The Front Line

Our communal blog featuring the latest in Civil War news, research, analysis, and events from a network of historians

Published 5/23/2022

Quick Picks: Civil War Photography Books

By: Ronald S. Coddington Category: Articles

Looking for good books on Civil War photography? We asked Ronald S. Coddington, author and publiser of Military Images magazine, for three books on the subject that he considers essential reads. Here are his picks: 

Published 4/28/2022

The Books That Built Me: Brian Matthew Jordan

By: Brian Matthew Jordan Category: Articles

I suppose you could say that I started researching my recently published book, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, when I was 12 years old. In 1998, I met a man from my hometown of Akron, Ohio, who spent much of his late teens and early twenties crisscrossing the Midwest in search of the last survivors of Abraham Lincoln’s armies. Nearly 70 years old and the son of a ...

Published 4/4/2022

Braxton Bragg at McLemore’s Cove

By: Andrew S. Bledsoe Category: Articles

A case study in the negative impact of dysfunctional command relationships ...

Published 3/29/2022

Voices From the Army of Northern Virginia, Part 3

By: Gary W. Gallagher Category: Articles

Several European journalists and military officers wrote about their experiences with the Army of Northern Virginia. Almost all of them, it is important to acknowledge, adopted a very favorable stance toward Robert E. Lee and his soldiers. The most quoted by far is Arthur James Lyon Fremantle,

Published 3/21/2022

Extra Voices: Mother Bickerdyke

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of the Spring 2022 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted quotes by and about famous Civil War nurse Mary "Mother" Bickerdyke. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that just missed the cut.

Published 2/28/2022

The Five Best Books on Civil War Memory

By: Matthew Christopher Hulbert Category: Articles

In his 1948 novel Intruder in the Dust, William Faulkner famously describes a Mississippi boy playing soldier—pretending to be the entire Rebel army, as it were—in the minutes preceding the disastrous Pickett-Pettigrew assault at the Battle of Gettysburg. For a fleeting moment, before James Longstreet has given the word and “it’s all still in the balance,” the boy reimagines the battle...

Published 1/18/2022

Essential Reading on the Peninsula Campaign

By: Glenn David Brasher Category: Articles

In the spring and early summer of 1862, Union general George B. McClellan’s attempt to capture the Confederate capital by advancing up the Virginia Peninsula involved the largest amphibious operation of the war, saw perhaps Robert E. Lee’s best chance to destroy the Army of the Potomac, and included frontal assaults that dwarfed the size of Pickett’s Charge. Its results led to President ...

Published 1/13/2022

Word-clouding the Emancipation Proclamation

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation—which declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free"—went into effect. Below are the words Lincoln used in his declaration. The more frequently he used a word, the larger it appears.

Published 1/12/2022

GALLMAN: The Cacophony of Politics (2021)

By: Daniel W. Crofts Category: American Iliad

J. Matthew Gallman's "The Cacophony of Politics" reports that most Northern Democrats were not traitorous Copperheads.

Published 1/4/2022

Seeing the Elephant

By: Tracy L. Barnett Category: Articles

How Civil War soldiers came to embrace a popular idiom with prewar origins in circus show business.