Author Archives: David T. Dixon

The Black Brigade and the Defense of Cincinnati

Panic seized citizens of Cincinnati during the first days of September, as the potential consequences of the recent Confederate victory at Richmond, Kentucky became apparent. As defeated Federal soldiers retreated north toward Louisville, Queen City residents worried that Confederate general … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Common Soldier, Monuments, USCT, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

History, Heritage, and Hate: The Fate of Confederate Monuments in my Ancestral Home

Last week, a statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was taken down by city commissioners in Rome, Georgia. The monument, erected in 1909 by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, had stood in Myrtle Grove … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Monuments | Tagged , , | 39 Comments

Treüe der Union: A German Union Man Cheats Death in Texas

Three days after the attack on August 10, 1862, Ernst Cramer returned to the battlefield near the Nueces River to search for his wounded friends. Nineteen dead German Americans, bloated, blackened, and putrid in the unrelenting west Texas heat lay … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Common Soldier, Immigrants | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

John Wolcott Phelps’ Emancipation Proclamation

The voyage of the U.S. Frigate Constitution ended at Ship island, a barrier island off the Gulf coast of Mississippi in December, 1861. Prior to disembarking, Brigadier General John Wolcott Phelps gathered all passengers on deck and recited one of … Continue reading

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A Doctor, His Enslaved Man, and Georgia’s Union Circle (part two)

The devastation and upheaval created in the neighborhood near the Battle at Resaca gave people like Dr. Gideon’s enslaved man, Owen, their first viable opportunity to aid the Union cause. Owen Gideon was born into slavery about 1834 in Hall … Continue reading

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A Doctor, His Enslaved Man, and North Georgia’s Union Circle (part one)

Dr. Berry Gideon, his wife, and seven daughters watched helplessly as flames devoured their home next to the Western and Atlantic Railroad, between the towns of Calhoun and Resaca, on June 18, 1864. Union soldiers allowed the family fifteen minutes … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Common Soldier, Slavery, USCT | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the 1864 Election

Among the many rich rhetorical legacies US presidents have left to future generations, the Gettysburg Address dwarfs them all. Lincoln took scarcely more than two minutes to deliver a worthy tribute to fallen Federal soldiers and paint an inspirational vision … Continue reading

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The Astonishing Life of an Italian American Civil War Soldier

Lt. Charles DeRudio inched along on his belly through dense underbrush to the bottom of a dry creek bed, concealing himself to avoid capture and certain death. Pistol shots rang out nearby, followed by female voices. DeRudio raised his head … Continue reading

Posted in Cavalry, Immigrants, Personalities, USCT | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Tactical Innovation in the Civil War?

The mere typing of this blog post title fills me with dread and nervous anticipation. As an historian who does biography, I focus on the life story of my central character— how she developed her social and political beliefs, changed … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Common Soldier, Weapons, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Biography: No Longer the Stepchild of Civil War History

For much of the twentieth century, biography was a genre ignored or demeaned by many academic historians. Traditional cradle-to-grave biographies focused on the so-called “great men of history.” They consigned women, immigrants, people of color, and lesser known figures to … Continue reading

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