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.

Primary Sources: Longing To Be A Soldier

“I wrote Mother about my trip, but I don’t think I told her that most of our marches could be called forced marches, as we were on light rations half the time. I stood the Campaign “bully,” but felt as … Continue reading

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Grant In Egypt

The painted eyes stared back at me from the centuries old alabaster face. The face of a king, a human believed by his subjects to be a god on earth. The Civil War did not feel so far away when … Continue reading

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“Not Afraid”: Thinking About Literature The Soldiers Read

Some of us at ECW have a yearly tradition of reading classic literature from the 19th Century during the holiday season. For many, Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is a beloved classic. I appreciate Dickens, his tale of Scrooge, and … Continue reading

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Women’s Reflections on Christmas 1863

This holiday season I came across two Christmas entries in two very different civilian journals. One, tinged with reflective sadness, offers the words of a Virginian girl who has seen war and lost a loved one in the conflict but … Continue reading

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Christmas 1863: “So Good-bye Homesicknesses”

This week I looked at some excerpts from Elisha Hunt Rhodes’s Civil War journal and found some interesting happenings in this Union soldier’s Christmas 155 years ago. Winter quarters, re-enlistment, patriotism, and Christmas made their way into his writings at … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Friends, it’s cold outside! If battlefielding in this wintry weather isn’t your preference, consider visiting a museum. One of my favorite museums is The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, located in Winchester, Virginia. It’s not a military museum, but it’s … Continue reading

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Fredericksburg: The Way They Saw It?

If you visit Fredericksburg battlefield today, you’ll find some areas wonderfully preserved and the landscape relatively unscathed. But other parts of the battleground are now heavily paved, abounding with homes and shopping centers. Walking from the old historic district of … Continue reading

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December 12: Fredericksburg Is On My Mind

Thinking about the river crossings that happened on December 12, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Virginia? It’s been on my mind today even though I’m literally thousands of miles away. I’m signing my Christmas cards today…I think about the generals writing their … Continue reading

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Historic Pianos and Music – Postscript

There’s one more story about music and a piano in Mrs. Hancock’s book. It’s not quite clear when this event took place, but since she references President Pierce, it probably happened in Missouri when Winfield Hancock was still a captain. … Continue reading

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Historical Pianos in Civil War California

Last Saturday I had the privilege to continue my yearly tradition of performing Christmas carols with friends in the officers’ parlor of the Drum Barracks out here in Southern California. It’s an absolutely wonderful way to really launch into the … Continue reading

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