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Tyranny is helpful, especially when voting against tyranny

On May 23, 1861, Spotsylvania County, Virginia voted 1323 - 0 in favor of succession from the Union. Historian John Hennessy provides an explanation of how that vote came to be a perfect 100% in favor of succession. So people rebelling against "Northern tyranny" themselves used tyranny to rig a vote that was undoubtedly going to go overwhelmingly in their favor anyway?
posted by COD on May 27, 2011 - 22 comments

The Civil War Journal of Nehemiah Wallington

The Civil War Journal of Nehemiah Wallington, digitized by the John Rylands Library, is one of the surviving diaries kept by this seventeenth-century Puritan. Although Wallington recorded a number of key events, like the execution of Archbishop Laud, the diary has garnered most attention for its report of the Chelmsford witch trials, overseen by Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins (enter "witchcraft" into the search box to see Wallington's account). For more of the intellectual context for early modern witch-hunting in the British Isles, see the Witches in Early Modern England and Survey of Scottish Witchcraft databases, as well as the handy collection of primary texts in Cornell's Witchcraft Collection.
posted by thomas j wise on Apr 9, 2011 - 13 comments

Civil war in Cote d'Ivoire

"War has returned to the Ivory Coast in the guise of massacres, mercenaries, a besieged capital, and a humanitarian nightmare." Several months after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo stole the presidential election, the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has escalated as the forces of rightful president Alassane Ouattara have reached Abidjan to force Gbagbo's surrender. [more inside]
posted by lullaby on Apr 4, 2011 - 22 comments

Command decision

How Slavery Really Ended in America On May 23, 1861, little more than a month into the Civil War, three young black men rowed across the James River in Virginia and claimed asylum in a Union-held citadel.... [T]the laws of the United States were clear: all fugitives must be returned to their masters. The founding fathers enshrined this in the Constitution; Congress reinforced it in 1850 with the Fugitive Slave Act; and it was still the law of the land — including, as far as the federal government was concerned, within the so-called Confederate states. The war had done nothing to change it. Most important, noninterference with slavery was the very cornerstone of the Union’s war policy. President Abraham Lincoln had begun his inaugural address by making this clear, pointedly and repeatedly. “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists,” the president said. “I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” [more inside]
posted by caddis on Apr 2, 2011 - 95 comments

predicting civil unrest

Professors' global model forecasts civil unrest against governments - With protests spreading in the Middle East (now Yemen - not on the list) I thought this article and blog on a forecast model predicting "which countries will likely experience an escalation in domestic political violence [within the next five years]" was rather interesting. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2011 - 42 comments

Who Rocked the War That Rocked So Many Bodies?

Know that feeling of disappointment when you realize this is yet another Civil War Re-enactment that's just not down enough? Good news.
posted by yerfatma on Jan 18, 2011 - 30 comments

4 Score 7 yrs Ago @union

Not to be outdone by the New York Time's efforts to cover the American Civil War, the Washington Post is offering a blog (too), before and after photographs of the District of Columbia from 1860 to today, a guide to ongoing Civil War events, and for those with a short attention span and a fondness for 140 characters, Tweeting the Civil War (daily events 150 years after they happened as if they were happening today).
posted by Atreides on Jan 11, 2011 - 11 comments

Mapping Slavery

Mapping Slavery. In September 1861 Edwin Hergesheimer of the United States Coast Survey produced a map based on data from the 1860 census showing the distribution of slaves across the South. It's interesting to compare this to other maps. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 7, 2011 - 32 comments

The Air Force of the U.S. Civil War

After a test flight nearly ended in disaster at the start of the Civil War, Professor Thaddeus Lowe recovered his balloon and headed back North. Recognizing the potential use of air vehicles in the war, he managed to get an invitation to the White House in order demonstrate the capabilities of balloons in the war effort. [more inside]
posted by nomadicink on Dec 30, 2010 - 12 comments

Sherman's March and America: Mapping Memory

Sherman's March and America is a digital representation of historian Anne Sarah Rubin's project on how Americans have remembered General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864. The funnest part are the interactive maps. Clicking on the yellow-highlighted pins opens up a video exploring the significance of that spot on the map. Each map represents a different genre of memories of the march (civilian, soldiers, fiction, etc). My favorite is the narrative of the events in Milledgeville, Georgia on the Soldiers Map, featuring plastic toy soldiers and burning cardboard buildings.
posted by marxchivist on Dec 21, 2010 - 16 comments

Belles in hoop skirts

This evening in Charleston, SC, a Secession Ball! When they don their "period formal" hoop skirts tonight some ladies may rue the fact that have no slaves to pull their corsets tight. The ladies and their escorts, many of whom are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who would like us to believe that the Civil War was not about slavery. The NAACP, and others disagree. The NAACP has organized a peaceful protest.
posted by mareli on Dec 20, 2010 - 116 comments

poignant portraits of youth at war

In remembrance of the Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War, the Liljenquist Family recently donated their rare collection of almost 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs to the Library of Congress. These achingly poignant portraits speak volumes. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 5, 2010 - 98 comments

Everything you wanted from an 1860

The Long Recall is a daily news aggregator chronicling the buildup to the U.S. Civil War. The daily posts are "digests of the news and commentary that an intelligent American might have had accessible 150 years ago."
posted by lalex on Dec 1, 2010 - 11 comments

Disunion @ the NYTimes

Disunion One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded. Updated every Monday.
posted by OmieWise on Nov 2, 2010 - 39 comments

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the American Civil War

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written about his evolving view of the American Civil War (among many other things) on his Atlantic blog for over two years. A reader has now compiled links for all of them for our reading pleasure. There is also a page of recommendations that will help a reader find the most often mentioned civil war resources in the discussions. [more inside]
posted by severiina on Oct 20, 2010 - 18 comments

Lint In My Pocket - American Civil War poetry

S Thomas Summers teaches writing and literature, and writes poetry about the American Civil War. Some of my favorites. Hat tip: The Atlantic.
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 12, 2010 - 1 comment

Perspective Matters

Perspective Matters. The exact same moment in history (the arrival of Union troops in Fredericksburg VA in 1862), as described by a white woman resident of the area, and a black slave. It would be an understatement to say they had diverging viewpoints.
posted by COD on Jul 10, 2010 - 27 comments

All you need is love

Mass wedding for former Tamil fighters Fifty-three couples of former Tamil Tiger rebels were married Sunday ... at a rehabilitation camp near the northern town of Vavuniya. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 13, 2010 - 7 comments

The First Decoration Day

The First Decoration Day was held by freed slaves on May 1, 1865 at the Washington Race Track in Charleston, South Carolina to honor "The Martyrs of the Race Course": Union POWs who had died in a Confederate prison camp there. Decoration Day later became known as Memorial Day. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on May 28, 2010 - 18 comments

You're Wrong! No, You're Wrong!

5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars, via Cracked. [more inside]
posted by Miko on May 26, 2010 - 45 comments

Bangkok burns

Bangkok is on fire. A good collection of links on the conflict with many on-the-ground reports (may not work well in Firefox). Video of the assault on the red shirt encampment. Now the violence is spreading beyond the capital into the northern and northeastern provinces. Is Thailand heading for civil war?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on May 19, 2010 - 50 comments

NewSouth Books

"La Rosa does not care who knows she sees the world from well left of center. Williams balks at accepting the liberal title; instead he states his preference to be known as a progressive. 'When people hear liberal, this happens,' he said while making hand gestures showing steam coming out of his head." Their views and their press are helping to remake Montgomery, Alabama.
[more inside]
posted by jefficator on May 2, 2010 - 16 comments

Freed by the Civil War

In 1865, after the end of the Civil War, Col. P. H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, asking him to return to work for him. In reply, Jourdon Anderson told Colonel Anderson exactly where he could stick his offer. This letter was part of The Freedmen's Book (full download in many different formats) which was distributed to those freed after and during the Civil War, so that they would know stories of other freedmen who had done well, including Touissant L'Ouverture, Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass. The book was put together and published by Lydia Maria Child, abolitionist, women's rights activist, Indian rights campaigner and all around awesome person. She became famous in her own time for her cookbook The Frugal Housewife, but today her best known work is Over the River and Through the Woods. The Freedmen's Book was part of an effort by abolitionists after the war to educate freed slaves. The American Antiquarian Society has a great website about that movement, Northern Visions of Race, Region and Reform, which has plenty of primary sources and images galore.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 22, 2010 - 92 comments

The Whitewash

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state, without referencing slavery or civil rights. The move has angered civil rights leaders and revived a controversy that has lain dormant for eight years. FireDogLake is reporting that the neo-confederate group which lobbied Governor McDonnell to make the proclamation has ties to white supremacists. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 7, 2010 - 245 comments

Historical Photographs and Documents

The U.S. National Archives' Flickr Photostream. Includes collections of historical photographs and documents | Civil War photos by Mathew Brady | and the Documerica Project by the EPA in the 1970s. There is also a nice set of Ansel Adams landscape photographs.
posted by netbros on Feb 3, 2010 - 7 comments

The Gentle Madness and the Art of War

With Sword and Pen is an interesting and well-done blog that celebrates "First Edition, Rare, Small Press, and Collectible Books Pertaining to the American Civil War." [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 1, 2010 - 2 comments

Americans in the Egyptian Army

In the wake of the Civil War, fifty Americans (audio alert), Union and Confederates both, accepted commissions in the Egyptian army. One of the most notable was William Wing Loring who wrote A Confederate Soldier in Egypt about his experiences.
posted by maurice on Jan 28, 2010 - 5 comments

I wonder if Roy has seen the President. Aunt Winifred says she does not doubt it.

