The Front Line

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

Published 11/12/2018

"A Lady of Excellent Worth"

By: Melvin Grigsby Category: In the First Person

Nearly twenty years after the end of the Civil War, Union army veteran Melvin Grigsby traveled south in hopes of locating the local woman who had aided him and other northern soldiers held at Castle Morgan prison in Cahaba, Alabama. As the following account, gleaned from Grigsby's postwar memoir, The Smoked Yank, explains, the old soldier found the woman, Amanda Gardner, living with her daughter...

Published 10/12/2018

Jackson the Magician

By: Mark Grimsley Category: American Iliad

Understanding the myth surrounding the man known as "Stonewall" ...

Published 10/8/2018

Interview: Animatronic Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial Shrine

By: Zethyn McKinley Category: Interviews

“Reflections of the Face of Lincoln,” a new exhibit that features an impressive animatronic bust of the 16th president, recently opened at the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, California.

Published 9/24/2018

Varina

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Stereoscope

A young woman in an unhappy marriage whose rise to first lady makes her both exhilarated and uncomfortable. Her much older husband, loyal only to himself and the power that the presidency will bring him. A past so riddled with lies they tell themselves that nothing is certain.           Charles Frazier’s new Civil War novel, Varina, feels strangely relevant in 2018.           The novel...

Published 7/30/2018

“Martyrs” to Their Cause: John Brown, Edmund Ruffin, and Harpers Ferry

By: John Grady Category: Articles

Long before the tumult and rage in Charlottesville last year over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park, and a fear that white supremacists and antifa militants would turn any future confrontation into a bloodier event there, Virginia was braced for an even deadlier showdown in the fall of 1859. Thousands of troops had poured into Jefferson County, on orders to repel with force...

Published 7/2/2018

The Best Gettysburg Books

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

What are the five best books about the Battle of Gettysburg (nonfiction or fiction)? We asked six Civil War historians for their answers.

Published 6/25/2018

Whither Public History?

By: John Coski Category: Articles

Public history is presented in museums and historical societies; at monuments or national, state, and local parks. John Coski writes about how this public history message, particularly that of the Civil War, is changing.

Published 5/2/2018

Battlefield Echoes: MOPs, MOEs, and Chancellorsville

By: Ethan S. Rafuse Category: Articles

In the aftermath of his army’s defeat at Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee welcomed a brother of Secretary of War James Seddon to Army of Northern Virginia headquarters. Curious

Published 4/20/2018

The Best Civil War Books of 2017

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

The Books & Authors section of our Winter 2017 issue contained our annual roundup of the year's best Civil War titles. As usual, we enlisted the help of a handful of Civil War historians and enthusiasts, avid readers all, and asked them to pick their two favorite books published in 2017. Below are their picks.

Published 4/6/2018

Beyond the White Man's Iliad

By: Mark Grimsley Category: American Iliad

The Confederate monument controversy that has exploded in recent months raises fundamental questions about the American Iliad. The removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, is only the best known of several examples that place these questions before us.