Mississippi: The Past That Has Not Died

Both of the pictures shown, here—the ruined ante-bellum plantation, the defiant young Confederates under their battle flag—speak volumes about the turbulent state of Mississippi, for both are a little fraudulent. Windsor plantation was built only in 1861, when the state was new-rich in cotton; Mississippi was opened up too late to have a true “Old South” tradition. The young men are students at “Ole Miss,” jeering at the idea of allowing a lone Negro named James Meredith to enter this seat of learning in 1962.

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The fabric of history is often woven of surprising threads: the chance meeting, the extravagant whimsey of fate. No better illustration of this can be found than the string of events surrounding the table in Wilmer McLean’s parlor upon which Ulysses S. Grant drew up the terms that brought the Civil War to a close. Read more »

A Civil, And Sometimes Uncivil, War

A Union veteran talks of life in a prison camp: it was bad, yet there were times one could recall happily

The reality of the Civil W;ir prison camp has long .since gone from Ii u man knowledge, The camps themselves have vanished, although in a few places there are quiet parks to mark their sites, each with a cemetery: thousands of men died. North and South, in those camps, and the headstones are there as reminders. Rut the names that once were so terrible, Andersonville and Elmira, Libby and (lamp Douglas and the rest, are just Civil War names now, out of a past that no one really remembers. Read more »

Heritage Of The War

From the American Civil War to the beginning of America’s involvement in the Second World War is a long time, and the two things apparently have very little relation with one another.Read more »

“Bull Run” Russell

The first modern war correspondent won a nickname, much Northern ill will, and a lasting reputation out of his account of a famous battle

Shortly after dawn on a pleasant midsummer morning just a century ago, a two-horse gig drew up in front of private lodgings on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington. Inside the house a stout, middle-aged gentleman finished his cup of tea, put more tea in a container, picked up a paper of sandwiches and a bottle of light Bordeaux, and then thoughtfully stopped to fill his brandy Mask. A moment later, clad in a khaki “Himalayan” suit, a brown felt hat, and an old pair of boots, the man appeared on the street to inspect the vehicle.

Lincoln Takes Charge

His shrewd handling of the Radical Republican bid for power at the end of 1862 established him as the unquestioned leader of the Union

The North sustained its most tragic single defeat in the Civil War on December 13, 1862, when waves of blue infantry under General Ambrose E. Burnside, in assault after assault, were flung back from the heights behind Fredericksburg, Virginia. The total battle casualties of the Union Army reached nearly thirteen thousand; never were men left in bloody windrows by a more senseless and futile operation. As the news and casualty lists fell upon the Union, the press, politicians, and public burst out in clamorous denunciation of the Administration.

The Bloodiest Man In American History

On the flaming Kansas-Missouri border the name of Quantrill struck terror in men’s hearts. He was a cruel and ruthless guerrilla who burned, robbed, and killed without mercy; but legend made of him a hero dashing and bold


We like to think of the Civil War as the last romantic war—as a sort of gallant duel between gentlemen. There was a certain aura of “swords and roses” in the East, but west of the Mississippi, that neglected area of Civil War history, quite a different atmosphere prevailed. Here the fighting was grim, relentless, and utterly savage—a “battle to the knife, and the knife to the hilt.”

“See Those Men! They Have No Flag!”

This previously unpublished account of Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas, was written by Miss Sophia L. Bissell, who with her parents, her sister Arabella, and her brother-in-law, Henry C. Lawrence, was living there on that fateful Angust 21, 1863. Many years later, back in her native Sufffield, Connecticut, Miss Bissell set down her memories of the event; they appear here by courtesy of her great-grandnephew, Edward W. Lawrence of Dover, Massachusetts.—Ed.

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August 21, 1863

There Was Another South

Was the old South solidly for slavery and secession? An eminent historian disputes a long-cherished view of that region’s history

The stereotype of the South is as tenacious as it is familiar: a traditionally rebellious region which has made a dogma of states’ rights and a religious order of the Democratic party. Here indeed is a monotonous and unchanging tapestry, with a pattern of magnolia blossoms, Spanish moss, and the inevitable old plantations running ceaselessly from border to border. To this depiction of almost willful backwardness, add the dark motif of the Negro problem, a few threads of poor white, and the picture is complete.

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Narrative Of An Escape From A Rebel Prison Camp


On April 20, 1864, the Union outpost at Plymouth, on the North Carolina coast, was captured by the Confederates. One of several thousand prisoners was a twenty-one-year-old officer named Morris C. Foote, who made a break for freedom after seven months in captivity. After the Civil War was over, he wrote an account of his adventures for his family and friends.


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