About 2% of the US population died while serving in the military during the US Civil War, roughly equivalent to about six million people today. A few years after the war the best selling book at 100,000 copies was Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' The Gates Ajar, which deals mainly with heaven and what exactly happens there. Spoilers follow. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Jan 27, 2010 - 29 comments

Darfuristan

How the world's campaign to stop a genocide created a quagmire. (Print version.)
posted by andoatnp on Jan 2, 2010 - 10 comments

Studying the War to Prevent Southern Independence

Secretive Scholars of the Old South. The Abbeville Institute is a scholarly society that seeks to promote a "distinctly Southern interpretation of American history and identity ... a valuable intellectual and spiritual resource for exposing and correcting the errors of American modernity." Founded in 2003 by Donald Livingston, philosophy professor at Emory University, the Institute will hold its 8th annual conference, "State Nullification, Secession, and the Human Scale of Political Order" next February.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 24, 2009 - 80 comments

The Angel of Marye's Heights (or not)

Confederate soldier Richard Kirkland is known as the "Angel of Marye's Heights" for venturing in between the opposing army's lines to give water to his wounded foes. The Union soldiers were mowed down the previous day in a series of futile attacks against the Confederate positions. The story fits in with the narrative of post-war reconciliation and reunion and offers an inspiring tale of humanity amid the carnage of war. There is a statue at the Fredericksburg battlefield and a movie in the works.

But did it really happen? One writer takes a look at the records, and it doesn't seem likely. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Dec 22, 2009 - 22 comments

Drawings of the American Civil War Era

The Becker Collection: Drawings of the American Civil War Era "..contains the hitherto unexhibited and undocumented drawings by Joseph Becker and his colleagues, nineteenth-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper observing, drawing, and sending back for publication images of the Civil War, the construction of the railroads, the laying of the trans-atlantic cable in Ireland, the Chinese in the West, the Indian wars, the Chicago fire, and numerous other aspects of nineteenth-century American culture." {artist biographies / subject browse} [via]
posted by peacay on Sep 9, 2009 - 8 comments

A collection of personal letters

The Letter Repository contains hundreds of personal letters from the early 18th Century through the Second World War. A large portion of the letters are from periods of conflict, the largest chunk being from World War Two, though there are also sizable numbers from the First World War and the American Civil War. There are also quite a few love letters. You can both see scans of the letters (and photographs or other materials) as well as transcriptions, which you can edit should you spot errors. One of my favorite collection of correspondance is the one between a Herbert Beyer, who served in the Air Force in World War Two, his darling Cleo and his parents.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 25, 2009 - 11 comments

Vietnam in Pennsylvania

Civil War reenacting is so 2002. Vietnam reenacting is the new black. But really, if reenacting is your thing, you've got lots of wars to choose from.
posted by billysumday on Aug 17, 2009 - 59 comments

Civil War Maps

The Civil War Preservation Trust has a wonderful page of assorted American Civil War maps. Includes the excellent CWPT topographical maps [viewable online, download .pdf requires free registration], and historical maps. My favorites are the animated maps, on the map of the First Day of Chancellorsville you can toggle between the topo map and a present-day satellite view so you can see the effects of modern development on the battlefield. [via]
posted by marxchivist on Jun 12, 2009 - 5 comments

How a Civil War Amputation Was Performed

How a Civil War Amputation Was Performed NSFS [not safe for the squeamish]
posted by marxchivist on May 22, 2009 - 22 comments

"I started the movement with the firm resolve that I will never be caught alive by the enemy. That has spread down the ranks."

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the elusive and ruthless leader (timeline, short bio) of the violent separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been reportedly killed in battle by the Sri Lankan Army (self-loading video) [more inside]
posted by shoebox on May 19, 2009 - 57 comments

"...who knows what might come out of that"

Mere days after asserting his state's "sovereignty" from an "oppressive" Federal government, Governor Rick Perry stands before an angry crowd at Austin City Hall and announces that Texas may once again secede from the Union. "There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot." [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Apr 15, 2009 - 315 comments

A Photographic Mystery.

Whose Father Was He? The soldier’s body was found near the center of Gettysburg with no identification — no regimental numbers on his cap, no corps badge on his jacket, no letters, no diary. Nothing save for an ambrotype (an early type of photograph popular in the late 1850s and 1860s) of three small children clutched in his hand. Errol Morris presents the Civil War-era mystery of a fallen soldier and a found photograph. [via]
posted by sarabeth on Mar 30, 2009 - 21 comments

Gettysburg in Miniature

Miniature Gettysburg is "photographed on a 250 square foot diorama accurately representing portions of the terrain of the Gettysburg Battlefield as it appeared on July 2, 1863." The portfolio section has some very intriguing looking photos, unfortunately they cannot be viewed large. Some info on the artist's techniques here. [via] [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 20, 2009 - 15 comments

Gettysburg Daily

Gettysburg Daily features every day (and I mean every day) large photos and discussion of some minutiae of the Gettysburg battlefield. Topics covered include: Dinosaur footprints on the battlefield, artillery shells lodged in local buildings, battlefield panoramas, witness trees, and rampant development. Whoever does the site recently started an award program: "The Sickles," awarded for the dumbest thing done on the battlefield in the past year. The award is named after General Daniel Sickles. Previous Metafilter discussion of Sickles and his day at Gettysburg.
posted by marxchivist on Jan 9, 2009 - 15 comments

Civl War Dinosaurs

"It's 1863 and Union soldiers have discovered a hidden valley filled with dinosaurs. Now the Yankees plan to use the dinosaurs as weapons of mass destruction against the South." Presenting Professor Cline's Dinosaur Kingdom at Natural Bridge VA. Providing fun for the whole family, this is "not your father's dinosaur park." [via] [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Nov 12, 2008 - 22 comments

One Hardscrabble Sumbitch

The John Mobberly Story (parts one through four) about a Confederate Guerilla who terrorized Loudoun county Virginia and the Harpers Ferry area, as written by blogger Neddie Jingo. [more inside]
posted by Devils Rancher on Oct 3, 2008 - 8 comments

Reenacting Slavery

Reenacting slavery at Chickamauga National Military Park. When a reenactor put his knapsack on the ground, the person portraying his slave picked up his knapsack and "moved it before I could say a word. I instantly knew that I had an opportunity to demonstrate the institution's cruelty here, and so I did not acknowledge his act, did not thank him for it, did not make eye contact, did not stop my talk. My own cruelty -- even to make a teaching point to the audience -- made me shudder inside." [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Sep 24, 2008 - 34 comments

Skirmish at Greenbrier, Maryland

A Deadly Skirmish at Greenbrier, Maryland. A little-known engagement of the American Civil War. This bucolic crossroads was visited by the hard hand of war. The Confederate Artillerymen await, then unleash leaden death on the Hoosier troops. Carnage ensues in the gathering gloom. The Butcher's Bill.
posted by marxchivist on Aug 6, 2008 - 7 comments

3-second Men

2 July 1863, second day of Gettysburg. Sickles has pulled his III Corps -- without orders -- off of Cemetery Ridge and positioned it a half mile in front of the rest of the Union lines. Longstreet smashes the hapless III Corps and its men are in full flight. Hancock rides back and forth inside the gaping hole left by Sickles. Below him, almost 2000 men of Wilcox's brigade are charging up the slope. They will gain a foothold on the ridge and be reinforced by Lee. As Longstreet pins down the Union left, Lee will roll up the center and right of the Northern army and chase them from the field. He will then march on and take Washington before turning north along the eastern seaboard. Lee will capture and burn Philadelphia and Boston in his March Along the Sea, chasing the Northern government from city to city until Lincoln finally sues for peace and the union is no more. Suddenly, a line of blue-coated soldiers comes into Hancock's view. "My God, is this all the men here? Who are you?" "1st Minnesota, sir." "See those colors?", says Hancock, pointing at the flags of the oncoming Confederates, "Take them." [more inside]
posted by forrest on Jul 2, 2008 - 82 comments

Today in History: The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg started on this day in 1863. Here are some essays on Gettysburg from MilitaryHistoryOnline. Here is a virtual tour with photos and maps.
posted by RussHy on Jul 1, 2008 - 22 comments

Massacre at Fort Pillow

"Nothing in the history of the Rebellion has equaled in inhumanity and atrocity the horrid butchery at Fort Pillow, on the 13th of April, 1864. In no other school than slavery could human beings have been trained to such readiness for cruelties like these. Accustomed to brutality and bestiality all their lives, it was easy for them to perpetrate the atrocities which will startle the civilized foreign world, as they have awakened the indignation of our own people."
posted by Mayor Curley on Jul 1, 2008 - 38 comments

The Gaza Bombshell

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 3, 2008 - 94 comments

Gettysburg in Lego

The Battle of Gettysburg in Lego, done by 7th Graders: Day 1; Day 2; Day 3. [youtube links] Lots of blood and flying bodies. Complete with Matrix references. Soundtrack by The Eagles, Queen, and Richard Strauss. [via]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 27, 2008 - 23 comments

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