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The 48th/150th: Roads South To Petersburg. . .June 12-16, 1864

150 years ago, the Army of the Potomac began its shift southward, marching for the James and, ultimately, to Petersburg beyond....Late on June 12, the 48th Pennsylvania abandoned its position near Cold Harbor, marched through Burhamville and headed for Turnstall's Station and the Chickahominy River beyond. Show More Summary

Ebenezer Fox on the Jersey

Ebenezer Fox was a teenaged sailor aboard the Massachusetts warship Protector when two Royal Navy vessels captured it off the coast of New Jersey on 5 May 1781. In his 1838 memoir Fox told this story of what happened next:About a third...Show More Summary

I Don’t Know Is Not An Answer

Justin Wolfers gives David Brat a pass on a confession of ignorance: When an MSNBC interviewer asked David Brat, the economics professor at Randolph-Macon College who toppled Eric Cantor in a primary challenge Tuesday, whether he opposed...Show More Summary

The Dark Side of the Civil War Needs To Lighten Up

I welcome the fact that the recent and ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have made it easier for Americans to explore some of the more unpleasant aspects of the American Civil War. Studies focusing on battlefield medicine are a welcome development as is the increase in studies of the experiences and challenges that veterans […]

James Madison in Virginia

In February the Colonial Williamsburg podcast featured an interview with the actor now portraying James Madison, Bryan Austin. He portrays the future fourth President as a young lawyer. In other news, this Charlottesville article cheekily...Show More Summary

“Let Them Go To the Devil”: Desertion Among USCTs

Continuing with the theme of desertion [and here] from the past week here is a fascinating passage from Heny McNeal Turner, who served as an army chaplain for the United States Colored Troops. The following excerpt was written at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia on September  18, 1864 and appeared in The Christian Recorder a week later. […]

The Forgotten War (aka Spot the Errors!)

Chillicothe, Ohio unveiled a memorial to the Korean War this last Memorial Day. Unfortunately, the creators do not seem to have had the best historical sense in the world: The mistakes kind of confirm Korea’s status as “The Forgotten War,” sadly enough. List of the problems.

A Season of Turn

The A.M.C. television series Turn reached the end of its first season Sunday, and I filed my review of that episode at Den of Geek. Earlier in the week the website published my article on Maj. Richard Hewlett, which I wrote before guessing that the Battle of Setauket, New York, would provide the climax for the season. Show More Summary

H.K. Edgerton Addresses His White “Babies” In Tennessee

This address by H.K. Edgerton took place this past weekend in Elizabethton, Tennessee during a memorial service for “black Confederate” Robert Stover. The event was organized by the  Lt. Robert J. Tipton, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp. H.K. is still going strong and will no doubt always have an audience among his white”babies.” [Uploaded to […]

Touring Revolutionary Worcester, 21 June

Preservation Worcester is offering a ninety-minute bus tour of the city’s Revolutionary sites on the afternoon of Saturday, 21 June. This is part of Worcester’s commemoration of the role it played in breaking down royal rule in Massachusetts...Show More Summary

There Are No Monuments To Deserters on Civil War Battlefields

Regardless of the assumptions and background knowledge that we bring, the presence of monuments on our Civil War battlefields may be one of the greatest obstacles to understanding the full range of soldier experiences. The monuments allow us to focus in on the most heroic stories and themes, which no doubt reinforces feelings of national […]

Talk on Philip Ashton, Castaway, in Boston, 19 June

On Thursday, 19 June, Gregory N. Flemming will speak at the Massachusetts Historical Society about his new book At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton. In an essay for the M.H.S....Show More Summary

“Grant Can Not Continue as He Has Been Doing Much Longer”

On this day 150 years ago Captain John Christopher Winsmith of the 1st South Carolina Infantry penned the following letter to his mother back in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It reflects a good deal of pessimism about the state of the Union army, Grant’s leadership, and morale on the Northern home front. Winsmith, like many Confederates […]

A Confederate’s lament over the death of Thackeray

I was recently thumbing through the editions from the last year (1864) of the Southern Literary Messenger, trying to find any traces that might be lingering… evidence of a passion for literature… among Southerners. Not surprisingly,Show More Summary

“‘Illuminati Morse’ as he is now called”

New England Federalists were happy to link Jeffersonians with the democratic, anti-religious, and French Illuminati (no matter that the order was actually Bavarian). At the end of his article on the birth of the Illuminati myth, Mike...Show More Summary

Does a Confederate Flag Belong in a House of Worship?

The Confederate flag is back in the news this past week as Charleston County Councilman, Henry Darby, called for the removal of the flag from the chapel at The Citadel. It is unclear whether the recent controversy surrounding the display of the flag at W&L’s Lee Chapel had any influence on Darby’s decision. In today’s […]

The 48th/150th: Agnes Allison's Sacrifice. . .The Story of the Allison Brothers of Port Carbon

The Allison BrothersAlexander-John-George-James (from Schuylkill County in the Civil War) 150 years ago...In homes throughout Schuylkill County, tears were shed as the families either received the letters of company commanders or read...Show More Summary

Reflections on D-Day’s 70th

I recall, years ago, asking my grandfather to document his WW2 service in the Navy, and one of the things that stuck out… not only to myself, but clearly to him… was where he was on June 6, 1944. Though he wasn’t off the coast of Normandy, he was on a convoy in the Red […]

Confederate Desertion and PFC Bowe Bergdahl

One of the essays that I wrote in graduate school at the University of Richmond was on desertion in the Confederate army. I published a short version of the piece in Civil War Times, which you can read here and I am hoping to publish a longer and more analytical version somewhere in the near […]

Harpers Ferry roundtable offers exceptional speakers and great food

Most Civil War roundtables offer interesting speakers and acceptable food, but the one at Harpers Ferry, W.Va,, offers exceptional speakers and great food. It is held at the historic Camp Hill Methodist Church, where cooks from the church serve country food in a family-style setting. Read full article >>

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