Black Confederates in Massachusetts?

I haven’t done a Civil War Roundtable talk in some time, but I almost always enjoy the experience, especially the Q&A with folks who share my passion for this history.  Today I accepted an invitation from the North Worcester County Civil War Roundtable to give a talk on black Confederates.  The talk is scheduled for October 11.  I couldn’t be more pleased as this will be my first talk in my new home of Massachusetts.  My talk is going to explore the evolution of the black Confederate narrative over the past few decades through a close look at the story of Silas Chandler.  I am also going to talk about the perils of digital sources, which I recently explored in my NYTs op-ed piece.

One of the things I worried about was moving to a place outside of my main interest in the Civil War, but I am now much more confident that I can find outlets in which to share my fascination with the history of the South and the Confederacy.  Perhaps I can establish myself as the go-to guy on certain topics, especially during the next few years.  I am hoping to schedule a few more talks on this subject at least through the next year or two.  As soon as I get established in Boston the plan is to finish up the black Confederate book.  I’ve been collecting source material and sketching out ideas.  While I want to write a scholarly study I also want to explore how this narrative has played out in popular culture.  Think of it as: academic study meets “Confederates in the Attic”.  I am hoping to work with one of the major publishers on this one.  Once I finish this book I am going to look into writing something about the Robert Gould Shaw memorial in Boston.

Upcoming Talk on Black Confederates:

“Searching for Black Confederates in History and Memory” Historical Society of Western Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, April 2011.

“Black Confederates and Media Literacy in the Classroom” Civil War Preservation Trust Annual Teachers Institute, July 2011.


This Is Not a Confederate Flag

Things are a bit slow around here as I continue to pack up my library and work to get the house ready to show.  I have to say that I’ve begun to embrace the downsizing of my library.  I’ve never had a bibliophile’s attachment to books; rather, they have always held an instrumental value based on the information contained.  It really is time for me to embrace more practical methods made possible through digital sources.

In the news it looks like our favorite “Redneck” has, in fact, been fired from his bus drivers position.  I feel bad for the guy, but it’s hard not to think that he brought this on himself given the regulations of his employer.  Ken Webber will be represented in court by the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute.  In my ten years living in this city I’ve not once heard of this organization.

Let’s just get one thing straight: Mr. Webber is not flying a Confederate flag.  He is flying a banner that resembles a Confederate flag.  It’s a salient distinction in this case.  There is no evidence that Mr. Webber is a racist and beyond the casual language of “states rights” and rhetoric of individual freedom there is no evidence that this has anything to do with the Civil War.  And, from what I can tell, this has nothing to do with anything resembling a “heritage” violation or attack on “the South.”

There is nothing to see here.  Look Away, Look Away…


Sons of Confederate Veterans Take Part in Confederate Flag Protest

Update: Check the comments for a response from representatives of SCV as well as a video of Mr. Millburn’s protest. He is quite animated.

This is an interesting story out of Louisiana.  The caption under the image reads: “Walter Milburn III, left, lights a candle Tuesday morning at the foot of the Confederate War Veterans Memorial in protest of the displaying of the Confederate Flag. Assisting with the lighting of the candle is George Gremillion, Sons of the Confederate Veterans Brigadier General J.J. Alfred Mouton Camp 778 commander.”  Unfortunately, no one interviewed Gremillion, which, it seems to me, is the much more interesting part of this story.


Framed Don Troiani Prints For Sale

Update – 06/26/11: All of the Prints Have Been Sold.

"79th New York State Highlanders"

I am putting up for sale my collection of framed Don Troiani Civil War prints, which I’ve been collecting since 2000.  All of them were purchased through an authorized Troiani dealer in Fredercksburg, Virginia and include certificates of authenticity.  I am going to include an asking price, but please feel free to make an offer.  This is your chance to own your favorite Troiani print at a reasonable price.  I will take photographs of specific prints if interested, but they are all in superb condition. Note: Click the status report link for the print’s current value.

Battle Scenes


Buyer will pay for shipping.  Happy shopping.


“The Blue, The Gray, and the Brown”

I am not a big fan of “The Cleveland Show” but in this episode Cleveland engages in historical preservation and takes part in a Civil War reenactment. Good stuff: “It’s going to be so much easier saving Founders Park with you as the face of our cause.”