Category Archives: Common Soldier

“The army surgeon sees little glory in war:” Visiting Henry Janes in Waterbury, Vermont

On a recent trip to Vermont to see some dear friends, I took a few detours to explore the region’s rich Civil War history. While the state may draw to mind gorgeous fall views (and let me tell you, they … Continue reading

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“I take my pen in hand:” An Unpublished Letter from a Pension File

As explored in an earlier post by Douglas Ullman, Jr., pension files can offer immense insight into the lives of soldiers. Sometimes, researchers are lucky enough to find wartime letters written by the soldiers in the file. In this case, … Continue reading

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On the Banks of the Rappahannock with George Washington (sort of)

Doing a little research today on a Fredericksburg-related project, I came across an old favorite. During the battle on December 13, 1862, Federal troops stationed along the Rappahannock River near the middle pontoon crossing found some historical inspiration from their … Continue reading

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BookChat: The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War, by Stephen Davis and Bill Hendrick

I recently had the opportunity to do a BookChat with my ECW colleague Steve Davis about a co-edited volume he recently worked on with Bill Hendrick, The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War, published by the University of Tennessee … Continue reading

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The Last Roll Call of an “English Alien”

ECW is pleased to welcome back Gina Denham, chair of the Monuments For UK Veterans of the American Civil War Association My great great grandfather, George Denham, was a former private in Company E 111th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and later transferred … Continue reading

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Wounded at Cedar Creek

On October 19, 1864, the battle of Cedar Creek erupted in the lower (northern) region of the Virginian Shenandoah Valley. General Jubal Early’s Confederates launched a surprise attack against Union General Philip Sheridan’s camps in the early morning hours and … Continue reading

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An Extraordinary Life: Mohammad Ali Nicholas Sa’id, Polyglot Genius of the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts

The ink was barely dry on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in January, 1863 when Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew successfully petitioned the War Department to recruit a Black regiment for the Union Army. Andrew’s recruitment team, led by John Mercer Langston … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Immigrants, Reconstruction, Regiments, Slavery | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Fallen, but not Forgotten – Corp. Pompey Cotton, Co. D, 38th USCI

“Penetrating gunshot wound, ball entered three inches below right axilla, passed through thorax, lung perforated . . . .“ So reads the Surgeon General’s copied records in the 1869 widow’s pension case filed by Sarah Cotton, who was seeking to … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial in Washington, DC

Washington, DC is filled with monuments and memorials dedicated to the people and events key to American history. Among that immense number are several that honor people involved in the Civil War. Most are heroic equestrian statues of US generals, … Continue reading

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Civil War Medicine: Common Diseases of the Civil War

Disease was a critical problem among Civil War armies. Out of more than 700,000 soldiers who died during the Civil War, two-thirds of soldiers died from disease or infection rather than battle wounds themselves. Why was disease such a big … Continue reading

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