Author Archives: dwightshughes

My Favorite Historical Person: Eugene Matthew O’Brien

Eugene Matthew O’Brien is among those obscure Civil War multitudes whose collective stories inspire for their courage, dedication, and sacrifice even if we know little about them individually—although his story is a bit unusual. O’Brien was a steam engineer who … Continue reading

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Failed Ironclads: CSS Mississippi and CSS Louisiana at New Orleans

In October 1861, the skeletons of two strange iron monsters began to emerge from the Mississippi bank at Jefferson City, just north of New Orleans. They would become the CSS Mississippi and CSS Louisiana. Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory had … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Battles, Emerging Civil War, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ECW Weekender: The Farthest Battlefield—CSS Shenandoah at Pohnpei

This Civil War site is a paradisiacal place to pass a weekend—if you can get there. April fool’s day, 1865: In the misty glow of dawn, soaring emerald peaks sprouted from azure seas as the CSS Shenandoah, last of the … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, ECW Weekender, Emerging Civil War, Memory, Navies | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

ECW Weekender: The USS Monitor Center

Have you ever been aboard a Civil War ironclad, or two? You can come close in The USS Monitor Center nestled in a beautiful setting at The Mariners’ Museum & Park, Newport News, Virginia. The Monitor Center is the official … Continue reading

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Modern Photography: No Monuments on the Ocean

There are no monuments on the ocean, no crossroads in the great waters, no places echoing in heart and mind—Gettysburg, Shiloh, Chickamauga. But our Civil War ancestors were out there too and some of them still are. Names that resonate … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Memory, Monuments, Navies, Photography, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Nashville Dash

“Great excitement has been created here by the arrival in our waters this morning of a steamer of war bearing the flag of the Confederate States of America,” reported the London Times on November 22, 1861.[1] This first such visitor … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War | 4 Comments

Christmas at the Confederate White House

The following excerpt from Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour by William C. Davis: “Christmas 1864 came clear and pleasant, with a beautiful white frost over the sidewalks and shrubbery of Richmond. Boys stole their fathers’ rifles and shotguns … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War | 2 Comments

The Old Stone Fleet: A Failure and Complete

I have a feeling for those ships, Each worn and ancient one, With great bluff bows, and broad in the beam; Ay, it was unkindly done. But so they serve the Obsolete— Even so, Stone Fleet! Herman Melville, “The Stone … Continue reading

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1860’s Politics: Lincoln-Douglas Debates Continue, Part III: Self-Government and Political Correctness

If we define political correctness as demanding conformance with favored positions, not tolerating contrary opinions, and branding opponents or perceived opponents as radicals (“they are just evil/crazy/stupid”), all without offering rational counter arguments, then these are not new phenomena. Abraham … Continue reading

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1860’s Politics: Lincoln-Douglas Debates Continue, Part II: Supreme Court and Choice

Politics and the Supreme Court are much in the news today, as they were in 1858 when Abraham Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. Issues have changed but more recent court decisions demonstrate that underlying … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Lincoln, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments