Champ Ferguson and his guards, Nashville, 1865
I stop and read historical markers. I’m the guy pulled off on the shoulder in the middle of nowhere, reading that bronze sign by the side of the road. You know the type. Frankly, if you are reading this blog, you probably are that type.
I get exposed to some interesting interpretations of history by doing so. Usually (but not always) these are created and erected by a state historical commission, who presumably (but again, not always) have also signed off on the text.
Let me give you one of my favorite examples: Champ Ferguson.
Kurz & Allison’s chromolithograph of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Today marks the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, fought on August 10, 1861 along the banks of the Wilson Creek, a mere twelve miles to the southwest of Springfield, Missouri. One of the first major battles of the Civil War fought west of the Mississippi River, Wilson’s Creek was the culmination of a summer-long campaign over what many called, the “Fight for Missouri.”
Throughout the summer of 1861, Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon’s troops maneuvered through central and southern Missouri, securing the Missouri River, the state capital at Jefferson City, and the vital Pacific Railroad line for the Federals. Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Missouri State Guard, a state defense force that was pro-secessionist, fell back toward the southwestern corner of the state, hoping to unite with Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch and ultimately defeat Lyon. Continue reading
The theme for ECW’s Virtual Symposium is The War in the East.
What do you think was the most decisive event in the eastern theater of the Civil War?
Check out the posts of the week on ECW! There are lots of reading options, and we’re looking forward to releasing the Virtual Symposium next week Continue reading
We’re recording segments for our virtual Emerging Civil War symposium today. We have an awesome line-up of cool talks, and we’re excited to share them with you soon! In the meantime, we’ll be posting pictures throughout the day.
If you were a ticketholder for this year’s symposium, you’ll receive information that will allow you, on Saturday, August 15, to access our virtual symposium. It’s our way of saying “thank you” to folks for their patience as we waited to see whether COVID-19 would let us hold our annual in-person symposium—and, alas, no. Stupid pandemic! Continue reading
There’s interesting preservation news from Marion, Arkansas! The Sultana Historical Preservation Society learned that the Union Pacific Railroad Board has approved a $10,000 grant which would allow the preservation society to undertake renovations and create a new home for the Sultana Disaster Museum. Continue reading
I reported last month on a House appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior—HR-7608—that would require the National Park Service, within 180 days of enactment, to “remove from display all physical Confederate commemorative works, such as statues, monuments, sculptures, memorials, and plaques, as defined by NPS, Management Policies 2006, 9.6.1.”
On July 24, 2020, the bill passed the House and, on July 30, 2020, was received by the Senate and referred to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. (You can follow subsequent action on the bill here.)
The appropriations bill has stirred up much controversy in the Civil War community, so I’ve been following its progress closely. Thus far, here’s what I’ve been able to discern from my contacts on Capitol Hill (and yes, as a former journalist, I do have them!): Continue reading
Well, the ECW community is supposed to be gathered at Stevenson Ridge this weekend for our annual symposium, sharing the camaraderie among authors, readers, speakers, and friends that has become a defining hallmark of the ECW brand. Alas, COVID-19 had other ideas, and we had to postpone this year’s symposium to next year. If there’s an up-side, the fallen leaders will still remain fallen, so the stories we planned to share this year aren’t apt to change all that much by next year.
Another upside is that we have a virtual symposium that we’re recording this weekend in place of our in-person symposium. Details on that in a second.
One of the big pieces of news we had planned to announce at this year’s symposium is that Emerging Civil War is now officially a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. We have always run ourselves this way, with a strong focus on our educational mission, so our designation by the IRS really just formalizes the way we’ve done business for the last nine years. (Yes, ECW turns nine years old this month!) Continue reading