Tag Archives: primary source

A Captured Letter from the Battle of Brandy Station

On June 9, 1863, one of the largest cavalry fights on the North American continent occurred. Known in the history books as the battle of Brandy Station, this conflict started when elements of Union General Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry attacked Confederate … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Cavalry, Common Soldier, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

“We will go into the city of Vicksburgh after awhile…”

Nothing quite like a letter to explain what the situation was really like for the common soldier, and here’s a good one from the Siege of Vicksburg. The spelling and punctuation is original. In Camp, Siege of Vicksburg, June 9, … Continue reading

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“Move at the Sound of the Bugle, …Straight to the Front”

The 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment formed in June 1861 and fought from First Bull Run through the Appomattox Campaign. By the opening days of April 1865, Elisha Hunt Rhodes – who had enlisted as volunteer corporal – promoted to … Continue reading

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Christmas 1863: “So Good-bye Homesicknesses”

This week I looked at some excerpts from Elisha Hunt Rhodes’s Civil War journal and found some interesting happenings in this Union soldier’s Christmas 155 years ago. Winter quarters, re-enlistment, patriotism, and Christmas made their way into his writings at … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Holidays, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

General Joshua L. Chamberlain and a Fatherhood Journey

On October 18, 1864, Brigadier General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain wrote a letter to his wife, Frances Caroline. This letter – though written during the war period – is unique and gives a glimpse of fatherhood, rather than war. Chamberlain is … Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Leadership--Federal, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Of “Promotion,” Camp, Gossip, & Flirtation in August 1863

In late August 1863 – after returning from medical leave and a visit home – Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain wrote a letter to his wife Fanny, giving a glimpse of the “quiet days” of war. The moments at Gettysburg created only … Continue reading

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Artillery: Primary Source – Practical Hints For Pointing

Here’s an section from Instructions for Field Artillery (1860). Found in the chapter on “pointing and range,” this excerpt gives tips for aiming cannons and using projectiles effectively in battlefield situations, particularly against cavalry. These paragraphs give an example of … Continue reading

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An Unknown Soldier At Port Hudson

Emerging Civil War welcomes guest author Dan Wambaugh Major Edward Bacon was under arrest. Formerly commander of the 6th Michigan infantry, he had openly criticized his division commander Brigadier General William Dwight too many times during the course of the … Continue reading

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Survival at Sea: A Terrifying Voyage to the Peninsula

Emerging Civil War welcomes back guest author Rob Wilson When he volunteered for the U.S. Sharpshooters (U.S.S.S.) in 1861, George A. Marden knew well there were many ways he could perish while serving the Union cause. It’s unlikely, however, that … Continue reading

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A VMI Cadet Goes Ice-Skating

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Personalities | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments