Holiday History Tour

I traveled home from Fredericksburg to Erie Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving this year. It was my first trip back since arriving here in late June. As I have an serious allergy to the commercialism of Black Friday, I decided to make it History Friday.

After a brief visit to the Fort LeBoeuf Museum in Waterford, a story more suited for our friends at Emerging Revolutionary War, I headed for downtown and the Erie Historical Society and the Watson-Curtze Mansion, a place that I haven’t been to in over 20 years. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Memory | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Santa For the Yankees, Too

Nast’s First Santa

Santa, as we know him, is a creation of artist Thomas Nast who created the bearded old elf for the 1862-63 Christmas edition of Harper’s Weekly. In his famous drawing, he showed Union soldiers opening their Christmas boxes from home. One soldier gets a stuffed stocking (hopefully the other one was in there somewhere!), and another got a fancy new pipe. Santa is handing out toys, including a Jeff Davis puppet, and many soldiers hold their gift boxes close to their hearts. Winslow Homer showed soldiers on Christmas Day in 1861, and everywhere are boxes from home. They were packed with more love than sense if letters home are any indication. Spoiled food or broken glass was a common complaint, and once in a while, the bottle holding the traditional Christmas cordial arrived empty. For the most part, soldiers loved getting a box from home, no matter what the season. Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Symposium Spotlight: Kevin Pawlak

Welcome back to another installment of our 2020 Emerging Civil War Symposium Spotlight. Over the coming weeks we will continue to feature introductions of all of our speakers for the 2020 Symposium, as well as you give a sneak peak of their talks. We’ll also be sharing suggested titles that you may want to read in preparation for these programs. This week we feature longtime ECW member Kevin Pawlak. Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War | Tagged | Leave a comment

Additional Podcast Resources: “Aftermath of Battle”

Did you have a chance to hear Meg Groeling’s podcast about what happened when the battles ended? She has accomplished insightful research on the ordeals for the wounded and the burials of fallen soldiers. This podcast is available to all ECW Podcast subscribers via Patreon.

Today, we’ve combed through the archives and found a few articles related to the subject “Aftermath”: Continue reading

Posted in Medical, Memory, Podcast | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West

My wife will tell you that I can find Civil War History wherever we go. I’m equally proud and embarrassed to admit that she’s right. We recently joined a few friends for a late season, kids free, just-what-the-doctor-ordered trip to the Florida Keys. While poking our heads into many (ok…too many) of the bars on Duval Street I casually mentioned to my wife that there was a lot of Civil War history in Key West. Construction of the 1848 Key West Lighthouse was supervised by George Meade, sir, that’s right! Our very own general of our very own corps. See that…I quote Gettysburg and I have your attention. Moving on… Continue reading

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

The Importance of Finding the Original Source

When it comes to reading history, I’m a slow reader. Usually, every time I see a superscript number at the end of a sentence or paragraph, I’ll flip to the back of the book to see the source. I’m a research junkie so footnotes and endnotes continually whet my appetite for more sources about a particular subject.

The ORs are an important primary source for Civil War students.

This practice has saved me a few times and, more often than not, it plants an important reminder for historians right in front of my eyes: it is important to cite original sources so readers can find where the writer obtained their information and then read it for themselves. Sometimes, you might find that the meaning of the original source is vastly different than what the secondary source says.

Take Timothy J. Reese’s Sykes’ Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864: A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War’s Eastern Theater. In terms of its subject matter, the book is unique in tackling the Army of the Potomac’s regular infantrymen. But there is one part of the book that I found particularly troubling. Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Question of the Week: 12/9-12/15/19

We’re working on our holiday gift lists…and we’re curious: what books are on your wish list? There have been so many new releases for Civil War titles this year and of course a gazillion of publications about the war since 1861. What are you wishing for?

Posted in Books & Authors, Question of the Week | Tagged | 7 Comments

Week In Review: December 2-8, 2019

Here’s a look back at the previous week at Emerging Civil War: Continue reading

Posted in Week in Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pearl Harbor and the Gettysburg Address

December 7, 1941. “Day which will live in infamy,” according to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the weeks and years of war following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States official involvement in World War II, a wave a patriotic propaganda hit communities. Recruitment posters, warnings and reminders, encouragement to buy war bonds, rationing motivation emblazoned short messages with memorable images.

Since the first time I studied World War II, I’ve been interested in this “war art.” It says a lot about attitudes, beliefs, and motivations. One thing I find particularly interesting: the historical themes in this now historic posters. People were motivated by words and historical stories from the decades of American history which preceded the 1940’s. There are examples of Civil War imagery and stories in some of the posters, but today one particular illustration stands out: Continue reading

Posted in Ties to the War | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Saving History Saturday: Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) Launches Inaugural Newsletter

Just this week, the Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) group launched their inaugural newsletter!

Established in 2014 to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York, CAMP is built of passionate preservationists that we have featured before here on Emerging Civil War. For more information on their mission and work, please visit their website at:

This newsletter series, which will be issued quarterly, features the organization’s preservation work, volunteering and fundraising opportunities, as well as the history of the building itself. Some of the articles featured in the newsletter discuss their New York State Historic Roadside Marker, architectural Strategic Business Feasibility Report, triage work on the building’s cornice, new giving levels for their annual appeal, and much more!

There is no doubt that through CAMP’s new newsletter, there will be more updates on their incredible preservation work.

To receive the newsletter and support the organization, please visit their “Contact” page on their website at:


Posted in Emerging Civil War, Preservation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment