Southern History

‘The Best Servant By Far’

My latest column at The New York Times’s Disunion page is now available.  The essay briefly explores the relationship between John Christopher Winsmith and his body servant, Spencer.  The Winsmith […]

Young Robert E. Lee’s Cherubs

I don’t normally share reader mail, but this struck me as worth posting.  It’s been a few years since I last visited Stratford Hall and while I had a pleasant […]

More Entertainment For White Folks

On June 30 the Anderson County UDC dedicated a marker to Wade Childs, who accompanied his owner as a body servant in Orr’s Rifles.  Andy Hall recently took this one […]

Union County, NC Commemorates Its Slaves…

only, you wouldn’t know that by reading the marker. The 48-inch by 29-inch marker reads: “In Memory of Union County’s Confederate Pensioners of Color,” then lists their names: Wilson Ashcraft; […]

A 1950s View of the Southern Plantation System

[Cross-Posted at the Atlantic] The following documentary fits neatly into the culture of 1950s America. Southern plantations were depicted as scenes of peaceful coexistence between master and slaves before the […]

Celebrating Revisionist History

“[T]he enemy of Civil War history is everything people think they know about the conflict.” — Ed Ayers. Thanks to everyone for the emails and comments about my most recent […]