Primary Sources: Longing To Be A Soldier

“I wrote Mother about my trip, but I don’t think I told her that most of our marches could be called forced marches, as we were on light rations half the time. I stood the Campaign “bully,” but felt as if I would never get enough to eat when I got back. Champe [sister’s nickname] tell Mother I have come to the conclusion that I had better get me an overcoat at once for every thing is going up daily. Saylor is going to write for the cloth for me and it will cost $10 or $12 per yard and it will take 8 yards then the lining will cost right much. Then I borrowed $20 to pay for a pair of shoes. So I want her to send me $150. I am out of money now, and would not object to having a little to buy pies, Cakes, Cider, &ct. occasionally. I also want to have a pair of gloves made….”[i]

The collection of letters by Cadet Jaqueline Beverly Stanard offer a glimpse into boyhood, cadet life at Virginia Military Institute, and homefront life during the Civil War. Published in 1961 by the University of North Carolina Press under the title Letters of a New Market Cadet, the bound and annotated version includes his letters to his mother and sisters, along with several class essays. Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Symposium Spotlight: Steve T. Phan

Welcome back to another installment of our 2019 Emerging Civil War Symposium Spotlight. This week we feature one of our panelists from the 2018 Emerging Civil War Symposium, Steve T. Phan. Steve was one of several emerging historians that we featured on that panel presentation last year, titled “Turning Points of the Civil War.” Keep reading below to learn more about Steve and how you can see him and many others at the 2019 Sixth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge. Continue reading

Posted in Symposium | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Primary Sources: Another Look at Liddell’s Record

In May 2016 I wrote about my favorite Civil War primary resource, the memoirs written by Confederate general St. John Richardson Liddell, known as Liddell’s Record. Liddell was on the staff of Albert Sidney Johnston and led troops at Perryville, Stones River, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, the Red River Campaign, and Spanish Fort. He was friends Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg, and a host of other officers. Besides his varied experiences, his memoirs are unusual in their honesty and immediacy.

Liddell’s Record

Much has changed since May 2016. I wondered during the 150th why things were so quiet, only to see an explosion in bitter debates soon after the 150th closed. Despite my positive view of Liddell’s Record, both as a resource and as a literary work, I lately found myself questioning its utility and my 2016 praise. Liddell, while more open minded than the average planter, was still a man of his class, that is to say proud, arrogant, and an active member of a system of forced labor. I began to question if I should feel any solidarity with the man, much less sympathy. Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Podcast Additional Resources: “The Last Road & The New Co-Host”

It’s time to round up some additional resources related to the ECW Podcast episode that released last week. Did you have a chance to hear it on Patreon?

Chris Mackowski and Dan Welch discussed the Army of Northern Virginia’s last campaign into northern territory.

You’ll find links to some of our favorite articles about the Gettysburg Campaign and Dan and Rob’s book which specifically addresses the road to Gettysburg. Continue reading

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Primary Sources: The National Tribune

One of my very favorite primary sources is The National Tribune. The Trib began as a monthly newspaper intended for Union veterans of the Civil War, and was published monthly until 1881. Beginning in 1881, it was published weekly, and continued to be published under that name until 1917, when it finally ceased publication. By then, of course, many of the veterans had passed away. The Trib also published 24 books during the course of its run, many of which are now difficult to find. The Trib was chock-full of first-hand accounts of veterans, ranging from prominent officers to common privates. Most of them are not available anywhere else, and many are entertaining. One must take some of them with a grain of salt, but they are always useful and often fascinating. Continue reading

Posted in Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Question of the Week: 1/14-1/20/18

January 11 was a historic day in Civil War history and some of the happenings have a twist of irony:

  • 1861 – Alabama seceded
  • 1861 – South Carolina demanded Fort Sumter’s surrender; Major Anderson said no.
  • 1864 – John B. Henderson from Missouri proposed the 13th Amendment to the U.S.
  • 1867 – Kansas ratified the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • 1893 – Former Union General Benjamin Butler died

This list of facts got us wondering… In your opinion, what’s the most ironic happening or historic date coincidence related to the Civil War?

Posted in Memory, Question of the Week | Tagged | 8 Comments

Week In Review: January 7-13, 2019

Welcome back for another Week in Review! These last seven days there’s been a variety of posts on the blog, including several articles focusing on Civil War veterans after the war – a presidential election, roles later conflicts, and one famous general’s trip to Egypt.

Also, don’t miss the newest episode of the ECW Podcast which focuses on the Gettysburg Campaign… Continue reading

Posted in Week in Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Primary Sources: Thoughts and Favorites

A primary source is defined as one produced by an eyewitness to an event offering their recollections. Some primary sources provide just basic facts with limited additional details. Other sources, like battle reports, provide more details but often offer little in terms of context, analysis, or human feeling. Some are also unreliable for myriad factors, but many are superb.

The best, and usually most useful, primary sources get at the human element. They tell the story in such a way as to peel back the curtain and delve into what a person was thinking and feeling at the moment. Fortunately, there are plenty of sources that do this; many of which are well-known. I offer my favorite published ones below.  Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Primary Sources, Trans-Mississippi, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Primary Sources: An Introduction

Primary Source – a document, book etc that contains information that has been obtained from people’s experiences and not taken from other documents, books etc (Longman Dictionary, online)

We’re very pleased to start our first official blog series for 2019, and we’ll be taking you on a journey through archives and materials that stack on researchers’ desks. As our writers share about their favorite primary sources from the Civil War era, they’ll be sharing about the documents and their personal favorite that they’ve read or used for reference. Watch for new posts every day for the next couple of weeks! Continue reading

Posted in Primary Sources | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Preservation News: Shutdown Impacts Civil War Battlefields and How You Can Help

For nearly three weeks so far, the national government has been under a partial shutdown, heavily impacting all levels of American government, especially affecting the National Parks. Since it is only a partial shutdown, many parks remain open to visitors, but are limited in services and maintenance. Unfortunately, all across social media platforms and news outlets, there are photographs of overflowing trashcans along the National Mall and further stories of vandalism and unsanitary restroom conditions at Joshua Tree, Muir Woods, Sequoia, and countless other parks. In terms of battlefields, many wonder how the shutdown has impacted Civil War battlefield sites under National Park Service jurisdiction.

A visitor at Antietam National Battlefield reads the “Area Closed” sign at the Visitors Center in January 2019. Courtesy of The Herald-Mail

Continue reading

Posted in Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment