“From the Colored Citizens of Virginia”

Mahone RingAs you might imagine, William Mahone was front and center last week in Petersburg for the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. His memory looms large over the history of the battle as well as how the battle was remembered after the war. I talked quite a bit about Mahone’s postwar political career as leader of the Readjuster Party as well as his attempts to use the memory of the battle to further his interests. As you will see on August 20 (when C-SPAN will broadcast the talk) the Q&A following the talk was dominated by the audience’s interest in Mahone and I was more than happy to oblige.

Earlier that morning during a panel discussion on the battle a gentleman, who styles himself a local historian, handed out a little pamphlet that featured a cane with a silver tip that was given to Mahone as a gift by a group of black Virginians. This short leaflet includes some choice quotes and commentary that this individual believes reflects a close relationship between Mahone and the black community. The danger, of course, is that this ring can be used to draw any number of conclusions without attention to proper historical context. And context is everything in this case. Continue reading ““From the Colored Citizens of Virginia””

Thank You Petersburg

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia (August 1, 2014)

As much as I Iove living in Boston I’ve missed the opportunity to take part in sesquicentennial events here in Virginia over the past few years. Spending the week here in Petersburg for the 150th anniversary of the Crater has been especially gratifying. It was so nice having the opportunity to spend time with friends and interact with fellow Civil War enthusiasts on the battlefield and other programs. Continue reading “Thank You Petersburg”

See You In Petersburg!

1864 USPS Stamps
United States Postal Service, Commemorative Stamps for 1864

Heading down to Petersburg, Virginia later today for the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. I will be on the battlefield at roughly 4:45 tomorrow morning to mark the initial explosion at Pegram’s Salient and the beginning of the battle. Throughout the day I will do my best to post pics and comments on twitter with the hashtag #Crater150. Continue reading “See You In Petersburg!”

Why Should We Remember the Battle of the Crater?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting together some thoughts for my talk next Friday in Petersburg to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. I’ve been re-reading sections of my book and thinking about how this particular battle fits into the major themes and direction of our ongoing sesquicentennial. Continue reading “Why Should We Remember the Battle of the Crater?”