Author Archives: Chris Mackowski

BookChat with Steven Woodworth and Charles Grear, editors of Vicksburg Besieged

I have been spending a lot of time lately with the latest volume in Southern Illinois University Press’s “Civil War Campaigns in the West” Series, Vicksburg Besieged, edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear (see info on the … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Campaigns, Sieges, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What If?—Coming Soon!

Who among us has not, in the course of his or her Civil War adventures, wondered, “What if…?” It’s a favorite angle of conversation among armchair generals: grab a beer, light up a cigar, and refight the war! I’ve spent … Continue reading

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The Electric Effect of Donelson—Good and Bad

“The effect was electrical,” wrote Charles Dana, describing the fall of Fort Donelson along the Cumberland River in February 16, 1862. “It was the first significant victory over the rebellion, and it filled the country as well as the army … Continue reading

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

Slapjacks Along the Big Black

I found this great little bit in Osborne H. Oldroyd’s A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg. Oldroyd served with Company E of the 20th Ohio. His account, published in 1885, featured an introduction by Bvt. Maj. Gen. Manning … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Emerging Civil War 10th Anniversary Series: The Summer of ’63: Gettysburg

The first hardcover in the upcoming Emerging Civil War 10th Anniversary Series, published by Savas Beatie, is schedule for release in mid-June 2021, just in time for the Gettysburg anniversary: The Summer of ’63: Gettysburg. Take a peek at the … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War | Tagged , | 4 Comments

History and Memory and The Saddest Words

I’m reading Michael Gorra’s wonderful new book The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War (Liveright, 2020), and I just came across a passage that articulates the difference between history and memory in one of the most effective ways I’ve ever … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Civil War in Pop Culture, Memory | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

“‘Tis folly to say the people must have news”: Sherman, the Press, and Our Own Culpability

In a Feb. 18, 1863, letter to his brother, Sen. John Sherman of Ohio, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman lamented what he saw as a deterioration of American ideals. In order to defeat the Confederacy, he feared that the United … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Newspapers, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Hal Holbrook, Former Lincoln Actor, Dies at 95

Hal Holbrook died today at the age of 95. Best known for his one-man show portraying Mark Twain, he’s familiar to many of us in the Civil War world for his portrayals of Abraham Lincoln. Holbrook played the 16th president … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War in Pop Culture, Lincoln | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Sherman’s “Demon Spirit”

In a letter written on April 29, 1863, to his wife Ellen, William T. Sherman privately expressed his misgivings about the Vicksburg campaign Ulysses S. Grant was just then launching. “My own opinion is that this whole plan of attack … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , , , | 37 Comments

BookChat with Le’Trice D. Donaldson, author of Duty Beyond the Battlefield

I was pleased to spend some time recently with a book by historian Le’Trice D. Donaldson, author of Duty Beyond the Battlefield: African American Soldiers Fight for Racial Uplift, Citizenship, and Manhood, 1870-1920, published by Southern Illinois University Press (find out … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Reconstruction, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment