Soldiers

Congratulations to Andrew Bledsoe and Andrew Lang on bringing their forthcoming collection of essays one step closer to publication. Yesterday the editors shared the cover art for Upon the Fields of Battle: Essays on the Military History of America’s Civil War, which will be published later this year by LSU Press. This volume brings together Read more

I am beginning to see the outlines of an argument. Our tendency to focus on the last six months of Col. Robert Gould Shaw’s military career in command of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry has left us with an incomplete and even distorted view of his place in Civil War memory. We tend to see Read more

I’ve spent the better part of the past few weeks reading as much as I can about Robert Gould Shaw and taking extensive notes. In addition to books about the Civil War I have been thinking about how to go about writing and structuring a biography, which I have never written before. Historian and biographer Read more

Was Robert Gould Shaw an Abolitionist?

Glory is still one of my favorite movies, but like all Hollywood productions, there are places where it falls short in explaining the history or providing the proper historical context. Few Hollywood movies have had more of an influence on how we remember the Civil War and, specifically, the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Read more

We expend a great deal of energy re-casting Confederate soldiers as engaged in a constitutional struggle or defense of home that had nothing to do with the protection of slavery. The price we pay is to ignore what actual Confederates said during the war about the consequences of slavery’s demise and their efforts to re-build Read more

Reading through the letters of Lt. William Cowper Nelson, who served in the 17th Mississippi and came across this little gem: I don’t know that I much regret the loss of Stephen [runaway slave]. I have thought that this war was ordered by Providence, as a means of settling definitely and conclusively the question of Read more

Here is some incredible footage of a Confederate veterans reunion in Jacksonville, Florida in May 1914. Like most other reunions it included former camp servants or camp slaves. They were often featured in newspaper coverage, but even those wearing their old uniforms were always distinguished from the white veteran soldiers. At the 1:40 mark in Read more

Like many of you, I was moved by Khizr Khan’s passionate response during the final night of the DNC’s national convention to Donald Trump’s early campaign promise to ban all Muslims from this country. His defense of his son, Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004 reflects the serves as an important Read more

A Civil War Battle Anniversary

Today is the 152nd anniversary of the battle of the Crater. For those of you new to the blog, this is a battle that I spent a number of years researching first as a masters thesis at the University of Richmond and later as the subject of my first book, Remembering The Battle of the Read more

This morning I sat in front of the rear of the Robert Gould Shaw and Fifty-Fourth Regiment Memorial before heading into the Boston Athenaeum for a day of writing. It is certainly not the first time I have read the inscription on the rear of the memorial, which most people miss when they visit. This Read more