Author Archives: Sarah Kay Bierle

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, editor, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.

ECW Weekender: How They Left California

Earlier this week I went desert camping with my youngest brother during his spring break. As we drove out to Anza-Borrego State Park, we closely followed the path of the Overland Butterfield Stage Route. In many places along the twisting … Continue reading

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Of Battles and Memories: A Union Officer’s Springtime Letter

March 20 marks the first day of spring. It’s a season often noted in Civil War soldier’s letters and journals since it’s when the winter camps broke up and the military prepared for the coming campaigns. They might not have … Continue reading

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Green Flags: “There was a certain magic in the light of this old symbol”

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and for years I’ve had a historical love for the green flags carried by Irish American soldiers of Civil War. I think it started when I was about nine and discovered my first book of … Continue reading

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“The Lively Old Lady” – A Poem About Civil War Knitting

Yesterday, I sat in an archive basement, looking through material about women’s efforts to support the Union during the Civil War. Yesterday was also my Grandma Barbara’s birthday. She is no longer with us, so it was a bittersweet moment … Continue reading

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From The Doorstep: Winchester Women Record Evacuation & Occupation, Part 2

This is the final post for “From the Doorstep: Winchester Women.” Part 1 is available here.  Mary Greenhow Lee started a letter on March 11, intending to send it to a friend. Instead, she kept writing, writing, writing until November … Continue reading

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From The Doorstep: Winchester Women Record Evacuation & Occupation, Part 1

It is a truth (mostly) universally acknowledged that if you want the long version of a story, ask a woman. I say this not as criticism, but rather as praise Civil War women and their primary sources. After recording the … Continue reading

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Their Faces: Those Who Fought To Be Free – A Photographic Essay

When I have a lazy evening, I like to wander through the files of photographs on the Library of Congress website. The rain drummed outside, its even cadence echoing the drums of war from long past years. I decided to … Continue reading

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Going Courting in Lexington, Virginia – Part 2

There’s nothing quite like a primary source. John S. Wise –a cadet at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia during 1863-64 – later wrote his remembrances of trying to get acquainted with the “good Presbyterian girls” of the town. Certainly, … Continue reading

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Going Courting in Lexington, Virginia – Part 1

Theology and Presbyterian doctrine. That’s what first took Major Thomas J. Jackson to the home of Dr. George Junkin in Lexington, Virginia. But before long, theology and doctrine wasn’t the only thing on the major’s mind. Dr. Junkin’s daughter, Elinor, … Continue reading

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“Freedom!” Their Battle-Cry: 1863 Poetry For African American Soldiers

Poetry has many form and uses, and this writing form has legendarily been used to celebrate heroes. Some of the earliest epics in World History – Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey – were crafted in poetry form. Through meter, rhythm, and … Continue reading

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