Category Archives: Primary Sources

The Post-Shiloh Musings of General Sherman

There is little doubt that the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, changed not only the nature of the American Civil War, but also the trajectory of William Tecumseh Sherman’s career.  Going into the battle Sherman was working diligently to … Continue reading

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Henry Adams on Rooney Lee

As the grandson and great-grandson of American presidents, Henry Brooks Adams came from one of the most distinguished of all New England families. Yet, as a student at Harvard University from 1854-8, this scion of the Yankee-est of all Yankee … Continue reading

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Sherman’s Prescience on Hooker

I came across a letter the other day from “Uncle Billy” Sherman to his wife, written on this date in 1863. Grant was preparing for his move across the Mississippi for what would become his overland campaign against Vicksburg, but … Continue reading

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Colors Draped in Black

There are some events in our lives that no one can escape. Everyone has a story of “where they were when” for such events. Thankfully, these events do not happen often, but when they do, they leave an unmistakable impression … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln, Memory, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Storm Burst, 1861

“On April 13 the storm burst and rolled several hundred thousand young men like Henry Adams into the surf of a wild ocean, all helpless like himself, to be beaten about for four years by the waves of war.” — … Continue reading

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“Swarming with maggots” – Assistant Surgeon Samuel Melcher and the Care of the Wounded at Wilson’s Creek

As the first major engagement fought west of the Mississippi River, the 1861 Battle of Wilson’s Creek (fought August 10, 1861) was known for being a particularly desperate, hard-fought battle that resulted in nearly 20% casualties on both sides. For … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Emerging Civil War, Medical, Personalities, Primary Sources, Trans-Mississippi | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Hidden Gem of a Civil War Diary

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by a member of a large Midwestern Civil War round table following my Zoom presentation. “I am in possession of an original diary of a First Lieutenant of Company G, 21st Illinois who was … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | 4 Comments

David Laird and The Christian Commission at Gettysburg

My ongoing work about Camp Letterman General Hospital and the treatment of the wounded following the battle of Gettysburg tends not to be the most uplifting work. Though stories of resilience and healing are common, so too are stories of … Continue reading

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Digital History Spotlight: Civil War Governors of Kentucky Interview

The Kentucky Historical Society’s Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition may not have a name that rolls off the tongue easily, but what it does have is an excellently executed digital source repository and interpretation for some of … Continue reading

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On the Battlefield, Among the Dead and Dying, We Get to Know Each Other Better

Following the May 14, 1863, battle of Jackson, Mississippi, Private Osborn H. Oldroyd of the 20th Ohio had the chance to walk across the battlefield. His unit, part of Maj. Gen. John Logan’s division, did not get into the day’s … Continue reading

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