“My father served under both Lee and Grant…”

A few days ago whilst weeding some of my old Civil War periodicals collection – because that’s what I’ve been reduced to during this quarantine – I came across something interesting. In the August 1961 issue of Civil War Times I found a letter to the editor from Mabel Tidball, daughter  of Captain John C. Tidball, a very fine and oft-overlooked Army of the Potomac artilleryman. Continue reading

Posted in Artillery, Emerging Civil War, Personalities | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

I’m Studying The Civil War…Which Century?

Help! I’ve spent more time looking at 20th Century sources this last weekend than 19th Century sources. But I haven’t actually left Civil War studies and eloped with another war.

To explain more properly, I’m looking at Civil War memory. More specifically: how a handful of officers have been remembered and who wrote their biographies in the 20th Century. Continue reading

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Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard in the National Tribune

O. O. Howard

General Oliver O. Howard

I’m doing a lot of reading in the National Tribune, “the premier newspaper published for Union veterans” in Washington, 1877-1943. This is thanks to 1) its availability online and 2) Dr. Richard A. Sauers’ comprehensive index to all of its articles (Savas Beatie, 2018)–I quote Rick above.

There’s tons of material here: the newspaper published eight big pages weekly. Particularly, I’m focusing on the hundreds of articles that Northern soldiers sent to the National Tribune about the Atlanta Campaign. They range from long narratives of big battles to short vignettes about a veteran’s remembered experiences.

I notice that the National Tribune published serial excerpts of General O. O. Howard’s Autobiography more than a decade before it was published in 1907. Continue reading

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Among the Casualties of Shiloh at Jefferson Barracks

The Civil War graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. (Image Courtesy of Kristen Pawlak, Missouri Civil War Museum).

As the largest burial ground of Civil War soldiers in the state of Missouri, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (just minutes south of St. Louis) is the final resting place of approximately 16,000 Union and Confederate soldiers. Forever under the sod and the dew overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, many of these men died in St. Louis’ hospitals from disease or combat wounds. In the wake of the 158th anniversary of Shiloh, I thought I would share the names and stories of those who fought there and are now buried at Jefferson Barracks. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Emerging Civil War, Memory, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Question of the Week: 5/18-5/24/2020

Let’s give those regimental or staff officers some attention this week…

Who is your favorite Civil War officer who did not promote to general during his lifetime? Why?

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Bucklin’s Hospital & Camp: “On the 19th of November the dedication took place” (Part 8)

In Hospital and Camp, A Woman’s Record of Thrilling Incidents Among the Wounded in the Late War by Sophronia E. Bucklin

It’s Week 8 of our read-along with extra historical notes and images. If you want to catch up on the chapter notes, just click here for the collection in the archive. This week we are looking at chapters 15 and 16.

Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Medical, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Week In Review: May 10-17, 2020

Historic anniversaries seems to be the unofficial theme of this last week! Check out the collection of new blog posts. Continue reading

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Seven “Persons of Importance”

General John Newton, in charge of the Department of the Gulf

In the early morning hours of May 17, 1865, off the far southwestern cape of mainland Florida, pickets stationed there by Union General John Newton intercepted a small vessel bound for Cuba. That promontory, jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Sable. Today, the cape is preserved, not for its connection to the Civil War, but within the confines of Everglades National Park, and the critical habitat of the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.

Lieutenant J.J. Hollis of the 2nd Florida Cavalry (USA) had been sent with a detachment to Cape Sable on May 9 with the sole purpose of “to intercept any parties who might be making their escape from the Confederacy.” The intervening days was spent in an area filled with mangroves, hardwood hammocks, and dense vegetation, a remote area of Florida even in today’s world. The intelligence gathered and shared by Union authorities in the state of Florida though would ensure their wait in this tropical location would not be in vain.

Small waterway back into the Everglades and Southwest Florida and why it was easy to disappear into (unless Union soldiers happened to be in the same vicinity)
(courtesy NPS-EVER)

Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Navies, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Hoosier’s view of Champion Hill

Hometown newspapers are a treasure trove of Civil War source material. I first appreciated how rich a vein they could be when I was researching my work on Chickamauga, and now they are a mainstay of my work on other battles.

Since on Saturday May 16, it will be the 157th anniversary of the pivotal battle of Champion Hill, the battle that decided the fate of Vicksburg, I thought I would share one such account. This letter was written by Capt. Francis M. Redburn, commanding Company K of the 24th Indiana. It was penned on June 14, 1863, a month after the battle, while Redburn and his men were toiling away in the trenches surrounding the besieged fortress. It was published in the July 25th, 1863 edition of the Princeton, Indiana, Clarion Ledger. Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: Looking at the History of Preservation

Historic preservation is the practice of thinking through how to manage historic resources, and can include things like cemeteries, whole neighborhoods, farms or infrastructure. It encompasses the creation of places like historic house museums that are open to the public, but it also includes places like private homes for individuals who want to keep the historic character of their residence, or business owners who might want to inhabit a historic building, but want to also make use of it through adaptive reuse.

That’s how one of Smithsonian Magazine’s latest articles defines the subject in an interview with Whitney Martinko about her forthcoming book which looks at how 19th Century American viewed historic preservation. Continue reading

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