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Lee-Jackson Day is a Lost Cause

There are a number of observations that one can make about our nation’s Civil War memory as it has taken shape during the sesquicentennial and where it might be headed. The most obvious is that the public display of the Confederate flag is in full retreat in the South. There are numerous examples that I […]

Tea “not intended to be smuggled”

This “guest blogger” posting continues Chris Hurley’s story of Cyrus Baldwin and his surplus tea. We left Cyrus Baldwin sitting on a stockpile of tea in January 1774, weeks after the Tea Party. Other Boston dealers in tea were likely...Show More Summary

It’s Never Enough (once again on the Black Confederate go-around)

Anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time likely has a sense of the importance that I attach to the myth of the black Confederate soldier. It is, by far, the most popular topic on this site. Over the years I have had to deal with a wide range of reactions from […]

A commemoration of the end of slavery

A free commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. House’s passage of the 13th Amendment will be held on the anniversary of that date, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church  in Washington, D.C., where President Abraham Lincoln and his wife worshipped. The amendment was adopted Dec. 18, 1865.Read full article >>

The Brandy Station Foundation and its wrongheaded lack of focus….

An article on the Graffiti House appeared in Saturday, January 24’s edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent. The article discusses the fact that more soldier graffiti has been found at the Graffiti House. If you read the article, you will...Show More Summary

Tea Merchant Cyrus Baldwin Has Too Much Tea

Longtime Boston 1775 readers might recognize the name “Chris the Woburnite” in the comments, usually attached to choice observations and stories from that old Middlesex County town. In real life that’s Chris Hurley, Revolutionary reenactor and researcher. Show More Summary

Help save the battlefield at Trevilian Station!

I’ve known about this for months, but I was sworn to secrecy. I was involved in identifying these parcels and in determining their historic significance. I’m finally able to discuss some great news with you. The Battle of Trevilian Station lasted two long, hot, bloody days. Show More Summary

James Kirke Paulding provides a window to the early nineteenth century Shenandoah

In digging backwards from the Civil War, through the literature that mentions the Shenandoah Valley, I came upon a great work written by James Kirke Paulding. In 1816, Paulding ventured into the Valley and apparently stuck around a bit, providing some details as to what he encountered. So, what is the value of reading experiences […]

Two Different Samuel Adamses

This is Samuel Adams. In 1773 he was fifty-one years old. His father had been a selectman, merchant, and church deacon. He had gone to Harvard College and earned a master’s degree. As a young man he had helped to found a short-lived newspaper, which honed his writing skills, and discovered that he had no interest or luck in business. Show More Summary

Upcoming Events at the Royall House

The Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford will host a series of book talks on the history of slavery in America over the next three months. Thursday, 5 February, 7:00 P.M.Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites This event...Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 01/25

The following list includes advanced reader copies, books sent directly from the author or books purchased through my Amazon affiliate account. I am currently reading Martha Hodes’s new book and I can’t recommend it enough. She is a wonderful storyteller. Megan L. Bever & Scott A. Suarez eds., The Historian behind the History: Conversations with […]

William Russell’s Toasts on Offer

Last month I quoted an 1874 profile of William Russell that contained a description of a “Sons of Liberty” medal, worn by Boston activists on public occasions. Noting that no example of such a medal survives and no other source describes...Show More Summary

Jim Downs Comes to the Defense of John Stauffer

We can now add Jim Downs to the list of historians who has decided to wade into the debate about the existence of black Confederate soldiers. Rather than directly engage Stauffer’s claims, however, Downs offers a meta-analysis of my response. He begins by mis-characterizing my own view by suggesting that I believe there were no […]

The Wolf off Wall Street

I still haven’t whittled that blog post down to size. In fact it’s now bigger. Meantime here’s another something on the web: a TLS essay I wrote on Martin Wolf’s The Shifts and the Shocks. There’s no paywall. Here’s a snippet, which provides the piece its rather nice illustration: In the 2011 film Margin Call, […]

Discovering Prince Demah, an African-American Artist

Back in 2006 and 2008 I wrote about a young black artist mentioned in the letters of Christian Barnes, a Marlborough merchant’s wife (shown here). All I knew about him was the given name “Prince.”Paula Bagger, working with the Hingham Historical Society, has found out a lot more. Show More Summary

Reading the Smiles of 18th-Century Art

The 12 January New Yorker includes Jonathan Kalb’s article “Give Me a Smile,” which describes in personal terms the importance of being able to smile. Kalb writes, “The spontaneously joyful smile is the facial expression most easilyShow More Summary

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

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