Category Archives: Common Soldier

Primary Sources: One Farewell Letter

Ken Burn’s lengthy documentary The Civil War featured excerpts from many primary sources. One of the most unforgettable letters in the documentary was written by Major Sullivan Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment.

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Primary Sources: Longing To Be A Soldier

“I wrote Mother about my trip, but I don’t think I told her that most of our marches could be called forced marches, as we were on light rations half the time. I stood the Campaign “bully,” but felt as … 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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Question of the Week: 12/24-12/30/18

It’s the season of fanciful wishes, so… If you could time-travel to spend Christmas or New Year’s at a Civil War camp or headquarters, who would you spend the holidays with? Why?

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Christmas 1863: “So Good-bye Homesicknesses”

This week I looked at some excerpts from Elisha Hunt Rhodes’s Civil War journal and found some interesting happenings in this Union soldier’s Christmas 155 years ago. Winter quarters, re-enlistment, patriotism, and Christmas made their way into his writings at … Continue reading

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The Patriotism of the 170th…

I’ve always been fascinated with the Ohio National Guard “100 Days” men who were called into service in the spring of 1864 to guard the forts, bridges, blockhouses and railroads, thereby freeing up veteran regiments for the summer campaign. The … 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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ECW Podcast “Levi Bowen & The 7th Pennsylvania Reserves” Is Now Available

Do you have ancestors who fought in the Civil War? The Civil War gets personal for ECW’s Dan Davis in this week’s podcast as he joins Chris Mackowski to talk about a family ancestor, Levi Bowen of the 7th PA … 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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A Conversation with Brian Steel Wills about Inglorious Passages (part two)

(part two of two) I’m talking with historian Brian Steel Wills, author of one of my favorite Civil War books from last year, Inglorious Passages: Noncombat Deaths in the American Civil War. Inglorious Passages received the Harwell Award at the … Continue reading

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