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The First U.S. Naval Ship Powered by Electric Motors

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The first U.S. Navy surface ship powered by electric motors was the USS Jupiter.

USS Jupiter

She was later converted into the first aircraft carrier (see image below) and renamed the USS Langley.

USSLangley

According to MIT’s site on electric ship history here, “the early electrically powered naval vessels employed two electrical systems: one for propulsion and the other for services such as lights, radar, sonar, cargo pumps, cranes and any other required systems.” After the 1940s most electric-drive ships fell out of favor because of the inefficiency of having two separate electric systems.

USSLangley

This from the Naval History and Heritage Command site here.

“USS Jupiter, a 19,360-ton collier (originally classified as a “Fuel Ship”) built at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, was commissioned in April 1913. The Navy’s first surface ship propelled by electric motors, she was an engineering prototype for the turbo-electric propulsion system widely used in Navy capital ships built during the later “Teens” and the 1920s. Jupiter provided transportation and coal carrying services for the Pacific fleet until October 1914, when she transited the Panama Canal to begin operations in the Atlantic. During the First World War, she carried cargo to Europe and supplied coal to combat and logistics forces on both sides of the Atlantic. Jupiter decommissioned in March 1920 to began conversion to an aircraft carrier. Renamed Langley in April 1920 and designated CV-1 when the Navy implemented its hull number system in July 1920, she recommissioned two years later as the first ship in the Navy’s seagoing air fleet.”

USSLangley

The damaged USS Langley.


Unfortunately, she was abandoned and scuttled after receiving Japanese bomb damage south of Java, 27 February 1942.

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History of Sea Power – Next Course Addresses Naval History

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NEXT COURSE:

I have just signed up for my next class, History of Sea Power which starts January 3rd. We’re allowed one elective in my program and, given my research interests in the naval history of the American Civil War, this one fits well.

the fight between alabama and the kearsarge

Course Description
This course is an in-depth study of the art of war at sea from Salamis to the naval operations in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and examines the expanding role of sea power in supporting operations in combating terrorism. Students evaluate the development of the classical theories of naval warfare, as reflected by Mahan, in light of today’s world conditions, threats, and roles.

I’m very excited that our professor, Stanley Carpenter, is with the U.S. Naval War College and a specialist in British military history.

BOOK LIST:

I ordered my books today and they’ll be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree. Several are available at no cost on Kindle or from other sources (http://gutenberg.org).

One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy, 1890-1990

One Hundred Years of Sea Power


The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 2nd Ed

The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery

The Command of the Ocean : Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815

The Command of the Ocean

Influence of Sea Power on Ancient History

The Influence of Sea Power on Ancient History

Influence Of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783

The Influence of Sea Power Mahan

Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

Some Principles of Maritime Strategy

Naval Power: A History of Warfare and the Sea from 1500 Onwards

Naval Power

Inside the Vaults: Discover the Civil War

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I’m always on the hunt for something new in Civil War exhibitions. The good folks at the National Archives and Records Administration have produced a brief video about their exhibition, “Discovering the Civil War” which you can view by clicking the image below.

Inside the Vaults

Inside_the_Vaults_National_Archives

In the exhibition, they “share little-known facts and extraordinary discoveries found in the incomparable Civil War holdings at the National Archives.” Many stories and documents “are shared for the first time in this exhibition, the most extensive display ever assembled from these records.” A highlight is “rarely-seen original footage from Civil War reunions in 1917 in Vicksburg, MS, and 1938 in Gettysburg, PA.”

The exhibit invites visitors to consider and ask questions about the evidence found in the records, listen to a wide variety of voices from the Civil War era, and make up their own minds about the struggle that tore apart these United States.

The exhibit will feature fascinating environments and compelling interactives, but what makes the exhibit extraordinary is surprising records. Displayed alongside famous milestone documents will be hundreds of less well-known ones, such as the unratified 1861 version of the 13th amendment, a message from a Southern governor rejecting Lincoln’s call for troops to put down the rebellion, and the Constitution of the Confederacy.

Shown in two parts in Washington D.C., Discovering the Civil War” Part One, “Beginnings,” ran from April 30, 2010, through September 6, 2010. Part Two, “Consequences,” opened November 10, 2010, at the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

After the Washington venue closes on April 17, 2011, the two parts of “Discovering the Civil War” will be combined and travel to seven additional venues around the country beginning in June 2011. I’m hopeful that Kansas City will be one of them!

The exhibition’s very fine website is accessible here.

The National Archives Discovering the Civil War

Civil War Guidebook Review: “A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War”

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A Tour Guide to Missouris Civil War

I was very pleased to receive a review copy of Gregory H. Wolk’s new book, A Tour Guide to Missouri’s Civil War: Friend and Foe Alike. This is a book that can be enjoyed by Civil War enthusiasts anywhere. Wolk provides a well crafted overview of the history that led up to the war and why that history was particularly volatile in Missouri and along its borders. Stuart Symington, Jr.’s fine “Foreward” sets the scene for Wolk’s exploration of why Missouri’s Civil War experience lasted longer and was arguably uglier than that of any other state. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that Missouri saw more Civil War battles or engagements than any state except Virginia and Tennessee. In fact, “almost half of the battles fought in 1861 occurred in Missouri.”

Wolk provides a good balance between narrative history, illustrations, maps, and photographs. Over 230 historic sites are described.

For those who want to get out and see the important sites and battlefields of the war in Missouri, Wolk provides five driving tours that include

  • St. Louis and the Southeast,
  • North Central,
  • South Central,
  • the Kansas City Region, and
  • Southwest Missouri.

He’s designed the tours as “Loop’s” that each take about two days to complete. Within each loop there are at least thirty heritage sites. Even if you don’t plan to take all of the driving tours, the book’s descriptions provide an excellent overview of the history of each region during the war era.

One of the book’s many strong points is its profiles of the fascinating individuals involved in the conflict. Readers are introduced, for example, to Lt. Colonel Frisby Henderson McCullough, the most prominent of fifteen southern men executed after the Battle of Kirksville for parole violations. Tour Stop 85 marks the “Kirksville Massacre Site” where the executions by firing squad took place on 7 August 1862 by the order of Col. John McNeil.

Frisby McCullough

Lt. Colonel Frisby McCullough

Wolk’s website and blog provide a gathering place for reference, discussion, and feedback. Visit friendandfoe.org to gain additional historical insights or to correspond with the author.

About the author: Gregory H. Wolk is a graduate of New York University School of Law and practices law in St. Louis. He is President of Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation, Inc., who’s wonderful website I reviewed here.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

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Black Soldiers, Indian Wars, and the Quest for Equality

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Men of Color to Arms!

Men of Color to Arms!

  • Hardcover
  • August 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-06039-3
  • 6.5 × 9.5 in / 336 pages

The good folks at W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. sent me a pre-release copy of Elizabeth D. Leonard’s new book, Men of Color to Arms! Black Soldiers, Indian Wars, and the Quest for Equality. As with many good books of history, Leonard chronicles the experiences of individuals including Christian A. Fleetwood, winner of the  Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Chaffin’s (Chapin’s)  Farm (Virginia, 1864). But she also sheds a light on pervasive prejudice against advancement and even recognition of the contribution of black soldiers to the war effort.

Particularly insightful is Leonard’s coverage of the role of black regulars in the clearing of the west’s natives for white settlement. This excerpt…

Elizabeth D. Leonard

Leonard

The strengthening of the fort system in Texas, and indeed all along the nation’s western frontier, and the posting of active duty soldiers at Fort Davis and a multitude of other military installations in this vast region constituted a key component of the army’s response to its postwar charge. Now that the Confederate rebellion had been suppressed and the South had been, in theory at least, reclaimed for the Union, a task of primary strategic importance for the united nation – though, in the eyes of many then and now, a morally questionable one – was to “pacify” the remaining unsettled land and Native people located within the boundaries of the United States in preparation for the advance of “American civilization. The black Regulars were to play a key role in this process. (pp. 76-66).

Leonard’s insightful overview of the Battle of Beecher’s Island is well worth a read. The Tenth Cavalry, largely black Regulars, saved the day.

The book is receiving well deserved “buzz.”  This from James M. McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom):

“Once again Elisabeth Leonard demonstrates the versatility and range of her skills as a historian and writer. This penetrating account of the black regular regiments in the U.S. army after the Civil War joins her earlier studies of women during the Civil War and the prosecutors of Lincoln’s assassins on a select shelf of important books.”

I’ll add that the book is just a pleasure to read. Highly recommend!

Elizabeth D. Leonard is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College. Other books by professor Leonard include: Yankee Women: Gender Battles in the Civil War, All the Daring of a Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies, and Lincoln’s Avengers: Justice, Revenge, and Reunion after the Civil War.

A resident of Waterville, Maine, Leonard received her M.A. in United States History from the University of California, Riverside in October of 1988 and her Ph.D. in June, 1992.

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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project – VERY COOL!

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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

I was recently contacted by a group of history educators in Pennsylvania about The Civil War Augmented Reality Project. The team (see below or the “about” link for members) has provided the following concise description of the project:

Our project, the Civil War Augmented Reality Project, is intended to enhance the experiences of visitors to Civil War sites. It is also intended to increase attendance and revenue for historic sites by offering both “high” and “low” tech experiences to best reach the majority of the population. We feel that our project is fulfilling a need that educators, park workers, technology enthusiasts, and Civil War enthusiasts have discussed in the past: How can historic sites both raise public interest in their institutions though technology, and not alienate the non-technical history fans? We have worked hard on the answer. The objective of the project is to develop and implement augmented reality services related to the American Civil War in Pennsylvania, and to modify soon to be released tablet personal computers to allow the general public a chance to experience the applications.

Full disclosure…my day job is in wireless telecommunications marketing and in the past year I’ve been involved with the launch of Blackboard MobileTM Learn on Sprint (also very cool) so this project resonates with me big time. It’s about making education relevant and fun to all generations but particularly those who grew up using wireless and internet technologies. I’m so excited about it that I’ve created a new category on my links nav bar titled History and Augmented Reality.

I encourage you to visit The Civil War Augmented Reality Project blog which you can access here. Be sure to check out the June 23rd 2010 post, What is Augmented Reality just in case this is new territory for you. It provides a good grounding in the technology and potential AR holds.

Consider donating to the funding of the project. They’ve created a fun, Civil-War flavored funding campaign on Kickstarter accessible here. Be sure to view the video they’ve prepared at this site which really makes the team’s vision come to life. I am most impressed with the AR contest concept conceived around the battle for Little Round Top. The AR app being developed will work on Android devices (this would rock on the HTC EVOTM 4G because of the screen size), iPhonesTM, and undisclosed soon to launch tablet PCs which have cameras. The team points out that while the Apple iPadTM has driven adoption of tablets, it falls short for AR use because it lacks a camera).

The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

Hats off to the team leads for The Civil War Augmented Reality Project which includes:

Jeff Mummert- Hershey High School and York College of Pennsylvania
Art Titzel- Hershey Middle School
Jay Vasellas- Red Lion Area High School and York College of Pennsylvania

Sprint is the trademark of Sprint. Blackboard and Blackboard Mobile are the trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackboard, Inc. iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple, Inc.

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Civil War Naval History Thesis Topic and New Book Acquisition: Union Jacks

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I’m narrowing down my thesis topic. I plan to examine the Civil War experience of those who enlisted in the navy under the rank of “Boy” including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class who were under the age of eighteen. From what I’ve seen to date, this is an area not extensively researched. As is always true with the beginning of a research project, I’m gathering a list of sources. If you have any recommendations, PLEASE don’t hesitate to let me know

Union Jacks

I’ve acquired several books in support of the topic above, some directly related, some peripherally so. I’ll be highlighting these in individual posts. First up, Union Jacks: Yankee sailors in the Civil War by Michael J. Bennett. This book is extremely good. Bennett’s bibliography is excellent as is his use of primary resources including several diaries of “Boy” ranked sailors. It is clear that Bennett did a superb job of researching this topic which resulted in a doctoral dissertation from Saint Louis University.

The book won several awards including the 2004 John Lyman Book Award in United States Naval History, North American Society for Oceanic History and the 2004 Fletcher Pratt Literary Award, Civil War Round Table of New York.  The latter puts him in the company of historians like Bruce Catton (1956 for This Hallowed Ground: The Story of the Union Side of the Civil War and 1969 for Grant Takes Command, Shelby Foote (1963 for The Civil War: A Narrative – Vol. 2 and 1974 for The Civil War: A Narrative – Vol. 3) and Steven E. Woodworth (1995 for Davis and Lee at War). Good company.

Union Jacks

I am quite confident that a trip to the National Archives will become a necessity so that I can examine the muster roles and rendezvous (naval recruiting station) reports.

NARAtions: The Blog (and Wiki) of the United States National Archives

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I am adding  NARAtions to my blogroll along with other sites that help me with my research. I’m sure this won’t be news to many of you but NARAtions is, as my article title suggests, the U.S. National Archives blog. The stated purpose…

We began this blog because we are hoping to talk with you about online public access to the records held by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).   We care about improving your researcher experience.

There are currently seven bloggers most of whom appear to be “history geeks” – a phrase I use only with the utmost respect and admiration.

As I embark on my own thesis research in Civil War naval history, I am both appreciative and disappointed with what is online from our National Archives. Apparently,  the cost of digitization means that a small percentage of available materials have been digitized. What a shame that there isn’t more. Interestingly, ancestry.com has pension records for soldiers and sailors of the American Civil War and I have full access to the site (yes a pretty penny).

NARAtions

They’ve also created a Wiki called “Our Archives” where the public can contribute. It is accessible here. This could actually be a good thing if adopted. It will be interesting to see if it is given more respect among historians than other Wikis. The stated purpose of the Wiki is as follows:

Our Archives is an online space for researchers, educators, genealogists, and Archives staff to share information and knowledge about the records of the National Archives and about their research.

Our Archives Wiki

Repositories of Primary Sources

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Terry Abraham

Abraham Photo source: idahohumanities.org

Primary sources are gold for this emerging historian. An assignment for my Historical Research Methods class led me to Terry Abraham‘s Repositories of Primary Sources maintained at the University of Idaho. Effectively a database of websites, it provides links to thousands of sites across the globe holding primary sources of varying kinds. It’s important to note that many of the sites listed do not provide digitalized versions of primary sources accessible on the web. Abraham is clear in pointing out that while the site provides links to  “holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar,” they are “solely of web sites that describe” these collections. Because the focus is on the repositories, virtual collections and exhibitions themselves won’t be found on the site.  Abraham points out that other sites maintain listings of archival exhibits on the web. An excellent example is the  Smithsonian Institution Libraries. [Do a search on the Civil War.]

Organization of Repositories of Primary Sources is geographical. Thus one needs to have some idea where a holding institution is physically located. There is also an “Additional General Links” list which has, among other things, other archival portals across the globe.

Abraham, Emeritus Professor, was Head of  Special Collections and Archives at the University of Idaho Library from 1984 to 2005. He has an interesting article on lessons learned in bringing archival materials to the web available for reading here.

Repositories of Primary Sources

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Historical Research Methods and Digital History

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Historical Research Methods  started Monday. I have my virtual pencils sharpened, Moleskine in hand,  and course books on my shelves. There is a GREAT group of students in the class from a variety of backgrounds and from all over the world. We also have an excellent professor (Barbara Kaplan). [Note to self: buy her books...they look excellent.]

Moleskine

Moleskine available at Levengers.com

In addition to the required texts (see listing in earlier post here), the following are recommended. I owned all but Novick’s book so picked it up.

Fischer, David Hackett. Historians’ Fallacies: Toward the Logic of Historical Thought. New York: Harper Perennial. 1970.

David Hackett Fischer

David Hackett Fischer

Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

That Noble Dream

Storey, William Kelleher. Writing History: A Guide for Students. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004.

Writing History- A Guide for Students

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

On Digitization of History

I am impressed with the focus the class will have on research in the digital age. Much of the supplementary reading focuses on digging into digital sources. I peeked ahead and read “What is Digital History? A Look at Some Exemplar Projects” by Douglas Seefeldt and William G. Thomas which is posted in the Digital Commons of the University of Nebraska Lincoln accessible here. (1) Pivotal to their article is a working definition of what digital history is.

“Digital history might be understood broadly as an approach to examining and representing the past that works with the new communication technologies of the computer, the internet network, and software systems. On one level, digital history is an open arena of scholarly production and communication, encompassing the development of new course materials and scholarly data collection efforts. On another level, digital history is a methodological approach framed by the hypertextual power of these technologies to make, define, query, and annotate associations in the human record of the past. To do digital history, then, is to digitize the past certainly, but it is much more than that. It is to create a framework through the technology for people to experience, read, and follow an argument about a major historical problem.” (2)

Seefeldt and Thomas saw differentiation between digitization projects and digital history scholarship. Superb examples of digitization projects according to the authors are the Library of Congress’ American Memory project and the National Archives. (3) Examples of digital history, on the other hand, “tended to arrange a more discrete collection of sources and materials around a historiographical question.” (4)  They site as examples  The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, and Race and Place: An African American Community in the Jim Crow South among others. These illustrate how creative use of digital resources can open “the question up for readers to investigate and form interpretive associations of their own.” (5)  Seefeldt and Thomas characterize sites like this as game changing in that they aren’t just an “analog” presentation of information one might copy from a book or other media but a presentation of “a suite of interpretive elements” that position viewers as active participants to a degree in solving the problem. (6)

The following sites were given as examples of digital history evolved to a new level.

Andrew Torget’s (University of North Texas) The Texas Slavery Project. Think of spatial mapping of demographic data related to slaveholders. Very cool.
Texas Slavery Project

Richard White (Standford University) Spatial History Project. Incredible project.


You might also find interesting my post “Discovering the Civil War Online” about the March 3rd, 2010 webcast during which Civil War historian Steven E. Woodworth and educational technology specialist Tom Daccord explored utilizing online databases to research Civil War topics.

(1) Seefeldt, Douglas and William G. Thomas. What is Digital History? A Look at Some Exemplar Projects.” Perspectives on History 47 (May 2009): 40-43. Accessed online 13 June 2010 at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/historyfacpub/98/.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid.
(5) Ibid.
(6) Ibid.

Military History Carnival – May 2010

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Welcome to the May 2010 edition of the Military History Carnival featuring some of the best recent military history from around the web. This is the first time that Wig-Wags has hosted and it’s been a pleasure to do. I’ve picked up some great information and hope you will as well.

Today’s edition covers a broad range of topics including: camouflaged RAF biplanes (brink of WWII), the state of strategy,  examination of the war college model, the role of the Navy in the recapture of Attu (Aleutian Islands) in 1943 (WWII), the Battle of Waxhaws (American Revolution), the Chicamauga Campaign (American Civil War), The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 (American Civil War), the digitization of Grant’s Papers (American Civil War),  the engagement at Wilson’s Wharf at Fort Pocahontas (American Civil War), vexillology and the “real Confederate flag” (American Civil War), the lure of the Civil War, and horse-on-horse impact of cavalry charges.

furys 1939

Military History – Air Power

Site: Airminded
Post: Aeroretronautics
Author: Brett Holman
Date: 22 MAY 2010
Highlights: Brett provides a fascinating post about a photograph taken in 1939 showing Hawker Fury RAF biplanes (43 Squadron) and faux anachronisms.

