Fredericksburg Memories »

It’s the anniversary of Fredericksburg, that horrific and senseless battle in which Burnside sacrificed 10% of his army for nothing. I’ve read a little about the battle, but with the exception of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s recollections in the Ken Burns series, had never read a firsthand account of the fighting. Here’s one from a member […]

“My Hunt After ‘The Captain’” »

A wonderfully evocative (if verbose) piece by Oliver Wendell Holmes, père, as he sought fils amongst the wounded of South Mountain.  One of the un(der)written facets of the war are how many parents, sibilings and loved ones descended upon battlefields in the days, weeks following a battle, searching for their boys.  Holmes eventually found his alive and […]

Free Book: Atlanta, by Jacob Dolson Cox »

I went looking for this book after another rewatching of the Ken Burns series. Cox’s writing is used throughout, and for good reason; he was a thoughtful, observant, and effective reporter of the events surrounding him.  Sadly, the four versions available for free have plenty of OCR mistakes (“Richmond” seems to be unreadable to every […]

Co. Aytch »

In recent years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of reading books; I now spend most of my time on Wikipedia.  Now that I’m working (or not working, as is currently the case) from home, I thought it time to rectify this error.  In honor of the sesquicentennial (and as research for the podcast by […]

General Sherman is a Hog! »

In yesterday’s post on Bunny Breckinridge, I mentioned his great-grandpa’s fury at Sherman’s whiskey-based neglect. It’s a great story, and I’ve copy-pasted a version here. It’s taken from the memoirs of John S. Wise, son of the Virginia governor Henry A. Wise. Through him Wise Jr. had apparently told him by Joe Johnston – the […]

A True Story »

I’m filing this under “memoirs”, regardless of the fact that it’s a Twain piece. Despite the huge coincidence at the crux of it, huge coincidences weren’t unusual in the war, and anyways it certainly feels real. You almost feel as though you’re sitting on the porch with Aunt Rachael as she tells it. “Aunt Rachel, […]

One of Jackson’s Foot Cavalry »

I tried a search for “best Civil War memoirs” (listing “Grant” and “Watkins” as qualifiers for quality), and one Amazon list suggested John H. Worsham’s narrative. Found it on DocSouth, and a quick flip through reveals some very entertaining anecdotes, and a sense of irreverence amidst the hard marching and the terrible battles. We went […]

Voices from the Days of Slavery »

The most depressing thing about the current economic crisis is that governments are tackling the crisis through austerity measures and cutbacks. When you see websites like this one, you’re reminded of what was accomplished when the WPA assigned the country odd jobs (in a literal sense) and gifted its results upon later generations. The ethnomusicology […]

Frank Thompson »

A two-for-one posting: An interesting article that mentioned a memoir which I’ve added to the Library. A Canadian girl disguised herself as “Frank Thompson”, and joined the Union Army. Given this description from the article, the memoirs will be quite the Victorian potboiler: How did Emma and 400 other male impersonators that served in the […]

The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant »

I first read Grant’s Memoirs as a teenager, and remember them as being both engaging and accessible. As one who was (and is, to this day) easily put off by the flowery, verbose prose common to novels from the Victorian era, it was refreshing to read Grant’s simple and conversational writing. You feel you’re getting […]