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.
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]
How a Civil War Amputation Was Performed NSFS [not safe for the squeamish]
"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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
"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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
"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."
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.
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]
Acquitted of the murder of Francis Scott Key's son by the first successful pleading of temporarily insane? Check. Civil War Union general? Check. Medal of Honor winner? Check. Amputated leg on display to the public? Check. Lover to the deposed Queen of Spain? Check. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce you to Major General, Foreign Minister, and Congressman Daniel Edgar Sickles. [more inside]
The of Battlefields and Bibliophiles blog has a fun quiz. Check your knowledge of American Civil War battlefields by guessing which battleground is featured in the Google Earth images. Answers here. [more inside]
Want to study some history and have hundreds of hours on your hands? Don't worry now. We already exhaustive know about the Valley of the Shadow project. But what about Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, a bilingual English-French archive? If neither of these (vast) subjects tickle your pickle, don't worry... [more inside]
40 acres and a mule has been a slogan of African-American economic aspirations ever since the legislation creating the Freedman's Bureau promised ex-slaves parcels not exceeding forty acres each, to the loyal refugees and freedmen. General William Tecumseh Sherman's Special Field Order No. 15 decreed that the land on slave plantations be seized and distributed to freed slaves, but Andrew Johnson rescinded the order and vetoed expansion of the Freedman's Bureau. Both Henry Louis Gates and Dalton Conley have associated the failure to grant freed slaves their "40 acres and a mule" with the wealth gap between black and white Americans, but now an economics grad student, Melinda Miller, has brought important quantitative data to the debate in a new research paper. [more inside]
A man seeking Confederate gold and his own family's hidden history uncovers a cryptic trail that may stretch back to a secret society and Jesse James.
John Tenniel and the American Civil War. Best known for his illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, John Tenniel also produced political cartoons for the British magazine Punch. This sites collects 54 of Tenniel's cartoons dealing with the American Civil War. In addition to the cartoons themselves, the site gives an explanation of the symbols and props in each cartoon and places them context with then-current events and issues. [more inside]
The Union is Dissolved! Or, at least it will be, if these unusual allies have their way. While waiting for the results of the Second North American Separatist Convention, you can read up on the separatist groups who attended the first convention last fall.
Spanish Civil War posters, utilizing many early modernist styles --like Art Deco, surrealism, realism, and photomontage-- to communicate with the people of Spain, many of whom were illiterate.
Suicide bomber kills 24 Pakistani soldiers amid fears of holy war Following the storming of the Red Mosque, Islamic militants launched a deadly suicide attack, detonated a roadside bomb and fired rockets in Saturday as thousands of Pakistani troops deployed to the northwestern frontier to thwart the launch of a holy war. A Pakistani blogger writes about the political situation in Pakistan. A timeline of the incidents leading up to the storming of the Red Mosque.
The U.S. Civil War in four minutes. Simple yet enlightening animation showing the shifting battle lines of the war. (This is a one-link YouTube post. Thank you.)
Lost Cause [WaPo, bugmenot] History museums are a repository for public memory, but also a nation's mirrors, reflecting self-image. When our views of history shift, museums that fail to change are likely to fail in general. Today's Washington Post reports on the struggle and decline of the Museum of the Confederacy, contrasting it with the American Civil War Center, nearby geographically, worlds away in philosophy.
Civil War Posters, Soviet Children's Books, 19th Century Shipping Posters, and much, much more are all part of this Flickr user's amazing collection of printed ephemera.
Captain America, RIP. Marvel kills off Captain America. Obviously this is Civil War (previous post) fallout, but how long can they honestly expect this to last?
The premise of Marvel Comic's Civil War storyline is that after a hero-related disaster, the government decides to force all superheroes to register, causing a split in the hero community. While heroes debate and decide which side to join, fans debate whether or not the cross-over series is actually any good. Clearly, Christopher Bird falls squarely on one side and has attempted to "improve" the story by starting a project to edit the dialogue of the series. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
On December 13, 1862, Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland of the 2nd Carolina stood in the Sunken Road at the bottom of Marye's Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg. The 19-year-old Kirkland was part of Longstreet's First Corps; across from him was Hooker's Center Grand Division, part of the Army of the Potomac under Ambrose Burnside. (More boring history stuff inside.)
They have infiltrated every branch of public service and every political office they can get their hands on.
Operation enduring chaos: ... the death squads are the result of US policy. At the beginning of last year, with no end to the Sunni insurgency in sight, the Pentagon was reported to have decided to train Shia and Kurdish fighters to carry out "irregular missions". ... From killing everyone named Omar (a Sunni name) who passes thru the wrong checkpoint, to simply marking businesses (and their owners) they want gone with red crosses, how various squads and militias and "armies" and "brigades" are running Iraq.
