Blog

Published 5/31/2012

Form follows Function: Changing Audiences Bring Changes to Interpretations

By: Craig Swain Category: Analysis

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?

Published 5/1/2012

Revising, Refreshing, Evolving Battlefield Interpretation

By: Craig Swain Category: Analysis

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.

Published 3/27/2012

Then and Now: Pope's Canal to New Madrid

By: Craig Swain Category: Analysis

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.

Published 1/24/2012

What Robert E. Lee Didn't Do After Appomattox

By: M. Keith Harris Category: Analysis

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 once publicly uttered a...

Published 1/12/2012

Looking Back...Just Fifty Years

By: Craig Swain Category: Analysis

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.

Published 1/5/2012

A Soldier's Forty Winks

By: Jim Schmidt Category: Analysis

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.

Published 11/8/2011

A Regiment of Inventors

By: Civil War Monitor Category: Analysis

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:

Published 10/18/2011

"Coal for the Furnaces is as important as Gunpowder for the Guns"

By: James M. Schmidt Category: Analysis

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...

Published 10/4/2011

"It made us an 'is'."

By: Andy Hall Category: Analysis

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

Published 9/29/2011

A War of Words

By: Amy Murrell Taylor Category: Analysis

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 isn’t going away anytime soon, because...

Published 9/27/2011

Texas SCV Calls for a New Strategy

By: Andy Hall Category: Analysis

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.

Published 9/21/2011

These Sacred Fields: Union Commemorations at Gettysburg

By: M. Keith Harris Category: Analysis

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 one of...

Published 9/21/2011

We Cannot Know Their Minds

By: Andy Hall Category: Analysis

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for the tremendous, abiding interest Americans have with the Civil War is that a great many of us have a personal connection to it. We have uncles who fought in it, cousins who were widowed by it, or grandparents who were liberated by it. We live in towns that changed hands during the war, went to high schools named for famous generals, or help put out flags on...