The Week in Review - December 12th-16th
In the News…
Recently, The Atlantic Magazine published a Civil War commemorative issue. Online contributions include Kevin Levin’s insightful piece, “Not Your Grandfather’s Civil War Commemoration” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ provocative article, “Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?” And in preservation news, Governor McDonnell of Virginia announced that ten new Civil War Battlefield Preservation Grants will help to protect 530 acres associated with ten battlefields.
On a more distressing note, several Civil War monuments have been vandalized. In Charlottesville, someone spray painted the message "occupy will rise again" on the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park. Meanwhile, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, the mystery over a now headless Civil War monument continues to grow…as does the reward for information leading the arrest of the responsible vandal.
Around the Blogosphere…
The holidays are upon us and as such, several Civil War bloggers are writing about Christmas during the Civil War. Over at Emerging Civil War, Meg Thompson uncovered the wartime roots of the Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day.” Likewise, Thompson discussed the correlation between the Civil War and Santa Claus in “Yes, Billy, There Is a Santa Claus. No, Johnny, He Isn’t Going to Run the Blockade.” Tara McClellan McAndre also recounted “A soldier’s Christmas in the Civil War” for the Illinois Times.
In other Civil War-related posts, Brooks Simpson discussed “Robert E. Lee and Union Black POWs” on Crosswords. Over on Disunion, Karen Abbott described the “Rabbi-Chaplains of the Civil War” while Eric Herschthal wrote a piece entitled, “The Military and Me: Or, How Jews Changed the Army and the Civil War” for The Jewish Week.
In Case You Missed It...
Last week, we began a month-long tribute to Christmas 1861 on The Front Line blog. Each of these holiday-themed posts include excerpts from letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers and their families, recalling their Christmas celebrations far from home (and each other). In “Christmasday!,” Raphael Semmes recounted a Christmas celebration at sea while in “The Hardest Calamities to Bear,” Robert E. Lee lamented the separation from his family during the holidays. Ellen LeGrand Waitz described her efforts to mail Christmas packages to soldiers in “A Christmas Bundle.” And, Elisha Franklin Paxton teaser his wife that should she hear “A Loud Rap on the Door” it would be he and not Santa Claus arriving at home.
Over on The Bookshelf, we have had two new book reviews. William L. Shea reviewed Jerry Thompson’s edited collection Tejanos in Gray: Civil War Letters of Captains Rafael de la Garza and Manuel Yturri which Shea found to be one of “the most important…studies [that illuminates] the roles played by Tejanos in the Civil War” as “it allows two of those Tejanos to speak to us directly.” And, Kenneth Noe reviewed Cynthia Wachtell’s War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914. Noe asserts that “The introduction, in which Wachtell writes of the reality of war and the language authors have used to obfuscate its ugliness and describe the indescribable, ought to be required, cautionary reading for anyone setting out to write about battle.”
Lastly, we commemorated the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg with a Voice from the Past from William Thompson Lusk.
Those are the highlights for the week.
We hope you have a great holiday season.
And, don’t forget Issue 2 is now available online and in book stores!
Laura June Davis, Blog and Social Media Editor