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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

To view more Civil War facts and FAQs, please view our Civil War Facts page

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 Fredericksburg

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 Fredericksburg.

Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chatanooga

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:

Civil War Nurses

Mary Todd Lincoln
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

» 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

Did the Supreme Court Ever Rule on the Legality of Secession?

Was the legality of secession ever brought before the Supreme Court? If not, why?

–SH

? ? ?

Dear SH:
 
The only time the legality of secession was brought before the Supreme Court occurred in December 1868, when the …

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?…

'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 …

Virginia's great divorceDebate over secession ignited already smoldering differences until the Union finally claimed custody of West Virginia.
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.
Thaddeus StevensMeet the real Thaddeus Stevens, the man who inspired Tommy Lee Jones' impassioned performance in Spielberg's Lincoln.
'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.
January - February 1863

Emancipation causes a stir both North and South, and a section of Virginia prepares to secede—from Virginia

January

1 – The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect—as does the Homestead Act, signed into law the previous May.

The first recorded homestead claim …

Tennessee TensionNeither Braxton Bragg nor William Rosecrans was a stranger to controversy. Which one could weather their meeting at Stones River?
America's second declaration of independence


Abraham LIncoln writes the Emancipation Proclamation. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

Lincoln's famous flair for words couldn't compete with the gravity of emancipation

When it was first issued, even Northerners who recognized it as a second Declaration of Independence …

Is there a photo of Lincoln and Booth standing together?

There is an advertisement for the History Channel that claims Pres. A. Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth stand together in a picture. Is this true? Is there a reference book that you can refer me to that shows it? Who …

Did sailors fight at Gettysburg?

Hi,

Did any sailors fight and die in the battle of Gettysburg? I have heard there are three sailors graves in the cemetary there and its my understanding that the only people buried there died in the battle there.

Tom …

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 …

Rest in Peace? Bringing Home U.S. War DeadMHQ adds to PBS's "Death and the Civil War" with the history of a sacred tradition born of a bitter fight
Southern ComfortUnion veterans could count on government aid in their twilight years. Aging Rebels needed another kind of safety net.
Book Reviews - November 2012

War on the Waters: The Union & Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 by James M. McPherson University of North Carolina Press, 2012, $36

James M. McPherson, perhaps the greatest historian of the Civil War, continues to find aspects of the conflict that …

News - November 2012


A blacksmith's cottage is among the period buildings on the 5-acre Mount Defiance site to be preserved on the Middleburg Battlefield. Image: Civil War TrustMiddleburg's Mount Defiance protected

A public–private partnership will preserve Mount Defiance, a five-acre ridge on the …

Lincoln's midtermsEvery president faces a shift in Congress after two years, but this halftime show was especially dangerous.
Wild West - October 2012 - Letters From ReadersIn the October issue of Wild West, readers share dispatches about Libbie Custer's devotion, Monahsetah's legend, White Bull at the Little Bighorn, Frederick Chiaventone's ode to Red Cloud, Julia Bulette's killer and plural wives of the Plains Indians.
American Experience: Death and the Civil War - Preview

We are well into the second year of the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War, and there have been no new national public television documentaries on the subject. Has everything been done? Has the breadth of the Civil War and …

Teacher, Preacher, Soldier, SpyHow the headmaster of a Washington boys' school became a Rebel spy—and tried to kidnap Lincoln
September - October 1862

General Lee heads north, producing a bloodbath in Maryland. And Abraham Lincoln presses emancipation

September

2 – In the aftermath of the Union's second loss at Bull Run, George McClellan is restored to full command of the Army of the …

Armies of last resortFolks back home looked to the home guards for protection. Sometimes they needed protected from the home guard.
War by the numbersEyebrows were conspicuously raised recently when a "demographic historian" from New York's State University at Binghamton convincingly recalibrated the long-accepted Civil War death toll—boosting the grisly statistic by an astounding 20 percent.
Field Notes - September 2012New superintendent focused on Antietam sesquicentennial
Abraham Lincoln's RefugeIn the summer of 1862, Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation at a roomy cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers Home outside Washington, D.C.
Hard War on the Southern PlainsThis story about Sherman's post-Civil War Indian campaign just won a top award from Army Historical Foundation
DVD Review: Wyatt Earp’s RevengeDirector Michael Feifer had plenty of good material in the real-life killing of Dodge City prostitute Dora Hand, but he fails to deliver the goods in this straight-to-DVD film.
Julian Scott Civil War PainterCurator Michael McAfee talks about artist Julian Scott and 51st New York Infantry at Antietam.
Confederate Flags in Times Square?Is it, or isn't it? That is our question!
Battlefields&Beyond: New York CityHarold Holzer's Top 13 Civil War Sites in NYC.
Honor boundJust how far would a soldier go to avoid being shamed on the battlefield?
Book Reviews - July 2012

The Global Lincoln by Richard Carwardine, Jay Sexton, eds. Oxford University Press 2011, $29.95

At the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009, a new area of Lincoln studies emerged: his legacy outside the United States after the Civil War …

Letters to the editor - July 2012

Broadening our horizons
 I appreciated the articles on the Monitor in the March 2012 issue but there were a few inaccuracies. The cover statement that Monitor made "every other warship obsolete" is only true if we mean every other warship …

The Civil War's 21st-century hero


Brian Lamb (image courtesy of C-SPAN)I spent a particularly memorable late-winter day a few months ago watching a 6 1/2-hour-long scholarly debate, hosted by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, on the subject of who best deserves the title …

July - August 1862

Rebels go marauding, emancipation occupies Abraham Lincoln and starving Sioux get restless

 

July

1 – Battle of Malvern Hill ends the Seven Days' battles with a Union victory.

