That North Carolinian Is Pointing at the Bryan Farm

This morning I spent some time reflecting at the North Carolina monument along Confederate Avenue at the Gettysburg National Military Park. I was thinking specifically about the entry points for engaging students on the battlefield. After a few minutes a group of high school students gathered around the monument with a guide. [click to continue…]

You Don’t Really Have to Wave That Confederate Flag

I always get a kick out of those people who are committed to waving the Confederate battle flag in public, regardless of how it makes others feel. For descendants of Confederate soldiers and others who are still, for whatever reason, committed to defending the cause it reflects a lack of creativity. It’s either the flag or nothing. [click to continue…]

“A Government With Slavery As Its Great Distinctive Feature”

Reading through the letters of Lt. William Cowper Nelson, who served in the 17th Mississippi and came across this little gem:

I don’t know that I much regret the loss of Stephen [runaway slave]. I have thought that this war was ordered by Providence, as a means of settling definitely and conclusively the question of slavery: if slavery is a divine institute, I believe we will be successful, that our independence will be recognized and the Southern Confederacy will be established as a Government with slavery as its great distinctive feature. if on the contrary, slavery is a curse and obnoxious to an All Wise and Good Creator I believe that he will make this war, the means of abolishing it from the face of the earth. I have the greatest confidence in the wisdom of God, and believe that all things work together for good to them that we love. (p. 102)

Winchester, Virginia, October 29th 1862

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/18

S. Max Edelson, The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence (Harvard University Press, 2017).

Jennifer Ford ed., The Hour of Our Nation’s Agony: The Civil War Letters of Lt. William Cowper Nelson of Mississippi (University of Tennessee Press, 2007).

Wallace Hettle, The Confederate Homefront: A History in Documents (Louisiana State University Press, 2017).

Robert G. Parkinson, The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

Carol Reardon & Tom Vossler, Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People (University of North Carolina Press [2nd edition, 2017]).

Let’s Talk Confederate Monuments and Civil War Memory

Quick announcement to let people know in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area that I will be in town next Saturday to speak at the National Civil War Museum. As you can see below my topic is the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate monuments. My goal is to talk a little history surrounding specific monuments, but my focus will be on the broader trajectory of Civil War memory to explain why Confederate iconography (especially monuments) remains controversial. I will also talk a bit about how communities might go about addressing specific challenges. [click to continue…]