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“I Have Been on the Battlefield”

Over the past few days I’ve been working through wartime accounts of camp servants who took part in battles in one form or another. It’s…

A Mystery Button from “Parker’s Revenge”

Last week I showed this photo of an artifact found during the archeological study of the “Parker’s Revenge” area in Lexington. On Saturday I attended Dr. Meg Watters’s progress report on that work, which included a better photo of this item, and I was quite intrigued. Show More Summary

Just having missed a “Nathaniel Parker Willis, of the Shenandoah”

In my pursuit of the “Shenandoah Literari” of the nineteenth century, I encounter some unusual twists and turns in the history of the Valley. One family’s “brush” with the area’s history, for example, presents an interesting “what if”. Now, I’m not really a fan of “what ifs” in regard to history, but I do find […]

Historians Discuss Charleston and Its Impact on Civil War Memory

David Blight recently convened a panel at Yale University to discuss the impact of the Charleston shootings on our Civil War memory. It takes a…

Lecture on James DeWolf in Newport, 8 Oct.

On Thursday, 8 October, the Newport Historical Society will host a talk on “James DeWolf and the Rhode Island Slave Trade” by author Cynthia Mestad Johnson. DeWolf (1764-1837) was a teen-aged sailor on privateers toward the end of the Revolutionary War. Show More Summary

“Thread, Wool and Silk” at Old South

Old South Meeting House is hosting a series of events this fall on costume and textile-making, and what they say about the economy, social class, politics, and other matters. Friday, 9 October, 12:15-1:00 P.M.Lady in the Blue Dress...and...Show More Summary

Between the Past and Present

My good friend, John Hennessy, has a way of encapsulating in just a few sentences what typically takes me months to articulate on this blog.…

The Latest Update on Parker’s Revenge, 3 Oct.

On Saturday, 3 October, archeologist Meg Watters will speak at the Concord public library on “Parker’s Revenge Revealed: Notes from the Field.”This is the latest public update about the re-exploration of part of Battle Road in west Lexington where Capt. Show More Summary

The Imprint of Madison’s Hand

A couple of years ago, I attended a seminar at the Massachusetts Historical Society on a paper by Prof. Mary Sarah Bilder of Boston College Law School. She had been studying James Madison’s record of the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787. Show More Summary

St. Paul’s Episcopal and the Limits of Public History

This week Ashley Luskey added her voice to the discussion about the public display of Confederate iconography. Ashley focuses specifically on the debate within Richmond’s…

A Momentous Day for Samuel Adams

A couple of days ago, I listed Boston’s three representatives to the Massachusetts General Court as of 25 Sept 1765. Under the pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts constitution, Boston could elect four representatives. (That still left its...Show More Summary

Private land at epicenter of Antietam Battle sold to Civil War Trust

Almost anyone visiting the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, following its curving roads that embrace the scene of the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War, would assume all the land in view was protected by the federal government. Few would know that a 44-acre parcel of farm land, close by the famous Corn Field and […]

Selling Slaves in “Grant’s Petersburg Progress”?

Four weeks into my undergraduate research seminar at the American Antiquarian Society and things could not be going better. I am lucky to have an…

Gov. Bernard’s Instructions to the General Court

As soon as the lower house of the Massachusetts General Court reported that it had a quorum on 25 Sept 1765, Gov. Francis Bernard summoned that body up to the Council Chamber in the Town House (now the Old State House) for a serious talk.Since Bernard was the governor, he got to do all the talking. Show More Summary

Massachusetts Towns Line Up Against the Stamp Act

Two hundred and fifty years ago, representatives to the Massachusetts General Court were heading home after a very short legislative session. Gov. Francis Bernard had called the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature to convene on Wednesday, 25 September, in Boston. Show More Summary

Another Civil War Crowdfunding Debacle

Crowdfunding campaigns have not been kind to Civil War movie productions. The producers for the Civil War mini-series “To Appomattox” attempted a Kickstarter campaign, but…

Two Talks by Ray and Marie Raphael

Ray Raphael has a new history of the American founding, written with his wife Marie, and they’re coming to Massachusetts to talk about it in the next week.The book is The Spirit of ’74: How the American Revolution Began. It builds on...Show More Summary

“Ex-Slaves” Attend Confederate Veterans Reunion

Yesterday I gave a talk on the myth of the black Confederate solider at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was my…

Where ya been, and where ya goin’?

As the last two years have shown, it isn’t unusual for this blog to go silent for a while, but the most recent round of silence came rather unexpectedly in mid-August. For the past month and a half I’ve dealt with a serious health issue in the family, a major veterinary issue (ongoing), returned to […]

Alderman Wooldridge and an Unfortunate Young Woman

Last month I introduced the figure of Thomas Wooldridge, an alderman of London who started the war as spokesman for the London merchants doing business with America and ended going bankrupt for the second time before dying in distant Boston. Show More Summary

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