Chandra Manning

When it came to choosing someone to write the Afterword for Common-place’s issue on the Civil War sesquicentennial, Megan Kate Nelson and I both agreed that it had to be Stephen Berry. Stephen is a first-rate scholar and a wonderful writer. He was a great sport given that we weren’t able to send the essays Read more

I am really enjoying the opportunity to go back and review the letters and diaries of white Northern soldiers who fought at the Crater. Now that I’ve done so I regret not going deeper into these wartime accounts in the book. Hopefully, this little essay project will make up for it. In this post I Read more

I am a big fan of Chandra Manning’s book, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War. It’s an incredibly thought-provoking book and especially helpful when it comes to understanding how Confederates conceptualized the importance of slavery throughout the war. However, I am less convinced by her analysis of how the Read more

I just finished reading Gary Gallagher’s new book, The Union War, which in some ways functions as a companion volume to The Confederate War – published back in 1997.  Both studies offer highly readable critiques of a wide swath of Civil War historiography with an eye toward pointing out gaps in the literature.  In the earlier Read more

Teaching Limited v. Hard War

Update: The debate went extremely well.  Both groups did an excellent job of articulating their respective positions and pointing out what they perceived to be shortcomings in the other.  I had to remind them that, in the end, they were on the same team.  That is what I find so interesting here.  In the same Read more

You can find additional cartoons by this illustrator at birthofanotion.com.  If you haven’t already done so I highly recommend reading Chandra Manning’s What This Cruel War Was Over, which is now in paperback.  In addition, I recently finished reading Joe Glatthaar’s General Lee’s Army.  Both studies analyze the role of slavery and race during the Read more

The Tough Questions

At the end of What This Cruel War Was About Chandra Manning offers some final thoughts about the challenges that the war presented to Americans in 1865 and by extension to the way we remember. First, Confederate soldiers’ admirable devotion to their families and abhorrent attachment to the enslavement of other human beings sound a Read more

A Book We All Should Read

My copy of Chandra Manning’s What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (Knopf) arrived today.  I’ve mentioned Manning’s scholarship on a number of occasions.   It was a great pleasure for me to be able to join her for a panel discussion about Civil War soldiers at the most recent AHA Read more

Civil War Odds and Ends

Check out the programs for two upcoming conferences that will focus heavily on the Civil War, the South, and Virginia history.  The first is the Second Annual Virginia Forum which is scheduled for April 13-14 at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.  This conference brings together scholars who focus on all areas of Virginia history.  Read more

I thoroughly enjoyed Friday’s interview with UNC-Greensboro historian Peter S. Carmichael.  Check out the interview, and more importantly, read The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion – it’s well worth the time.  I wanted to take a few minutes to comment on a few points made during the interview.  Carmichael touched on Read more