Author Archives: Todd Arrington

Dan Sickles and the Temporary Insanity Defense

The Civil War spawned a number of so-called “political generals” for both the Union and the Confederacy.  In most cases, these were well-connected men that had little or no military experience but had the means to help raise and equip … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Federal, Personalities, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Creating the Medal of Honor

When the Civil War began, the U.S. military had few medals or awards to recognize bravery or exemplary conduct.  General George Washington created the Purple Heart in 1782 to recognize “singularly meritorious action;” a Certificate of Merit recognized bravery under … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Personalities | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

President Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Special Session of Congress, July 4, 1861

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives: Having been convened on an extraordinary occasion, as authorized by the Constitution, your attention is not called to any ordinary subject of legislation. At the beginning of the present Presidential term, four … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Personalities, Politics, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Something Abides”: Joshua L. Chamberlain and Civil War Memory

As it was for millions of his generation, the Civil War was the defining event of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s life.  Veterans from both sides took understandable pride in their service, wrote their memoirs, and joined veterans’ organizations.  In all of … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Personalities, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“The Struggle Which Threatens Your Liberty”: The Dred Scott Decision

One hundred and sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of the most significant rulings in its history. Unfortunately for the Court and the country, it was also one of the most misguided decisions it ever issued. Dred … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Lincoln, Politics, Ties to the War | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

My Favorite Historical Person: James Garfield

There is an old joke that all it took to be President of the United States after the Civil War was membership in the Republican Party, a beard, and the title of Union veteran.  James A. Garfield met all of … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Personalities, Question of the Week | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments