Virginia at War, 1865 Now Available

University Press of Kentucky

The final volume of the Virginia at War series from the University Press of Kentucky is now available, which includes my essay on the demobilization of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.  My essay follows Lee’s men along the roads and paths out of Appomattox and explores, among other things, their encounters with Federal troops, ex-slaves, as well as their response to Lincoln’s assassination.  I have said before that we draw much too sharp a line between the Civil War and Reconstruction.  It doesn’t take much of an effort to appreciate that some of the fundamental questions surrounding the war had yet to be decided.  My narrow time frame also reinforced the importance of contingency when looking at the past.  Many of the men were in the dark about what to expect when they arrived home or how they would go about picking up the pieces of a world that had changed so dramatically in four short years.  I was struck by the extent to which their accounts, especially those who lived in the paths of the two armies, emphasized the altered landscapes.  Lee’s men also learned of Lincoln’s assassination while on the road.  Some of the reports indicated that in addition to Lincoln, the vice-president, secretary of state, and even Grant were also dead.  For some of these men, there was no government.

Other authors in this volume include Jaime A. Martinez, Ervin Jordan, John M. Mclure, and Chris Calkins.  I am thrilled to have an essay in a book edited by James I. Robertson and William C. Davis.

Brad Paisley’s Southern Heritage

There is an interesting verse in Brad Paisley’s single, “Camoflauge” which references the Confederate flag controversy:

Well the stars and bars offends some folks and I guess I see why nowadays theres still a way to show your southern pride the only thing is patriotic as the old red white and blue is green and gray and black and brown and tan all over too

Let’s ignore for now the fact that Paisley apparently has the wrong flag in mind.  We know what he means.  I don’t want to make too much of this, but it seems to me the lyric tells us something about diversity in the South as well as the extent to which Country Music has become mainstream.  It’s a clear statement on the part of Paisley announcing that he does not want to be stereotyped.  It’s unfortunate that at this point much of the nation still needs to be reminded that most white southerners do not identify with the Confederate flag.  What do you think?

Another Year of Blogging

Jackson and Stuart Celebrating Six Years of Civil War Memory

It’s hard to believe that as of today I have been blogging for six years.  Those six years include 2,400 posts, just under 1 million visits and roughly 25,000 comments.  Thanks once again to all of you who make this site part of your daily routine.  It goes without saying that this past year has seen its share of excitement and unexpected change, but I am looking forward with a great deal of enthusiasm to the coming year and the publication of my first book in June 2012.  I still enjoy blogging, but more importantly, I believe the site continues to serve an important function in the blogosphere and beyond.  What I do here continues to put me in touch with new people and opportunities to share my passion for history and teaching with the broader public.  I love the fact that Civil War Memory continues to make people think, laugh, and yes, even lash out in anger.  It suggests that I am doing something right.  :-)

Gary W. Gallagher on Command Relationships During the Civil War

Gary W. Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia, discusses “Presidents and Generals: Command Relationships during the Civil War” as part of the John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship 2011-2012 lecture series at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies. Nov. 4, 2011.  Gallagher was introduced by my M.A. thesis adviser, Robert Kenzer.

The Influence of the Confederate Flag on Perceptions of Race

White Youth Holding Confederate Flag During 1965 Selma March

Joyce Ehrlinger, E. Ashby Plant, Richard P. Eibach, Corey J. Columb, Joanna L. Goplen, Jonathan W. Kunstman, David A. Butz, “How Exposure to the Confederate Flag Affects Willingness to Vote for Barack Obama,” Political Pyschology (February 2011): 131-46.

Abstract: Leading up to the 2008 U.S. election, pundits wondered whether Whites, particularly in Southern states, were ready to vote for a Black president. The present paper explores how a common Southern symbol—the Confederate flag—impacted willingness to vote for Barack Obama. We predicted that exposure to the Confederate flag would activate negativity toward Blacks and result in lowered willingness to vote for Obama. As predicted, participants primed with the Confederate flag reported less willingness to vote for Obama than those primed with a neutral symbol. The flag did not affect willingness to vote for White candidates. In a second study, participants primed with the Confederate flag evaluated a hypothetical Black target more negatively than controls. These results suggest that exposure to the Confederate flag results in more negative judgments of Black targets. As such, the prevalence of this flag in the South may have contributed to a reticence for some to vote for Obama because of his race.  [Read the Entire Article]