The Revenue Act of 1862 establishes the Bureau of Internal Revenue …

Field Notes - July 2012


The original painting (left) next to the Mary Todd fake. (images courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum)The Lady and the scamp

Is she or isn't she? That question has been answered with a resounding "no": The portrait purported to …

150th Anniversary Events - upcoming and ongoing

Maryland
"The Medicine of Andersonville Prison" discusses the medicine and medical practices of Andersonville Prison and its impact on the prison population. When: June 9 Where: National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick, (301) 695-1864 CivilWarMed.org

"The Civil War Soldier …

Interview With War of 1812 Historian J.C.A. StaggJ.C.A. Stagg addresses the War of 1812 in his latest book, looking at the causes of the war, the performance of U.S. forces, and the winners and losers of the conflict.
The War List: Czars of the PentagonEliot A. Cohen names the best and worst secretaries of war in American history
Unknown Soldier: Manning Ferguson Force, the Hero of AtlantaHow a bookish Ohio attorney inspired a Union stand against a furious Confederate assault
In the hot seat over GettysburgSouthern vets had long blamed James Longstreet and Jeb Stuart for their loss, but had Lee called a formal inquiry?
A History of U.S. Military ManhuntsThe Osama bin Laden manhunt was just one of nearly a dozen in U.S. military history
Wild West - June 2012 - Table of ContentsThe June 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about Libbie Custer's enduring love for her "Boy General," the "Arapaho Five" at the Little Bighorn, plural marriage among the Plains Indians, Kansas' lethal innkeepers the Bloody Benders, and the long-gone California grizzlies.
Interview With Historian Paul HedrenIn his new book After Custer, Paul Hedren draws on his extensive knowledge of the Great Sioux War to paint a picture of changing life on the Prairie in the wake of the Little Bighorn.
Ambrose Bierce and America's First Great War StoriesAuthor and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce wrote of an ugly war, not the romanticized version found in most writings by his fellow veterans. His war was waged deep within the conscience of the individual solider and was often cloaked in supernaturalism.
What Do We Owe Our Vets?American soldiers returning from war don't always get the treatment they deserve.
A Killer's MetamorphosisFrank James, Jesse James' older brother, renounced the outlaw life after Jesse's death and slipped quietly into old age.
Battle Of South Mountain: Battlefield And BeyondJune Issue Extra: Lee’s first invasion of Union territory was turned back at the Battle of South Mountain

Major General Adelbert Ames: Forgotten Man of the 20th MaineJune Issue Extra: Adelbert Ames preceded Joshua Chamberlain as colonel of the 20th Maine
1862: May and June

Lincoln urges farmers to go west, McClellan stalls and a new Rebel commander takes over

May

3 – Confederate General Joseph Johnston orders troops to evacuate Norfolk, Va. Evacuation is completed May 10, and on May 11, the crew of …

Field Notes - Civil War news and history


The J.E.B. Stuart statue in Richmond, Va.New messages for old statues?

It wasn't quite art, but it wasn't quite vandalism either. So Richmond, Va., police and park employees were a bit stumped at how to handle ink-on-canvas plaques that were …

The Beast turned loose in New OrleansMaj. Gen. Benjamin Butler cleans up and clamps down on the rebellious Crescent City
A surprise visit from Morgan's RaidersThomas Lewis had avoided war -- until it invaded his own farm
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
'John Brown's Body' - Stephen Vincent Benet and Civil War Memory'John Brown's Body' by Stephen Vincent Benet, published in 1928, remains a vibrant tapestry of America's diversity and its unity, its 15,000 lines re-imagining the Civil War as Lincoln understood it.
MHQ Reviews: Cain at Gettysburg


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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 …

Sherman's Folly at ShilohBefore one of the Civil War’s most brutal battles, one of its finest generals ignored signs of danger—and paid a steep price
Union at Shiloh

A 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. …

Confederates at Shiloh

On April 6, 1862, following the first day of fighting, General Ulysses Grant ordered Union gunboats on the Tennessee River to fire broadsides all through the night, in an effort to unnerve the enemy. John S. Cockerill of the 70th

Book Review: Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek, by Louis KraftWith this new biography Louis Kraft establishes himself as the authority on Indian wars figure Ned Wynkoop.
Letter from Wild West - April 2012Red Cloud often gets third billing—behind Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse—in the annals of Sioux history, but that is selling short his historic contributions, says R. Eli Paul, editor of the great chief's autobiography
Louisa May Alcott Goes to WarEager to support the North, the budding author volunteered for a fledgling corps of female nurses
Eyewitness Account: The Battle of ShilohUnion Lieutenant William M. Reid recounts the Battle of Shiloh. PLUS: Three other accounts of the battle.
March and April, 1862

Stunning events on land and sea: Naval warfare is reinvented and a placid church gets a bloodbath

March

March 3 – President Lincoln appoints Andrew Johnson, the only Southern U.S. senator to remain loyal after his state seceded, military governor …

Field Notes

Trail takes helm at Antietam Battlefield


Susan Trail was superintendent at Monocacy National Battlefield for eight years. Photograph courtesy of National Park Service.Monocacy National Battlefield Super-intendent Susan Trail has been selected to serve in the same capacity at Antietam National …

Fearless French MaryBattlefield held little terror for feisty Marie Tepe as she focused on aiding her beloved Zouaves
Reviews

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz (Henry Holt, 2011, $29)

Tony Horwitz is one of today's keenest commentators on the American character. In Midnight Rising, he turns his intuitive eye …

A vast rebel conspiracy on the Great Lakes


A 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 …

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.
George Crook at the Battle of KernstownDid the Union general’s refusal to listen cost him the Second Battle of Kernstown?
Is It MosbyIs this a previously unknown portrait of the Gray Ghost?
Civil War Book Reviews

From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature, by Randall Fuller (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America, by Davis S. Reynolds (Norton, 2010)

REVIEWED BY NAN

Longstreet - Scapegoat or CulpritDid Lee order Longstreet to attack at dawn on July 2 at Gettysburg? Did Longstreet drag his feet because he disapproved?
Civil War Times - February 2012 - Table of Contents

FEATURES:

The Loyalty of Silas Chandler
Was he a heroic black Confederate—or a slave forced to do his master's bidding?
By Myra Chandler Sampson and Kevin M. Levin

'Terrible Has Been the Storm'
William Sherman's men took out years of …

Wild West - February 2012 - Table of ContentsThe February 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the Homestead Act of 1862, Prohibition cowboy Richard "Two-Gun" Hart, Arizona's and New Mexico's respective statehood centennials, the conflicting stories of a Fort Laramie hanging, and the Battle of the Hot Springs (Ark.) Gamblers.
Holiday Shopping Guide 2011: Recommended Books and MoreOver 40 recommended gift selections for the history buffs on your list.
John Brown's Blood OathAn excerpt from Tony Horwitz's new book, "Midnight Rising," about the militant abolitionist.
An un-civil war over criticism

Abraham Lincoln's critics were vitriolic, but at least he didn't have to deal with them in a daily twitter feed.

