The Front Line

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

Published 10/8/2015

Embattled Banner: A Conversation with Tony Horwitz

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Commentary

To help make sense of the recent developments regarding the Confederate battle flag, we sat down with Tony Horwitz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic. His insightful 1998 book details his yearlong travels through...

Published 6/1/2015

Trial of a Confederate Terrorist

By: John Grady Category: Commentary

The trial of John Yates Beall, accused of attempting to derail a passenger train in Buffalo, NY, stands in a class alongside the trials of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, with ramifications that echo today in the cases of those men held at Guantanamo.

Published 11/3/2014

Yankee Runaways

By: Dan Crofts Category: Commentary

On November 3, 1864 Major Charles P. Mattocks and two comrades slipped away from a Confederate prison camp outside Columbia, South Carolina, hoping to cross three hundred miles of mountains and hostile terrain to reach Union lines in East Tennessee.

Published 10/13/2014

The Death of Roger B. Taney

By: Jonathan W. White Category: Commentary

The death of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a name almost as indelibly tied to the Dred Scott decision as Scott's own, was met with various reactions both North and South when it happened 150 years ago on October 12, 1864.

Published 7/21/2014

Terry's Texas Rangers

By: Kate Dawson Category: Commentary

Terry's Texas Rangers went into the Civil War with a reputation they had not earned, but left it with one that lingers to this day.

Published 6/30/2014

Inside the Photographer's Studio

By: Jonathan W. White and Hailey House Category: Commentary

Historians and students of Civil War photography get only rare glimpses inside the photographer's studio, but a few trial transcripts from the National Archives reveal more than what the camera caught.

Published 6/9/2014

Hunter Davidson and the "Squib"

By: John Grady Category: Commentary

As a graduate of and former instructor at the US Naval Academy, Confederate Lieutenant Hunter Davidson understood the Union Navy, as well as how submersible vessels and spar torpedoes could be used to exploit its weaknesses.

Published 5/26/2014

The First Civil War Monument

By: Jonathan W. White Category: Analysis

In 1861, the town of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, dedicated a monument to the soldiers of the Revolutionary War while acknowledging the patriotism of Union troops engaged in a new conflict.

Published 5/5/2014

What Should Historians Make of "Black Confederates?"

By: Glenn Brasher Category: Analysis

The stories on which Confederate apologists draw to verify the existence of "Black Confederates" were created by northern emancipationists for a very different goal.

Published 3/24/2014

The Death of Jim Jackson and the Oxymoron of "Postbellum" Missouri, 1865-1866

By: Matthew C. Hulbert Category: Commentary

In June 1865, Jim Jackson - one of Missouri's more notorious Confederate guerrilla commanders - made haste for the Illinois line...