Trivia from the Archives

December 2009


1)  To whom did Abraham Lincoln write these words?
“Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.”

Answer:  Abraham Lincoln sent these words to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant by telegram on August 17, 1864.  Grant had protested a proposal to remove troops from Petersburg; it would weaken his grip on the city.  Lincoln agreed and wrote these words in support.

Lincoln’s telegram »

National Park Service lessons: Petersburg »

2)  In 1863, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson made a famous “flanking march” at which battle, just outside Fredericksburg, VA? 

Answer:  Chancellorsville.  

Jackson sent his corps on a march against the Federal left flank (it was "hanging in the air").  Shortly after 5 PM his line surged forward, crushing the Union XI Corps.  The Federals rallied and counterattacked.  Later, after dark, Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men while making a night reconnaissance.

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Historical maps » 

3)  In which April 1865 battle did Gen. George A. Custer’s men capture four supply trains meant to bring vital supplies to the starving Army of Northern Virginia?  This disastrous loss left Gen. Robert E. Lee no choice but to surrender soon after.

Answer:  Appomattox Station, April 8, 1865. 

The Third Division succeeded in capturing three out of four supply trains – including rations, shoes and jackets, medical supplies and ordnance.   Appomattox Station is different from next morning’s Appomattox Courthouse.   

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Appomattox Station, Virginia / negative by T.H. O'Sullivan, positive by A. Gardner.

Image:  "Appomattox Station, Virginia / negative by T.H. O'Sullivan, positive by A. Gardner."
Library of Congress

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