New Acquisition: Conrad Wise Chapman: Artist & Soldier of the Confederacy

Fascinated by all that drove public opinion during the nineteenth century, I recently acquired an excellent book: Conrad Wise Chapman: Artist  Soldier of the Confederacy (The Kent State University Press, 1998) Author Ben L. Bassham’s biography includes many of the works of both Conrad Wise and his father, artist John Gadsby Chapman. This book, while […]

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Partners in Command, American Civil War Book Review

JOSEPH T. GLATTHAAR. Partners In Command: The Relationships Between Leaders in the Civil War New York: The Free Press . 1994. Pp. xi, 286. $16.95. Warriors are at their core human beings who succeed or fail in their endeavors in some part because of the their ability to relate with others, whether peers, subordinates, or […]

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The American Civil War Experience: Death and Injury on the Battlefield – 1
Dead soldier_Ewell's Corp

I previously posted a piece on the impact of disease on soldiers in the Civil War [see “The American Civil War Experience: Lice, Disease and Quinine” ]. The following discusses the other side of death during the war, the experience on the battlefield. Please be aware the the following is very graphic. Battle injuries in the civil […]

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The American Civil War Experience: Lice, Disease and Quinine

The statistics of those who died during the Civil War, not from injury but from disease, are shocking. Of the 360,222 men known to have died on the Union side, a quarter of a million were lost due to disease rather than the enemy. While the Confederates didn’t keep records, it is estimated that seventy-five […]

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Winslow Homer’s Civil War at the Met and Online
Man

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is running an exhibition featuring several artists of the Civil War era including Winslow Homer. The exhibit, titled ” American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915, includes the section Stories of War and Reconciliation, 1860–1877. An audio episode titled, Winslow Homer’s Civil War, accompanies two of the paintings and features […]

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Civil War Weapons Carried by Soldiers
Buck and Ball

Much has been said about the impact of new weaponry on the tactics employed and resulting casualties of the American Civil War. Contributing to its designation as the first “modern war” (fodder for much debate in class) has been the notion of widespread use of long-range rifled artillery and small arms, and the introduction of […]

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On Lincoln as Commander of Commanders
Grant

Mackubin Thomas Owen, a senior fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, provides one of the best descriptions I’ve found of Lincoln’s approach as a commander of a military at war. He called Lincoln “an activist commander-in-chief who frequently ‘interfered’ with his generals. [Lincoln] intuitively understood that civilian leaders cannot simply leave the military to […]

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Causes of the Civil War – 9: The Debate Over the War’s Inevitability
Slave Auction

This post concludes a series exploring Causes of the Civil War. A review of the literature reveals – not surprisingly – a lack of agreement over whether the American Civil War was inevitable. Given the fact that it did occur, the question under consideration might be better stated as “at what point in time” did […]

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Causes of the Civil War – 8: The Influence of the Individual
Edmun Ruffin

This post continues a series on exploring Causes of the Civil War. ___________________ Civil War scholar Gabor Boritt posits a fascinating theory that the impact of an individual can, in fact, be more influential in the determination of history’s direction than the long confluence of time.[i] “…It may be declared with confidence that a giant […]

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Causes of the Civil War – 7: Political Discord, Slavery, and the Fight for Political Control
Slave sale poster

Political discord represents yet another candidate for the war’s cause. Late historian William E. Gienapp (pictured right) suggests that “however much social and economic developments fueled the sectional conflict, the coming of the Civil War must be explained ultimately in political terms, for the outbreak of war in April 1861 represented the complete breakdown of the American political system. As such, the Civil War constituted the greatest single failure of American democracy.”[i]

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Causes of the Civil War – 6: The Contribution of Constitutional Ambiguity
Constitution

This post continues the series Causes of the Civil War.
Historian Gabor S. Boritt asserts that the American Constitution’s “fundamental ambiguity” on a number of matters involving slavery contributed to the Constitutionsectional controversy that stimulated the growing conflict between the North and the South.[i]

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Causes of the American Civil War – 5: The Rise of Sectional Disputes
Anthony burns

This post continues the series on Exploring Causes of the Civil War. ___________________ Sectional disputes rose and ebbed numerous times in the years before the war. Modernization created social tensions because, as pointed out by James McPherson, “not all groups in American society participated equally in the modernizing process or accepted the values that promoted […]

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