Tag Archives: Civil War

Weekly History News Roundup

Slavery reparations issue refuses to fade awayConyers’ recent troubles should put an end to discussion


Trump’s bizarre call for a military parade… there have only been a handful in US history.


DNA shows darker skin in early Britons… tests indicate Cheddar Man to be different from previous theories


Charlottesville struggles to cover Lee&Jackson monumentsactivists are removing the shrouds each week


Congress votes to remove Jefferson’s name from Gateway to Westbill sent to Trump would rename the park “Gateway Arch National Park”


Shrouding our History





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Happy Birthday Uncle Billy

William T. Sherman was born on this day… in 1820.  Reviled by southerners to this day, nonetheless, Sherman stands as an American military icon.  His doctrine of total war has been tossed aside as an aberration, American military personnel have been paying the steep price for ‘partial war’ ever since.  Sherman realized that fighting a war in enemy territory meant not only facing the rival combatants, but also the hostile populace as well.  Sherman knew an army had to ‘Go Roman’ or go home, ” You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it”   

“My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us”


Sherman also hated politics and never blurred the line… between civilian and military authority,  “The carping and bickering of political factions in the nation’s capital reminds me of two pelicans quarreling over a dead fish.”   Several efforts were made to get Sherman onto a presidential ticket following the war, but he always resisted.  Unlike many of his peers, Sherman accepted his place as a soldier,  “I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to serve.”   

This proclamation has been quoted by politicians from Lyndon Johnson to Dick Cheney.

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Civil War Buffs Unite !

Get in touch with your inner Civil War buff (no matter how deeply repressed) by visiting these links;

Double quick- MARCH !!

Uncle Abe wants you !


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Essential Civil War Reader: Part 2

A few more books that no Civil War student should go without….

Battle lines are fading…

  • Army of the Potomac Series: Mr. Lincoln’s Army, Glory Road, Stillness at Appomattox, by Bruce CattonThe Grandfather of modern Civil War history, Catton’s prolific career set the standard for consensus scholarship.  This series is by far his most influential, the third volume earning him the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1954.  Catton details the trials and tribulations of the Army tasked with defeating Robert E. Lee.
  • Lee’s Lieutenants:  A Study in Command- 3 Vols., By Douglass Southall FreemanFreeman’s most widely read work by far, this three volume set was published at the height of America’s involvement in the Second World War.  A multilayered biography of the men who served under Lee, Freeman’s account is a carefully crafted and witty reference to high command of Lee’s army.
  • George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon, By Stephen SearsOne of the most misunderstood figures of the War, Sears’s biography provides a balanced portrait of America’s Napoleon.  Sears is able to present a fair and honest account of McClellan’s career, the bulk of the study focused on his time in the military.  Neither indictment or defense, Sears’s book is biographical history at its best.
  • Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Vols, By Rufus R. DawesAn indispensable primary source for writers, including Alan Nolan, author of The Iron Brigade.  Dawes account provides a first hand account of the formation and growth of the Army of the Potomac.  The Sixth was in the thick of every Eastern campaign and Dawes’s history puts the reader in the line of battle.
  • The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, By Edwin CoddingtonA strategic overview combined with tactical analysis, Coddington’s work is standard reading for buffs and Licensed Battlefield Guides alike.  A critical look at Lee’s strategic blunders is paired with a tactical defense of Meade’s battlefield decisions.  This book was Coddington’s magnum opus.
  • For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, By James McPhersonA direct refutation of Gerald Linderman’s Embattled CourageMcPherson argues that the courage and dedication of Civil War soldiers never wavered.  Drawing on over 25,000 letters and more than 250 diaries, this is an exhaustively researched and documented piece of scholarship.  McPherson should be commended for allowing the soldiers themselves speak to the difficult aspects of Civil War military service.


