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A recommended new blog

My old friend and fellow cavalry historian Bob O’Neill has started a new blog that I want to recommend to you. Bob is THE authority of the cavalry battles in the Loudoun Valley of Virginia during the Gettysburg, and that’s one of the focuses of the blog, which is called Small but Important Riots. Show More Summary

One VERY bad idea….

An 1876 portrait of Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. Many of Meade’s possessions are in this collection From Philly.com today: Civil War Museum transfers collection to Gettysburg with Constitution Center exhibit planned Updated: May 4,...Show More Summary

Cherubum and Seraphim at Old North Church

As an Anglican church, the Old North Church (formally Christ Church, Boston) was more flashily decorated than the town’s Congregationalist meetinghouses.There are, for example, four hand-carved angels mounted on the gallery railing. Tom Dietzel recently shared a four-part online essay about them. Show More Summary

150th Anniversary of the Memphis Massacre

Today is the anniversary of the racial violence that engulfed the city of Memphis, Tennessee between May 1 – 3, 1866. The violence followed shortly after a shooting altercation between recently mustered out black Union soldiers and a white policeman. The violence can be tracked along racial and ethnic lines. There are a number of […]

The Rev. David McClure’s 20th of April

Here’s another extract from the diary of the Rev. David McClure as the Revolutionary War began. The last installment left the minister at the home of Joseph Mayo, a militia officer in Roxbury.At the dawn of day, the Major & I mounted our horses, & rode to Roxbury street, anxious to know what had been done. Show More Summary

H.K. Edgerton, Neo-Confederates & the Limits of Black Political Action

It should come as no surprise that H.K. Edgerton helped to dedicate a new Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa, Florida this weekend that includes a marker honoring black Confederate soldiers. In the past I have suggested that it is best to understand Edgerton’s presence at these events as a form of entertainment, not entirely unlike […]

Avant nous le déluge

Last month the Creators Project at Vice featured Viennese photographer Andreas Franke’s Stavronikita Project, part of his series “The Sinking World.”As I understand Franke’s method, he dives down to shipwrecks and photographs them. Then he creates digital images combining those backgrounds with scenes of people that he stages in his studio. Show More Summary

A Recap of Confederate Heritage Month 2016

Two recent articles have suggested that push back against Confederate iconography and commemoration is waning since the lowering of the Confederate battle flag in Columbia, South Carolina last summer. A number of states and local communities still recognize April as Confederate History/Heritage Month. Show More Summary

The Service of Caesar Ferrit

While Thomas Nichols was locked up in the Concord jail, accused of enticing slaves away from their masters, what was his father-in-law doing?Caesar Ferrit and his youngest son John, born around 1753, were marching with the Natick militia company on 19 Apr 1775. Show More Summary

Faulkner explains his Confederate service

150 years ago this past week, a letter (though dated April 13) from Charles J. Faulkner (he appears in a few of my blog posts from the past) appeared in the Charles Town, West Virginia newspaper, detailing his “connexion” with the Confederate army. At first I thought, perhaps, he was replying to those who doubted any […]

Louisville To Remove Confederate Monument

A number of cities across the country have or are currently engaged in debates about the place of Confederate monuments on public ground. New Orleans recently voted to remove four monuments, but has yet to follow through. Only the University of Texas at Austin has removed Civil War related monuments from campus. Today, the city […]

Reviewing Thomas Nichols’s Case

In late February 1775 a Massachusetts magistrate had Thomas Nichols of Natick, labeled variously a “free Negro” or “mulatto,” locked up for “enticing divers Servants [slaves] to desert the Service of their Masters.”Nichols was still in the jail at Concord when the Revolutionary War broke out. Show More Summary

Thomas Nichols of Natick

On Monday I quoted a Connecticut newspaper report of the arrest of “one Thomas Nichols, a Molatto,” in Natick on suspicion of planning an uprising of enslaved people.What do we know about Nichols? He appears in the Natick vital records...Show More Summary

U.S. Postal Service Spreads Myth of Loyal Slave

Chapter three in my current book project, Searching For Black Confederates, focuses a good deal on the roles that former camp slaves played at veterans reunions and parades. We’ve all seen the photographs of former slaves, who took part in these well-attended events, but this is the first time that I have come across an […]

Returning to the “Parker’s Revenge” Site, 29 Apr.

On Friday, 29 April, the Lexington Historical Society’s Cronin Lecture Series will present archeologist Margaret Watters and her final report on the “Parker’s Revenge” site in Minute Man National Historical Park. That site, close toShow More Summary

Selling Col. R.K. Meade’s livestock (1833)

The title of this post might lack the hook that would draw in a crowd, but that shouldn’t detract. For those who are truly curious about what antebellum life was like in the Valley (and might be well-acquainted with the area of the Valley in which this piece discusses), this piece offers an opportunity to […]

Fears in Framingham and Elsewhere

Yesterday I quoted two Connecticut newspapers from March 1775 reporting on the detection of a slave conspiracy in Natick. Such worries were nothing new. Back in September 1774, Abigail Adams had told her husband about a similar fear in Braintree: There has been in Town a conspiracy of the Negroes. Show More Summary

An “infernal Scheme” in Natick?

British officers and royal officials weren’t the only folks fearing a treacherous plot by their enemies as the Revolutionary War began. The provincials outside of Boston had plenty of suspicions as well.The 3 Mar 1775 Connecticut Gazette,...Show More Summary

An Attack on St. George’s Day?

On 24 Apr 1775, many British army officers planned to celebrate St. George’s Day, honoring the patron saint of England. St. George’s Day is actually 23 April, but that date fell on a Sunday that year—and that day of the week was presumably not proper for the officers’ form of celebration. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/23

By now many of you have heard that T.J. Stiles’s biography of George A. Custer won this year’s Pulitzer Prize. This was his second. I reviewed the book for The Daily Beast and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is Stiles’s second Pulitzer. As much of an achievement as that is, I am even more excited for […]

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