Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

Pope’s “Headquarters in the Saddle.” Sort of…

“Headquarters in the Saddle.” For a man that uttered many phrases that often make him the main course of mockery for Civil War historians, John Pope’s infamous dateline certainly receives its fair share of jokes. It did too in 1862. … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Campaigns, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Closely Engaged Than Any: Lt. Charles Parsons at the Battle of Stones River

Just before noon on New Year’s Eve, 1862, William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland had been partially routed and battered by Confederate assaults against its right flank. Braxton Bragg’s attacks ripped four Federal divisions and captured 28 guns. Rosecrans’ … Continue reading

Posted in Artillery, Battles, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Importance of Finding the Original Source

When it comes to reading history, I’m a slow reader. Usually, every time I see a superscript number at the end of a sentence or paragraph, I’ll flip to the back of the book to see the source. I’m a … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Collapse of a Battlefield Landmark: Antietam’s Middle Bridge

Whether they are well-studied or just passersby, both sets of visitors alike typically want to ensure they see one thing during their visit to Antietam National Battlefield: the Burnside bridge. And why not? The stories there are compelling, it is … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Deerskin and Eagle Buttons: Ely Parker and his Two Worlds

The roar of the waterfall drowned out any noise of the crying child cuddled in his mother’s arms. He was born in a simple log cabin built to overlook the falls of Tonawanda Creek on the Tonawanda Seneca reservation. Within … Continue reading

Posted in Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ancestors of Two Twentieth-Century Hollywood Influences Clash in Antietam’s Cornfield

Some of the most popular movies portraying the Civil War appeared on the big screen in the era before and during the centennial anniversary of the conflict. Two of those films include Gone with the Wind (1939), based on Margaret … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Civil War in Pop Culture, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ECW Weekender: Newby’s Crossroads

It is well-known where and how Dangerfield Newby’s life ended. But it is less known where his life began. In the countryside of Rappahannock County, Virginia, Dangerfield Newby was born to a white father and enslaved mother around 1820. The … Continue reading

Posted in ECW Weekender, Slavery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Arming Virginia: Henry Wise’s Attempts to Prevent Another John Brown’s Raid

The word of John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry struck the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, Virginia like a thunderbolt. Immediately, the lanky Henry Wise sprang into action. He called on the state’s militia to help suppress the uprising before journeying … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Civilian, Personalities, Politics, Slavery | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Reason for Harpers Ferry and Why John Brown Raided It

While working as a ranger at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, I often began my tours about the United States Armory with this simple question to visitors: “Why are you here today?” Common answers included vacation, an interest in history, … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Battlefields & Historic Places, Slavery, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dangerfield Newby and John Brown’s Raid

John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry was planned to be a small beginning to a large outcome. Twenty-one men–twenty-two counting Brown himself–planned to seize the Federal armory and arsenal in the town and ignite a war against slavery that, they … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Civilian, Personalities, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments