MLK on How the Dunning School Distorted the Echoes of Reconstruction

W.E.B. DuBois and William Dunning

ECW is pleased to welcome back Patrick Young, author of The Reconstruction Era blog

Martin Luther King  delivered a speech in 1968 at Carnegie Hall in New York to commemorate the 100th Birthday of W.E.B. DuBois. In his speech, King spoke about how the Dunning School had distorted the history of Reconstruction and how DuBois’s book Black Reconstruction had challenged that white consensus. We may not usually associate King with the historiography of the post-Civil War period, but, like Frederick Douglass, he saw the political uses segregationists made of the history crafted by the Lost Cause partisans and its academic paladins of the Dunning Schools. Continue reading

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ECWS Preview: The Battle of Nashville and They Came Only to Die

We have some cool book covers to show off for you over the next few days as we prep some titles for release later this year in the Emerging Civil War Series. Here’s the first, They Came Only To Die: The Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864, by Sean Michael Chick. Sean’s book picks up where Lee White’s Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin left off, with John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee making a push northward to the state capital in a desperate effort to shake things up late in the war.

Continue reading

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Book Review: Radical Relationships

Radical Relationships: The Civil War Era Correspondence of Mathilde Franziska Anneke
By Alison Clark Efford  (Editor), Viktorija Bilic  (Editor, Translator)
University of Georgia Press, 2021, $32.95 – softcover
Reviewed by David T. Dixon

One of the great advancements in scholarship during the second half of the twentieth century was the belated effort of historians and other scholars to recognize the expansive roles that women played in the nineteenth century world — not merely as matriarchs of a family unit, but often as key actors in and influencers of historical events. American women like Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Clara Barton, and many others became household names then and remain so today. Thousands of lesser-known but important American women deserve more time in the historical limelight. Mathilde Franziska Anneke’s life story and accomplishments certainly merit closer study. Continue reading

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Symposium Spotlight: “What If” Roundtable Panel

Welcome to another installment of our 2022 Emerging Civil War Symposium Spotlight Series. We are introducing you to each of our outstanding speakers that will be presenting at the Eighth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium August 5 – 7, 2022. Today we are featuring the return of our popular Friday evening panel!

Our Friday evening tradition at the Emerging Civil War Symposium is to have our roundtable discussion panel, emceed by Dr. Chris Mackowski. Continue reading

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ECW’s January 2022 Newsletter Now Available

If you’re looking for the latest news from Emerging Civil War, our January 2022 newsletter went out today via the digital lightning. If you’re a subscriber, check your inboxes. If not, you should be! In the meantime, you can access it here.

In this issue: Continue reading

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Fallen Leaders: The Grizzly sensed death

Hiram Burnham sensed he would not return home alive as he rejoined his command in late September 1864. He was correct — by six days.

His neighbors in Cherryfield, Maine, nicknamed Hiram Burnham
“Grizzly” for his large and fit physique and for his “stentorian” voice, which could carry in the Maine woods or on a battlefield. (Bangor Public Library)

Born in Machias in Maine’s Washington County in 1813 or 1814, the physically large and fit Burnham lived in Cherryfield about 30 miles to the west by the late 1830s. He ran logging camps in winter, owned a lumber mill, and commanded the Cherryfield militia company sent to guard the international border at Calais during 1839’s so-called “Bloodless Aroostook War.”

Due to his size and “stentorian voice,” local men called him “Grizzly.”1

By 1860 Burnham and his Nova Scotia-born wife, Elizabeth, had six children. He won election in 1860 as the Republican candidate for Washington County commissioner. Elizabeth died that August 15, and the oldest child (and son), Robert, died the next year.

While “no longer a young man” and with “his thin locks well sprinkled with gray,” Burnham raised in spring 1861 an infantry company drawn mainly from western Washington County. Governor Israel Washburn Jr. made Burnham lieutenant colonel of the 6th Maine Infantry Regiment.

Continue reading

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When Their Countries Called

Three notable members of the Class of 1854: G.W. Custis Lee (left), J.E.B. Stuart (center), and Stephen D. Lee (right).

West Point’s Class of 1846 is its most famous of the pre-Civil War era. Perhaps a close second could be the Class of 1854, which included 46 graduates. Of those 46, 37 fought in the Civil War: 23 for the United States and 14 for the Confederacy. Some of the better-known members of the class include Benjamin F. Davis, George Washington Custis Lee, Stephen D. Lee, John Pegram, William Dorsey Pender, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stephen Weed. No other prewar West Point class lost more members in the Civil War than the 1854 class—12 were killed or mortally wounded. Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: A Concluding Incident “Worthy of Notice”

Postscript to a Series

I couldn’t find the right place to add this in the previous posts, but it was so entertaining that I wanted to include it somewhere. The story is included in the 1889 The Civil War in Song and Story. The 8th Ohio Regiment fought outside Romney before the Union forces retreated, so this is almost certainly on the timeline during the 1862 winter Romney Expedition. Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: A Forgotten Union Victory?

Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Part 5 of a series

The Romney Expedition pushed Federal troops across the Potomac and out of the larger towns of Bath and Romney. Along with the capture of supplies worth thousands of dollars, the Confederates were poised to set up a defensive and communication chain into western Virginia which could have delayed a future Union advance toward Winchester. However, due to the internal squabbles of the Confederate commanders, Romney was eventually evacuated and the advantages slipped away.

Did you that some Union commanders actually claimed a victory during the Romney Expedition? Not during their retreat to the Potomac, but during their military offensive in Jackson’s rear. General Benjamin F. Kelly submitted the following report, highlighting a skirmish at Hanging Rock Pass: Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 1/24-1/30/22

For the year 1861 or earlier, which West Point Class is most interesting to you? Why?

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