Visualizing Emancipation

The University of Richmond has posted an interactive, online map that charts the activity of the Union army and (sometimes unrelated) slavery/emancipation events across the states from ’61 to ’65.  It’s interesting to note how the red dots (emancipations) generally precede the blue dots (army investments), and to observe the profusion of red and blue dots that signal Sherman’s marches.

The map plots more than 3,000 emancipation-related events from 1861-1865 in 10 categories that range from government actions to abuse of African-Americans. An additional 50,000 entries show Union troop locations during the Civil War, making it easy to see the impact of opportunity on an animated timeline of the war years.

“It tells us that the end of slavery was this really complicated process that happened all over the South, but more in some places than others during the war,” said Scott Nesbit, associate director of the lab.

“The chance for freedom came about on water and on rails. That’s where the Union troops were. But at some places in the South, people remained enslaved the entire war, long after the Emancipation Proclamation.

“And, just because you get to Union lines doesn’t mean you’re going to start having a good time. These first years of freedom, if we can even call it that, were filled with coercion and danger. … (In the contraband camps,) African-Americans were treated as essentially free, as free as someone can be who is impressed into service by the military and not allowed to leave.”

via UR effort maps the end of slavery | Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Adventures of Abraham Lincoln’s Corpse

For those who haven’t yet heard the tumultuous story of Lincoln’s corpse, here’s some macabre reading for you.  Possibly the inspiration for Weekend at Bernie’s? I’m not sure.

I’m curious as to the provenance of the illustration that accompanies the article: It was a well known fact that all but one glass negative of Lincoln’s body, bier and coffin were destroyed by Stanton, and I’ve heard nothing of heretofore unknown negatives being uncovered.  This photo looks remarkably authentic.  I’ve written in, but have no response yet from the author, so if anyone can enlighten me, please leave a comment!

Abraham Lincoln was one of the most celebrated and mysterious presidents in the in U.S. (maybe this is why he made such an excellent vampire hunter.) His assassination sent a nation into mourning, and was followed by a two week funeral tour by train car. But Lincoln’s body did not find rest at the end of this procession. Everyone from thieves to politicians tried to take control of the corpse — even decades after it was finally buried.

Here is the macabre tale of the journeys taken by Lincoln’s corpse over the decades before 1901, when at last it came to rest in a ten foot block made of cement and steel.

via The Adventures of Abraham Lincoln’s Corpse.

Tweeting the War

I thought I’d take a glance through Twitter, to see which Civil War personalities have been digitally reincarnated to offer pithy or funny feeds about the war.  Sadly, there don’t seem to be any Rebel Mayors in the bunch, but I did discover a Washington Post identity that collates a few interesting feeds.  They seem to be going in almanac fashion, with first-person quotes and period insights.!/CivilWarwp/tweeting-the-civil-war