Author: tjlinzy (Page 1 of 16)

Johnny W. Lindsey, KIA 19 January 1968

Johnny Warner Lindsey was killed in battle in South Vietnam in the Sa Thay district, 10 kilometers west of Dak To on 19 January 1968.

Johnny was my 2nd cousin (my father’s cousin) in a very tightly knit family in rural western Kentucky. My Dad, Staff Sergeant Oscar Hoover Linzy, had just returned from Vietnam in early 1967. My father was especially close to Johnny’s parents, his Uncle Warner and Aunt Hazel, who had helped him through some difficult times in his early years. Uncle Warner’s part of the family spelled our family name differently for reasons that I am still not entirely sure of, but there have always been family stories that their’s was the correct spelling and ours the result of a phonetic spelling on some deed in our pioneer past. 

Johnny was a member of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. From October 1967 through January 1969, the 4th Infantry conducted Operation MacArthur in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands near the the point where Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam came together. The purpose of Operation MacArthur was to keep the area clear of ambushes and secure the main supply roads that ran through the area. Being so close to the Ho Chi Minh trail, there was constant infiltration into the area from the north. At the end of 1967, 4th Infantry intelligence began noticing a build up of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) units in the area where only Viet Cong (VC) units had previously operated. The 4th Infantry operations beginning in mid-January 1968 in the 3-12 Infantry’s sector were designed to clear the area between Ben Het and Dak To of potential ambushes.

Bravo Company’s role in the 3-12 Infantry’s operation was to search and clear the ridge line northwest of Fire Support Base #25 with the primary objective being the hill at grid reference YB 874295, known as the “Peanut.” A little after noon on 19 January 1968, Bravo Company was moving toward the Peanut when they were attacked by a NVA company. The fire was intense from multiple directions and was joined by NVA mortar and rifle grenade fire. Bravo Company was caught in an ambush itself. Johnny Lindsey was killed by multiple fragmentation wounds early in the battle. Bravo attempted to recover the wounded and dead and call in close range artillery, but the NVA blocked their withdrawal route. Eventually relieved by Charlie and Delta Companies, Bravo had 1 killed (PFC Johnny Warner Lindsey), 28 wounded, and 6 missing that day. Reports are conflicted, but it seems like 5 of the missing in action were found dead over the next few days and weeks in the area of the Peanut.

The area between Dak To and Ben Het around the hill called “Peanut” remained heavily contested throughout the rest of January and February 1968. 3-12 Infantry was in constant contact with the enemy during this time, but never was moved from the area by the NVA, much like the rest of the northern swathe of South Vietnam. Unknown to the 4th Infantry, the buildup of NVA in their area of operations in mid January 1968 was happening all along the northern part of South Vietnam. The buildup was in preparation for the combined NVA and VC offensive that came to be known as the Tet Offensive. Although Tet was a complete failure for the North Vietnamese’s operational objectives, American media reporting of it in the USA made it seem as if the USA was losing the war. Tet became the greatest strategic victory for the North Vietnamese due almost entirely to the American news media’s inaccurate reporting. As a result, American public opinion turned decisively against the war after Tet. The USA began its long, painful disengagement from Vietnam from 1969 to April 1975.

Johnny was 22 years old on the day he was killed. He was loved dearly by his family, especially his parents, Warner N. Lindsey and Hazel M. (Mitchell) Lindsey. He is buried with his parents in the Dycusburg cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Johnny Warner Lindsey‘s name can be found on Panel 34E, Line 79 on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Johnny Warner Lindsey
Johnny Warner Lindsey

Operation Vittles

0n 12 May 1949, the Berlin Blockade ended.

At the end of WWII, the Allies and the Soviets partitioned Germany and Berlin into zones, but Berlin itself was wholly within the greater Soviet zone that would soon become East Germany (DDR). The allies supplied their western zones primarily by land (rail, canal, & road) through a corridor from what would become West Germany (FRG).

The Berlin Airlift

On 24 June 1948, the Soviets, upset at the Allies’ actions in West Berlin, blockaded the land routes. The Allies decided to airlift in all of W. Berlin’s needs. The new U.S. Air Force (1947) took the lead and launched “Operation Vittles,” better known as the Berlin Airlift. The work was non-stop; hard on people and aircraft, but it succeeded. The Soviets backed down on 12 May 1949.

OPERATION VITTLES started on 26 June 1948 and ended on 30 Sep 1949. USAF aircraft delivered more than 1.5 m. tons of coal, food, other supplies, & more than 60K passengers. C-47 Skytrains and C-54 Skymasters did most of the work.

Staff Sergeant Oscar Hoover Linzy

The photo is of SSG Oscar H. Linzy (my Dad) sporting his Berlin Airlift Operation Vittles ribbon (middle, bottom). Dad had previously served in the U.S. Army Air Forces, but stayed in the Army when the USAF separated. Army personnel were still a significant part of the USAF in skills and training well into the early 1950s.

Oscar H. Linzy - Berlin Airlift

Curtiss C-46 Crash 6 May 1945

On 6 May 1945 at approximately 6:40PM, an US Army Air Forces aircraft crashed on Long Man Hill near Wilmington, Sussex in southern England. All four crew members were killed. With two days remaining in the war in Europe, this was not the only USAAF crash that day. It was not the only one in Europe. It was not even the only one in England. The fact was that aircraft were crashing and being shot down at a rate that is hard for us to fathom these days. WWII took a horrendous toll on a generation of young airmen.

Seventy-five years later, we pause to remember a specific crew of many that died on this day in 1945. 

1st Lieutenant Sidney “Jack” Gibson, pilot

2nd Lieutenant Victor L. Young, co-pilot

Staff Sergeant Daniel M. Campbell, crew

Staff Sergeant James F. Maloney, crew

314th Troop Carrier Squadron Curtiss C-46 Commandos at Barkston Heath, England, circa April 1945

They were members of the 314th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 349th Troop Carrier Group and were station at Advanced Landing Ground A-73 near Roye in northern France. They had only arrived in Europe in March 1945 and the unit had only become operational on 30 April 1945. Since all of the big airborne drops of WWII had already occurred, troop carrier units were mainly being used to ferry equipment, material, and wounded to and from France and England. On this particular mission, the Curtiss C-46D (like the one pictured above from the 314th), tail # 44-77861, was flying a load of lumber and mail from the depot known as “Eccles” near Attleborough, Norfolk in England to the Advance Landing Ground A-61 near Beauvais in northern France. 

The pilot was rated for instrument flying, but was apparently trying to stay under a layer of cloud that obscured the top of Long Man hill. The aircraft struck the hill approximately 500 feet from the top and disintegrated on impact. One more aircraft and four more souls lost to the war to free Europe from Nazi control.

The remains of three of the crew were sent back to their homes for burial. 1st Lieutenant Sidney “Jack” Gibson was buried in Newkirk, Kay County, Oklahoma, USA. 2nd Lieutenant Victor L. Young was buried in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan, USA, and Staff Sergeant Daniel Marshall Campbell was buried in Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina, USA. Staff Sergeant James F. Maloney of Westchester County, New York was buried at the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, Cambridgeshire, England. His cross is the image above.

The 314th Air Refueling Squadron, 940th Operations Group, 940th Air Refueling Wing of Beale Air Force Base, California remembers the 314th Troop Carrier Squadron crew of 44-77861 on this 75th anniversary of 6 May 1945. May they rest in peace and be remembered for their sacrifice.

Jackson Defeated the British at New Orleans

Peace and the Treaty of Ghent

Fifteen days after the Treaty of Ghent between Britain and the USA was signed, but not ratified (Christmas Eve, 1814), Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the British decisively at New Orleans. Neither the British force, nor Jackson’s Americans had received news of the peace yet. Some erroneously argue that the war was over when the Battle of New Orleans occurred, but the peace agreement did not officially go into effect until it was ratified by each government and received by troops in the field. Of course in the early 19th century, diplomatic issues had to travel by ship across the Atlantic between Europe and North America. This process took between 45 and 90 depending on the sea conditions. The news of the Treaty of Ghent actually made a fast trip across the Atlantic, but not before the actions around New Orleans played out.

Furthermore, some have argued that the Battle of New Orleans meant nothing, because it happened after the Treaty of Ghent. However, the British disputed the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and there is no evidence that they viewed the ownership or the occupation of New Orleans as being covered by the Treaty of Ghent. Therefore, the Battle of New Orleans did establish American control of New Orleans and would no longer disputed by the British after the War of 1812. Had the British taken New Orleans and held it or turned it over to the Spanish, they could have conceivably still contested American ownership.

