Appomattox

One of the more interesting Civil War studies to be released this past year is Elizabeth Varon’s Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War. The book provides a nice counterpoint to Jay Winik’s very successful, but overly reconciliationist interpretation of the Civil War’s final act. Varon recently spoke about her Read more

In a letter written in 1890, William Mahone recalled spending the night before the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House with an unusual family. We marched all next day and went into camp in the evening not far from Appomattox Co. Ho. in the most God forsaken neighborhood or can Read more

Black Confederates At Appomattox

It never fails that at some point during the Q&A following a talk about my Crater book an audience member brings up the subject of black Confederate soldiers.  Most of the time the issue is raised in complete innocence.  They heard about it from a fellow history enthusiast or, more likely, read about it online.  Read more

For the Sake of Serenity

I think Gary Gallagher makes a pretty good case for why black soldiers were not present at the Grand Review in Washington D.C. in May 1865.  He argues that their absence had little to do with scheming politicians and military brass, who hoped to keep it an all-white affair.  The parade was made up primarily Read more

On November 19, Professor Joan Waugh delivered the 2011 Fortenbaugh Lecture at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg.  Professor Waugh’s lecture, “‘The Rebels Are Our Countrymen Again’: U.S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox” reexamines the familiar story of the historic surrender of Confederate forces to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 at Read more

The Confederacy Has Risen Again

Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know this from those folks who proclaim themselves defenders of “Southern Heritage.”  Many of these people are preoccupied with silly battles surrounding the display of the Confederate flag.  Anyone who follows this nauseating debate can see that the pro-flag forces are on the losing side of history.  Whether they are willing to Read more

Johnny Yuma’s Appomattox

On this day in April 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.  Those of you who continue to harbor hatred for Grant and the rest of the “yankee horde” would do well to listen closely to Johnny Yuma.  In this episode, Johnny explains to Read more

Civil War memory is indeed a very strange landscape. Up until today I would have said that the once widely held view that slavery was benign and that the slaves themselves remained loyal throughout the war reflects its most absurd side.  However, the folks over at Richard Williams’s site have somehow managed to trump even Read more

Most of us think of the significance of this day in 1865 as revolving around the soldiers who met for the final time at Appomattox Court House.  The images and stories of Lee and Grant in the McLean House and the famous salute between Gordon and Chamberlain, which may or may not have occurred according Read more