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The Civil War Monitor’s Best Books of 2014

This year Terry Johnston was once again kind enough to ask me to contribute to another roundup of the best books of the year for the magazine. The categories were slightly different this year, but I don’t think there are any surprises regarding my top picks. If you don’t like my picks you can peruse […]

The 48th/150th: In Fort Hell

150 years ago, the dirt-covered and weary soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania were settling into a new 'camp,' as it were, taking up position in the fortification known as Fort Sedgwick but more often called--and more widely known--Fort Hell. Show More Summary

Bostonians from A to Z

The Boston Athenaeum has done a service to local historians by digitizing its collection of town directories, which includes publications from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. John Norman published the first such directory in 1789 under the formal title of The Boston Directory. Show More Summary

Conservatives and the Confederate Flag

In this short video a black Republican argues against the Confederate flag. His understanding of the history of the Democrat and Republican parties is problematic, but the broader argument certainly complicates our understanding of the deep divisions that exist in this ongoing controversy. [Uploaded to YouTube on November 25, 2014]

“Law and (Dis)Order in Boston, 1773” at Old South in December

In historical Boston, December is Tea Party time, and the Old South Meeting House and Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum are collaborating on a series of public presentations.Friday, 5 December, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.Holiday Open House...Show More Summary

A Few Thoughts About Lesley Gordon’s 16th Connecticut

We’ve been waiting for this book for some time. I remember talking to Lesley Gordon about regimental histories eight years ago following a panel discussion I took part in at the AHA in Philadelphia. Well, her new book, A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut’s Civil War, arrived on Tuesday and I am just about finished […]

A Punch Bowl in Pennsylvania

Last month the Museum of the American Revolution being built in Philadelphia shared news about archeology on its site, including the shards of a ceramic punchbowl shown here. The museum’s blog reported:In all, we excavated a well and twelve brick-lined privies, most of them brimming with artifacts. Show More Summary

Shenandoah group’s annual meeting offers museum tour, speakers

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation will offer more than the usual business report when it meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Winchester’s Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Billed as the climatic event of a year-long series of programs...Show More Summary

A New Song: “The British Steel”

Earlier this year Michael Laird Rare Books of Texas offered for sale a rare chapbook printed in Newcastle, England, titled A Garland, Containing Four New Songs. One of those songs, “The British Steel,” is still new to the standard databases, as is the little book itself. Show More Summary

New To the Civil War Memory Library, 11/28

In the interest of full disclosure as we enter the Holiday Season, all book links on this site are to my Amazon affiliate account. I get a small cut in the form of a book credit from each purchase. Happy shopping. Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Knopf, 2014). John Demos, The Heathen […]

Stonewall Jackson’s sister-in-law on… Thanksgiving.

For a number of years I’ve posted different perspectives on Thanksgiving (here, here, and here, for example), and usually related to “Southern memory”. Ultimately, there seems to be a tug of war between traditional and historic firsts. Yet, while there are those who stand resistant to the tradition inspired by Massachusetts Bay’s Puritans, perhaps they shouldn’t […]

Taking Liberties

The History Channel released this photo to promote its upcoming series Sons of Liberty. According to the caption on its website, it shows: Dr. Joseph Warren [hmmm] Paul Revere [okay] Samuel Adams [snort!] John Hancock [come on] JohnShow More Summary

Happy Thanksgiving

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation seems to me to be very appropriate this week. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as […]

Still Fighting Reconstruction

I think there are a number of problems with Rev. Barber’s interpretation of Reconstruction, but I can’t help but acknowledge the ways in which the post-Civil War period seems to be creeping into our discourse about a host of issues related to racial politics in recent years. The sesquicentennial of Reconstruction Era offers a number […]

Street View and the 1700s

Back in February the Guardian newspaper featured artist Halley Docherty’s images of historic paintings of London laid over (and, thanks to Photoshop, somewhat under) Google Street View photographs of the modern city. Above, for example, is Canaletto’s 1750s view of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, one of my favorite parts of London. Show More Summary

“Behaving with discretion & Calmness”

On 1 Nov 1769, Boston’s selectmen appointed Thomas Bradford a temporary Constable of the Watch for the south part of town.On their authority, town clerk William Cooper issued Bradford these instructions:1st. That you with the Watchmen under you attend at sd. Show More Summary

Return of ‘Military Campaigns of the Civil War’ Series

I’ve been a fan of Gary Gallagher’s edited series, Military Campaigns of the Civil War, from the beginning. The individual volumes introduced me to some of the most interesting historians in the field and went far in shaping what I know about Civil War military history and how I think about battles and campaigns. So, […]

Looking Narrowly at Broadcloth with Hallie Larkin

This fall the Readex Report, published to highlight research that folks can do with that company’s digitsal databeases, included costume expert Hallie Larkin’s article, “‘Suitable to the Season’: Using Historical Newspapers to Help Reproduce...Show More Summary

Did Slavery Doom the Confederacy?

In this brief video clip Eric Foner talks with one of his graduate students about the crucial role slavery played in the formation and defeat of the Confederacy. Included is a reference to the debate surrounding the recruitment of slaves into the army. The reference to McCurry is Stephanie McCurry’s, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics […]

Lucinda Foote’s Entrance Examination

Last week I shared the account of a Yale entrance examination for a seven-year-old in 1757. Here’s another notable Yale applicant from 1783. Once again the story includes the Rev. Dr. Ezra Stiles, by then president of the college. In his diary for 22 December, he wrote:I examined Miss Lucinda Foot aet. Show More Summary

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