Fights on Land and Water

Although the final engagement happened on 8 January, 1815, the fighting around New Orleans had been going on since 14 December 1814, starting with a Royal Marine victory over US gunboats guarding the entrance to New Orleans on Lake Borgne. On 23 December, Jackson failed to dislodge the British at their quarters on the Villeré Plantation. Jackson fell back and occupied the approach to New Orleans at the Rodriguez Canal on the Chalmette Plantation. On 28 December, the British probed the line in force, but were repelled. On 1 January 1815, the British attempted to dislodge Jackson with artillery, but the duel ended with the American artillery victorious, probably because they had more ammunition. The Americans had more ammunition due to Jackson’s temporary alliance with the Baratarian pirates, including Jean Lafitte, who hated the British more than the Americans.

Final Battle of New Orleans

Finally, on 8 January, the British executed a frontal assault on the American positions which failed miserably, including the loss of the British Commander, Major General Edward Pakenham. Pakenham was the Duke of Wellington’s Brother-in-Law and hero of the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of Britain’s best generals, but the British were too sure that the Americans would fold under the sustained assault of seasoned combat veterans from Europe. The historical record is filled full of the opinions of British senior officers with a dismal view of American fighting prowess and leadership. ( I have explored this topic in a longer format, here) However, they had not bargained on the pure cussedness and determination of Old Hickory. Jackson defeated the British in the one of the largest battles and arguably the worst defeat of the British in the War of 1812. The British and the Americans continued to fight in the area in early 1815, not hearing of the peace until 12 February 1815.

Andrew Jackson Defeated the British Motorcycle Ride

Start at Chalmette Battlefield in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park on the site of the 8 January battle and make your way to Louisiana State Route 23, running southeast to the tip of the delta, following the Mississippi River. This will give you a good feel for this unique area and a great view of the USA’s grand old river. New Orleans has always had a rough and ready reputation, so be prepared for detours and some deserted areas. As always, be aware of your surroundings when riding through this area.

The Treaty of Ghent has been exhaustively explored in a brilliant book, The Peace of Christmas Eve that I highly recomend.

 

The Fetterman Massacre of 1866

On 21 December 1866, the US Army suffered its worst defeat in the western Indian Wars up to that time (Custer’s defeat at Little Bighorn ten years later would surpass it). Captain  William Fetterman (often referred to by his highest Civil War rank of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel), an officer at Fort Phil Kearney, was given the mission to relieve a wood cutting party who had been attacked by Indians led by Crazy Horse and Red Cloud.

Background

Even during the USA Civil War, American settlers continued to pour into the American west. The settlers went wherever the latest information told them was a “boom” area. In 1864-65, the boom area was in present day western Montana where gold had been found, mainly around Virginia City. The Bozeman Trail was a widened American Indian hunting trail that cut through the heart of Sioux hunting grounds. The area had been confirmed as Sioux tribal land by the Laramie Treaty of 1848. However, immigrants to the west were not known for putting much stock in Indian treaties when gold was in their eyes. A large train of 2,000 settlers had made the trek along the Bozemen in 1864 which electrified the immigrant news network. Soon many more would follow. Unsurprisingly, the Sioux began to attack the parties. News of the dangerousness of the trail spread, settler numbers dropped, which led to calls for protection by USA forces. Construction on Fort Phil Kearny began the summer of 1866, but without enough numbers to truly protect the settlers on the trail. In fact, there were barely enough troops to protect the fort and its activities itself.

The Fetterman Massacre of 1866

Sioux leaders, most prominently Red Cloud and Crazy Horse (also involved in Custer’s Defeat), began attacking hay and wood cutting parties out of the fort almost from its inception. The fort had established a communications procedure for reporting an attack, so that these provisioning parties could call for help. The Sioux learned that they could attack these parties and create havoc at will. As the frustration built with the soldiers of the fort, the command began to talk of taking the initiative to teach the Sioux a lesson. Enter William J. Fetterman. Traditional history states that Fetterman was out to make a name for himself and had bragged, “With 80 men, I could ride through the entire Sioux nation.” This seems a little suspect given that his upcoming impromptu command had exactly 80 men. However, the general demeanor would not have been unheard of with an officer that had attained senior rank in the Civil War and wanted to improve his chances of regaining that rank in a much smaller Regular Army. George Armstrong Custer and Nelson Miles were two other examples of this phenomena.