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History Wishes for the New Year

Every generation feels an impact on the historic…

  • We stop destroying history and refocus our energy on studying it
  • Americans start listening to true Civil War historians like James McPherson, Noah Trudeau, Wayne Motts, and Stephen Sears
  • That historical hacks like Don Lemon, Jamelle Bouie, Ilya Somin, Yoni Applebaum, and everyone at MSNBC stop talking about historical revisionism
  • Seeing rational minds put an end to the scourge of American iconoclasm
  • American society rediscovers the indispensable examples set by George Washington
  • Americans accept the fact that if Jefferson is right, America is right
  • Real efforts are made to protect historical homes, sites, and monuments
  • No  “Grant!”  the musical
  • “Hamilton!” fans actually read a few of the Federalist Papers
  • Donald Trump donates all of his paychecks to battlefield preservation (the first one was greatly appreciated)
  • The Confederate flag remains legal
  • Ne0-Nazis and white supremacists fade to obscurity
  • Living history continues to educate the public
  • The Eisenhower Memorial is finished on the National Mall
  • Steven Spielberg makes an authentic Civil War film as a companion to “Lincoln”
  • PBS brings back “Mercy Street”
  • The History Channel schedules more programs about history
  • Customers of Ancestry.com realize that they are actually Americans first…
  • We all stop learning history through memes

Just like ISIS

It already was, Donnie


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What a Gift !

Lincoln was worried that Sherman’s march to the sea… had failed.  He hadn’t heard from Sherman since his army left Atlanta earlier in November.  Sherman’s troops blazed their path across Georgia; foraging, burning, destroying, all the way to the coast.  Lincoln’s fears were assuaged when the brief telegram arrived at the War Department:


Uncle Billy’s strategy of total war… was working and this simple gesture symbolizes the trust between general and Commander-in-Chief.  Lincoln responded that he had many fears, but his trust in Sherman’s judgement guided him through the darkest hours.

"My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us"

“My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us”

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Essential Civil War Reader

Books that need to be on every Civil War Buff’s shelf….

Probably would happen

Probably would happen

  • Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the best one volume account of the War told by its greatest storyteller.  It traces the conflict from Free Soil to the assassination of Lincoln in an authoritative voice that has yet to be rivaled.
  • To the Gates of Richmond, by Stephen Sears.  Only Sears could encapsulate the quagmire of McClellan’s Peninsular campaign into a single, eminently readable volume. The book brilliantly weaves multiple story-lines from common soldiers all the way to the Commander-in-Chief-  Sears proves there is no greater authority on the McClellan/Lincoln feud.
  • No Better Place to Die, by Peter Cozzens.  The rare book that definitively recounts the battle, while bringing humanity to the brave men who fought it.  Cozzens’ tactical knowledge is matched only by his exhaustive research into hundreds of primary sources.  No finer battle study has been produced- Stones River is no longer a forgotten battle.
  • Gettysburg; The Second Day, By Harry Pfanz.  No man knew Gettysburg better, Dr. Pfanz’s book is the definitive study of July 2, 1863.  By focusing on the pivotal day of the battle, Pfanz brings the sacrifices of the men into clearer perspective.  Far too much ink has been spilled on Pickett’s charge, Pfanz shows us  the battle was truly won the day before.
  • The Iron Brigade, By Alan Nolan.  More than a unit history, Nolan’s book is military history at its finest.  By tracing the unit through primary sources, from its Commanders to the private soldiers, Nolan’s book provides a rich and exciting narrative.  The detailed description of battles with the legendary Stonewall Brigade set the book apart.  This book is the standard all subsequent unit histories are measured.
  • Joshua Chamberlain: A Hero’s Life and Legacy, by John Pullen.   The perfect companion to Pullen’s regimental history of the 20th Maine, this biography of its legendary leader stands the test of time.  Pullen separates myth from fact in recounting Chamberlain’s heroic military service.  Like any great biographer, Pullen finds the man in the midst of hyperbole and legend.
Soul of the Lion

Soul of the Lion

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