Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

Maj. Hilary Herbert’s Antietam After-Action Report

While the actions of Richard H. Anderson’s division on September 17, 1862 are generally known, pinning down specifics has always been difficult. Mostly, that is due to the fact that only one after-action report from the entire division (and it … Continue reading

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From Drought to Doctor’s Creek: The Opening Fight for Water at Perryville

A battle starting over water sounds about as fantastical as one starting over shoes (the latter assertion that the Battle of Gettysburg began over footwear has been disproven many times). But it is not a stretch to say–far from it, … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Antietam Anniversary in the Soldiers’ Words

At 7 a.m. every September 17, the National Park Service holds a program in David Miller’s cornfield, forever after immortalized as The Cornfield, to commemorate the opening of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day in American military history. … Continue reading

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“The Morrow Would Be a Day of Blood”: The Eve of the Battle of Antietam

The evening of September 16 always draws my mind to the Antietam battlefield. 158 years ago tonight, Union and Confederate soldiers settled down for a tense night around Sharpsburg, Maryland. In some cases, they lay within earshot of one another. … Continue reading

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To Spurn the Southern Scum? Union Soldier Motivation to Liberate Maryland in September 1862

Accounts abound of Union officers exhorting their men during the Battle of Gettysburg to fight ferociously as if the safety of their loved ones and their homes depended on it. On July 1, 1863, retreating Union cavalrymen passed through the … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brooklyn Firemen in Action in Maryland

Sarah Bierle’s post yesterday commemorating the sacrifices of New York City’s firemen past and present reminded me of a story I recently found about the firefighters of the 14th Brooklyn now turned soldiers in the Maryland Campaign. The regiment’s motto … Continue reading

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Fallen New York Officers at the Deep Cut

At 3 p.m. on August 30, 1862, 10,000 Union soldiers charged across the Groveton-Sudley Road toward the Confederates occupying the stretch of an unfinished railroad around the Deep Cut. Of the seventeen regiments that participated in this assault led by … Continue reading

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The Army of the Potomac’s March from Harrison’s Landing

On August 14, 1862, the Army of the Potomac began departing its safe haven of the last month: its camp at Harrison’s Landing on the James River. George B. McClellan’s army lost nearly 16,000 men in late June and early … Continue reading

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A Comment on Civil War Monuments

Recent events have raised questions about the preservation of Civil War sites and monuments on National Park battlefields. As some of my Emerging Civil War colleagues and I discussed these potential threats, we decided it was important to say something. … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Memory, National Park Service | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Constant and Devoted Friends of the Soldier: Seneca and Elmira Simmons

The Pennsylvania Reserve Division is likely not one of the first to come to mind if you were asked to name a famous unit of the Army of the Potomac. Yet it was one of the hardest fighting divisions within … Continue reading

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