December 1866 in northern Wyoming was bitterly cold and wood cutting parties had had a hard time keeping up with the demand for firewood, so Sioux raiding parties had ample opportunities. The Sioux had attacked several of these parties and began to learn that the frustration was building and that enlarged parties were eager to give chase. On 21 December, Crazy Horse used this tactic to lure Fetterman’s relief party of 80 men (53 infantry and civilian on foot and 27 mounted cavalry) out of the fort with an attack on a wood cutting detail.  In fact, the attack on the wood-cutters was a diversion. As Fetterman maneuvered his 80 man unit with the cavalry in the vanguard to attack the Sioux from the flank, the Indians were seemingly fleeing the area into a valley. Contrary to orders from his commander, Colonel Henry B. Carrington, Fetterman gave chase. What happened exactly is not known to the white man’s history, but what was clear from the battle scene was that Fetterman’s unit was led into an ambush. All 81 were killed. The Fetterman Massacre of 1866 entered into lore.

Or…

Or at least, that is the traditional story. A more recent analysis has developed a competing theory that it was not Fetterman who was impetuous, but a junior leader of the party, Lieutenant George W. Drummond. Drummond led a party of 27 cavalrymen from the U.S. 2d Cavalry Regiment (Battlefield Biker’s old regiment). It is quite possible that Drummond’s unit, being on horseback, got too far in front of Fetterman and was ambushed. As Fetterman eclipsed the ridge and found the cavalry decisively engaged, he had little choice, but to ignore Carrington’s orders and try to relieve Drummond’s force. The Sioux had set the perfect trap and destroyed both detachments in order which would explain the battlefield scene found by another relief force that resisted the temptation to enter the valley immediately. The stories are complicated by Drummond’s widow, who later married Carrington, who wrote about the disaster to absolve her husband and Carrington of blame. Captain William J. Fetterman might have been the fall guy for Drummond.

Aftermath

Whatever, the facts of the actual battle, the Fetterman Massacre of 1866, also known as the Fetterman Fight, would prove to put the nail in the coffin of the Army’s attempt to protect the Bozeman Trail. A new Laramie Treaty of 1868 would re-affirm the Sioux ownership of the area and Fort Phil Kearny was abandoned two years after being estblished. The Fetterman Fight was part of what was called Red Cloud’s War and ended up being one of the Plains Indians few unmitigated wins, although the area would become engulfed in war again a decade later.

Fetterman Massacre of 1866 Motorcycle Ride

The Bozeman Trail avoided the mountains, but that is no fun on a motorcycle. My ride recommendation is to go see Fort Phil Kearny, the Fettman Fight site, and the Wagon Box Fight site, then take the Cloud Peak Skyway from Buffalo to Ten Sleep through the Bighorn National Forest and onwards through the Bighorn and Greybull River valleys to Cody, Wyoming. Wonderful country.

The plaque on the Fetterman Massacre Monument

The plaque on the Fetterman Massacre Monument

George Washington Defeats Cornwallis at Battle of Princeton 1777

Background

After the previous British victories in New York and New Jersey in 1776, Continental Army General George Washington had to be lucky, daring, and cunning. In early December 1776, he’d been lucky to get away from the advancing British earlier in the war with a reasonable force left. Later, he made his daring crossing of the Delaware River over Christmas of 1776 where he had surprised Hessian troops serving in the British cause. However, those types of raids would be hard to re-create with the level of surprise that that one had achieved. Therefore, on 3 January 1777, George Washington used his cunning and tactical flexibility to strike a new blow on an over-extended British Army in New Jersey.

The Battle of Princeton 1777

After letting the Americans slip away after the Christmas 1776 attack at Trenton, Washington knew that British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis would not let another opportunity to catch him go to waste. Cornwallis combined most of his British Army forces from Princeton with his Hessian troops around Trenton and took off in pursuit leaving detachments at several locations. On 2 January, Washington had decided to set up defensive positions around Trenton and the British attacked. Washington realized that he could not take on the massed might of the British, so he decided to retreat with a purpose. The Continental Army fought off the British attack with a delaying action that let most of the Continental Army escape overnight. Washington kept most of his 6,000 Continentals intact, but Cornwallis had fatally separated his 8,000 troops into several detachments in New Jersey during the pursuit. Washington saw his opening. Washington managed to evade a decisive engagement with Cornwallis near Trenton, but cunningly looped around to find several smaller British detachments around Princeton. Washington managed to cut off Cornwallis’s rearguard in several short and sharp engagements around Princeton and inflict tactical, but significant defeats on the British.

Aftermath

The retreat from New Jersey across the Delaware River, the Christmas Trenton raid, and the Battle of Princeton had shown Washington to be more than a match for the British Army. General Sir William Howe, Cornwallis’s superior, had seen enough and pulled British forces back closer to New York for the winter. The British were to leave New Jersey soon thereafter to focus on the more strategically important northeast coast. Washington had proven to the British that neither he nor his “ragtag” American troops could be taken easily.

