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Civil War Pronunciations

During the course of studying the American Civil War, one frequently encounters words, which prove challenging to verbalize. This section offers assistance with several of those more problematic terms, and we trust you will find this guide beneficial. Historian Robert D. Quigley's Civil War Spoken Here, proved a valuable source in compiling this summary.1

Abatis (AH-buh-tee): sharpened tree limbs placed along entrenchment fronts to thwart an advancing foe.

Acquia Creek, Virginia (uh-KWI-uh): located in eastern Virginia, many engagements occurred along the banks of the Acquia

Beaufort, North Carolina (BOH-furt)

Beaufort, South Carolina (BYOO-furt)

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (BOH-re-guard): Confederate general officer participating in the eastern and western theaters; saw action from Fort Sumter to Shiloh, the attacks on Petersburg to the Carolina Campaign of 1865.

Chasseur (sha-SOOR): French inspired military uniform of high fashion; select Federal regiments donned these colorful uniforms.

Chevauz de frise (shuh-VOH-duh-FREEZ): A precursor to barbed wire, these wooden or iron obstacles, often up to nine feet in length, contained sharp stakes, which served as a defensive system for entrenched troops.

Chickamauga (CHIK-uh-MAW-guh): This late September 1863 battle, fought along the banks of the battle's namesake river, resulted in a victory for Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee.

Patrick Ronayne Cleburne (KLAY-burn) : Accomplished Confederate general, killed during the 1864 Battle of Franklin.

coup de main (KOO-duh-MAHN) : A quick, and daring assault on an enemy position; yet another term derived from the annals of French military history.

coup d'oeil (KOO-DOY) : The epitome of officers blessed with a high degree of military acumen - an ability to ascertain the ground, in short order, and identify areas of strategic importance.

Zachariah Cantey Deas (daze) :  Native South Carolinian, and Confederate officer, Deas fought in many of the Western Theater's major affairs. From Shiloh to Franklin, his brigade performed well.

Defilade (de-fƏ-LAYD): protect a fortification against frontal, enfilading, and rear fire

Enfilade (EN-fuh-LAYD): a position affording soldiers a line of fire from right to left, or left to right, down an opponent's line.

Fascine (fuh-SEEN) : a group of sticks, wrapped together, and used in reinforcing one's position.

Fauquier (FAW-keer): Fauquier County, Virginia

Finis (FIE-nis): Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis

States Rights Gist (gist -with a hard "g," as in "go") : from First Manassas to Vicksburg, Chickamauga to the battles for Atlanta, this officer - with a name befitting a loyal Southerner - died during the Battle of Franklin in November 1864.

Daniel Chevilette Govan (GUV-en) :  Confederate officer who, as a brigadier general, participated in the Atlanta Campaign. Govan's brigade fought gallantly during the Battle of Pickett's Mill.

Thomas Carmichael Hindman (HINED-mun - rhymes with "mind") : As a major general, Hindman commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department prior to joining the Army of Tennessee, where he fought until receiving a wound during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

hors de combat (or-duh-kohn-BAH) : out of action, usually as a result of a wound received on the field of battle

Benjamin Huger (YOO-jee) : Confederate major general who participated in the Seven Days' Battles prior to transferring to the Trans-Mississippi Department.

Kanawha (kan-NOW-wha): area in present day West Virginia; scene of military action early in the war, and a source of salt for the Confederacy

Evander McIvor (muh-KEE-vur) Law : Law's Alabama brigade witnessed heavy fighting around Little Round Top during the second day of battle at Gettysburg.

Lunette (loo-NET): a "v-shaped" earthwork structure shielding an artillery piece

William Wann Mackall (MAKE-awl): Mackall served as Joe Johnston's Chief of Staff during the Atlanta Campaign.

George Earl Maney (MAY-nee or MAN- ee): Confederate brigadier general who participated in the Battles of Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and the Atlanta Campaign.

Arthur Middleton Manigault (MAN-i-GOH): Manigault led a brigade in Hindman's Division during the Atlanta Campaign.

Massaponax (MAS-uh-PON-uks) Church, Virginia: Famous photograph of Lieutenant General U.S. Grant, and other Federals pausing on the church lawn during the 1864 Overland Campaign.

James Birdseye (BERD-zee) McPherson (muk-FUR-sun): A favorite of both Sherman and Grant, McPherson died during the Battle of Atlanta.

Thomas Francis Meagher (marr): Federal officer who commanded the Irish Brigade

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (megz): Federal Quartermaster General

Battle of Monocacy (muh-NOK-uh-see): Major General Jubal Early clashed with the Federal command of Major General Lew Wallace in July 1864, during Early's attempted raid on Washington City.

Natchitoches, Louisiana (NAK-uh-TOSH): Louisiana locale encountered when studying the 1864 Red River Campaign

Nueces River, Texas (noo-AY-sis): an August 1862 engagement took place near this area in the Trans-Mississippi Theater

Occoquan River (OK-uh-KWAN): eastern Virginia river, site of several engagements during the war

Oconee River (oh-KONE-ee): Georgia river frequently referenced in works dealing with Sherman's 1864 March to the Sea

Opequon Creek (oh-PEK-un): located in Virginia, and the site of several engagements during the war, specifically the numerous confrontations for possession of Winchester

Leonidas Polk (lee-ON-i-dis or lee-uh-NIE-dis) : Confederate general office, and bishop in the Episcopal Church; killed at Pine Mountain in Georgia on June 14, 1864.

Powhatan (POW-uh-TAN): Powhatan County, Virginia

Resaca, Georgia (ri-SOK-uh): site of a May 1864 battle during the Atlanta Campaign

Sabine Pass, Texas (suh-BEEN): site of two 1863 naval engagements

William Booth Taliaferro (TAHL-i-vur): from Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign to the environ of Charleston, Taliaferro commanded Fort Wagner during the famous engagement involving the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment in July 1863.

George Alfred Trenholm (Tren-um): Treasury Secretary for the Confederacy from 1864 until war's end

Utoy Creek, Georgia (YOO-toy): site of a battle during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign

Clement Laird Vallandigham (vuh-LAN-di-gum): Peace Democrat from Ohio

Vivandière (vee-vahn-DYAIR): female aides accompanying regiments comprised primarily of foreign born soldiers

Alfred Waud (wode): Northern newspaper illustrator

Heinrich (Henry) Hartmann Wirz (wertz): commandant of Georgia's Andersonville Prison

Zouave (ZWAHV or zoo-AHV): Algerian inspired uniforms donned by soldiers North and South; replete with baggy pants, and fanciful jackets, both in bright colors, these units participated in several of the war's major battles.

1. Robert D. Quigley, Civil War Spoken Here, (Collingswood, NJ: C.W. Historicals, 1993).