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“It Is a Surrender Of the Entire Slavery Question”

On March 24, 1865, Robert Toombs wrote a letter to a friend in Virginia expressing his frustration with Jefferson Davis and the recently passed legislation that allowed the Confederate government to recruit freed slaves into the army. Toombs’s arguments closely aligns with public statements made by Howell Cobb and James A. Seddon. Interestingly, Toombs’s letter […]

To find a cavalry battlefield… on the back roads of Frederick County, pt. 1

While I’ve known for many years that one of my great-great grandfathers was grievously wounded, on November 12, 1864, I’ve never given the location much thought. It just seemed that, given the information available in his service record, Pvt. James Harvey Mayes was wounded in a fight at the little village of Nineveh, just north […]

“Neoclassicism” Seminar in Deerfield, 14-16 Nov.

This weekend Historic Deerfield will host a three-day seminar titled “Borrowing from Antiquity, Designing a New Republic: Neoclassicism in America.” The three-day forum will explore the new design style developed in France and England in the mid-18th century and made popular in the newly-formed United States as the Federal style. Show More Summary

Not Your Grandfather’s “March to the Sea”

This week the Georgia Historical Society will dedicate the latest in its series of roadside markers commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The marker featured above, commemorating the start of “Sherman’s March”, will be located on the grounds of the Jimmy Carter library. It reads: On November 15, 1864, during the Civil War, […]

New Henry Burbeck Collection at the Clements Library

Earlier this year, the Clements Library at the University of Michigan acquired more than 1,600 documents in the Papers of Henry Burbeck (1754-1848), a general in the early U.S. Army.Burbeck was born in Boston, son of William Burbeck, who became storekeeper at Castle William as well as the town’s fireworks expert. Show More Summary

A new initiative for the Civil War Trust–Please support it!

The following announcement was released by the Civil War Trust at 7:00 this morning. I hope that you will support this initiative as strongly as you have supported the Trust’s prior initiatives. This work needs to be done, and if the...Show More Summary

Black Confederates in the Journal of the Civil War Era

Looks like the latest issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era is being mailed to subscribers. The Professional Notes section features my essay, “Black Confederates Out of the Attic and Into the Mainstream,” which briefly explores the evolution of the myth, its diffusion on the Internet, and why academic and public historians ought […]

Young Representative Claiborne

This month a New York district made Elsie Stefanik, at age thirty, the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. (The previous holder of that record was Elizabeth Holtzmann, also from New York.)That news prompted a Boston 1775 reader to ask me who was the youngest man ever elected to Congress. Show More Summary

Happy 239th, Marines! Here’s to “Chesty”… and with a Civil War tie-in.

Ask any Marine, and he/she will know the significance of Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller… period. Likewise, it should be no surprise that the legend of “Chesty” finds its way to the kids of Marines. And, so it goes with me. I don’t know when, exactly, but… it was probably before I was nine, when I thumbed my […]

Standing Up For Citations (follow up)

Last month I posted a brief item about a couple of reviews of Karen Abbott’s new book, which took issue with her citations. Both Jonathan Yardley and Ashleigh Whitehead Luskey pointed out that a few passages lacked proper citation or that specific sources deserved further interrogation to support corresponding claims. I was most interested in... Continue reading

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“Washington Elm” Exhibit in Cambridge

On Thursday, 13 November, the Cambridge Historical Society hosts an opening reception for its special exhibit on “The Washington Elm,” featuring the photography of Bruce Myren (one example shown here).That elm, as I’ve discussed, was associated in the late 1800s with a moment on 3 July 1775 when Gen. Show More Summary

Nine Years Blogging

It’s becoming more and more difficult to remember a time when my interest in the Civil War did not somehow connect to blogging. Nine years ago I had just completed a Master’s degree, including a thesis on William Mahone and the battle of the Crater, at the University of Richmond. I thought blogging might give... Continue reading

Battlefield Archeology Lecture in Lexington, 11 Nov.

Minute Man National Historical Park and the Friends of Minute Man are proceeding with a big project to clear and interpret the portion of the park that became known as “Parker’s Revenge.” Based on testimony from veterans of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and local traditions, that area is thought to be where the Lexington militia under Capt. Show More Summary

Literary musings on the Valley… November

When the chill winds of November admonished me to depart, I prepared to travel alone on horseback. My simple preparations being soon completed, I bade a sorrowful adieu to my friends and to the homestead of my youth, where every object was pleasant and dear to my soul. Never had I felt so melancholy. My previous […]

Mayflower Society Auction in Plymouth, 8 Nov.

On Saturday, 8 November, the Plymouth auctioneer J. James is offering a boatload of antiques and other material that the Mayflower Society is deaccessioning in order to improve the preservation and interpretation of its Edward Winslow House. Show More Summary

Confirming rumors….

My friend Dave Powell had some incredibly kind things to say about The Devil’s to Pay: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour on his blog today. I really appreciate those very kind words, just as I really appreciated the...Show More Summary

“True Yankees” Talk in Salem, 6 Nov.

Tonight, 6 November, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site is hosting a talk by Prof. Dane A. Morrison on his new book, True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity. The publisher’s description of the book says:With American independence came the freedom to sail anywhere in the world under a new flag. Show More Summary

Robert Lee Hodge on Reenacting

You all know the name. Hodge occupies a special place in the reenacting community given his appearance on the cover of Tony Horwitz’s book, Confederates in the Attic (1998). In this Civil War in4 video he makes an incredibly compelling argument for the value of Civil War reenacting. [Uploaded to Vimeo on November 5, 2014]

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