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The Civil War

Facts, Events & Information about The American Civil War: 1861-1865

First Battle of Bull Run Kurz & Allison
First Battle of Bull Run Kurz & Allison

Civil War Facts

Location

Eastern Theater, Western Theater, Trans-Mississippi, Gulf Coast, Sioux Uprising

Dates

1861-1865

Soldiers Engaged

Union: over 2,100,000

Confederate: over 1,000,000

Civil War Casualties

Union: over 350,000

Confederate: over 250,000

See Details Of Civil War Casualties

Outcome

Union Victory

Civil War Pictures

The Civil War was the first war that was widely photographed. Many American Civil War Images, Pictures and Photos have survived.

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Civil War Maps

The Civil War made wide use of battle maps.

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Civil War Timeline

See a timeline of events of the Civil War from 1860-1865. See events by year and important Civil War dates.

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Civil War Battlefields

The battlefields of the Civil War cross the nation, and made famous many previously unknown towns, crossroads and farms like Antietam Creek, Shiloh and Gettysburg.

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More Civil War Facts

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Civil War Articles

Explore articles from the History Net archives about the Civil War

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Civil War Summary: The American Civil War, 1861–1865, resulted from long-standing sectional differences and questions not fully resolved when the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789. With the defeat of the Southern Confederacy and the subsequent passage of the XIII, XIV and XV amendments to the Constitution, the Civil War’s lasting effects include abolishing the institution of slavery in America and firmly redefining the United States as a single, indivisible nation rather than a loosely bound collection of independent states.

Milestones

It was a war that saw many “firsts.” The long list of Civil War firsts include America’s first income tax, the first battle between ironclad ships, the first extensive use of black soldiers and sailors in U.S. service, the first use of quinine to treat typhoid fever, America’s first military draft, and many others. There were advances in medical treatment, military tactics, the chaplain service, and other fields. Over the course of the Civil War weapons ranged from obsolete flintlocks to state-of-the-art repeaters. During the Civil War, women took on new roles, including running farms and plantations and spying; some disguised themselves as men and fought in battle. All of the nation’s ethnic groups participated in the war, including Irish, Germans, American Indians, Jews, Chinese, Hispanics, etc.

Other Names for the Civil War

Northerners have also called the Civil War the War to Preserve the Union, the War of the Rebellion (War of the Southern Rebellion), and the War to Make Men Free. Southerners may refer to it as the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression. In the decades following the conflict, those who did not wish to upset adherents of either side simply called it The Late Unpleasantness. It is also known as Mr. Lincoln’s War and, less commonly, as Mr. Davis’ War.

Troop Strength and Casualties

Between April 1861 and April 1865, an estimated 1.5 million troops joined the war on the side of the Union and approximately 1.2 million went into Confederate service. An estimated total of 600,000 were killed in action or died of disease. More than twice that number were wounded but survived at least long enough to muster out. Casualties of the Civil War cannot be calculated exactly, due to missing records (especially on the Southern side) and the inability to determine exactly how many combatants died from wounds, drug addiction, or other war-related causes after leaving the service. An untold number of civilians also perished, primarily from disease as entire towns became hospitals.

Naval Battles

Most naval actions occurred on rivers and inlets or in harbors, and include history’s first clash between two ironclads, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (a captured and converted ship formerly called the Merrimac), at Hampton Roads, Virginia, on March 9, 1862. Other actions include the Battle of Memphis (1862), Charleston Harbor (1863), and Mobile Bay (1864), and the naval sieges of Vicksburg in 1862 and again in 1863. The most famous clash between ocean-going warships was the duel between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama off Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864. Throughout the war, the Union had a decided advantage in both numbers and quality of naval vessels.

The War Between The States Begins

On April 10, 1861, knowing that resupplies were on their way from the North to the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, provisional Confederate forces in the city demanded the fort’s surrender. The fort’s commander, Major Robert Anderson, refused. On April 12, the Confederates opened fire with cannon. At 2:30 p.m. the following day, Major Anderson surrendered.

On April 15, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the Southern rebellion, a move that prompted Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina to reverse themselves and vote in favor of session. (Most of the western section of Virginia rejected the session vote and broke away, ultimately forming a new, Union-loyal state, West Virginia.)

The United States had always maintained only a small professional army; the nation’s founders had feared a Napoleon might rise up and use a large army to overthrow the government and make himself a dictator. Many graduates of the U.S. Army’s military academy, West Point, resigned their commissions in order to fight for the South—this was especially true in the cavalry arm, but no members of the artillery “went South.” The Lincoln Administration had to rely on large numbers of volunteers from the states and territories.

In Richmond, Virginia, the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, faced a similar problem in raising and equipping armies. Neither side expected a war of long duration. Volunteers were asked to serve for 90 days. “One big battle, and it’ll be over,” was the commonly expressed belief on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. Southerners thought Northerners too weak and cowardly to fight. Northerners thought a dependence upon slave labor had rendered Southerners too weak both physically and morally to present a serious battlefield threat. Both sides were due for a rude awakening.

The Challenges of North and South

To win the war would require Lincoln’s armies and navy to subdue an area from the East Coast to the Rio Grande, from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Gulf of Mexico. To prevent a Northern victory, the South would have to defend that same large area, but with a smaller population and less industry than the North could ultimately bring to bear. A short war would favor the South, a long one the North.

Theaters of War

Actions in the war were divided into the Eastern Theater, primarily comprised of Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the coast of North Carolina. The Atlantic Coast farther south was the Lower Seaboard Theater. The Western Theater began west of the Alleghenies (West Virginia excepted) and continued to the Mississippi River, but it also included the interior of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Events farther west are considered to have occurred in the Trans-Mississippi Theater and the Far West.

1861

The first inland clash between significant bodies of troops occurred on the morning of June 3, 1861, when 3,000 Union volunteers surprised 800 Confederates at Philippi in (West) Virginia. Lasting less than half an hour, the affair would barely qualify as a skirmish later in the war, but the Union victory there and subsequent ones in the region elevated the reputation of Major General George B. McClellan, commander of the Department of the Ohio.

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The first real battle took place July 21, 1861, on the hills around Bull Run creek outside Manassas, Virginia, a railroad junction some 30 miles south of the Northern capital at Washington City (Washington, D.C.) and about 90 miles north of the Confederate capital at Richmond on July. It is known as the First Battle of Bull Run (Northern name) or the First Battle of Manassas (Southern name). During the war, the North named battles for the nearest body of water, and the South used the name of the nearest town.

The Union army made progress early in the battle, but Confederate reinforcements arrived late in the day from the Shenandoah Valley and routed the Federals. The unfortunate Union commander, Irvin McDowell, was made the scapegoat and was replaced with an officer who had some victories to his credit: George Brinton McClellan.

On September 10, a Union victory at Carnifax Ferry in the Big Kanawha Valley of (West) Virginia virtually ended Confederate control in most of the western counties, although there would be raids and guerilla warfare there. A successful naval invasion of North Carolina took place in August.

The Western Theater saw only minor skirmishing. Kentucky was attempting to remain neutral and had vowed to take sides against whichever side first moved troops into it. That was the Confederacy, which felt compelled to establish Mississippi River forts and establish camps within the state to repel any attempted Union move south.

Near Springfield, Missouri, in the Trans-Mississippi, the South won a major battle on August 10, 1861. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, saw some 12,000 Confederates defeat less than 5,500 Union soldiers and take control of southwestern Missouri, but the Southerners did not immediately pursue northward. The Union commander, Nathaniel Lyon, was killed, the first Federal general to die in action during the war. The South had already lost Brigadier General Robert S. Garnett in a skirmish at Carrick’s Ford, (West) Virginia, and Brigadier General Bernard E. Bee at First Manassas. After Wilson’s Creek, Confederate forces won another Missouri victory at the First Battle of Lexington, September 13–20, 1861.

During the fall and winter, both sides swelled their ranks, trained troops, and obtained additional weapons, food and equipment, and horses and mules for the coming year’s campaigns.

1862

If 1861 had disabused Americans north and south of the notion this would be a short war, 1862 showed how terrible its cost in human life would be, beginning with the two bloody days of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee and continuing through a series of battles in Virginia and America’s bloodiest single day, the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.

The year saw the first clash between ironclad warships, in the Battle of Hampton Roads. Lincoln announced his Emancipation Proclamation. The South found two heroes: Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, for his Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and Robert E. Lee, who took command of the main Confederate army. Lincoln would be hard-pressed to find a commander Lee could not out-general. Farther south along the Atlantic Coast, Federals captured territory in North and South Carolina and Georgia, but lost a chance to shorten the war when they were turned back at the Battle of Secessionville, South Carolina.

In the Western Theater, Union forces made deep penetrations into Dixie, beginning the year along the Ohio River and finishing it in control of Middle and West Tennessee, with outposts in Mississippi. Even New Orleans was under the Stars and Stripes again.

Beyond the Mississippi, initial Confederate successes in New Mexico territory were nullified by a defeat at Glorietta Pass. Texans lynched 50 Unionists in what became known as the Great Hanging at Gainesville and attacked German immigrants trying to leave the state, executing nine of the wounded after the Battle of the Nueces.

In August, starving Sioux Indians in Minnesota, angered because they’d not received badly needed payments promised by their treaty, began an uprising that killed at least 113 white men, women and children. Three hundred Sioux were sentenced to hang, but Lincoln cut that number to 38—still the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Antietam and Shiloh

If 1861 had disabused Americans north and south of the notion this would be a short war, 1862 showed how terrible its cost in human life would be, beginning with the two bloody days of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee and continuing through a series of battles in Virginia and America’s bloodiest single day, the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. September saw simultaneous Confederate invasions into Maryland and Kentucky in September. Neither, however, was long lived.

The year 1862 ended—and the new year would begin—with another bloodbath, on the banks of Stones River outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Overall, the scales were still nearly balanced between the two sides in their struggle to restore the Union or to establish a Southern Confederacy.

1863

The tide of war shifted noticeably in favor of the Union in 1863, despite a brilliant victory by Robert E. Lee in the Battle of Chancellorsville, a battle that cost the life of his daring lieutenant Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Lee then suffered a major defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in early July. The victor, George Gordon Meade, did not pursue aggressively, and the Confederate “Gray Fox” escaped to fight another day. The two antagonists met again in November in a confused, inconclusive affair known as the Mine Run Campaign.

Battle of Chancellorsville

On April 17, the Army of the Potomac, under yet another commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker, attempted to outflank Lee at Fredericksburg by crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers above the town. In response, Lee divided his force, leaving part of it to guard the river at Fredericksburg. On April 30, Hooker and Lee collided near a mansion called Chancellorsville in a densely thicketed area of woods known as The Wilderness. After a brilliant flank attack that disorganized Hooker’s right, Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men in the darkness. He died May 10. Lee, learning the Federals had captured Fredericksburg, divided his force again and defeated them at Salem Church. Hooker gave up the campaign and withdrew on the night of May 5–6. The Battle of Chancellorsville is regarded as Lee’s most brilliant victory. Read more about the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga

The “Confederate Gibraltar,” Vicksburg, Mississippi, fell to Ulysses S. Grant on July 4 after a 47-day siege. Confederates won their greatest victory in the Western Theater at the Battle of Chickamauga in September, but failed to capitalize on it and in late November were routed from the hills above Chattanooga, opening the road to Atlanta for the Union’s Western armies. Grant was placed in command of all Western armies, a prelude to an even greater promotion that would come the following spring.

Two massacres marked 1863. In response to raids by Shoshoni Indians in the Idaho Territory of the far northwest, U.S. troops under Col. Patrick E. Connor attacked the camp of Chief Bear Hunter on January 29. A number of Shoshoni women, children and old men were killed along with Hunting Bear’s warriors in the Bear River Massacre (Massacre at Boa Ogoi). On August 21, Confederate guerrillas under Captain William C. Quantrill sacked and burned Lawrence, Kansas, a center for pro-Union, anti-slavery Jayhawkers and Redlegs, killing 150–200 men and boys.

Gettysburg

In mid-June, Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland and Pennsylvania in his second invasion of the North, hoping to take pressure off Virginia’s farms during the growing season and seeking a victory on Northern soil. His men encountered the Army of the Potomac, now under George Gordon Meade, at a crossroads town in southeastern Pennsylvania on July 1. Capturing the town but failing to take the high ground around it, Lee assailed the Union flanks the next day. The fighting on the Union left was particularly costly to both sides, memorializing Little and Big Round Top, Devil’s Den, the each Orchard and the Wheatfield. On the right, the Confederates nearly broke through on Culp’s and Cemetery hills before being repulsed. On July 3, Lee made perhaps his greatest mistake of the war, ordering a frontal attack across open ground against the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. Known as “Pickett’s Charge” for the commander of the largest Confederate division involved, George Pickett, the attack failed, leaving thousands of Southern soldiers dead and wounded. On Independence Day, a wagon train of wounded over 14 miles long began Lee’s retreat. With the Confederate’s loss of Vicksburg, Mississippi, that same day, July 4, 1863, is often described as the turning point of the Civil War. Read more about the Battle Of Gettysburg

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The year also saw an event unique in American history. Counties of western Virginia had refused to leave the Union when the state seceded in 1861. On June 20, 1863, West Virginia entered the Union as the 35th state, although the U.S. Constitution requires a mother state’s permission before a new state can be carved out of it.

At the end of 1863, both sides still had significant forces, and the Confederates enjoyed good defensive terrain in Virginia and North Georgia. If they could inflict enough losses on their Northern opponents, they might win at the ballot box what they could not on the field of battle: Lincoln was vulnerable and in the 1864 elections might be replaced by a Democrat who would make peace with the Confederacy.

1864

Since the beginning of the war, Lincoln had sought in vain for a general who understood that destroying the Confederate armies in Virginia was more important than capturing Richmond, and who wouldn’t turn back in the face of a defeat in battle. He believed he’d found that man in Ulysses S. Grant, who was put in charge of all Union armies in March 1864. “Unconditional Surrender” Grant proved Lincoln right, but the cost in lives led many, including the president’s wife, Mary, to call the general a “butcher.”

The Wilderness

Following his promotion, Grant attached himself to the North’s largest army, the Army of the Potomac, while leaving George Gordon Meade, the victor of Gettysburg, in command of that force. On May 2, the Army of the Potomac crossed Virginia’s Rapidan River. Three days later, it collided with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in a wooded area thick with underbrush, known as The Wilderness, near the old Chancellorsville battlefield, site of Lee’s most brilliant victory. There was no such clear-cut outcome this time. After two blood-soaked days of close-quarters fighting, Grant maneuvered his army to outflank Lee’s right. Lee anticipated the move, and the two armies tore at each other again for two weeks in May around Spotsylvania Courthouse. Again, Grant sidestepped, and again Lee met him in the Battle of the North Anna. Grant intended to “fight it out along this line if it takes all summer,” and the two armies clashed again and again, moving ever southward. At Cold Harbor, Grant made one of the worst mistakes of his career, suffering 7,000 casualties within 20 minutes while Lee’s losses were negligible. Eventually, the Federals maneuvered their opponents so close to Richmond and Petersburg—a town essential to the Confederates’ supply line—that Lee had to give up his ability to maneuver and settle into trench warfare. The siege of Richmond and Petersburg had begun. Read more about the Battle Of The Wilderness

Petersburg and Richmond

On July 30, the Union exploded a mine beneath a portion of the Confederate works around Petersburg. A tardy advance by a large number of Union soldiers into the 30-foot-deep crater it created allowed the Southerners time to recover. They poured fired into the densely packed Federals; eventually, the fighting was hand-to-hand. Angered by the blast and the presence of black troops, the Confederates gave no quarter and the Battle of the Crater resulted in 4,000 Union casualties for no gain. Read more about the Battle Of Petersburg

Although much of Lee’s army was tied down in the defense of Richmond and Petersburg, other portions resisted Union advances in the Shenandoah Valley. After a victory at Lynchburg in June, Jubal A. Early took his Army of the Valley across the Potomac and boldly marched on the Northern capital at Washington, D.C. A desperate delaying action on July 9 at Monocacy, Maryland, by an outnumbered force under Lew Wallace—the future author of Ben Hur—bought the capital time to prepare. When Early attacked Fort Stevens outside the city on July 11—12, President and Mrs. Lincoln came out to watch the fighting. After Early retired back down the Shenandoah Valley, Grant ordered Philip Sheridan to lay waste to the Valley. On October 9, Early surprised Sheridan’s camps on Cedar Creek near Winchester. Sheridan galloped to the sound of the guns, arriving in time to halt the Union rout and crushed the Confederates, effectively ending Early’s ability to take offensive actions to protect the Valley.

When Grant went east his friend and subordinate, William Tecumseh Sherman, took command of the armies of the Tennessee and the Cumberland at Chattanooga. While Grant bludgeoned and sidestepped his way toward Richmond, Sherman was slugging through the mountains of North Georgia. There, Confederate general Joseph Johnston made superb use of terrain to slow the Federal advance. After a series of clashes followed by maneuvers around Johnston’s defenses, Sherman lost patience and ordered a frontal assault on Kennesaw Mountain that cost 3,000 Union lives compared with 1,000 for the Confederates. But gradually, his armies closed in on the rail center of Atlanta. Finally, on September 2, Sherman’s men entered Atlanta after the Confederate army, now under the command of John Bell Hood, evacuated the town, setting fire to it before leaving.

The capture of Atlanta was one of the most crucial events of the war. The South’s last remaining hope was that war-weary Northern voters might turn Lincoln out of the White House in the November elections and replace him with a Peace Democrat. The Democrats had nominated George B. McClellan, the former commander of the Army of the Potomac, as their candidate. The party made many missteps during the campaign, and for the first time ever, the North allowed soldiers to vote in the field. Both of those contributed to Lincoln winning a second term, but had Sherman not taken Atlanta, the long casualty rolls from Grant’s Overland Campaign and the on-going stalemate around the Confederate capital might have been enough to convince Northerners to “give peace a chance” and vote against Lincoln and the war.

Sherman’s March To The Sea

Sherman left Atlanta November 15 on his march to the sea. Along the way, he intended to “make Georgia howl,” letting his men live off the land and burning all they couldn’t take with them. He reached Savannah by Christmas, leaving a 60-mile wide swath of ashes, wrecked railroads and utter destruction behind him. Read more about Sherman’s March To The Sea

In an attempt to pull Sherman back into Tennessee, John Bell Hood swung the Army of Tennessee through upper Alabama and struck north for Nashville. Sherman detached George Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland to deal with him. At the town of Franklin, Hood ordered frontal assaults that after five hours of intense fighting, left his army in tatters; five generals were dead. Hood’s reduced force then besieged Nashville—the most heavily fortified city in America after Washington, D.C. After an ice storm melted, Thomas came out of his works and finished the job of shattering the Confederate army. Its remnants withdrew to Tupelo, Mississippi.

