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French CHAB News June 2021

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CONFEDERATE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF BELGIUM

Due to the renovation works at the Communal Museum, the CHAB Club House has moved into temporary premises at Wolubilis, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Our monthly meetings will thus be held there until further notice. New Address: 1 place du Temps Libre - Local A300 - 3rd floor (right when leaving the elevator). The building is located along the Cours Paul-Henri Spaak, just opposite the Woluwe Shopping Center. The entrance is on the ground floor, left of the bookstore/restaurant Cook & Book. See access map

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NEXT MEETING
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Saturday 11 December 2021 at 3 PM

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THE SECRET MISSION OF GENERAL POLIGNAC IN 1865

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At our temporary premises at Wolubilis, lecture by Daniel Frankignoul: The secret mission of General Polignac in 1865, a Confederate retrocession of Louisiana to France in exchange for the support of Napoleon III? In March 1901, the Washington Post published an article accusing General Polignac of having led a secret mission in 1865, proposing to Emperor Napoleon III the retrocession of Louisiana to France in exchange for an armed intervention in favor of the Confederate States. The newspaper added that before deciding, Napoleon frequently consulted Lord Palmerston and that Queen Victoria personally intervened, before reluctantly rejecting the proposal. Prince Camille de Polignac did indeed leave Shreveport, the capital of Confederate Louisiana, on January 9, 1865, with the agreement of Governor Henry W. Allen and General Edmund Kirby Smith, Commander of the Department of Trans-Mississippi. After a trip that lasted nearly three months, he managed to pass though the blockade and continue to Paris where he met the Emperor twice. Our speaker, engaging in a genuine police investigation, will recount the episodes of this amazing journey as related by the general in his war diary. Based on historical documents, he will then tell us how Polignac refuted these allegations that were made-up 36 years after the end of the war.

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CHAB NEWS NOTICE

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The CHAB committee wishes to inform its foreign and American friends that due to severe budget constraints, the English version of the CHAB News is no longer published. However, the French version of our quarterly remains available to the contributing members of our association. Thank you for your understanding.
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LATEST PAINTINGS OF JOHN PAUL STRAIN

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THE OLD GRAY FOX

RAID ON CHAMBERSBURG

 

For the first three months of 1864 General Lee and his staff routinely rode 20 miles through the mountains and foothills of Orange County Virginia inspecting the winter quarters of his army.  Lee’s staff members included Major Walter Taylor, Major Charles S. Venable, and Major Charles Marshall.  Occasionally accompanying Lee was his old friend and secretary, Armistead Lindsay Long, who was now a Brigadier General placed in command of the artillery in General Ewell’s Second Corps. General Lee had an abundance of work to do during these winter months.  Preceding battles had lost him many of his best commanding officers, such as Generals Jackson, Pender, Armistead and Pettigrew.  Many other officers had been taken out of action with crippling wounds. The slow process of promotion bothered experienced officers ready to take on higher rank.  It was General Lee’s job to re-organize and prepare his army for the critical and decisive campaign that was to come.  Affectionally know by his troops as “The Old Gray Fox”, General Lee had big plans for his army when the season changed, believing like his men, the war could still be won.

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© All copyrights reserved by John Paul Strain Historical Art

After the battle of Antietam, General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia needed time to rest, resupply, and reorganize. General McClellan’s Army of the Potomac was doing the same. But General Lee wished to keep the pressure on the federal army by sending General JEB Stuart’s cavalry back into Maryland and Pennsylvania on a daring raid. If successful the raid would cut valuable railroad supply lines, obtain anything of value to the army, and create havoc, panic, and cause the demoralization of federal troops. Stuart was also instructed to capture government officials who might be exchanged for any captured Confederate leaders or sympathizers. General Lee outlined in detail Stuart’s route, with his main objective being the destruction of the Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge over the Concocheague Creek near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. On October 9th General Stuart and General Wade Hampton left camp with 1800 cavalrymen and four cannons under the command of Major John Pelham. The force crossed the Potomac River at McCoy’s Ford between Williamsport and Hancock on the foggy morning of the 10th. Stuart’s cavalry rode quickly and quietly north avoiding any entanglements. (General Stuart’s cavalry saber scabbard was covered in leather, so as not to make noise while on horseback). Once the force reached the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania, one-third of Stuart’s men fanned out to seize every healthy horse they could find. Citizens were given Confederate script in return for goods seized. The expedition eventually crossed the West Branch of Concocheague Creek near the town of Mercersburg. By the time General Stuart’s cavalry reached the town of Chambersburg that evening, the weather had changed with dropping temperatures and cold rain. The town was occupied without incident and Stuart’s men went about their work efficiently, cutting telegraph lines, burning railroad warehouses, confiscating supplies, and so on. Stuart sent a company to burn the railroad bridge at Scotland, but the men turned back after citizens convinced the raiders that the bridge was made of iron. Several dignitaries of the town were taken into custody and General Stuart symbolically appointed General Hampton “Military Governor” of the town. The following day General Stuart and his command headed back to Virginia by way of Cashtown. The raid was heralded by New York’s Harper’s Weekly as “one of the most surprising feats of the war”. Stuart and his soldiers brought back 1200 horses, supplies, weapons, and a number of prominent politicians, while spreading fear throughout the north. The raid was a great embarrassment to Federal Army and President Lincoln. It would be just a few weeks later that President Lincoln would replace General George McClellan as commander of the army. The raid would become known as “Stuart’s second ride around McClellan”. 

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© All copyrights reserved by John Paul Strain Historical Art

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For information or online orders:

www.johnpaulstrain.com

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