Civil War Cooking: From History Books to A Modern Kitchen

It’s been a crazy year. I think we can all agree there. By early autumn, I started wondering how to revive the Civil War Cooking series for the week of Thanksgiving. (I missed last year due to moving.) In need of a creative project and needing to spice up my typical pandemic season, eat-at-home-all-the-time options, I felt inspired to compile lists of historical menus and recreate them.

But it had to be more than hardtack, saltpork/bacon, or coffee! Fortunately, time was on my side, and by the end of October, I had stockpiled five historical meal lists and one special dessert to recreate. Camping and open fire cooking or creating in a historic kitchen just wasn’t going to work this year, so I headed into the modern kitchen armed with some historic menus from letters and diaries, a few helpful hints, and some years of cooking experience to see if the taste of the past could be recreated under these circumstances… Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 11/23-11/29/20

There were so many good responses last week, that we’ll be revisited the question with different armies over the next few weeks…

In your opinion, who was the best corps commander for the Army of the Potomac?

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JFK’s Arrival in Dallas

On this date, in 1963, at 11:38 a.m., President John F. Kennedy touched down at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. He’d spoken that morning at a breakfast in Fort Worth and was slated to speak at a business lunch at the Dallas Business and Trade Mart. Alas, gunman Lee Harvey Oswlad intercepted the president as the motorcade drove through Deeley Plaza.

In the summer of 2019, I had the chance to finally visit Deeley Plaza, a site I’ve wanted to see for myself for my entire adult life. In the Sixth Floor Museum—the former book depository building where Oswald waited in ambush—I saw this image in one of the panel displays: Continue reading

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Week In Review: November 16-22, 2020

It’s Week in Review time! From Robin Hood to the Gettysburg Address, we’ve got a selection of unique posts for you to explore…

Monday, November 16:

Question of the Week looked at leadership in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Sarah Kay Bierle started a series about Robin Hood and the American Civil War. Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “By the Bivouac’s Fearful Flame”

By the bivouac’s fitful flame,
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow—but first I note,
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields’ and woods’ dim outline,
The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily watching me,)
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac’s fitful flame. Continue reading

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Robin Hood & The Civil War: Rethinking the Power of Legends (Part 6, Conclusion)

Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne (1832)

End of a series

Legends are powerful, but that doesn’t mean they are right. Sometimes, we can still research to separate fact from fiction. Other times—like with Robin Hood—too many stories exist and too much time has elapsed to have solid certainty.

Following the thread of thought about memory in the previous blog post, I started thinking about why legends exist. Why are they created? Is there something deep inside our being that needs legends? I recognize that this is probably getting into some psychology, and I certainly have more reading to do before fully forming an opinion or hypothesis. But here are a few ideas I’ve been considering. Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: A Question For You

Let’s change things up a little this weekend with a Saving History Question. Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Fort Scott, Kansas (Virtually)

(Click here to go straight to the Virtual Tour)

Fort Scott, established in 1842, was a frontier military outpost in Kansas, and it was garrisoned by the U.S. Army through 1853. In 1855, local settlers were allowed to purchase the abandoned military buildings and two years later the civilian community at Fort Scott. Continue reading

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Robin Hood & The Civil War: Another Angle on Memory (Part 5)

Visual Change of the Legend, Exhibt A: Robin and Marian from 1880

Part of a series

Memory. I’m talking about the historic kind, the slippery slope kind. Spending summer evenings watching a Robin Hood series edged my thinking toward the need for heroes and how memory is often conformed to the era in which it is evolved.

Let’s take Robin Hood as the “innocent” example and then we’ll get to the Civil War angle. Continue reading

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Robin Hood & The Civil War: A Child’s Game? (Part 4)

Civil War
(From The Valentine, used with permission)

Check this out! A set of children’s playing cards from the Civil War era, preserved by The Valentine Museum in Richmond. I own a debt of gratitude to fellow ECW member Bert Dunkerly for helping me track the artifact photos and directing me to The Valentine. I had seen the cards on display at Tredegar years ago and then had to find them again after the summer of Robin Hood.

Continue reading

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