Blogs

Published 4/19/2021

Kissing and Kicking Ass

By: Tracy L. Barnett Category: Articles

A long-used vulgarity takes on new life during the Civil War ...

Published 4/16/2021

War's Early Days

By: Mary Boykin Chesnut Category: In the First Person

Two days after the fall of Fort Sumter, 38-year-old South Carolinian Mary Boykin Chesnut sat down with her journal—something she'd done faithfully since the beginnig of the secession crisis and would continue to do through the entirety of the Civil War. She'd been in Charleston during the bombardment before returning to her home in Camden, South Carolina. What follows are her first two post-...

Published 4/15/2021

"The First Gun is Fired"

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

Published three days after the fall of Fort Sumter in April 1861, "The First Gun is Fired: May God Protect the Right" is known to be the first song written specifically about the Civil War. Penned by George F. Root, who would go on to author over 30 songs about the conflict—including the famed "The Battle Hymn of Freedom"—"The First Gun" would garner a wide audience throughout the North. ...

Published 4/14/2021

KEMPF: What Though the Field Be Lost (2021)

By: Kent Gramm Category: American Iliad

"What Though the Field Be Lost" sees the past and present together in their deadly, alien, sometimes ironic and sometimes enlightening embrace.

Published 4/9/2021

Word-Clouding Lee's and Grant's Farewell Addresses

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

On the night of April 9, 1865, only hours after surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Robert E. Lee sat around a fire with a group of his officers outside his tent. One of the men with Lee that evening was his military secretary, Colonel Charles Marshall, who later recalled the scene. “[A]fter some conversation about the army, and the events of the day, in which his...

Published 4/7/2021

STOKES (ed.): Incidents in the Life of Cecilia Lawton (2021)

By: Ashley Towle Category: Book Reviews

"Incidents in the Life of Cecilia Lawton" brims with nostalgia for the antebellum South, teems with malice for Sherman, and articulate the fear and loath white Southerners harbored for freepeople...

Published 4/5/2021

Extra Voices: Shirkers

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of the Spring 2021 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted quotes by Union and Confederate soldiers about shirking. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut.

Published 3/31/2021

JEFFREY: First Chaplain of the Confederacy (2020)

By: Caleb W. Southern Category: Book Reviews

Katherine Bentley Jeffrey's "First Chaplain of the Confederacy" reminds us of the nuanced role Catholics played in the Confederate and Reconstruction South.

Published 3/29/2021

A Reconstruction Bookshelf

By: Brooks D. Simpson Category: Articles

It’s safe to say that while many Americans take a great interest in the battles and leaders of the Civil War, far fewer are familiar with the events of Reconstruction, the dozen years after the conflict. Moreover, much of what people do know about this time—when the federal government attempted to rebuild the country and define the meaning of freedom for millions of former slaves—comes from...

Published 3/24/2021

SMITH: In the Shadow of Gold (2020)

By: Sarah Kay Bierle Category: Book Reviews

Michael Smith's "In The Shadow of Gold" is a historical novel for our own challenging times.

Published 3/22/2021

The Hands-On Historian

By: Jenny Johnson Category: Living History

National Archives staffer Bryan Cheeseboro keeps finding ways to touch history.

Published 3/17/2021

St. Patrick's Day, 1863

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Photo Essays

Artist Edwin Forbes was present to sketch the elaborate St. Patrick's Day festivities that were held in the camp of the Irish Brigade in 1863.

Published 3/17/2021

WILLIS: The Black Civil War Soldier (2021)

By: Cecily N. Zander Category: Book Reviews

Deborah Willis' "The Black Civil War Soldier" is a reminder of one of the most compelling stories of the conflict: the efforts of more than 180,000 African American soldiers to fight for freedom.

Published 3/10/2021

LEVINE: Thaddeus Stevens (2021)

By: Brian Matthew Jordan Category: Book Reviews

Bruce Levine's "Thaddeus Stevens" is the first major biography of The Great Commoner in nearly a quarter century.

Published 3/3/2021

PALENCIA: 'On Rising Ground' (2021)

By: George C. Rable Category: Book Reviews

"On Rising Ground" is a well-researched, well-written, and always empathetic account of a very ordinary soldier and his family.

Published 2/26/2021

Letters Home: Correspondence from Men at War

By: Peter S. Carmichael Category: Articles

We would like to believe that Civil War letters transport us back to the historical reality of the camp and the battlefield. These letters are not, however, transparent windows into the past. They are products of men struggling to depict a situation that was radically different than anything they had endured before. We would also like to believe that soldiers wrote candidly about what they were...

Published 2/24/2021

SEIDULE: Robert E. Lee and Me (2021)

By: Brian Matthew Jordan Category: Book Reviews

An effective antidote to the Lost Cause, Ty Seidule's "Robert E. Lee and Me" deserves both a wide readership and a place on undergraduate syllabi.

Published 2/17/2021

MUELLER: Ambitious Honor (2020)

By: Aaron David Hyams Category: Book Reviews

In "Ambitious Honor," James Mueller has managed to find something new to say about George Armstrong Custer.

Published 2/10/2021

WRIGHT: Bonds of Salvation (2020)

By: Caleb W. Southern Category: Book Reviews

With "Bonds of Salvation," Ben Wright has convincingly demonstrated the importance of religious denominations to the lives of early Americans and the nation as a whole.

Published 2/3/2021

ARRINGTON: The Last Lincoln Republican (2020)

By: Brian Matthew Jordan Category: Book Reviews

Benjamin T. Arrington's "The Last Lincoln Republican" is a superb new study of Garfield's dark horse race for the Executive Mansion.