UVA’s John L. Nau III Center For Civil War Studies Opens Today

Later today the University of Virginia’s new Civil War center will open with an inaugural event that will feature Gary Gallagher, Elizabeth Varon, Thavolia Glymph, and Ed Ayers in a roundtable discussion about the state of the field of Civil War history. The center is being funded with a grant from John L. Nau III, who is also the benefactor behind Gallagher’s endowed chair and the center’s director. Continue reading “UVA’s John L. Nau III Center For Civil War Studies Opens Today”

Historians Discuss Charleston and Its Impact on Civil War Memory

David Blight recently convened a panel at Yale University to discuss the impact of the Charleston shootings on our Civil War memory. It takes a little time for the pace of this discussion to pick up, but it is well worth your time. Panelists include Edward Ball, Yale; Jelani Cobb, University of Connecticut; Glenda Gilmore, Yale; Jonathan Holloway, Yale; Vesla Weaver, Yale.

[Uploaded to YouTube on September 28, 2015]

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 09/21

Tales From the Haunted SouthAs I mentioned last week, Cold Harbor to the Crater: The End of the Overland Campaign edited by Gary Gallagher and Caroline Janney is now available online.

Ira Berlin, The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States (University of Georgia Press, 2015).

Greg Downs and Kate Masur eds., The World the Civil War Made (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

Kristin L. Gallas and James DeWolf Perry eds., Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowan & Littlefield, 2015).

Tiya Miles, Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

K. Stephen Prince, Radical Reconstruction: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2015).

Christian G. Samito, Lincoln and the Thirteenth Amendment (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015).

Ben Wright and Zachary Dresser eds., Apocalypse and the Millennium in the American Civil War Era (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

Cold Harbor to the Crater: Hot Off the Presses

forthcoming, September 2015The official release date is a little over a week away, but Amazon is currently showing Cold Harbor to the Crater: The End of the Overland Campaign as in-stock. This is the latest release in UNC Press’s Military Campaigns of the Civil War series following an eight year lull. This latest volume is edited by Gary Gallagher and Caroline Janney. The volume includes an essay of mine, which focuses on how white Union soldiers responded to fighting alongside USCTs at the Crater. This is research that should have made it into my book on the Crater.

Here is a list of contributors and the titles of their essays: Continue reading “Cold Harbor to the Crater: Hot Off the Presses”

Why I Won’t Be Watching Ken Burns This Week

I didn’t read a book about the American Civil War until I was in my mid-20s and it wasn’t Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote or a used copy of the American Heritage picture book. It was Stephen Sears’s Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. If memory serves me correctly the next few books included David Donald’s biography of Lincoln, Eric Foner’s book about the Republican Party and James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. I read these books as I was finishing up a master’s thesis in philosophy – specifically philosophy of history. From the very beginning of what would become an entirely new intellectual focus for me I approached these books as analytical arguments that demanded careful thought and a critical eye.

My own Civil War memory is not wrapped up in visits to battlefields at an early age with the family. In fact, I have no memory of learning about the war in grade school or even high school. What prompted my foray into Civil War studies was a chance visit to Antietam in 1994. The visit certainly sparked something in me, but even this visit and subsequent visits in the weeks to follow was decidedly a function of my intellectual curiosity. It was my first visit to a battlefield apart from a family trip that included Yorktown, which I only remember as hot and boring. Continue reading “Why I Won’t Be Watching Ken Burns This Week”