Category Archives: Common Soldier

“A Fury Unequaled”: A North Carolinian’s Account of Antietam

Finding personal accounts of battlefield experiences always raises my eyebrows, as it does for many of you. The details and immediate stories they contain are the stuff historians crave. When I read the account of James W. Shinn, a soldier … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Common Soldier, Emerging Civil War, Primary Sources | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rethinking What Civil War Soldiers Remembered

Recently, I spent a day at a Civil War living history event here in California. It was a welcome break from a full week of research and writing, and I certainly enjoyed visiting with friends and networking with some of … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Memory | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Foraging With The 1st West Virginia Artillery

In August 1912, C.H. Senseney delivered an address on the fiftieth anniversary of the enlistment of Battery D of the 1st West Virginia Artillery. His reminiscence speech was later printed and bound in a booklet form, and I was lucky … Continue reading

Posted in Artillery, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Captain Hugh A. White: “To Draw Back Is Impossible”

“…his presence was soon missed, and a member of his company, fearing he had been injured, proceeded to look for him, and soon found his body. He was lying on his face, resting it in his hands, and his pistol … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Leadership--Confederate | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Of “Promotion,” Camp, Gossip, & Flirtation in August 1863

In late August 1863 – after returning from medical leave and a visit home – Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain wrote a letter to his wife Fanny, giving a glimpse of the “quiet days” of war. The moments at Gettysburg created only … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Determined Delinquents On A Summer’s Day

Recently, I sat in the solemn, silent archives, reading The End of an Era by John S. Wise. Among his treasury of memories and musings about antebellum Virginia, slavery, and the Civil War, there are several sections focused on cadet … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Personalities | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Superhuman Henry Recor at the Petersburg Breakthrough

I have yet to find a Civil War story as compelling and consequential as that of Captain Charles G. Gould, the first Sixth Corps soldier to breach the Confederate lines on the morning of April 2, 1865. Union soldiers from … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vicksburg NMP Brings Back Black Powder

by ECW Correspondent Katherine Duffek Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see and hear cannon and musket fire in real life instead of just in the movies? Well, at Vicksburg National Military Park, visitors can go … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Common Soldier, National Park Service, Sieges | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mapping his way through the Carolinas: A profile of Major Robert M. McDowell (Part 2)

Maj. Robert M. McDowell was an engineering officer on the staff of Gen. Slocum during Sherman’s Carolinas campaign.  His diary recounts the adventure. (Part two of two) Part of the army’s rear echelon, the staff major was not ordinarily in … Continue reading

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

Mapping his way through the Carolinas: A profile of Major Robert M. McDowell (Part 1)

(Part one of two) Recently while doing research at the Chemung Historical Society in Elmira, NY, I was delighted to discover the Civil War diary of Robert Morris McDowell in the collection, which revealed a new view of Gen. Sherman’s … Continue reading

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