Not Your Grandfather’s “March to the Sea”

Sherman's March

Update: Thanks to Craig Swain for sending along this link which includes information about an older marker. It offers a clear point of comparison with how our understanding of the campaign has evolved.

This week the Georgia Historical Society will dedicate the latest in its series of roadside markers commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The marker featured above, commemorating the start of “Sherman’s March”, will be located on the grounds of the Jimmy Carter library. Continue reading “Not Your Grandfather’s “March to the Sea””

Black Confederates in the Journal of the Civil War Era

Looks like the latest issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era is being mailed to subscribers. The Professional Notes section features my essay, “Black Confederates Out of the Attic and Into the Mainstream,” which briefly explores the evolution of the myth, its diffusion on the Internet, and why academic and public historians ought to care. Even if is the case that the number of news stories has peaked it is still out there on hundreds, if not thousands, of websites waiting for the next poorly conducted search.

Thanks to Aaron Sheehan-Dean for the invitation to contribute to the journal. I am thrilled to finally see it in print. Those of you with access to Project Muse can read it online.

North Carolinians Knew It Was a Rebellion

How many times have you been told that the proper way to refer to our civil war is the “War Between the States”? The folks who insist on it almost always assume they are speaking for their ancestors. We don’t need to go into the arguments for or against it here. In 1914, North Carolinians went to the polls to decide whether to change the name of the war to “War Between the States.”

In the end they decided that “War of the Rebellion” worked just fine. Turns out that the generation that fought the war, and their children, knew exactly what they had unsuccessfully engaged in and were comfortable acknowledging it.

A Meeting Between Grant and Lee

It’s probably safe to assume that a recreation of the meeting between Grant and Lee in Wilmer McLean’s home at Appomattox Court House will be part of the sesquicentennial anniversary next April. Unlike the video below, the performance will likely stick to a well vetted script that adheres close to the available historical record. There is something about this meeting that strikes a chord with our Civil War memory. Of course, the two commanders didn’t have to meet to agree to terms of surrender. That they did presents us with a dramatic conclusion to and a sharp contrast with the previous year’s bloodletting. We want to know what these two men thought of one another. Continue reading “A Meeting Between Grant and Lee”

Remembering Slavery Alongside Confederate Heritage in Richmond

While the Virginia Flaggers have made a name for themselves for their insistence that a Confederate flag fly on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, along the Boulevard in Richmond, others have also taken an interest in the history of the site. A student from the Agua Dulce Dance Theater recently performed an interpretive dance in front of the Robinson House to explore its connection to the history of slavery. Continue reading “Remembering Slavery Alongside Confederate Heritage in Richmond”