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Report From the Field: Student Reflections

Over the past few days I’ve been going over student reflections from last week’s Civil War battlefields trip. There is simply no substitute for taking…

Magill, on the initial hours of the evacuation of Richmond

Picking-up from the previous post, and continuing with Magill’s account: No pen can describe the horror of the moment. In the streets all was confusion. Officers hurried to the different departments of the Government. The Banks were open, and the depositors eagerly embraced the opportunity to withdraw their gold, while the Directors superintended the removal […]

The 48th/150th: The 48th's Last Battle: The Attack on Fort Mahone: April 2, 1865

...Where Gowen Fell...Fort Mahone Today Throughout the four years of the American Civil War--by rail, by foot, and on water--the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry traversed nearly 5,000 miles of ground, campaigning in several different theaters of operations, and across seven states. Show More Summary

David Hartley: “singular in his dress”

Last month I wrote about David Hartley (1732-1813), the Member of Parliament who went from being a far-out-of-power rookie lawmaker in 1774 to signing the Treaty of Paris for Britain in 1783. He was by no means a typical British gentleman of the time, and not just because of his scientific talent or progressive views on slavery. Show More Summary

April 2, 1865, from a vantage point within St. Paul’s

Taking the time to read various works of fiction from the antebellum period (and shortly after the war), one comes to understand that, quite often, the authors of these works were writing accounts of their own experiences. Mary Tucker Magill was one of those authors. Interestingly, in 1886, Magill’s story (which had originally appeared in […]

The Calm Before the Storm in the Capital of the Confederacy

Sallie A Brock’s narrative of the final days of the Confederacy in Richmond was published in 1867 and based largely on Edward Pollard’s The Last…

Present for the last gasps… on the 150th of Five Forks

I thought about how this post might come together, and I think my reflections are on both the meaning of the day, and on the manner in which I’ve taken-in a lot of the Sesqui. So… … it was on this day, 150 years ago that the Army of Northern Virginia suffered a critical defeat […]

David Coy Remembers His Service in April 1777

On 11 Mar 1853 a man named David Coy appeared before a magistrate in Kendall, New York, and swore that in 1777 at the age of eighteen he was drafted from “a Regiment of Militia to go and serve as a soldier in Rhode Island…, to serve as he believes for three months.” His commanding officer was Capt. Show More Summary

The Death of a Colonel and a Cause

Today is the 150th anniversary of the battle of Five Forks outside of Petersburg, Virginia. One of the most popular stories from that fight is…

Ringing bells to mark anniversary of end of the Civil War

On April 9 at 3:15 p.m., thousands of bells, large and small. are expected to ring out in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Va. Although not the official end of the Civil War, many Americans consider it the symbolic end of the fighting.Read full article >>

More “Black Regiments” in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts Culture

In the 1760s, friends of the British royal government in Massachusetts such as Peter Oliver (shown here) claimed that James Otis, Jr., had spoken of the value of having a “black Regiment” of clergymen on his side in political disputes. Show More Summary

Did the Civil War End in 1865?

It’s a question that has come to frame Civil War era studies more and more over the past few decades. I pose the question to…

The “Black Regiment” in the Newspapers

As I quoted yesterday, the Loyalist refugee Peter Oliver wrote that on entering electoral politics James Otis, Jr., had said, “that it was necessary to secure the black Regiment, these were his Words, & his Meaning was to engage ye.Show More Summary

More of Peter Oliver on the “Black Regiment”

A month ago I quoted the longest passage in Peter Oliver’s Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion on “Mr. Otis’s black Regiment,” the politicized Congregationalist clergy of Boston. Oliver used the phrase “black Regiment” at other...Show More Summary

Where was William Lloyd Garrison?

Exactly four years after he had surrendered Fort Sumter to the Confederates, Union officer Robert Anderson returned to Charleston to help once again raise the U.S. flag over the now-ruined harbor fortifications.  Following an emotional mid-day...Show More Summary

Commemorating Richmond’s Fall and Liberation

What I wouldn’t give to be in Richmond, Virginia this coming week for the 150th anniversary of the city’s fall and liberation. There are a…

Filling in the Hole in West’s Painting

Yesterday I showed an image of Benjamin West’s painting of the American diplomats who went to Paris to negotiate the end of the War for Independence.As shown above, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed the treaty of peace with Great Britain. Show More Summary

‘Honor Restored’ in Lexington, Virginia

No, I am not referring to the dedication of another highway Confederate by the Virginia Flaggers near Lexington later today. Next week Washington & Lee…

Report From the Field: Interpreting Civil War Battlefields

Last night I returned from five days of battlefield stomping with thirteen wonderful students. I was hoping to write a few more blog posts, but…

Hartley and Franklin, Reunited in Paris

I’ve been writing about the on-again, off-again correspondence of Benjamin Franklin and David Hartley, British scientist and Member of Parliament. Their relationship actually turned out to be a factor in the end of the war.After London received news of the Battle of Yorktown, Lord North’s government fell. Show More Summary

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