Category Archives: Orlando Poe

The very ancient design of Fort Sanders

Fort Sanders was the combined work of (first) Confederate engineer  Danville Leadbetter and (second) Union engineer Orlando Poe, with impromptu assistance from Union artilleryman Samuel Nicoll Benjamin. But the overall design, from the fort’s earthen ramparts to the dry ditch surrounding … Continue reading

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Contraband of War

To get around the problem of having to return self-emancipated (i.e. escaped) slaves to their Confederate owners, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler dubbed them “contraband of war,” i.e. captured property that didn’t have to be returned. Later, Congress made the term … Continue reading

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New history: an error and an argument

There’s a new history on the Battle of Fort Sanders, one of the few ever written. It’s Lincoln Memorial University historian Earl J. Hess’s 2012 The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee. I bought a copy to see if … Continue reading

Posted in "Knoxville 1863", Disputes and errors of fact, Fort Sanders, Gen. Lafayette McLaws, Orlando Poe, Samuel Nicoll Benjamin, Seventeenth Mississippi, The Phillips Georgia Legion, Thirteenth Mississippi | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reprise: Captain Orlando Metcalfe Poe

Captain Poe, Gen. Burnside’s chief engineer, worked with Lieutenant Benjamin in preparing some of the innovative defenses at Fort Sanders. (No spoilers; read the book.) Poe (West Point, Class of 1856) rose to colonel of volunteers, then was appointed brigadier … Continue reading

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The Contrabands

Captain Orlando Poe insists, to Parthenia Leila Ellis’s irritation, upon calling the slave/servants he conscripts for work on Fort Sanders and other parts of the Union’s defensive perimeter “contrabands.” It had been common usage in the Union army from the … Continue reading

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Ambulances

Easily the most popular conveyance of the war, among officers and privates alike, because of its suspension system, was the two-mule ambulance. Captain Orlando Poe used one to deliver his volunteer and conscripted “contraband” servant/slaves back to their owners— including … Continue reading

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Captain Orlando Metcalfe Poe

Captain Poe, Gen. Burnside’s chief engineer, worked with Lieutenant Benjamin in preparing some of the innovative defenses at Fort Sanders. (No spoilers; read the book.) Poe (West Point, Class of 1856) rose to colonel of volunteers, then was appointed brigadier … Continue reading

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Benjamin’s triumph

Some independent historians have tried to deny the commander of Fort Sanders, Lieutenant Samuel Nicoll Benjamin, his triumph. They pretend that Burnside’s chief engineer, Captain Orlando Poe, did most of the planning and preparation for the defense. But the primary … Continue reading

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