This past summer, a beleaguered Barack Obama invited a new wave of criticism—if such criticism really surprises him or us …

Diaries of a Liberty Hall Volunteer return home

An old Washington and Lee alum—with a little help from his friends—has posthumously provided his alma mater with a treasure trove of firsthand observations of the Civil War in Virginia, after some alert re-enactors and a Lexington historian spotted his …

In Time of War - 150 years ago

January

1 - The Lincoln administration releases Confederate emissaries James Mason and John Slidell from Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, ending the Trent Affair. The diplomats continued their voyage to Europe, on an unsuccessful mission to win support for the …

The Day New York Tried to Secede


A 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

Wild West - December 2011 - Table of ContentsThe December 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about the iconic photo of the infamous Fort Worth Five, the aftermath of Lt. Col. George Custer's 1868 victory over Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle, Wounded Knee reporter Teresa Dean, the controversial 1886 death of black Mormon sheepherder Gobo Fango, and West Pointer turned white renegade Thomas Twiss.
Wild West Discussion - December 2011

How do you rate the performance of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the November 27, 1868, Battle of the Washita (near present-day Cheyenne, Okla.), including the way he handled the loss of Major Joel Elliott and his small party

Wounds from the Washita: The Major Elliott AffairThe death of popular 7th U.S. Cavalry officer Major Joel Elliott at the 1868 Battle of the Washita—and Lt. Col. George Custer's response to it—spawned disunity within the ill-starred unit
Book Review: Historic Photos of Heroes of the Old West, by Mike Cox, and Historic Photos of Outlaws of the Old West, by Larry JohnsonMike Cox honors the heroes of the Old West and Larry Johnson the outlaws of the Old West in these two entries from Turner Publishing's Historic Photos series.
Civil War Ship ModelsShip Modeler Ed Parent shares his love of naval history.
Unfinished Railroad Cut at Second ManassasA railroad to nowhere gave Confederates a tactical advantage at Second Manassas.
Battlefields&Beyond: London, UKRebels ruled in Merry Old England.
Letters from a Young Union SailorLetter from 14 year old sailor James Weber on the Galena to his parents on the eve of the attack on Drewry's Bluff.
Putting the Wolverine State's heroics under the microscope

Two new books celebrate, in mostly commendable fashion, Michigan's contributions to the Civil War. Rick Liblong's Answering the Call to Duty: Saving Custer, Heroism at Gettysburg, POWs and Other Stories of Michigan's Small Town Soldiers in the Civil War (Arbutus …

Antietam Battlefield’s Miller farmhouse gets a facelift

Halfway through a five-year renovation of the historic Miller farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield, the Park Ser­vice preservation teams have been offering a handful of sneak previews of their handiwork.

David Miller's cornfield became an icon of the battlefield, after …

History we can chew on

If we want the young to learn history, we must find appealing ways to teach it


The Lincoln restaurant offers this large white leather banquette as an inviting version of the president's perch at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo courtesy of …

Who owns Gettysburg?

Preservationists, residents, entrepreneurs and Civil War enthusiasts all want a stake in its legacy

At times it seems as if there isn't enough Gettysburg to go around, and almost 150 years after the nation-changing battle, the site remains a hotly …

Tracing the ties that bind We know what the famous guys were up to, but what were our own relatives doing during the war?

Most of New Orleans thought Ben Butler was bad news, according to Dr. Charles Bias, who was teaching the Civil War …

'I Am Well and Hearty' - Walt Whitman's Brother in the Civil WarWalt Whitman has the reputation as a Civil War writer, but it was his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who saw the war up close and personal as a member of Company K, 51st New York Volunteer Infantry.
The History of Torture - Why We Can't Give It UpSome 150 years ago, the West all but abandoned torture. It has returned with a vengeance.
Battle of Balls BluffEnd of the Gentleman’s War: Bungled messages and poor leadership result in a Union disaster at Ball’s Bluff
Baltimore Riot of 1861Bullets vs. Bricks in Baltimore: A mob out for blood clashed with troops en route to Washington

Wild West - October 2011 - Letters from ReadersIn the October issue of Wild West, readers bend our ears about Baseball in the West.
Churchill Imagines How the South Won the Civil WarIn Winston Churchill’s fanciful alternative history, Robert E. Lee wins at Gettysburg, and Jeb Stuart prevents World War I
The War List: Overrated Civil War OfficersHistorian Gary W. Gallagher picks Union and Confederate officers whose hype doesn't match reality.
MHQ Reviews: Notable Books, Autumn 2011Notable Books for Autumn 2011
Misrepresented 'Monster' Major Marcus Reno

The major is often badmouthed as the villain of the Little Bighorn, but eyewitnesses insisted Reno was no coward—and he was in fact exonerated

"What do you do when you're branded, and know you're a man?'

That question comes up …

Photo Essay: 150th Anniversary of First Manassas-Bull RunNearly 9,000 Civil War reenactors staged battle re-creations as part of the activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Manassas/Battle of Bull Run.
Lone Star NationTexas has been a state since 1845. So why do Texans still believe they live in a separate country?
The Ultimate Political Action Committee

A congressional war panel proves too many cooks can poison the pot

By any standard, Ball's Bluff was a fiasco. What began as a raid in October 1861 escalated into an unintended battle for Leesburg, Va. The Yankees so badly …

The art of war

The 150th anniversary of our greatest conflict implores us to take another look

Back in February, the London-based Art Newspaper, the most important journal in the museum world, published a front-page article bemoaning the shocking absence of American art …

What a difference a day makes


Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of Weider History Group archive.

War seemed far away to the editors of a Maryland weekly newspaper–until

Gaming board says no to Gettysburg casino

No gambling for historic Civil War town

Preservationists claimed victory in Gettysburg this spring when for the second time in five years, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected plans for a casino on the fringes of Gettysburg National Military Park.…

A National Park Service Living-History Volunteer's StoryA volunteer at the Manassas National Battlefield Park talks about portraying history while wearing 45 pounds of clothing and accoutrements in summer heat, the questions visitors ask, and why he does it.
Who Was George G. Meade?

Meade Part I TubePressPlayerApi.register('zEX8aHJI4Y0'); 12next » TitleMeade Part I Runtime3:53 View count328 Description TitleMeade Part II Runtime2:45 View count159 Description TitleMeade Part VI Runtime3:11 View count152 DescriptionWho Was George G. Meade? with Dr. Allen Guelzo, Henry R. Luce Professor of …

Sacred Trust: Gettysburg Perspectives Lecture Series

 

 

A Sacred Trust: Gettysburg Perspectives Lecture Series

July 1, 2 & 3, 2011

At Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA

 

The Gettysburg Foundation is pleased to present our annual lecture

Irreconcilable DifferencesWinston Groom, author of Vicksburg 1863, explores the reasons the North and South found themselves at war.
Who Was the Youngest Civil War GeneralTrivia buffs beware: Galusha Pennypacker’s claim to being the Civil War’s youngest general doesn’t hold up
World War Two in GettysburgScrap drives, war rallies and German POWs took over America’s preeminent battlefield
Jim Gavin: The General Who Jumped FirstThis leader never asked his men to do something he wouldn't—and didn't—do himself.
Battle of Black Jack Battlefield 155th Anniversary Events Planned

