Bernard Slave Cabins

A new article by guest author Michael Aubrecht

One of the more overlooked spots on the Fredericksburg National Battlefield is the Bernard Slave Cabins. This area was the homestead of a number of enslaved African-Americans and a focal point of the fighting that took place near Prospect Hill and the Slaughter Pen Farm. Today the site is accessible via the Bernard Cabins Trail. According to the NMPS website: Continue reading

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Not the Same African Americans We Always See

Civil War Medal of Honor

I was watching a television show a couple of weeks ago, and the subject of Black History Month was mentioned. One of the characters complained that America always trots out the same four African Americans every year to stand in for all the other African Americans about which no one knows anything. I immediately realized that this also applies to the African Americans we celebrate from the 1800s. This year, I think we
should give Mr. Frederick Douglass, the 54th Massachusetts, Ms. Harriet Tubman, and Ms. Sojourner Truth a break, and learn about some other men and women who made significant contributions to the American Civil War. For instance, Andrew Jackson Smith. Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Common Soldier, Memory, Personalities, Politics, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Question of the Week: 2/12-2/18/18

Today is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday!

In your opinion, what character quality or actions made Lincoln one of the most remembered and honored presidents in U.S. History?

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Floodwaters and Ghost Fog at Catharine Furnace

When the weather’s been good enough, I’ve been jogging on the Chancellorsville battlefield (or, when I have my 10-month-old with me, walking him in his stroller). The past two days have drenched us with monsoonal rain, but the temperatures have been warm. When the rain finally let up this afternoon, the thermometer was just shy of kissing 70 degrees.

For my run, I decided to park down across from Catharine Furnace and run eastward toward the Lee-Jackson bivouac site. But when I descended the long hill from the Matthew Maury homestead to the bottomlands around the Furnace, I found myself entering a primordial world.  Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Ties to the War | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

ECW Week in Review Feb. 5-10

After a few weeks of work with our friends at Cyberbility, who we would like to thank again for their assistance in the site migration, ECW came back online Monday afternoon. You may click on the links below to read each post.

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Preservation Groups: The Richmond Battlefields Association

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Bernie Fisher, president of the RBA about the history and accomplishments of the local preservation organization.

The RBA was established in 2001. Julie and Bob Krick provided the spark as a small group got together to protect battlefields in the Richmond area from rapidly encroaching commercial and residential development. The original group contained members such as Claude Foster, Robert K. Krick, Hobson Goddin, William Miller, Don Pierce ad the late Brian Pohanka. An advisory committee was established and included an amazing group: Ed Bearss, Gordon Rhea, Peter Carmichael, Ernest Furgurson, Richard Sommers, Gary Gallagher and others!

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Tuesday on the Trail

Conner House

Tuesday started out as many days ‘on the Trail.’ I was up and out early, before sunrise, and under caffeinated I hit the interstate. The podcast I had on wasn’t helping to wake me up and decided that latest Jane’s Addiction might be the ticket. I was halfway to my first appointment, when the coffee kicked in and I got giddy. I’d spend another day, talking, traveling, and finding Civil War sites. After dropping off interpretive signs at the historic Williams Ordinary in Dumfries Va., I set out for the Conner House in the City of Manassas Park. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department had recently signed on as members and the new panels were sorely needed. With the temperature hovering just at freezing, it took some creativity to keep the paint warm and I got to work. The landscape there, despite its changes over the last 150+ years hasn’t changed immensely. The sirens from the train crossing, school bells, and what sounded like John Legend blaring from the adjacent apartment complex would throw anyone off but standing there, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why this unassuming structure was the epicenter of several campaigns and smaller actions. Built on a hill, the brown uncoursed stone home was photographed during the war and its not hard to situate one’s self in the footsteps of the Union soldiers encamped around the home.

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Confederates Invade San Francisco?

NH 66710 Commander James Iredell Waddell, CSN

James I. Waddell

Shortly before his death in 1886, James I. Waddell, former captain of the CSS Shenandoah, wrote in his memoirs: “I had matured plans for entering the harbor of San Francisco and laying that city under contribution.”[i]

Waddell never did pass through the Golden Gate, but he came close. He and his ship were notoriously hated in the city by the bay; San Franciscans tried and partially succeeded in exacting revenge.

Shenandoah was one of the most successful of Confederate commerce raiders, the only one to circumnavigate the globe. While the war struggled to conclusion and the nation began to bind its wounds, these Rebels invaded the north—the deep cold of the Bering Sea between Alaska and Siberia—and captured 26 Yankee whalers. It was June 1865.

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A VMI Cadet Goes Ice-Skating

Cadet Stanard

On the evening of March 22, 1864, eighteen-year-old Beverly “Jack” Stanard huddled in his cold barracks room at Virginia Military Institute, writing to his mother. That particular evening he found plenty to complain about:

…Well, Mother I guess you will wonder why it is, that I am writing with a lead pencil. The reason is just this, we are upon the eve of freezing up. It has been one week since we had a particle of heat. (There not being a stick of wood at the V.M.I.) You know what a change has taken place in the weather – today it is snowing hard, and a cold wind blowing, and still we are having the same duties to attend to, both academic & military. It is outrageous, for the boys can’t study a bit…[i] Continue reading

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Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Due to our recent site migration, we were unable to present this piece on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The 170th Anniversary of the final day of the treaty’s negotiations occurred on February 2, 1848.

It had been 635 days since the Mexican War’s first set battle at Palo Alto. Now the time had come to end it. Since Winfield Scott’s forces captured Mexico City the previous September, negotiators had met to discuss the treaty that would end the war. While Scott’s men continued to garrison the city, the peace-makers met just outside of it in the smaller village of Guadalupe Hidalgo. On February 2, 1848, the negotiators would meet one final time in the old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to sign their names to a treaty that would bring peace to the two nations.

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Posted in Memory, Mexican War, Ties to the War | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments