Category Archives: Civilian

Going Courting in Lexington, Virginia – Part 2

There’s nothing quite like a primary source. John S. Wise –a cadet at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia during 1863-64 – later wrote his remembrances of trying to get acquainted with the “good Presbyterian girls” of the town. Certainly, … Continue reading

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Going Courting in Lexington, Virginia – Part 1

Theology and Presbyterian doctrine. That’s what first took Major Thomas J. Jackson to the home of Dr. George Junkin in Lexington, Virginia. But before long, theology and doctrine wasn’t the only thing on the major’s mind. Dr. Junkin’s daughter, Elinor, … Continue reading

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Roses Have Thorns, Violets Proliferate: Vinegar Valentines During the Civil War

All was not hearts and flowers for lovers and others during the American Civil War. Sweethearts were separated, families were torn apart, Valentine’s Day was often a sad day of remembrance or longing unless you were of a certain disposition—a … Continue reading

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“Blowed to Freedom!”: Abraham and the Vicksburg Mine

Every February ECW does a series of posts about African Americans and the Civil War. There are many from which to choose, but I have made it my mission, as it were, to find those who are not as well … Continue reading

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Robert Dickey: Killer Turned Soldier

Henry St. Clair flew off the porch of Henry Bicksler’s tavern and shouted into the evening air, “God damn your soul, Bob Dickey, what did you hit me for?” Onlookers watched as Robert Dickey turned to face his accuser, 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 in the Hospitals: Bringing Cheer to a Dreary Holidays

It is never fun to spend the holidays in the hospital and it was no different during the Civil War. Soldiers in pain from battle wounds or suffering from diseases or infections, sometimes exasperated by wartime shortages, made the holiday … 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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Thanksgiving 1863: A “vivid contrast” between home and the front

In 1863, Thanksgiving fell on November 26. That morning, as the rest of the country was preparing for roast turkey and fat puddings and homemade pies, the Army of the Potomac, encamped around Brandy Station, Virginia, rumbled to life for … Continue reading

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