbus. They counterattacked, supported by heavy artillery fire from across the river. Grant retreated to his riverboats and took his men to Paducah, Kentucky. The battle was relatively unimportant, but with little happening elsewhere at the time, it received considerable attention in the press, with southerners praising it and northerners lamenting the Union defeat.