[PRESS RELEASE] Baldwin City, KS – Four events organized by the Black Jack Battlefield Trust will commemorate the 155th Anniversary of the Battle of Black Jack. On Thursday, June 2nd at 5:00am the actual date and time of the battle, …

Irvin McDowell's Best Laid Plans


The orderly advance of Union troops at the start of the battle would become a distant memory in the hellish retreat that followed the fighting. Picture credit: Frank Leslie'sThe 'unexpected' Rebels he met at Bull Run weren't unexpected at all

We Are All Rebels

A 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 …

New Gettysburg Film from Ridley and Tony Scott

Scott brothers produce Gettysburg film for History channel

The famed filmmaking Scott brothers—Ridley (Gladiator; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster) and Tony (Unstop­pable; Man on Fire; Top Gun)—have teamed with the cable channel History to produce Gettysburg, …

Harold Holzer on the best and worst civil war books

War Stories
It's time to remember good Civil War lit—and close the door on the bad stuff

Several months ago, literary critic Adam Kirsch—full disclosure: he's my son-in-law—published an essay in the New York Times voicing concern about recent decisions …

A Sesquicentennial three-pack

Stunning photos dominate these coffee table tomes

The Civil War sesquicentennial has spawned a new—and not-so-new—wave of literature designed to introduce a new generation to the nation's seminal conflict. Among the first such books are three profusely illustrated volumes that …

Eric Foner on Lincoln and Slavery

The evolution of Father Abraham
Respected historian Eric Foner's new book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, examines what the president truly believed about human bondage
Author Eric Foner. Courtesy of Eric Foner.

Q Why another book on …

McClellan's War-Winning StrategyThe "young Napoleon" had a viable plan to beat the Confederacy. What went wrong?
Union Cavalry Escapes from Besieged Harpers FerryIn September 1862 some 1,600 Union cavalrymen seemingly trapped at Harpers Ferry carried out one of the Civil War's most successful missions of stealth and deception.
Wild West - June 2011 - Table of ContentsThe June 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about Major Marcus Reno's role at the Little Bighorn, baseball in the West, jailbreak artist William "Idaho Bill" Sloan, Colorado huntress and taxidermist Martha Maxwell, and a low-down dirty shooting at Fort Worth's Palais Royal Saloon.
Baseball in the WestNew Yorker Alexander Cartwright brought the game to the frontier during the California Gold Rush, making it truly the national pastime.
Interview With Author John KosterNo survivors with George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn in June 1876? John Koster, author of Custer Survivor, says otherwise.
Triumph at Kasserine PassHow the U.S. Army wrung victory from one of their worst defeats
Gettysburg's Best and Worst MonumentsWhat are Gettysburg's best and worst monuments?
Your Nations Shall Be ExterminatedMHQ recently won honors for this story about how the U.S. Army pacified the Northwest Indians.
Where is General George MeadeHow Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War
Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Daniel Weinberg and Bjorn Skaptason

A place for all things Lincoln—with a modern twist
Daniel Weinberg and Bjorn Skaptason of Chicago's Abraham Lincoln Book Shop bring the traditional book signing into the 21st century



Dan Weinberg. Photo by M. Sylvia Castle.What was the impetus for …

Secession - Revisionism or Reality

Secession fever revisited
We can take an honest look at history, or just revise it to make it more palatable

Try this version of history: 150 years ago this spring, North Carolina and Tennessee became the final two Southern states …

Walmart Withdraws from Wilderness Battlefield

Preservationists win Wilderness battle

Rather than face what would likely have been an image-bruising court fight, Walmart has abandoned plans to build a retail supercenter on the doorstep of the Wilderness battlefield in central Virginia.

"This project has been controversial, …

Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry

Jackson, Johnston and conflicting interests
The fate of strategic Harpers Ferry hung on the leadership styles of two Southern commanders


Confederate Battery at Harper's Ferry. Courtesy of the Harper's Ferry National Historic Park.

Ten weeks before earning the sobriquet "Stonewall" …

The First Battle Of The Civil War - Philippi *

*Note on Philippi, the Civil War's First Battle Inland: Many people ask, "What was the first battle of the Civil War?" The answers that are often given are 'The Battle Of First Bull Run'  or 'Fort Sumter.'  Chronologically, Fort Sumpter

My Thoughts Be Bloody

My 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 …

Calm Before the Storm: 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, 1861After Virginia's secession in 1861 and the start of the Civil War, General Joseph E. Johnston and his men experienced an idyllic summer in the northern Shenandoah Valley.
Building the Army of the PotomacStephen Sears writes of how the Army of the Potomac's politically appointed generals and short-term volunteer troops nearly unhinged Lincoln’s plans in 1861 to win the Civil War.
Robert E. Lee Takes ChargeGeneral George McClellan thought he was timid. Newspapers called him ‘Granny Lee.’ But once in command, the General Robert E. Lee attacked quickly and boldly.
Ask MHQ—North or South: Whose Was the Army of the Rebellion?Nowadays "Army of the Rebellion" is most commonly used to refer to the Confederates, but during the American Civil War the term was often applied to the Union forces as well.
Last Chance for Peace: Fort Sumter at 150For months the Confederates trained dozens of guns on Fort Sumter. But no one seemed eager for war.
Ten Civil War ClassicsThe country’s bloodiest war has been captured in novels, memoirs, and battle narratives. Here are 10 classics
Battle of Big BethelA skirmish near the tip of Virginia’s Peninsula served as a harbinger of the four-year bloodbath to come.
Black Jack John Logan Goes to WarUnlike most politicians, John Logan played a pivotal role on the battlefield.
Two Virginias Two Civil Wars

Two 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 …

Camp Misery Excavation

Students 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 …

James Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President

Education, Preservation, Dedication
Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer has made saving endangered battlefields his life's passion
Jim Lighthizer. Photo by Kevin Johnson.

