Week in Review: April 22nd-27th
Civil War in the News…
This week has mainly about commemorating the Civil War and its heroes. This weekend, the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission will unveil a Civil War Trail Marker at Admiral Farragut Park in Farragut, Tennessee—a town named after the admiral. Similarly, the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks recently announced that in June they will dedicate a marker to 11-year-old Willie Johnston, the country’s youngest Medal of Honor recipient. Next week, the descendants of Manuel Antonio Cháves, who fought at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, will dedicate a new military headstone at his recently found grave. Meanwhile, Pawn Paul Mastronardi, who is in possession of Albert Clewell’s discharge papers, blue forage cap, and medal is seeking the descendants of this 153rd Pennsylvania soldier so that he may return the items at no cost. And yesterday, the University of Georgia’s new Richard B. Russell Library displayed the Constitution of the Confederate States of America in honor of Confederate Memorial Day—a legal holiday in the state of Georgia. In entertainment news, the history series “American Ride” was in Savannah this week to film on location at Fort Pulaski. Host Stan Ellsworth explained that filming at Fort Pulaski was essential to his discussion of the Civil War: “When Fort Pulaski was bombarded by the Union Army’s then-new James Rifled cannon," he says, "it became a symbol of 19th century military technology."
What We Are Reading…
This past weekend was the annual Organization of American Historians’ Conference. While there, Peter Carmichael and Ashley Whitehead discussed the intersection of public history and the Civil War and John Rudy was kind enough to post a transcript of their talk online. Meanwhile, Scott MacKenzie explained "Why the Civil War matters to Canadians” and Amy Murrell Taylor made a guest appearance on Teaching United States History to discuss Civil War and Reconstruction. Over on Civil War Medicine (and Writing), our digital advisor Jim Schmidt discussed “The Civil War and Left-Handed Penmanship Contests.” Comic America guru Keith Harris explored “Rivers in the Confederacy” while our friends at The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial published a recap of “St. Andrews Bay Salt Works Raid Event 21-22 April 2012.” On their Facebook page, the Antietam National Battlefield published the story of a young bugler and messenger: “Heroism Knows no Age: The Story of Johnny Cook.” And on Disunion, Richard Parker explored how two brothers built a plantation empire in eastern Texas in “The Cotton Kings of Texas.”
Not surprisingly, several bloggers commented on the fall of New Orleans. Daily Observations from the Civil War reprinted a Library of Congress image in “Farragut’s Fleet passing the Forts” while on Disunion, Terry L. Jones discussed Admiral Farragut's momentous, and relatively bloodless, conquest of the Big Easy and Thom Bassett explored "The South, the War and ‘Christian Slavery,’” noting the battle's correlation to the Confederate jeremiad. Here on The Front Line, we worked in conjunction with The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial to publish a two part series on the city’s surrender. Part 1 focused on The Men and the Fighting at New Orleans while Part 2 explored the technological side of the battle in “Facing the Forts: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron.”
What We Are Watching...
The National Park service created a video to promote the 1862 Maryland Campaign and their forthcoming new web site which launches on May 19th. Meanwhile, Megan Kate Nelson (whose article "Dying in the Desert" is in the current edition of The Civil War Monitor) discussed her forthcoming book, Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War. Lastly, Brian Steel Wills and Glenn David Brasher appeared at a Virtual Book Signing™ at the Abraham Lincoln Book shop to discuss their books George Henry Thomas as True as Steel and The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom, respectively.
In Case You Missed It…
The Civil War Monitor formally announced a new joint venture with The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial entitled “Iron Men Afloat.” Our first series was on the fall of New Orleans. In addition, Andy Hall explored the mixed reception of the Confederate Conscription Act, drawing parallels to modern day interpretations of the draft. We also published a cartoon, heralding Admiral Andrew Hull Foote’s successes along the Mississippi River as a “Friday Funny.”
The Bookshelf published two new book reviews this week. Joshua D. Rothman reviewed Slavery's Ghost: The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, an edited collection by Richard Follett, Eric Foner, and Walter Johnson. Based on a lecture series at the University of Sussex’s Marcus Cunliffe Centre for the Study of the American South, Slavery’s Ghost is a “brief but thought-provoking collection of essays” that highlights the simultaneous repressive realities and resistive preservation of humanity of enslavement; the historiographic debate on the Civil War’s impact on African American life and notions of freedom; and the stark truth “that freedom could not but be beset by slavery’s awful legacy.” In addition, Jon D. Bohland reviewed James Loewen’s and Edward Sebesta’s edited collection entitled, The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The Great Truth about the Lost Cause. Bohland asserts that this is the first collection of primary sources to focus exclusively on documents related to Civil War Memory and the Lost Cause: “The book provides teachers and researchers alike with an invaluable archive of speeches, images, political papers, and memoirs that graphically reveal what the Confederacy and its post-war nostalgists actually believed about slavery, secession, race relations, and the whitewashing of the southern past.”
Those are the news and highlights of the week.
Have a great weekend!
Laura June Davis, Contributing Editor.
Image Credit: Savannah Morning News.