Military History – Naval

Site: Naval History Blog
Post: May 30, 1943 Attu Recaptured
Author: HistoryGuy
Date: 30 MAY 2010
Highlights: Excerpts from the narrative of the campaign preserved by the crew of the Zeilin describing the hardships endured during the amphibious operations required to land American troops on the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

American Revolution

Site: Kennedy’s Military History Blog
Post: American Revolution: Battle of Waxhaws
Author: Kennedy Hickman
Date: 29 MAY 2010
Highlights: Good summary of the battle along with the role played by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

American Civil War

Site: Bull Runnings
Post: “The” Confederate Flag
Author: Harry Smeltzer / Tom Clemens
Date: 13 MAY 2010
Highlights: Tom Clemens provides a history of the Confederate Flag. Learn why the “wind” played such an important role in the development of several versions of the flag of the Confederate government and the difference between those flags and the Confederate “military” flag. New word for me… Vexillology, the scholarly study of flags. Speaking of which, Tom has started a new blog highlighting his recently published book. See next site for details.

Site: ELEKTRATIG.
Post: Chicamauga, Stereos and Boris Godunov
Author: ELEKTRATIG
Date: 30 MAY 2010
Highlights: Reflections on Steven E. Woodworth’s (ed.)  The Chickamauga Campaign.

Site: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862
Post: Book Released
Author: Tom Clemens
Date: 13 MAY 2010
Highlights: Tom announces availability of his new book, The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume 1: South Mountain. Clemens has edited the writing of Ezra A. Carman. This from his site:

“One of the campaign’s par­tic­i­pants was Ezra A. Car­man, the colonel of the 13th New Jer­sey Infantry. After the hor­rific fight­ing of Sep­tem­ber 17, 1862, he recorded in his diary that he was prepar­ing “a good map of the Anti­etam bat­tle and a full account of the action.” The project became the most sig­nif­i­cant work of his life.”

Site: Battlefield Wandering
Post: Grant’s Papers
Author: Nick Kurtz
Date: 20 MAY 2010
Highlights: Nick reports that the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant are now online courtesy of Mississippi State University. They can be viewed here.  Nick demonstrates why having this important resource available to researchers is immediately beneficial. All 31 volumes of Ulysses S. Grant’s collected papers were digitized. Beware the digital library site has been offline for the past several days or is experiencing so much traffic that it appears so.

Site: The American Legion’s Burn Pit
Post: Battle of New Market: “Died on the Field of Honor, Sir”
Author: Siggurdsson
Date: 14 MAY 2010
Highlights:

  • Participation of the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) of Lexington, Virginia including a listing of cadets killed in action during the battle
  • Background of the battle
  • Quick bios of the “Antagonists,” commanders on both sides
  • Orders of Battle

Site: The Edge of the American West
Post: When and (to an extent) why did the parties switch places?
Author: Eric
Date:20 May 2010
Highlights:

  • Reviews the opposing political views of the Republican and Democratic parties that contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1860
  • Particular focus on Republican support of the expansion of federal powers and the passing of the law set known as “the Second American System” which kicked in federal funding for expansion projects including the transcontinental railroad and homesteading west.

Site: of Battlefields and Bibliophiles
Post: Making the Civil War Strange Again
Author: David Woodbury
Date:12 MAY 2010
Highlights: David muses on the fact that even those of us obsessed with the American Civil War will always be drawn to the discovery of something new.

“Some passing thought, or dawning realization, or new-found perspective gives you pause and fills you with awe, causing you to fleetingly grasp—in a moment of clarity—that it’s not just a familiar narrative to dissect and critique or challenge or substantiate, but something that actually happened, a strange and amazing story about who we are and where we came from.”

Site: The Sable Arm
Post: Fort Pocahontas
Author: Jimmy Price
Date: 17 MAY 2010
Highlights: Discussion of the re-enactment of the engagement at Wilson’s Wharf at Fort Pocahontas in Charles City County.

Military History – Cavalry

Site: Investigations of a Dog
Post: The Crash of Horseflesh
Author:Gavin Robinson
Date:10 MAY 2010
Highlights: Gavin provides rather gruesome evidence of the effects of horse-on-horse impact like the kind that would have occurred in cavalry charges.

Military Strategy

Site: Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
Post: Mark Grimsley on Senior Service College Reform
Author: Mark Grimsley
Date: 28 MAY 2010
Highlights:

  • Professor Grimsley provides a response to the question “Is the senior Service College Approach in Need of Radical Reform in Order to Serve Effectively in the Post-9/11 Environment?” as a part of the workshop on teaching strategy in a professional military education environment conducted at the U.S. Army War College on April 9. His comments are made richer by his personal observations of serving as visiting professor at the U.S. Army War College. Both You Tube video and text versions are provided.

