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An Old Friend

With this issue we celebrate Civil War Times’ 50th year, an impressive milestone. What would eventually become a magazine was begun in newspaper format in the late 1950s, and relaunched as Vol. 1, No. 1, in April 1962. A feature in that inaugural issue, reprinted in abridged form beginning on P. 58 of this issue, focused on James Longstreet—among the first published arguments that called for taking a new look at the commander often blamed for the Confederate loss at Gettysburg. This magazine has in fact led the way in reevaluating “Old Pete.”

How many readers can remember the controversial Longstreet illustration shown below, dating from the August 1998 issue? So many were incensed by that jarring portrayal of the general that, in a subsequent issue, then-editor Jim Kushlan would feel obligated to explain his rationale for including it.

The fact that Civil War Times articles evoke such strong reactions shows how passionate its readers have always been about the conflict. Thank you for sharing that passion with us over the past five decades. Founding editor Robert H. Fowler wrote in the April 1962 issue that “The Civil War was too big and too complicated, its characters too colorful, and its issues too involved to be covered adequately in one book or even in a series of volumes.” Fifty years and thousands of books on the topic later, his words still ring true. We still have a lot more stories to tell.


Originally published in the February 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.