From the Archives

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 12/20/2019

Extra Dossier: William T. Sherman

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

A panel of historians weighs in on the best qualities of William T. Sherman.

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 12/15/2017

Civil War Cabbage Stew

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

Looking for a hearty meal to help fend off winter's cold? Try this Civil War-era recipe for cabbage stew.

Published 6/23/2017

Extra Voices: Bad Officers

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

In the Voices section of the Spring 2017 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted first-person quotes about some Union and Confederate officers who weren't much admired by their contemporaries. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut. 

Published 1/18/2017

Extra Dossier: Robert E. Lee

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

For the Dossier section of the Summer 2015 issue of The Civil War Monitor, we asked a panel of Civil War historians a series of questions about Confederate general Robert E. Lee, from what they considered to be his best and least impressive battlefield performances to their favorite book about him. Due to space constraints, we weren't able to publish all of our

Published 12/1/2016

Extra Voices: Curses

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

In the Voices section of the Winter 2016 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted first-person quotes about some of the colorful oaths uttered by soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut.

Published 9/15/2016

How 'bout them apples

By: Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

Autumn is almost here and so are apples. Below is an apple pie recipe from the Civil War era to help you enjoy the season.

Published 6/9/2016

Extra Voices: Souvenirs

By: Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

In the Voices section of our spring 2016 issue, we highlighted first-person quotes about the quest for battlefield souvenirs. Here are some that didn't make the cut.

Published 10/9/2013

Civil War Amputation...In Their Own Words.

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Throughout the Civil War, surgeons performed approximately 60,000 amputations---the most common battlefield operation. Such drastic measures were a consequence of the damage caused by Mini? balls which often shattered and splintered soldiers? bones.

Published 6/26/2012

The Intrepid

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

This week marks the sesquicentennial of the Seven Days' Campaign. As such, we thought we would bring you this image of the Intrepid—one of the Union Army Balloon Corps' aerial reconnaissance balloons.

Published 6/22/2012

The Railsplitter

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter officially hits movies. As such, we thought it fitting to pay tribute to the original Railsplitter?as opposed to the axe wielding vampire killer

Published 6/18/2012

The Cumberland

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! Today we bring you an 1862 poem by Herman Melville entitled, "The Cumberland." Written in March of 1862, Melville lyrivally referenced the fateful sinking of the USS Cumberland by the CSS Virginia during the Battle of Hampton Roads at Newport News, Virginia on March 8, 1862.

Published 5/21/2012

Lorena

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

One of the most popular Civil War songs was Lorena. Reverend Henry D. L. Webster first penned the lyrics in 1856 after his fianc?? Ella Blocksom?ended their engagement. However, in his version, the protagonist was named Bertha. A few years later, J.P. Webster?who was not related to Henry Webster?sought words to a musical piece he was composing.

Published 5/14/2012

Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The following Walt Whitman poem??Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night??reminds us of the tangible, human costs of war. Whitman often found the wholesale anonymity of the war dead disturbing; therefore poems like "Virgil" were his way to ensure that the battlefield dead found individual recognition.

Published 5/5/2012

...And They're Off..

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

In honor of the Kentucky Derby, we bring you this image of Civil War era horse racing courtesy of Frank Leslie.

Published 4/30/2012

The Dying Confederate's Last Words

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

A poetic tribute to a dying Confederate from Maryland.

Published 4/12/2012

Voice from the Past: "Another Bloodless Victory"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

In belated honor of the fall of Fort Pulaski (April 11, 1862), we bring you Miss Susan Walker's account of the battle:

Published 4/7/2012

Voice from the Past: "Those Savage Yells, And The Sight of Thousands of Racing Figures Coming Towards Them"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

We close our Shiloh sesquicentennial celebration with Henry Morton Stanley’s recollection of the battle and the effectiveness of the legendary rebel yell.

Published 4/7/2012

Voice from the Past: "Victory is Sufficiently Complete...Victory is Lost"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our sesquicentennial celebration of the Battle of Shiloh continues with an excerpt from Confederate Colonel S.H. Lockett's account of the battle printed in Battles and Leaders. It recalls how quickly the tide turned for the southern forces.

Published 4/6/2012

The Drummer Boy of Shiloh

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

One of the legends of Shiloh was of a young drummer boy who died on the battlefield. Cast as a young lad who had run away from home to seek adventure...

Published 4/6/2012

Voice from the Past: "Terrible Tales of the Scenes in Corinth"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

In honor of Shiloh's sesquicentennial, we bring you the following voice from the past. Taken from the April 9, 1862 diary of Kate Cumming, it recounts the battle's deadly aftermath.

Published 4/2/2012

Three Hundred Thousand More

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon! Today we bring you an 1862 song written by John S. Gibbons, to aid Lincoln's call for 300,000 more Union troops. It first appeared in the New York Evening Post.  

Published 3/30/2012

Song of a Southern Prisoner to the Ladies of Baltimore

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Friday! We close Women's History Month with this song, entitled "Southern Prisoner. Gives His Thanks to the Baltimore Ladies." 

Published 3/27/2012

Song of the Southern Women

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

O ABRAHAM LINCOLN! We call thee to hark To the song we are singing, we Joans of Arc; While our brothers are bleeding we fear not to bleed, We?ll face the Red Horror should there be need

Published 3/26/2012

Women's Work

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon! Today's Women's History Month tribute is a Harper's Weekly image entitled "Filling Cartidges at the United States Arsenal at Watertown, Massachusetts." It is a reminder that the war dramatically altered gender norms, forcing women to assume uncoventional tasks to help the war effort.

Published 3/21/2012

"I will not attempt to hamper you with any minute instructions."

By: Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

In March 1862, General Henry Halleck granted General John Pope much latitude in operations to reduce Confederate defenses at Island No. 10 along the Mississippi. Halleck's correspondence provides a broad and succinct assessment of Federal operations in the West.

Published 3/20/2012

The Infamous "Woman Order" of Occupied New Orleans

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon! Earlier today, we shared an image of a Baltimore woman flaunting her Confederate sympathies which drew parallels to the actions of the women of Union-occupied New Orleans. Therefore, we thought it fitting to continue our Women's History Month celebration by posting Major General Benjamin Butler's Infamous General Orders No. 28:

Published 3/20/2012

Southern Belle or Female Rebel?

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! In honor of Women's History Month we thought we would share this Harper's Weekly image (shown to the left). Along with the front page illustration the authors of Harper's Weekly provided the following commentary:  

Published 3/19/2012

Patriotic Mail

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon! Our Women's History Month celebration continues with an image of one of the era's patriotic envelopes. Used to both boost morale and support the war effort, envelopes like the one below often depicted women and the hardships they endured as wives and mothers to soldiers.

Published 3/16/2012

The Wild Rose of the South

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon! Today's Women's History Month tribute is of Rose O'Neal Greenhow---also known as "Wild Rose"---the famed Confederate spy. Born in Maryland in 1817, little is known of her early years.

Published 3/15/2012

A Lady and A Diary from Dixie

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! Our Women's History Month celebration continues with this tribute to Mary Boykin Chesnut. 

Published 3/12/2012

The Women in Black

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Last fall, J. David Hacker revealed that the number of Civil War dead is closer to 750,000 than the previously accepted number of 618,222. While not all of them were married, many in fact did leave behind wives and children to pick up the pieces after war's end. Today for Women's History Month, we honor the hundreds of thousands of Civil War widows with this Frank Leslie drawing entitled, "Women...

Published 3/9/2012

Voice from the Past: "In the Monitor Turret"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good afternoon. In honor of the Battle of Hampton Roads, we bring you another Voice from the Past—this time from the Union perspective. The following is Commander S. Dana Greene's account of the battle as printed in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War:

Published 3/9/2012

The Rebel Lady's Boudoir

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Friday and Happy Women's History Month! We continue our homage to Civil War women with this provokative—and morbid—drawing from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper:

Published 3/9/2012

Voice from the Past: "How These Powerful Machines Are To Be Stopped Is A Problem I Can Not Solve"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! We continue our celebration of the Battle of Hampton Roads with another "Voice from the Past." The following is Confederate Major General Benjamin Hunger's report on the famed battle of the ironclads and its corresponding impact on naval warfare:

Published 3/8/2012

The Women Who Went to the Field

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating the work and poetry of famed Civil War nurse Clara Barton. Born Clarissa Harlowe Barton, Barton was a true patriot and pioneer; not only did she risk her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field but in 1881, at the age of 60, she founded the American Red Cross. Barton wrote the following poem as a toast for an 1892 gala...

Published 3/8/2012

Voice from the Past: "Great God What a Scene is Presented"

By: Civil War Monitor Category: From the Archives

Great God what a scene is presented, The mangled trunks of men are thickly scattered around. From each tree or sheltering rock the groans of the wounded arise. Muskets, saddles, horses, blankets, hats and clothes hang on every bush, or in gory manner strew the ground. And now in the valley to the right ten thousand wild cheers proclaim the victory ours. Dead horses, dead men and dismounted guns,...

Published 3/8/2012

Voice from the Past: "Nothing to Remind me of The Treacherous Days in March of '62"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good Morning! The sesquicentennial of the Battle of Pea Ridge continues today. As such, we bring you a special Voice from the Past: Asa Payne’s—of Company E, 3rd Missouri Infantry, 1st Missouri Brigade—remembrance of the battle, written in 1911 after he revisited the battlefield:  

Published 3/6/2012

The Girl Soldiers of Nancy Harts Militia

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! Today's Women's History Month themed post honors Nancy Harts militia, a little known group of women from LaGrange Georgia.

Published 3/5/2012

A Poetic Tribute to Civil War Women

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

And our noble women, the soldier cries, As he wipes with his sleeve his dimming eyes, They send us clothing and food and books, And kindest letters and sweetest looks, And words of noble and lofty cheer!

Published 3/2/2012

"One Side of the War is Theirs" - The U.S. Sanitary Commission

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Founded on June 18, 1861 via federal legislation, the United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) was a private relief agency that supported sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during war. For five years (from 1861 to 1861), the volunteers of the USSC—primarily women—worked under the direction of Frederick Law Olmstead to provide food, clothing, medical supplies, shelter, and treatment to...

Published 3/1/2012

Honoring Civil War Women for Women's History Month

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today marks the first day of Women's History Month. To celebrate, The Front Line will have a month-long series of women's history posts including images, quotes, writings, and biographies. We recommend you check back often.

Published 2/28/2012

Mustering Out Continued...General Orders No. 1

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

COMRADES: The hour is at hand when we must separate forever, and nothing can take from us the pride we feel, when we look upon the history of the 'First South Carolina Volunteers,' the first black regiment that ever bore arms in defense of freedom on the continent of America.

Published 2/28/2012

Mustered Out...The U.S. Colored Troops

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Celebrating Black History Month with..."Mustered Out," Little Rock, Arkansas, April 20, 1865 by Alfred R. Waud.

Published 2/27/2012

Recruiting Black Soldiers - The Fight for Equal Rights

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

While initially sluggish, recruitment of black soldiers reached 179,000 for the Union Army and 19,000 for the Union Navy by war's end. Recruiting posters such as the one below inspired blacks to serve by appealing to their newfound sense of freedom.

Published 2/24/2012

A Request from the 36 U.S. Colored Regiment

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Black History Month celebration contines with this letter written by the 36th U.S. Colored Regiment to the commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau. Stationed near Petersburg, VA at the time, the soldiers lamented the suffering of their families living on Roanoke Island, NC.

Published 2/23/2012

Black Soldiers and the Bloody Battle of Milliken's Bend

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Commander of the District of Northeast Louisiana to the Headquarters of the Department of the Tennessee

Published 2/21/2012

Quarters for African American Soldiers

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Black History Month Celebration continues with this Harper's Weekly depiction of "Negro Quarters, Army of the James." 

Published 2/20/2012

Special Field Orders No. 15

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 15.

Published 2/20/2012

Rest in Peace Willie Lincoln

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Sad and solemn is the occasion that brings us here to-day. A dark shadow of affliction has suddenly fallen upon this habitation, and upon the hearts of its inmates. The news thereof has already gone forth to the extremities of the country.

Published 2/17/2012

Voice from the Past: "It Pleased Me Much More Than One Of Those Sentimental Things"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Valentine-themed series is coming to a close. We hope you have enjoyed reading some of these love letters from February 1862. Have a great weekend!

Published 2/16/2012

After the Battle

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Donelson concludes with this Harper's Weekly image...Seeking for the Wounded, by Torch-Light, After the Battle

Published 2/16/2012

Voice from the Past: "Ask Us to Marry Him"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

They were just as gay with us old nurses as if we had all been young. I told them, coming home, that the only omission, for St. Valentine's, had been that nobody had asked us to marry him; so they all began at once. The one-legs had the best of it, for they are sure of eight dollars a month.

Published 2/15/2012

Voice from the Past: "Absolute Naval Supremacy"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

On my return to New York, at the end of February, the North was cheered by some signal successes achieved in the West, principally by gunboats, operating on the lines of the great rivers. The greatest results have been obtained in the capture of Fort Donaldson and Fort Henry, by Commodore Foote's flotilla coöperating with the land forces. The possession of an absolute naval supremacy, of course,...

Published 2/15/2012

Voice from the Past: "My Valentine to the Best Woman in the World"

By: Laura June Davice Category: From the Archives

It has this minute struck me that this is St. Valentine's day and this will be my valentine to 'the best woman in the world' [except, perhaps, dear mother]. That is another valentine for her.

Published 2/14/2012

Voice from the Past: "A Desperate Fight at Fort Donelson"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Wed. p. m., Feb. 19, 1862, Mound City, Ill., -- There has been nothing going on here to break the monotony for a few days past except the arrival of a part of the wounded from Fort Donelson. These, with those that have previously been sent here, make about 400 of them at this hospital. A great many of them are severely wounded. They seem to be in good spirits. Surgeons have flocked in from all...

Published 2/14/2012

Voice from the Past: "To Be Your Valentine"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Valentine's Day from The Civil War Monitor. We hope you enjoy this letter from Valentine's Day, 1862.

Published 2/13/2012

From The Struggle of Slavery to the Struggle for Liberty

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Uncut sheet of twelve illustrated cards presenting the journey of a slave from plantation life to the struggle for liberty, for which he gives his life, as a Union soldier during the Civil War.

Published 2/13/2012

Voice from the Past: "The Startling Intelligence from Fort Donelson"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good morning! We have another contribution to our Fort Donelson sesquicentennial series. This excerpt is from Alfred Lewis Castleman's diary:   What a week of news, opening on us with intelligence of the capture of Fort Henry, with its...

Published 2/13/2012

Voice from the Past: "St. Valentine's Day, I believe"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

An early Valentine's greeting from all of us at The Civil War Monitor. To celebrate, all this week, "The Front Line" blog will be posting Valentine-themed Voices from the Past from 1862 and 1863. We hope you enjoy!

Published 2/12/2012

Voice from the Past: "Great Victories...At Such a Price of Blood"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

There is news to-day of great victories in progress for us. Fort Donelson is surrounded; there has been a deadly fight, and our flag waves upon the outer fortifications. It is said that the rebels must yield, as all approaches are cut off, but it is the struggle of desperation with them, as this is the key to the whole Southwest. There are victories in Missouri and in North Carolina also; more...

Published 2/12/2012

Happy 203rd Birthday Abraham Lincoln

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Published 2/11/2012

Voice from the Past: "Such Astounding Events"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Fort Donelson sesquicentennial series begins with the following entry from  John Beauchamp Jones' February, 1862 diary:

Published 2/11/2012

The Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Donelson

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

After capturing Fort Henry on February 6th, Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant advanced towards Fort Donelson. Five days of fighting ensued in which the Confederates failed to break through Grant’s lines. Finally, on February 16th, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally to Grant.

Published 2/9/2012

Black Soldiers and Lady Liberty

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Black History Month celebration continues with this 1865 drawing of a wounded Union soldier by Thomas Nast.

Published 2/8/2012

Roanoke Island...150 Years Ago

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Roanoke Island showing the position of Confederate Batteries

Published 2/7/2012

The Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Roanoke Island

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

February 7th and 8th mark the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Roanoke Island. A lesser known battle, Roanoke Island was part of Brigadier General Ambrose E. Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition and its successful outcome allowed the Union to...

Published 2/7/2012

Camp Life for African American Regiments

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Army of the Potomac-Scene in camp of Negro regiments-Method of punishment of Negro soldiers for various offences.

Published 2/6/2012

Voice from the Past: "We Had Held Out for Over Two"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

On the 4th of february the Federal fleet of gun-boats, followed by countless transports, appeared below the fort. Far as eye could see, the course of the river could be traced by the dense volumes of smoke issuing from the flotilla-indicating that the long-threatened attempt to break our lines was to be made in earnest. The gunboats took up a position about three miles below and opened a brisk...

Published 2/6/2012

Aboard a Gun Deck During the Battle of Fort Henry

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Gun-Deck of one of the Mississippi Gun-Boats Engaged in the Attack on Fort Henry

Published 2/6/2012

Voice from the Past: "The 6th Dawned Mild and Cheering"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The following is Rear Admiral Henry Walke's recollection of the Battle of Fort Henry.   

Published 2/6/2012

The Battle of Fort Henry Sesquicentennial

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today marks the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Henry, a Confederate earthern fort on the Tennessee River.

Published 2/6/2012

Honoring the 107th U.S. Colored Infantry Band

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Black History Month Celebration continues...107th U.S. Colored Infantry Band at Fort Corcoran in Arlington, Virginia, November 1865

Published 2/2/2012

Voice from the Past: Rallying with the Hearts of Lions

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The following letter is from Samuel Cabble, a private in the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry, to his wife. Cabble was a slave before he joined the army at twenty-one years of age.

Published 2/2/2012

Preparing to See the Elephant

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Preparing the Negro Soldiers to Use the Minie Rifle - Our Black History Month Celebration Continues.

Published 2/1/2012

Honoring African American Veterans for Black History Month

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Black History Month! Today and throughout the month of February, we honor those African Americans who fought in the Civil War.

Published 1/30/2012

Inboard the USS Monitor

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The above image is the USS Monitor's general plan featuring an inboard profile of the ironclad. First published in in 1862, the plan features hull cross section views, as well as views of the engine, boiler spaces, and areas below the upper deck.

Published 1/30/2012

The Launching of a Legend...the USS Monitor

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

150 years ago today, the Union Navy launched the USS Monitor, its first ironclad, from the Continental Iron Works, at Greenpoint in Long Island, New York. Construction of the Monitor began in the fall of 1861 and Swedish engineer John Ericsson was responsible for her conception and design

Published 1/26/2012

The Mighty Mississippi

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

General View of the Mississipii River from Cairo, Illinois to the mouth of the river.

Published 1/23/2012

Prisoners from the Front

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Before Winslow Homer became a famed sea-scape painter, he was a Civil War correspondent and illustrator for Harpers Weekly. The above paiting, entitled "Prisoners from the Front," (1866) was featured in an online Wall Street Journal article today entitled, "It's History (Believe It or Not)."

Published 1/17/2012

The Feminine Art of Inspiring Male Courage

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Civil War illustrator Frank Leslie often parodied the evasion of the Enrollment Act of 1863. The image above encouraged women to make men feel obligated to go and fight via the persuasive method of emasculation.

Published 1/6/2012

The Skating Season

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good Morning! Our celebration of New Year's Day 1862 comes to a close with the following image "The Skating Season - 1862."

Published 1/5/2012

Voice from the Past: "The Cheer of the Glad New Year"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good Morning! Today's Voice from the Past comes from George Michael Neese.   

Published 1/3/2012

Voice from the Past: "A Dull Day"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today's Voice from the Past comes from Alexander G. Downing. His 1862 New Years' celebration was a far cry from the revelry enjoyed by most modern day celebrants.

Published 1/2/2012

Voice from the Past: "A Great Day of Sport to Usher in the New Year"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy New Year!

Published 12/29/2011

The Great Fair

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Holidays! As we prepare to ring in the new year, it seems fitting to recall a festive occassion from 1861.

Published 12/22/2011

The Funeral of a "Gentleman Cow"

By: Andy Hall Category: From the Archives

Confederate garrison troops in Texas demonstrate against the issue of inedible rations in a distinctive way.

Published 12/20/2011

Voices from the Past: The Battle of Dranesville

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Dranesville, Virginia. While a small encounter by modern standards, at the time—December 1861—the battle made headlines and captured civilian attention. The two-hour encounter, which consisted of clumsy infantry attacks and haphazard artillery fire, pitted a few thousand Pennsylvania soldiers against a smaller contingent of Confederate...

Published 12/8/2011

Voice from the Past: The Hardest Calamities to Bear

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Among the calamities of war, the hardest to bear, perhaps, is the separation of families and friends. Yet all must be endured to accomplish our independence and maintain our self-government. In my absence from you I have thought of you very often, and regretted I could do nothing for your comfort.  

Published 12/6/2011

Image of the Day: Hope That Thing Isn't Loaded!

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

A Union volunteer strikes a (potentially tragic?) pose with a group of comrades. We hope those guys were friends!

Published 12/1/2011

Voice from the Past: 1861

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

ARM'D year! year of the struggle! No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year!

Published 11/29/2011

Celebration or Riot?

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Upon hearing the news of General George McClellan's appointment as chief commander of the Union Army, Washingtonians embarked upon a grand torch-light procession, set off a display of fire-works, and serenaded the General McClellan. The "compliment" proceeded from the soldiers of Blenker's Brigade, but numbered about 2000 infantry, two companies of cavalry, and a great number of citizens.They...

Published 11/25/2011

Voice from the Past - Thanksgiving is Over

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Black Friday! We hope you all had a wonderful (and delectable) Thanksgiving. Our final "Voice from the Past" comes from the November 1861 diary of Lucy Larcom of Nordton, Massachusetts...

Published 11/24/2011

Voice from the Past - Thankfully Keeping Thanksgiving Day

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Our Thanksgiving tribute continues. Today's "Voice from the Past" is Wilder Dwight of the Second Massachusettes Infantry Volunteers...

Published 11/23/2011

Voice from the Past - "Fleshing our teeth in a secesh gobbler..."

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Good Morning! We continue our week long Civil War Thanksgiving celebration with an excerpt from William Wheeler's November 11, 1861 letter to his mother...

Published 11/22/2011

Voice from the Past - A Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

While Americans had celebrated Thanksgiving since 1621, it was not until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued the following Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Only then, did the holiday became a national annual event, occurring on the last Thursday of November. The first observance of the Thanksgiving holiday occurred one week after the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg....

Published 11/22/2011

Voice from the Past - Thanksgiving Sensations

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Happy Thanksgiving! The following account of an 1861 Thanksgiving dinner amongst the Union army comes from a letter written by Wilder Dwight of the 2nd Massachusettes Infantry.

Published 11/15/2011

"Soldiers of Fortune, Make Us Your Game!"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

William Howard Russell was a “special correspondent” for the London Times, who travelled the North and South during the early years of the war. The exerpted quote describes a luncheon hosted by Confederate First Lady Varina Davis. While indicative of Russell's pro-Confederate views, it does call into question the scope of secession.

Published 11/15/2011

A Civil War Cattle Drive

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Beef for the Union Army Cross the Long Bridge at Washington.

Published 11/11/2011

Honoring our Veterans...Then & Now

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The Civil War Monitor editors would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of the veterans and active duty personnel of our armed services. We salute you! To remember the Civil War veterans of yesteryear...

Published 11/10/2011

Happy Birthday Marines!

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

To celebrate the 236th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps, we found this image of Civil War marines. 

Published 11/10/2011

Who Will Be Worthy of Memorialization?

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

The following cartoon is from the 9 November 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly...

Published 11/7/2011

Voices from the Past: "Sagacious Military Conjecture"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Wilder Dwight was a Lieutenant Colonel inthe 2nd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Prior to dying September 19, 1862 from wounds at the Battle of Antietam, Dwight wrote some conjectures about the events at the Battle of Port Royal.

Published 11/7/2011

Voices from the Past: "The Glorious News from Port Royal"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

After the Union victory at Port Royal, Major General George Brinton McClellan wrote the following letter to his wife, Mary Ellen Marcy McClellan.

Published 11/7/2011

Voices from the Past: "A Slow Affair"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

William Thompson Lusk (May 23, 1838 – June 12, 1897) was an American obstetrician, who left medical school to join the Union Army. Lusk participated in the Battle of Port Royal and wrote about his experiences. Unusually, Lusk did not vilify the Southern soldiers he encountered; he seemed to regard the Southerners highly, often criticizing the "Yankee hordes" who invaded the Southerners' ...

Published 11/7/2011

Voices from the Past: "The Gratifying Duty"

By: Laura June Davis Category: From the Archives

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Port Royal—one of the earliest amphibious operations of the American Civil War. The United States Navy fleet and the United States Army expeditionary force worked together captured Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, including Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island and Fort Beauregard on Phillip's Island. The following is Union Flag Officer Samuel Du ...

Published 11/4/2011

Image of the Day: The Dogs of War

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, "An Incident of Battle — A Faithful Dog Watching the Dead Body of His Master" ...

Published 11/3/2011

Sarah Morgan's Arrival in Yankee-Occupied New Orleans

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

In April 1863, 21-year-old Sarah Morgan, along with her mother and sisters, found herself on a ship headed for the city of her birth, New Orleans. The Morgan familiy had lived in Baton Rouge for years, but after Union forces took the town the previous August, they abondoned their home...

Published 10/31/2011

"They See a Ghost or Something."

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

On May 25, 1863, Union soldier David L. Day, of the 25th Massachusetts Volunteers, recorded a strange incident that occurred while his regiment was on a recent nighttime march:

Published 10/31/2011

Mrs. ("Beast") Butler's Scary Dream

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

On April 4, 1862, Sarah Hildreth Butler, wife of Union general Benjamin F. ("Beast") Butler, wrote a friend to document her recent activities on Ship Island, off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which Union troops commanded by her husband had occupied since the previous December. As she notes, a recent storm made for a particulary spooky night:

Published 10/28/2011

Are You Ready for Some (Civil War) Football?

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

Winslow Homer's depiction of Union soldiers playing "Foot-Ball" in camp. Looks harmless enough...

Published 10/21/2011

Ball's Bluff Remembered

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

One hundred fifty years ago today, on October 21, 1861, Union troops suffered a humiliating defeat in what would come to be known as the Battle of Ball's Bluff. After crossing the Potomac River to conduct a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Leesburg, Virginia, a small Union force was routed by the opposing Confederates, who drove the survivors back down the steep banks of the Potomac and...

Published 10/17/2011

Southward Bound

By: Terry Johnston Category: From the Archives

One hundred fifty years ago today—October 17, 1861—25-year-old Lieutenant W. H. Timberlake of the 8th Maine Volunteers wrote the following letter from his regiment's camp in Annapolis, Maryland. The men of the 8th had been in service little over a month at the time; four days later, they would board ships for the coast of South Carolina as part of the Port Royal Expedition.