Site: Kings of War
Post: The State of Strategy
Author: Thomas Rid
Date: 23 MAY 2010
Highlights:

  • Rid tees up this question…”Who produced the greatest strategist of all time, dead and alive? America or Europe?
  • Conclusions:
    • America is surprisingly thin in strategic heavyweights whereas  Europe has done quite well.
    • There is a “dearth of strategic writing in recent years.” Mere description of events in historic or journalistic terms doesn’t count nor does number crunching.
  • The 105 comments the post generated are worth a read.

Featured Military History Museums

Just for fun, I’ve listed several Military History Museum sites you may not have been aware of.
Kodiak Alaska Military History: The official web site of the Kodiak Military History Museum. The focus is on World War II.

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New Webcast Series on Civil War – AMU and Weider History Group

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AMU Civil War Webcasts

The American Military University (AMU) and the Weider History Group will be presenting a series of live webcasts on the Civil War that look promising. I’m excited to see this line up and think it a terrific educational venue made accessible to anyone. Here’s a quick run down. Oh and HEADS UP! The first webinar is tomorrow so be sure to register! The last one was terrific.

Civil War Soldier

The Common Soldier of the Civil War – Live Webcast
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

There is a renewed and growing interest in the common soldier of the Civil War. From battling in muddy trenches to charging through fields of enemy fire, the common soldier also combated the equally-deadly diseases that plagued the theater of war. But what motivated him to fight? This live webcast will bring light to what it must have been like for these men to “see the elephant” and how they spent their time both on active campaigning and winter camp.

The Battle of Shiloh – Live Webcast
Thursday, May 6, 2010 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Could a decisive victory at Shiloh have changed the outcome of the war? This webcast will highlight the importance of the Battle of Shiloh and the effect it had on the outcome of the Civil War. Our speakers will also discuss what would have happened in case of a decisive Confederate victory at Shiloh.

The Battle of Gettysburg – Live Webcast
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

How important is the Battle of Gettysburg to the study, discussion and portrayal of the Civil War today? How do historians interpret a single battle that changed the way Lincoln viewed the Civil War? This live webcast event will bring to light aspects of the Battle of Gettysburg ranging from the importance of the battle, to our memory of the Civil War, to how the battle is still being fought as Americans debate various interpretations of the battlefield.

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The Best Civil War Photos on LIFE.com

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Mary Walker

"Mary Walker (1832 – 1919) was the Army's first female surgeon during the Civil War, but led an altogether storied life as an early American abolitionist, feminist, and doctor. In 1864, she was captured by Confederate troops and charged as a spy, but was eventually released in a prisoner exchange. After the ordeal, the government awarded Walker the Medal of Honor for her bravery, the only woman to ever given such an honor. Here, Walker pictured circa 1865." Source: Life.com

The good folks at LIFE.com have published some of the most compelling photographs of the American Civil War in recognition of the Confederate surrender on April 9, 1865.  At their invitation, I’ve grabbed a few including the photo above of Mary Walker, timely given the soon to be released Civil War era historical novel My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira. (See “New Arrivals from Publishers” on the center nav bar of Wig-Wags.com).

The picture below of a young sailor I ran across in my reading on the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Civil War Navy Powder Monkey

A young "powder monkey" -- one who filled canon cartridges below a ship's deck -- on the USS New Hampshire in Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1864. Source: LIFE.com

You can link to the full gallery on LIFE.com here.

Next Class: Historical Research Methods

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Up next…Historical Research Methods.

Course Description:

The course addresses the development of core research skills for advanced historical study. Through case studies analyses, the evaluation of different types of historical evidence, and the consideration of how valid research questions are formulated and applied, it is designed to refine the critical thinking, research, and writing skills that are fundamental to valid historical scholarship.

Texts:

From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods

From Reliable Sources

Information Literate Historian : Guide to Research for History Students

The Information Literate Historian