About The Civil War

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION: The Home Front Map—Guide to Appalachia

By Louis Segesvary, Ph.D
Public Affairs Director • Appalachian Regional Commission
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General Lee’s Unsolved Problem

A southern writer analyzes the handicaps unwittingly laid on the general by President Davis

Long after the Civil War was over, with contemplative years for perspective, Jefferson Davis wrote that Robert E. Lee always commanded subject to his orders. The former Confederate president made quite a point of this overlordship, and held to the concept of Davis, the leader, manipulating armies and generals and the destinies of a people. Of course, Davis was right. As he made of the Confederate experiment a one-man show, technically he was Lee’s boss.Read more »

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.

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Lee Defeats Grant

IN THE WORLD OF ALTERNATE HISTORY, IT ALL CAME OUT DIFFERENTLY—AND IN AN ERA WHEN REAL HISTORY IS TAKING SOME VERY STRANGE TURNS, THE GENRE IS FLOURISHING AS NEVER BEFORE

 

On the fatal night at Ford’s Theatre, Abraham Lincoln was carrying in his billfold a Confederate five-dollar bill. It was apparently a reminder of what was at stake in his job. If he failed, the bill would have value, and the whole world would be different. It might help him flee into hiding or exile. If Pickett’s charge had carried the Union breastworks, the bill could have had value.

 
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Stonewall Jackson’s Deadly Calm

COMING TO TERMS WITH THE MOST COMPELLING AND MYSTERIOUS OF CIVIL WAR HEROES

“THERE WAS A WITHCERY IN his name,” a Mississippian wrote, “which carried confidence to friend and terror to foe,” Northerners victimized by Stonewall Jackson’s daring thrusts were hardly less laudatory. Gen. Gouverneur K.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 »

“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.