Author Archives: Sean Michael Chick

Stephen Hurlbut and the Quest for Redemption

Few Civil War generals and politicians had an odder career than Stephen Hurlbut. He was born in South Carolina to Yankee parents, but fled north becoming a political power broker in Illinois. As a politician he was mostly a back … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Leadership--Federal | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Book Review: Storming Vicksburg

Storming Vicksburg: Grant, Pemberton, and the Battles of May 19-22, 1863 By Earl J. Hess University of North Carolina Press, 2020, $40.00 hardback Reviewed by Sean Michael Chick In 2020 Earl J. Hess and Timothy B. Smith, two of the … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The 1858 New Orleans Mayoral Election

This article was co-written with Michael Kraemer, a PhD student at The Ohio State University In 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from Napoléon Bonaparte. It contained many independent Native American nations, as well as New Orleans, which … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Conrad Wise Chapman and “The Life Insurance Brigade”

After Fort Donelson, Colonel John Eugene Smith of the 45th Illinois Infantry observed “The Boys were constantly wishing they could have a fight. You do not hear any such wishes now.” The soldier’s lament over the horrors of war is … Continue reading

Posted in Personalities | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Some Thoughts on the Status of the Lost Cause

The Lost Cause was at first a subject of scholarly inquiry. It then became one of scorn, used at times as a slur. For a serious student of the war, it is a label few desire as its mythology has … Continue reading

Posted in Memory | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

My Hunt for the C.S.S. Alabama

Among my first introductions to the American Civil War was Robert Paul Jordan’s 1969 book The Civil War. It was a volume in a series of National Geographic Society illustrated books. Most were about regions, but there were the odd … Continue reading

Posted in Navies | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Writing About History in a Manichean Age

Given current events, I find myself asking how one will be able to write about the American Civil War now and in the future. This question has been brewing in my mind since 2015 when the debate over statues began … Continue reading

Posted in Memory | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Gaines Foster and David Blight: Two Views on the Lost Cause

In 1961 the nation celebrated the centennial of the American Civil War with a glorification of battlefield heroics entwined within a narrative of a nation reforged in the fires of war. However, Robert Penn Warren critiqued this vision with The … Continue reading

Posted in Memory | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Deep South Die Hards vs. James Wilson

1865 saw the Union launch a series of offensives meant to destroy the Confederacy’s last field armies and destroy its remaining industrial infrastructure. Among the offensives was James H. Wilson’s cavalry raid. It was the grandest of the Civil War. … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Campaigns, Cavalry | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Surprise at Shiloh

The western battles of 1862 included three surprise attacks, although only one was planned as such. The opening Confederate attacks at Fort Donelson and Stones River caught the Union forces unprepared. Yet, neither caused a scandal, likely because both battles … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Emerging Civil War | 65 Comments