The Battle of Princeton 1777 Motorcycle Ride

Check out west-central New Jersey roughly following Washington’s route from Trenton to Princeton to the Rockingham State Historical Site to Rocky Hill to Hopewell  to Lambertville and down the Delaware River valley to lovely Yardley, PA.

Stonewall Jackson Begins Shenandoah Campaign

How the Legend of Stonewall Jackson Began

On 1 January 1862, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson began his spectacular Shenandoah Campaign from Winchester, Virginia.  The campaign was designed to keep Union forces to the west from joining in the early war pressure on the Confederate Army’s positions in Richmond, Virginia. Jackson would be successful in this mission with some significant setbacks, but his reputation would grow immensely during this time. Jackson was the sort who would ask much of his troops, but never more than he would give himself. Most of the serious fighting in the Shenandoah would not occur until the Spring, but on 3 January, near the town of Bath in present day West Virginia, Jackson set the tone of his legend to come.

A Hard, Puritanical Man

Jackson was from Clarksburg, Virginia (present day West Virginia), so he was familiar with the terrain and people of the Shenandoah. When some of the troops under Brigadier General William Wing Loring complained to the Confederate leadership about the hard nature of Jackson’s command, Jackson resigned in disgust that the charges were taken seriously. Luckily for the Confederacy, calmer heads, including the Virginia Governor John Letcher and General Joseph E. Johnston, prevailed and Jackson wasn’t questioned further. Jackson was a hard, puritanical man, but only asked of his men what he himself would endure. One story tells of Confederate soldiers waking up near Bath with a dusting of snow on their blankets. They began to complain about Jackson, but they were startled to find Jackson stand up amongst them and shake the snow off his blanket as well. This kind of leadership was what allowed Jackson to literally walk his men’s shoes off and run circles around the Union units during the Shenandoah Campaign throughout the first half of 1862.

Stonewall Jackson Begins Shenandoah Campaign Motorcycle Ride

For a good feel for the northern part of the Shenandoah and the early part of the campaign, try this ride from Winchester, VA to Bath, WV to Romney, WV and back to Winchester.

Battle of Raate Road in the Winter War 5 January 1940

Background

Just prior to WWII in Europe, the Soviet Union (Russia) and Germany jockeyed for strategic ground running from the Arctic Ocean through eastern Finland, through the Baltic states, splitting Poland, and down through Romania to the Balkans. The part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact) that agreed to split Poland is better known, but the Baltic states and Finland were to be part of this process too. The Baltic states were too small to fight off the Russians and gave in to lop-sided agreements. The Finns stood up for their borders and refused to give the Soviet Union the access to bases that they wanted. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Finland in late November 1939. The Russian goal was to secure the Gulf of Finland, the strategic rail lines from Murmansk to Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and the area around Lake Ladoga north of Leningrad. The Winter War would last a little over three months to early March 1940.

Battle of Raate Road

On 5 January 1940, The Finns began a counter-offensive on the Raate Road, near Suomussalmi that ended up destroying or capturing most of the Russian 44th Rifle Division. In an attempt to relieve the over-extended 163rd Rifle Division near Suomussalmi, the 44th had been halted at a roadblock southeast of Suomussalmi around the present day intersection of roads 912 and 843. The Russians hunkered down along the road between Suomussalmi and Raate in what the Finns called motti formations, a logging term doubling in meaning that the 44th’s sub units could be broken into smaller chunks, enveloped, and cut up individually like so many logs. The Finns operated in small units all along the road and spent days conducting close range grenade attacks and terrifying the Russian officers with highly selective sniper fire. The Russians were out of their mind with cold, hunger, and fear. A single sniper round fired by a Finn marksman would unleash totally undisciplined “mad minutes” from the Russians, normally killing nothing, but trees. Soon, ammunition ran short and re-supply from the air turned the starving troops into in-fighting hordes. After 2 days of this nightmare, the 44th dissolved in death, capture, or flight. It was the high water mark for the Finns and showed the Russians that taking the grossly outnumbered, but skilled Finns would not be a cake walk. Although the Finns lost the war and had to concede land within their borders to the Soviet Union, they retained their sovereignty. The weakness of parts of the Soviet Army also planted the seed of contempt in the German Army’s mind that would later lead the Germans to break the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invade Russia in the summer of 1941. In his history of the Winter War entitled, Frozen Hell, William R. Trotter has an entire chapter dedicated to the Battle of Raate Road.

