Author Archives: Edward S. Alexander

Atop Clingmans Dome

Last week I gave a presentation to the Western North Carolina Civil War Round Table and took advantage of the proximity to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the first time. My visit included a trip to the tallest … Continue reading

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The 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery and the Gettysburg Campaign

As the Army of the Potomac chased the Army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania during the summer of 1863, the garrison left in Washington gritted their teeth, honed their training, and considered how they might perform should the Confederate army … Continue reading

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Kill General Lee: A Yankee Officer Opposes Reconciliation

We’ve all heard the simplified story. Confederate veterans roll up their battle flags at Appomattox and Robert E. Lee charges them with being good citizens as they return to the United States. Impressed by this act of good faith and … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Memory, Primary Sources, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

E.P. Alexander’s Research Methodology

Every Civil War scholar should be familiar with the writings of Confederate First Corps artillerist Edward Porter Alexander (no relation). Many know him through Gary Gallagher’s compilation of his papers from the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Arms & Armaments, Leadership--Confederate, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Petersburg Picket’s Letter

Primary source research is a grinding ordeal but a necessary one for a group of historians whose mantra is to provide fresh perspectives on America’s defining event. It is a rewarding task, too, when you land on a juicy quote … Continue reading

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Colonel Albert Brackett’s Body Armor

The notion of a bullet proof vests during the Civil War is almost universally mocked. In my experience giving battlefield tours, I’ve found that kids are the only ones to ask, “did they use body armor” or “why didn’t they … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Cavalry, Trans-Mississippi, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Upton’s Attack at Spotsylvania: Modern Trail Map

I can safely speak for the Virginia cabal of Emerging Civil War that we are big fans of Emory Upton. An influential military tactician, he is probably best known for his assault on the western face of the mule shoe … Continue reading

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With Sedgwick at Spotsylvania

Nothing like a monument dedication to spark some controversy. Subscribers to the National Tribune veterans’ newspaper or the Southern Historical Society Papers could expect a flurry of related articles immediately after a new monument appeared. John Watson Mauk, the Pennsylvania … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Leadership--Federal, Monuments, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Boys like me should have been at home with their mothers”: Private William Perry at the Wilderness

William Wallace Perry did not stand an imposing figure on a battlefield like his namesake. The fourteen year old barely fit into the uniform he was assigned. It is unclear how the youngster managed to escape detection when he joined … Continue reading

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The Night March into Fredericksburg, May 2-3, 1863

The orders made no sense. Their recipient lacked the creativity to make them work. The Union army dawdled as its commanders traded confused messages, while Lee and Jackson struck their masterpiece victory. To explain why Joseph Hooker’s Chancellorsville campaign failed, … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Campaigns, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment