Thanksgiving in the Field »

Another Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, and as Civil War buffs it’s worth remembering that Lincoln established the nation’s official observance of the holiday. I was surprised to read, in these soldiers’ letters, that gluttony has been a traditional part of Thanksgiving since before the war, but that so too was sombre gratitude. (Funnily enough, […]

The girl who grew Lincoln’s beard »

The story of Grace Bedell’s letter to Lincoln is famous, of course, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the contents. It’s delightful to think of Lincoln growing his iconic beard after laughing himself silly at the advice of this little spin doctor. I have got 4 brothers and part of […]

Who was the greatest Confederate general? »

This abortive little article doesn’t give us much food for thought on its stated question, but includes this intriguing tidbit: Culberson was 10 years old when the great conflict ended, and he had always wondered who was the greatest. He sent a survey to 43 surviving Confederate generals asking for their input. Forty completed and […]

On Stage at Ford’s »

Someone has posted this amazing letter written by Harry Hawk, one of the actors performing at the play when Booth shot Lincoln. In fact, he was the only actor onstage when Booth jumped out of the box. My Dear Parents, This is the first time I have had to write to you since the assassination […]

Alexandria, Virginia »

This is an interesting chronicle of life in Alexandria, Virginia – just a short walk from downtown Washington, DC.  During the war it was Confederate territory, occupied by the Union.  Citizens and returning soldiers write about their lives on the front line of the Confederate homefront. Voices from the Past, Alexandria, Virginia 1861-1865 | Fort […]

Haskell’s Gettysburg »

Union Major Frank Haskell served with the big name generals on the hottest part of the field during Pickett’s Charge. A few months later, he wrote this epic, vivid, picturesque description of the full battle for Gettysburg to his brother.  It’s a long read but well worth your time – beautifully written and full of […]

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” »

Slate has titled this, “It’s Not You, It’s Me”, which I’m sure Lincoln would openly subtitle, “(It Was Totally Her)”. Those who’ve read Team of Rivals will know about Lincoln’s sit-com worthy romantic entanglement with Mary Owens. (And those who haven’t, should!)  Here, Slate has provided a scanned copy of what Kearns Goodwin called one […]

The Lincoln Letters »

Another week, another discovery of a trove of historical letters. This time, though, the collection is a doozy: The letters of Leonard Swett, one of Lincoln’s closest advisors.  Here’s an excerpt of the article, detailing some of the treasures within (and a great summary by one of the preservationists!) Rose Burnham’s scrapbooks held several letters […]

Civil War Lingo »

This Yahoo user has created a series of lists that serve as a dictionary for Civil War lingo.  As you’d expect, there’s some fun to be found in here. Multiform. A ragged uniform. A sarcastic term used by tattered Confederate soldiers. News walkers. Soldiers who, on their own initiative, carried news from campfire to campfire. […]

False Witness »

It’s the anniversary of the Lincoln Assassination. I saved this Knoxville newspaper’s article for today. Despite its poor research and even poorer writing, I thought it worth discussing. The story trumpets a letter inherited by a local man from his great-great-grandfather. There’s no indication of whether he’s connected to the writer or the addressee, but […]