War Between the States: If It’s Good Enough For Jeopardy…

So, I spent part of my afternoon with a university press book that I am reviewing for one of the Civil War journals. It’s a pretty good read so far, but one of the things that caught my attention is on one occasion the author referred to the war as The War Between the States. I have to admit that it caught me by surprise. Other than this one reference the author refers to “Civil War generals”, “Civil War soldiers”, “Civil War battles” etc. It will be interesting to see if there are additional references to WBTS as I read further. For what it’s worth, the author teaches at a northern college.

Rest assured that it will have absolutely no impact on how I evaluate the book in my review. Like I said, the reference took me by surprise. If it’s good enough for Jeopardy than it’s good enough for me.

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“The Plantation Called New York City”

Here is Sanitation Department chaplain, Reverend Fred Lucas’s invocation at New York City Mayor de Blasio’s inauguration on January 1. I honestly don’t know what I think of it. Most of the commentary that I’ve read gives me very little to think about, though I did find Greg Downs’s opinion piece to be helpful. May use it as part of my Civil War Memory class, which I am teaching this semester.

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Imagining Confederate Emancipation Then and Now

cleburne_webToday is the 150th anniversary of General Patrick Cleburne’s proposal to enlist slaves into the Confederate army. It’s an extraordinary document, in term of what it says and – in light of the continued influence of the black Confederate myth – what it does not say. The Civil War Trust has made the text of Cleburne’s proposal available with certain sections highlighted. If you don’t have the time stick to the highlights.

As many of you know 150 years ago citizens of the Confederacy were not aware that a high-ranking general had issued such a proposal because President Jefferson Davis ordered that it be suppressed. Cleburne’s proposal was not the first, but the military situation of the Confederacy and the widespread use of black men in the Union army gave it much more weight. Indeed by the middle of the year Confederates in the army and on the home front were debating various proposals. Most thought the idea was absurd and those who sanctioned it did so only as a means to stave off defeat. [click to continue…]

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Welcome to 1864

This morning I was reminded that today is the first day of the sesquicentennial of the War in 1864. As I alluded to this past spring, it is going to be very interesting to see how the final sixteen months of the war will be commemorated and remembered. There are practical issues of funding, but there is also the turn that the war itself took in 1864. Those of us on the education/public history side of things will have to think long and hard about how we engage the public about some of the more important and challenging issues of the war. [click to continue…]

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“To Pause And Remember All They Gave”

Note: This post is for my friend, Patrick Young, who constantly reminds me that for most everything I write about on this site there is an immigrants’ perspective. Thanks, Pat.

Tollgate Cemetery MonumentYesterday morning I took a slightly different jogging route through my neighborhood and stumbled on a small neglected cemetery. The Toll Gate Cemetery is located just off Hyde Park Avenue, just a block from the Forrest Hills T Station in Jamaica Plain. It is nestled between the street and tracks and is very easy to miss. Since I can’t resist old cemeteries I decided to check it out hoping that I might stumble on a few Civil War soldiers. I did. [click to continue…]

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