What is the biggest threat to Civil War battlefield preservation right now?
No question about it, development—the …

The Civil War in the New York Times

The 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 …

Surviving a Confederate POW CampSurvival in an Alabama Slammer: Inmates at the Confederacy’s Cahaba Federal Prison had little more food and a lot less space than prisoners at Andersonville, but their mortality rate was considerably lower—thanks to one man’s humanity.
Gideon Welles Blockades Charleston Harbor

The one-way voyage of the Stone Fleet:
An aging armada sets course to become an obstacle

There may not have been a less impressive fleet in the entire history of the American Navy. The ships were old, long past their …

A Nation Divided

So many people insist on viewing the American Civil War (or any war, for that matter) from a good-guys-won perspective. It's a sure way to obscure at least half the facts and distort the meaning of the rest. As long …

Union Spy in Confederate TerritoryUnion agent Pryce Lewis had his share of close calls
Lee to the RearA Texas private’s long-forgotten account of Robert E. Lee’s brush with death at the Battle of the Wilderness.
The Calamities of Calamity JaneLate in life Calamity Jane, the legendary frontierswoman, lived in a world of saloons, dance halls and brothels. Actually, it wasn't so different from her younger days.
Civil War Sesquicentennial Kickoff in TennesseeWhile many states are depending on volunteer groups to promote the Civil War Sesquicentennial, Tennessee is using the 5-year event to promote tourism and had a 2-day kickoff in Nashville.
Battle Of Franklin: Civil War Sites - Carnton, Carter House, Lotz HouseThe Carter House, Lotz House and Carnton Plantation still stand as witnesses to the five bloody hours of fighting in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864.
Scientists at Arms: Naturalists in the MilitaryIn an age of biological discovery, a few modern-day warriors furthered science and saved lives
Survivors Remember Shiloh7 Lives Altered by Shiloh: Two Fateful Days Can Make Reputations, Shatter Families, and Shape Destinies
Pre Civil War Peace ConferenceAs secession fever spreads through the South, political patriarchs try to avert war—-but at what price?
10 Battles That Shaped AmericaAmerica was born of war, and the following 10 battles helped forge the nation and forever change world history.
Uhlinger's Interesting Pistol

TubePressPlayerApi.register('lsKVb0ZO6Xg'); View count287 DescriptionCivil War Times magazine editor Dana Shoaf discusses and demonstrates the use of an unusual Civil War gun. …

S. Waite Rawls, Museum of the Confederacy

Waite Rawls Revels in His Role as the Keeper of the Confederacy's Complex Legacy

S. Waite Rawls has a name and heritage befitting a Confederate general. A Virginia Military Institute graduate, he's got so many Rebel ancestors that he has …

Elmer Ellsworth and His ZouavesAll Glory and No Gore: Elmer Ellsworth’s 1860 militia tour helped prepare the North for war
Gen. George McClellan at Second ManassasGeneral Disobedience: ‘Little Mac’ let John Pope twist in the wind; With response from Prof. Ethan S. Rafuse
The Confederacy: America's Worst IdeaWhy did the South lose the Civil War? Because it ignored black slaves and white women.
MOC Interview

Waite Rawls Revels in His Role as the Keeper of the Confederacy's Complex Legacy

S. Waite Rawls has a name and heritage befitting a Confederate general. A Virginia Military Institute graduate, he's got so many Rebel ancestors that he has …

Confederate Alamo

Remembering the Confederates' last stand at Petersburg: The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg's Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865
by John J. Fox III
Angle Valley Press, 2010, $34.95

Although it typically doesn't attract the attention it merits, April 2, …

Peter Carmichael, Director of The Civil War Institute

Education that spans generations:
Peter Carmichael takes the helm of Gettysburg College's Civil War Institute, Gabor Boritt's innovative program for history students of all ages


Dr. Peter Carmichael. Photo by Tamela Baker.
What attracted you to the Civil War Institute?

Segways appear at Fredericksburg NMP

Segways 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 …

Lincoln Campaigns in New HampshireA wonderfully intimate glimpse of Lincoln the public speaker comes to us from his trip to New Hampshire in 1860 to visit his eldest son, Robert, at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Was Secession Legal

Southerners insisted they could legally bolt from the Union.
Northerners swore they could not.
War would settle the matter for good.

Over the centuries, various excuses have been employed for starting wars. Wars have been fought over land or honor. …

Antietam RememberedA veteran of Antietam spent his life collecting accounts of the war’s most horrific fighting
Crazy Boston Corbett Killed John Wilkes BoothJohn Wilkes Booth’s killer achieved instant fame—but folks soon realized he was just plain crazy
Civil War Times - October 2010 - Table of Contents

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'Until Every Negro Has Been Slaughtered'
Why did Rebels execute USCTs at Petersburg?
By Kevin M. Levin

Mad as a Hatter
Crazy Boston Corbett shot down John Wilkes Booth
By Eric

Civil War Prison Camp DiscoveredAn archaeological dig unearths the location of a largely forgotten Confederate prison camp in Georgia.
The Last Waltz: Prelude to the Siege of VicksburgIn August 1863 astonished Vicksburg revelers watch a convoy of Federal gunboats successfully pass the town's batteries, thanks to the keen observations and ingenuity of Union admiral David Porter.
Bloody Field at Champion’s HillAfter three months of frustration, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in May 1863 succeeded in getting his army onto the east bank of the Mississippi River in the rear of the fortress city of Vicksburg. In a lightning campaign Grant’s army defeated Confederate detachments at Port Gibson on May 1, Raymond on May 12, and Jackson on May 14, neutralizing the Mississippi capital as a Confederate base for the relief of Vicksburg. Then he turned toward Vicksburg itself.
Wild West Discussion - October 2010

George Custer and David Crockett each died dramatically in battle—exactly how remains open to debate—at the Little Bighorn and the Alamo, respectively. Those might be the two most memorable deaths in the West, but what other Western endings do you

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
John Howard, Superintendent, Antietam National Battlefield

Superintendent John Howard plans to retire at year's end after 16 years at the helm of Antietam National Battlefield. Here he shares a few parting thought.

What accomplishment stands out most in your time at Antietam?
John Howard. Photo by …

Gettysburg is an Endangered Battlefield

A proposed casino near the site of Pickett's Charge has landed the Gettysburg National Military Park on the Civil War Preservation Trust's list of the 10 most endangered battlefields in 2010.

