Musings on the Civil War & World War I

An unidentified Civil War Veteran

In the words of a modern American president, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

While thinking about the American Civil War and World War I during the anniversary of the ending of the later conflict, I realized that many of the “Doughboys” of World War I were the sons or grandsons of Civil War veterans. North and South, Union and Confederate. Undoubtedly, the boys who went to war in 1917 and 1918 knew about the Civil War. Their history books taught it, and many probably knew about their relatives’ military service in the 1860’s. Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 11/12-11/18/18

Let’s talk about archaeology studies on Civil War battlefields… Do you have a favorite artifact, story, or experience?

Please note: Always know the rules and have proper authorization/permission before searching for artifacts! ECW does not encourage or condone illegal searching or activities.

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Armistice Day at 100

One hundred years ago today, at 11 AM local time, the guns on the Western Front fell silent as World War I’s armistice took effect.

World War I remade the world and set the course for the 20th Century. Its aftershocks are still visible today. For Americans, this was the largest overseas force yet deployed and the largest U.S. Army fielded since the Civil War. It confirmed the United States as a key player on the world stage. Continue reading

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Week In Review: November 5-11, 2018

This week offered more blog posts about Civil War Railroads as we concluded that special series, a new podcast, 2019 Symposium announcements, and more. Check out the complete list below.

It’s Veterans Day today, and the authors and editors at Emerging Civil War send a hearty and sincere “thank you” to all our readers and fans who have or are serving in the U.S. military.  Continue reading

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A Yankee Officer’s Words: A Reflection For Veterans Day

The Red “Remembrance Poppy” was inspired by the WWI poem “In Flanders Fields.”

ECW welcomes back guest author Rob Wilson

A recent New Yorker story I read about the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day –  November 11 – reminded me of the human cost of World War I: the lost lives of 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians.

The very next day I happened to open the latest issue of America’s Civil War to an article about Union Major John Mead Gould and his 1874 book, History of the First-Tenth-Twenty-ninth Maine Regiment. I saw a connection between the New Yorker’s examination of the horror of World War I’s final days— along with the emotional and physical impact the fighting had on many soldiers from both sides— and ACW author Nicholas Picerno’s excerpt of Gould’s unvarnished reflections on the realities of the Civil War.   Continue reading

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In Memoriam: Kenny Rowlette

RowletteWe’ve all heard the phrase “a gentleman and a scholar,” and some of us are privileged to even know a few. That’s how I’ve always thought of Kenny Rowlette, who until recently served as the director of the National Civil War Chaplains Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia—a museum he co-founded and tirelessly championed. Kenny passed away in late October at the age of 67. Continue reading

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Civil War Railroads – Conclusion

(Library of Congress)

About three weeks ago – on October 19, 2018 – Emerging Civil War called “all-aboard” and chugged into the history of railroads during America’s defining conflict. It’s been a good journey with details about traveling by rail, trains during campaigns, logistics, studies on specific rail lines, and adventurous accounts.

Now, it’s time to wrap up the 2018 Civil War Railroads Series, and start getting ready for the holidays on the blog. Thanks for your interest, and “thank you” to all the writers who contributed to this series and helped keep the history rolling! Continue reading

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Preservation News: Celebrating Saved Land At Appomattox

News from American Battlefield Trust…

Dramatic scenes of the final fighting between Robert E. Lee’s and Ulysses S. Grant’s men are being preserved for posterity by the American Battlefield Trust.

Working over several years, the nation’s top historic land-preservation nonprofit has purchased six parcels that tell gripping stories of the actions by Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Grant’s Army of the Potomac at Appomattox Court House.

The tracts include part of the ground where the battle’s last fighting near the courthouse occurred, incurring casualties even though truce flags had appeared. The six properties — totaling 276 acres — are adjacent to Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and to other land the Trust has saved in prior preservation efforts, starting in 2000. Continue reading

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A View of the Heavens

Last week, I shared an account from Theodore Lyman, a member of George Gordon Meade’s staff. One of the things I enjoy about Lyman’s writing is that he’s an excellent stylist. His writing is colorful and evocative. Take, for example, this excerpt from a letter he wrote on November 9, 1863, from army headquarters near Rappahannock Station:  Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: The California State Railroad Museum

Riding the rails is a minor occupation of many Californians. We are familiar with the huge impact the railroad has had on the growth and development of our state, and we honor that tradition in many ways. One of the premier attractions in our capital city of Sacramento is the California State Railroad Museum. Continue reading

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