The Front Line

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

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 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 12/28/2020

Goodbye to All That

By: Mark Grimsley Category: American Iliad

A southerner finds clarity in a tangle of loyalties ...

Published 12/21/2020

Extra Voices: Coffee

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of the Winter 2020 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted quotes by Union and Confederate soldiers about the importance of coffee to the troops. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut.

Published 12/7/2020

The Best Civil War Books of 2020

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

With the help of a handful of Civil War historians and enthusiasts, here is our list of the best Civil War books of 2020.

Published 11/17/2020

"The Good Lord Bird": Episode 7

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Analysis

On October 4, 2020, The Good Lord Bird, a 7-part miniseries about the life of abolitionist John Brown—based on the award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride—premiered on Showtime. We enlisted historian Megan Kate Nelson to watch and review the series, episode by episode. We'll publish her takes below, as each episode airs. 

Published 11/11/2020

"The Good Lord Bird": Episode 6

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Analysis

On October 4, 2020, The Good Lord Bird, a 7-part miniseries about the life of abolitionist John Brown—based on the award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride—premiered on Showtime. We enlisted historian Megan Kate Nelson to watch and review the series, episode by episode. We'll publish her takes below, as each episode airs. 

Published 11/3/2020

"The Good Lord Bird": Episode 5

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Analysis

On October 4, 2020, The Good Lord Bird, a 7-part miniseries about the life of abolitionist John Brown—based on the award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride—premiered on Showtime. We enlisted historian Megan Kate Nelson to watch and review the series, episode by episode. We'll publish her takes below, as each episode airs. 

Published 10/27/2020

"The Good Lord Bird": Episode 4

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Analysis

On October 4, 2020, The Good Lord Bird, a 7-part miniseries about the life of abolitionist John Brown—based on the award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride—premiered on Showtime. We enlisted historian Megan Kate Nelson to watch and review the series, episode by episode. We'll publish her takes below, as each episode airs. 

Published 10/23/2020

The Five Best Books on the Confederate Homefront

By: Anne Sarah Rubin Category: Articles

For decades, books about the Confederate homefront were often books about elite white slave-owning women—first Lost Cause-era flowery homages to their patriotism and dedication to the Confederacy, then more critical analyses drawing on the reams of letters and diaries they left behind. The homefront was often constructed as a bounded space, generally far away from the battlefield, virtually...