Category Archives: Memory

Marcus M. Porter’s Eternal Bivouac

Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, MA

Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, MA

Yesterday students in my Civil War Memory class handed in their final projects. They are amazing and reflect a good deal of research and creativity. Students researched Civil War monuments and memorials in their own communities or designed their own for a specific location. One student created a video that explored a number of Civil War monuments in Stoughton, including this unusual grave marker, which I thought was worth sharing.

From Find A Grave:

Marcus Morton Porter (1841-1921). Porter enlisted as a private on October 15,1862, in Company G, 47th Massachusetts Infantry, and was mustered out on September 1, 1863. He was a member of Post 72, GAR. Porter became a member of the Old Stoughton Musical Society in 1893 and served as the society’s president from 1911 to 1913.

This particular student admitted that she has never enjoyed living in Stoughton, but that working on this project left her feeling more closely connected to her community.

Mission Accomplished.

Jefferson Davis Welcomes Students Studying Civil Rights Movement

Jefferson Davis Monument

Jefferson Davis Monument

On Sunday I head out with roughly 35 students and 3 colleagues for a 5-day tour of the Civil Rights South. We’ve been meeting with students to give them a broad outline of the history and questions that will be covered as we travel from Atlanta to Memphis.

One of my main responsibilities will be to help students make connections between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement through a close examination of monuments and memorials. I want students to understand that the visual reminders of the civil rights struggle are fairly recent additions to the landscape and that they exist in some tension with reminders of the Civil War and the Lost Cause. Continue reading

Worse Than Hurricane Katrina

Earlier today the Sun Herald, which serves the Biloxi-Gulfport community in Mississippi published a pretty harsh editorial against the leadership of Beauvoir in the wake of the resignation of Jefferson Hayes-Davis. Here is the editorial in full. If I read this correctly the editors at the Sun Herald believe that the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans has the potential to do more damage to Beauvoir’s and Jefferson Davis’s legacy than Hurricane Katrina.

Beauvoir’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina was never a certainty. Yet until just a few weeks ago, it seemed Beauvoir had not only regained lost ground, but was advancing as never before. Now Beauvoir, a landmark on the beachfront since 1852, appears to be in full retreat.

Katrina’s storm surge destroyed five of the seven buildings on the grounds of the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library. It left the two still standing — Beauvoir itself and the new presidential library-museum — heavily damaged. While it was determined that Beauvoir, Davis’ last home, could be restored, it was decided the library-museum building would have to be demolished and rebuilt a little higher above, and a little further from the shoreline. Money could and would accomplish those feats. Continue reading

Remembering the Battle of the Crater Reviewed in Civil War History

Civil War HistoryThanks to Benjamin Cloyd – author of an excellent study of the history and memory of Civil War prisons – for the very fair review of my book in the most recent issue of Civil War History (March 2014). I should have focused much more on the intersection of the centennial and the civil rights movement in Petersburg.

Cloyd identifies what I now clearly see as the weaker sections of my book. This is likely the last review to appear in an academic journal and overall I am pleased with how the book has been received by the scholarly community.  Continue reading

The Myth of the Black Union Soldier

Update: In my rush to finish the sources section at the end of the guest post I left out one important article by Carole Emberton, which has been incredibly influential on how I think about the connection between black Union soldiers, violence, and Reconstruction. “Only Murder Makes Men: Reconsidering the Black Military Experience,” Journal of the Civil War Era, 2, NO . 3 (2012).

Today I have a guest post at The Civil War Monitor’s “Front Lines Blog.” I’ve been meaning for some time to write a short essay about how United States Colored Troops have come to be remembered during the sesquicentennial. This is something that I can easily see expanding for my project on the sesquicentennial.

It’s hard to believe that 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the Hollywood movie Glory. Twenty-five years later it is also difficult to remember that for many Americans this was their first introduction to the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the broader story of African Americans and the Civil War. More than midway through the Civil War sesquicentennial, a very different picture confronts us. The story of black soldiers is front and center in a narrative that places slavery and emancipation at the center of our understanding of what the war was about and what it accomplished. The contributions of United States Colored Troops can be seen on the big screen, in plays and musicals, news articles, museum exhibits, on National Park Service battlefields and in the textbooks we use in our schools.

Click here for the rest of the essay.