New Orleans during the Civil War is Mark’s topic. In 1861, the City of New Orleans prepared for an imminent invasion by Union forces. As crisis loomed, leadership, politics and military shortcomings became evident. A bright spot is the Confederate victory at Manassas in Virginia, where native-son P.G.T. Beauregard leads the army and the Louisiana boys show prowess and prove their mettle.
Mark reviews some significant events that occurred at during winter in history. We go from the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century to Europe’s worst winter in history in 1940. The Civil War was brewing as the states of the Deep South seceded to form the Confederacy in 1861 and the last battle of the War of 1812 that took place right downriver from the city of New Orleans. We see Finland stand up to the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution and we even share a few notes about collaboration and treachery.
Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, died in New Orleans in December 1889. Mark talks with Mrs. Gladys LeBreton, whose grandfather was a friend of Davis’. As a child, Mrs. LeBreton’s mother lived in the home where Davis stayed and was there when he passed away. Mrs. LeBreton relates the story of his final days.
Feature photo: Jefferson Davis funeral procession in New Orleans in 1889.
We review some significant November events in history from WWI to the American Revolution as well as the American Civil War and WWII. We include the First Battle of Ypres in 1914 and the 1918 Armistice that ended the bloodshed of WWI as well as the last action of the Civil War with the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah and a brief glimpse at one of the Confederate government’s most interesting characters. For WWII we have the scuttling of the French fleet in 1942 while the Germans watched their potential prize of warships sink to the bottom of the sea.
Photo: Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Allied Commander during World War One.
Mark goes back to Good Friday April 1865 and President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington with Dorothea Barstow, the curator of the Dr. Samuel Mudd House and Museum. Later that night, assassin John Wilkes Booth, on the run and in desperate need of medical attention for his broken leg, stopped at the home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd in Southern Maryland. Mark visits the home and grounds, now a museum, with Barstow to learn about the conspiracy, Booth and Dr. Mudd.
Photo: Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Historical Marker
Dr. Samuel Mudd
On this week’s podcast, I take a look at some events that happened in autumn during WWII and the Civil War, as well as WWI and the American Revolution. I discuss the 1918 Meuse-Argonne offensive by the America Expeditionary Forces and the French army. Launched against the Germans on the Western Front, this final campaign led to the Armistice. I also look at the momentous events that took place at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Again, with the aid of the French, this battle proved to be the final military blow for the British in the American war for independence.
Photo: By John Singleton Copley – First Foot Guards, Public Domain
Historian Jack Mountcastle returns to discuss the momentous battle of Antietam in September 1862. It was the single bloodiest day of warfare in American history. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, emboldened by the victory at Second Manassas in August 1862, had crossed into Maryland. Near the little town of Sharpsburg, they clashed with the Union Army of the Potomac under George B. McClellan. Somehow Lee’s battle plans fell into Union hands. Would that make a difference?
Image: The Battle of Antietam, by Kurz & Allison (1878), depicting the scene of action at Burnside’s Bridge
Mark has a conversation with Vince Dooley about his book, The Legion’s Fighting Bulldog: The Civil War Correspondence of William Gaston Delony. Through the letters of Delony and his wife Rosa, we get human insights into the struggles of the war both on the battlefield and at the home front.
Coach Dooley is an avid student of history, and well-known for his legendary career as head football coach at the University of Georgia for 25 years. Vince won Six SEC titles and the National Championship in 1980 and served as Athletic Director until 2004.
William G. Delony raised a cavalry company in Athens, Georgia, in the summer of 1861, and was commissioned Captain of Company C of the Cavalry Battalion, Cobb Legion. He was later promoted to command the battalion and survived a serious wound on his face when slashed by a sabre at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). Returning to duty, he was wounded in a leg and captured at a skirmish at Jack’s Shop, Virginia. He died in a hospital in Washington, D.C., in Oct. 1863. – from Find A Grave
Photo: Delony’s gravestone at Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia. Credit: Michael Dover
General Jack Mountcastle joins Mark to discuss the Battle of Second Manassas, the major Confederate victory in August 1862 that gave Lee the thrust to invade Maryland that September. Jack also details the extensive tour he leads for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours that covers Manassas as well as the other key events in the Eastern theatre. We explore the strategies, leaders on both sides and specific actions in the battle and leading up to the fight. It’s the closest thing to going to the battlefield itself.
General James Longstreet, CSA
This week Mark takes a look at some events that happening during the month of August in WWII and the Civil War, including the Siege of Leningrad, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the infamous Quantrill’s Raiders and Nathan Bedford Forrest’s raid on Memphis. He also previews upcoming fall episodes that cover Antietam, the Allied Bombing of France in 1944, and a new WWI book by one of Britain’s foremost WWI experts.
History with Mark Bielski Tentative Fall Schedule
This fall, Mark will be interviewing some fascinating guests for his History with Mark Bielski Podcast. From legendary football coach Vince Dooley to an onsite visit with the curator of the Dr. Samuel Mudd House and Museum, you won’t want to miss these episodes.
Sept. 6 – General Jack Mountcastle – Touring Civil War Battlefields in the East
General Jack Mountcastle joins Mark to discuss the Battle of Second Manassas, a major Confederate victory in 1862 that gave General Lee the momentum to invade Maryland in September. They will also talk about the Civil War: Hallowed Ground Tour that Jack leads for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. The tour covers Manassas as well as the other key events in the Eastern theatre. They will explore the strategies, leaders on both sides of the war, and specific actions taken during the battle and leading up to the fight. It’s the closest thing to going to the battlefield itself.
Sept. 13 – Professor Steve Bourque – Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France
Mark and Professor Steve Bourque will discuss his new book, Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France, a subject rarely studied. The book is a survey of events, destruction and civilian casualties caused by Allied bombing.
Sept. 20 – General Jack Mountcastle – 150th Anniversary of Antietam
In September, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, Mark and General Jack Mountcastle will cover the battle, the bloodiest day of combat on U.S. soil. More than 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were reported killed, wounded or missing during 12 hours of fighting with no clear winner.
Sept. 27 – History Happenings for September
Mark will talk about some of the interesting historical events that occurred during WWII and the Civil War in the month of September.
Oct. 4 – Dorothea Barstow – Curator of the Dr. Samuel Mudd House and Museum
Mark visits the Dr. Samuel Mudd House and Museum, where he interviews the curator, Dorothea Barstow, at the Mudd home where the Doctor who set John Wilkes Booth’s leg lived. They discuss the doctor’s life, career, trial and possibly unfair imprisonment and release.
Oct. TBD – Vince Dooley – The Legion’s Fighting Bulldogs
Mark is excited to chat with legendary football coach Vince Dooley. They will be discussing Dooley’s book, The Legion’s Fighting Bulldogs and football history. During the 25 years he was the University of Georgia football coach, his teams won six SEC titles and the 1980 national championship. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Battlefield Trust/Civil War Trust.
Oct. TBD – Gary Sheffield – World War I
Mark and Professor Gary Sheffield, a noted British military historian, discuss Sheffield’s comprehensive new book, Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities. Prof. Sheffield is a frequent contributor to the BBC.
Oct. TBD – History Happenings for October
Mark will talk about some of the interesting historical events that occurred during WWII and the Civil War in the month of October.