American Civil War

      Capt. William Clarke Quantrill    By the time a Confederate naval gun battery opened fire on Fort Sumter, the West was a mess, a tangled complex matrix of states, territories, Indian reservations, bustling cities, massive desolate deserts, wide, empty unmapped rolling plains, rocky untamed coastal shores, serene inlets, islands, forests, mountains, volcanoes […]

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The Day Lincoln Was Almost Hit By A Sniper.

by Daniel Russ on February 11, 2013

  Abraham Lincoln at Antietam   In 1864, once again the Shenandoah Valley was filled with the throaty echoes of cannon fire as a Confederate force once again muscled its way towards Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania. Jubal Early almost brought a massed cavalry regiment into Washington but was intimidated by the formidable Union earthworks […]

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The Sexual State Of The Union During The American Civil War.

October 15, 2012

  General “Fighting Joe” Joe Hooker   There was plenty of pornography during the Civil War. As hard as it is to believe that well produced photographs, woodcuts, and daguerreotypes were plentiful during a war that robbed so many of their resources. From time immemorial, people have conjured ways of profiting from the occasional conflation […]

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“That When A Lady Lifts Her Skirt, She Shoots A Horrid Yankee.” The Story Of Confederate Women’s Urine And The Manufacture Of Gunpowder.

June 18, 2012

  One of the memes about the Civil War that frequently circulates is that the South was dirt poor and the North was fairly affluent. This was mostly true. It followed then that most of the industry, especially the extremely technical industries like chemical manufacturing, or steel working would be in the industrial northeast. So […]

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Insurrection.

August 20, 2011

Subjugating people is more difficult than it looks. We often forget that the slave owners have to feed and clothe the slave. The slave owner has to worry about revolts. The Army that holds a POW has to transport him and feed him, or in some way kill him. We learned from both major world […]

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Signal Corps

June 5, 2011

The Signal Corps almost didn’t happen. In 1859, United States Army surgeon A. J. Myer began experimenting with a system of long distance lineof sight communication called wigwag. Wigwag signalers used torches at night and color flags during the day to communicate. Like many new technologies, this was controversial and legislators battled incessantly over whether […]

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Deserters In The Civil War

June 1, 2011

  There were a million ways to desert. When an army of say 75,000 men is marching somewhere, you could slip into the woods as if to relieve yourself. Perhaps you could wait until a platoon or so passes by and you can work your way with the same trick to the end of the […]

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Civil War Rations

April 29, 2011
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Salted Pork or Beef. More often than not, this was not just pork preserved in brine. It was skin, hair and God knows what other parks of a pig one might actually consume. Having grown up in Georgia, I can assure you that there is absolutely no part of the pig that a southerner won’t […]

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Letters From American Civil War Soldiers

February 5, 2011

The Union Army had a post office near forts and camps, and a mail service that followed the armies for the men could purchase stamps and mail their letters. Later in the war, organizations such as the U.S. Christian Commission and U.S. Sanitary Commission gave out paper and envelopes to Union soldiers free of charge. […]

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The Emancipation Proclamation, On This Day 1863. This Is It In Full.

January 1, 2011

A Transcription By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation. Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit: “That on the first […]

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Ironclad Surprise.

October 13, 2010

Confederate States of America Major General Earl Van Dorn had cooked up a plan to launch a surprise attack on the Union river forces trying to wrest control of Vicksburg from the Confederates. A sizeable fleet lay to the north of the of town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Forces stationed there enjoyed high hills and overlooks […]

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Southern Discomfort, A Brilliant Essay By Jon Meacham

April 11, 2010

Source: NYT “IN 1956, nearly a century after Fort Sumter, Robert Penn Warren went on assignment for Life magazine, traveling throughout the South after the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decisions. Racism was thick, hope thin. Progress, Warren reported, was going to take a while — a long while. “History, like nature, knows no jumps,” he […]

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Military Anecdote Day

October 9, 2009

No numerical or tactical advantage was so great that “Burn” (as General Burnside was affectionately known) could not clinch defeat from the jaws of victory. During the Battle of Antietam in 1862, he ordered his Union forces to cross the Potomac River in order to engage the Confederate forces in battle. They correspondingly marched across […]

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