How a Camp Became a Fort

Emerging Civil War welcomes back guest author Sheritta Bitikofer…

In the panhandle of Florida, a place that is not known for much else besides white sand beaches and prime fishing, sits a little-known and bypassed fragment of Civil War history that shaped a well-beloved city. Continue reading

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

Question of the Week: 1/18-1/24/21

Who is your favorite regimental historian and/or regimental history book?

Posted in Books & Authors, Question of the Week | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Week In Review: January 11-17, 2021


Another week passes into history, and if you’ve looking to catch up on what’s new at Emerging Civil War, we’ve got your weekly review.

Sunday, January 10:

In the evening, Chris Mackowski posted a Civil War soldier’s journal entry about enemies in the aftermath of battle. Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: An Earlier Inauguration

Walt Whitman covered the 1864 presidential inauguration of Abraham Lincoln for The New York Times. His language is poetic rather than political, and no one is sure if he could even hear the speech. The text of the speech was printed in several newspapers, so perhaps that did not matter so much. Whitman does not so much interpret Lincoln’s words as he does Lincoln’s demeanor. Before him was a man who was on his way to becoming a myth, and the journey had taken its toll. Several weeks of wet spring weather preceded Lincoln’s second inauguration. Pennsylvania Avenue had become a sea of mud and standing water. As Lincoln took his oath of office, the sun finally appeared. Lincoln considered this a good omen. John George Nicolay captured the moment in a letter to his fiancée, Therena: “Just at the time when the President appeared on the East Portico to be sworn in, the clouds disappeared and the sun shone out beautifully all the rest of the day.” Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is inscribed on the Lincoln Memorial, as are his words spoken at Gettysburg. Continue reading

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Digital History Spotlight: Civil War Governors of Kentucky Interview

The Kentucky Historical Society’s Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition may not have a name that rolls off the tongue easily, but what it does have is an excellently executed digital source repository and interpretation for some of those records. Serving dual purposes as both archive as well as learning opportunity, it embraces the strengths of the digital platform. This short spotlight, combined with an interview with Project Director Chuck Welsko, only scratches the surface of the project’s potential.

The front page of the CWGK webpage, a gateway to a wide range of sources and stories.

In a time where archive access is greatly limited, the project helps researchers find new stories in a variety of sources. Beyond academic researchers, it also provides historical information for website visitors as well as lesson plans for use in the classroom. Digitizing a vast number of sources, it tells the stories of average individuals through transcribed documents, annotations, subject guides, blogs, teaching material, and exhibits.

Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Saving History Saturday: Vote For Preservation of Endangered Artifacts

Want to cast a vote and help museums get grant money for material preservation? Now through January 20, you can vote once daily in Virginia Association of Museums’ Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program. 

There are 10 artifacts in 10 museums waiting for funds to help conserve and preserve them, including these from the Antebellum and Civil War eras: Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Prince William County’s Virtual History Lectures

Need to put something historic on your calendar for the coming weeks? They don’t technically fall on weekends, but these lectures are something you’ll be able to explore and experience from the safety of home this winter season.

Starting on January 28th, Prince William County Historic Preservation Division is presenting monthly presentations online for free. You might even recognize some of the historians’ names on the list! Continue reading

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Fort Fisher: The Last Bastion

North Face of Fort Fisher near Wilmington, NC, as a hurricane lashes the Atlantic coast. Photo by Chris Heisey

The Confederacy’s greatest bastion arguably was Fort Fisher located some 15 miles south of Wilmington, NC, on the ocean exposed dune-scapes of far eastern reaches of the Tar Heel State. When it fell into Union hands on January 15, 1865, after a desperate attack both by Union sea mortars and land forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s starving men in the trenches of Petersburg, VA, some 250 miles away had no hope of supplies reaching them via sea after its capitulation. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Photography | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Confederate Army Never Invaded the U. S. Capitol. On January 6, 2021, Their Battle Flag Was There.

On January 6, 2021, I was appalled to see that the United States Capitol was invaded and trashed, with people killed. Americans did this to their own Capitol because of lies told by the President and his supporters. On top of all that happened, Confederate battle flags were paraded in the Capitol and on its grounds. This was a travesty that the Confederate army never could accomplish!

In the past few months, I have heard more news reports and even some people talking about another Civil War in this country. As a Civil War historian, I must remind people that the Civil War claimed 750,000 American lives, according to the National Park Service—a number raised from 625,000 during the Sesquicentennial. That death count is more than all of our other wars put together. With today’s weapons, the total death count would be much higher. Continue reading

Posted in Slavery, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , | 111 Comments

If Grant Goes East, I Will Follow…

On November 12, I boarded a plane at 5:30 PM, heading from Kansas City, Missouri to Richmond, Virginia. I did not arrive until 1 AM the following morning. Grant once told Meade, “Wherever Lee goes, you will follow.”[1] Therefore, I intended to follow the research for my dissertation on the Battle of Cold Harbor. Many doctoral students struggle to find valuable resources over their topic, but if they want to be an expert in their field, they need to understand the sacrifice which comes with it. When those sources arise, they should take the opportunity to follow up on that research especially if presented with an opportunity. National Park Historian, Robert E.L. Krick provided me an excellent opportunity to go through the various primary documents. No other historian had been able to visit the Richmond National Battlefield Park archives since March, and I intended to make the most of it. Many doctorate students understand the vast challenges associated with research, but the rewards of it make it worth the sacrifice.         Continue reading

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