The Front Line

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

Published 9/23/2019

A Triple Bereavement at Cairo

By: Mary Livermore Category: In the First Person

Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, Mary Livermore, a 40-year-old native of Boston, volunteered to work for the United States Sanitary Commission in hopes of being of assistance to the Union war effort. She soon became an agent at the organization's Chicago branch (where she would eventually be promoted to co-director), in which capacity she organized a variety of aid socities and...

Published 9/20/2019

Rock of Chickamauga

By: Mark Grimsley Category: American Iliad

A look at the legacy of Union general George H. Thomas, the "Rock of Chickamauga"

Published 8/25/2019

Extra Voices: Clara Barton—The Angel of the Battlefield

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Fall 2019 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted quotes by and about nurse Clara Barton, known as the "Angel of the Battlefield." Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut.

Published 8/14/2019

Mutiny in the Army

By: William Thompson Lusk Category: In the First Person

On August 14, 1861, the sense of anger and disgruntlement that had been building among the men of the largely Scottish-American 79th New York Infantry "Highlanders" boiled over. The rank and file of the regiment, which had suffered one of the highest number of casualties among Union units engaged in the recent Battle of Bull Run (including the death of their colonel, James Cameron, brother to the...

Published 7/26/2019

History as Imagination

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Stereoscope

Anyone who has spent considerable time in research libraries or logging onto digital archives knows what it feels like to come to the end of an evidentiary road. A promising file of letters reveals huge gaps in the writers’ correspondence. A tantalizing detail in a census record leads nowhere. A diary entry ends with a page torn out. Historians must make what they can of such incomplete evidence...

Published 7/26/2019

"My Little 'Rebel' Heart Was on Fire"

By: Belle Boyd Category: In the First Person

In July 1861, only months after the outbreak of the Civil War, Belle Boyd—the 17-year-old daughter of a prosperous family in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia)—experienced a traumatic event that helped spur her to become a spy for the Confederacy. Boyd told the story of the incident—excerpted below—in her 1865 autobiography, Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison, a book considered by...

Published 6/14/2019

Extra Dossier: J.E.B. Stuart

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

We recently asked a panel of Civil War historians a series of questions about Major General James Ewell Brown "J.E.B." Stuart—a way of assessing the flamboyant cavalier's record and legacy today. And while the results were published in our Summer 2019 issue (“Dossier: J.E.B. Stuart,” Vol. 9, No. 2), space prevented us from providing all of our panelists’ answers in full detail. Below are...

Published 6/4/2019

The Best Civil War Movies of All Time

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

What are the 10 best Civil War movies? Here are the complete lists of two of our participants, which illustrate that successful historical films rely on a good story well told.

Published 4/29/2019

Emerging Scholars Speakers

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: News & Events

The American Civil War Museum's Emerging Scholars speakers describe their topic and why it is relevant to contemporary Civil War studies.

Published 3/22/2019

Map Quest

By: Jenny Johnston Category: Living History

It was a sight that stopped traffic: a 10,000-pound chunk of plaster-on-steel, 27 feet long and seven feet wide, dangling in the air as a crane operator wormed it through the second-story window of a historic building in downtown Hanover, Pennsylvania. Over the course of 12 hours, three more equally sized blocks would follow. On the street below, a scrum of news crews and locals surveyed the...