In its annual report History Under Siege­, CWPT identified …

Soldiering to Citizenship in the Civil War

Becoming 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 …

True Causes of the Civil War

Irreconcilable Differences
Simmering animosities between North and South signaled an American apocalypse

Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Having acknowledged …

Murder in the Civil War

Getting away with murder
The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends

The death toll among general officers during the Civil War was staggering. Because military necessity often placed a general …

Richard Ewell at GettysburgSecond-Guessing Dick Ewell: Why didn’t the Confederate general take Cemetery Hill on July 1, 1863?
Lee's Unwritten MemoirWhy didn’t Robert E. Lee write his memoirs?
Civil War Times - August 2010 - Table of Contents

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Second-Guessing Dick Ewell
Is it fair to blame General Richard Ewell for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg?
By Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
PLUS: 5 Battle Maps by David Fuller

The Proclamation and the

Is General Stanley A. McChrystal more like General John Pope or George McClellan?MSNBC's Keith Olbermann compares President Obama's predicament with General McChrystal to Lincoln's decision about General John Pope.
Glen Swanson - Art of the WestGlen Swanson, sculptor and avid Custeriana collector, has created a sculpture of Custer as he appeared on the eve of his Last Stand on the Little Bighorn.
Nocona's Raid and Cynthia Ann Parker's RecaptureTaken by Comanches at age 9 in 1836, Cynthia Ann Parker was recaptured by whites nearly 24 years later when she returned to Texas with a raiding party led by her Indian husband.
Letter from Wild West - August 2010Cheyenne Indians are often overlooked in the chronicles of the 19th century Indian wars, despite having engaged in almost as many fights as the heralded Sioux warriors.
At Gettysburg with the Lousiana Tigers

The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July, 1863
By Scott L. Mingus Sr.,
Louisiana State University Press, 2009

The legendary Louisiana Tigers, one of the more feared units in the Army of Northern Virginia, get a welcome and comprehensive …

Buchanan the Peacemaker?Could Buchanan Have Stopped the Civil War? Either the much-maligned James Buchanan was the unmitigated disaster of legend, or he deserves an apology.
Dred Scott vs. the Law

He 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 …

Bruce Bustard, Curator, National Archives

What makes this exhibit so different?
For one, it's not organized chronologically. Many of the exhibits we looked at start with Fort Sumter, then go to Manassas, then Shiloh, all the way along. But we've organized ours around certain theme …

New Civil War Exhibit at the National Archives

The National Archives combines 21st-century technology with 19th-century ephemera for a ne­w interactive sesquicentennial exhibition the department calls "the most extensive display ever assembled" from its massive Civil War collection.
View the patent for artifical limbs at the exhibit. National …

The War Over Plunder: Who Owns Art Stolen in War?Over the past two decades, globalization, changing attitudes, and clearer international laws have emboldened aggrieved nations to demand the return of cultural property seized by enemy forces in the past, but laws alone can’t guarantee their success.
'The Roar and Rattle': McClellan's Missed Opportunities at AntietamThe Battle of Antietam resulted in more pivotal changes, across a broader spectrum of events—military, political, diplomatic, societal—than any other battle of the war. Yet if evaluated in purely military terms, it was not decisive at all.
MHQ Summer 2010 Table of ContentsThe Summer 2010 issue of MHQ features articles about looted art throughout history, the bombing of Guernica, the Battle of Antietam, U.S Navy in the Korean War, the Emperor Julian, and the O'Brien brothers during the American War of Independence.
If you could ask Abraham Lincoln one question what would it be?If you could ask Abraham Lincoln one question what would it be?
Explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal‘Noble Union Girls’: The thousands of Northern women who worked in Federal arsenals risked their lives for the cause.
Mobile Gains CSS Alabama Cannon


Crewmen aboard CSS Alabama pose next to the same type of 32-pounder that was recovered from the ship's wreck site. Courtesy of the Museum of Mobile.The state of Alabama never saw the sloop CSS Alabama, which was built for the …

Causes of the Civil War

Americans who lived through the Civil War established four great interpretive traditions regarding the conflict. The Union Cause tradition framed the war as preeminently an effort to maintain a viable republic in the face of secessionist actions that threatened both …

Israel Richardson at Antietam

A Rising Star Struck Down in His Prime
Until Antietam: The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army, by Jack C. Mason, Southern Illinois University Press

Up to the moment he was mortally wound­ed along Antietam's …

Slave to Soldier: Fighting for Freedom‘We Must Make Free Men of Them’ Confederate General Patrick Cleburne wanted to enlist slaves to fight for the Rebel cause
Wild West Discussion - June 2010

How do you grade the Battle of the Little Bighorn performances of Lt. Col. George Custer, Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen on the following grading scale: A-plus (superhero), A (hero), B (almost a hero), C (half hero, half

Interview with Author Mark Lee GardnerMark Lee Gardner, author, historian and general renaissance man of the West, has written a dual biography of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Women's History Articles - Suggested Online ReadingDescriptions of some online articles related to Women's History, with links; includes Irena Sendler, Queen Elizabeth I, and women of the Wild West!
Preston Brooks' Diplomacy

Preston Brooks' big stick diplomacy:
Heated oratory leads to violence in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Senate

With swift, powerful strokes, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks battered the prostrate body in the aisle of the nearly empty U.S. Senate …

Notes from the Underground RailroadFormer slave Arnold Gragston tells of how he became involved in the Underground Railroad.
Joseph Wheeler managed to keep Braxton Bragg from drowning at MurfreesboroFightin’ Joe: Taunted by subordinates and sometimes ignored by his commander, Joseph Wheeler managed to keep Braxton Bragg from drowning in a Tennessee bloodbath
Emmitsburg Road Preservation Campaign

Civil War Preservation Trust announces latest campaign

Fundraising has begun for the preservation of a crucial two-acre parcel on the Gettys­burg battlefield. The property, originally part of the historic Philip Snyder farm, lies along the Emmitsburg Road and is entirely …

Why the Civil Rights Movement Was an InsurgencyMilitary historian Mark Grimsley makes the startling assertion that the American civil rights movement was an insurgency.
1864: McClellan vs. Lincoln Gallery EXTRAIn the 1864 “bayonet election,” the soldier vote—and a timely Union success—helped a pro-war civilian, Lincoln, defeat a pro-peace general, McClellan.
Battlefield Preservation Effort - 7200 Acres at PetersburgU.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced the “Petersburg National Boundary Modification Act,” to protect 7,200 additional acres of historic battlefields around Petersburg, which would create the largest military park in the United States.
Irvin McDowell: The Most Unpopular Man in AmericaTwo words came to define McDowell’s military prowess for the general’s most critical superiors: ‘Bull’ and ‘Run’
Ed Bearss, Former NPS Chief Historian

For Ed Bearss, the past is prologue.
Recalling the National Park Service's response to the war's centennial, its former chief historian reflects on a new milestone.

What impact will the sesquicentennial have on battlefield parks?
In 1955, the Park Service …

Andrew Johnson ImpeachedBehind the scenes in the case of a president on trial.
The Impending Crisis Of The South By Hinton R. HelperHinton R Helper's book "The Impending Crisis Of The South: How to Meet It," published in 1857, was a call for the confederate south to abandon slave and adopt industrialization.
Bill Howell, Virginia House Speaker

Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell and the Virginia Civil War sesquicentennial commission remember the war that split the state in two. Literally. Interview by Chris Howland
Virgina House Speaker Bill Howell. Photo by Kevin Johnson.

