Longwood University’s 15th Annual Civil War Seminar

There were a few details to work out, but I can now announce that I will definitely be taking part in Longwood University’s annual Civil War Seminar on March 15 in Farmville, Virginia. The theme this year is 1864 and my topic – not surprisingly – will be the battle of the Crater. I am going to talk specifically about how Confederate soldiers assessed the battle. Other presenters include Eric Wittenberg, Gordon Rhea, Stephen Engle, and Brian Steel Wills. That’s a great line-up if you ask me and best of all, IT’S FREE.

This is turning out to be a busy speaking season here in the Boston area, but there is nothing better than heading back to my old home to talk about the Civil War, especially this year. Hope to see some of you in Farmville in March.

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Shocking! Outrageous! – The Great Emancipator Owned Slaves

Latest Post Comment at SHPG: “I understand that there are slave quarters at the Lincoln home and they just make the claim that it was his barn. In the middle of the city!”

Update: Lincoln ordered infants into the army and Popeye’s Secret Fried Chicken recipe has also been discovered in a Civil War glass vial.

Southern Heritage Preservatin GroupThe Southern Heritage Preservation Group is committed to defending Confederate heritage and highlighting history that has been left out of school textbooks and ignored by revisionist left-wing historians and the liberal media. Yesterday, Gary Adams posted a shocking news item that claims that Abraham Lincoln owned slaves. He provided a link to a February 2012 article by Frank Lake at the Weekly World News. Do yourself a favor and read it and on once you finish laughing continue with the post.

The article itself has nothing to do with Lincoln owning slaves besides including claims to that effect at the beginning and end. The rest of it discusses a recently published book about Lincoln and colonization, which if Adams bothered to look at has nothing to do with whether the sixteenth president owned slaves. [click to continue…]

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Ohio Men Cheer For the USCTs at Petersburg

Earlier today I was going through my collection of original Civil War era newspaper and came across an issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated from July 9, 1864. The first page includes this wonderful illustration of the charge of General Hinks’s “colored troops” outside of Petersburg in mid-June. Ohio troops cheer them on in the background. It’s a wonderful find as I continue to explore how white Union soldiers responded to the use of USCTs a few weeks later at the Crater.

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It’s a powerful image, but we should proceed carefully in interpreting it. For some it is an image that fits into a popular and satisfying narrative that is framed around slavery, emancipation, military service, freedom, postwar promises of civil rights, and the eventual slide into Jim Crow. From this perspective we may be tempted to dismiss the cheering of the Ohio men as something fleeting or, in hindsight, even insincere. Such an interpretation, however, misses a salient point about white Union soldiers. They were not engaged in a civil rights struggle. [click to continue…]

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How Would You Teach Secession?

Today my Civil War class will continue to discuss the background leading up to Lincoln’s election and the first wave of secession that took place between December 1860 and February 1861. My students are pouring through a collection of documents related to the secession conventions as well as speeches by Alexander Stephens and Jefferson Davis. For Monday they will read a selection from Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. [click to continue…]

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A House Divided Cannot Stand… Sing It

In this video singer/songwriter Rob Tobias uses the “House Divided” meme to make a point about our contentious current political environment. The other day I cautioned my students to be wary of the tendency to equate our own cultural and political battles with the Civil War Era. Such connections simply don’t hold up well under close scrutiny.

The video is well done and is probably worth showing to a class on Civil War memory. It’s another wonderful example of how social media is being used to interpret the past and make memory.

[Uploaded to YouTube on January 21, 2014]

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