Category Archives: Common Soldier

Black Confederates: Laborers or Soldiers? (part four)

Part four of a series Some people suggested using slaves to fight from the very beginning of the war. However, the overwhelming fear was of slave insurrection. The John Brown raid was less than two years before the Civil War … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Common Soldier, Slavery, USCT | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hood’s “Miserbels”

Here’s a new take on “Lee’s Miserables.” Recall that Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables appeared in print in 1862 and became a favorite in Lee’s army. After its translation and publication by a Richmond firm, a “soldier edition” was distributed throughout … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Civil War in Pop Culture, Common Soldier, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Black Confederates: Laborers or Soldiers? (part three)

part three in a series At the beginning of the Civil War, blacks tried to enlist in both armies as soldiers but were denied by both. Enslaved men were taken to the Confederate army by their slaveowners. Free blacks were … Continue reading

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Like Sheep

The use of cliché is prevalent in Civil War combat narratives. Every attacking force, by their description, always had to charge through “a hail of grape and canister.” This was repeated ad nauseam regardless of whether or not there was … Continue reading

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Victual Particulars

One of my favorite stories comes from Miller’s Photographic History, but I never knew its source. …until recently. In The Grayjackets: and How They Lived, Fought and Died for Dixie (Richmond, 1867), by “a Confederate” [James Dabney McCabe] I have … Continue reading

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“Their Balaklava”

There are some stories, no matter how heroic, that just do not fit into the standard interpretation of a battle.  Take, for instance, the story of the 7th Maine at Antietam.  They arrived on the northern end of the battlefield … Continue reading

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Had He Lived

Every Memorial Day I give a program reflecting on the soldiers killed during the Breakthrough. There are dozens of compelling stories from which to choose for the Federals, but I have only been able to identify photographs or backstories for … Continue reading

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Black Confederates: Laborers or Soldiers? (part two)

part two of a series In 2010, I went to the Virginia Civil War 150 Signature Conference at Norfolk State University. This Conference was entitled, “Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory.” One … Continue reading

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An Interview with Pulitzer Finalist Brian Matthew Jordan (part three)

part three of three We’ve been talking with ECW’s Brian Matthew Jordan, whose book Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History last month. In the final part of my … Continue reading

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“Dead Yankees at Andersonville”

In his recent book, Damn Yankees! Demonization & Defiance in the Confederate South (LSU, 2015), George Rable writes that many Southerners held such an intense hatred of Yankees that the only thing they could think of doing “was to kill … Continue reading

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