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In the spring of 1864, Nathan Bedford Forrest began an expedition that reached Paducah, Kentucky, on the Ohio River before rampaging against Federal installations in West Tennessee. Stories that his men massacred Union soldiers, particularly members of the United States Colored Troops captured at Fort Pillow, a poorly designed Mississippi River fort north of Memphis, gained instant credence in the North, but two official inquiries were unable to reach a conclusion about what had actually happened. At New Johnsonville, Tennessee, Forrest gained the distinction of commanding the only cavalry group ever to defeat gunboats, when they sunk or frightened crews into scuttling four ships.

On the Gulf Coast of Alabama on August 5, Admiral David G. Farragut steamed into the Battle of Mobile Bay with 18 ships. Tradition has it that when he was warned about torpedoes (mines) in the bay he responded, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” After Farragut’s ships defeated the unfinished ironclad CSS Tennessee, Union infantry captured forts Gaines and Morgan, sealing off the mouth of the bay, but the city of Mobile remained defiant.

By the end of 1864, the Confederacy had nothing left but courage and tenacity. With Lincoln’s re-election, no viable hope remained for a negotiated peace. The smoke rising above Georgia and the thousands of bodies strung out from Nashville to Atlanta to Petersburg and the gates of Washington said there would be no military victory. Legislators of North Carolina pressed Jefferson Davis to make peace before their state suffered Georgia’s fate but to no avail. The South would fight on, no matter cost.

1865

The noose around the Confederacy was strangling it. In mid-January Fort Fisher in North Carolina fell to a combined land and naval force. The port city of Wilmington followed a month later. Sherman’s bummers were advancing north. When they reached South Carolina, where the rebellion had begun, any bit of restraint they may have shown elsewhere was pitched aside. By February 20, the state capital of Columbia was captured; fires destroyed much of the city, but whether they were set deliberately by Sherman’s troops or by retreating Confederates or accidentally by Union soldiers celebrating with too much alcohol has been long debated. Sherman’s men continued on through North Carolina, setting fire to the pine forests that played an important role in the state’s economy. What remained of the Confederate forces, once more under the command of Joseph Johnston, was far too small to stop the juggernaut.

Outside Petersburg, Virginia, Lee launched a costly failed attack against the besiegers’ Fort Steadman on March 25. When Federals under Phil Sheridan captured the crossroads at Five Forks, cutting Lee’s supply line, he withdrew from the Petersburg–Richmond trenches and headed southwest, hoping to link up with Johnston coming up from the south. Before leaving Richmond, the Confederates set fire to the town. On April 9, at Appomattox Courthouse, after discovering Federals had beaten him to a supply cache, he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant. Despite his nickname of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant and his policy of waging total war against the South to end the rebellion, Grant offered generous terms, realizing this surrender would virtually end the war.

Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Bentonville, North Carolina, on April 26. Sherman extended even more generous terms than Grant had but endured the embarrassment of having to go back to Johnston with harsher conditions. Between Lee and Johnston’s surrenders, an event had occurred that reduced the North’s compassion toward their proud, defeated enemies.

Lincoln Assassinated

On the night of April 14, John Wilkes Booth, a staunchly pro-slavery Confederate sympathizer, slipped into the President’s Box at Ford’s Theater in Washington and fired a single bullet into the back of Abraham Lincoln’s head. Lincoln died the next morning, the first American president to be assassinated. Booth was shot weeks later while trying to escape from a barn in Virginia. All those captured who were believed to be his co-conspirators in the plot were hanged, including Mary Surratt, who owned the boarding house where the plotters met.

Jefferson Davis, who had escaped Richmond, was captured in Georgia on May 10 and imprisoned for two years at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, before being released on $100,000 bond.

One after another, the remaining Confederate forces surrendered. Their last army in the field was surrendered by Cherokee Chief Stand Watie in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on June 23.

The Last Battle

The last land battle, a Confederate victory, occurred May 12–13 at Palmito (or Palmetto) Ranch in south Texas, where word of Lee’s surrender had not yet been received. Far across the Atlantic on November 6, 1865, the sea raider CSS Shenandoah surrendered to a British captain; had the ship’s crew surrendered in America, they risked hanging as pirates.

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On Christmas Day, 1868, President Andrew Johnson issued an amnesty proclamation to all former Confederates, including Jefferson Davis. Only one Confederate was executed, Henry Wirtz, commander of the notorious prison camp at Andersonville. Officially known as Fort Sumter, Andersonville was the largest prison camp in the south and was infamous for its ill treatment of Union prisoners who lacked adequate food and medicine. Southerners have long protested that the death rate in Northern prison camps was higher than that of Andersonville, and Wirtz should not have been punished for war crimes. Learn more about the Andersonville Prison Camp

Causes

There were numerous causes that led to the Civil War, many of which developing around the fact that the North was becoming more industrialized while the South remained largely agrarian. Some causes of the Civil War include:

States’ Rights

Missouri Compromise

Dred Scott Decision

John Brown

Abolitionist Movement

Slavery In America

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Underground Railroad

» See A Full List Of Civil War Causes

Battles

There were over fifty major land battles and over ten thousand skirmishes, engagements and other military actions fought during the Civil War. The first major battle was the First Battle of Bull Run and the last major battle was Appomattox Courthouse. Major Battles include:

Battle Of Bull Run Battle Of Gettysburg

Battle Of Fredericksburg

Seven Days Battle

Battle Of Petersburg

Battle Of Chickamauga

Battle Of Antietam

Second Battle Of Bull Run

Battle Of Vicksburg

Battle Of Shiloh

Battle Of Atlanta

Battle Of Chancellorsville

Cold Harbor

Appomattox Court House Battle

» See A Full List Of Civil War Battles

 

Generals

Several hundred generals were commissioned during the American Civil War in the Union and Confederate armies. These men led the troops into the battles that would ultimately decide the outcome of the war. Prominent Civil War Generals include:

Confederate Generals

 

Union Generals:

» See A Full List Of Civil War Generals

 

Weapons

Weapons were the instruments of war in the Civil War and often played a critical role in deciding many battles. Great advances came in the rifle, muskets, artillery, cannon and bullets, including the Minie Ball. Weapons used in the Civil War include:

Civil War cannon

Civil War guns

Civil War swords

Minie Ball

» Read more about Civil War Weapons

 

Women Of The War

Women played an important role in the Civil War, playing the role of authors, as was the case of Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionists, civil rights activists, and nurses. Prominent Civil War women include:

Mary Todd Lincoln

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Civil War Nurses

» Read more about Civil War Women

 

Armies

There were two main armies engaged in the Civil War were the Union Army and the Confederate Army. But there were other notable armies within them including the Army of The Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. Some prominent Civil War armies include:

Union Army

Confederate Army

Army Of The Potomac

Army Of Northern Virginia

 

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the Civil War. His election as President in 1860 on a platform of anti-slavery was a catalyst for southern states’ secession. He led the nation through the troubled years of 1861 until his assassination in 1865, just before the war ended.

» Read more about Abraham Lincoln

 

Casualties

The total number of casualties in the Civil War is not known precisely as records were not accurately kept during the era. Most sources put the total casualties on the Union and Confederate sides at between 640,000 and 700,000.

» Read more about Civil War Casualties

 

Sherman’s March

Sherman’s March to the Sea refers to the Savannah Campaign by General William Tecumseh Sherman which took place November to December, 1864. It is noted not only for its military success but for the sheer destruction inflicted on the south.

» Read more about Sherman’s March

 

Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation, was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Delivered soon after the union victory at the battle of Antietam, it freed all slaves in confederate states. The proclamation proved a great motivator for the northern war effort and gave the war a higher purpose.

 

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address, written by Abraham Lincoln and delivered after the battle of Gettysburg at the battlefield, is one of the most famous speeches in American History.

» Read more about The Gettysburg Address

 

Soldiers

The common soldier of the Civil War varied greatly. Most were farmers, aged 18 to 29. Most were white protestants though African Americans made up roughly 10 percent of the Union army. Most earned 11 dollars per month.

» Read more about Civil War Soldiers

 

Uniforms

The uniforms for the soldiers of the Civil War are generalized between the blue for the Union and grey for Confederates, but there were many variations depending on location and time period.

» Read more about Civil War Uniforms

 

Confederacy

The Confederacy is the name commonly given to the Confederate States of American which existed from 1860-1865 throughout the Civil War. It was started when southern states seceded from the Union after the election of Abraham Lincoln. The Confederate President was Jefferson Davis.

» Read more about the Confederacy
» Read more about Jefferson Davis

 

Slavery In America

Slavery in America started in the early 17th Century with most slaves coming from Africa and being used in agriculture production. By the 18th Century, the Abolitionism movement began in the north and caused a divide between the northern and southern states. This divide came to the forefront with the election of Abraham Lincoln, who ran on an anti-slavery platform.

» Read more about Slavery In America

 

Civil War Flags

There were many different flags used during the Civil War. On the Union side, there were both 33 star flags and 34 star flags after Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861. On the Confederate side, there were three national flags as well as the more recognizable confederate battle flag. Additionally, each corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and even individual companies carried their own unique flags.

» Read more about Civil War Flags

 

African Americans In The War

African Americans served many roles in the Civil War. In the Union army, over 179,000 African Americans served, with more serving in the Navy and in various support roles. In the Confederacy, African Americans remained slaves and their role was limited mostly to labor positions. Also, figures like Frederick Douglass were active abolitionists before and during the Civil War.

 

Reconstruction

The Reconstruction Period generally refers to the period just after the Civil War, from 1865 to 1877. Reconstruction period was as harsh as the war on the Southern states and that they never fully regained their standing. The period of Reconstruction was important to build equal standing among the states and to regain trust.

» Read more about the Civil War Reconstruction Period

Civil War Articles From History Net Magazines

Articles 1

Abraham Lincoln Library and MuseumThe Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University houses one of the world's largest collections of artifacts, books, and manuscripts related to the 16th President of the U.S.
Was playwright George H. Booth related to John Wilkes Booth?Tell me about George H. Booth (b. 1840 Chicopee Falls, MA and d. 1927 Madrid, IA): Was he related to John Wilkes Booth? His play, The Drunkard’s Dream, is in the Library of Congress; did he have other published works? Craig Krouch ? ? ? Dear Mr. Krouch, As far as I can determine, George …
‘Civil War: The Untold Story’ – Interview with filmmaker Chris Wheeler'Civil War: The Untold Story' examines the war in the Western Theater. Photo by Justin Koehler Civil War: The Untold Story is a five-hour documentary from Great Divide Pictures, which has produced award-winning historical documentaries such as How the West Was Lost and visitor center films for several Civil War National Parks. Currently scheduled to …
How in the world did they shoot Stonewall Jackson?It’s one of the best-known stories of the Civil War: Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is accidentally shot by his own men during the Battle of Chancellorsville and then dies a few days later. His death, perhaps, alters the course of the war itself.
‘Saving Lincoln’ – Movie ReviewThe independent film 'Saving Lincoln' is a small, shining gem, a movie with heart and brains about Abraham Lincoln and his friend and bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon.
American Experience: The Abolitionists"American Experience: The Abolitionists" is a compelling, 3-part series on the rise, fracturing, decline, resurgence and ultimate triumph of the movement to make all Americans free.
What If…What if “Stonewall” Jackson had been with the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg? Nathan Bedford Forrest had been given command of an army in the Western Theater? Joseph E. Johnston had not been wounded at Seven Pines on May 31, 1862? Abraham Lincoln had not called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion on …
Major General Adelbert Ames: Forgotten Man of the 20th MaineJune Issue Extra: Adelbert Ames preceded Joshua Chamberlain as colonel of the 20th Maine
Emory Upton and the Shaping of the U.S. ArmyHow one soldier’s combat experiences and study of the world's great military powers led to a tactical revolution
MHQ Reviews: Cain at GettysburgHistorynet Image MHQ Home Page Cain at Gettysburg By Ralph Peters. 432 pp. Forge, 2012. $25.99. Reviewed by Noah Andre Trudeau I confess to being a fan of Civil War fiction involving real battles. Over the years I’ve come to recognize three types. One alters some aspect of the engagement that changes the outcome, then …
Union at ShilohA letter from Pvt. William Christie, 1st Minnesota Battery, to his father. Christie’s battery lost three men killed and six men wounded. I supposed you have heard of the great battle on the 6th and 7th of this month. You will be proud to know that we were in the front of the battle, and …
Louisa May Alcott Goes to WarEager to support the North, the budding author volunteered for a fledgling corps of female nurses
A vast rebel conspiracy on the Great LakesA speculative rendering of the Canadian merchant Georgian, by Gregory Proch The Georgian started its life as a merchant steamer, but Confederate agents in Canada had darker plans The quiet streets of Toronto stretched away from Dr. James Bates, disappearing into a darkened maze of brick walls and peaked roofs. He glanced furtively over his …
Ron Maxwell Interview – ‘Gods and Generals’ Extended Director’s CutA HistoryNet exclusive interview with director Ron Maxwell about the extended director's cut of his film Gods and Generals, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Is It MosbyIs this a previously unknown portrait of the Gray Ghost?
The Day New York Tried to SecedeA bird's-eye view of pre-war New York displays the shipping commerce that made the city rich. Image courtesy of Library of Congress. A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Because of a production problem, a portion of this article was omitted from the January 2012 issue of America’s Civil War. It follows here in full. During the …
We Are All RebelsA Louisiana youth wages a personal war with the Yankees on his doorstep Aleck Mouton was 10 years old, barefoot and Confederate to the core when he confronted Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks, who had just invaded the tiny south Louisiana town of Vermilionville. One of the first properties Banks’ Union soldiers reached on the morning …
My Thoughts Be BloodyMy Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy by Nora Titone Free Press, 2010, $30 This new book by first-time author Nora Titone is so intrepidly original in its research and interpretations that intense arguments and heated debates are certain to accompany its inevitable …
Two Virginias Two Civil WarsTwo Virginias, two Civil Wars? The state in the forefront of war remembrance still argues over what happened The state of Virginia has been back in the news, again at war with itself and again over issues relating to the Civil War. On the one hand, the state’s diverse Sesquicentennial Commission masterfully organized its annual …
Camp Misery ExcavationStudents snag chance to probe ‘Camp Misery’ As if the indignity of losing at Fredericksburg were not enough, 100,000 Union soldiers (and 90,000 of their counterparts from the South) settled in to spend the winter along the banks of Virginia’s Rappahannock River at a site that would become known tellingly as Camp Misery. The savage …
The Civil War in the New York TimesThe New York Times Complete Civil War, 1861-1865 Edited by Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds Black Dog & Leventhal Publishing, 2010, $40 It is no stretch to say the New York Times was the nation’s most powerful newspaper during the Civil War. The paper’s youthful founder and editor, Henry Jarvis Raymond, had inroads not …
Segways appear at Fredericksburg NMPSegways slipping silently across the battlefield might resemble the charge of the very, very light brigade, but the two-wheel, stand-up scooters could be an ideal way for tourists to inspect hallowed Civil War sites. Beginning in June, the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park offered Segway tours of the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, where a …
Antietam RememberedA veteran of Antietam spent his life collecting accounts of the war’s most horrific fighting
What if Lee had been a Yankee?A video giving an opinion of what would have happened had General Robert E. Lee had been a Yankee. To view the video, click here.
Civil War MemoryHarold Holzer explores revisionism and Civil War memory
Soldiering to Citizenship in the Civil WarBecoming American Under Fire: Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship During the Civil War Era by Christian G. Samito, Cornell University Press, 2010, $39.95 Christian Samito’s Becoming American Under Fire is a superb study of the expansion of citizenship during the Civil War era. He proves that through active defense of the …
Dred Scott vs. the LawHe signed documents with an “X” and left no known recorded quotes or memoir of his experiences. Yet because of his determination to be free, we know his name: Dred Scott, the intrepid slave who battled an unjust system through a Supreme Court case that shook the United States to its core.Dred Scott. Library of …
Bugle CallsRETREAT: FIRST CALL: CALL TO ARMS: CALL TO THE COLORS: GENERAL QUARTERS:
Lynchburg Town Song  Lynchburg Town chorus 1: Going down to town, I’m going down to town, Going down to the Lynchburg Town, To take my tobacco down.   chorus 2: Times a-getting hard, Money getting sca’ce, Pay me for them tobacco, boys, And I will leave this place.   Massa had an old gray horse, Took him …
Putting a face on the burden of war: Lincoln Face MorphWorry over a nation torn apart etched itself in the visage of Abraham Lincoln.
The Last Photo of LincolnWhen Abraham Lincoln’s remains arrived in New York City on April 24, 1865, hundreds of thousands of its once-antagonistic citizens gathered to mourn him.
Decision 1864(PLACE CURSOR OVER MCCLELLAN’S AND LINCOLN’S HEADS AND LISTEN) As the war-weary Union anticipated the upcoming presidential election, beleaguered incumbent Abraham Lincoln faced the prospect of losing his office to the man he had fired as commander of the Army of the Potomac less than two years before. Lincoln’s reelection wasn’t the only thing at …
Digging deeply into the earthworks at PetersburgIn the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications & Confederate Defeat by Earl J. Hess University of North Carolina Press, 2009 New biographies that focus on Civil War–era figures inevitably face the dilemma of how to interpret race, politics and equality in light of our own changing attitudes. No Civil War figure can possibly live up …
Riverside resort threatens Harpers Ferry’s viewshedA developer hoping to build a resort near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., faces several regulatory roadblocks. The developer, Rattling Springs Associates of McLean, Va., has submitted plans for a 50-room lodge and as many as 60 cottages along the banks of the Potomac River, not far from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the 19th-century downtown. …
Tennessee town memorializes Nathan B. Forrest’s horseIn the annals of American history, no war has produced as many famous horses as the Civil War: Traveller, Little Sorrel and Rienzi are among the best known, but there are others. Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, for example, rode several great mounts, including his loyal horse Roderick. At the March 1863 Battle of …
Lincoln Gets BuzzedLooking notably robust near his 56th birthday, Abraham Lincoln sat for this portrait by an un­known photographer around February 1865.
Lincoln or BustAbraham Lincoln posed for several famous photographs at Alexander Gardner’s Washington, D.C., gallery on November 8, 1863: one with his private secretaries John Nicolay and John Hay, and another full-face close-up that showed the steely-eyed president staring directly into the camera. The pictures were taken just 11 days before Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, adding …
Interview with Author-Playwright Louis KraftAuthor/Playwright Louis Kraft turns his attention to Indian agent Ned Wynkoop, portraying him onstage.
The Cowboy Brigade’s Roosevelt Inaugural InvasionIn March 1905, Seth Bullock, onetime Deadwood sheriff, brought rough-and-ready Westerners to Washington, D.C., to ride in Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade.
Did Robert E. Lee Doom Himself at Gettysburg?By blindly relying on poor intelligence and saying far too little to his generals, Lee may have sealed the Rebels’ fate.
Fighting Words: Inspiration From AnnihilationThe Civil War was one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Some 620,000 troops died, an estimated two-thirds from disease rather than combat. This number represented about 2 percent of the American population, and far more than the casualties of any previous conflict of the United States. It is not surprising, therefore, that several of the terms born during that conflict incorporate the word “dead.”
Ever Heard a Real Rebel Yell?: August/September 2009Many Union soldiers wrote about the soul-chilling yells of attacking Confederates. Thanks to the Museum of the Confederacy, you can hear the real thing on a CD featuring the authentic yell as performed by two elderly Confederate veterans. The two voices have also been multiplied and blended to simulate the terrifying sound of a regiment …
Resources: August/September 2009P. 22, Military Manuals of the Civil War Read Dennis Hart Mahan’s An Elementary Treatise on Advanced-Guard, Out-posts… online with Google Book Search. P. 24, Field Guide Daryl Black was recently named executive director of the Chatta­­nooga History Center (chattanoogahistory.com). Further reading on Civil War Chatta­nooga: The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga, …
Three Views of the Lincoln-Douglass Dynamic: August/September 2009In the past two years four authors have undertaken joint biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Contextualizing the overlapping roles of these complex personalities proves to be a fascinating and challenging litmus test of the political values not only of two iconic individuals but also of the historians interpreting them.
Two Ways to Approach One War: August/September 2009Two Civil Wars await anyone seeking to understand our transformative national trial.
Abraham Lincoln Museums – An OverviewFour museums dedicated to presenting the life of Abraham Lincoln, each one different in character, are examined in detail, with photos.
Standing TallLincoln sat for this unique photograph—“stood” would actually be a more accurate description—sometime in the summer of 1860.
Tornado Strikes Stones River National Battlefield ParkOn April 10, 2009, an EF4 tornado tore through the Stones River National Battlefield Park near Murfreesboro, TN. Several weeks later, felled trees still testify to its path and pose a risk of greater damage from fire than from the tornado itself.
Welcome Aboard USS Water Witch: June/July 2009USS Water Witch is scheduled to be commissioned on April 4, 2009, at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Ga. That weekend also marks the first time the painstakingly replicated vessel will open to the public. “This is a very faithful reproduction of the USS Water Witch, which has the distinction of serving …

