The Front Line

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

Published 5/15/2012

John Mackie: The Man and the Memory

By: Laura June Davis Category: Iron Men Afloat

One rarely thinks of the United States Marine Corps and the Civil War in the same thought. Given their small size and limited service, this is not surprising. And yet hidden away in a rarely visited section of the Richmond National Battlefield Park?Drewry?s Bluff?sits an interpretative marker honoring Corporal John F. Mackie

Published 5/15/2012

The Battle of Drury's Bluff

By: Dave Kummer Category: Iron Men Afloat

The morning of May 15, 1862 set up to be another feather in the cap of the U.S. Navy following her victories at Port Royal, South Carolina (November, 1861) and the capture of New Orleans (April, 1862). Up until then, conventional naval wisdom held that heavily fortified shore batteries were superior to standard wooden vessels. However, recent Union naval victories over Confederate forts and the...

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 5/11/2012

The "Light Guard"

By: Laura June Davis Category: Friday Funny

Today's Friday Funny is an 1861 Harper's Weekly cartoon. Entitled ?Costume Suggested for the Brave Stay-at-Home Light Guard," this sketch mockingly questions the masculinity of Union men who did not voluntarily enlist into military service.

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 5/4/2012

The Blockade on the "Connecticut Plan"

By: Laura June Davis Category: Friday Funny

Good Morning! To celebrate the end of another long work week, we bring you a "Friday Funny." Today's Civil War era cartoon is an 1862 Currier & Ives sketch entitled, 'The Blockade on the "Connecticut Plan.'"

Published 5/1/2012

Revising, Refreshing, Evolving Battlefield Interpretation

By: Craig Swain Category: Analysis

Our understanding of the battlefields, and the war itself, is often shaped by the public interpretive resources found at the site of the action. Over the years, historians improve that interpretation, mostly for the better. The refinement often challenges us to reconsider what we know about the battle to reach a more precise understanding of events.

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 4/27/2012

Bowling with Beauregard

By: Laura June Davis Category: Friday Funny

Good afternoon! Here's a little Friday Funny to celebrate the end of the work week.

Published 4/26/2012

Was Confederate Conscription an Instrument of Social Justice?

By: Andy Hall Category: Sesquicentennials

Should the Confederate Conscription Act of April 1862 be viewed as what we might today describe as an instrument of social justice? Some Confederates at the time thought so.