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A New Clue to Caesar Marion

Back in 2006, I wrote about a black man named Caesar Marion who protested a town meeting measure in August 1775, during the siege of Boston. The Essex Gazette referred to him as “the well-known Caesar Merriam.”I’d found the name of Caesar Marion on the 1771 provincial tax list, indicating that he owned property. Show More Summary

“The Road From Appomattox” Symposium

All five presentations from this year’s Civil War symposium held recently at the Library of Virginia are now available for viewing via C-SPAN. The event was titled, “The Road from Appomattox: Political Violence, Military Conflict, and National Reunion”. They are all worth watching. Edward L. Ayers, “Reckoning with Reconstruction and […]

The End of the Washington Elm

This photograph comes from the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library, via Digital Commonwealth.The webpage dates the image as “ca. 1917–1934,” but we can be more specific. In his essay “The Washington Elm Tradition” Samuel F. Show More Summary

A New Look at Saratoga

At the American Revolution Conference two weeks ago I met Larry Arnold, an expert guide to the Saratoga battlefield.During a drive to the Green Spring battle site, Larry told us about a recent discovery he’d made on eBay. He saw a letter that mentioned Saratoga offered with a scan big enough to actually read. Show More Summary

New Book Project for Public Historians

I don’t believe I have said much of anything about it on this site, but in addition to my book project on the myth of the Black Confederate soldier I have also been working on a proposal for a collection of essays on interpreting the Civil War at museums and […]

Omohundro Institute Conference in Worcester, 23-26 June

On the same weekend as the Dublin Seminar, the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture will hold its 22nd Annual Conference in Worcester. This year’s conference themes are “Native American Transformations” and “Early...Show More Summary

Down to the Sea in Deerfield with the Dublin Seminar, 24-26 June

On the weekend of 24-26 June, Historic Deerfield will host the annual Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, this year’s topic being “New England at Sea: Maritime Memory and Material Culture”: Focusing on how the region remembered its maritime past, the weekend begins with a keynote address by the historian W. Show More Summary

If Donald Trump Had Delivered the Gettysburg Address

This little gem comes to us from The Angry Staff Officer blog. It was re-posted on George Takei’s Facebook page. All I can say is enjoy. It was a long time ago – I don’t think anyone can even remember, but I can remember, I have a great memory, I’ve […]

Benjamin Butler on the Big Stage

The decision on the part of Benjamin Butler to declare slaves as contraband of war at Fort Monroe, Virginia in the spring of 1861 received a good deal of attention during the sesquicentennial and is now interpreted by the National Park Service. Historians now refer to the actions of three […]

A Plagiarized Puzzle

On N.P.R. Weekend Edition yesterday, Will Shortz announced this as the puzzle for the week:The University Press of New England has just published a book by Boston College professor Paul Lewis, called The Citizen Poets of Boston: A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820. Show More Summary

Revising a revised version of Maryland’s state song

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s an interesting article on History New Network, today, regarding the latest changes to Maryland’s state song. I’ve followed the news about the efforts, and frankly, I’m 1) surprised on the “memory” (in the legislative body) of versions going back only to 1939 (and, seemingly skipping all the years […]

Lectures in Boston and Waltham, 7 April

On Thursday, 7 April, the Skinner auction house in Boston is hosting ceramics expert Robert Hunter speaking on “The Art and Mystery of Early English Pottery: The Troy D. Chappell Collection.”Since 2001 Hunter has been editor of the annual journal Ceramics in America, published by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 03/26

I am very excited to see that Stephen Sears is slated to release a new book early next year. It is titled, Lincoln’s Lieutenants: The High Command of the Army of the Potomac. Sears has always been one of my favorite Civil War writers. Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit […]

The Gunpowder and William Gamage

In my talk on Thursday, I related the Powder Alarm of 2 Sept 1774 from the point of view of Lt. Gov. Thomas Oliver. He was in Boston when that town’s radical leaders arrived out at the gathering of thousands of Middlesex County militiamen on Cambridge common. Show More Summary

Volunteers to help clean up their local Civil War battlefield parks

April 2 is the date for this year’s Park Day, an annual event sponsored by the Civil War Trust. Now in its 20th year, Park Day is meant to bring together volunteers willing to spend a day doing outside work with Civil War battlefield parks and historic sites that need their help. According to the […]

A Very Small Army of Black Rebels

One of the topics that I take up in the final chapter of my book about Confederate camp slaves and the Myth of the Black Confederate Soldier is the presence of a very small number of African Americans in social circles that subscribe to this myth. I have written extensively […]

“At distance, thou, Columbia! view thy Prince”

Here at last is the poem whose authorship I’ve been considering, the one numbered XXIX in the Boston publication Pietas et Gratulatio Collegii Cantabrigiensis apud Novanglus.As you recall, the two goals of that book were to: praise King...Show More Summary

The passing of Earl Hamner

I touched base with Mr. Hamner last year, in the hopes of having an interview with him. Regretfully, it wasn’t long after his surgery, and he encouraged me to reach out to him again, later. Regretfully, things continued to decline. Hamner was, without a doubt, an incredible inspiration to me. Sad news…  Filed under: Appalachian […]

The Mystery of Poem XXIX

Yesterday I described the 1761 collection of poems titled Pietas et Gratulatio, designed to show off the learning of Harvard College in praise to King George III. Although the college announced a competition for students and recent graduates,...Show More Summary

A Black Confederate Soldier Who Served Two Masters

The vast majority of people who come into contact with the Myth of the Black Confederate Soldier so do through stories such as this one out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This one is particularly useful. It’s brief and any discerning reader can easily pick out the contradictions. Let’s start at the […]

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