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Mapping Slavery in the North

A map of slavery in the North that utilizes the 1790 census has been making the rounds on my twitter and Facebook feeds over the past few days. It is well worth spending some time with and the map can certainly be used utilized to achieve a number of goals in the classroom. The map […]

Franklin “integrated easily into parts of the British establishment”

The transformation of the house where Benjamin Franklin lived in London into a museum has prompted new public interest to his second career as a lobbyist. George Goodwin, the museum’s Honorary Writer in Residence, has addressed the topic in Benjamin Franklin in London. Show More Summary

Killed At Spotsylvania: Lt. Henry Clay Jackson: Teacher Turned Soldier Turned Martyr

Lieutenant Henry Clay Jackson(Courtesy of Ronn Palm; Museum of Civil War Images) In 1861, twenty-four-year-old Henry Clay Jackson, from St. Clair, Pennsylvania, was looking forward to a career in the classroom. He was enrolled at the Millersville Normal School, studying to become a school teacher. Show More Summary

How to Join the Massachusetts Army

On 5 May 1775, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress decided how militiamen would sign up for longer service in its army:Resolved, that all officers & soldiers of the Massachusetts army now raising for the defence & security of the rights...Show More Summary

The Future of Civil War History in Civil War History

In March 2013 I took part in a remarkable conference organized by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College that brought together academics, preservationists, consultants, historical interpreters, museum professionals, living historians, students, K-12 teachers, and new media specialists. Show More Summary

Former H.M.S. Endeavour in Newport Harbor

This morning the Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project has scheduled an announcement about its possible discovery of H.M.S. Endeavour, the ship that Capt. James Cook sailed around the world in 1768-1771. The Royal Navy sold that ship...Show More Summary

A recommended new blog

My old friend and fellow cavalry historian Bob O’Neill has started a new blog that I want to recommend to you. Bob is THE authority of the cavalry battles in the Loudoun Valley of Virginia during the Gettysburg, and that’s one of the focuses of the blog, which is called Small but Important Riots. Show More Summary

One VERY bad idea….

An 1876 portrait of Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. Many of Meade’s possessions are in this collection From Philly.com today: Civil War Museum transfers collection to Gettysburg with Constitution Center exhibit planned Updated: May 4,...Show More Summary

Cherubum and Seraphim at Old North Church

As an Anglican church, the Old North Church (formally Christ Church, Boston) was more flashily decorated than the town’s Congregationalist meetinghouses.There are, for example, four hand-carved angels mounted on the gallery railing. Tom Dietzel recently shared a four-part online essay about them. Show More Summary

150th Anniversary of the Memphis Massacre

Today is the anniversary of the racial violence that engulfed the city of Memphis, Tennessee between May 1 – 3, 1866. The violence followed shortly after a shooting altercation between recently mustered out black Union soldiers and a white policeman. The violence can be tracked along racial and ethnic lines. There are a number of […]

The Rev. David McClure’s 20th of April

Here’s another extract from the diary of the Rev. David McClure as the Revolutionary War began. The last installment left the minister at the home of Joseph Mayo, a militia officer in Roxbury.At the dawn of day, the Major & I mounted our horses, & rode to Roxbury street, anxious to know what had been done. Show More Summary

H.K. Edgerton, Neo-Confederates & the Limits of Black Political Action

It should come as no surprise that H.K. Edgerton helped to dedicate a new Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida this weekend that includes a marker honoring black Confederate soldiers. In the past I have suggested that it is best to understand Edgerton’s presence at these events as a form of entertainment, not entirely unlike […]

Avant nous le déluge

Last month the Creators Project at Vice featured Viennese photographer Andreas Franke’s Stavronikita Project, part of his series “The Sinking World.”As I understand Franke’s method, he dives down to shipwrecks and photographs them. Then he creates digital images combining those backgrounds with scenes of people that he stages in his studio. Show More Summary

A Recap of Confederate Heritage Month 2016

Two recent articles have suggested that push back against Confederate iconography and commemoration is waning since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, South Carolina last summer. A number of states and local communities still recognize April as Confederate History/Heritage Month. Show More Summary

The Service of Caesar Ferrit

While Thomas Nichols was locked up in the Concord jail, accused of enticing slaves away from their masters, what was his father-in-law doing?Caesar Ferrit and his youngest son John, born around 1753, were marching with the Natick militia company on 19 Apr 1775. Show More Summary

Faulkner explains his Confederate service

150 years ago this past week, a letter (though dated April 13) from Charles J. Faulkner (he appears in a few of my blog posts from the past) appeared in the Charles Town, West Virginia newspaper, detailing his “connexion” with the Confederate army. At first I thought, perhaps, he was replying to those who doubted any […]

Louisville To Remove Confederate Monument

A number of cities across the country have or are currently engaged in debates about the place of Confederate monuments on public ground. New Orleans recently voted to remove four monuments, but has yet to follow through. Only the University of Texas at Austin has removed Civil War related monuments from campus. Today, the city […]

Reviewing Thomas Nichols’s Case

In late February 1775 a Massachusetts magistrate had Thomas Nichols of Natick, labeled variously a “free Negro” or “mulatto,” locked up for “enticing divers Servants [slaves] to desert the Service of their Masters.”Nichols was still in the jail at Concord when the Revolutionary War broke out. Show More Summary

Thomas Nichols of Natick

On Monday I quoted a Connecticut newspaper report of the arrest of “one Thomas Nichols, a Molatto,” in Natick on suspicion of planning an uprising of enslaved people.What do we know about Nichols? He appears in the Natick vital records...Show More Summary

U.S. Postal Service Spreads Myth of Loyal Slave

Chapter three in my current book project, Searching For Black Confederates, focuses a good deal on the roles that former camp slaves played at veterans reunions and parades. We’ve all seen the photographs of former slaves, who took part in these well-attended events, but this is the first time that I have come across an […]

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