Slaveholding in Robert E. Lee’s Army

Glatthaar Table

The latest issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era (September 2016) includes Joseph Glatthaar’s Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, which compares the cultures in the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia. The essay includes a number of helpful graphs, including the one above, which shows that slaveholders were over represented in Lee’s army compared with the rest o the slave states. [click to continue…]


National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years

Today the National Park Service celebrates 100 years. Thank you for providing me with hundreds of hours of self reflection about our history and what it means to be a citizen of the United States. Thank you to all my friends who have devoted their careers to preserving our most important historic and natural landmarks and educating the public.


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“A Black Person Voting for Trump is Like a Slave Fighting for the Confederacy”


This is a wonderful complement to the previous post on the politics of the black Confederate myth. Today in the Hartford Courant Frank Harris III makes the case that a black man voting for Trump is as unlikely as black men fighting for the Confederacy in March 1865. This certainly plays loose with some of the relevant history, but it is a nice example of how the black Confederate myth still resonates politically.

Listening to Donald Trump make his pitch for African-Americans to support his presidential candidacy lit a fuse that shot me like a cannonball to 1865 in the waning weeks of the Civil War. I landed in the South, where the Confederacy was getting its butt kicked. I shook my head with my black brethren as we heard Confederate leaders had signed a bill on March 13, 1865, authorizing the use of slaves to serve in the Confederate Army as soldiers bearing arms. [click to continue…]


The Politics of the Black Confederate Myth

I don’t think this is going to surprise many of you. This is certainly not a scientific survey, but it does reinforce my own perceptions having to do with the political affiliations (irrespective of race) of people who believe that black men served as soldiers in the Confederate army.

I follow a couple of twitter hashtags that relate to the black Confederate myth. Once every so often I respond by pointing out a discrepancy, especially when it comes to images or link to a scholarly source. It never ends well. So, as a little experiment I decided to check out the twitter profiles of individuals who have posted in support of the myth over the past few weeks. [click to continue…]


The DeDixiefication of the South Continues

Ole Miss Band

The DeDixiefication of the South continues this week with the news that the University of Mississippi’s marching band has dropped “Dixie” from its playlist. The newly expanded and renovated Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will further highlight our best traditions and create new ones that give the Ole Miss Rebels the best home field advantage in college football,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement. “Because the Pride of the South is such a large part of our overall experience and tradition, the Athletics Department asked them to create a new and modern pregame show that does not include Dixie and is more inclusive for all fans.”

For the Ole Miss community this is the latest in a string of decisions intended to remove or re-interpret Confederate iconography on campus.

Earlier this week Vanderbilt University announced that it will pay the United Daughters of the Confederacy $1.2 million dollars to rename Confederate Memorial Hall. It is the subject of my latest essay at The Daily Beast, which was published earlier today.


New to the Civil War Memory Library, 08/16

Vast Southern EmpireEarl J. Hess, Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Matthew Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Williamson Murray and Wayne Hsieh, A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War (Princeton University Press, 2016).

Johnnie P. Pearson ed., Lee and Jackson’s Bloody Twelfth: The Letters of Irby Goodwin Scott, First Lieutenant, Company G, Putnam Light Infantry, Twelfth Georgia Volunteer Infantry (University of Tennessee Press, 2012).

Ben Winters, Underground Airlines (Mulholland Press, 2016).