Author Archives: Sarah Kay Bierle

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, author, speaker, and researcher. Past and present, everyone has a story. What will we discover and discuss?

Was it really Chancellorsville? Exploring Details in The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is a work of classic fiction, exploring universal themes of humanity, violence, war, and the growth of courage. One of the brilliant things about the story is the lack of details—meaning that … Continue reading

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Under Fire at Ball’s Bluff: “You Have Established Your Reputation”

“We crossed the river…under command of Colonel Lee, in all one hundred men, in a whale boat that would carry sixteen, and two small boats holding five and four respectively. I went over first, and found a steep bank one … Continue reading

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“We Made A Charge”: The 17th Mississippi Infantry at Ball’s Bluff

It was a battle that wasn’t really supposed to happen, and one combat that is often overlooked, though it had notable effects in 1861. A Union reconnaissance mission gone wrong launched the Battle of Ball’s Bluff on October 21, 1861, … Continue reading

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Fallen at Cedar Creek: Charles Russell Lowell, Jr.

On October 15, 1864, Colonel Charles Russell Lowell Jr. wrote to his wife from the camp of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry near Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley: “I’ve only ten minutes to write to you; I was out all … Continue reading

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Under Fire: “The Yanks on Top of the Hill North of the Creek Saw Us and Began Shooting Cannon at Us”

Over the past weekend, I’ve been reading the newly released book Rebel Correspondent, transcribed and annotated by Steve Procko. The highlight of the book is the post-war reminiscences of Private Arba F. Shaw who served in the 4th Georgia Cavalry. … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

A few weekends ago I need an escape where trees, water, and history could be found. With the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff coming up and since the 20th Massachusetts accidentally became my regiment of the year … Continue reading

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Under Fire: “You Did Not Wear The Marks Of The Muddy Trenches”

In May 1901, veterans of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery journeyed to Central Virginia, returning to the battleground at Harris Farm, north of Spotsylvania Court House. Thirty-seven years early these men had come under battle fire for the first time, … Continue reading

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Under Fire: “Till My Heart Sickens and War Is Not Glorious” — John Pelham at First Manassas

It had been three months since John Pelham of Alabama left West Point Military Academy under the cover of darkness and began his circuitous journey into the heart of the newly formed Confederacy. His months of waiting, asking for advice, … Continue reading

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Under Fire: The Regiment & The Youth

Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage has been recognized for it’s descriptions of battle and human responses. While working on this new series, I wanted to look at the chapters where the regiment and Henry Fleming (the main character) … Continue reading

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Under Fire: “A Scene of Consternation and Confusion” according to Sam Watkins

On July 21, 1861, Sam Watkins of “Co. Aytch” in the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment sat on a train “a hundred miles” from the fight along Bull Run Creek near Manassas. In fact, the locomotive pulled his regiment into Manassas … Continue reading

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