New Market’s Memory Wars

VMI Alumni Veterans at New Market, 1914 (VMI Archives)

Remember what you ate for breakfast on Wednesday two weeks ago? And if you remember the meal, what time did you pour the cereal, turn on the stove, or place your order? Memory and remembering can be challenging. However, it is a crucial part of history and the creation of historiography. The history of New Market’s battle and different units’ roles in the fight became the subjects of debate and some emphatic wars of words as veterans tried to remember what really happened on that rainy May 15, 1864. Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Memory | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thornsbury Bailey Brown – The First Casualty of Enemy Fire




These words add tremendous weight when attached to a person or event associated with the Civil War. The absolute enormity of the war makes it hard to fathom there being a ‘first,’ a ‘last,’ or an ‘only,’ and needless to say there’s always room for debate… Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Symposium Spotlight: Books, Books, Books, Pt. 2


Welcome back to part two of our recommended reading list as part of our Symposium Spotlight series. We hope these books will get you excited about a summer reading list on this year’s theme “Forgotten Battles of the Civil War.” Have you picked up any books from part one of our series? Have you started reading yet? Let us know in the comments! Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Symposium | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

E.P. Alexander’s Research Methodology

Every Civil War scholar should be familiar with the writings of Confederate First Corps artillerist Edward Porter Alexander (no relation). Many know him through Gary Gallagher’s compilation of his papers from the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina, published as Fighting for the Confederacy by UNC Press in 1989. Nearly as familiar, too, is Alexander’s own publication, Military Memoirs of a Confederate: A Critical Narrative (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907), which trends more toward the subtitle than offering itself as a reminiscence. Alexander’s writing offers one of the best insights of the Army of Northern Virginia. His research began with an attempt to write a history of his corps. Frustrated by a lack of assistance, he abandoned that project. If completed, it would have provided the information that every battlefield historian desires.

Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Arms & Armaments, Leadership--Confederate, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

ECW Podcast “The High Tide of the Confederacy, Part 2” Is Now Available

It’s been called “Lee’s Greatest Victory.” Why? And exactly why was it “all downhill for the Confederacy” after Chancellorsville? Chris Mackowski and Kris White continue their conversation about the high tide of the Confederacy on the Emerging Civil War Podcast! Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Podcast | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Spotsylvania’s Eastern Front

Stevenson Ridge, as seen from the Beverly House in May 1864

155 years ago this evening, Ulysses S. Grant began his withdrawal from Spotsylvania Court House, swinging once more around Lee’s right flank, moving south. To recap the anniversary of the two-week battle, I want to share a project I did in my capacity as historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge. (For those who don’t know, Stevenson Ridge is a historic property, owned by my wife’s family, on the eastern edge of the Spotsylvania battlefield.)

For Stevenson Ridge’s blog, I did a day-by-day account of the battle, focusing on action that took place on the oft-overlooked eastern front of the battlefield. I’ve collected the entire series for you here: Continue reading

Posted in Battles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Significant USCT Sites in the Eastern Theater: Virginia and Washington, DC

(Library of Congress)

I have had a few inquiries about significant sites for the United States Colored Troops. Over the past several years, I have spoken about each of the five sites that I am writing about in this blog.

I participated in the 150th anniversaries of the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg and the Battle of New Market Heights reenactments. I participated in the 150th Anniversary of the 23rd USCT skirmish against the Army of Northern Virginia at the Heflin farm, the site of that skirmish. I have tried to make the reenactment at Fort Pocahontas twice, site of the Battle of Wilson’s Wharf, but because of heavy rain on both occasions, I was unable to attend; I will try again this year. I have visited the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum on numerous occasions. These sites are very important to me as a Civil War living historian and a writer, who focuses on the United States Colored Troops. Continue reading

Posted in Battles, USCT | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Question of the Week: 5/20-5/26/19

If you could have dinner (or a beer) with a Civil War politician and they would answer all questions honestly, who would you want to hang out with?

Posted in Politics, Question of the Week | Tagged | 15 Comments

Week In Review: May 12-19, 2019

More battle anniversaries this week – including New Market which coincided perfectly with the release of the newest book in the ECW series. You’ll also find information about Myers Hill, unique historical biographies, a weekender museum, and more! Continue reading

Posted in Week in Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House 155 Years Ago

At the battle of Sportsylvania Court House 155 years ago, action was heating up following five days of rain. May 18 saw a Federal assault as large in scale as the May 12 assault again the Mule Shoe, foiled by superior Confederate engineering. May 19 saw the Confederates bring the fight to Federals at Harris Farm.

Here are some pieces from the ECW archives about those episodes: Continue reading

Posted in Battles | Tagged | Leave a comment