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Resources: June/July 2009Toward a Better Understanding of George McClellan, P. 28 McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Ethan S. Rafuse, Indiana University Press Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862, Joseph L. Harsh, Kent State George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, Stephen W. Sears, Da …
Vicksburg: From Mint Juleps to Bomb BurstsVicksburg 1863, by Winston Groom, Alfred A. Knopf Winston Groom is a first-rate spinner of yarns, and like the tales of his most famous fictional character, Forrest Gump, his accounts seamlessly transport readers into the story. Vicksburg 1863 is Groom’s second foray into Civil War history, and though he uncovers no new material in chronicling …
Glory: Reflections on a Civil War Classic: June/July 2009Nearly 20 years have passed since Glory, director Edward Zwick’s treatment of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, made its debut in December 1989.
Mary Liked the Clean-Shaven Look  In February 1861, longtime Illinois residents Abraham and Mary Lincoln moved their family to Washington, D.C., where the new president took up residence in the war-riven White House armed with a reassuring new image: that of a bearded statesman. Lincoln had begun growing his now-iconic whiskers only weeks after winning the 1860 election.   …
Resources: April/May 2009Field Guide, P. 22 The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust has released Volume 7 of its 2008 journal, Fredericksburg History and Biography. Included in it is “From Foxcroft to Fredericksburg: Captain Sewell Gray of the 6th Maine Infantry,” by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White, with more on the Wilderness. Total War?, P. 28 Books by …
What Do We Owe the Indians?Paul VanDevelder writes about the troubled history of the 562 Native American nations, their 371 treaties with the United States, and the emerging importance of natural resources found on Native American lands.
Medicine Bill Comstock – Saga of the Leatherstocking ScoutMedicine Bill Comstock, descendant of James Fenimore Cooper, brought his uncle's mythical Natty Bumppo to life on the Great Plains as a hunter, trapper and cultural go-between.
Interview with George Custer Expert James DonovanJames Donovan, author and George Custer expert, covers new ground in the story of the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in his new book A Terrible Glory.
Key Third Winchester Site Saved: April/May 2009Third Winchester, the bloodiest battle to take place in the Shenandoah Valley, will likely draw more visitors than ever now that a larger portion of the battlefield is being preserved
Grant and Lee: MIA in New York: April/May 2009Visitors to the New-York His­tori­cal Society’s ongoing ex­hibit on Ulysses S. Grant and Rob­ert E. Lee will likely be intrigued by the first artifacts they see: artwork created by the legendary com­manders themselves long before they were famous.
Let the Chips Fall Where They Will: April/May 2009Historians interested in the Confederacy navigate in perilous interpretive waters.
Looking Back Fondly on Glory: 20 Years LaterAndre Braugher, one of the stars from the classic Civil War film Glory, is interviewed by Jay Wertz.
Daily Quiz for March 16, 2009This Tammany Hall politician went through several scandals during his career including escorting a known prostitute, Fanny White, into the chambers of the New York state Assembly and taking her with h
Mothers of the Lost CauseAn army of determined Southern women buried the dead but kept the mythic Confederate legacy of the Lost Cause alive
They’re Called Killing Grounds for a Reason: February/March 2009A 10-year study of the geomorphology of Civil War battlefields reveal connection between geological features and casualties.
Go To Gettysburg!: February/March 2009Noted historian Gary W. Gallagher gives his perspective in the Civil War Times bi-monthly column Blue and Gray.
Old Abe’s Favorite Photo?Looking at Lincoln by Harold Holzer, is a study of the 16th president through imagery.
Fighting Dick and his Fighting MenOn a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor’s Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. “Men without guns, many without hats,” one witness recalled, “all mingled with teamsters riding their mules with dangling traces.” A relentless barrage of Union attacks on the …
Lincoln Defines the War Powers: February/March 2009James M. McPherson may be the most distinguished of the current generation of Civil War historians, and he is surely one of the most prolific. His latest offering, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, traces Lincoln’s struggle to master the responsibility that would inevitably dominate his presidency.
Decision at The Battle of Five Forks – 1865The headstrong Gen. Philip Sheridan (left) had little patience for the careful battle tactics of Gen. Gouverneur Warren (right) and replaced him at Five Forks. But in 1880 Sheridan would be forced to justify his actions before a court of inquiry in New York. Photograph: Library of Congress Did Philip Sheridan forever tarnish a major …
The Mysterious Death of Judge George WytheThe murderer of Thomas Jefferson’s mentor, George Wythe, was acquitted because blacks were forbidden to testify against whites in Virginia’s courts.
Letter from American History – Humanizing Abe LincolnThe year 2009 marks the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, and it provides an occasion to honor the memory of America’s greatest president: the savior of the Union and the emancipator of America’s slaves. The festivities have already begun, and they will continue for many months. Yet it would be a missed opportunity if we …
Shiloh’s False HeroIn exchange for waving a white flag, Benjamin Prentiss was hailed as the savior of the “Hornets’ Nest”
Letters from the Front – Correspondence Spanning Two Centuries of American WarCorrespondence from a two-century span of American wars, from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. Several feature audio recordings, including Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., reading the letter he wrote home about his experiences as a POW in World War II.
Ox Hill Battlefield: Honoring Second Bull Run’s Bloody PostscriptThe Battle of Ox Hill or Chantilly, in Virginia, has been commemorated with a new battlefield park along Rt. 608. The Sept. 1, 1862, battle was fought in a rainstorm and resulted in the death of Union generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens.
Daily Quiz for October 25, 2008As commander of the Army of the West during the Mexican War, he captured Santa Fe in August 1846 without a shot being fired.
Diehard Rebels: Jason Phillips and Aaron Sheehan-Dean InterviewIt’s perfectly feasible to imagine that if the South had successfully left the Union, the West would also have split away Did Confederate soldiers lose the will to fight as the outlook began to appear bleak for the South late in the war? Many scholars have argued that case, but Jason Phillips of Mississippi State …
Nicholas Biddle:The Civil War’s First BloodJust days after Fort Sumter, a pro-Confederate mob in Maryland turned ex-slave Nicholas Biddle into the war's first casualty.
Decision 1864:Hawks vs. Doves—Sound Familiar?The Democratic and Republican platforms are highlighted in the presidential race of 1864.
Union General Daniel SicklesOn two separate battlefields, Union General Daniel Sickles carelessly exposed his men -- and the entire army -- to possible defeat. Only the quick actions of other Federal officers managed to compensate for Sickles' errors and keep his mistakes from becoming disasters. It was life as usual for 'Devil Dan.'
Victorio’s WarFor Apache chief Victorio, the decision to make war on the United States was a matter of rights and spirituality. Known as the "greatest Indian general" ever, he terrorized settlers and the army, surpassing Geronimo's feats and ferocity.
Ask MHQ – Did Confederate Generals Consider Attacking Washington?Did Confederate generals ever consider a direct attack on Washington during the Civil War? Noted author Steven A. Sears answers that question for a Military History Quarterly reader.
When Railroad Guns RuledFor 85 years, railroad guns were regarded as the ultimate weapon, large enough to do substantial damage but movable to wherever railroad tracks could go. Unparalleled bunker busters, they also terrorized civilians by firing on cities from afar.
Table of Contents – October 2008 Civil War TimesSubscribe to Civil War Times magazine today! FEATURES Stumbling in Sherman’s Path by Noah Andre Trudeau Confederate troops had numerous opportunities to stop, or at least delay, the March to the Sea, but they repeatedly botched the job ‘I Saw Him First in Lexington Va.’ By Mary Roy Dawson Edwards A rare letter by a …
Stumbling in Sherman’s PathStandard histories of Major General William T. Sherman’s celebrated March to the Sea invariably portray the Confederacy’s response as inconsequential. Such broad generalizations may assuage wounded Southern pride, but they also rewrite history.
Recently Discovered Memoir about Gen. T. J. ‘Stonewall’ JacksonAn overlooked manuscript in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, contains a memoir about Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson by a man who was with him from VMI to Manassas.
O. T. Reilly – Relic Collector and Early Antietam Tour GuideO. T. Reilly was an early relic collector and tour guide living near the Antietam battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland. This article includes photos of many of the relics he collected.
Shot by Cupid’s Bow – Fanny and John Brown GordonConfederate General John Brown Gordon and his wife Fanny shared a loyal and passionate marriage for nearly 50 years. She spent much of the Civil War nursing him as he recovered from wounds and illness.
The 9 Lives of General John Brown GordonIndestructible Confederate general John B. Gordon survived multiple wounds and serious illnesses during the Civil War. From First Manassas to Appomattox, he proved nothing could keep a good man down.
Daily Quiz for June 12, 2008This general commanded the Army of the Potomac in its disastrous assault on Lee`s positions at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.
Worn Out, Hungry and Broke: Confederate Discontent after GettysburgThe Civil War letters of two North Carolina soldiers reveal discontent in the post-Gettysburg Army of Northern Virginia.
Feeling the Past at GettysburgThe presence of the past can be felt at the Gettysburg battlefield, where so many Civil War soldiers laid down their lives.
Field Guide Vicksburg: Gibraltar of the ConfederacyTake a photographic tour of the National Military Park at Vicksburg, Mississippi, with this collection of photos of monuments and terrain at the "Confederate Gibraltar."
John Burns of GettysburgBret Harte's poem, John Burns of Gettysburg, celebrates an elderly civilian who took up arms in defense of his home.
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural SpeechAbraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural speech addressed the need to prosecute the Civil War to a successful conclusion, but with "malice toward none."
Belva Lockwood: ‘I cannot vote, but can be voted for’Belva Lockwood was the first woman to become a candidate for the American presidency. Her 1884 campaign stimulated media attention and social controversy.
Reimaginining the SouthA Southerner learns the skeleton in her family closet wore a coat of Union blue.
‘A Stupid Old Useless Fool’William Nelson Pendleton was far more effective behind a pulpit than he was as Robert E. Lee's chief of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia.
Killers in Green CoatsHiram Berdan's green-coated marksmen of the 1st United States Sharp Shooters made things miserable for the Confederates around Yorktown, Virginia.
The Ghost and Mr. MumlerThe well-known photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln with her husband's 'ghost' behind her was only one of many hoaxes perpetuated by photographer William Mumler.

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Table of Contents – March 2008 – America’s Civil WarSubscribe toAmerica’s Civil Warmagazine today! FEATURES My 15 Minutes Out of the AtticBy Robert Lee Hodge From the cover of Confederates in the Attic to a “Primetime Live” television feature, a reenactor discovered the fleeting nature of fame. The Magic of New Old PhotographsClaude Levet takes reenactors back 145 years by using wet-plate collodion photography, …
Death and Civil War America: Interview with Drew Gilpin FaustDrew Gilpin Faust discusses her book, "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War," a thoughtful study of the impact of the war's massive death toll on society and government.
USS Galena: De-evolution of a WarshipThe ironclad USS Galena failed to live up to its "impervious" reputation and ended its career as a wooden-walled warship, but it saved lives at the Battle of Mobile Bay.
The Angola Train WreckNearly 50 people died and many more injured in the 1867 train wreck known as the Angola Horror. John D. Rockefeller narrowly missed being one of them.
Letters From Readers – January 2008 – Civil War TimesDon’t Forget Camp Morton In the October 2007 “Ask Civil War Times” section, a reader asked whether there was a Union equivalent to the Confederacy’s horrific Andersonville Prison. Your answer did not include Camp Morton, the infamous Union facility in Indianapolis, which I wrote about in my recent book Den of Misery: Indiana’s Civil War …
Letter From Civil War Times – January 2008What brought about the defeat of the Confederacy? For many years the prevailing theory was fairly simple: The Confederacy lost by a force of arms, beaten down on battlefields such as Shiloh?(see P. 30) by numerically superior Union armies. But historians started to revisit that argument in the 1990s. Some contended that the Confederacy ultimately …
Coming Apart From the Inside: How Internal Strife Brought Down the ConfederacyPoliticians and generals on the Confederate side have long been lionized as noble warriors who heroically fought for an honorable cause that had little chance of succeeding. In reality, the Confederate leadership was rife with infighting.
Daily Quiz for November 4, 2007He said "I am not a Virginian, but an American."
Letter From America’s Civil War – January 2008Lincoln’s Relentless Quest for Victory Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant were each genuinely honest, decent, compassionate men. But each of them could be utterly ruthless when it came to military decisions. Early in 1864, Lincoln decided that he and Grant, bound by their powerful wills, together could increase the Union’s chances of ending the …
America’s Civil War Monuments: Hartford’s Stately Bridge Over Troubled WatersGeorge W. Keller's Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Hartford was a first-of-a-kind memorial in the United States.
The Union’s Bloody Miscue at Spotsylvania’s MuleshoeUlysses S. Grant's human battering ram assaults failed to break Robert E. Lee's position at the Muleshoe despite twenty hours of fighting at the Bloody Angle.
The Day of Doom: The Battle of Gravelotte/Saint-PrivatOn a single day of the Franco-Prussian War, the armies of Helmuth von Moltke and François Achille Bazaine nearly annihilated each other in an epic slaughter at Gravelotte/Saint-Privat that would not be matched until World War I.
Singer’s Secret Service Corps: Causing Chaos During the Civil WarEdgar C. Singer and his Secret Service Corps pioneered underwater mine and submarine research for the Confederacy from tiny La Vaca, Texas.
Letter From American History – December 2007An Election Unlike Any Other Over the course of the next 12 months a presidential election unlike any we’ve seen in American history is likely to unfold. Not since 1952 has the race for the White House been so wide open, with neither an incumbent president nor vice president on the ballot. This unusual circumstance …
The Worst Battlefield Blunders: Five Battles That Ended BadlyBattlefield blunders can be as decisive as brilliant tactics. Five of the worst military blunders came at the battles of Gallipoli, Fredericksburg, Dien Bien Phu, Adwa, and Little Bighorn.
Sculpting a Scapegoat: Ambrose Burnside at AntietamA fresh examination of Major General Ambrose Burnside's actions at the Battle of Antietam suggests he was made into a scapegoat for others' failings.
Grenade!: The Little-Known Weapon of the Civil WarGrenades were used in the Civil War from Vicksburg to Petersburg, but they were often as dangerous to their users as to their targets.
Letter from Civil War Times – October 2007Madness Great and Small The War Between the States was madness manifest on a grand scale in its enormous loss of life, limb and treasure. But madness at a more personal level also shaped the course of the war in ways less obvious but just as significant as the struggles on battlefields. How, for example, …
America’s Civil War: Arming the South With Guns From the NorthConfederate battlefield victories depended in part on supplies of Northern weapons, particularly early in the war. William J. Hardee and Paul J. Semmes were sent North to procure those guns.
Daily Quiz for August 15, 2007This general commanded the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Chancellorsville:
Wild West: Rescue of the Mountain Meadows OrphansIn the fall of 1857, a party of emigrants from Arkansas camped in southern Utah Territory at Mountain Meadows, a lush alpine oasis on the Spanish Trail where wagon trains rested before crossing the Mojave Desert. The party was made up of about a dozen large, prosperous families and their hiredhands, driving about 18 wagons …
Table of Contents – September 2007 – Civil War TimesSubscribe toCivil War Timesmagazine today! FEATURES The Fierce Pride of the Texas Brigade By Susannah U. Bruce Duty, honor and a fervent desire to preserve the storied reputation of the Lone Star State are what drove Robert E. Lee’s favorite shock troops. The Birth of Photojournalism By Kevin Morrow How pioneering Civil War cameramen such …
William J. Palmer: Forgotten Union General of America’s Civil WarWilliam J. Palmer raised the Anderson Troop, a mounted contingent of elite scouts, then recruited the 15th Pennsyl­vania Cavalry before being sent on spying missions that landed him in a Richmond prison.
Unraveling the Myths of Burnside BridgeIt is clear that Union general Ambrose Burnside’s failures at Antietam cannot be written off to ineptness or petty insubordination, but what really did happen at "Burnside's Bridge?"
Table of Contents – September 2007 – America’s Civil WarSubscribe toAmerica’s Civil Warmagazine today! FEATURES America’s Bloodiest DayGeorge McClellan’s lucky find of Robert E. Lee’s Special Orders No. 191 led to a fight near Antietam Creek on what became the bloodiest day in American history—September 17, 1862. Battle of Antietam: Union Surgeons and Civilian Volunteers Help the WoundedBy John H. NelsonThousands of men were …
Letter From America’s Civil War – September 2007September is America’s cruelest month. The three most costly events in human terms suffered by our country occurred in that ninth month of the year. On September 11, 2001, jets fell out of clear blue skies to kill roughly 3,000 people in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Gulf of Mexico spread its wrath …
Antietam Eyewitness AccountsEyewitness accounts from soldiers who experienced the carnage of Antietam, America's bloodiest day.
War’s Lingering Devastation In the Antietam ValleyWilliam Roulette's farmstead was in the middle of mayhem at the Battle of Antietam. Determined to rebuild, Roulette painstakingly detailed the devastating losses suffered by his famiiy.
Battle of Antietam: Union Surgeons and Civilian Volunteers Help the WoundedUnion surgeons and civilian volunteers struggled to cope with thousands of Antietam wounded with makeshift hospitals in barns and barnyards, houses and churches, haystacks, pastures and flimsy tents around Sharpsburg, Maryland.
William T. Sherman’s First Campaign of DestructionBefore Gen. Willliam T. Sherman made Georgia howl, he burned a path through Mississippi, waging a war of destruction that left Southern civilians just enough for survival but not enough to support Confederate military activity.
At Washington’s Gates: Jubal Early’s Chance to Take the CapitolIn July 1864, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early led a Confederate army to the gates of Washington. What stopped him from capturing the Northern capital and its president, Abraham Lincoln?

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Kit Carson’s Rescue RideThe Mexican War was over. The Santa Fe Trail, that 909-mile road of commerce which had become the pathway for military invasion, was once again bustling with trade caravans. The necessity of supplying the new American military outposts in New Mexico added to this traffic. The 1848 discovery of gold in California also led to …
Intelligence: The Secret War Within America’s Civil WarSpies, slaves, fake deserters, signal towers, and newspapers were all sources of intelligence Union and Confederate commanders used to peer into the enemy's plans.
Daily Quiz for June 24, 2007When the Civil War ended, former Union soldier Dorence Atwater sought this person`s help to publish a list of soldiers who had died while interned at the Confederate Andersonville prison camp in Georg
Fighting and Dying for the Colors at GettysburgNearly two months after the battle of Gettysburg 24-year-old Isaac Dunsten of the 105th Pennsylvania Infantry lay on officers’ row at Camp Letterman, the large tent hospital established just east of the town. On July 2, 1863, the second day of the battle, a bullet had shattered the lieutenant’s right thigh. A splint was applied …
Vietnam War: Operation Dewey CanyonThe primary purpose of audacious Operation Dewey Canyon was to kill North Vietnamese Army troops and deny them supplies and access to the densely populated areas of the coastal lowlands. Controversy arose when U.S. Marines crossed into Laos.
Alabama governor signs slavery apology2007-06-01 | Gov. Bob Riley signed a resolution Thursday expressing 'profound regret' for Alabama's role in slavery and apologizing for slavery's wrongs and lingering effects.

Load the Hopper and Turn the Crank: Rapid-Fire Guns of the Civil WarRapid-fire weapons like the Gatling gun and the Coffee Mill gun were Civil War novelties, technology that was ahead of its time.
Spent Bullets Tell a Story at Antietam2007-05-14 | Buried beneath a sun-dappled corn field in western Maryland lies detritus from the millions of rounds fired during the battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in American history.

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig: World War I’s Worst GeneralVisiting the Somme battlefield in northern France is largely a matter of going from one Commonwealth Graves Commission cemetery to another. The graveyards are everywhere, some of them very small, comprising only a handful of white Portland marble stones, many bearing the inscription, A Soldier of the Great War / Known unto God. One sees …
American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the CraterLieutenant Freeman S. Bowley was fighting for his life in the man-made hellhole that was the Petersburg Crater when he noticed that the former slaves in his company of the 30th United States Colored Troops were not the only men of color wearing Union blue and dodging Confederate Minié balls on the stifling hot morning …
John Singleton Mosby’s RevengeA ragged line of Union soldiers stood in a field along Goose Creek in Rectortown, Virginia, on November 6, 1864. They jostled, chatted and joked with each other, pleased to be outdoors on a brisk autumn day. As prisoners of war these 27 Yankees had been confined to a brick store building in the village, …
Timeline: The Abolition of the Slave TradeWilliam Wilberforce waged a long campaign to convince Britain to abolish the slave trade.
Visiting Stonewall Jackson’s Left Arm at ChancellorsvilleGeneral Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's amputated arm got its own grave at Ellwood Cemetery in Orange County, Virginia.
Boston Combusts: The Fugitive Slave Case of Anthony BurnsAn eruption in the nation's abolitionist capital nearly seven years before Fort Sumter foreshadowed the irreconcilable divide between North and South and the fracture to come.

By Chuck Leddy

Survivor Frank Finkel’s Lasting StandMany men claimed to have been survivors of Custer's command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but Frank Finkel was the genuine article.
Custer’s Last Stand Still Stands UpThe Battle of the Little Bighorn is like a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle on the south-central Montana landscape - the stuff of legend and historical gamesmanship.
Letters From Readers: May 2007 America’s Civil War MagazineIRON BRIGADE Bonding With the Past Great stuff on the Iron Brigade in the March issue! I’m a reenactor, and several years ago when I participated in a living history event for the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum, Bill Brewster was kind enough to take a few of us (Scott Cross was present) on a tour of …
America’s Civil War: Where Does Private Jemison RestWhere is the final resting place of Confederate Private Edwin F. Jemison, killed at Malvern Hill?
Who Captured Union Colonel Percy WyndhamWho really did capture Percy Wyndham, adventurer, son of an English lord, and a colonel in the 1st New Jersey Cavalry during America's Civil War?
Letter From April 2007 Civil War TimesThe Age of Machines and Steel It will hardly be revelatory to most people reading these pages to point out that the Civil War materialized on the cusp of a technological revo­lution. What may be surprising to some is the scope of this transformation, and the depth to which it affected everything from battlefield tactics …
Burning High Bridge: The South’s Last HopeIn the final week of the war in Virginia, small villages, crossroads and railroad depots previously untouched by the fighting took on enormous importance as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant sought to bring General Robert E. Lee to bay and the Confederate chieftain struggled to escape a Federal encirclement. Among the most important of these …
Letters From Readers — March 2007 America’s Civil War MagazineRemember Corporal-Captain Radar on M*A*S*H?My thanks for publishing the story of my telegrapher great-grandfather, Seargent Prentiss Peabody. There is one small correction that my family would appreciate. I want to point out to your editors the proper spelling of a family name and not a military title. Peabody’s name was Seargent. Note the different spelling …
William H. Carney: 54th Massachusetts Soldier and First Black U.S. Medal of Honor RecipientWilliam H. Carney's grit with the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner earned him the distinction of being the first black soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.
Ulysses S. Grant: The ‘Unconditional Surrender ContinuesFor most general officers, a headline-making victory accompanied by the abject surrender of an entire enemy army, such as Ulysses “Unconditional Surrender” Grant accomplished at Fort Donelson in February 1862, would have been quite enough for one career. But Grant would make the most of two more opportunities for practicing the “art of surrender,” starting …
Letters From Readers — February 2007 Civil War Times MagazineLongstreet vs. JacksonJeffry Wert’s cover story “Lee’s Best Subordinate” in the August 2006 issue is in my opinion wrong. James Longstreet was not Lee’s best general. Longstreet was a failure when given independent command. His conduct at the Battle of Seven Pines, in which he was in charge of 30,000 troops and provided the primary …
Letter from Civil War Times Magazine — February 2007When the Guns Stop Firing Why is it that wars never end as conveniently and definitively as they are supposed to? It should be so simple, according to movies, television shows and even some of the news coverage in the past: The enemies lay down their guns, everyone pats each other on the back for …
Letters from Readers — January 2007 America’s Civil WarFiring the First Shot Regarding the July issue, I especially liked Dana Shoaf’s editorial about the Wisler house and J.D. Petruzzi’s fine article on the first shot at Gettysburg. Like countless others, I’ve risked life and limb to climb the steep little road berm to pay my respects to the 8th Illinois marker. I couldn’t …
Battle of Chickamauga and Gordon Granger’s Reserve CorpsMajor General Gordon Granger's Reserve Corps of the Army of the Cumberland faced hard fighting at Chickamauga.
Letter From January 2007 Civil War TimesMore to War Than Fighting When you stop to consider everything that was involved in the day-to-day experience of a commanding general in the Civil War, you begin to wonder how they ever found any time to fight battles. It is natural for us to think of generals mounted atop noble steeds parading along the …
Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth of ‘Unconditional Surrender Begins at Fort DonelsonIn January 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met in secret near Casablanca, Morocco, for their second wartime summit meeting. At the final press conference on January 24, Roosevelt announced to the world that the Allies would not stop until they had the “unconditional surrender” of Germany, Italy and Japan. It was an impulsive …
Sapper Attack in the A Shau During the Vietnam WarFire Support Base Cunningham dominated the A Shau Valley. The sappers of the North Vietnamese Army's 812th Regiment were ordered to destroy it.
General Bragg’s Impossible Dream: Take KentuckyThe 1862 invasion of Kentucky had great promise, but disappointing results.

By Frank van der Linden

Letter from November 2006 Military HistoryCareer CrossroadsSome turns affect not only lives, but how posterity regards those lives. Military history abounds with heroes and villains who made larger-than-life names for themselves. It is also replete with fascinating also-rans who, either because of their own decisions or simply as a matter of circumstance, never quite achieved what they wanted. Looking back …
Battle of Cold Harbor: The Folly and HorrorThe blame for a broad command failure that led to 7,000 unnecessary Union casualties in a single hour applies to more than just the commander in chief.

By Robert N. Thompson

Letter from November 2006 America’s Civil War Magazine“Tin can on a shingle,” some Union soldiers would say upon seeing Monitor; “Cheesebox on a raft,” quipped other Yankees. Both are fine descriptions with a homespun American flavor and culinary twist that work well and conjure up an apt image for John Ericsson’s vessel. But boxes and tin cans were far too rustic references …
USS Monitor: A Cheesebox on a RaftSwedish-born John Ericsson's fight to get the U.S. Navy to accept his "cheesebox-on-a-raft" design for ironclads was almost as tough as the resulting duel between the Monitor and the Virginia (Merrimac).
America’s Civil War: Why the Irish Fought for the UnionThe Irish experience in the Civil War has probably received more attention — and celebration — than that of any other ethnic group. Mention of the Irish commonly conjures up images of the Irish Brigade’s doomed charge at Fredericksburg, of Father William Corby granting absolution before Gettysburg, or possibly the mourning wolfhound at the base …
Letters from Readers — October 2006 Civil War TimesAndersonville vs. Camp Douglas In Lon L. Leapley’s letter (“Mail Call,” June 2006) he says he had never heard of Camp Douglas, Ill., until he recently saw a TV documentary about it on The History Channel. He then hastily declares that it was a worse prison than Andersonville in Georgia. This is simply not true, …
Letter From October 2006 Civil War TimesThe Drive for War What is it that ultimately causes a person to willfully endure the horrors of combat, and if need be, sacrifice his or her life? Certainly the noble inducements of patriotism, honor, belief in a cause or the defense of one’s home are strong motivations. Then there are factors such as a …
American’s Civil War: Collision at Sabine Crossroads During the Red River CampaignConfederate Major General Richard Taylor had only 11,000 troops to oppose Major General Nathaniel P. Banks' 25,000 Federals, but as they closed in on the town of Mansfield, La., he found a place to make a stand.

By Pierre Comtois

Battle of Gettysburg: General George Sears Greene at Culp’s HillGeneral George Sears Greene led way on Culp's Hill on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
America’s Civil War: Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s Cavalry Raid in 1863Colonel Grierson, who led the raid, lacked the flair of Confederate counterparts like J.E.B. Stuart, but his intelligence and creativity made him an excellent leader. After his raid succeeded, illustrators for Northern newspapers like Harper's Weekly gave him a dashing image to match his accomplishments.

By Bruce J. Dinges

America’s Civil War: Defense of Little Round TopUnion Colonel Joshua Chamberlain has long been lauded as the hero of Gettysburg's Little Round Top. But do Chamberlain and the 20th Maine deserve all the credit, or did he have some unheralded help?
America’s Civil War: Little Round Top RegimentsRenowned for their valorous stand at Gettysburg, the Little Round Top Regiments saw many more days of combat, glory and horror before the Civil War ended.
Battle of Santa Rosa IslandWhen Confederate troops set out to retaliate against Union soldiers at Fort Pickens, they began a comedy of errors that was played out in the sand dunes of Santa Rosa Island. The stakes were no laughing matter -- control of the port city of Pensacola.

By Gary R. Rice

Battle of RaymondIn his push toward Vicksburg, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant purposely tried to shield his inexperienced young subordinate,James B. McPherson, from the enemy. But Confederate Brig. Gen. John Gregg was not so concerned with McPherson's welfare.

By Al W. Goodman, Jr.

Articles 5

Battle of Gettysburg FinaleGrievously wounded in body and spirit, the Army of Northern Virginia limped painfully away from Gettysburg while Union commander George Gordon Meade followed slowly -- too slowly, thought Abraham Lincoln.
America’s Civil War: The Fall of RichmondWhile Jefferson Davis and his stunned Cabinet crowded onto a refugee-jammed train, thousands of less exalted Richmond residents wandered the fire-reddened streets of the capital.

By Ken Bivin

Battle of Salem Church: Final Federal Assault at ChancellorsvilleWhile a dazed 'Fighting Joe' Hooker reeled from the brilliant Confederate flank attack at Chancellorsville, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick fought his way past Rebel defenders to attack the enemy rear. At Salem Church, he tried to open a second front -- and possibly save the day.

By George Rogan

America’s Civil War: Expedition to Destroy Dismal Swamp CanalEager to improve the regiment's somewhat tarnished reputation, Colonel Rush Hawkins' 9th New York Zouaves set off through North Carolina's Dismal Swamp to attack the canal at South Mills. What followed was not exactly what Hawkins had in mind.

By Joseph F. von Deck

Letter From the September 2006 Civil War Times MagazineThe Underdog Days of Summer America loves an underdog, for obvious reasons. After all, we were an underdog from the second when feet hit the shore at Jamestown. If you were taking bets around the rest of the world on the prospect of America’s survival before, during and after the Revolution, you would have found …
Battle of Antietam: Two Great American Armies Engage in CombatThe opposing armies at Antietam were two very different forces commanded by two very different men.

By Ted Alexander

Nathan Bedford ForrestOutside a Kentucky town in December 1861, a Confederate lieutenant colonel makes his debut as a red-faced, saber-swinging terror -- and battlefield genius. His name is Nathan Bedford Forrest.

By William J. Stier

Battle of WaynesboroughAt Waynesborough, Georgia, Fighting Joe Wheeler's Rebels get a rough time from a very unlikely foe -- Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick.

By Angela Lee

Battle Of Stones RiverWhile an unwary Union artillery captain -- Warren P. Edgarton -- took his horses for water, 4,400 battle-hardened Confederates were massing to unleash a devastating pre-dawn attack.

By Robert C. Cheeks

Battle of Antietam: Federal Flank Attack at Dunker ChurchWith Union Major General Joseph Hooker's I Corps lying shattered in the blood-soaked cornfield at Antietam, Brigadier General George Greene's 'Bully Boys' somehow managed to punch a salient in the Confederate line. But would they be able to hold it?

By Robert C. Cheeks

Battle of Peachtree CreekNear the sluggish creek on the outskirts of Atlanta, new Confederate commander John Bell Hood struck the first 'manly blow' for Atlanta,living up to his lifelong reputation as a fighter--but accomplishing little. It would be a bad omen for all Hood's subsequent campaigns.

By Phil Noblitt

Battle of Pea RidgeConfederate General Earl Van Dorn expected to march breezily through Missouri, capture St. Louis and fall on Ulysses S. Grant in Tennessee. But at Elkhorn Tavern in northern Arkansas, an outnumbered Union force had other ideas.
Battle of Ox HillWith Union General John Pope reeling in defeat after the Battle of Second Manassas, Stonewall Jackson confidently set out to block Pope's retreat. It would be easy pickings--so Jackson thought.

By Robert James

Battle of Gettysburg: Fury at Bliss FarmBack and forth, for 24 hours, soldiers at Gettysburg contested possession of a no man's land with an incongruous name--Bliss farm.

By John M. Archer

Battle of Gettysburg — Day TwoIf Robert E. Lee's bold plan of attack had been followed on Day 2 at Gettysburg, there might never have been a third day of fighting. As it was, confusion and personal differences between commanders would severely affect the Confederate assault on Cemetery Ridge.
Battle of Dinwiddie Court HouseUlysses S. Grant sent his trusted cavalry commander Phil Sheridan to flank Robert E. Lee out of Petersburg. The crossroads hamlet of Dinwiddie Court House soon became the focal point for one of the most pivotal cavalry battles of the war.

By Mark J. Crawford

Battle of Belmont: Ulysses S. Grant Takes CommandWith Union and Confederate troops jockeying for position in neutral Kentucky, an inexperienced brigadier general -- Ulysses S. Gran- - led his equally green Federal troops on a risky foray along the Kentucky-Missouri border.

By Max Epstein

Battle of Cold HarborNot until World War I would so many men die in so little time. Why didn't Northerners hear about Grant's botched battle of Cold Harbor?

By David E. Long

Abraham Lincoln Takes the HeatCartoonists & commentators, politicians & publishers, Southerners & Northerners--everyone seemed to feel free to lampoon Abraham Lincoln. How the president responded revealed his greatness.

By Harold Holzer

British Textiles Clothe the WorldHow did Britain come to dominate the global production of cloth?

By Claire Hopley

Hoodwinked During America’s Civil War: Confederate Military Deception‘In the conditions of real war, the feeling of uncertainty is magnified, and this makes the opponent much more sensitive to crafty deception — so that even the most threadbare ruse has succeeded time after time.’ — Sir Basil Liddell Hart Desperate times require desperate measures, and in warfare few are more cunning — or …
17th Maine Infantry in the Battle of GettysburgThe 17th Maine helped transform a Gettysburg wheatfield into a legend.

By Jeffry D. Wert

James Longstreet: Robert E. Lee’s Most Valuable SoldierThe words resonate through Confederate history like an unwelcome truth. As General Robert E. Lee made preparations for an assault on the center of the Union line at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, his senior subordinate, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, voiced objections. At one point in the discussion, Longstreet recounted his experience as a soldier …
Battle of Gettysburg: Who Really Fired the First ShotWhen Lieutenant Marcellus Jones touched off a shot in the early morning of July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, he could not have realized that his bullet would create a controversy argued over for decades.
Battle of Antietam: 7th Maine’s Senseless Charge On the Piper FarmIt had no effect on the battle — other than adding to the casualty lists — and there was no good reason for ordering it in the first place. But for the whim of a subpar brigade commander, whose sobriety some held in question, it never would have happened. Yet late on the afternoon of …
The Real Men of DeadwoodThe 1870s Western mining town was chock-full of rough-and-tumble characters, many of whom -- like Wild Bill Hickok and Al Swearengen -- reappear in fine fettle on the hit HBO television series Deadwood.