Battle of Raate Road Motorcycle Ride

If you find yourself in Finland, try following the road from Kemi to Suomussalmi and on to Raate for a daylong ride. I rode the E75 from Kemi to Oulu and on to Helsinki a few years ago and I can highly recommend the area. If finishing around Kemi look for campgrounds on the Gulf of Bothnia between Oulu and Kemi. Its a beautiful place to wake up (in the summer anyway).

Guthrum Chased King Alfred the Great into the Marshes 5 Jan 878

Photo Credit: Odejea [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Beginnings of an English Monarchy

King Alfred the Great of Wessex (Present day western England) was the youngest son of five of King Athelwulf, but did not become king at Athelwulf’s death. The throne went  through most of his older brothers who promptly died, leaving Alfred. After a series of devastating Viking raids from the north of the English isle, Alfred knew that he was too weak to fight off the Vikings that were on his territory in the 870s, so he made a series of treaties, sealed with large quantities of Danegeld, with the Vikings that they promptly broke. Guthrum, the Danish Viking, knew that the Christian Alfred would be celebrating Epiphany on the 12th night (5/6 January) in 878, so Guthrum struck at Chippenham with the hopes of capturing Alfred as well as taking the important town of Chippenham.

King Alfred the Great on the Run

The attack so soon after a peace treaty surprised the English and drove many to France where they arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs. Some say Alfred was in Chippenham that night and fled with his people. Others say he was in Dorchester. Either way,  Guthrum chased King Alfred the Great into the marshes of the Somerset Levels. There Alfred began his guerrilla days fighting out of the marshes and bogs near Athelney. Only a few warriors were with Alfred, but he soon began recruiting local militias throughout modern day Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire. By building a resistance force from the ground up, Alfred was able to remain the only major kingdom in modern day England to successfully hold out against the onslaught of the Vikings. This success and eventual victory in southern England is what established the legend of Alfred the Great in Anglo-Saxon history.

Guthrum Chased King Alfred the Great Motorcycle Ride

If you have a full day, try the long circular ride from Chippenham to Box and down to Athelney on the A4, then back up to Melksham and Devizes on the A365 and back to Chippenham on the A342. Good biking roads all. The route to Box and Athelney is a likely route that Alfred could have taken out of Chippenham.If you are in the area of Athelney, also check out this ride around the Battle of Langport from the Battlefield Biker English Civil War series. When near Devizes, you can also zip up to Roundway Down to see the site of the English Civil War battlefield of that name from the Battlefield Biker series.

The Second Battle of Springfield, Missouri 8 January 1863

Background

For every Gettysburg, Antietam, and Vicksburg in the American Civil War, there were tens of smaller actions that did not involve the great Generals and large numbers of troops. However, these small actions often had real strategic consequences. On 8 January 1863, a Confederate advance led by Brigadier General John Sappington Marmaduke made an attempt to capture the important Union supply point at Springfield, Missouri. Marmaduke was a 1857 West Point graduate and had been severely wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. He would later be captured at the Battle of Mine Creek. The Supply point, led by Brigadier General Egbert B. Brown, was important to supplying the Union Army of the West. Brown was a former Mayor of Toledo, Ohio and a prominent Missouri grain merchant. He would be severely wounded at Springfield, but survived the end of the Civil War. The battle is unusual in the fact that it involved a substantial amount of urban combat..something fairly uncommon in the Civil War.

Second Battle of Springfield

The Union garrison was warned of the advance with a few hours to spare. The supply post was short on experienced soldiers, but had the advantage of high ground in the form of four earthen forts around the town. Marmaduke was short of one of his three columns, which had been delayed by skirmishing near Hartville, but decided to attack on the morning of 8 January anyway. Marmaduke made several attempts, but failed in each. Most of the fighting occurred around fort number four with Marmaduke trying frontal assaults and flanking movements with little success. As night fell, Marmaduke realized he had lost and retreated back to Arkansas.

The Second Battle of Springfield will never be called a turning point in the USA Civil War, but one could imagine that Vicksburg and the final Mississippi River stronghold of Port Hudson, LA, might not have fallen in July 1863, if Springfield had been lost to the Confederates in January.

Second Battle of Springfield Motorcycle Ride

Follow the general direction that Marmaduke took from Harrison, Arkansas to Springfield, Missouri, through Ozark on US Highway 65.

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