Category Archives: Primary Sources

The Eve of Antietam

The evening of September 16 always draws my mind to the Antietam battlefield. 160 years ago tonight, Union and Confederate soldiers settled down for a tense night around Sharpsburg, Maryland. In some cases, they lay within earshot of one another. … Continue reading

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

The Assault on Private Berry Brown: Civilian Violence Against The USCT

ECW welcomes guest author Hugh Goffinet During the War of the Slaveholder’s Rebellion, thousands of regiments served both sides of this defining conflict in United States history. Enthusiasts often remember more famous combat units such as the 20th Maine, 1st … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources, Reconstruction, USCT | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Was Grant “The Silent Man”?

Was Ulysses S. Grant “the silent man”? He certainly had a reputation for it in his time, and since then, his purported silence has contributed to the perception that Grant was/is sphinx-like. Later this month, I’ll have the privilege to … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Events, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“It seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected”

Most of us are familiar with the pessimistic “blind memo” Abraham Lincoln wrote on August 23, 1864, predicting his own defeat in the forthcoming election. I was searching online through the Library of Congress archives today and happened to come … Continue reading

Posted in Lincoln, Politics, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Dash and Pluck at Shiloh

A quick observation to share: In his account of the battle of Shiloh, Ulysses S. Grant said, “It was a case of Southern dash against Northern pluck and endurance.” Later in the account, he elaborated: “It is possible that the … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | 4 Comments

Book Review: The Wharton’s War

Gabriel Colvin Wharton, Virginia-born in 1824, ranks among the Confederacy’s 425 generals, but not among those best-known. Or illustrious, for that matter, despite a colorful Confederate career. VMI-trained, he was elected major in the 45th Virginia. He then raised the … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A Pensacola Refugee

It may be easy to forget sometimes that there was no hard border between the North and South during the Civil War. Citizens of both sides could find ways to migrate for the purpose of evading a war zone. Those … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Emerging Civil War, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Vermonter Plays “Arm Chair General”

In the early spring of 1864, Wilbur Fisk of the 2nd Vermont Regiment penned a letter for a local newspaper in his homestate, offering his views on what to do…if he controlled the war. A long time correspondent for publication, … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Halleck and Meade in the Days After Gettysburg

Making fun of Henry Halleck is almost a cottage industry unto itself. For instance, when I mention him in talks, I tend to point out that he looks like he spent the night on a park bench before shuffling into … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Leadership--Federal, Lincoln, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Meade: “A Great Deal Too Much Fuss”

On the afternoon of July 7, 1863, George Gordon Meade arrived in Frederick, Maryland, as his army marched in pursuit of the retreating Army of Northern Virginia. Word of his major victory at Gettysburg had already circulated widely, and Meade … Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Campaigns, Leadership--Federal, Personalities, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments