The Front Line

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

Published 2/18/2019

Announcing Emerging Scholars Program Speakers

By: Zethyn McKinley Category: News & Events

The Civil War Monitor is proud to sponsor The American Civil War Museum’s upcoming Emerging Scholars Program. As part of the museum’s grand opening events on May 4, a series of pop-up talks will highlight the work of the next generation of Civil War-era thinkers. Each talk will be short and informal and include time for questions.

Published 2/15/2019

A Menu of Historic Proportions

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

On March 6, 1865, two days after he delivered his second inaugural address to a massive crowd gathered on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Abraham Lincoln hosted a "Presidential Inaugural Ball" in Washington, D.C. As evidenced by the event's "Bill of Fare," shown below, diners had quite a variety of options to choose from.

Published 12/31/2018

New Year's Eve in Camp

By: William Thompson Lusk Category: In the First Person

On New Year's Eve 1862, 24-year-old William Thompson Lusk, a captain in the 79th New York Infantry—a regiment known as the "Highlanders" for its predominently Scottish-American makeup—penned the following letter to his sister Lillie at the family home in Connecticut. In his ambivalence about the year gone by and the one to come, Lusk was not unlike countless thousands of other Civil War...

Published 12/17/2018

Emancipation on Stage

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Stereoscope

One weekend last October, my husband and I drove several hours to Portland, Maine, to see a play about lawyer and Civil War general Benjamin Franklin Butler. The stage was stacked with moving boxes, a rolled-up rug, several pieces of unhung artwork, and a large desk piled with papers. Brickwork archways soared overhead, bolstering the stage roof. Ben Butler, by playwright Richard Strand and staged...

Published 12/9/2018

The Best Civil War Books of 2018

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

With the help of a handful of Civil War historians and enthusiasts, here is our compilation of their favorite Civil War books published in 2018.

Published 12/3/2018

Interview: Emerging Scholars at American Civil War Museum

By: Zethyn McKinley Category: Interviews

As proud sponsors of American Civil War Museum’s upcoming Emerging Scholars program—set to occur next May during the grand opening of the museum’s new facility in Richmond—we thought we would sit down with Madeline Wood, ACWM’s digital engagement manager, and Stephanie Arduini, director of education & programs, to learn more about their plans for the big day.

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...