Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

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

Do We Still Care About the Civil War: Kevin Pawlak

  The cover story of the newest issue of Civil War Times asks, “Do we still care about the Civil War?” ECW is pleased to partner with Civil War Times to extend the conversation here on the blog. The above … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Ties to the War | Tagged | 3 Comments

Writing “Antietam National Battlefield” for the Images of America Series

157 years ago, photographers Alexander Gardner and James Gibson first exposed their camera’s lens to the Antietam battlefield. The scene was still raw–Union soldiers and their campfires behind the Army of the Potomac’s lines. Once the Confederate army vacated its … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Books & Authors, Emerging Civil War, Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Antietam Eve: September 16, 1862

Each of the approximately 100,000 soldiers bivouacked in the fields and woodlots around Sharpsburg, Maryland and along Antietam Creek knew what the morrow would bring. With the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac having been in … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Campaigns, Civilian, Common Soldier, Emerging Civil War, Primary Sources | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Gen. Jackson and Mr. Hyde: Which Account of Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry is the Correct One?

On the morning of September 15, 1862, Stonewall Jackson had just completed a profound military achievement. Three separate columns all nominally under his command converged on a single point–Harpers Ferry–nearly simultaneously. They ensnared the Federal garrison positioned around the town … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Memory, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Fall of Fort Henry and the Changing of Confederate Strategy

Fort Donelson has “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. It has an early morning Confederate attack, a breakout by Nathan Bedford Forrest and, in short, the stuff that makes good history. But from this outsider’s perspective looking in on the Western Theater, I … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Battles, Campaigns, Leadership--Confederate, Navies, Politics, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments