Week in Review: August 5th-12th
Happy Weekend! After a brief hiatus, the Week in Review is back.
Civil War in the News…
Archaeologists excavating at The College of William and Mary have uncovered the remnants of earthworks apparently dug by occupying Union troops. Recently, the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. opened a photo exhibit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, “Experience Civil War Photography: From the Home Front to the Battlefront.” On Monday, the Sullivan Museum and History Center (Northfield, VT) is opening a new exhibit, entitled “1861-1862: Toward a Higher Moral Purpose.” The Gaston County Public Library (NC) announced that it has been selected as one of 49 public libraries to host the “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory: Civil War Sesquicentennial” photography exhibition while the Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. announced a special lecture series in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Antietam to be held on Saturday September 8th. And, the Texas Historical Association and its partners placed a a monument on the Second Manassas battlefield this summer.
In preservation news, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is awarding $980,000 to help preserve 150 acres of Civil War battlegrounds in Frederick County. The Civil War Trust will be matching the funds for a total of $1.96 million. Similarly, the Civil War Trust has begun efforts to preserve more of the Cedar Mountain Battlefield. While 150 acres of the battlefield are already preserved, the Trust is seeking $120,000 in private donations to buy another six acres. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Historical Society recently received a $178,000 Landmarks of American History and Culture grant to host two weeklong teacher workshops called “Torn Within, Threatened Without: Kentucky and the Border States in Civil War America” in the summer of 2013. And, the Special Collections of Washington and Lee University’s Leyburn Library is now home to more than 150 Civil War-era newspapers courtesy of Fred Farrar.
In other news, Entertainment Weekly recently released an exclusive image of Daniel Day Lewis (shown left) in full costume and makeup for the forthcoming Lincoln movie due out this fall. And while not Civil War specific, the history community-at-large is mourning the loss of Sir John Keegan, renowned international military historian, who died August 2nd at age 78.
What We Are Reading…
In “Engaging Confederate Guerrillas on the Tennessee River,” Andy Hall discusses Robert S. Critchell’s memoir, Recollections of a Fire Insurance Man. Meanwhile, over on the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial, twelve year old historian Andrew Druart wrote a guest post entitled “Rubber is Not Just for Toy Ships.” Meanwhile, Robert Moore explored “Prewar Harpers Ferry in art… and some thoughts” and Keith Harris discussed “The Society of the Immortal 600 – No Monument for Morris Island.” In “Recruiting Black Soldiers in Kansas,” Donald R. Shaffer explained how in August 1862, efforts began to recruit soldiers for the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry. And, Craig Swain described “Sunset at Dogan Ridge: An Infrequently Visited Corner of Manassas Battlefield.”
Over on Disunion, C. Kay Larson explored the “Women at War”—the women who disguised themselves to fight in the Civil War, who served as battlefield nurses, and who acted as “daughters of regiments.” Christopher Phillips recounted the importance of the Ohio River Valley in “The Breadbasket of the Union.” Richard Parker and Emily Boyd recounted the “Massacre on the Nueces” and Nicole Etcheson recounted “The Two Civil Wars,” and the conflicting experiences of civilians and soldiers.
What We Are Watching…
“When General Grant Expelled the Jews”—Jonathan Sarna and Steve Roberts discuss General Grant's Order #11, which states that "The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the treasury department, and also department orders, are hereby expelled from this department upon the receipt of this order." On Civil War Memory, Kevin Levin shared the story behind the creation of the Black Brigade Monument in Smale Riverfront Park which honors the 718 black men who—after being brutally rounded up by provost guards and then set free—volunteered to build fortifications that thwarted a Confederate attack on Cincinnati. The Virginia Historical Society shared an online lecture by Gary W. Gallagher entitled, “More Important Than Gettysburg: The Seven Days Campaign as a Turning Point.” And, the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Commission finally kicked-off their Civil War sesquicentennial celebrations with a series of events. Video clips of the celebration can be viewed here.
In Case You missed It…
The big news at the Monitor has been the recent debut of “Behind the Lines”— our new video interview series that will feature prominent members of the American Civil War community-at-large. Editor and host David Thomson provides an introduction to “Behind the Lines” here. Our first video interview features Peter Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College and Director of the Civil War Institute.
Over on The Bookshelf, we have had several great book reviews. Daniel Kotzin critiqued Jews and the Civil War: A Reader edited by Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn. This collection of “seminal previously published works on this topic,” aims “to rescue and organize classic scholarship concerning Jews during the Civil War era with the hope of inspiring further interest in and research within this field.” Evan C. Rothera critiqued John Dooley's Civil War: An Irish American's Journey in the First Virginia Infantry Regiment, the first publishing of John Dooley’s entire Civil War diary. Kristen C. Brill appraised Antislavery and Abolition in Philadelphia: Emancipation and the Long Struggle for Racial Justice in the City of Brotherly Love, an edited collection of “insightful scholarly essays pivoting Philadelphia as the ideological, legislative, and social activist epicenter of the national abolitionist movement from the revolutionary era to the outbreak of the Civil War” by Richard Newman and James Mueller. Lastly, Wayne Hsieh reviewed George Henry Thomas: As True As Steel by Brian Steel Wills, stating that the work “may very well be the best explanation for the smaller volume of scholarship on the “Rock of Chickamauga.”
On The Front Line, Dan Crofts explained how four years before Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment, Republican John Sherman of Ohio argued the merits of a very different Thirteenth Amendment in “John Sherman and the Would-Be Thirteenth Amendment of 1861.” In “Munson Monroe Buford's Unfinished Civil War,” James Broomall explored how Munson Monroe Buford's Civil War did not end at Durham Station, North Carolina but instead continued, in varied forms, for the remainder of his life. Lastly, Andy Hall’s “Fantasizing Lee as a Civil Rights Pioneer” corrects the erroneous report that soon after the war, Robert E. Lee reached out in Christian fellowship to a black worshiper at Richmond's St. Paul's Episcopal Church.