John Adams Elder: Fredericksburg’s Civil War Artist

After Appomattox by Elder

Emerging Civil War welcomes back Michael Aubrecht

Standing amid the soldiers’ and civilians’ graves in the Confederate Cemetery on Washington Avenue is a simple, elegant marker with the name “Elder” etched across its face. To the casual observer, this tombstone would probably blend in with the rest of the surroundings, but the seasoned art enthusiast or historian would recognize it as the final resting place of one of the area’s most famous artists, John Adams Elder.

Somehow, it seems fitting to find such a grave here because Fredericksburg has been a town known for two things: history and art. In fact, there are probably just as many visitors who journey to the Historic District each year in search of fine antiques and paintings as there are touring its hallowed battlefields and museums. Both groups would most likely be impressed with the historical contributions of the man named Elder. Continue reading

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McKinley’s Ride

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Eric Sterner

William McKinley

Quartermasters don’t usually have their stories spread nationally or warrant monuments, but William McKinley, 25th President of the Unites States, has one at Antietam. There, as a young sergeant, McKinley took the uncommon step of loading up supply wagons and bringing them through fire to feed hungry men on the battle line. As a result, Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, commanding the 23rd Ohio and having already noted McKinley’s organizational talents, sought to promote the sergeant to lieutenant and eventually made him a staff member. It was in this capacity that one of the best Civil War McKinley stories arose from his ride through a storm of shot and shell to rescue the 13th West Virginia from isolation at Second Kernstown, July 24, 1864.  As his political career blossomed, a political machine spread the story of McKinley’s ride.  One hundred and fifty years after the battle, the 21st century political strategist Karl Rove used it to open his study of the 1896 presidential campaign.[i]

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Just 11 Symposium Tickets Left!

If you are planning on purchasing a ticket to the Fourth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, time is running out! We have just 11 tickets left for this exciting event.

This year’s theme is “Great Defenses of the Civil War,” and our outstanding line up of speakers includes Eric Wittenberg, Dr. Chris Mackowski, Chris Kolakowski, Keynote Speaker Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan, and more.

Tickets for the event are just $125.00, and include admission to all three days of activities.

We hope that you can join us August 4-6, 2017 at Stevenson Ridge.

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Question of the Week: 7/24-7/30-17

What Civil War books have you read (or are reading) this summer?

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ECW Week in Review July 17-23

We’ve had another great week at Emerging Civil War. Along with a number of excellent posts, we observed the anniversaries of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson’s death at Atlanta and the passing of President Ulysses S. Grant. Our authors continued to profile Union officers and also spent some time in the Western Theater. You may click on the links below to view the posts.

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On Location: Grant Cottage

Today is the anniversary of Ulysses S. Grant’s death in 1885. He died just days after finishing his memoirs—a writing project he undertook to save his family from destitution as he was dying of throat cancer. It’s a compelling story. Today, I go On Location to Grant Cottage, the scene of Grant’s last days, as he wrote under the ultimate deadline.

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Grant Memorial Poem: “Our Dead General”

AEJ mastheadOur final Grant memorial poem from the Albany Evening Journal comes from August 4, 1885. The original poem appeared on page 3 of the paper, written by someone using the pen name “Fidelitas.”

The pen name—derived from the Latin, meaning “faithful”—was not the only aspect of the poem that evoked an older, classical poetic style. Fidelitas uses a vocabulary filled with “thy” and “thou” and “doth”–much different than the other pieces we’ve read this week. Continue reading

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Gen. Isaac F. Quinby: A Math Professor Goes to War

Brig. Gen. Isaac F. Quinby

It is no secret that I spend a lot of time in the 19th century. The Victorians are endlessly fascinating and the Civil War was a defining, if incredibly destructive, moment in our history. The cast of characters in that fratricidal war also furnishes a study in character. Besides Lincoln, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman has been one of my research interests.

It was within the ranks of Sherman’s army that I found an interesting local connection – Gen. Isaac F. Quinby. A West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican War, Quinby was a professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester when the war began. Born near Morristown, New Jersey, in January 1821, the reticent professor looked much like his close friend Sam Grant (Ulysses). Continue reading

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On Location: The Site of James McPherson’s Death

July 22 is the anniversary of James McPherson’s death in 1864 during the battle of Atlanta. During my recent trip to the city, I went On Location to the spot where McPherson fell. ECW’s Steve Davis makes a special appearance, as well!

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Grant Memorial Poetry: “Prophecy”

AEJ mastheadAs I’ve spent time with the Albany Evening Journal researching Ulysses S. Grant’s last days, I’ve gotten a feel for the paper’s rhythms and routines. Granted, the time I’ve spent with the paper has focused on a very narrow window: from Grant’s arrival on Mt. McGregor on June 16, 1885, through the departure of his funeral train from the mountain on August 4, 1885. But reading any daily papers makes it feel like an old friend, and the same has been true for the Evening Journal, even though the issues were 132 years old. Continue reading

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