Author Archives: Chris Mackowski

Lincoln: This Little Joker for President

Our recent look at the politics of the 1860s—and my own interest, in particular, in political cartoons—had me thinking of the conversation I had last year with scholar Todd Thompson, author of The National Joker: Abraham Lincoln and the Politics of … Continue reading

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1860’s Politics: A Fine Fiddle

I came across this 1860 political cartoon recently while reading a story at about the nastiest elections in U.S. history:

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Kilpatrick’s Deficiency in Judgment

Theodore Lyman, Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade’s aide-de-camp, offered an interesting observation about part of the Federal cavalry on this date in 1863. The Army of the Potomac was cautiously advancing out of its protected position in Centreville, Virginia, where Robert … Continue reading

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George Washington, “that cold, austere” hero

As the Army of the Potomac crept out of its defenses at Centreville following the battle of Bristoe Station, part of the army passed “not far from Mt. Vernon,” the home of George Washington. Northerners and Southerners alike laid claim to … Continue reading

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A Changed Landscape at Lee’s HQ

Visitors to Gettysburg recently have seen a remarkable change in the Day One landscape: Lee’s headquarters now sits alone on the north side of Route 30, overlooking the field. Owned at the time by the widow Mary Thompson, the house … Continue reading

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A Few Words on Soldier Motivation and Leadership from Regis de Trobriand

Visitors to the battlefields often marvel at the way soldiers would line up, shoulder to shoulder, and march into the flaming jaws of death. While many things motivated men to move forward like that, such motivations are hard to describe and … Continue reading

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The Underground Railroad Offers a Harrowing Journey through American Race Relations

As a boy, Colson Whitehead imagined an underground railroad full of steam engines that ran through tunnels deep beneath the Antebellum earth on routes that stretch to indeterminate places. He was disappointed to discover the railroad—as important as it was … Continue reading

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Check Out Dave Powell’s Chickamauga Blog

As you might know, ECW’s Dave Powell has a well-respected blog of his own, Chickamauga Blog. The main focus of the blog, as you might imagine, covers the events and characters associated with the September 1863 battle of Chickamauga. However, the … Continue reading

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“Never Forget”—Remembering 9/11 and the Lesson of Antietam

It has become my custom on 9/11 to think back to a different day during a different September when America suffered an even more catastrophic loss of life. As I first explained in 2012, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. … Continue reading

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Sheldon Appleby Among the Archives

I have known Sheldon Appleby, my great-great-great grandfather, only through his handwriting—and only that through a single letter handwritten from February 1863, and only that through a photocopy of a photocopy. The great aunt who’d given me a copy of … Continue reading

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