Why did the Virginia legislature …

The Other Battle of Calcasieu PassDefenseless Yankees were no match for a girl named Babette.
Gettysburg maps sesquicentennial strategyCivil War battle strategy can be tricky enough itself to convey, but that wasn’t what was giving German journalist Hermann Schmid problems in Gettysburg last fall.
Civil War Fight Songs‘Noble and manly music invigorates the spirit, strengthens the wavering man, and incites him to great and worthy deeds’
Lincoln’s Political Generals

Lincoln's Political Generals, by David Work
University of Illinois Press, 2009

Abraham Lincoln made his share of mistakes as commander in chief during the Civil War, but did his politically motivated appointments of nonmilitary men as Union generals help or …

Northern Women and the Travails of War

Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front, by Judith Giesberg, University of North Carolina Press

The world of Civil War women has been enriched over the past decade by a bounty of significant …

Resources: April 2010

P. 28, Field Guide: Williamsburg

"The day after Christmas 1850, Williamsburg mayor John Maupin strolled out to his farm south of town lingered and chatted with his slaves until mid-afternoon, then announced he was going "home." Perhaps he meant his …

Students Campaign for James Ashely


Future Congressman James Ashley helped 24 slaves escape from bondage in Kentucky when he was 17.The Research History class at Washington High School is working to see that their favorite abolitionist gets a spot in the U.S. Capitol. For these …

Will Biographers Ever Get out of a Rut?

Biographies of Civil War generals have appealed to generations of Americans. Famous commanders often attract readers who end up pursuing a lifelong interest in the conflict. J.E.B. Stuart played that role for me.

As an 11-year-old, I was drawn to …

Staying the Course at GettysburgLincoln's remarks gratified the war's proponents and silenced his critics
Executing JusticeConfederates accepted capital punishment as a necessary evil on the path to independence.
Bugle Calls

RETREAT:

FIRST CALL:

CALL TO ARMS:

CALL TO THE COLORS:

GENERAL QUARTERS: …

Confederate Raider Raphael Semmes: Catch Me If You Can!Maritime raider Raphael Semmes was the scourge of Union blockaders and merchant shipping during the Civil War
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,…

'A White Man's War'William T. Sherman’s adamant refusal to field African-American troops amounted to outright insubordination
Why Cotton got to be KingThe South’s cash crops buoyed America’s trade and industry before the war—but the planter economy could be as volatile as Wall Street
Putting a face on the burden of war: Lincoln Face MorphWorry over a nation torn apart etched itself in the visage of Abraham Lincoln.
Who kept U.S. Grant sober?John Rawlins used his brains and blue language to keep his boss in check.
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.
Gettysburg Grows by 45 Acres: December/January 2010

Gettysburg residents Wayne and Susan Hill recently donated 45 acres to the Gettysburg Foundation. Located near the eastern base of Big Round Top at the southern end of the battlefield, the acreage encompasses an area where Union skirmishers maneuvered on …

Why Doesn’t Grant Get the Love?: December 2009/January 2010Ulysses S. Grant has occupied dramatically different positions in the American pantheon. His im­posing stature between the end of the Civil War and the early years of the 20th century cannot be disputed.
New Missouri Park to Honor 1st Kansas Colored Infantry: October/November 2009

State officials as well as volunteers are working to establish a state park in an area of Bates County, Mo., where the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry skirmished with Confederate guerrillas in October 1862. The encounter is known today as the …

Resources: October/November 2009P. 28, General Grant's 'Living and Speaking Conscience

Read James Harrison Wilson's The Life of John A. Rawlins online with Google Books.


P. 42, The 'Madness' of John Brown

The 150th Commemoration of Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry will take …

Interview with Author Richard RattenburyIn his latest book, author and firearms expert Richard Rattenbury addresses hunting on the 19th-century American frontier.
Masters of their Medium: October/November 2009The Civil War era has attracted more than its share of gifted writers. Unexcelled political drama, compelling individuals in and out of uniform and storied battles provide rich material for anyone seeking to tell a gripping story.
Murder and Mayhem Ride the Rails - Union Soldiers Rampage in Virginia

Smoke and fire filled the skies south of Petersburg in December 1864 as the Army of the Potomac's V Corps targeted the Weldon Railroad. Dur­ing a raid along this vital supply line linking southeastern Virginia with North Carolina, liquor-fueled Federals …

A Promise FulfilledThe Emancipation Proclamation all but guaranteed the death of slavery, but exactly what that document did–and did not–do remains the subject of heated debate
The Madness of John BrownIn the 150 years since Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, historians have struggled to come to grips with his mental state.
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 …

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 …

Sweet Subversive ScribesThree young Quaker women risk everything to publish the pro-Union Waterford News.
MHQ Reader Comments: Origin of the Word “Deadline”An MHQ reader documents the origin of the word “deadline” at Andersonville during the Civil War.
The Rise and Fall of CSS Virginia - GalleryDid a radical new Confederate gunship foil McClellan’s plan to end the Civil War in 1862? Photographs of the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor.
Edwin Forbes Gettysburg Paintings - GalleryScenes from the Battle of Gettysburg painted by the reporter and artist Edwin Forbes.
Six Weeks in the Saddle with Brig. Gen. John BufordUnion Brigadier General John Buford's troopers kept their carbines warm harassing Robert E. Lee's army during the 1863 Gettysburg campaign.
Capital Defense - Washington, D.C., in the Civil War

When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that a fighting war pitting North versus South would soon break out, the residents of Washington, D.C.—at least those whose sympathies were with the Union—began to feel more than a little threatened. …

John Brown's Moonlight March


Historynet Image

On a chill foggy autumn evening in 1859, abolitionist John Brown and a rough gang of 21 men with guns and pikes and revolt in their hearts quietly hiked five miles from a farm in Western Maryland to …

Riverside resort threatens Harpers Ferry's viewshed

A 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 …

Tennessee town memorializes Nathan B. Forrest’s horse

In 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, …

Grave robbers desecrate and loot Fort Craig, N.M., cemetery

Last year, federal archaeologists exhumed 67 bodies from Fort Craig, a Civil War-era fort in New Mexico, after a looting investigation led them to a house where remains of a uniformed "Buffalo Soldier," the nickname American Indians gave to black …

N.C. reenactors work to conserve and display regimental flags

A historic flag captured from the 26th North Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg has returned home.