By Mary Franz

Sioux Chief GallSoldiers gave the Hunkpapa leader his nickname because he was a dashing warrior who effectively teamed up with Sitting Bull in the 1870s. But after his surrender in 1881, Gall stood up for cooperation and peace at Standing Rock.
George Smalley: Reporting from Battle of AntietamNew York Tribune reporter George Smalley scooped the world with his vivid account of the Battle of Antietam.
Account Of The Battle of ShilohIn the aftermath of a staggering Confederate surprise attack, skulking Union fugitives huddled alongside the bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River near Shiloh.
Battle of Shiloh: Shattering MythsEvents that have been distorted or enhanced by veterans and early battlefield administrators have become part of the accepted story of the April 1862 battle -- until now. Case in point: The Sunken Road wasn't.
Robert E. Lee and His Horse TravellerRarely have horse and rider gone so well together as Traveller and Robert E. Lee.
Leonidas Polk: Southern Civil War GeneralUnion artillery brought a deadly end to the career of clergyman-turned-soldier Leonidas Polk.
Hoodwinked During America’s Civl War: Union Military DeceptionHoodwinked During the Civl War: Union Military Deception
Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862 (Book Review)Reviewed by Chrys AnkenyBy Hank H. CoxCumberland House, Nashville, Tenn., 2005 Civil War buffs rarely pay it any mind, even though it occurred in 1862 and had more than a marginal body count, and President Abraham Lincoln intervened in it. Western history buffs usually ignore it as well, even though Sioux Indians were involved and …
Robert Charles Tyler: Last American Civil War Confederate General Slain in CombatAgainst impossible odds and following orders issued half a year earlier, Robert Charles Tyler became the last Confederate general slain in Civil War combat.
Battle of Fisher’s HillGeneral George Crook's flank attack at Fisher's Hill swept down on the Rebel left like a force of nature.
Siege Of Corinth By Henry Halleck in 1862For one Union general -- Henry Halleck -- the march into Mississippi continued straight on to Washington.
Trail of Black HawkOutnumbered and harried through trackless swamps, Black Hawk's starving band of Sauk and Fox Indians made a desperate stand along the Mississippi.
Ephraim Dodd: An American Civil War Union PrisonerShould a Texas Ranger expect justice or death from his Union captors?
Thomas A. Botts: An American Civil War Confederate PrisonerConfederates who survived the harsh conditions of Elmira Prison looked back fondly on one fellow inmate who did not: a good-natured man with an odd sense of style and a nickname to match.
CSS Albemarle: Confederate Ironclad in the American Civil WarAn unstoppable confederate war machine -- Albemarle -- finally meets its match against Union raiders.
Rufus Pettit: American Civil War Union Prison InspectorUnion prison inspector Rufus Pettit had ways of making people talk--even innocent people.
Champ Ferguson: An American Civil War Rebel GuerrillaWhen Rebel guerrilla Champ Ferguson showed up at your house, you could be sure of one thing: you were about to die.
Abraham Lincoln Prepares to Fight a Saber DuelOne morning in 1842, Abraham Lincoln stood on a Missouri Island, ready to fight a saber duel. What happened next would determine not only Lincoln's fate, but the future of America.
Union Officer Julian Bryant: A Voice for Black SoldiersUnion officer Julian Bryant used every tool at his disposal -- including influential family connections -- to win equal rights and fair treatment for black Union troops.
Kiowa Chief SatantaKiowa chief Satanta was one of the most complicated men ever to rise from the Great Plains--a diplomat and orator of his people who did his share of killing.
The Tule River WarFrom their earth-and-rock fortification at the base of a small, solitary mountain, the Yokuts of central California were determined to defend their land.
The Battle of White Bird Canyon: First Fight of the Nez PerceAfter young warriors killed some settlers in Idaho Territory, General O.O. Howard ordered Captain David Perry at Fort Lapwai to go get them, telling him, 'You must not get whipped.'
Frontiersman Bill GayFrontiersman Bill Gay shot his way to the hangman's noose in Montana.
The Civil War Experience: 1861-1865 (Book Review)Reviewed by Partick AlanBy Jay WertzPresidio Press Civil War enthusiasts are unable to rest until everyone they know stops tolerating their mania and starts sharing it. It is the great crusade that lies at the heart of the hobby, a mission that many a Civil War Times reader has sworn on a well-thumbed copy of …

Articles 6

Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War (Book Review)Reviewed by Craig SymondsBy Bruce LevinerOxford University Press There has been a lot of discussion in the last decade or so about black Confederates. Some of that discussion has questioned the number of African Americans who labored or bore arms on behalf of the Confederacy. The answer matters because if the number was large, it …
Dred Scott Decision: The Lawsuit That Started The Civil WarSlavery, threats of seccesion and other factors made America a tinderbox in 1857 -- all it needed was a match.
George Armstrong Custer: Between Myth and RealityReality and myth about George Custer still collide on the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

By Jeffry D. Wert

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: The Union’s Most Important Supply LineThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad survived numerous hardships of the Civil War in its service to the Union.
USS Indianola: Union Ironclad in the American Civil WarThe powerful Union ironclad Indianola was jinxed from the start--poor design and bad morale made the vessel an accident waiting to happen. Near Vicksburg, she ultimately fulfilled her ill-starred destiny.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.
American History: Harry Truman and the 1948 U.S. Presidential ElectionThe press and the polls agreed: Harry Truman was certain to lose. But instead of giving up, the president decided to 'give 'em hell.'
Account Of The Battle of the WildernessIn the dark, forbidding woods of Virginia's Wilderness, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stumbled blindly toward their first wartime encounter. Neither had a clear idea of his opponent's intentions, but each planned to do what he did best--attack.
Black Hawk WarOutnumbered and harried through trackless swamps, Black Hawk's starving band of Sauk Indians made a desperate stand along the Mississippi.
Battle of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry was the scene of an important 1862 battle in Lee's Maryland campaign and a prelude to 'Bloody Antietam.'
Second Boer WarAlthough not regular soldiers, Australian Lancers, Mounted Rifles, Bushmen and other colonials from Down Under gave the Boers reason to worry.
Confederacy’s Canadian Mission: Spies Across the BorderStealing secrets and causing trouble, Rebel spies in Canada waged a risky underground war across the Union's northern frontier.
Ely Parker: Iroquois Chief and Union OfficerA lifelong friend and trusted aide of Ulysses S. Grant, Ely Parker rose to the top in two worlds, that of his native Seneca Indian tribe and the white man's world at large. Through the Civil War and Reconstruction he strove to serve both worlds as best he could.
Silas Soule: Massachusetts AbolitionistDedicated Massachusetts abolitionist Silas Soule ironically gave his life for the red man, not the black.
Battle of Gaines’ Mill: U.S. Army Regulars to the RescueAs Robert E. Lee hammered Federal forces at Gaines' Mill, Brig. Gen. George Sykes proud division of Regulars held its post of honor on the Union right. The 'Old Army was showing its mettle to the new.
Siege of Port HudsonPort Hudson, like Vicksburg, was a tough nut to crack. But the Union's traditional superiority in firepower, personified by the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery, quickly went to work on the Rebel bastion.
Sergeant Milton Humphreys’ Concept of Indirect FireEighteen-year-old Sergeant Milton Humphreys changed the nature of artillery forever with his concept of indirect fire.
Battle of Fort PillowAs Nathan Bedford Forrest's tired, angry Confederates moved into place around Fort Pillow, their commander demanded its unconditional surrender. 'Should my demand be refused,' Forrest warned, 'I cannot be responsible for the fate of your command.'
Account Of The Battle of ChickamaugaOverconfident and overextended, the Union Army of the Cumberland advanced into the deep woods of northwest Georgia. Waiting Confederates did not intend for them to leave. At Chickamauga Creek, the two sides collided.
The 7th U.S. Infantry Service in the American Civil WarThe 7th U.S. Infantry's most powerful foe was John Barleycorn.
American Civil War: The New Bern RaidJohn Wood's swashbucklers set out to seize a Union fleet.
American Civil War: No Draft!Angry farmers turn a Wisconsin town into a battlefield when they riot against conscription in November 1862.
Lew Wallace’s American Civil War CareerLong before he published Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace rose from a career as an obscure small-town Indiana lawyer to take a prominent role in the Civil War.
American Civil War: The 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry RegimentThe Twenty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment included two future presidents and an Army Commander.
Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (Book Review)Reviewed by Robert CitinoBy Christopher Bayly and Tim HarperHarvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2005 The American view of the war with Japan begins at Pearl Harbor, proceeds through Midway, Guadalcanal and “island-hopping,” and ends with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For that reason alone, the new book by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper should be required reading. …
America’s Civil War: Loudoun RangersThe Quaker-dominated Loudoun Rangers openly defied Virginia tradition to serve the Union.
Sir Percy Wyndham: American Civil War Union Army’s Flamboyant English Cavalry CommanderColorful and charismatic, Sir Percy Wyndham served the Union Army as a cavalry commander.
Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864 (Book Review)Reviewed by Perry D. Jamieson, Air Force Historical Studies OfficeBy Earl J. HessUniversity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 2005 Many books describe Civil War military operations in remarkable detail, but prove disappointing when it comes to the subject of field fortifications. They mention the features on the battlefield, but leave the reader …
From Under Iron Eyelids: The Biography of James Henry Burton, Armorer to Three Nations (Book Review)Reviewed by Robert K. KrickBy Thomas K. TateAuthorHouse, www.authorhouse.com, Bloomington, Ind., 2005 Keeping ordnance supplied to its soldiers in the field must rank among the most amazing achievements of the nascent Confederate military establishment. The genius, efficiency and unflagg-ing energy that Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas displayed in meeting the needs of Southern armies makes …
The Confederates of Chappell Hill, Texas (Book Review)Reviewed by Robert K. KrickBy Stephen ChicoineMcFarland & Company, www.mcfarlandpub.com, Jefferson, N.C. Chappell Hill, Texas, lies a few dozen miles northwest of Houston, in Washington County. The 1850s brought thriving prosperity to the region, generated by slavery-based cotton production. “Crops as good as you ever saw,” a resident boasted, “girls fat and saucy.” The advent …
Brulé Sioux Chief Spotted TailSpotted Tail, chief of the Brulés, fought well, but his diplomatic skills were even better.
Capturing Fort Pulaski During the American Civil WarAs a young U.S. Army lieutenant, Robert E. Lee helped to construct Fort Pulaski. As a Confederate general 30 years later, he confidently assured fort defenders it could not be breached. Union gunners were not so sure.
‘Home, Sweet Home': A Civil War Soldier’s Favorite SongJohn Howard Payne's haunting 'Home, Sweet Home' was the Civil War soldier's favorite song.
America’s Civil War: Major General John Pope’s Narrow Escape at Clark’s MountainWhile Robert E. Lee's entire army massed behind Clark's Mountain to attack the Union Army of Virginia, a daring Yankee spy swam the Rapidan River to warn Maj. Gen. John Pope of the imminent danger. It was, said one military historian, 'the timeliest single product of espionage' in the entire war.
Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John Wilder’s Lightning Brigade Prevented Total DisasterArmed with their new, lethal seven-shot Spencer rifles, Wilder's Lightning Brigade was all that stood between the Union Army and the looming disaster at Chickamauga Creek.
Second Battle of Manassas: Union Major General John Pope Was No Match for Robert E. LeeBrash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong.
USS Constitution: The Legendary SurvivorOften venturing into harm's way, the USS Constitution -- America's most famous sailing ship -- twice came close to oblivion -- once at the hands of a British squadron, and once at the hands of her own navy.
Battle of Palmetto Ranch: American Civil War’s Final BattleUnion Colonel Theodore H. Barrett gave the dying Confederacy the satisfaction of one last victory.
Battle of Sailor’s CreekThe April 6, 1865 Battle of Sailor's Creek constituted one of the darkest days in the Army of Northern Virginia's history.
America’s Civil War: Images of Peace at AppomattoxEvery picture tells a different story about Lee's surrender.
America’s Civil War: Horses and Field ArtilleryWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle. Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.
Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman: War’s Kindred SpiritsKindred spirits Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman prepared themselves for another bloody year of war as 1863 dawned.
Battle of Antietam: Controversial Crossing on Burnside’s BridgeShould General Ambrose Burnside have ordered his men to wade Antietam Creek? Author Marvel undertook a personal odyssey to find out.
Battle of Stones River: Philip Sheridan’s Rise to Millitary FameWhen Braxton Bragg's Confederates swooped down on the Federals at Stones River, only one division stood between the Rebels and calamitous defeat. Fortunately for the Union, that division was commanded by Phil Sheridan.
John C. Calhoun: He Started the Civil WarIf one person could be called the instigator of the Civil War, it was John C. Calhoun -- genius pragmatist, and racist.
44th Georgia Regiment Volunteers in the American Civil WarThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.
Battle of Antietam: Taking Rohrbach Bridge at Antietam CreekWhile Union commander George McClellan fumed and the Battle of Antietam hung in the balance, a handful of Rebels held off Federal troops at 'Burnside Bridge.'
Battle of Champion’s HillWith Ulysses S. Grant's army steadily menacing Vicksburg, Confederate General John Pemberton left the town's comforting defenses to seek out the enemy army. Too late, he found it, at Champion's Hill.
Frederick Stowe: In the Shadow of Uncle Tom’s CabinThe fame of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe followed her son throughout the Civil War.
America’s Civil War: Union Soldiers Hanged in North CarolinaEight months after Major General George E. Pickett led his famous charge, he hanged Union prisoners in North Carolina.

