The Front Line

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

Published 7/30/2018

“Martyrs” to Their Cause: John Brown, Edmund Ruffin, and Harpers Ferry

By: John Grady Category: Articles

Long before the tumult and rage in Charlottesville last year over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park, and a fear that white supremacists and antifa militants would turn any future confrontation into a bloodier event there, Virginia was braced for an even deadlier showdown in the fall of 1859. Thousands of troops had poured into Jefferson County, on orders to repel with force...

Published 7/2/2018

The Best Gettysburg Books

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

What are the five best books about the Battle of Gettysburg (nonfiction or fiction)? We asked six Civil War historians for their answers.

Published 6/25/2018

Whither Public History?

By: John Coski Category: Articles

Public history is presented in museums and historical societies; at monuments or national, state, and local parks. John Coski writes about how this public history message, particularly that of the Civil War, is changing.

Published 5/2/2018

Battlefield Echoes: MOPs, MOEs, and Chancellorsville

By: Ethan S. Rafuse Category: Articles

In the aftermath of his army’s defeat at Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee welcomed a brother of Secretary of War James Seddon to Army of Northern Virginia headquarters. Curious

Published 4/20/2018

The Best Civil War Books of 2017

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

The Books & Authors section of our Winter 2017 issue contained our annual roundup of the year's best Civil War titles. As usual, we enlisted the help of a handful of Civil War historians and enthusiasts, avid readers all, and asked them to pick their two favorite books published in 2017. Below are their picks.

Published 4/6/2018

Beyond the White Man's Iliad

By: Mark Grimsley Category: American Iliad

The Confederate monument controversy that has exploded in recent months raises fundamental questions about the American Iliad. The removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, is only the best known of several examples that place these questions before us.

Published 3/17/2018

St. Patrick's Day in the Army

By: Josiah Marshall Favill Category: In the First Person

On March 17, 1863, Josiah Marshall Favill, a young lieutenant in the 57th New York Infantry, was one of many soldiers in the Army of the Potomac to observe the elaborate St. Patrick's festivities being hosted by General Thomas Francis Meagher and the men of the Irish Brigade. When he returned to his regiment's camp later that day, Favill recorded the following observations in his diary: 

Published 3/16/2018

Extra Voices: Tobacco

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of the Spring 2018 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted first-person quotes from Union and Confederate troops about the use of tobacco among soldiers and civilians. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that didn't make the cut.   

Published 3/9/2018

The Eisenhower Farm during the Battle of Gettysburg

By: Dennis Edward Flake Category: Articles

While not commonly looked upon as part of the battlefield, the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, played a significant role during the second and third days of the fighting at Gettysburg.

Published 2/23/2018

The West's Missing War

By: Megan Kate Nelson Category: Stereoscope

Why is the Civil War mostly absent in one of our most beloved film and television genres?