Author Archives: Chris Kolakowski

A Souvenir of the First Death

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, Wisconsin preserves, interprets, and affirms the role of Wisconsin Veterans in all wars from 1861 to the present. Founded in 1901 as the GAR Memorial Hall in the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Veterans Museum … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Battles, Common Soldier, Material Culture, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Memoriam: R.L. Murray

Last Saturday R.L. Murray passed away. Our readers may recognize his name from the New Yorkers In The Civil War Series, which he put together through his publishing house Benedum Books in Wolcott, New York. (A sample of R.L.’s books … Continue reading

Posted in Memory | Tagged , | 4 Comments

On Viewing History

I’ve been watching the news from Afghanistan the past few days and digesting my own reaction and the reaction of people around me, veterans and others alike. The mix of reaction is interesting, and illuminates how historical events often reverberate … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Ties to the War | 6 Comments

Fallen Leaders: Generals’ Deaths

Here are a few archived posts that I’ve written in former days about fallen leaders:

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Taking It Day By Day

Hindsight often obscures our understanding of how events unfolded and their results became apparent. Because we know how it went, we lose something of the immediate perspective that both sides had, not to mention the fog of war. To illustrate … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Recruiting The Regiment: The 14th Brooklyn

In 1861 several states had militia systems in various states of development. State militia structures gave the opportunity to expand on an existing structure and training system, rather than create units out of whole cloth. Famous units like the 1st … Continue reading

Posted in 160th Anniversary, Regiments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ECW Weekender: Exploring Fortress Monroe (Virtually)

For many enslaved men, women, and children, Fortress Monroe became their place to find and create freedom. Self-emancipation pressured Union military officers and Federal politicians to face the realities of slavery and question how freedom could cripple the local Southern … Continue reading

Posted in 160th Anniversary, Battlefields & Historic Places, ECW Weekender | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

On The Eve Of War: The Commonwealth of Kentucky

(Adapted from a speech given in 2011) Kentucky in 1860 and 1861 was a very different place on the national scene than what it is today, although arguably Kentucky is inching back to its former place. Kentucky in 1860 was … Continue reading

Posted in 160th Anniversary | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Buckner Assesses Bragg and Longstreet

In 1909 Simon Bolivar Buckner gave an interview later published in Confederate Veteran. His opinions of General Braxton Bragg and Lieutenant General James Longstreet, both of whom he served with closely, are worth noting.

Posted in Armies, Leadership--Confederate, Personalities, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Lessons for 2021 from POWs and Sieges

Last October I looked at how the broadly-parallel experiences of prisoners of war and besieged forces could provide perspectives on the coronavirus situation. Now, as 2020 turns into 2021, I again looked at these situations to see if there are … Continue reading

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