2nd Wisconsin Infantry: A Study In Demographics

Members of the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment, 1861. (Wisconsin Historical Society)

Members of the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment, 1861. (Wisconsin Historical Society)

Emerging Civil War welcomes back Bill Backus

One of the famous regiments that served in the Civil War was the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. As part of the famed Iron Brigade, the 2nd Wisconsin saw hard service with the Army of the Potomac from First Manassas to Antietam, and Gettysburg and beyond. Recruited from the Badger State, today historians and the public treat the 2nd as a typical Mid-Western regiment. However, since Wisconsin became a state only 13 years before the outbreak of the Civil War this begs the question of who enlisted and served in the 2nd Wisconsin. By examining muster records and cross checking them with the 1860 Federal census, historians can get a snapshot in the social-economic build of the regiment which can help explain the 2nd’s exceptional combat record. Continue reading

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On Location: Jackson’s HQ Museum

Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters in Winchester, Virginia, doesn’t reopen for the season until April 1, but passing through town, I couldn’t resist the chance for a quick video On Location.

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Modern Photography: “On Great Fields, Something Stays” – My Time on Cemetery Ridge


Emerging Civil War welcomes guest author (and photographer!) Kristen M. Trout

On a warm, beautiful evening in September 2013, I stood on Cemetery Ridge, gazing at the glowing orange sunset over South Mountain. Seminary Ridge, the main position of the Army of Northern Virginia on July 2 and July 3, 1863, stood out just less than a mile to the west. Between Seminary Ridge and I were tall grasses waving in the light wind with the ragged fence lines marking the Emmitsburg Road. Looking around me, cannon and monuments dedicated to the thousands of Federal troops who stood their ground there on July 2 and 3 dotted the landscape. Time seemed to stand still.

With only the sounds of car engines buzzing by and the whispers of intrigued visitors, the fields of Gettysburg is truly one of the most peaceful places on earth. But, in that silence, you could imagine the roaring cannon and muskets, the screams for mercy by the wounded, the “rebel yell” of advancing Confederates, the cheers of Federal troops as they repulsed their attackers, and orders of officers trying to rally their men. It was an awful three days of battle on those fields of Gettysburg in July of 1863.

In that moment of thought and remembrance, I took a stroll along the lines of the Army of the Potomac’s II Army Corps on Cemetery Ridge. Even though it is near impossible to capture those thoughts without being there, I decided to take a series of photographs to document the sights I visited during that evening. Continue reading

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Modern Photography: Shiloh

our-favorite-modern-civil-war-photosWe were rummaging around in the ECW archives and found this excellent photography essay by Lee White. Continue reading

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Campaign Through the Carolinas: An Ohio Cavalryman’s Recollections in the National Tribune

This is the fifth and final part of the 1892 account by an unidentified captain of the 10th Ohio Cavalry that appeared in the May 12, 1892 edition of the National Tribune. As pointed out previously, I believe this is a unique account that I doubt has been seen or otherwise used since it was published. I find it insightful and particularly appreciate the common soldier’s viewpoint that marked the excellent soldier contributions that filled the pages of the Tribune. I hope that you have enjoyed it. We will end with the words of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s farewell to his veterans.

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Posted in Armies, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Common Soldier, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Presidents’ Day 2017!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday, celebrating favorite presidents in American history!


Looking for some articles about Washington and Lincoln? Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 2/20-2/26/17

Question-HeaderIn February 1862 – Forts Henry and Donelson fell to combined Union land and river attack forces, resulting in a major victory for the Union.

Which commander – Union or Confederate – is most interesting to you during the Henry/Donelson campaign? Why?

Posted in Battles, Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Question of the Week | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Modern Photography: Antietam’s Rising Sun

our-favorite-modern-civil-war-photosI stood amidst a swarm of people, all gathering in the still darkness, some talking softly to one another, others quietly contemplating the gravity of the moment.  Out in front of us, soldiers spoke in hushed tones.  How far off were they?  25 yards?  100 yards?  Maybe more?  The dense bank of fog hanging over the landscape magnified their voices.

Though the darkness made everythi150th-antietam-023ng around us imperceptible, there could be no mistaking where we stood.  Slowly, the light began to illuminate the crowd, though the thick fog kept distant objects to a faint blur.  The crowd’s anticipation felt tangible, a spike in the humming of the many conversations while the orange glow of the quickly rising sun lit up the distant mountaintop.  Nature’s curtain was rising fast on September 17.

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Help Save Two Tennessee Battlefields


News of the latest preservation fight in the Western Theater comes to us from the Civil War Trust. Take a moment to read Civil War Trust President Jim Lighthizer’s update at Fort Donelson and Parker’s Cross Roads. Continue reading

Posted in Armies, Arms & Armaments, Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Campaigns, Cavalry, Civil War Events, Common Soldier, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Material Culture, Memory, Monuments, National Park Service, Personalities, Preservation, Weapons, Western Theater | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Modern Photography: Cape Henry Lighthouses


The Cape Henry Lighthouses as seen on July 10, 2016 from Chesapeake Bay. For over 225 years one or both of these lights have indicated the entrance to Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.

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