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Lecture planned on unusual art by a Confederate prisoner of war

“I Am Busy Drawing Pictures”: The Civil War Art and Letters of Private John Jacob Omenhausser, CSA,” written by co-authors Ross M. Kimmel and Michael P. Musick, is a book of 100 or so paintings by Omenhausser and letters he sent to his wife, Annie. Show More Summary

Some Thoughts About Civil War Historians and Social Media

In response to my last post a reader inquired into a point I made in passing: Also, can you clarify what you mean by your statement that “we need to think about the ways in which social media is shaping the organization of relatively small conferences like the SCWH”? Let me respond by taking a […]

Questions about James Otis, Jr., in Hull

Here are more anecdotes about James Otis, Jr., in Hull, from the 1866 Historical Magazine article by the son of a man who grew up there: He was very courteous to the ladies, and quick in his resentments. Madam [Judith] Souther [1735-1801], his landlady, unintentionally offended him, and he put her social knitting needles for ever out of sight. Show More Summary

In Defense of Hess, Gallagher, and Meier

My good friend, Megan Kate Nelson, has fired the first solid shot in response to essays on the state of Civil War military history published in The Journal of the Civil War Era and Civil War History. The former was authored by Gary Gallagher and Katy Meier and the latter was written by Earl Hess. […]

James Otis in Hull

Back in October I left James Otis, Jr., “non compos mentis” in 1772, with Boston’s voters finally concluding that he lacked the mental stability to remain in office. Otis’s family sent him out to the South Shore town of Hull. In 1866...Show More Summary

Hagerstown Union officer’s gear is up for auction in Texas

Union infantry Col. Edward M. Mobley’s double-breasted wool frock coat, Colt revolver and holster, sword belt, leather boots and other items will be up for auction on Friday at Heritage Auctions  in Dallas, a long way from Hagerstown, Md., where Mobley had lived. Read full article >>

Revisiting the Long Room Club

As long as I’m discussing how Boston’s pre-Revolutionary Whigs organized, I should go back to the Long Room Club. Back in 2013 I said that: the earliest printed reference to this group was in Samuel Adams Drake’s Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston (1873), which cited no source for that information. Show More Summary

The “Burning Misconceptions” of Sherman’s March

In this presentation Anne Rubin offers an overview of her new book, Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory. I am close to finishing it and will write a review for Civil War Book Review. [Uploaded to YouTube on December 9, 2014]

Whom Do We Mean by “Sons of Liberty”?

One for the perennial questions about America’s Revolution is how we should understand the “Sons of Liberty,” as American activists called themselves. With a television show of that name on the way, I suspect the question will come up...Show More Summary

Charles T. O’Ferrall remembers the trial of Southern Unionist, Col. John Strother

Something I ran across again, just recently… and, a pleasant “revisit” of a couple of my favorite topics (Southern Unionism and David Hunter Strother). As some may recall, I have mentioned the incident relating to the capture and trial of Col. John Strother in a previous post… as remembered by his son, David Hunter Strother. No […]

Battle Cry of Freedom Turns 25

This year the American Historical Association will mark the 25th anniversary of James McPherson Pulitzer Prize winning book, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era with a panel discussion that includes Judith Giesburg, Lesley Gordon, Michael Todd Landis,and Daniel E. Sutherland. McPherson will also be in attendance as the panel chair. Panelists will offer […]

The Sons of Liberty Medal

In 1874 James Kimball wrote in the Essex Institute Historical Collections:The following is from a private manuscript in my possession, written by Col. John Russell in 1850, whose father was one of the “Sons,” and an active participator...Show More Summary

What Do We Need To Know About Traditional Military History?

From Earl Hess’s essay on the state of Civil War History in the latest issue of Civil War History. In addition, despite the appearance of some top-quality memory studies by Carol Reardon, Brian Craig Miller, and Kevin Levin, a number of examples of this genre exhibit poor scholarship. Unfortunately, it is easy for a graduate […]

The Hangings of Thomas Paine

In 1791 and early 1792, Thomas Paine published the two parts of The Rights of Man, supporting the principles of the French Revolution and proposing radical reforms for British society. The book inspired a lot of reform societies, and also a lot of backlash. Show More Summary

An Empire on the Edge on the T.V.

On Sunday, 7 December, C-SPAN 2 will air a talk by Nick Bunker, author of An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, at the New-York Historical Society in October. An Empire on the Edge focuses on the years 1772 to 1775,...Show More Summary

Who Said “Hang Separately”?

In his Memoirs of His Own Time, first published in 1811, Alexander Graydon wrote:Both the brothers, John and Richard Penn [shown here], had been governors of Pennsylvania; the former being in office at the beginning of hostilities. By...Show More Summary

Same Flag: From Selma to Ferguson

Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (March 21, 1965) Ferguson to Jefferson City, Missouri (December 4, 2014)

The Last Members of the North End Caucus

Last month I highlighted from the Boston News-Letter and City Record’s 1826 publication of records from the pre-Revolutionary North End Caucus. The periodical credited “a gentleman at the North End” for sharing his knowledge of the period, and presumably sharing those documents. Show More Summary

McBurney on “Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island,” 11 Dec.

On Thursday, 11 December, the Newport Historical Society will host a lecture by Christian M. McBurney on the topic of his new book, Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island. Aquidneck Island and Narragansett Bay were contested territory during the Revolutionary War, with American, British, and French troops occupying Newport at different times. Show More Summary

A Reconstruction Milestone That Went Unnoticed

Tim Scott was sworn in today as the newest Senator from the state of South Carolina. That’s not such a big deal until we add in the fact that he is the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the Senate from a former Confederate state. I’ve been surprised by how little this […]

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