Save 244 Acres at Brandy Station

Brandy Station Trust Map March 2017

One of two parcels (in yellow) the Trust is targeting at Brandy Station

There have been many preservation victories at the Brandy Station battlefield over the years. Now there is an opportunity to preserve even more hallowed ground at the site of the largest cavalry action fought during the war. See details below from Civil War Trust President Jim Lighthizer on how you can help make another historic preservation opportunity a reality. Continue reading

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William McKinley and Poland’s Riverside Cemetery

We welcome back to the blog guest Gordy Morgan. Mr. Morgan, a native of the Mahoning Valley in northeastern Ohio, was inspired by the recent ECW Weekender: William McKinley by blogger and author Dan Welch, also a native of the area. Dan’s Weekender planned a trip to this area of Ohio to follow in the footsteps of William McKinley. Today, Mr. Morgan adds the history of Poland’s Riverside Cemetery, a site dedicated by William McKinley in honor of war dead from Poland, Ohio.

Poland’s Riverside Cemetery

William McKinley once described Poland, Ohio, as a “trim, neat little village on Yellow Creek, with its tasty white frame dwellings, its dear old academy, and the village stores, from which we got our political inspiration.” At the end of the American Civil War, it was in one of those stores, that several prominent citizens conceived the idea for setting aside land as a final resting place for Poland’s volunteer sons. Continue reading

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WHM Profile: Paige Gibbons-Backus


Paige Gibbons-Backus works in the garden during an after-school program at Ben Lomond.

by ECW Correspondent Emily Losito

Walking through most museums, one becomes trapped behind barriers, peering through glass-encased artifacts, and shunned from touching practically everything. However, at Ben Lomond Historic Site in Manassas, Virginia, interaction is encouraged. The property, a pre-Civil War plantation, transformed into a hospital to aid Confederate soldiers following the first battle of Manassas.

Paige Gibbons-Backus is the historic site manager, and she’s in charge of planning and coordinating many of the things that go on at Ben Lomond. Continue reading

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Symposium Spotlight: Matt Atkinson


Atkinson LRT

Atkinson, a historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, points the way across the battlefield

We’re pleased to welcome back historian Matt Atkinson for this year’s Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Aug. 4-6, 2017. As part of our theme “Great Defenses of the Civil War,” Matt will offer a look at the defense of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“The Siege of Vicksburg” ranks among the few true sieges in the Civil War, Matt says. “The 47 days of fighting at Vicksburg resulted in the surrender of an entire Confederate army and thrust U.S Grant to the forefront,” he adds. Continue reading

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Union Balloon Corps: Part 3

Scetch of the Seven Days Battles at Malvern Hill

(Part 1 and Part 2 are available for reference.)

The Union Balloon Corps received little recognition for its successes, and many in the military Sevens Days Battles considered them nothing more than entertainment. The conclusion of the Seven Days Battles, ended the Union’s Peninsula campaign. Thaddeus Lowe contracted malaria as he followed the battle and was forced to return Washington D.C. He returned over a month later to find that the army had all but demolished his Balloon Corps. All of his wagons, mules, and equipment had been returned to the Army Quartermaster and Lowe was ordered to join the forces near Sharpsburg, MD. The Confederates were in retreat by the time Lowe reached the battlefield. General McClellan had been replaced by Ambrose Burnside, who would eventually send Lowe and his balloons to participate in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Continue reading

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Flowers For Kate


Yesterday was the first day of spring! Who is ready for the chilly weather to end? Can’t wait for those perfect seventy degree days and to see the tulips burst into bloom?

Out here in Southern California, we got a spring heat wave for a couple days, and it woke up the green leaves and blossoming trees. As much as I’ve enjoyed the rainy winter, I’m so ready for spring.

As military history students, we tend to think (historically) of spring as the beginning of large campaigns. That’s true, but I think it’s also important to remember that soldiers enjoyed the same “signs of spring” that we look for in the early days of the season. Continue reading

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Delaying the Army of the Tennessee: Evander Law and the Battle of Bentonville

Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton

We are now in the middle of the 152nd Anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville, fought from March 19 to March 21, 1865. During the three day battle, Confederate forces under Gen. Joseph Johnston engaged Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army group outside the small North Carolina village. The architect of the Confederate battle plan was the head of Johnston’s cavalry, Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton. Following the Battle of Averasboro, Hampton monitored the Union march eastward. Operating outside Bentonville, he noticed the terrain on a nearby plantation sloped up to a high plateau and away from the road the Federals would have to use to reach their new supply base at Goldsboro. The Confederates could use the plateau to conceal infantry and then strike the enemy column along the road. Hampton pitched his plan to Johnston who readily agreed. As Johnston moved his infantry toward the battlefield on the morning of March 19, Hampton’s cavalry delayed the Union march until the Confederates could get into position. That afternoon, Johnston’s assault smashed one division from Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum’s Army of Georgia and came close to encircling another. Slocum was able to rally and beat back several attacks throughout the day before nightfall brought an end to the fighting. While Hampton’s performance is considered one of the finest by any officer on either side during the war, it overshadows the conduct of one of his subordinates on March 20.

Continue reading

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The Pageantry of the Advance…Army of Tennessee at Bentonville

Starting yesterday, the 152nd Anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville began. Fought over three days in late March, 1865, the battle was the last-ditch effort by Gen. Joseph Johnston to stop Union General William T. Sherman’s army group as it moved through the Carolinas.

I had the chance to work on a publication, as part of the Emerging Civil War Series, with Daniel Davis, that covered the Battle of Bentonville. When writing a book on the American Civil War, there is always a quote, or a depiction, of a view of the battle, that sticks in your mind, that brings the human element and struggle to the forefront.  Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Common Soldier, Emerging Civil War Series, Leadership--Confederate, Memory | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Question of the Week: 3/20-3/26/17

Recent blog posts – Thinking About Historic Graveyards by Sarah Kay Bierle and ECW Weekender: Congressional Cemetery by Ryan Quint – inspired this week’s inquiry:

Do you have a favorite historical graveyard to visit?

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WHM Profile: Sarah Kay Bierle


Readers, it is my pleasure to introduce ECW writer Sarah Bierle, fellow Californian and self-described “lady historian.” She is a powerhouse of energy and ideas, and Emerging Civil War is lucky to have her.

When asked about her choice to research and write history, she replied:

For me, it’s about the inspiring, real-life stories–what I can learn from the past   and share with others. Honestly, I can’t think of a time that I said to myself, ‘I  want to be a historian.’ I knew I wanted to be a writer by age nine, but historian just sort of happened  with my love of history and when other life goals didn’t come to be. Continue reading

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