New To the Civil War Memory Library, 11/17

Across Bloody ChasmCongratulations to fellow blogger and historian, Keith Harris, on the publication of his new book. It’s always nice to see hard work rewarded and I hope Keith is enjoying that feeling of holding a new hardcover book. I’ve made my way through the first chapter and can’t recommend it enough. Keith’s work fits neatly into a growing body of scholarship that challenges an interpretation made popular by David Blight that places reconciliation at the center of Civil War memory at the expense of memory of emancipation and the end of slavery. It is well worth your time.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean ed., The Civil War: The Final Year Told by Those Who Lived It (Library of America, 2014).

M. Keith Harris, Across the Bloody Chasm: The Culture of Commemoration among Civil War Veterans (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

Dick Lehr, The Birth of a Nation: How a Legendary Filmmaker and a Crusading Editor Reignited America’s Civil War (Public Affairs, 2014).

Ethan Rafuse ed., Corps Commanders in Blue: Union Major Generals in the Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).

Timothy B. Smith, The Mississippi Secession Convention: Delegates and Deliberations in Politics and War, 1861-1865 (University of Mississippi Press, 2014).

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How High Schools Can Talk About the Confederate Flag

confederate flag high school

It seems like you can’t go a week without reading a story about a student who has decided to bring a Confederate flag to school or wear clothing with the symbol prominently displayed. Over the past few years the number of reported stories has increased in frequency. More interesting, these incidents have spread well beyond the South to every region of the country. While these stories make for great press what is usually ignored is how individual schools end up dealing with the fallout. While the courts have ruled consistently that school administrators have the right to limit the display of the flag that can do little to assuage the uneasiness and mistrust that is present in the hallways. [click to continue…]

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The History of Sherman’s March is Finally Becoming History

Yesterday the New York Times published a piece by Alan Blinder on Southern memory of Sherman’s March and the new marker commemorating its 150th anniversary. The article pretty much raises the same questions about our Civil War memory in the South as other events during the sesquicentennial. The theme of the article is struggle. White Southerners are supposedly struggling with how to commemorate and remember Sherman’s presence in Georgia in 1864, but what emerges by the end is how little resistance there seems to be. In short, the author overstates his case. [click to continue…]

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“It Is a Surrender Of the Entire Slavery Question”

black confederate, SCVOn March 24, 1865, Robert Toombs wrote a letter to a friend in Virginia expressing his frustration with Jefferson Davis and the recently passed legislation that allowed the Confederate government to recruit freed slaves into the army. Toombs’s arguments closely aligns with public statements made by Howell Cobb and James A. Seddon. [click to continue…]

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Not Your Grandfather’s “March to the Sea”

Sherman's March

Update: Thanks to Craig Swain for sending along this link which includes information about an older marker. It offers a clear point of comparison with how our understanding of the campaign has evolved.

This week the Georgia Historical Society will dedicate the latest in its series of roadside markers commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The marker featured above, commemorating the start of “Sherman’s March”, will be located on the grounds of the Jimmy Carter library. [click to continue…]

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