Author Archives: Jon Tracey

From Monocacy to Danville: Captured Soldiers of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry

On July 9, 1864, a small United States force under Major General Lewis Wallace faced off against Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley as it pressed onward towards the national capital, Washington D.C. Early’s troops hoped to pressure … Continue reading

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Book Review: Slavery: Interpreting American History

In Slavery: Interpreting American History, editors Aaron Astor and Thomas C. Buchanan have compiled an impressive volume that succinctly explores the changing interpretations of slavery. This is not so much a history of American slavery as it is a history … Continue reading

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The Contested Origins of Gettysburg’s Virginia Monument

The Virginia Monument, one of the earliest and largest Confederate monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield, has a dramatic history. Ever since it was in the earliest phases of proposal, the monument has been a strong symbolic figure and elicited strong … Continue reading

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“Wounded July 1st by a ball:” An Iron Brigade Soldier’s Medical Treatment Record

During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of soldiers became casualties. Those who survived their wounds long enough to make it to a field hospital received detailed treatment records. These records helped to professionalize American medicine, and taught valuable lessons … Continue reading

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Monuments Moved at Gettysburg?: The 15th, 19th, and 20th Massachusetts Infantry

By the end of 1863, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association began to preserve the sacred soil of the Gettysburg battlefield. As time passed, veterans returned to the field in order to dedicate monuments to permanently tell their stories. Some of … Continue reading

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130 Years Later: A Return to Antietam

Recently I returned to Antietam with two objects from my personal collection of veteran items. These ribbons were worn by veterans of the 130th Pennsylvania Infantry when they returned to Antietam to reunite and reminisce. I have a familial connection … Continue reading

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WWII Burials in Gettysburg National Cemetery

November 19th is the 158th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, given at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, now Gettysburg National Cemetery. Located atop Cemetery Hill in the midst of America’s bloodiest battlefield, Lincoln delivered an immortal … Continue reading

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A Grammar Lesson from a Veteran

I was scouring the digitized pages of The National Tribune, a popular newspaper aimed at US veterans where they could submit stories of their experiences, and came across an interesting debate about the grammatical status of “United States.” Nowadays, we … Continue reading

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What Happened to Henry Fleming? Exploring Details in The Red Badge of Courage

Sarah’s post about Henry Fleming in the “Under Fire” series inspired me to revisit my own thoughts on Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, and how he wrote it ambiguously enough to fit many experiences. He never quite explained … Continue reading

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Under Fire: Mark Twain’s Experiences in the Confederate Militia

As I explored in a previous blog, Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens lived a complex life. One of the lesser-known facets of his life is his limited service during the American Civil War. Though it may not be a purely non-fiction retelling … Continue reading

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