The Week in Review: April 9th-13th
After a long hiatus, the "Week in Review" is finally back. Since it's been awhile, this edition of the Week in Review will cover interesting news and articles from the last few weeks. And since we have so many great finds to share with you, we’ve split this week’s review in two. We hope you enjoy!
In the News…
One of the biggest stories has been J. David Hacker’s recounting of the Civil War dead. By reviewing newly digitized 19th century census data, Hacker recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent—from 618,222 to 750,000. Also of note, the University of Richmond just released Visualizing Emancipation, an ongoing mapping project that sheds light on when and where men and women became free in the Civil War South. Another new resource is the National Park Service’s Civil War themed website which provides an overview of the war and emphasizes the Civil War sites administered and preserved by the National Park Service. Similarly, the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities recently launched Civil War Washington, which examines the U.S. national capital from multiple perspectives (social, political, cultural, and medical/scientific).
In time for the Battle of Shiloh’s sesquicentennial, the Civil War Trust bought 267 acres—an area known as Fallen Timbers—southwest of the main battlefield. They also hope to preserve another 491 acres. Meanwhile, Tom Liljenquist and his family donated 1,000 Civil War photographs to Library of Congress and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Maryland is investigating a recent donation: a mummified human forearm rumored to be from a soldier who died at Antietam. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine also announced that they have signed an agreement to open the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office as a museum. And, Fort Sumter disclosed that in 2011 they welcomed a record 328,000 visitors.
Gary Gallagher has been making headlines for his recent Civil War Times article on why he doesn’t trust bloggers—and specifically his characterization of bloggers as non-academics who are primarily engaged in non-academic pursuits. Not surprisingly, Kevin Levin took Gallagher to task on his own blog: Civil War Memory. Meanwhile, Dr. Charles Poland of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) received the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award, administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, while Dr. George C. Rable recently received the 2011 Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of Alabama. Frequent contributor to The Civil War Monitor Brian Matthew Jordan recently launched his own blog: Grand Army Blog: The Veteran In A [Digital] Field. John J. Santo recently learned that it does not pay to loot Civil War battlefields as he was sentenced to 366 days in prison for damaging archaeological resources and pillaging Petersburg National Battlefield Park. And on Wednesday, Civil War veteran Peter Knapp was finally put to rest—after 88 years of having unclaimed remains—at the Willamette National Cemetery.
There have been several sesquicentennial celebrations over the last few weeks with the Battle of Shiloh getting the most attention. Thousands of visitors flocked to battlefield for the sesquicentennial and the Civil War Trust released an animated map of the battle just in time for the anniversary. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force re-dedicated the grave of Captain William Acker, the only Minnesota soldier killed at the Battle of Shiloh.
Blogs and newspaper articles on the Battle of Shiloh included Matt Soniak’s piece “Why Some Civil War Soldiers Glowed in the Dark” and the role that a glowing bacteria played in the battle; Winston Groom’s explanation of “Why Shiloh Matters”—Grant’s recognition for the necessity of hard war; and Brook Simpson's delineation of Grant's generalship in “Triumph over Adversity: Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh April 6.” Over on The Front Line, we shared several firsthand accounts of the battle including Kate Cumming’s haunting account of the battle's deadly aftermath, Henry Morton Stanley’s explanation of the utility of the rebel yell at Shiloh, and Colonel S.H. Lockett's account of how quickly the tide turned for the Confederarcy. We also discussed the myth of the drummer boy of Shiloh. Similarly, the folks over at This Week in the Civil War reprinted the 1st Minnesota Light Artillery Company Clerk’s Morning Report regarding the battery’s performance and The American Civil War blog shared Dr. Nathaniel Alexander Morgan’s written description of the battle to his wife.
Other recent sesquicentennial celebrations included the fall of Fort Pulaski, the surrender of Island Number 10, the Battle of New Bern, the Battle at Glorieta Pass, and the First Battle of Kernstown. Our friend and frequent The Front Line blogger Craig Swain commemorated the fall of Fort Pulaski with a three part series over on his blog, To the Sound of Guns. These included a discussion of “An “Old Navy” 24-pdr Gun at Fort Pulaski,” a retrospective of the “Bombarding Fort Pulaski,” and a Virtual Tour of “The Guns at Fort Pulaski.” On The Front Line, we shared Miss Susan Walker’s account of the battle and her excitement over “another bloodless victory.” For the eventual surrender of Island No. 10, we posted a multi-part series on The Front Line that included Major General Henry W. Halleck instructors to Major General John Pope in "I will not attempt to hamper you with any minute instructions” and a comparison of the battlefield in “Then and Now: Pope's Canal to New Madrid.” Meanwhile, our friends at the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial discussed how "Commander Walke Runs the Gauntlet." For the lesser-known battles, Ronald S. Coddington explored Seargeant James Converse’s role in the Union invasion of coastal North Carolina, the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial described "The Occupation of Beaufort, North Carolina," Ethan Rafuse contended that the First Battle of Kernstown was “THE Turning Point of the Civil War!!," Peter Cozzens explained the unlikely origins of Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign and Battle of Kernstown, and Richard Parker explained how the Confederate troops were "Fighting on Fumes" at Glorieta Pass.
That concludes part one of our "Week in Review" but check back in a few hours for Part 2!
Laura June Davis, Contributing Editor
Photo Credit: Stan Carroll and The Commerical Appeal.