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Rache

I started writing a blog post yesterday but it’s now up to 1500 words and I don’t know what to do with is, so instead I’ll urge you: Plan your Saturday night now! Here’s a preview: In a world … Aww yeah, baby: C-SPAN 3.1 Saturday, January 24, at 8pm and midnight, Eastern time. Or […]

John Stauffer, Black Confederates, and the Case for Military History

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy post in response to an essay by John Stauffer on the controversy surrounding the existence of black Confederates, which appeared in The Root. As you can see I believe there to be numerous factual and conceptual problems with many of the author’s claims. I do not wish to repeat them […]

The Real Story of the Fake Sarah Munroe Letter

Last week I noted a letter describing George Washington’s Presidential visit to Lexington in 1789. And I said it looked like a fake. Polly Kienle of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum helpfully commented on that post confirming that young Sarah Munroe didn’t write that letter. Show More Summary

John Stauffer Goes Looking For Black Confederates and Comes Up Empty…Again

I was surprised to see that John Stauffer has once again decided to wade into the debate surrounding black Confederates. You may remember that back in 2011 Stauffer gave a talk at Harvard on the subject, which I attended. Though we had a spirited exchange, I left feeling incredibly disappointed with his overall argument. Earlier […]

Top Honors from the Journal of the American Revolution

The Journal of the American Revolution just announced its 2014 Book of the Year Award. The winning title is Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities During the War for Independence, by Ken Miller. The Continental...Show More Summary

The Last Hurrah For Lee and Jackson

From a classroom in Tallahassee, Florida in 1957… … to celebrating Robert E. Lee’s birthday in Montgomery, Alabama… … to the next generation in Rockbridge County, Virginia. You interpret.

An interesting description of mid-Nineteenth Century light cavalrymen

I found a fascinating publication while poking around on the Google Books site. Gen. F. De Brack, a French cavalry general, published an outposting manual for use by the French cavalry. The third edition of his book was published in 1863, and was later translated and published by the United States Army in 1893. Show More Summary

Some books you may have missed in 2014

There was the usual flood of nonfiction books on the Civil War in 2014, and many of those attracted a lot of well-deserved attention. There were, however, some real gems that were little noticed and were easily overlooked. They include...Show More Summary

MLK day.

Here’s a post I wrote way back when. I think things have changed quite a bit in the past seven years, actually, whether because recent events have laid bare the emptiness of the rhetoric of a post-racial America, because the President of the United States is African American, because popular culture, including films like Selma, […]

“Made by Hand” at Old South

The Old South Meeting House is hosting a series of midday events on the theme of “Made by Hand in Boston: The Crafts of Everyday Life,” cosponsored by Artists Crossing Gallery. These sessions explore the cross between artistry and commerce...Show More Summary

Virginia Flaggers Upstaged by Local High School Students

A few of you have already seen this photograph in a previous post, but I thought it was worth highlighting with its own post given that one of the participants shared his thoughts in the comments section. More to the point, it’s just downright hilarious. I can’t think of a better way of pointing out […]

T. H. Breen on BackStory

As another sort of preparation for T. H. Breen’s talk at Cambridge Forum on Wednesday, I’ll point to this episode of BackStory, the public-radio show on American history. I enjoy that show as a podcast.This particular episode, ”Counter Culture,” is about shopping in American life. Show More Summary

Appropriating the Very Recent Past to Distort the Distant Past

The only thing missing was the Virginia Flaggers marching down the streets of Lexington with their hands in the air or on the ground for a die-in. Actually, both images are ideal for a talk that I am scheduled to give at a high school on the history of the Confederate flag.

President Washington and Major Gibbs

Here’s a final glimpse for the week of President George Washington’s visit to Massachusetts in 1789. On Friday, 30 October, Washington left Boston for the north shore and New Hampshire. His diary entry for that day was all about the bridges along the way, such as the one over the Charles River, shown above courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library. Show More Summary

If the Virginia Flaggers Show Up in Your Town…

…and no one comes out to greet them, does it really matter? One of the reasons behind Robert E. Lee’s 1862 invasion of the United States was the belief that the state of Maryland was being held against its will. Lee hoped that the presence of his army would be sufficient for closet Confederates to […]

It’s like they had a camera in our apartment

We took the kids to see Selma, and I think you should too. (I mean, my God: it’s got both Stephen Root and Wendell Pierce.) Its historical liberties notwithstanding, it’s a great piece of historical fiction. As a sometime practitioner of both history and historical fiction, let me explain why. First, here’s John Steinbeck on […]

“Point of Honor” Buries the Lost Cause For Good

The producers of Amazon’s new series, “Point of Honor,” set out to appeal to mainstream viewers who for whatever reason prefer their dramas to be set in the past. The history itself is almost incidental. “Point of Honor” plays with the time tested popular meme of the family caught in the middle of an unfolding […]

President Washington in Sickness and in Lexington

Having spent many autumn days outdoors meeting lots of American citizens, on 26 Oct 1789 President George Washington…got sick. He wrote in his diary:The day being Rainy & Stormy—myself much disordered by a Cold and inflamation in the left eye, I was prevented from visiting Lexington (where the first blood in the dispute with G. Show More Summary

The Daily Beast Shows How Not to Think about the Confederate Flag Controversy

Jonathan Horn’s short article in The Daily Beast is designed to highlight his new biography of Robert E. Lee by wading into to the Confederate flag controversy at Washington & Lee University. While it will likely convince those predisposed politically to agree with his conclusions the historical content falls short. Horn’s basic point is that […]

Schoolboy Views of President Washington in 1789

When President George Washington finally reached Boston on 24 Oct 1789, he found that the town had planned a huge celebration for him. Huge.The young architect Charles Bulfinch had designed a triumphal arch, shown above. (For more about...Show More Summary

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