Welcome

Thanks for stopping by. I have been quite impressed with the Civil War blogs hosted by Dimitri Rotov and Eric Wittenberg. I hope this site will compliment and/or add to the growing e-dialogue on the Civil War. While I am not a professional historian (in other words, I do not hold a Ph.D), I have published Civil War related articles in both academic and popular publications. I am interested primarily in Civil War memory or the evolution of our perceptions surrounding fundamental themes of the war, including slavery and emancipation. Such issues continue to challenge our assumptions of what the war was about; this can be seen in the debates over the National Park Service’s decision to revise its battlefield interpretations and the public display of the Confederate battle flag.

I am also a high school history teacher who teaches a class on the Civil War. My site will also be used to raise issues related to the teaching of the Civil War in the classroom.

2 comments… add one
  • jon C bell Apr 9, 2020 @ 15:41

    Try this question on your high school history class: “Had slavery never existed in the America’s where do you think those Americans whose ancestors were American slaves would be today? Further, what kind of quality of life would they have today had their ancestors not endured slavery?”

    Like you, I have no Phd in history. However, I have been an avid student of the Civil War since I first discovered my GG grandfathers commission in the Ohio militia dated 4 Jul 1863, I thought he had been an officer in the Union Army. Turns out he had been a corporal in a regiment, the 98th Ohio. Enlisted Aug 1862. Shot in Battle of Perryville, KY in Oct 1862. Discharged from Union army Feb 1863. But, that piqued my interest. Read Bruce Catton’s “This Hallowed Ground” and was hooked! That was over 60 years ago.

    Turns out I do have an ancestors who was a commissioned officer in the Union Army. He also was Lincoln’s Democrat rival in the 1864 Presidential election…Maj. Genl. George B. McClellan.

    I do agree there was never any concentrated effort to recruit Blacks into Confederate Army until the belated legislation offered by Confederate Congress just before Lee’s surrender(155 years ago today!). That said, there also appears to have been no effort to keep free Blacks out. But I am sure you know that. What is ironic is Blacks in the Union Army served in segregated Black regiments and were paid, initially anyway, less than their white counterparts. Free Blacks who enlisted in Confederate Army were integrated with white soldiers and appear to have been paid the same amount as their white counterparts. I say appear, as I have no evidence except for the fact that Confederate legislation at end of war stipulated equal pay to Black recruits.

    Looking forward to reading your book.

    Best wishes,
    Jon Bell
    Chandler, AZ

    • Kevin Levin Apr 10, 2020 @ 3:06

      Hi Jon,

      I highly recommend that you read my book on the black Confederate myth.

      That said, there also appears to have been no effort to keep free Blacks out. But I am sure you know that.

      Blacks were turned away from serving at every turn throughout the war. The Confederacy engaged in a very public debate in 1864-65 over this very issue. So yes, there is plenty of evidence that Confederates made every effort to keep them out.

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