How Cotton Remade the World »

As a historian, one of my favourite aspects of study is to see the ripples that one stone cast in the global pond can have.  This article is an excellent little summary of how the American Civil War – fought entirely in the US and by American participants – became a force for change in […]

Book review: Marching Home »

A new book deals with a subject I’ve been musing on lately: The effects of the war on the social life of postbellum America.  Millions of men coming home – some with severe physical and emotional scars – to a world that was profoundly changed.  This one sounds like a good read. Jordan’s handling of civilian […]

‘Dixie’s loss is Montana’s gain’ »

I’ve always been fascinated by the westward expansion after the war, though my focus was always on the Missouri guerrillas and how they laid the shaky foundations of the Wild West. The more sedate yet lasting effects regular immigrants caused hadn’t much occurred to me. Among those profiled were James, William and Charles Conrad from […]

“Godfor, a Gettysburg battlefield vulture” »

Somebody posted this image to Reddit last week, and as usual the userbase filled in some of the questions it inspired about Civil War deaths and mores. There are some well-read historians lurking on there amongst the jokers and the wags – this is a thread word reading. durutticolumn comments on Godfor, a Gettysburg battlefield […]

Newspaper partisanship »

I wrote earlier of the slaveocrats’ role in bringing about the war; it’s fascinating yet horrific to watch how they lured moderates into their scheme, but after this article it’s slightly easier to see how they did it. Newspapers at the time were not held to much in the way of journalistic standards, and the […]

A Broken Regiment »

The Smithsonian article I posted previously mentioned a new book that sounds fascinating: A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut’s Civil War.  The author has researched one badly mauled regiment to gauge how its veterans did after the war. Predictably, they didn’t do too well. At war’s end, the emotional toll on returning soldiers was often compounded by physical […]

Civil War PTSD »

The Smithsonian Magazine investigates post-traumatic stress disorder amongst Civil War vets.  The condition was not understood then, and as the article states, “had a long reach”; effects were felt on individuals, families and communities long after the firing ceased. “We’ve tended to see soldiers in the 1860s as stoic and heroic—monuments to duty, honor and […]

James Henry Hammond »

Here’s another entry in this unintentionally unpleasant theme week.  Jamed Henry Hammond, a real peach of a man, was the originator of two phrases that distilled the fire-eaters’ essence: “King Cotton” and “Mudsill Theory“.  The rest of his biography reads as you’d expect of one who saw the average human being as someone on whom […]

Searching for Gettysburg »

This Washington Post writer seems to be a humorist rather than an editorial writer, but she acquits herself splendidly here, talking about the changing interpretation of Gettysburg’s battle, importance, and even the visitor’s center. I particularly liked this passage: This randomness is the part of military history that has always fascinated me. You miss a […]

Podcast #14 – “Soothing the Gallant Soldiers” »

Life has conspired to keep me away from my blog and my podcasts.  I wanted to make an effort for this week’s, though, as I find the Sanitary Commission a fascinating topic in the Civil War. The podcast can be downloaded here.