Stonewall Jackson’s Arm

You actually can spend a few moments in the past, if you’re willing to get out of your car—and if you’re lucky enough to meet the right guide

I have never shaken hands with a politician. I have never worked on a famous person’s house, nor have I ever witnessed a historic event. But one time I had lunch with Stonewall Jackson’s arm.

Read more »

The Destruction Of Fighting Joe Hooker

He told Lincoln he was better than any other officer on the field at Bull Run and got the Army’s top job. He built a beaten force into a proud one and stole a march on Robert E. Lee with it. He was twenty-four hours away from winning the Civil War. Then he fell apart.

“He sat in the full realization of all that soldiers dream of—triumph; and as I looked upon him in the complete fruition of the success which his genius, courage, and confidence in his army had won, 1 thought that it must have been from such a scene that men in ancient times rose to the dignity of gods.” Read more »

Getting Right With Robert E. Lee

How to know the unknowable man

In 1905, on a visit to Richmond, the noted man of letters Henry James was struck by the sight of the equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee high atop its pedestal overlooking Monument Avenue.Read more »

Lee’s Greatest Victory

During three days in May 1863, the Confederate leader took astonishing risks to win one of the most skillfully conducted battles in history. But the cost turned out to be too steep.

The ability of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson never showed itself more vividly than during three days of battle in May 1863 around a rustic crossroads called Chancellorsville. At the battle’s denouement, which might be considered the highest tide of the Confederacy, the two Virginians capped a reversal of fortunes as dramatic as any recorded in more than three centuries of American military affairs. Read more »

The Sinister Corps Of William O. Bourne

There were 281,881 Union fighting men wounded in the Civil War, and, while figures from the Confederate side are sketchy, we can safely assume that the number was at least half that. Of such men, many thousands of right-handed individuals lost their right arms—a minor footnote, perhaps, but not for men forced to alter the functional patterns of a lifetime. Read more »