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Battle of Shiloh: The Devil’s Own DayAt a small Methodist meeting house in southwestern Tennessee, Union and Confederate armies met for a 'must-win' battle in the spring of 1862. No one, however, expected the bloodbath that ensued. It was, said General William Sherman, 'the Devil's own day.'
Brigadier General Silas Casey at the Battle of Seven PinesBrigadier General Silas Casey's rookie division bore the brunt of furious Rebel assaults at the Battle of Seven Pines.
Weaponry: The Rifle-Musket and the Minié BallThe Civil War's deadliest weapons were not rapid-fire guns or giant cannon, but the simple rifle-musket and the humble minié ball.
J.E.B. Stuart’s RevengeA stolen hat and wounded pride spurred Southern cavalryman J.E.B. Stuart into action. His vengeance would be swift, daring, and--unexpectedly--funny.
Union General Judson KilpatrickUnion General Judson Kilpatrick was flamboyant, reckless, tempestuous, and even licentious. In some respects he made other beaux sabreurs like fellow-cavalrymen George Custer and J. E. B. Stuart seem dull.
Battle of Wilson’s CreekThe Battle of Wilson's Creek helped to keep a critical border state out of the Confederacy.
Father John B. Tabb: Aboard Confederate Blockade RunnersFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners.
Confederate General Samuel GarlandWhen Samuel Garland fell at South Mountain, the Confederacy lost a promising general and a proven leader.
Battle of Ball’s BluffConfederate soldiers drove inexperienced Union troops acting on faulty intelligence into the Potomac River like lemmings.
Brigadier General John Gibbon’s Brief Breach During the Battle of FredericksburgAlthough overshadowed by the doomed Federal attack on the Confederate center, General John Gibbon's 2nd Division managed -- however briefly -- to make a breakthrough on the Union left.
Battle at Sand Creek: The Military Perspective (Book Review)Reviewed by Alexander CookBy Gregory F. MichnoUpton and Sons, El Segundo, Calif., 2004 If you want to read another retelling of the Sand Creek tale (traditionally referred to as a “massacre”) in which the blood-thirsty Coloradoans led by Colonel John Chivington did the peaceful Cheyennes in Black Kettle’s village an immoral wrong, then this is …
Military Technology: The Confederate Floating Battery Revival During the American Civil WarPopular during the Crimean War, the floating battery was revived by hard-pressed Confederates.
Brigadier General Thomas F. MeagherBrigadier General Thomas F. Meagher, the colorful leader of the Irish Brigade, fought many battles--not all of them with the enemy.
America’s Civil War: Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer InfantryThe doomed assault on Fort Wagner won the 54th Massachusetts a place in history, but did not win the battle for the North. No regiment could have carried the fort that day.
Gas Balloons: View From Above the Civil War BattlefieldLed by pioneering balloonist Thaddeus Lowe, daredevil aeronauts on both sides of the war took to the skies in flimsy balloons to eyeball their opponents' every move. Soldiers on the ground often did not take kindly to the unwanted attention.
1st Louisiana Special Battalion at the First Battle of ManassasRecruited from New Orleans' teeming waterfront by soldier of fortune Roberdeau Wheat, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion more than lived up to its pugnacious nickname--Wheat's Tigers--at the First Battle of Manassas.
THE CLASSICS: Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. CarmichaelEdited by William McCann Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War, edited by William McCann, reveals Bierce’s wartime experiences through his vivid accounts. When considering the violence and intense trauma experienced by Civil War soldiers, their letters and memoirs reveal very little about the true horrors of combat. Letters were public matters that the …
Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies: A Life of Henry W. Halleck (Book Review)Reviewed by Brian MurphyBy John F. MarszalekBelknap Press, 324 pages Civil War enthusiasts rarely get excited about General Henry Wager Halleck, even though he was, for a time, the supreme commander of the Federal armies. The belief persists that he was an aloof and demanding intellectual, happier behind a desk than on a horse. As …
THE CLASSICS: The Iron Brigade (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. CarmichaelBy Alan T. Nolan Alan T. Nolan pioneered the modern regimental history with The Iron Brigade. The voices of the "Black Hat Boys," who comprised one of the fiercest combat units in the Army of the Potomac, still resound in The Iron Brigade, by Alan T. Nolan. George Pickett, although not …
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi (Book Review)Reviewed by Mike Oppenheim By Michael B. BallardUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2004 Popular writers tell us the Confederacy successfully fought off the Union until July 1863. Then came Vicksburg and Gettysburg, after which defeat became inevitable. Meant to satisfy both sides, this traditional view pays too much attention to the stalemate in the …
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi (Book Review)Reviewed by Brian J. MurphyBy Michael B. BallardUniversity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 490 pages Michael B. Ballard’s new book on the Vicksburg campaign offers a refreshing experience. The research is exhaustive, and the writing is lively. It may not be surprising that a Mississippi historian would put a slightly Southern slant on the …
The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac (Book Review)Reviewed by Steven WrightBy Jeffry D. WertSimon & Schuster, New York, 559 pages Over 50 years have passed since the publication of Bruce Catton’s monumental three-volume history of the Army of the Potomac. In all that time, no one attempted the nearly impossible task of a follow-up history of the largest of the Federal armies. …
Memoirs of Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, Chief of the Aeronautic Corps of the Army of the United States During the Civil War: My Balloons in Peace and War (Book Review)Reviewed by Keith MillerBy Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, edited by Michael Jaeger and Carol LauritzenEdwin Mellen Press, 238 pages Thaddeus Lowe, a pioneer in wartime aviation, wrote his memoirs in 1911, but a serious accident cut short his efforts to publish his account of his contribution to the Union war effort. By bringing My Balloons in …
‘The Birth of a Nation': When Hollywood Glorified the KKKNinety years after its first screening and 100 years after the publication of the novel that inspired it, D.W. Griffith's motion picture continues to be lauded for its cinematographic excellence and vilified for its racist content. The film came from Griffith's personal vision, and as such it reflected the strengths and weaknesses of the man himself.
Battle of ShepherdstownThe savage little Battle of Shepherdstown made for a bloody coda to the 1862 Maryland campaign.
America’s Civil War: Guerrilla Leader William Clarke Quantrill’s Last Raid in KentuckyWhen Confederate fortunes plummeted in Missouri, fearsome guerrilla leader William Clarke Quantrill and his band of hardened killers headed east to terrorize Union soldiers and civilians in Kentucky. It would be Quantrill's last hurrah.
Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War: One Man’s Morbid VisionFor Ambrose Bierce, the enemy was not really the gray-clad host at the other end of the field, but death, and the terror of death and wounds.
USS Monitor: The Crew Took Great Pride in Serving on the Famous ShipThe crew of Swedish Inventor John Ericsson's Monitor took great pride in serving on the renowned 'cheese box on a raft.'
John Cabell Early Remembers GettysburgMajor General Jubal Early's nephew recalled the famous meeting on July 1 between his uncle and General Robert E. Lee during the 1863 invasion of Pennsylvania.
The 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment Fought in the Battle of the Little BighornAmong the troopers advancing with Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on the Little Bighorn in June 1876 were 1st Lt. Charles DeRudio and Privates John Martin and Augustus De Voto.
Frederick W. BenteenBenteen, though he displayed daring and audacity during his military career, would probably not be remembered today if not for his supporting role at the Little Bighorn more than 125 years ago.
Battle of Little Bighorn CoverupConcerned that the Indians in the village would escape, George Armstrong Custer ordered his force forward to the attack. Did Reno and Benteen try to hide the true nature of the attack?
Battle of Little Bighorn: Were the Weapons the Deciding FactorGeorge A. Custer's 7th Cavalry had Springfield carbines and Colt .45 revolvers; the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians had a variety of long arms, including repeaters. But were the weapons used on June 25, 1876, the deciding factor in the famous battle?
The Fox Sisters: Spiritualism’s Unlikely FoundersOut of the pranks of precocious sisters in upstate New York in 1847 grew a religious and social movement that swept across America. Often associated with abolition, suffrage and the brotherhood of all souls, spiritualism continued to evolve and flourish through the 20th century.
America’s Civil War Comes to West PointThough the Corps of Cadets was forced apart by political differences in 1860-61, and passions grew intense, there were more tears than hurrahs among the Northerners when their Southern friends resigned. The last institution to divide, the Academy was one of the first to reunite.
Firebrand in a Powder Keg: Nathaniel Lyon in St. LouisWhen secession fever threatened Missouri, a hotheaded gesture by a Yankee touched off riots but helped keep the state in the Union.
America’s Civil War: Front Royal Was the Key to the Shenandoah ValleyThe pretty little town of Front Royal, in the Shenandoah Valley, had a strategic value that belied its size. As Stonewall Jackson knew, it was the key to the valley, the state of Virginia and the war itself.
Eyewitness Account: A Tar Heel at GettysburgAfter capture, Lawrence D. Davis had to undergo being reviewed by 'big & fat' Ben Butler.
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 (Book Review)Reviewed by Dan Monroe By David Detzer Harcourt In Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861, retired history professor David Detzer returns to the battle that made plain the bloody intensity that was to characterize the Civil War in the Eastern theater. Caught up in a surging tide of Northern public opinion favoring aggressive action, …
American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspirators (Book Review)Reviewed by Bali Fox By Michael W. KauffmanRandom House Because this spring marks a milestone anniversary of the Lincoln assassination (140 years), it’s not surprising that new books about the plot to kill Lincoln have appeared. Hundreds of works about the Lincoln assassination have been published over the years, some advancing outrageous theories. No lunatic …
THE CLASSICS: Three Months in the Southern States: April – June 1863Reviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Lt. Col. Arthur J. L. Freemantle British officer Arthur J.L. Fremantle’s three-month tour of the South, in April-June 1863, was a remarkable odyssey that covered 11 of the 13 Confederate states and ultimately carried him to Gettysburg, where he witnessed Pickett’s Charge. Fremantle conversed with people of all social …
THE CLASSICS: The Passing of Armies : An Account Of The Final Campaign Of The Army Of The Potomac (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Fame for his actions at Little Round Top has overshadowed the rest of Joshua Chamberlain’s historical résumé. Admirers and critics alike tend to reduce his wartime contributions to a single but decisive moment on July 2, 1863. The Bowdoin College professor is partially to blame for …
THE CLASSICS: Four Years With General LeeReviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Walter Herron Taylor Of all Robert E. Lee’s subordinates, few were better qualified to write a history of the Army of Northern Virginia than Walter Herron Taylor. Taylor’s Four Years With General Lee, published in 1877, stands as one of the standard works on the Army of Northern Virginia. …
High-Water Mark: The 1862 Maryland Campaign in Strategic Perspective (Book Review)Reviewed Ted AlexanderBy Timothy J. Reese Baltimore, Butternut and Blue Press, 2004 By Mark Dunkelman By fall 1862, Confederate morale was the highest it had been since the start of the war and Confederate armies were on the move on a front more than 1,000 miles wide. In the Western theater, Confederate incursions into Kentucky …
Murdering Mr. Lincoln: A New Detection of the 19th Century’s Most Famous Crime (Book Review)Reviewed by Brian John Murphy By Charles Higham New Millennium Press, Beverly Hills, Calif., 2004 If nothing else, the charge that Abraham Lincoln was corrupt is enough of a shock to the reader to ensure that Charles Higham’s Murdering Mr. Lincoln: A New Detection of the 19th Century’s Most Famous Crime (New Millennium Press, Beverly …
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 (Book Review)Reviewed by John HennessyBy David Detzer New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2004 Whether you refer to it as Manassas or Bull Run, you’ll want this book on the war’s first major battle. The First Battle of Bull Run, or Manassas, holds an odd place in the nation’s historical mind. It grabs our attention because it was …
A Lady’s Life in the Gold RushFrom remote mining camps in northern California in the early 1850s, Louise ('Dame Shirley') Clapp wrote a series of vivid letters to her sister in New England.
America’s Civil War: Pre-dawn Assault on Fort StedmanLed by select groups of sharpshooters, the weary, muddy troops of the Army of Northern Virginia made one last desperate push to break out of Petersburg.
An Eyewitness Account of the Evacuation of Richmond During the American Civil WarConfederate express agent James P. Hawkins got caught up in the evacuation of Richmond.
Second Battle of Bull Run: Destruction of the 5th New York ZouavesThe Texas Brigade tide bore down on the isolated 5th New York Zouaves at Second Bull Run. A fine regiment was about to be destroyed.

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Immortal 600: Prisoners Under Fire at Charleston Harbor During the American Civil WarKnowingly exposing helpless prisoners to artillery fire seems unconscionable. War, however, has a way of fostering inhumane behavior.
Battle of Gettysburg: Union Cavalry AttacksAfter the conclusion of Pickett's Charge, ill-advised Union cavalry attacks killed dozens of Federal horsemen and a promising brigadier general.
The Undertaker’s Role During the American Civil WarThe humble undertaker performed a distasteful but all too necessary role during the Civil War.
Battle of Antietam: Carnage in a CornfieldMr. Miller's humble cornfield near Antietam Creek became the unlikely setting for perhaps the worst fighting of the entire Civil War.
Major General George Stoneman Led the Last American Civil War Cavalry RaidEven as General Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, a vengeful Union cavalry horde led by Maj. Gen. George Stoneman made Southern civilians pay dearly for the war. It was a last brutal lesson in the concept of total warfare.
Martha Derby Perry: Eyewitness to the 1863 New York City Draft RiotsThe wife of a bedridden Union surgeon was a horrified witness to the New York City Draft Riots of July 1863.
Battle of Resaca: Botched Union AttackWilliam Tecumseh Sherman waited expectantly to hear that his accomplished young protégé, James B. McPherson, had successfully gotten astride the railroad at Resaca and cut off the Confederate line of retreat. Hours went by with no word from McPherson. What was 'Mac' doing in Snake Creek Gap?
Lieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter: Eyewitness to the Surrender at AppomattoxLieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter provides a firsthand account of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
Edwin Booth Saved Robert Todd Lincoln’s LifeA Lincoln family incident during the Civil War became a remarkable snippet of assassination lore.
Elizabeth Van Lew’s American Civil War ActivitiesEccentric enough to hide in plain sight within the Confederate capital, Elizabeth Van Lew was Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's eyes and ears in Richmond.
Abraham Lincoln: Tyrant, Hypocrite or Consummate StatesmanThe key to understanding Abraham Lincoln's philosophy of statesmanship is that he always sought the meeting point between what was right in theory and what could be achieved in practice.
America’s Civil War: Louisiana Native GuardsThe black and mixed-race troops of the Louisiana Native Guards offered to serve both South and North.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
America’s Civil War: Assault at PetersburgSixth Corps Yankees stumbled out of their earthworks and toward the muddy pits of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was the beginning of the end at Petersburg.
Salt of the Earth: The Movie Hollywood Could Not StopNot many people remember the 1954 film Salt of the Earth, a low-budget account of a mining strike in New Mexico. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the movie is that it was made at all.
The Last Stand of Crazy HorseAfter helping his people win the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the daring Oglala leader fought thesoldiers again at Slim Buttes in September 1876 and the Wolf Mountains in January 1877 before finally surrendering at Camp Robinson that May.
Battle of Gettysburg: Fighting at Little Round TopThe Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top.
John Brown’s Family: A Living LegacyFor decades after John Brown swung from the gallows in 1859, his family lived in the long shadow of the notoriety he had generated.
Life at West Point of Future Professional American Civil War OfficersWhether they spent their energy studying or sneaking off to Benny Havens's tavern, the future professional officers of the Civil War left West Point with enough stories for a lifetime -- and an enduring common bond.
African American Troops of Company K, 9th Cavalry Fought in the Battle of Fort LancasterCaptain William Frohock, Lieutenant Frederick Smith and the black troopers of Company K, 9th Cavalry, received an after-Christmas surprise from Kickapoo raiders in 1867.
Truth Behind U.S. Grant’s Yazoo River BenderMurky facts and contradictions confuse the story of a purported 1863 drinking spree by the general.
First Battle of Bull Run: The U.S MarinesWith hordes of eager Confederates gathering at Manassas, panicky Union commanders massed whatever forces they could in the nation's capital. Among those answering the call were the U.S. Marines. Manassas, however, would not be one of their shining moments.
Lakotas: Feared Fighters of the PlainsThe Teton Sioux, or Lakotas, battled other tribes to become the dominant force on the Northern Plains and then took on the U.S. Army in an effort to maintain their way of life.
America’s Civil War in War Tennessee’s Hickman CountyMidnight justice, 'devilish brutality' and coldblooded murder sometimes characterized the Civil War in border regions.
Captain George S. Blake Saved the USS Constitution'Old Ironsides,' flagship of the U.S. Navy, beats a hasty retreat in the face of secessionist plots.
Robert Todd Lincoln: The Perpetual Non-CandidateLiving in the shadow of his revered father, Robert Todd Lincoln served the Republican Party and his country with distinction, but, although perennially courted by his party, steadfastly refused a presidential or vice presidential nomination.
America’s Civil War: George Custer and Stephen RamseurGeorge Custer and Dodson Ramseur had a friendship that survived the Civil War -- until the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Sullivan Ballou: The Macabre Fate of a American Civil War MajorMajor Sullivan Ballou gained fame for the poignant letter he wrote to his wife before the First Battle of Bull Run. Not so well known is that after he was mortally wounded in that fight, Confederates dug up, decapitated and burned his body.
Eyewitness to America’s Civil War: William W. PattesonTeenager William W. Patteson fled his Virginia farm and fought at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Dr. Samuel A. MuddWhen John Wilkes Booth knocked on Samuel Mudd's front door, he knew who was going answer.
America’s Civil War: Union General Phil Sheridan’s ScoutsCivil War Union General Phil Sheridan put together a group of daring scouts who wore Rebel uniforms and captured Confederate irregulars, dispatches and generals.
America’s Civil War: John Mosby and George Custer Clash in the Shenandoah ValleyWhen Civil War's John Singleton Mosby's Partisan Rangers clashed with George A. Custer's Union Cavalry, the niceties of war were the first casualty. Reprisal and counter reprisal became the order of the day.
Battle of Chickamauga: Union Regulars Desperate StandCivil War Brigadier General John King's disciplined brigade of Union Regulars found itself tested as never before at Chickamauga. For two bloody days, the Regulars dashed from one endangered spot to another, seeking to save their army from annihilation.
America’s Civil War: Union’s Mission to Relieve Fort SumterFor three long months, Civil War Major Robert Anderson and his besieged troops waited for reinforcements at Fort Sumter. Back in Washington, Union naval officer Gustavus Fox raced against time to organize just such a mission.
Battle of Stones River: Union General Rosecrans Versus Confederate General BraggAmerican Civil War Union General William Rosecrans bided his time, waiting to attack Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Rebel army at Murfreesboro, 30 miles south of Nashville.
John Hill Hewitt: Dixie’s Original One-Man BandJohn Hill Hewitt did it all. He played three instruments. He penned poems and essays, and staged theater productions. And he churned out one hit tune after another.
Harry Macarthy: The Bob Hope of the ConfederacyHe could make tired soldiers laugh, and his 'Bonnie Blue Flag' churned southern audiences into a frenzy. That was why Harry Macarthy was loved from one end of the confederacy to the other.
Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez: Heroine or HoaxerMadame Loreta Janeta Velazquez wrote a controversial memoir disclosing her activities as a double agent and brave soldier during the Civil War.
Battle of Chickamauga: 21st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Their Colt’s Revolving Rifles'My God, We Thought You Had a Division Here!' The 21st Ohio Infantry's unique repeating weaponry was its salvation - and nearly its undoing - at Chickamauga.
Battle of Gettysburg: Confederate General Richard Ewell’s Failure on the HeightsFor the second day in a row, Confederate General Richard Ewell inexplicably failed to take the offensive at Gettysburg. 'The fruits of victory, Robert E. Lee lamented, had not been gathered.
Did Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell Lose the Battle of GettysburgAfter disobeying Robert E. Lee's orders to avoid a general engagement at Gettysburg, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell received an order to 'press those people.' His failure to do so created a controversy that survives to this day.
America’s Civil War: Digging to Victory at VicksburgTo the armies at Vicksburg, picks, shovels and manual labor proved as valuable as bullets and bombshells.
America’s Civil War: Struggle for St. LouisThe dark clouds of civil war gathered over the nation as two aggressive factions -- the Wide-Awakes and the Minutemen -- plotted to gain political control of Missouri and its most important city, St. Louis. As is often the case, political power began at the end of a gun.
Battle of Kernstown: Stonewall Jackson’s Only DefeatA furious Stonewall Jackson watched impotently as his proud Confederates stumbled down the hillside at Kernstown, Va. 'Give them the bayonet,' Jackson implored -- but no one obeyed.
Sultana: A Tragic Postscript to the Civil WarIn a tragic postscript to the Civil War, as many as 1,700 Union soldiers, recently released from Confederate prisons, may have died while en route home aboard the steamer Sultana.
Gem Saloon ShootoutWilliam Rayner fashioned himself a Southern gentleman, but the citizens of El Paso usually gave him a wide berth. It took a stranger in town to cut him down to size.
Cheyenne Chief Tall BullTall Bull led the Dog Soldiers in battle, but his death at Summit Springs ended Southern Cheyenne power.
The Dodge City WarWhen saloon owner Luke Short was told to get out of Dodge in 1883, he went. But he soon came back, and he was joined by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday.
Ulysses S. Grant’s Lifelong Struggle With AlcoholThroughout his legendary military and political career, U.S. Grant battled accusations that he was overly fond of the bottle. Did his alleged excessive drinking make him an alcoholic, or for that matter, did he really drink that much more that the average man of the nineteenth century?
America’s Civil War: Savage Skirmish Near SharpsburgWith Robert E. Lee's wily Confederates waiting somewhere in the vicinity of Antietam Creek, Union General George McClellan ordered I Corps commander Joseph Hooker to advance and turn the Rebel flank. But McClellan, for once, was too quick to move, and Hooker soon found himself in an unexpectedly vicious fight.

