Category Archives: Common Soldier

A Member of the 8th Missouri Infantry Reflects on Why He Enlisted

One of the most thorough and remarkable diaries I have come across from a Missouri soldier is from a non-commissioned officer in the 8th Missouri Infantry. A German immigrant and Peoria, Illinois resident, Phillip A. Smith joined the “American Zouaves” … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources, Trans-Mississippi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

An 1863 Staff Ride with the Russians?

Over the holidays, I had a couple of long flights which is the perfect opportunity to catch up on reading. One of the books I had “gifted myself” for Christmas is the edited letters of Theodore Lyman who served on … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

1861 Winter Quarters in Photographs

This week I searched for images of Civil War winter quarters in the online Library of Congress catalog, and here are a few of the results. I think it’s especially interesting to look at the types of shelters and the … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Photography | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Civil War Versions of “NUTS”!

Welcome back, JoAnna M. McDonald History does not quite repeat itself in the literal sense, but it does rhyme.   For example, cheeky responses to surrender demands are apparently a tradition in American military history (and in military history in general).  … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

December 20, 1861: The Battle of Dranesville and the Confederate Battle Flag’s Debut

On a chilly morning, four regiments of Confederate infantry started off from their camps near Centreville, Virginia. They accompanied a battery of four cannon, 150 cavalry troopers, somewhere between 200-400 wagons, and were led by Brig. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. The … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Battles, Civilian, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fredericksburg: The War In Town

Earlier this week, I combed through Library of Congress images related to the Battle of Fredericksburg and found a sketch of Union soldiers plundering the town or December 11 or 12, 1862. Fredericksburg had the unlucky claim of being one … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Civilian, Common Soldier | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Santa For the Yankees, Too

Santa, as we know him, is a creation of artist Thomas Nast who created the bearded old elf for the 1862-63 Christmas edition of Harper’s Weekly. In his famous drawing, he showed Union soldiers opening their Christmas boxes from home. One soldier … Continue reading

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

The Arrival of a Christmas Box in Camp

The Knox boys in the 30th Virginia Regiment spent the final ten months of the Civil War in the trenches of the Howlett Line. This line of Confederate defenses spanned the Bermuda Hundred area, and the soldiers here spent days … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Holidays, Primary Sources | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Looking Back: Battle of Franklin

This year Lee White’s book on the Battle of Franklin – Let Us Die Like Men – joined the ECW series. There is also a collection of the blog posts from past years about the battle. However, on the 155th … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Fighting Rebels and Fighting Fires: The Life of George F. Griffin (Part 2/2)

Part 1 Can Be Found Here The grizzled veteran George F. Griffin, having survived the war’s gruesome last year, was mustered out of service on July 12, 1865. He had lost two brothers, one even mortally wounded by his side. … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments