Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

Antietam: A Tactical Union Victory

The Battle of Antietam was a key turning point in the American Civil War and American history. In short, it turned back Robert E. Lee’s first campaign north of the Potomac River and led to the issuance of the Preliminary—and … Continue reading

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Antietam: On the Eve of Battle

The evening of September 16 always draws my mind to the Antietam battlefield. 159 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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The Unlucky Lost Order

Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., historian of the 27th Indiana Infantry, claimed that the regiment’s discovery of a lost copy of Special Orders No. 191 in a field outside of Frederick, Maryland, 159 years ago today “is the capstone story of … Continue reading

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“Straggling is a crime which cannot be to strongly reprehended nor too severely punished”: The Sixth Corps’ Orders Against Straggling in the Maryland Campaign

Recently, I was sorting through what I found on a past trip to the National Archives, where I spent the day looking through the records of William B. Franklin’s Sixth Corps in the Maryland Campaign. In one of the bound … Continue reading

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A Chronology of the Confederacy’s 1862 Counterstrokes

Several months ago, I crossed an item off my Civil War bucket list: visiting the Perryville battlefield. While at the visitor center, I watched a video which put the Confederate invasion of Kentucky into the larger context of the war. … Continue reading

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Fallen Leaders: Lewis Addison Armistead and the Armistead Family Cemetery

This post rides off the research and coattails of Tom McMillan’s newest book, Armistead and Hancock: Behind the Gettysburg Legend of Two Friends at the Turning Point of the Civil War. Tom’s book, which I picked up in Gettysburg during … Continue reading

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An Eagle Cake on the Fourth of July

John S. Mosby It has been a few years since I posted the story below but it still resonates every year with me because of the incredible feat the women of Point of Rocks, Maryland, accomplished: creating a 25 foot … Continue reading

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Book Review: A Fire in the Wilderness

A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee By John Reeves Pegasus Books, 2021, $28.95 hardcover Reviewed by Kevin Pawlak Of all the awful places created by the American Civil War, the … Continue reading

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Book Review: Fighting Means Killing: Civil War Soldiers and the Nature of Combat

Fighting Means Killing: Civil War Soldiers and the Nature of Combat By Jonathan M. Steplyk University Press of Kansas, 2018, $22.95, paperback. Reviewed by Kevin Pawlak The American Civil War is America’s deadliest war. While two-thirds of the war’s approximately … Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: 22 Acres to Save at Bristoe Station

Bristoe Station battlefield is bordered by development. In fact, a compromise between developers and preservationists are the only reason the park exists. Chances to preserve this battlefield are few and far between and become more difficult frequently. The 22 acres … Continue reading

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