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Why Charles Lee Loved Dogs

Earlier this year I wrote about how John Adams was discovered to have written some indiscreet comments about Gen. Charles Lee: “you must love his Dogs if you love him, and forgive a Thousand Whims for the Sake of the Soldier and the Scholar.”On 19 Sept 1775, Lee told Dr. Show More Summary

The 48th/150th: Peebles's Farm: 9/30/1864

150 years ago... The Battle of Peebles Farm: 9/30/1864(nps)...and after helping to secure the capture of Weldon Railroad in mid-August 1864, the war-weary, dirt-covered soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania settled in once more to the monotonous but still deadly life in the trenches at Petersburg. Show More Summary

Gifts between N.Y., S.C. fire departments remembered

In 1865, Union soldiers set fire to cotton warehouses in Columbia, S.C. and then watched as the city burned. Residents formed a bucket brigade and desperately tried to put it out. Among the soldiers were several New York City firefighters who were appalled at the primitive firefighting methods used by city. Show More Summary

The Mifflins’ Marriage

Yesterday, when we looked in on the Brattle House in Cambridge in August 1775, Continental Army quartermaster general Thomas Mifflin had taken it as his home and office during the siege of Boston. Three women were already living there:...Show More Summary

Why I Am Still Willing To Talk About It

I haven’t thought much about the subject of black Confederates in any serious way lately, but the brief interaction I had last night with a Twitter follower serves as a reminder of why I think it’s still important. Here is a link to the photographs referenced by @RRT2451.

“Women of Tory Row” Tour, 20 Sept.

Saturday, 20 September, is this year’s Cambridge Discovery Day. The city’s historical commission has organized a series of walking tours, exhibits, and lectures, most of them free. I’m leading a tour of Brattle Street called “The Women of Tory Row.” We’ll start at 3:00 at the Tory Row historical marker on the corner of Brattle and Mason Streets. Show More Summary

Essay on John Bowie Magruder Uploaded

I wrote the first draft of this essay on the colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry during a summer seminar that I took with Gary Gallagher in 2001. It was my first attempt at writing something substantial after moving to Charlottesville in 2000. Up until then I had written a bunch of book reviews and... Continue reading

Free Course With Eric Foner Starts Tomorrow

I hope some of you have the time to take advantage of another opportunity to study the Civil War Era with one of the most prominent scholars in the field. The course is free and begins tomorrow. The video is well worth watching, especially the second half in which Foner reflects on the influence of... Continue reading

The Incentives Behind the A.P. Test

Having discussed the economic incentives that might fuel some criticism of the new A.P. U.S. History guidelines, I feel I should acknowledge the other side of the coin: the economics behind that revamping. Advanced Placement exams are administered by the College Board, the same company that handles the S.A.T. Show More Summary

A Taste of Civil War Memory Studies

Fellow blogger and historian, Keith Harris, recently asked me to put together a list of books for someone who might be interested in exploring the field of Civil War memory studies for his new online journal, The Americanist Independent.  The project is Keith’s attempt to utilize digital tools to bring quality history essays and other... Continue reading

The Buckland Races

The Buckland Races A song by J.E.B. Stuart Come listen to me, ladies, A story I’ll relate. Which happened in the eastern part Of the Old Dominion State Away down at New Baltimore, On a day of Autumn bright. The Yankee braggadocio Was...Show More Summary

“Will This Be on the (A.P. U.S. History) Test?”

Larry Krieger, the educator most voluble in his criticism of the new Advanced Placement U.S. History course guidelines, has a quick answer to the fact I documented yesterday: that most of the topics he and his allies say are missing from the new guidelines weren’t in the older, shorter guidelines either. Show More Summary

Why Paternalism is Meaningless on the Plantation

It’s disheartening to hear people who continue to insist on distinctions between good and bad slaveowners. I’ve never understood such arguments. It’s the commodification of the individual itself along with the possibility and reality of sale of so many that renders the institution by definition as evil.  What takes place between master and slave on... Continue reading

How Georgia red clay stills works for a strong Civil War connection

In Sunday’s Washington Post, one of the twice-yearly “Civil War 150” special editions is included in both the paper and electronic versions. The front page has an extraordinary studio photograph that invokes the high cost of the war, particularly as it was coming to an end. Read full article >>

Looking for the R.N.C.’s “Critical Topics” in A.P. U.S. History

Having found the 2006-07 version of the College Board’s guidelines for the Advanced Placement U.S. History test (P.D.F. download), I decided to test it against the objections listed in the Republican National Committee’s resolution from last month.The R.N.C. Show More Summary

The Problem With Baptists “The Half Has Never Been Told”

I think I am beginning to get a grip on what some people find troubling about Edward Baptist’s new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Before saying anything I should point out that my understanding of the historiography of slavery is limited. I’ve read a number of... Continue reading

The “5-Page Topic Outline” and the “98-Page Framework”

One of the common complaints about the new Advanced Placement U.S. History Course guidelines is that they’re so much longer than they were before. For instance, World Magazine reported: The new framework is 98 pages long, compared to the five-page topic outline teachers used previously, [critic Larry] Krieger said. Show More Summary

Just Imagine What the Virginia Flaggers Could Accomplish…

… if they could get more than 10 people to show up to one of their protests.

150th anniversary of Third Winchester

The small staff of the nonprofit Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, in New Market, Va., is doing the work of many as it prepares for the 150 th anniversary of the Battle of Third Winchester  on Sept. 19-21. This weekend, they are finishing a long list of to-dos including the completion of walkways, fencing and sign placement. Read full article >>

What Lies Behind Complaints about the A.P. U.S. History Test

One of the hot topics is American historiography lately has been an attack on the new Advanced Placement U.S. History course and test guidelines (P.D.F. download). Last month the Republican National Committee passed a resolution calling for those guidelines to be both rewritten and investigated. Show More Summary

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