“We Are Going To Do Away With These Boys …”

The black laborers on John Williams’ plantation never seemed to leave or complain. It took some digging to find out why

Out of the ashes and ruins of the Civil War the shadow of slavery once more crept over the South. Even while some southern Negroes tried to achieve political power, civil rights, and personal security during Reconstruction, many laborers became mired in the quicksand of debt. Booker T.

“New York Is Worth Twenty Richmonds”

One day in late October of 1864, as the Civil War was moving into its final stages, eight young men in civilian clothes arrived in New York City from Toronto by train. Though they spoke with southern accents, they were quickly caught up in the swirl of the city’s life, for there were thousands of Southerners in New York—businessmen and planters who had come north to protect their interests; families fleeing from ruin; and ex-Confederate soldiers, prisoners of war on parole, looking for a way to return home.Read more »

The Old Vets

Year by year the ranks of the G.A.R. grew thinner —but until the last old soldier was gone, Decoration Day in a New England town was a moving memorial to “the War”

The War had been over hardly two decades when I was a boy. If one had occasion to refer to it, he called it simply “the War,” for it was the only war we had had within the memory of all but a negligible few.Read more »

Of Noble Warriors And Maidens Chaste

Oriana Weems, Alma Lamour, Caroline Fitzhugh, Seth Rawbon, Netley Shiplake, Mordaunt—none of these improbable names is likely to mean anything to the modern reader, but to the generation that lived through the Civil War, and sighed and wept over the novels that it spawned, the names were as familiar as Scarlett O’Hara is to us. For these are some of the heroes and heroines of a genre of Civil War romance that flooded the market almost as soon as the shooting started. Read more »

Asa Smith Leaves The War

Edited and with an introduction

In the summer of 1861 a twenty-five-year-old resident of Natick, Massachusetts, by the name of Asa Smith set out to join the Union Army. It was not very easy to do this, because all the companies around Natick seemed to be full; eventually, on July 2, Smith managed to get into a company being raised at Watertown, and this company became part of the l6th Massachusetts Infantry.Read more »

The Miracle On Missionary Ridge

The Union stood in danger of losing an entire army at Chattanooga. Then U. S. Grant arrived, and directed the most dramatic battle of the Civil War

On October 17, 1863, aboard a railroad car in Indianapolis, Indiana, General Ulysses S. Grant met for the first time Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. The Lincoln government had suddenly come alive to the fact that one of its major forces, the Army of the Cumberland, faced imminent disaster in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and fierce Stanton, “Old Man Mars,” had hurried west to straighten things out. He and the President had picked Grant to take charge.Read more »

The Trial Of John Brown

Verdicts Of History: III -- Even his abolitionist friends thought his attack on Harpers Ferry insane, but the old Kansas raider sensed that his death would ignite the nation’s conscience.

“Judicial Circuit Court of Virginia, Jefferson County, to wit: The Jurors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in find for the body of the County of Jefferson, duly impaneled, and attending upon the Circuit Court of said county, upon their oaths do present that John Brown, Aaron C.Read more »

“Mother, I Do Not Hate To Die”

A choice between life and honor is a fearful one for any man. Here is the unforgettable story of how it was made by a twenty-one-year-old Confederate private.

The dawn seemed reluctant to break through the dismal skies over middle Tennessee on November 27, 1863, and by ten o’clock the gray clouds had given way to rain. The drops fell on soldiers of the 81st Ohio Infantry drawn up around a gallows on Seminary Ridge, just outside the town of Pulaski, and on a slender youngster in gray seated on a coffin in an army wagon that rumbled toward the hollow square of troops.

The Army Of The Cumberland: A Panorama Show By William B. T. Travis

Concerned lest history
overlook their triumphs, veterans of the Army of the Cumberland had them writ large -- on a canvas five hundred feet long.
of the Cumberland had them writ large—on a canvas
five hundred feet long

The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Civil War, and it was about as good an army as this country ever had. Its soldiers thought very well of themselves, which is one way of saying that it was a high-morale outfit, and they also thought very well of their generals, especially of the one who led them through a couple of the worst battles any army ever had: Major General William S. Rosecrans, a red-faced, excitable, hard-fighting man who was known to his troops as “Old Rosy.” Rosecrans was a good man but unlucky.Read more »

On Writing About The Civil War

It seems like a long time ago, and as a matter of fact it really was—sixteen years, roughly, which make up a fair fraction of any man’s life—but somewhere around 1950 I got into the Civil War, and now it seems time to talk about it.