Category Archives: Civil War Sesquicentennial

Upcoming Talks (March 2014)

Just a quick reminder that I will be speaking in the following places this month. On March 15 I will be speaking, along with Stephen Engel, Gordon Rhea, Eric Wittenberg, Brian S. Wills, at Longwood University’s annual Civil War seminar. Looking forward to seeing friends in Virginia. Continue reading

 

Counting at Andersonville

Andersonville National Historic Site

Andersonville National Historic Site

It’s easy to be seduced by the latest use of technology in our museums and other historic sites to get across the Civil War experience and the human cost. They are powerful tools and can be incredibly effective, but once in a while, we are reminded that the simplest approach works best. Such is the case at Andersonville National Historic Site, where they are keeping track on a daily basis the number of new prisoners admitted as well as the latest deaths and burials. It’s incredibly powerful.

I am not sure where this is situated in the visitor center, but I hope it is one of the first things that people see when they enter. It is often difficult for people to wrap their heads around large numbers, but this little display makes it easy to identify recent losses in the context of the life of the prison. If I was visiting I would immediately inquire into the names of the men who died on this day 150 years ago. How did they arrive at the prison? Where were they from? Those men would serve as my guides through the site.

I’ve never been to Andersonville, but I hope to visit one day. I applaud the NPS staff. This is a challenging commemoration, but from what I can tell they’ve got the right people on board.

 

Jon Stewart Nails Andrew Napolitano

Bonus: And don’t forget this Jon Stewart classic from a few years ago.

Anyone who believes that American slavery was on the decline on the eve of the Civil War deserves to be publicly mocked. Jon Stewart and company highlight some of the more outrageous things that FOX News’s Andrew Napolitiano has said about Lincoln in recent years. Not sure I like his new hair color. Can’t wait to use this in my Civil War class tomorrow as we further explore Lincoln’s evolving views on race and emancipation.

 

A Time to Remember the Suffering of all Americans During the Civil War

Andersonville National Historic Site

Andersonville National Historic Site

We should not be surprised by the irrational response by a select few to the selection of William T. Sherman as 1864s’ Man of the Year by an audience at the Museum of the Confederacy this past weekend. I applaud the MOC for maintaining an open Facebook page to facilitate responses and the very limited positive give and take that can be found. The most extreme comments come from people who see themselves as victims of Sherman’s actions in Georgia in 1864. They are most definitely not victims.

It might be helpful to place the destruction wrought by Sherman alongside the suffering of United States soldiers at Andersonville Prison, which commenced with its sesquicentennial commemoration today. One of my readers reminded me that there was likely much more suffering within the walls of the prison than that caused by Sherman throughout Georgia in 1864. On the one hand it’s a perspective that I never considered while at the same time it means very little to me. Continue reading