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A Confederate Flag Unfurled and Furled Again in S.C.

Like many of you I have gone through the full range of emotions over the past few days in response to the shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas. The violence and multiple narratives that we have now grown use to hearing in response to these incidents fits easily into a […]

Was Marshfield a Tory Town?

Because Marshfield officially voted to thank Gov. Thomas Gage for sending troops in the winter of 1775, it got a lasting reputation as a “Tory town.”And indeed Marshfield had many more Loyalists than neighboring towns. Or at least the creation of its Association meant it had more visible, undeniable Loyalists. Show More Summary

London’s Response to the Marshfield Loyalists

In February 1775 Gen. Thomas Gage received the thanks of the town of Marshfield, or at least of the Loyalist majority at that February town meeting, for stationing British soldiers in that town. The royal governor responded as protocol...Show More Summary

Steal a rock from Gettysburg and risk the curse

National Civil War parks usually don’t discuss theft from battlefields for fear it will encourage more of the same. However, the most recent post on the blog of the Gettysburg National Military Park has changed that by publicizing the theft of rocks because those illegal souvenirs may be cursed. The boxes of rocks have shown […]

Marshfield Voters “greatly aggrieved at the conduct of the said Town”

As I described yesterday, in February 1775 Marshfield’s Loyalist selectmen led a town meeting in voting to publicly thank Gen. Thomas Gage and Adm. Samuel Graves for providing them with military assistance. At the time there slightly...Show More Summary

Marshfield Town Meeting “penetrated with the highest sense of gratitude”

In February 1775 Marshfield’s Loyalist community was feeling emboldened by the presence of a hundred British regulars, and perhaps upset by the complaints from neighboring towns about those troops.At that time, local historian Lysander Salmon Richards later wrote, Marshfield had only three selectmen: Dr. Show More Summary

A Plymouth County Protest “as if written with a sunbeam”

The letters I quoted yesterday described the arrival of about a hundred British soldiers in Marshfield on 23 Jan 1775, sent by Gen. Thomas Gage to support the local Loyalists. Those letters also reported that Patriots in the region had started to muster against those troops but hung back. Show More Summary

No More Questions For Confederate Flag Wavers

This coming Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the removal of the Confederate battle flag on the state house grounds of Columbia, South Carolina. At the time I was in Frankfurt, Germany, but as you can see their newspapers gave it front page coverage. To mark the anniversary a group calling itself The South Carolina […]

Appomattox Court House park looking for a few good volunteers

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Appomattox, Va., needs a few hardy volunteers to take on the dirty work of sanding three trail bridges, clearing away dirt and debris and then repainting the spans. The bridges are a quarter- to half-mile apart. This is pretty strenuous stuff for volunteers who usually do nothing more physical […]

Marshfield’s Special Spot on the Road to Concord, 7 July

On Thursday, 7 July, I’ll speak on “The Road to Concord: How Massachusetts Moved Toward War in 1774-75” at the Winslow House in Marshfield. There will be a book signing and light refreshments afterwards. Admission is $5 for members of the Historic Winslow House Association, $7 for others. Show More Summary

“If I Fall On The Battlefield It Will Be For A Good Cause:” Private Thomas Major (ca. 1840-1862), Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry

Although I have not been posting as frequently as I once did and not even as much as I did during the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War (2011-2015), I still maintain this site/blog and keep it active largely now as a resource for those hoping to discover more about the 48 th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment and especially its soldiers. Show More Summary

Important Recollections About Lincoln

In 1895, the Chicago Times-Herald launched a series of recollected accounts about Abraham Lincoln which the editors claimed would introduce new elements to the Lincoln story.  These rare recollections have never since been republished as part of their own series, but modern scholars have used some of them to powerful effect.  However, this summer, student interns […]

“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable”

On this Independence Day, Boston 1775 pauses to recall these stirring words:When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto remained, & to assume among...Show More Summary

Pickett’s Charge Failed 153 Years Ago Today

Today is the 153rd anniversary of “Pickett’s Charge” – the final drama of a campaign that began with Confederates hunting down free blacks and fugitive slaves once they crossed into Pennsylvania. It’s a moment in the Civil War that has inspired some of the most outlandish counterfactuals and even great works of literature such as […]

New Words from Richard Henry Lee

The American Antiquarian Society just announced that retiree Kathy Major, back in the archive as a volunteer, had identified three previously unknown letters from Richard Henry Lee. Lee is best recalled for having proposed independence...Show More Summary

Remembering the Soldiers of the Somme

I don’t think the Brits could have asked for a more appropriate and moving tribute to those soldiers who were lost on this 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme. On July 1, thousands of “ghost soldiers” descended on public spaces throughout the country. Reenactors handed out small cards with information about the soldiers […]

History at sunset offered at Virginia battlefields

By 7 p.m., the day’s heat should be waning and a battlefield talk and tour could be good entertainment for the family. Richmond National Battlefield Park, representing a cluster of battlefields in and around the Confederate capital, is offering free talks and guided tours on Saturday evenings this month. The sessions begin today with “Charge Back In! Counter-attack […]

Looking and Listening to Gainsborough House

Gainsborough House in Sudbury, Suffolk, England, is the late-medieval brick house where the painter Thomas Gainsborough was born in 1727. It’s now a museum dedicated to the painter and his work. The house recently announced that its collection of artwork, manuscripts, painting tools, and other artifacts is viewable online. Show More Summary

Here Comes the General

From the diary of Pvt. James Stevens of Andover, camped on the north side of the siege lines around Boston in 1775.Saterday July the 1 I wos releived of a gard about nine a Clok I went on to Chil [probably Charlestown] to see the fort...Show More Summary

Celebrate Independence Day at a battlefield

Several Civil War battlefields are offering a Fourth of July celebration with choices of activities, including concerts, fireworks, military displays and demonstrations, old-fashioned children’s games and more. Some occur on Saturday, July 2. Show More Summary

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