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Second Battle of Winchester: Richard Ewell Takes CommandOne month after Stonewall Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee turned to Stonewall's trusted lieutenant, Richard Ewell, to cover his invasion of the North. Was 'Old Bald Head' up to the challenge?
America’s Civil War: Stonewall Jackson’s Last DaysDr. Hunter McGuire, Stonewall Jackson's 27-year-old medical director, chronicled the general's last days.
America’s Civil War: XI Corps Fight During the Chancellorsville CampaignDisliked and distrusted by their comrades in the Army of the Potomac, the men of the XI Corps would find their reputation further damaged by a twilight encounter with Stonewall Jackson's troops in the dark woods at Chancellorsville.
Joseph Scroggs: Observations From His Diary About the 1864 Petersburg CampaignExcerpts from Joseph Scroggs' diary provide his observations on the service of Negro troops under his command on the Civil War battlefields.
Battle of Chancellorsville: Day OneNew Union commander 'Fighting Joe' Hooker planned to encircle Robert E. Lee at the Virginia crossroads hamlet of Chancellorsville. The plan seemed to be working perfectly, until....
Slave Mutiny on the AmistadAn 1839 mutiny aboard the Spanish ship, Amistad, in Cuban waters raised basic questions about freedom and slavery in the United States.
Battle of VicksburgUlysses S. Grant thought his formidable Army of the Tennessee could take Vicksburg from a 'beaten' foe by direct assault. He was wrong, thanks to near-impregnable fortifications, renewed Southern spirit, and surprisingly suspect Northern generalship.
America’s Civil War: Missouri and KansasFor half a decade before the Civil War, residents of the neighboring states of Missouri and Kansas waged their own civil war. It was a conflict whose scars were a long time in healing.
Battle of CorinthThe strategic railroad town of Corinth was a key target for Confederate armies hoping to march north in support of General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky.
America’s Civil War: Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet at Odds at GettysburgAt Gettysburg, Longstreet told Lee that a direct assault would end in disaster -- but Pickett's Charge went forward anyway.
America’s Civil War: Battle for KentuckyIt had been almost one month since Confederate General Braxton Bragg had pulled off an organizational masterpiece--four weeks since the first troop trains had rumbled into Chattanooga, Tennessee, completing an improbable 800-mile odyssey.
Oklahoma Panhandle: Badmen in No Man’s LandUntil the last decade of the 19th Century, the long, narrow strip that would become known as the Oklahoma Panhandle had no government and plenty of men who didn't mind at all.
Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota’s Great Sioux UprisingEven as the Civil War intensified, President Abraham Lincoln faced the aftereffects of a bloody Indian war in Minnesota. More than 300 men faced execution, but the death sentences required the president's approval.
Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John T. Wilder and the Lightning BrigadeColonel John T. Wilder's'Lightning Brigade' did all it could to stave off Union disaster at the Battle of Chickamauga.
Wild Bill HickokIn the wild west, few men could match colorful Wild Bill, whose exploits as a well-dressed but deadly frontiersman, peace officer and gambler have made him an enduring legend.
Death at Summit Springs: Susanna Alderdice and the CheyennesIn May 1869, Tall Bull's Cheyenne Dog Soldiers carried out a series of brutal raids in north-central Kansas, and though the white soldiers later caught up with them, vengeance could not make everything right.
Tecumseh, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull: Three Great Indian LeadersDiplomacy, courage and charisma were among the attributes of this trio of great Indian leaders.
Battle of Waynesboro: Jubal Early and Phil Sheridan Meet For the Last TimeWith his once-formidable army reduced to a mere shadow of its former self, Confederate General Jubal Early pulled up at Waynesboro to face his old nemesis, Phil Sheridan, for the last time.
The Dahlgren Papers RevisitedThe mystery surrounding documents detailing a Union plan to murder Jefferson Davis is put to rest by historian Stephen W. Sears.
Joseph WheelerFightin' Joe Wheeler lived up to his name in two wars and in two uniforms -- one gray, one blue.
The Irish Brigade Fought in America’s Civil WarTheir casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade.
George Crook: Indian FighterAgainst the Apaches in Arizona Territory and the Sioux and Cheyenne in the northern Plains, Crook did his job more effectively than most Army leaders on the Plains.
Nez Perce WarWhen a white settler killed a Nez Perce warrior in 1876, the incident set off a chain of events that led to war.
America’s Civil War: Rebel’s Stand at Drewry’s BluffWhile Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac slowly advanced on Richmond in May 1862, the Union Navy made its own play to seize the Confederate capital.
Battle of Gettysburg and American MythologyMuch of what Americans believe about Gettysburg is myth, but their flawed knowledge of the battle nevertheless serves to sanctify their national memory of the fight.
Picture of the Day: November 20Julia Ward Howe & The Battle Hymn of the Republic On November 18, 1861, poet and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe accompanied her husband, Dr. Samuel Howe, to Fort Griffin, Virginia to review Union troops defending the capital. The ceremony was cut short when the Federals were forced to give chase to a nearby party of …
Grierson’s Raid During the Vicksburg CampaignU.S. Grant, bogged down outside Vicksburg, needed a diversion to ease his way. He got just that from a music teacher turned cavalryman--one who hated horses, at that.
Picture of the Day: November 19Gettysburg Address President Abraham Lincoln was asked to deliver a few ‘appropriate remarks’ to the crowd at the dedication of the Civil War cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Lincoln’s address was almost ignored in the wake of the lengthy oration by main speaker Edwin Everett. In fact, Lincoln’s speech was over before …
When the Bugle Sounded: Stampede for Oklahoma’s Unassigned LandsWild as a gold rush, the stampede for Oklahoma's Unassigned Lands was a dream come true for some, a heartbreaking nightmare for others. They were the good and the bad, the tough and the weak, who raced for their 160-acre parcels on a spring day in 1889.
William W. Brown: Abolitionist and HistorianAfter his 1834 escape to freedom, fugitive slave William Wells Brown used his literary talents for the abolitionist cause and to record the history of America's blacks.
Many African Americans Were Dedicated Patriots During the American Revolutionary WarDuring the American Revolution some of the most ardent Patriots could be found among the colonies' African-Americans.
Picture of the Day: May 27Wild Bill Hickok Legendary gunfighter James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was born on May 27, 1837. As a youth, Hickok helped his father operate an Underground Railroad stop for runaway slaves and during the Civil War became a daring Union scout. After the war Hickok’s fame as a skilled marksman, Indian fighter and frontier marshal …
Picture of the Day: October 16On Sunday evening, October 16, 1859, radical abolitionist John Brown and a tiny army of five black and 13 white supporters seized the Federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). Convinced that local slaves would rise up behind him, Brown planned to establish a new republic of fugitives in the Appalachian Mountains. Brown’s …
General Barlow and General Gordon Meet on Blocher’s KnollOn July 1, 1863, two generals, one badly wounded, allegedly met. The veracity of that encounter, now part of Civil War lore, has long been debated.
Drones in the Great Hive: A Letter from an African-American Civil War SoldierChristian A. Fleetwood -- an African-American Medal of Honor-winner -- writes bitterly of the way the Union army treats its black soldiers.
Billy Yank and Johnny Reb: On the Road to AtlantaBell Irvin Wiley -- the late dean of common-soldier studies -- works his storytelling magic in this 1964 profile of the extraordinary men who grappled for Georgia's key city.
Who Was the Common Soldier of America’s Civil WarCommon Soldier of the Civil War. Here's what the statistics tell us.
Seneca Falls Convention: First Women’s Rights ConventionMore than one hundred and fifty years ago the people attending the first Women's Rights Convention adopted the radical proposition that 'all men and women are created equal.'
America’s Civil War: Last Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgAfter nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle.
An Englishman’s Journey Through the Confederacy During America’s Civil WarSuave, gentlemanly Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards picked an unusual vacation spot: the Civil War-torn United States.
USS Constellation: Union Man-of-War in the American Civil WarOrganization and training were essential to coordinate the activities of the hundreds of men who crewed a Union man-of-war.
Battle of Boydton Plank Road: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock Strikes the Southside RailroadWith Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia stubbornlyclinging to Petersburg, Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North's proven heroes -- Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.
America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding GeneralsIt sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South's demise.
War Watchers at Bull Run During America’s Civil WarA crowd of Washington politicos, socialites, and newsmen came out to watch the war's first real battle, along northern Virginia's Bull Run. For most, the view was as disappointing as the fight's outcome. But a few got to see all the action they could handle, and more.
Eyewitness to the Battle of AtlantaAmong the blue-clad soldiers moving against Atlanta in late July 1864 was Major Thomas T. Taylor of Georgetown, Ohio. His letters to his wife described his experiences during the Battle of Atlanta.
Battle of Nashville: Enemies Front and RearUnion forces under George H. Thomas destroyed the Confederate Army of Tennessee at Nashville as Thomas endured his own battle of resolve with Ulysses S. Grant.
The Fall of VicksburgOn July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton surrendered the Confederate bastion of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Union forces under Major General Ulysses S. Grant. The surrender brought an end to 47 days of unendurable siege, but it also brought an end to Confederate control of the Mississippi River.
All-Girl Rhea County SpartansBegun as a lark, the all-girl Rhea County Spartans soon attracted the attention of unamused Union officers.
Union Captain James ‘Paddy’ GraydonHe turned terrified villagers into crack troops and mules into walking bombs. Paddy Graydon was the Union's secret weapon in New Mexico.
Michael Collins: A Man Against an EmpireIrish Republican Army leader Michael Collins' guerrilla tactics against Britain were studied by numerous 20th century revolutionaries. Ironically, however, he would die fighting his own former comrades-in-arms.

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George Washington: Hero of the ConfederacyThe cost of political greatness, it's been said, is to be forced to campaign long after your death. That's certainly true of George Washington, whose name, image and legacy were appropriated by the Confederacy.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart: Last Stand of the Last KnightMajor General J.E.B. Stuart posted his horsemen at Yellow Tavern -- between Union attackers and Richmond -- and waited for the collision. It would come with a deadliness he could never have imagined.
Robert Smalls: Commander of the Planter During the American Civil WarWhen opportunity knocked, an imaginative Charleston slave sailed himself, his family, and some friends to freedom -- and set to work for the Union cause.
American History: 1864 Attack on New YorkManhattan proved an irresistible target for Confederate saboteurs who wanted to set the city ablaze and settle some scores with the Union.
Abraham Lincoln: Commander in ChiefAlthough he lacked the military experience, President Abraham Lincoln took on active direction of the Union war effort, influencing and managing events and generals in every field of operations.
Philip Wells: Wounded at Wounded KneeThe son of a white father and a half-blood mother, Wells nearly lost his nose in the tragic 1890 affair but still managed to be merciful.
Wild Bill Hickok: Pistoleer, Peace Officer and Folk HeroA legend in his own time,James Butler ('Wild Bill') Hickok was no average Joe when he went head-to-head with his enemies--he reportedly could 'draw and discharge his pistols with a rapidity that was truly wonderful.'
American History: 1840 U.S. Presidential CampaignModern presidential campaigns are routinely criticized for presenting more style than substance. It's nothing new. Take, for example, the 1840 campaign, which pitted Old Tip against Sweet Sandy Whiskers and was often waged with song.
Betrayal at Ebenezer CreekTrapped between charging Rebels and a deadly flooded creek, thousands of fugitive slaves watched in horror as the Union army abandoned them. Then came catastrophe--and excuses.
Battle of Brawner’s Farm: Black Hat Brigade’s Baptism of FireJohn Gibbon's mostly green Midwestern troops found themselves in quite a scrape as the sun set on August 28, 1862.
Camp William Penn: Training Ground for FreedomUnder the stern but sympathetic gaze of Lt. Col. Louis Wagner, some 11,000 African-American soldiers trained to fight for their freedom at Philadelphia's Camp William Penn. Three Medal of Honor recipients would pass through the camp's gates.
Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal: Turning Point in the Pacific WarThe Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the United States in the Pacific war.
Picture of the Day: September 17On September 17, 1862, a small, stone-arch bridge that spans Antietam Creek outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, became one of the most hotly contested structures in American history. During the Battle of Antietam, an entire Union corps spent most of the bloodiest single day of the Civil War waiting to cross the creek over that bridge, opposed …
General Francis Channing BarlowGeneral Francis Channing Barlow's clean-cut, boyish appearance belied his reputation as one of the Union's hardest-fighting divisional commanders.
America’s Civil War: Philip SheridanAt an obscure railroad station in northern Mississippi, an equally obscure Union cavalry colonel faced a personal and professional moment of truth. His name was Phil Sheridan, and his coolness and dash clearly marked him for bigger things.
William Averell’s Cavalry Raid on the Virginia & Tennessee RailroadDespite many misgivings about the upcoming campaign, Union Brig. Gen. William Averell set out in December 1863 to raid the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad at Salem, Virginia. The frigid conditions would test the mettle of both cavalrymen and horses.
Siege of Petersburg: The City and Citizens Were Impacted from the StartCircled by Confederate trenches, hard pressed by Union forces, the people of Petersburg had nothing left to do but endure -- and pray for a miracle.
Winchester, Virginia: A Town Embattled During America’s Civil WarWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or South.
Northern Volunteer Nurses of America’s Civil WarA cadre of dedicated Northern women from all walks of life traveled to the charnel houses of the Civil War to care for the sick and wounded.
Battle of the Wilderness With General Robert E. LeeAs the Union army crossed the Rapidan River to commence its powerful 1864 spring offensive, Confederate General Robert E. Lee scrambled to divine his enemy's intentions. But not even Lee could fully pierce the fog of war.
Reno Gang’s Reign Of TerrorLong before the James brothers began robbing trains, the Reno brothers tried their hand at it in post--Civil War Indiana, but the outlaw Hoosiers' reign didn't last long.By William Bell
Buffalo Soldiers in Utah TerritoryAt Fort Duchesne, black 9th Cavalry troops served alongside white infantrymen while dealing with the sometimes restless Ute Indians and the wild and woolly Duchesne Strip.
Admiral Porter’s Ironclad Hoax During the American Civil WarAfter a botched Union naval effort on the Mississippi River, Rear Admiral David D. Porter resorted to trickery to prevent one of his captured ironclads from being used by the Confederates.
Old Dominion Brigade in America’s Civil WarThe Virginia regiments originally under the brigade command of William Mahone seemed to save their best for last. After two years of average service, they became Robert E. Lee's go-to troops in the Wilderness and at Petersburg's Crater.
Eyewitness to American Civil War: Iron Brigade Soldier’s Wartime LettersTimothy Webster survived Fredericksburg and Gettysburg with the Iron Brigade, but not Petersburg.
Battle of Port RoyalAs Union warships steamed past the Confederate defenses near Port Royal, Flag Officer Samuel Du Pont proudly noted that army officers aboard his ship looked on 'with wonder and admiration.' A revolution in naval tactics had begun.
Battle of Monroe’s Cross RoadsUnion General William Sherman considered Judson Kilpatrick, his cavalry chief, 'a hell of a damn fool.' At Monroe's Cross Roads, N.C., his carelessness and disobedience of orders proved Sherman's point.
America’s Civil War: Desperate Ironclad Assault at Trent’s ReachWith Confederate forces strangled at Petersburg, the Southern Navy prepared to assault the enemy's supply depot at City Point. But first, Rebel ships had to get past Trent's Reach.
America’s Civil War: Drummer Boy of the RappahannockWas the young lad's 'strange and romantic' tale the story of a colorful hero or a clever fake?
J.E.B. Stuart: Battle of Gettysburg ScapegoatFollowing the Confederate debacle at Gettysburg, many blamed Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart for leaving General Robert E. Lee in the dark. But was Stuart really to blame for the defeat? And if so, was he the only one at fault?
Battle of HanoverSouthern beau sabreur J.E.B. Stuart hardly expected to run head-on into enemy cavalry on his second ride around the Union Army. But a trio of 'boy generals' would soon give the famed Confederate horseman all the action he could handle.
Account Of The Battle of PhilippiAt Philippi, in western Virginia, one overly optimistic young colonel confidently awaited reinforcements as Union columns converged on his tiny force from all directions in the first full-fledged battle of the Civil War.
Battle of Yellow TavernBadly misunderstanding his opponent's intentions, Jeb Stuart played into Phil Sheridan's hands at Yellow Tavern. A swirling cavalry fight ensued.
Picture of the Day: March 11The Dred Scott Case Dred Scott was a slave who accompanied his owner — army surgeon John Emerson — to military posts in Wisconsin and Illinois in 1834-35. In 1846 Scott — backed by abolitionists — sued for his freedom on the grounds that he became free when he lived in an area where slavery …
The Fatal Fetterman FightCalled a massacre at the time, the December 1866 clash near Fort Phil Kearny was, in fact, a military triumph by the Plains Indians and the Army's greatest blunder in the West until the Battle of the Little Bighorn 10 years later.
Sand Creek Massacre: The Real VillainsThe Real Villains of Sand Creek
Sand Creek MassacreMore often called a massacre than a battle, the attack by Colonel John M. Chivington's Colorado volunteers on Chief Black Kettle's village will forever be controversial.
The Truth About Civil War SurgeryUnion Colonel Thomas Reynolds lay in a hospital bed after the July 1864 Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia. Gathered around him, surgeons discussed the possibility of amputating his wounded leg. The Irish-born Reynolds, hoping to sway the debate toward a conservative decision, pointed out that his wasn’t any old leg, but an ‘imported leg.’ Whether …
America’s Civil War: May 2001 LettersPreservation Donation Thank you so very much, Primedia History Group, for your generous donation of $9,778 to the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. These proceeds from your recent Chancellorsville reenactment at Ft. Pickett, Va., September 22-24 are a wonderful indication of the support and loyalty of participating reenactors. The gift will allow our organization to purchase …
America’s Civil War: March 2001 From the EditorFrom the Editor America's Civil War Yale’s Theodore Winthrop once rivaled Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., as the Ivy League’s most prominent Civil War veteran. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., by virtue of his long and distinguished legal career, may have been the most famous Harvard College graduate to take part in the Civil …
America’s Civil War: January 2001 LettersDam No. 5 Please note that the picture on page 54-55 of the September 2000 issue is mislabeled. The canal boat is parked in the intake lock at Dam No. 3 on the C&O Canal, a long way from Dam No. 5–in fact, more than 44 miles. The lock pictured served as both a feeder …
America’s Civil War: May 2001 From the EditorFrom the Editor America's Civil War For one brief moment, President Andrew Johnson was more popular with Radical Republicans than Abraham Lincoln. Given the fact that he was soon to become the first American president to be impeached, it is ironic that Andrew Johnson–briefly, at least–was more popular with Radical Republicans than his slain predecessor, …
Book Review: The Valley of the Shadow: The Eve of War–Two Communities in the American Civil War (by Edward L. Ayers and Anne S. Rubin): CWTThe Valley of the Shadow: The Eve of War–Two Communities in the American Civil War, by Edward L. Ayers and Anne S. Rubin, W.W. Norton, 103-page book and CD-ROM, $49.95. It is called the Great Valley and runs up and down the eastern seaboard from New York to Alabama. The part that stretches from Virginia …
Book Review: All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies (by Elizabeth D. Leonard): CWTAll the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies, by Elizabeth D. Leonard, W.W. Norton, New York, 212-354-5500, 359 pages, $27.95. During the past quarter of a century or so, historians have striven to retrieve lives from the shadows of history. These studies have ranged from the world of medieval European peasants …
Book Review: The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864 (Gordon C. Rhea) : CWTThe Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864, by Gordon C. Rhea, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, (504) 388-6666, 483 pages, $34.95. Gordon Rhea has reached the halfway mark in his ongoing, comprehensive account of 1864’s Overland Campaign. The first installment, The Battle of the Wilderness, May …
Book Review: Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley (Larry J. Daniel and Lynn N. Bock) : CWTIsland No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley,by Larry J. Daniel and Lynn N. Bock (University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 213 pages, $24.95). Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley is the first book ever to be devoted entirely to the siege and capture of the Confederate stronghold of Island No. 10 on the …
Book Review: Conceived in Liberty: Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War (by Mark Perry) : CWTConceived in Liberty: Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War, by Mark Perry, Viking Penguin, New York, (800) 331-4624, 500 pages, $31.95. Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine is the closest thing we have to a Civil War pop idol. Entire conferences focus on him, artists grind out image after image for an …
Book Review: A Dispatch to Custer (Randy Johnson and Nancy Allan) : WWA Dispatch to Custer: The Tragedy of Lieutenant Kidder, by Randy Johnson and Nancy Allan,Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, Mont., 1999, $15 paperback. The mission seemed simple enough. Lieutenant Lyman Kidder, with 10 soldiers and a friendly Siouxguide, was to take a message that General William T. Sherman had received at Fort Sedgwick, Kan.,and deliver …
Book Review: April 1865: The Month That Saved America (by Jay Winik): CWTApril 1865: The Month That Saved America, by Jay Winik, HarperCollins, New York, 520 pages, $30.   Historians, in their efforts to offer fresh and exciting interpretations, sometimes handle evidence like trial lawyers. They are so determined to win a case that they downplay conflicting testimony or oversimplify source material to prove an argument, usually …

