Author Archive

Civil War-Era Musical in SF »

Readers in the San Francisco Bay area should note there’s a new stage show currently playing at the Berkeley Rep Theatre. It’s profiled in the NYTimes, though the focus is on the fact that its producer is Garth Drabinsky – a name we Canadians know and note less for his lavish productions than for the […]

Alabama Claims »

An article about Grant’s Chief Justice nomination made an offhand mention of the reparations Britain paid after the Civil War. I haven’t done enough reading about the post-bellum period, and the Alabama Claims were news to me. It’s a pretty fascinating little footnote in history, not least because it involves a fast-tracking of British Columbia’s […]

Looking Back On The First Government Shutdown »

On the eve of the latest government shutdown ending, NPR takes a look back to the first shutdown, which also had its roots in racism. Plus ça change, America? I’m filing this blog post under “reenactments”. GONZALEZ: At the time, African-American men were allowed to vote, but they tended to vote Republican. So Democrats didn’t […]

Hidden History »

A brief, but interesting, history of Fort Monroe. Landing site for the first black slaves in America, and site of the “Doctrine” that started Emancipation down its track. Ellis Island, New York, was the gateway to freedom for millions of European immigrants. They fled poverty and oppression, for a chance to achieve the American Dream. Well, […]

Life in One Union Prison Camp »

This was a three-part story, I see, though the paper doesn’t bother linking to the previous two entries. This one deals with one soldier’s “last post”; a Union prison camp. I went through a phase of research in my teens where I read widely on Southern prisons – Andersonville especially – but I can’t recall […]

Testimony of Wesley Norris »

There was a Reddit discussion about Robert E. Lee, whose birthday was celebrated by some yesterday. While I have the utmost respect for Lee as a military commander, and I have no doubt he’d have been an admirable man to work with or for, I cringe when I see people defending his choice to go […]

President Trump’s Civil War History »

Drunk is probably the best way to be during this particular period of history, but comedy is a good fallback for the teetotals among us. Here’s Donald Trump’s less-than-eloquent take on the Civil War reenacted by the Daily Show. Source: President Trump’s Civil War History | Military.com

Kennesaw Mountain Park growing »

Some rare good news when it comes to preservation: Lawmakers in Georgia are debating expanding some of the states’ Civil War sites, including the Kennesaw Mountain battlefield! The only site in metro Atlanta is Kennesaw Mountain, which had 2,593,725 visits in 2017 — making the Civil War battleground the 37th most-visited federal park site, ahead of […]

Political Violence »

Mother Jones interviews Joanne Freeman, author of The Field of Blood, examining physical violence in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War. If the book is as fun as the interview, it promises to be a rollicking read! That’s a great example both of the performative aspect of it and the ways in which it’s […]

‘Human lives were not of value’ »

I mentioned Douglas Blackmon in a previous post. Turns out his research is newly relevant again – a graveyard from one of Texas’ bigger prison farms has been unearthed during new construction. The Houston Chronicle spoke to Blackmon and other experts to discuss the history of these farms, what life was like, and some first-person […]