Author Archives: Derek Maxfield

About Derek Maxfield

Associate Professor of History Genesee Community College

The Post-Shiloh Musings of General Sherman

There is little doubt that the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, changed not only the nature of the American Civil War, but also the trajectory of William Tecumseh Sherman’s career.  Going into the battle Sherman was working diligently to … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

“Reflections” on Lincoln by Alexander Stephens

It is well known that President Abraham Lincoln and Alexander H. Stephens, who served as Vice President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, were friends despite being on opposite sides of the war. Becoming acquainted during their service in … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Politics | Tagged , , | 54 Comments

A Beecher ventures to Corning

Elmira can be an unforgiving, frigid place to spend time – even if you are well clothed and sheltered. For a Confederate soldier from the deep South suddenly transported to the prisoner of war camp there it could be a … Continue reading

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Gen. Sherman Sends Christmas Greetings to His Children

During a break from the scourge of war, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman penned a Christmas letter to his daughter Maria, whom he affectionately calls “Minnie.” The general and his army were in occupation of Savannah, Georgia, after a long march … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Sherman’s Christmas, 1864

I love this image from Leslie’s Illustrated depicting General William Tecumseh Sherman placing the city of Savannah, Georgia, in Uncle Sam’s stocking. Sherman arrived in front of Savannah in December after marching his army across Georgia from Atlanta in an … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sherman in Savannah . . . Sort of

Before the pandemic shut down the production, a colleague – Tracy Ford – and I traveled the country performing the three-act play Now We Stand by Each Other Always about the friendship between Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Civil War in Pop Culture, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Ithaca Book Sale…Like A Pilgrimage For The Historian

If you are into history, then you are into books. That is just the way it is. And if this is true, you need to go to Ithaca, NY, for the semi-annual book extravaganza. The pandemic has been cruel is … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Crabby Inmate Recalled at Point Lookout

Perusing prison camp literature recently, I came across an amusing story written by Thad J. Walker of the 2nd Maryland Cavalry.  An inmate at Point Lookout – a Union-run prisoner of war camp – Walker recorded a comrade’s first encounter … Continue reading

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Home Libraries: A Cat To Complete The Collection

No library is complete without a cat… My home library boasts about 1500 volumes. About half of that is Civil War books. Unfortunately, as my collections has grown the burden has been moving it many times. I am certain some … Continue reading

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Sherman and Thomas outside Atlanta

Driving through farm country in Western New York recently, I drove past a scene that harkened me back to a similar scene during the Civil War. There was a farm stand and two men walking together and talking quite intently … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Leadership--Federal, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments