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.

The Tale of a Troublesome Harp, According to Henry K. Douglas

I’ve got a broken string on my harp. Not a big deal. I’ll get it changed and hopefully in tune before choir practice tomorrow. And how is this related to history? Well…I’ve a story for you. About broken harp strings. … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Lost Shoes: A Historical Perspective

Missing shoes. Symbols of a hurried movement or a panic. Symbols left behind when the person has vanished suddenly from the scene. In Civil War history, lost shoes are often associated with New Market’s battlefield even though it was not … Continue reading

Posted in Ties to the War | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

ECW Weekender: Rogersville, Tennessee

Tucked in the rolling hills of East Tennessee, Rogersville has a storied history dating back to the Colonial Period. Like most communities in East Tennessee, Rogersville had divided loyalties during the Civil War. Though Tennessee seceded and joined the Confederacy, … Continue reading

Posted in ECW Weekender | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Notes on Artillery Organization

I’ve started reading John C. Tidball’s The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion which is a published collection of essays this Union officer wrote in the post-war era. Tidball offers a good perspective since he was there, on … Continue reading

Posted in Artillery | Tagged | 5 Comments

Getting Ready For A Big Weekend…

Well, I had all good intentions. I’ve had “write ECW Weekender” on my list all week, but unfortunately continuing tech problems have made my photos and historic site notes not easy to access at the moment. So, as I was … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Events, Upcoming Events | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Willie Preston: “Who Thinks of Victory Now?”

He was nineteen. Full of life. Full of ideas of soldiering. He left Lexington, Virginia, joining up with the Fourth Virginia Infantry and soldiering with other friends from his home town. Before long though, he was anxious to secure a … Continue reading

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Did Frederick Douglass Influence “The Blind Memorandum”?

The timing. The national circumstances. The reports of what two great men discussed. It raises the question: did Frederick Douglass influence Abraham Lincoln’ decision to draft the document referred to as “The Blind Memorandum”? On August 23, 1864 – one … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln, Politics, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

He Wrote What? Health and Weight in Civil War Letters

“You stated that you had been weighed, what is your weight?”[i] asked Private Walter Dunn in a letter to his fiancée. It’s a little shocking to modern readers! There are a few questions that are usually considered taboo to ask … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Common Soldier, Medical, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Of Dentists & Elections

I’ve been reading 1864 entries from Benjamin Brown French’s journal this summer as part of my tangent study for perspective on how folks in the north  responded to the impending presidential election. French offers quite a contrast of subjects in … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Politics, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Kelly’s Ford: Standing Where It Happened

“Mom, I’ve waited about 13 years to come here,” I said in an undertone as we looked at Kelly’s Ford on the Rappahannock River. The river ran low on that August day (just last week), and – though rivers change … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Cavalry | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments