A Civil War Proclamation For All Virginians

By now many of you have had the opportunity to digest Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s proclamation designating April as Civil War History in Virginia Month.  I wanted to take a few minutes to share a few thoughts.  First, perhaps I am guilty of criticizing the governor prematurely, but my remarks reflected an eagerness to see him follow up on what I thought was a very thoughtful speech at Norfolk State.  I don’t know much of anything about the team that advised the governor on the proclamation’s content, but it looks like Ervin Jordan played a role.  Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with this proclamation.

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Civil War History in Virginia Month

Jackson Park in Charlottesville, Va.

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WHEREAS, the month of April is most closely associated with Virginia’s pivotal role in the American Civil War; it was in April 1861 that Virginia seceded from the Union following a lengthy, contentious and protracted debate within the Commonwealth, and it was in April 1865 that the War was essentially concluded with the South’s surrender at Appomattox. In the four years that fell between those momentous months, Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy, and it was on Virginia soil that the vast majority of the Civil War’s battles were fought, in places like Manassas, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, New Market, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, locations now forever linked with the indelible history of this perilous period; and

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Welcome to the University of North Carolina Press

When I made the decision to host advertisements on Civil War Memory I made a commitment to working with companies whose products enrich our understanding of the Civil War.  Well, you simply can’t beat the opportunity to work with the University of North Carolina Press.  It would be difficult to exaggerate the extent to which I have benefited from reading the books in UNC Press’s “Civil War Campaigns” and “Civil War America” series – both of which are edited by Gary Gallagher.  I know that this is true for many of you out there as well.

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Thoughtful Reflection in the Heart of the Confederacy

Over the past few months I’ve done a number of interviews about the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  At the end of my latest interview this past Friday the reporter noted that this was not the story that she anticipated writing.  What she meant was that she was not going to write up a story around the standard narrative of lingering disagreements and bitterness between North and South and black and white.  As I’ve suggested on numerous occasions, that narrative simply does not hold up given the political and demographic shifts that have taken place throughout much of the country over the past few decades.

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The Next Generation

[Hat Tip to Corey Meyer]

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