Category Archives: Primary Sources

Antietam Eve: September 16, 1862

Each of the approximately 100,000 soldiers bivouacked in the fields and woodlots around Sharpsburg, Maryland and along Antietam Creek knew what the morrow would bring. With the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac having been in … Continue reading

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Gen. Jackson and Mr. Hyde: Which Account of Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry is the Correct One?

On the morning of September 15, 1862, Stonewall Jackson had just completed a profound military achievement. Three separate columns all nominally under his command converged on a single point–Harpers Ferry–nearly simultaneously. They ensnared the Federal garrison positioned around the town … Continue reading

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The Text Message Correspondent

Last month I compiled a selection of material written during the Gettysburg campaign by members of the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery. The unit began its service as the 11th Vermont Infantry but spent the first year and a half of … Continue reading

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He Wrote What? Health and Weight in Civil War Letters

“You stated that you had been weighed, what is your weight?”[i] asked Private Walter Dunn in a letter to his fiancée. It’s a little shocking to modern readers! There are a few questions that are usually considered taboo to ask … Continue reading

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Of Dentists & Elections

I’ve been reading 1864 entries from Benjamin Brown French’s journal this summer as part of my tangent study for perspective on how folks in the north  responded to the impending presidential election. French offers quite a contrast of subjects in … Continue reading

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What of John A. Logan?

But what of JOHN A. LOGAN? I will tell you. If there is any statesman on this continent, now in public life, to whose courage, justice and fidelity, I would more fully and unreservedly trust the cause of the colored … Continue reading

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The 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery and the Gettysburg Campaign

As the Army of the Potomac chased the Army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania during the summer of 1863, the garrison left in Washington gritted their teeth, honed their training, and considered how they might perform should the Confederate army … Continue reading

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Words of the Wounded: The Gettysburg Campaign

By the end of the Gettysburg Campaign into Pennsylvania there were an estimated 64,000 killed, wounded and missing between both the Union and Confederate armies. The struggles and the implications on the medical field from the military campaign will be … Continue reading

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July 4, 1864: “From 10,000 to 20,000 voices…singing, The Star Spangled Banner”

Many of the Union soldiers captured at the Battle of New Market were eventually sent to the infamous Confederate stockade known as Andersonville. I’ve been reading some accounts of soldiers who were there and came across this account of Fourth … Continue reading

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“Now I suppose you would like me to describe a battle”: Henry Lyon Writes of His Feelings in Battle

Whether it was the summer of 1862, 1863, or 1864, early July is the climax of military campaigns in all three of those deadly summers. Soldier descriptions of what the experience of participating in a battle was abound in Civil … Continue reading

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