Being a Civil War Intern: Living History Weekends

I often have daydreams of working on a Civil War battlefield. In my imagination, I am bedecked in the prestigious green and grey. In reality, things are a little different. While I did have the opportunity to participate in two living history events this summer, I found myself wearing a hot and itchy outfit consisting of wool pants, a wool coat, a hat, a plaid shirt, and braces (the Civil War version of suspenders).

In the first post of this series I discussed the giddy excitement of a new intern. It’s amazing how fast that excitement is replaced by apprehension when that same intern is told she will be one of the crew members participating in a public cannon demonstration. I’ll admit I did enjoy shooting the cannon, but it’s quite nerve wracking when the entire audience is waiting on you to make the boom! Continue reading

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Robert “King” Carter and the Father of our Country – Connecting the Dots of History

A lot of understanding history is understanding connections. Making relevant connections

Robert "King" Carter

Robert “King” Carter

and interpreting those connections to people. Recently I played a part in curating a new exhibit at the Manassas Museum. This exhibit “A Virginia Aristocracy: The Carters of Virginia” focuses on the Carter family in Virginia and their vast influence. Beginning with Robert “King” Carter, the Carters amassed great wealth and land in Virginia. The Carters were one of the leading families in colonial Virginia and their influence was felt all the way up to the Civil War.

As I was leading an exhibit talk last weekend, I started to make some of those connections that I love to share with the public. One that I knew about, but didn’t really contextualize until talking to a small group was how the Carters influenced the course of American history. In a way beyond their ancestry to future U.S. Presidents, but in a connection that “King” Carter never intended.

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Meeting Grant’s Great-Great-Grandson

Me and Grant's descendant, John Griffiths

Me and Grant’s descendant, John Griffiths

Last month, while giving a talk for the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield on Grant’s Last Battle, I had the chance to meet one of Ulysses S. Grant’s descendants: great-great grandson John Griffiths

John and his two sisters are the children of Julia Grant Griffiths. Julia (named after her maternal great-grandmother) was the daughter of Ulysses S. Grant III, the eldest son of Frederick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. Grant’s eldest son. Or, laid out a little more directly:

Ulysses S. Grant –> Fred Grant –> Ulysses S. Grant III –> Julia Grant Griffiths –> John Griffiths Continue reading

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Upcoming Presentations: September-October


10th: Chris Mackowski, “Strike Them a Blow: Battles Along the North Anna River” at the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, Centreville, VA

11th: Chris Mackowski, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Ellwood

15th: Chris Mackowski, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” at the Lincoln-Davis Civil War Roundtable

17th: Edward Alexander, “The Role of Ohio and West Virginia Troops in the Capture of Petersburg,” Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Marietta, OH

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In Memory of Phil Kearny


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Question of the Week 8/31-9/6

This week’s Question of the Week was suggested by ECW Contributor Ryan Quint who asks:

What is something you’ve always wondered about the Civil War or something you may have recently come across that the historians here at ECW could help with?

Posted in Question of the Week | 17 Comments

The Death of Augustus Perkins

Early in the morning of December 11, 1862, Captain Augustus S. Perkins was shot through the neck and was likely dead before his body hit the ground. Falling victim to some of the opening shots of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Perkins was the only officer in the 50th New York Engineers to be killed during the entire Civil War.[1]

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Posted in Armies, Arms & Armaments, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Common Soldier, Memory, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Richard Ewell’s Leg?

Confederate Major General Richard Stoddard Ewell was bending down, trying to see below the musket smoke and setting sun.

The Battle of Groveton, one of the opening salvos in the Battle of Second Manassas had evolved into a stand-up, straight line, salvo by salvo firefight.

Ewell wanted to see the Union dispositions.

While kneeling, a Union minie bullet slammed into his left patella and seared down the leg. The ball had followed the the bone for six inches, which smashed the bone into multiple pieces.

Ewell yelped in pain. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Confederate, Memory, National Park Service, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Civil War Regiments Series—Open Submissions

Battle_of_ChancellorsvilleWe are happy to announce that we are accepting open submissions for the re-launch of the Civil War Regiments Series. Currently we are accepting submissions for the following issues:

  • July 1st at Gettysburg
  • May 2nd at Chancellorsville

Submissions should consist of topics pertaining to, but not limited to, a military unit, leader, strategy, use of tactics, etc ….. The submission deadline for the above topics is Monday, September 14, 2015.

Please see our “Submission Guidelines and Criteria” page for submission information.

Email submissions to:

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State Park Initiative in Culpeper County Virginia

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Mike Block

A view of Cedar Mountain

A view of Cedar Mountain

As the Vice-President of the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, as well as a former member of the Board of Directors of the Brandy Station Foundation, I have spent the last 11 years immersed in Civil War Culpeper. Due to my positions and relationships, I have gained valuable knowledge of the land, the battles, the personalities and organizations that impacted the landscape of Culpeper, both during the war and today. My experience and knowledge of Culpeper’s history is allowing me to be an active participant in an opportunity unrealized just a few years ago for the Cedar Mountain and Brandy Station Battlefields.

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