Our Civil War Soap Opera

Ethan Rafuse recently shared a writing assignment that he was given by “America’s Civil War” magazine to come up with a list of six Civil War generals that we “like to hate.”

Civil War buffs love to blame particular generals for lost battles and campaigns—McClellan, Bragg, McDowell, etc. Why do we like to hate them so much, and do they deserve it? Pick a couple from each side and examine what made them pariahs—and whether hindsight should rehabilitate their Images. Pick three from each side, 500 or so words on each, and a 500-word intro for about 3,500 words.

I guess the editor could have framed the question around major mistakes made in the field by Civil War generals, but the choice to inquire as to why some military figures engender such a visceral reaction in some is potentially interesting.  Perhaps we should take one step back for a little perspective.  Is there anything comparable in America’s other wars?  Anyone out there hate Henry Knox, Winfield Scott, John J. Pershing, Omar Bradley, or William Westmoreland?

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Dixie Outfitters Cashes In on Lexington

Dixie Outfitters t-shirt

I still don’t quite understand how a city of Southerners can discriminate against themselves, but logic probably isn’t a top priority when you are marketing to the fringes of society.  The other question is why did the designers choose to substitute the First National for the Confederate battle flag?

One Day, We’ll Commemorate 9-11 Like the Civil War

9-11 Memorial at World Trade Center

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the intersection of 9-11 and Civil War remembrance.  It started with a post on the subject and that led to two newspaper interviews.  An Associated Press article on 9-11 that I was recently interviewed for gave me the opportunity to explore the subject a bit further.  It will be published at some point soon.  A couple of days ago I decided to write it up as an editorial and the History News Network agreed to run it.  You can read it here if interested.  Thanks again to HNN for agreeing to publish it.  My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were lost on 9-11.

A Public Service Reminder


As we begin the new school year I strongly encourage school administrators to think carefully about who they bring in from the outside to educate their students.  Case in point.  This past May the Major George B. Erath 2679, United Daughters of the Confederacy, presented a program to Dublin 8th graders about Texas in “The War Between the States.”  They actually ask the kids to sing “Dixie” at the end of the presentation.  Our kids deserve better.  On the other hand I appreciate the fact that this school is reaching out to its senior citizen community.  All the research shows that it is crucial that regular physical and mental activity is essential to maintaining one’s overall health as we get older.