Author Archives: Kevin Pawlak

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

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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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Emerging Civil War Symposium Update

We appreciate everyone’s continued patience as we head into the home stretch for the Seventh Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, Aug. 7-9, 2020. At this point, the governor’s timetable still calls for Virginia to be in Phase … Continue reading

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Henry Hunt Reflects on the Battle of Chancellorsville

Chancellorsville was a black eye for the Army of the Potomac. But while it no doubt marked the beginning of the end of Joseph Hooker’s stint as army commander, it did not sour the desire for victory among the army’s … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Artillery, Battles, Common Soldier, Leadership--Federal, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments