“A Power for Good” – The St. Louis Ladies’ Union Aid Society

In the midst of the chaotic fall of 1861 in Missouri, one woman in St. Louis took time to write to her sister back home in Brooklyn, New York. “I feel it my duty to present the claims of the soldiers in our city to your consideration,” she wrote, “hoping that you may be able to do something to aid our society in their efforts to mitigate the sufferings of the sick and wounded.” Describing the influx of wounded soldiers into the Gateway City from Springfield, Missouri, she made it known that the “Union ladies of St. Louis felt that it was their mission to treat these men as their sons and brothers, and do for them, all that their means would allow. Accordingly, they formed themselves into a society, and for a month past have labored with untiring industry in this good work.” [1] The woman writing was Anna L. Clapp, the founder and president of the St. Louis Ladies’ Union Aid Society (LUAS) – perhaps the first of its kind established west of the Mississippi River.

This engraving depicts the work of the St. Louis Ladies’ Union Aid Society in a very Romantic fashion. Within the pavilion in the background, patriotic members of the LUAS gather around the American flag and assisting soldiers, freedmen and women, and refugees. In the foreground, a bald eagle tears apart a Confederate flag, symbolizing that their relief work ultimately helps end the rebellion. (Courtesy of the Missouri Historical Society)

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Question of the Week: 3/30-4/5/20

Let’s talk about supply officers and logistics…

Who was the best supply officer during the Civil War? Why or best example?


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Week In Review: March 23-29, 2020

We’re rolling out content—same as usual here at Emerging Civil War. Hoping everyone is well and that we can be a stable source of news (even if it’s focused on happenings 155-160 years ago!) for your enjoyment. Continue reading

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Bucklin’s In Hospital & Camp: “My Desired Sphere” (Part 2)

In Hospital and Camp, A Woman’s Record of Thrilling Incidents Among the Wounded in the Late War by Sophronia E. Bucklin

Continuing with the primary source read-along! You can find the free e-book  and we’re on chapters three and four this weekend. (Find the notes for one and two here.) Continue reading

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Civil War Adventures with Mom

When the call went out for blog posts on “a woman who’s had an important impact on you and your development as a Civil War historian,” I jumped at the chance. The answer is easy: my mom, Barbara.

My mom (and dad) encouraged my love of history. She never discouraged me or said “Girls don’t read military history.” She bought me Civil War books and magazines, and she was my travel mate.  She took me to Gettysburg countless times, countless. We went to Harpers Ferry, Williamsburg, Shenandoah Valley Campaigns, etc. We even got the giggles together while watching one National Park’s battlefield documentary in the 1980s. Before you start throwing rotten tomatoes, let me explain. Whoever put this documentary together had a low budget and thought it would be more dramatic just showing a Confederate battle flag, rather than ranks of soldiers following the color guard. The idea may have sounded good in theory but on screen not so much. In one scene, there was a flag bobbing up and down behind a rock wall ostensibly running into battle, and in another scene, the Confederate battle flag lay next to the campfire. I leaned over to mom and whispered, “Maybe this is why the Confederates lost the war; they only had flags.”  Well, that was it. We couldn’t help but quietly giggle. The theater fortunately had just a few visitors, and we quietly made our way out after the docudrama ended. I’m pretty sure the documentary has been re-done by now. Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: Looking At Preservation Myths

Earlier this month, a four part series about historic preservation and myths surrounding saving and restoring old buildings and sites appeared in the Adirondack Almanac. We appreciate the local approach to talking about saving history and thought it might provide some helpful points and tips if you’re involved in preservation or thinking about advocating to save structures or other historic features. Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Saltville, Virginia (Part 2)

Today, we’ll focus on the First Battle of Saltville and its Civil War sites. Stay tuned next Friday for the Second Battle of Saltville sites and Salt Park.

On October 2, 1864, approximately 300 Confederates held the high ground around the Salt Capital of the Confederacy. In the mineral—mined, boiled, and readied in this southwest Virginia community—was a key part of preserving foods and maintain health within the Southern states. Federal strategists and officers recognized Saltville as a supply point worthy of destruction and sent several expeditions toward the mountain village at different points during the war. (In fact, part of the New Market Campaign involved trying to get to Saltville, Leadville, and the railroad.) Continue reading

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Long Time a’ Comin’

Topics like “Women Who Have Inspired You” usually have one format: a younger person looks back to an older mentor and sings her praises. I do not have that luxury. I am old, and all the professors who inspired me were men. The only woman who taught history was in the Medieval Department. I was interested in politics, economics, map reading, strategy, and tactics. I wanted to learn to think like a Marxist and a Hamiltonian–at the same time. I did not much care for feminist history, at least as it began in the 1960s. My view of the past is pretty much men and women, not one or the other. Continue reading

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ECW’s March 2020 Newsletter Now Available

Rensel Mackowski Maxfield FordThe March 2020 ECW newsletter went out today. If you didn’t see it, you can check it out here. Inside this issue:

  • Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski celebrates Women’s History Month by welcoming a new addition to his family
  • JoAnna McDonald answers 10 Questions by sharing a little bit of her sense of humor
  • News & Notes includes a teaser about the latest release in the Emerging Civil War Series
  • Kevin Pawlak and Dan Welch do Antietam (and invite our YouTube viewers to join them)
  • We talk a lot about Women’s History Month (despite the photo of four dudes we have here as our thumbnail)
  • “Give me liberty or give me death!”

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‘Til Secession Do Us Part: A Citizen of Rome, Georgia Faced A Schism In Business, Life, and Marriage

Peter Sheibley (used with permission from University of South Alabama)

ECW welcomes back guest author David T. Dixon

The two-day pursuit ended in northwest Georgia’s Floyd County in early December 1864. Peter Sheibley lay writhing in pain, courtesy of a blow to the head from a Spencer rifle wielded by Josh Irons.  Adnorium Lumpkin grabbed Sheibley’s hat and tossed him his own ragged chapeau, lambasting him with all the choice curse words he could remember.

The leader of the band of marauders bullying Sheibley, deserter-turned-regular-scout Jack Colquitt, leveled the charges against Sheibley. Colquitt accused his prisoner of disloyalty and spying for the Federal army. Acting on orders from Confederate General Joseph Wheeler, Colquitt had the authority to turn such men over to the local authorities or to confine them in a way that would prevent them from aiding the enemy. The notorious desperado decided to handle this case in his usual fashion, and a rope was prepared for Sheibley’s hanging.[1] Continue reading

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