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Book Review: The Devil Knows How to Ride AND Quantrill’s War (Edward E. Leslie/Duane Schultz) : CWTTHE DEVIL’S DUEThe Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders, by Edward E. Leslie, Random House, $27.50. Quantrill’s War: The Life and Times of William Clarke Quantrill, 1837-1865, by Duane Schultz, St. Martin’s Press, $24.95.Anyone interested in the vicious bushwhacker-redleg war in Kansas and Missouri now …
Book Review: Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla (by Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich): CWTBloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla, by Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 800-732-3669, 192 pages, $24.95. Americans like to think of their Civil War as a gentlemen’s disagreement, remarkably free from the barbarity and senseless killing that characterized revolutions in other parts of the world. …
Book Review: The Spotsylvania Campaign (edited by Gary W. Gallagher) : MHThe Spotsylvania Campaign, edited by Gary W. Gallagher, Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998, $29.95. After having taken one another’s measure in the Wilderness on May 5 and 6, 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee put their wills–and the endurance of their soldiers–to the ultimate test …
Book Review: General Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Most Modest Warrior (Daniel W. Barefoot) : MHGeneral Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Most Modest Warrior, by Daniel W. Barefoot, John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem, N.C., 1996, $24.95. Lincolnton, N.C., named for Revolutionary War hero Benjamin Lincoln, produced four generals for the Confederacy, including Robert F. Hoke. Author Daniel Barefoot admits in his preface that this book, the first full-length biography of the …
Book Review: Lincoln’s Unknown Private Life: An Oral History by His Black Housekeeper, Mariah Vance, 1850-60 (edited by Lloyd Ostendorf and Walter Oleksy) : CWTLINCOLN’S UNKNOWN PRIVATE LIFE: AN ORAL HISTORY BY HIS BLACK HOUSEKEEPER, MARIAH VANCE, 1850-60 Lincoln’s Unknown Private Life: An Oral History by His Black Housekeeper, Mariah Vance, 1850-60, edited by Lloyd Ostendorf and Walter Oleksy, Hastings House, Mamaroneck, New York, 580 pages, $30.00. Memoir raises controversial questions about Lincoln and his wife.
Book Review: Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West (Dale L. Walker): WWLegends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West, by Dale L. Walker, Forge Books, New York, 1997, $22.95. When we read history, we like to believe we are reading truth. But as Dale Walker so adroitly points out, individuals as well as history can become masses of contradictions. Truth and facts become blurred. Walker’s …
Book Review:Bokks on Books (Herman Hattaway) : CWTBooks on Books Ours is an era with deep interest in listing and evaluating–even rating in order of importance and relative value–the myriad of books and other items pertaining to the Civil War. Gary Gallagher, perhaps the most productive scholar who indulges in the list-making game, wrote the foreword to one of the two books …
Book Review: 1863: Rebirth of a Nation (by Joseph E. Stevens): CWT1863: Rebirth of a Nation, by Joseph E. Stevens, Bantam Books, New York, 212-765-3535, 450 pages, $26.95. Joseph Stevens is not only a gifted writer, he is also a clear-thinking and acute observer of the American landscape. He is a craftsman in the use of words, an author who uses the written word as Monet …
Book Review: Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy (by Richard McMurry): CWTA Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, by Richard M. McMurry, University of Nebraska Press, 402-472-3581, 222 pages, $32. Ever since Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Civil War historians have focused most of their attention on the campaigns and battles fought in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This emphasis on what happened in the eastern theater has …
Book Review: The Armies of U.S. Grant (James R. Arnold) : CWTTHE ARMIES OF U.S. GRANT The Armies of U.S. Grant by James R. Arnold, Arms and Armour, London, distributed by Sterling, New York, 320 pages, $29.95. Arnold traces Ulysses S. Grant’s lineage of Civil War commands from colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry through general in chief of the Union army.
Book Review: Life in Mr. Lincoln’s Navy (by Dennis J. Ringle): CWTLife in Mr. Lincoln’s Navy, by Dennis J. Ringle, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 800-233-8764, 202 pages, $32.95. Daily life in the Northern and Southern armies has been the subject of considerable scholarship. Volumes devoted to the letters home of a single soldier can fill more than one bookshelf, while reenactments of famous battles often …
Book Review: A Frontier Army Christmas (compiled and annotated by Lori A. Cox-Paul and Dr. James W. Wengert) : WWA Frontier Army Christmas, compiled and annotated by Lori A. Cox-Paul and Dr. James W. Wengert, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, 1998, $12.95 paperback. Christmas on Army posts between 1865 and 1900 often brought the only real relief from the monotony of soldiers’ lives. The firsthand accounts, collected from diaries, letters and other sources, offer …
Book Review: Southern Unionist Pamphlets and the Civil War (edited by Jon. L. Wakelyn): CWTSouthern Unionist Pamphlets and the Civil War, edited by Jon. L. Wakelyn, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 573-882-0180, 392 pages, $39.95. For decades after the Civil War, Southerners who had remained loyal to the Union were shrouded in a fog of suspicion, misunderstanding, and ill-conceived stereotypes. Confederates scorned Southern loyalists as traitors, political profiteers, and …
Book Review: War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860-1869 (by Noel C. Fisher)War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860-1869, by Noel C. Fisher, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, (800) 848-6224, 250 pages, $29.95. It is traditional to refer to the Civil War as a conflict between the “North” and the “South.” Yet this results in an oversimplification that ignores …
Book Review: Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga (Richard A. Baumgartner and Larry M. Strayer) : CWTECHOES OF BATTLE: THE STRUGGLE FOR CHATTANOOGA Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga, by Richard A. Baumgartner and Larry M. Strayer, Blue Acorn, Huntington, West Virginia, $43.75. Accounts of 450 Union and Confederate soldiers and a collection of 465 photographs, many previously unpublished, tell the story of the Union campaigns for Chickamauga, Georgia, and …
Book Review: Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822-1865 (by Brooks Simpson): CWTUlysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822-1865, by Brooks Simpson, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 523 pages, $35. In Let Us Have Peace (1991), Brooks Simpson’s first book about Ulysses S. Grant, Simpson told us what we already knew about his subject–that in time of war he was a more than competent general officer who combined …
Book Review: Little Big Horn (Robert Nightengale) : WWLITTLE BIG HORN“The easiest way to start an argument is to bring up religion, politics, or Custer’s Last Stand,” writes longtime Custerania student Thomas E. O’Neil in his introduction to a book that, if it doesn’t start arguments, will surely cause readers to rethink the “facts” of the battle. Robert Nightengale says that George Armstrong …
Book Review: Guerrillas, Unionists, and Violence on the Confederate Home Front (edited by Daniel E. Sutherland): CWTGuerrillas, Unionists, and Violence on the Confederate Home Front, edited by Daniel E. Sutherland, University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 800-626-0090, 256 pages, $32 ($20 softcover). Just as not all Confederates were Southerners (Pennsylvanian Josiah Gorgas, head of the army ordnance bureau, and John Pemberton, ill-starred defender of Vicksburg, come to mind), not all Southerners were …
Book Review: Davis and Lee at War (Steven E. Woodworth) : CWTDAVIS AND LEE AT WAR As the title Davis and Lee at War suggests, Steven E. Woodworth argues that the Confederacy’s president played a critical role in formulating military policy in the East. The towering presence of Robert E. Lee has led historians such as Douglas S. Freeman, Clifford Dowdey, and Alan T. Nolan to …
Book Review: The Great West: A Treasury of Firsthand Accounts (Charles Neider) : WWThe Great West: A Treasury of Firsthand Accounts, edited by Charles Neider, Da Capo Press, New York, 1997, $22.95 paperback. The almost 60 accounts and nearly 100 black-and-white illustrations selected by editor Charles Neider fill 457 pages–enough to give the reader a great taste of the Great West. How can you go wrong when your …
Book Review: Lee the Soldier (edited by Gary W. Gallagher) : CWTLEE THE SOLDIERLee the Soldier, edited by Gary W. Gallagher, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 666 pages, $45.00. Transcripts of postwar conversations with Robert E. Lee, and 21 contemporary and modern essays about him and his performance in various Civil War campaigns explore the general-in-chief’s contribution to the Confederate war effort.
Book Review: Lakota: An Illustrated History ( Sergio Macedo) : WWLakota: An Illustrated History, by Sergio Macedo, Treasure Chest Books, Tucson, Ariz., 1996,$18.95. The Lakota, or Teton Sioux, were prominent in the Indian wars, with such leaders as Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and their courageous deeds as warriors certainly look splendid in the beautiful illustrations that fill this all-color 56-page book. Brazil-born …
Book Review: Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends (by Allen Barra) : WW‘Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends, by Allen Barra, Carroll & Graf, New York, 1998, $27. On the heels of Casey Tefertiller’s big (403 pages to be exact) 1997 biography Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend comes another big book (426 pages) about the well-known frontiersman. Some readers might cry, “Why Wyatt …
Book Review: Best of the Wild West (Cowles HIstory Group) : WWBest of the Wild Westfrom the publisher of Wild West Magazine, CowlesHistory Group, Leesburg, Va., 1996, $16.95 hardback. Wild West the magazine is plenty colorful for three reasons. First, it chronicles a frontier full of exciting characters. Second, it displays some splendid Western artwork, color maps and other color images among its many illustrations. Third, …
Book Review: General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend (by Lesley J. Gordon): CWTGeneral George E. Pickett in Life and Legend, by Lesley J. Gordon, University of North Carolina Press, P.O. Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515, 269 pages, $29.95. George E. Pickett is a demanding subject for a biographer. He left behind few personal papers, and his published letters are of doubtful authenticity. His wife LaSalle Corbell …
Book Review: Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (James I. Robertson) : CWTStonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend,by James I Robertson, Jr. (Macmillian, New York, 950 pages, $40). Forty years have passed since the publication of the last scholarly biography on Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. That’s hard to believe, considering that millions of tons of paper and barrels of ink have been conscripted to publish …
Book Review: Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer (Jeffry D. Wert.) : WWCuster: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer, by Jeffry D. Wert, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996, $27.50 hardback. Will the real George Armstrong Custer please stand up? The man who died in a “Last Stand” at the Little Bighorn on June 25,1876, has had his performance that day examined, interpreted and judged in …
Book Review: Legacy: New Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Charles E. Rankin) : WWLegacy: New Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn, edited by Charles E. Rankin, Montana Historical Society Press, Helena, 1996, $45 cloth, $19.95 paper. For readers who can’t get enough of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, this 382-page book (with 58 illustrations, including 10 in color) is bound to please. But it also …
Book Review: The Dahlgren Affair: Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War (Duane Schultz): CWTThe Dahlgren Affair: Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War, by Duane Schultz, W.W. Norton, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110, 298 pages, $25.95. With his book The Dahlgren Affair, Duane Schultz, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, joins a long list of writers who became fascinated by …
Book Review: Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier and President (Geoffrey Perret) : CWTUlysses S. Grant: Soldier and President, by Geoffrey Perret, Random House, New York, (800) 762-0600, 560 pages, $35. It is one of the puzzles of Civil War scholarship that Ulysses S. Grant has rarely been the subject of a full-length biography–much less one favorably disposed toward its subject. Geoffrey Perret, the author of several biographies …
Book Review: Robert E. Lee Slept Here: Civil War Inns and Destinations–A Guide for the Discerning Traveler (Chuck Lawliss) : CWTRobert E. Lee Slept Here: Civil War Inns and Destinations–A Guide for the Discerning Traveler, by Chuck Lawliss, Ballantine Books, New York, New York, (800) 733-3000, 244 pages, softcover, $10. Visiting Civil War battlefields was a popular pastime even before the war ended. Some people traveled great distances to learn about our nation’s history. Now, …
Book Review: Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War (by Earl B. McElfresh): CWTMaps and Mapmakers of the Civil War, by Earl B. McElfresh, Abrams, New York, 212-206-7715, 272 pages, $55. Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War is more than a coffee-table book of beautifully reproduced Civil War maps. Besides the striking illustrations that Stephen W. Sears calls “art” in his foreword, author Earl B. McElfresh provides …
Book Review: Conquering the Valley (Robert K. Krick) : CWTCONQUERING THE VALLEY The heart of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign spanned six weeks and ended near the place it had begun: Port Republic, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There and at Cross Keys, a village five miles northwest of Port Republic, Jackson’s army defeated two Union forces on …
Book Review: Little Bighorn Remembered: The Untold Indian Story of Custer’s Last Stand (by Herman J. Viola) : WWLittle Bighorn Remembered: The Untold Indian Story of Custer’s Last Stand, by Herman J. Viola, Times Books (a division of Random House), New York, 1999, $45. Indian accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn are fascinating and add much to the wealth of knowledge about George Armstrong Custer’s shocking defeat on June 25, 1876, …
Book Review: Lakota and Cheyenne: Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877 (Jerome A. Greene) : WWLAKOTA AND CHEYENNE: INDIAN VIEWS OF THE GREAT SIOUX WAR, 1876-1877THE BATTLE OF the Little Bighorn and the annihilation of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his command inJune 1876 has been recounted in numerous books, articles and motion pictures. Bracketing the famous battle, however, werenumerous skirmishes and encounters between the Plains Indians and United …
Book Review: Jefferson Davis, American (by William C. Cooper, Jr.): CWTJefferson Davis, American, by William C. Cooper, Jr., Alfred A. Knopf, 672 pages, $35. Among historians Jefferson Davis has an image problem. He is seen as aloof and prickly, a man who could sometimes be an intellectual tyrant, always trying to prove others wrong at the expense of the Confederate cause. Davis’s personality has been …
Book Review: A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents (by James M. Perry): CWTA Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, by James M. Perry, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 212-850-6336, 305 pages, $27.95. I remember watching CBS television’s Dan Rather reporting from Vietnamese battlefields in the 1960s. His left hand held his helmet onto his head while his right kept a death grip on a microphone. Often, …
Book Review: General John Pope (by Peter Cozzans): CWTGeneral John Pope: A Life for the Nation, by Peter Cozzens, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 474 pages, $39.95.. The bombastic Union general John Pope knew how to provoke people. The usually unflappable Robert E. Lee called Pope a “miscreant” after Pope declared a harder war on Virginia civilians during the summer of …
Book Review: A Glorious Page in Our History (Robert J. Cressman and Steve Ewing) : WW2The victory at Midway is attributable to several decisions made in the U.S. Navy high command. By Michael D. Hull Midway, the most decisive naval battle since Trafalgar, was the turning point in the Pacific theater. It changed America’s strategy from defensive to offensive. The Battle of Midway, fought June 4­6, 1942, was “a glorious …
Book Review: The Black Infantry in the West (Arlen L. Fowler) : WWThe Black Infantry in the West, 1869-1891, by Arlen L. Fowler, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1996, $12.95 paperback. Arlen Fowler’s interest in the “buffalo soldiers” grew out of his 1952 assignment as a white officer in the 25th Armored Infantry Battalion, the last remnant of the all black 25th Infantry Regiment. Fowler became a …
Book Review:Gettysburg 1863: High Tide of the Confederacy (Carl Smith): CWTGettysburg 1863: High Tide of the Confederacy, by Carl Smith, Osprey Military, London, England, (212) 685-5560, 128 pages, softcover, $16.95. Although a mountain of books have been written about the Battle of Gettysburg over the last 130 years, the logistical enormity of the campaign ensures that new publications will continue to appear. Among the latest …
Book Review: Everyday Life during the Civil War (by Michael J. Varhola): CWTEveryday Life during the Civil War: A Guide for Writers, Students and Historians, by Michael J. Varhola, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1-800-289-0963, 274 pages, softcover, $16.99. One hundred and thirty-five years after the last shots were fired, public fascination with the American Civil War continues unabated. The copious outpouring of campaign studies, biographies, memoirs, …
Book Review: Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War (Herman Hattaway) : CWTShades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War, by Herman Hattaway, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 295 pages, $29.95. No book answers a question that is not asked. Herman Hattaway obviously has benefited from his recent stint as a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy, where soldiers and cadets …
Book Review: The Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name (Lance J. Herdegen) : CWTThe Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name, by Lance J. Herdegen, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 288 pages, $24.95. Civil War veterans always argued among themselves about whose unit could fight harder, march farther, or steal more chickens. In the Union army, regiments of the “Iron Brigade of the West” seemed …
Book Review: To Hell With Honor (Larry Sklenar) : WWTo Hell With Honor: Custer and the Little Bighorn, by Larry Sklenar, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2000, $29.95. Almost 125 years since George Armstrong Custer and members of his 7th Cavalry were hurtled intoeternity and mythology, the Battle of the Little Bighorn of July 25, 1876, remains one of the mostpopular subjects among Western …
Book Review: A Worth Tribute, Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara — CWTA WORTHY TRIBUTEGods and Generals by Jeff Shaara is the “prequel” to his late father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels. Ronald Maxwell, director of the movie Gettysburg, which was based on Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, was the prime instigator of the younger Shaara’s efforts toward his new novel. We may hope that Maxwell …
Book Review: Lincoln’s Men: How President Lincoln Became Father to an Army and a Nation (by William C. Davis): CWTLincoln’s Men: How President Lincoln Became Father to an Army and a Nation, by William C. Davis, Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 315 pages, $25. William C. “Jack” Davis is one of our most prolific and finest historians. He has either edited or authored dozens of books with subjects …
Book Review: Lincoln: A Foreigner’s Quest (by Jan Morris): CWTLincoln: A Foreigner’s Quest, by Jan Morris, Simon and Schuster, New York, 205 pages, $23.00. An ordinary man of extraordinary accomplishments gets killed in his prime, and a gifted writer eventually comes along to tell his story. Such is the formula for a legend. In America, if one person defined legend, it would be Abraham …
Book Review: Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn: An Encyclopedia (Thom Hatch) : WWCuster and the Battle of the Little Bighorn: An Encyclopedia, by Thom Hatch, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, N.C., 1997, $45 hardback. If all the different published perspectives on the Little Bighorn were stacked up under the big sky of Montana, would the resulting tower dwarf Custer Hill? Yes, we contend, though others would no …
Book Review: Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War (by Lonnie R. Speer) : CWTPortals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War, by Lonnie R. Speer, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, (800) 732-3669, 416 pages, $34.95. Portals to Hell is a fine book about a sad subject. As a chronicle of the Civil War military prison system, the book reminds us that the conflict’s most shameful tragedy occurred in …