A reenactment unit, whose members include a number of descendants of the original unit's soldiers, led the charge to acquire the flag, …

John Coski, Museum of the Confederacy

John Coski is the historian and library director at the Museum of the Confederacy. He is the author of The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem — Interview by Tamela Baker

Describe the museum's expansion to Appomattox, Fredericksburg and …

Robert K. Krick, Chronicler of Robert E. Lee's Army

 

Robert Krick worked for 31 years as the chief historian at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and is a renowned expert on the Army of Northern Virginia Interview by Kim A. O'Connell

How did a California kid get …

The South's Last Great VictoryAn alliance of the Confederacy’s eastern and western armies earned a bloody triumph at the September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga
Lincoln Gets BuzzedLooking notably robust near his 56th birthday, Abraham Lincoln sat for this portrait by an un­known photographer around February 1865.
9th Massachusetts Battery


Historynet Image

This  monument marks the 9th Massachusetts Battery's initial position along the Wheatfield Road at Gettysburg. The artillerymen conducted a fighting retreat with their 12-pounder Napoleons to the Trostle Farm in the background. For more information visit:
http://home.comcast.net/~9thmassbattery/

 …

Hanging Captain GordonNathaniel Gordon was the only American sent to the gallows for slave traiding.
Lincoln or Bust

Abraham 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 …

Here’s evidence that Abraham Lincoln was as good as his wordsKaplan has done a service to Lincoln scholars and general readers alike by reconstructing Lincoln's self-education, and showing how the books he read and reread may have shaped his mind.
A not-so-prim dissection of the war from across the pondAmerica's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield 1861-1863
by Brian Holden Reid
Prometheus Books, 2008

One can read extensively in Civil War historiography and not once come across the word "puerile." Yet Brian Holden Reid, professor of American history and military …

A search for clues to what compelled the men who went to warHeroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War
by Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn
Princeton University Press, 2008

A Civil War book full of charts, graphs and tables, even when it is com­bined with intriguing human interest profiles …

Believe it or not, here's something new on LeeRobert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865
by Ethan S. Rafuse
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008

Is it really possible there's anything new to say about Robert E. Lee, who probably has had more written about him than …

The Long Shadow of the March to the Sea

 

Sherman's March in Myth and Memory
by Edward Caudill and
Paul Ashdown
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008

Memory studies are now a recognized discipline within the canon of Civil War historiography, with leading historians Gary Gal­lagher, David Blight and …

South Carolina takes on the FedsThe birth of the states' rights movement can be traced to the Tariff of 1828.
Seeds of conflictThe convergence of cotton and new farm technology made the Southern economy flourish.
Missouri Compromise exposed the raw nerve of slaveryMissouri Compromise: Problem arose when Missouri wanted to join the Union with slavery, threatening the balance between free and slave states.
Crusaders against slaveryThe history of abolitionists in America dates back to colonial times.
Henry "Box" Brown: a slave signed, sealed and deliveredSlave Henry Brown mails himself to freedom.
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 2009

Many 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 …

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). …

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 2009

USS 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 …

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, …

Vicksburg: From Mint Juleps to Bomb Bursts

Vicksburg 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 …

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. …

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 …

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 Men

On 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 …

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 - 1865


The 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 …

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 Lincoln

The 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 …

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 Interview

It'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 …

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.
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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

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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My 15 Minutes Out of the Attic
By Robert Lee Hodge
From the cover of Confederates in the Attic to a "Primetime Live" television feature, a reenactor
discovered the fleeting nature of …

Daniel Sickles: An Unlikely Union GeneralThe Civil War salvaged Dan Sickles' career and saved him from financial ruin.
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 Times

Don'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 …

Letter From Civil War Times - January 2008

What 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 …

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 2008

Lincoln'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 …

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 2007

An 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 …

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 2007

Madness 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 …

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 Orphans

In 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 …

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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. …

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?"
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America's Bloodiest Day
George 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, …

Letter From America's Civil War - September 2007

September 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 …

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?
Kit Carson's Rescue Ride

The 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 …

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 Gettysburg

Nearly 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 …

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 General

Visiting 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 …

American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the Crater

Lieutenant 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 …

John Singleton Mosby's Revenge

A 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 …

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 Magazine

IRON 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 …

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 Times

The 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 …

Burning High Bridge: The South's Last Hope

In 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 …

Letters From Readers -- March 2007 America's Civil War Magazine

Remember 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 …

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 Continues

For 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 …

Letters From Readers -- February 2007 Civil War Times Magazine

Longstreet vs. Jackson
Jeffry 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 …

Letter from Civil War Times Magazine -- February 2007

When 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 …

Letters from Readers -- January 2007 America's Civil War

Firing 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 …

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 Times

More 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 …

Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth of 'Unconditional Surrender Begins at Fort Donelson

In 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 …

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 History

Career Crossroads
Some 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 …

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 …

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 Union

The 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 …

Letters from Readers -- October 2006 Civil War Times

Andersonville 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 …

Letter From October 2006 Civil War Times

The 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 …

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.

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 Magazine

The 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 …

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

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 Soldier

The 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, …

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 Farm

It 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 …

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 Ankeny
By Hank H. Cox
Cumberland 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 …

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.'
Hugh Glass: Legendary Trapper in America's Western FrontierBloody and battered from an encounter with a she-grizzly, old trapper Hugh Glass was eventually left to die by two of his comrades. When he refused to die before exacting revenge, a legend was born.
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 Alan
By Jay Wertz
Presidio 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 …

Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War (Book Review)

Reviewed by Craig Symonds
By Bruce Leviner
Oxford 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 …

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.
Battle of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry was the scene of an important 1862 battle in Lee's Maryland campaign and a prelude to 'Bloody Antietam.'
Black Hawk WarOutnumbered and harried through trackless swamps, Black Hawk's starving band of Sauk Indians made a desperate stand along the Mississippi.
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.
Union Captain Judson KilpatrickAn unknown farm boy, he attended West Point. Homely, he had an endless string of mistresses. An inept commander, he became a major general. What was Judson Kilpatrick's secret?
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.
American Civil War: The 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry RegimentThe Twenty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment included two future presidents and an Army Commander.
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.
Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (Book Review)

Reviewed by Robert Citino
By Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper
Harvard 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. …

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.
From Under Iron Eyelids: The Biography of James Henry Burton, Armorer to Three Nations (Book Review)

Reviewed by Robert K. Krick
By Thomas K. Tate
AuthorHouse, 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 …

Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864 (Book Review)

Reviewed by Perry D. Jamieson, Air Force Historical Studies Office
By Earl J. Hess
University 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 …

The Confederates of Chappell Hill, Texas (Book Review)

Reviewed by Robert K. Krick
By Stephen Chicoine
McFarland & 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 …

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.
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.'
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.
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.

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