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New Year’s Resolution: No more running over battlefield monuments, sitting on cannons or leavings coins for good luck

The battlefield monuments at Gettysburg have seen it all: cars plowing into them, kids climbing all over them, lightning and tree limbs knocking them off base and wind blowing them over. However, the battlefield’s crack repair team put them all back together and, in honor of its work, was given a National Park Service award this month.Read full article >>

The Latest

Back in September, my ears perked up at this History News Network article, “Why Historians Can’t Afford to Ignore Gossip.” As a supporter of unabashed gossip, I found the history of that term interesting:The very definition of gossip has changed over time. Show More Summary

“History Walks On All Of Us”

But history walks on all of us, lashed by time, and sometimes we feel its boot on our backs, and sometimes we are oblivious to its passing, the swing of sorrow and triumph through humanity, sorrow, and then, finally, crippling grief fading to obscurity, which is perhaps why Americans want little to do with history, […]

Complete Medical Histories from the Founders

Jeanne E. Abrams’s Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health came out from New York University Press in 2013. Here are an H-Net review, a C-SPAN video, and a podcast discussion of the book on Liz Covart’s “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast. Show More Summary

Early New England’s Blotter

Anthony Vaver’s Early American Crime blog offers one of the liveliest landscapes of life in colonial and federal America. It tells stories of burglary, murder, counterfeiting, and other crimes. Earlier this year Vaver collected the best...Show More Summary

Between Reluctance and Revolution

In From Resistance to Revolution Pauline Maier portrayed American Whigs as gradually becoming disenchanted with higher and higher levels of British government until in late 1775 or early 1776 they gave up on King George III himself and opted for independence. Show More Summary

What Did Bostonians Start a Revolution for?

In An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, Nick Bunker posits a provocative parallel for Massachusetts in 1773, during the lead-up to the Tea Party: “Perhaps the closest equivalent in modern times was the end of the Communist regime in East Germany.” Having visited Leipzig and other G.D.R. Show More Summary

A Sesquicentennial Thank You to Cheryl Jackson

The Holidays are a time to share those things that we are grateful for and in the spirit of this blog, and with the end of the sesquicentennial looming ahead, I want to express my gratitude and thanks to Cheryl Jackson. Cheryl is the executive director of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission. In my mind no […]

Last Best Hope of What?

Most Civil War enthusiasts, including yours truly, know much too little about the international context of our civil war. It is with this in mind that I dove right into Don Doyle’s new book, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War. It’s an absolutely fascinating story that includes a […]

Merry Christmas, Mr. President

On this day 150 years ago Union general William Tecumseh Sherman entered the city of Savannah, Georgia. On the following day he sent this telegram to President Lincoln. [Source: Library of Congress]

Confederate Monument Replaced By a Bud

Back in 2011 the Confederate solider monument in Reidsville, North Carolina was hit by a car. A debate ensued about whether it should be repaired and whether it should be relocated. The United Daughters of the Confederacy chose to move it to a local cemetery. City officials have recently decided on a piece of public […]

Nick Bunker’s Sharp Edges of Empire

After so much reading about the approach of the Revolution in New England, I’m always pleased to find books that give me a new perspective on the major events of those years. Sometimes that perspective comes from a tight focus on anShow More Summary

Revisiting the movie,”Field of Lost Shoes”… and the portrayal of “Old Judge”

It’s no mystery that I cared little for the movie the Field of Lost Shoes. Folks can go to Keith Harris’ online journal, The Americanist Independent (access is free now), to see the review that I wrote. In short, the story of the VMI cadets and their New Market experience deserves thoughtful consideration… and a film worthy of […]

VMI Cadets Lose More Than Their Shoes

The film, “Field of Lost Shoes”, is currently available on YouTube (at least for now). I watched it a couple of days ago and even though I’ve read some negative reviews I had hopes that there would be some redeeming qualities. Well, I was wrong. The movie tells the story of a small group of […]

“Nothing but the Horrors”

One measure of the poor reception for the American Heroes Channel’s American Revolution series among historians this week was how it drove Alex Cain to start a blog. His first post said:…the Battle of Lexington, as depicted in “The American Revolution”, is woefully inaccurate and replete with factual inaccuracies. Show More Summary

Revolution References

The Journal of the American Revolution is running another weeklong series of questions for its contributors, including me. Monday’s question was “Which American Revolution book do you refer to most often (not to be confused with ‘favorite book’)? Why?”Different people interpreted the question in different ways. Show More Summary

The many faces of Lincoln as created by Wendy Allen

Gettysburg artist Wendy Allen is in love with President Abraham Lincoln. Her obsession with the 16th president dates back more than 30 years, and in that time, she has painted hundreds of images of him. Her Lincoln is not the stiff face seen daily on the dollar bill. Her Lincoln lives.Read full article >>

Phi Delta Theta’s Confederate Heritage

I pledged a fraternity in college and did a number of stupid things that to this day surprise me as to the level of irresponsibility achieved. Such occurrences are inevitable when you put a bunch of young men together in a house away from home. But this story out of the University of Pennsylvania ought […]

Walking Tour and Colonial Comics in Cambridge, 20 Dec.

On Saturday, 20 December, I’ll sign copies of Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750 at the Million Year Picnic comics shop in Harvard Square, along with the book’s main editor, Jason Rodriguez, and some of the other writers and artists contributing to this anthology of historical comics. Show More Summary

What Union Meant Abroad

I arrived home today to find a review copy of Don H. Doyle’s new book, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, waiting for me. As I was perusing the introduction I came across this passage, which I thought was appropriate for sharing given the last post and the […]

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