Analysis

  • The Myth of the H.L. Hunley's Blue LanternRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 10/8/2012 Author: Christopher D. Rucker, MD | 

    It has long been said that, after sinking the USS Housatonic on the evening of February 17, 1864, the crew of the Confederate submarine Hunley used a "blue light" to signal their success to shore. In truth, the blue lantern is a modern myth, born of ignorance of a lost technology.

  • The Consequences of Damning the TorpedoesRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 10/1/2012 Author: John Grady | 

    When Lieutenant Commander William H. Gamble reported that he had moved out of the way of an ironclad and was about to drop anchor, "a torpedo exploded under the bow, and the vessel immediately commenced sinking." He reported two sailors were killed in the explosion, was unsure about how many were wounded below deck but confirmed three sailors were wounded on deck. "The wounded were conveyed to the...

  • Bowdoin's Other Civil War SonsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 8/27/2012 Author: David Thomson | 

    Discussions surrounding Bowdoin College and the Civil War invariably return to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine. But another brotherly duo at Bowdoin is even more important to our understanding of the War: Oliver Otis and Charles Howard.

  • John Sherman and the Would-Be Thirteenth Amendment of 1861Read More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 8/6/2012 Author: Dan Crofts | 

    Four years before Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, Republican John Sherman of Ohio argued the merits of a very different Thirteenth Amendment, one that would do the exact opposite.

  • Munson Monroe Buford's Unfinished Civil WarRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 7/30/2012 Author: James Broomall | 

    Munson Monroe Buford's Civil War did not end at Durham Station, North Carolina, in the spring of 1865 but instead continued, in varied forms, for the remainder of his life.

  • Fantasizing Lee as a Civil Rights PioneerRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 7/23/2012 Author: Andy Hall | 

    There's a tale widely told these days about how Robert E. Lee, soon after the war, reached out in Christian fellowship to a black worshiper at Richmond's St. Paul's Episcopal Church. But that's not what the witness saw at the time.

  • Form follows Function: Changing Audiences Bring Changes to InterpretationsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 5/31/2012 Author: Craig Swain | 

    Visiting the battlefields today, the markers placed fifty even ten years ago look different than the "new" markers today. Why? because we tour the battlefields differently. So what does that say about how we use those resources? What drove the change?

  • Revising, Refreshing, Evolving Battlefield InterpretationRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 5/1/2012 Author: Craig Swain | 

    Our understanding of the battlefields, and the war itself, is often shaped by the public interpretive resources found at the site of the action. Over the years, historians improve that interpretation, mostly for the better. The refinement often challenges us to reconsider what we know about the battle to reach a more precise understanding of events.

  • Then and Now: Pope's Canal to New MadridRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 3/27/2012 Author: Craig Swain | 

    The campaign to capture Island No. 10 played out over swamps, bayous, and river bottom at the corner where Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee meet. Today this land bears little resemblance to its Civil War appearance. But in some ways it is still a battlefield today.

  • What Robert E. Lee Didn’t Do After Appomattox Read More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 1/24/2012 Author: M. Keith Harris | 

    Actually, he didn’t do a lot of things. For starters, he didn’t lead a guerilla army against Federal invaders/occupiers—even though more than a few people suggested that he take that course of action. Second, he didn’t pick up and leave the country for Canada or Mexico. Finally, and most important, he didn’t take a public stance against the United States. He never...

  • Looking Back...Just Fifty YearsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 1/12/2012 Author: Craig Swain | 

    As we start the second year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, it is only natural to also look back fifty years to how Americans viewed, and perhaps used, the centennial. Here's a brief look at those years through the covers of Life Magazine.

  • A Soldier's Forty WinksRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 1/5/2012 Author: Jim Schmidt | 

    But what was most interesting was that there was a good amount of current research on medicine in the Civil War, including new looks at old cases, biographies, and more.

  • A Regiment of InventorsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 11/8/2011 Author:  | 

    Ingenuity was wielded as a weapon during the American Civil War, with inventors plying their trade in the “arts of death,” as Shaw put it. One newspaper, noting that the “inventive faculty of the country is in the Northern States,” put out a colorful call:

  • "Coal for the Furnaces is as important as Gunpowder for the Guns"Read More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 10/18/2011 Author: James M. Schmidt | 

    If cannon and rifles were the engines of war, then gunpowder was the fuel for those engines. On countless Civil War battlefields, the fuel was employed to great effect—physically and psychologically—just as it had for the centuries prior...

  • "It made us an 'is'."Read More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 10/4/2011 Author: Andy Hall | 

    It's one of the great quotes, from one of the great documentaries, that sums up the legacy of the American Civil War:

  • A War of WordsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 9/29/2011 Author: Amy Murrell Taylor | 

    There’s a lot that remains unsettled about the Civil War: “Manassas” or “Bull Run”? “Civil War” or “War Between the States”? Forget the big questions about what the war was about: we cannot even agree on something as simple as what words to use to describe what actually happened between 1861 and 1865. It’s the sort of disagreement that...

  • Texas SCV Calls for a New StrategyRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 9/27/2011 Author: Andy Hall | 

    Recently Mark Vogl, Lieutenant Commander of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, called for a shift strategy in that organization's approach to "heritage defense," away from throwing up legal challenges to perceived slights and instead focusing on a more proactive, less-confrontational approach.

  • These Sacred Fields: Union Commemorations at GettysburgRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 9/21/2011 Author: M. Keith Harris | 

    For Union veterans of the Civil War, the battlefield at Gettysburg served as the epicenter for war remembrance. The modern landscape certainly attests to this. A forest of marble, granite, and bronze—monuments to the Union cause—cover the rolling farmland and rocky hills of the area immediately surrounding the small Pennsylvania town where in the summer of 1863, two armies clashed in...

  • We Cannot Know Their MindsRead More

    Category: Analysis Posted: 9/21/2011 Author: Andy Hall | 

    Certainly there are many people from that era, men and women, soldiers and civilians, who left diaries and letters that have survived down to the present that give us real insight into their thoughts at the time. There are also those who wrote memoirs decades later; these are helpful but come with the caveat that they were written both from the perspective of the intervening years, and with the...

About This Blog

The Front Line is our communal blog featuring the latest in Civil War news, research, analysis, and events from a network of scholars.

For information concerning the blog, inquiries into becoming a blogger for The Front Line, events calendar requests, or general questions, please contact the Contributing Editor: 


Robert Poister
robby@civilwarmonitor.com



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