The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq. [NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
A soldier in War. A letter home. Nobody will ever top Sullivan Ballou's. (Youtube Video) A week before the battle of Bull Run, Sullivan Ballou, a major in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, wrote home to his wife in Smithfield. The actual letter begins @ 2:25 into the video. But it's far from a waste to watch the whole six minutes.
Tintype Rebel. Time stands still for John Coffer. The wet plate and tintype photographer makes his home at Camp Tintype, a farm preserved from the 1860s. With no running water or electricity, Coffer travels the roads with his horse "Brownie" and an ox-drawn wagon to take his photographs. Coffer adopted the lifestyle of a Civil War-era itinerant photographer more than 20 years ago and was among the first to revive the wet plate process. He's created tintype stereoviews (that achieve a 3-D effect when viewed through a stereoviewer), the “world’s first” tintype movie [.mov], and a series of large format, 20” x 24” tintypes which may be the largest ever made. Lincoln would be proud.
Most people know that Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860. However, not many people know that a man named John J. Crittenden made a last-ditch effort to amend the Constitution, as a compromise between the north and south. How would have American history have progressed if this was the 13th Amendment as opposed to this?
President Ulysses S. Grant: Civil Rights Hero. A reappraisal of a president considered ineffective and mired in scandal.
the "Second Liberation of Baghdad" --coming soon, in which we act as "enforcers", providing "protection" --...American and Iraqi troops would move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, leaving behind Sweat teams — an acronym for “sewage, water, electricity and trash” — to improve living conditions by upgrading clinics, schools, rubbish collection, water and electricity supplies. Sunni insurgent strongholds are almost certain to be the first targets, although the Shi’ite militias such as the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade would need to be contained. ... Will we be greeted with candy and flowers again as well?
The Battle of Glorieta Pass is considered the turning point of the Civil War, in terms of the New Mexico Territory. It happened March 26-28th, 1862. Initially Charles L. Pyron and William Reed Scurry's Confederate force, based at Johnson's Ranch, thought that they had won the battle. They would soon learn that the Union troops, lead by John P. Slough, had circled and destroyed their supplies, leading to Scurry's retreat towards San Antonio. More detailed battle info:  -Some site photos.
"Oh, Detroit! Detroit, how hast thou fallen! No power in noonday to defend the helpless women and children from outlaws, till they have fully glutted their hellish appetites on the weak and defenseless." This full-text version of A Thrilling Narrative From the Lips of the Sufferers of the Late Detroit Riot, March 6, 1863, with the Hair Breadth Escapes of Men, Women and Children, and Destruction of Colored Men's Property, Not Less Than $15,000 contains firsthand testimonies from African American victims of this forgotten race/draft riot, which was overshadowed by a much larger one in New York City. [more inside]
A copy of the Gettysburg Cyclorama is for sale if anyone has the $2-$3 million it is expected to cost, and more importantly, somewhere to put it. It is one of four copies originally painted. This copy was found in a burned-out Chicago Warehouse in 1965 so maybe there is still hope to find the Second Battle of Manassas cyclorama. One other copy of the Gettysburg Cyclorama exists and is being restored at the Gettysburg National Military Park. [mi]
"CivilWar@Smithsonian is produced by the National Portrait Gallery and is dedicated to examining the Civil War through the Smithsonian Institution's extensive and manifold collections." Winslow Homer's Civil War drawings, portraits of leaders, artifacts of soldiering, and, of course, Mathew Brady's portraits. Much more besides. Previous Winslow Homer thread.
Is Nepal the Next Cambodia? Many experts fear the worst. Despite its tourist-friendly, pacific image, Nepal is teetering on the brink of collapse as a little-noticed but brutal Maoist insurgency tries to take down an equally vicious government. The story was reported by Matthew McAllester and photographed by Moises Saman, both of whom know something about surviving terror and violence. An Amnesty International report condemns the violence of both sides. This Royal Nepalese Army page describes its mission; take a look at His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
Violence that had been building up in the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka has errupted in the capital with the assassination of the foreign affairs minister. Presumably the LTTE are involved in the killing, as they have been complaining for some time that the government has been sheltering a splinter group, conducting a covert-war. As one would expect, LankaWeb supplies a strong opinion on the assassination. One wonders if we will see Sri Lanka return to the state it was in some 10 years ago.
The First Shot of the Civil War was fired on January 9, 1861, when George Edward Haynesworth, a cadet at The Citadel, fired a handgun at the Star of the West (1861 engraving), which was attempting to reinforce Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor (1861 map, Google map). As Captain John McGowan reported, Confederate troops from Morris Island and Fort Moultrie fired 17 shots at the Star of the West, forcing it to withdraw and return to New York. President Buchanan then "reverted to a policy of inactivity that continued until he left office." Cadet Haynsworth was in the last Civil War battle east of the Mississippi and claimed to have also fired the last shot in the war. The Star of the West was later captured by the Confederates. The Citadel has a Star of the West Monument and scholarship dedicated to the cadets that fired on the ship. Also: Harper's Weekly newspapers fom the Civil War.
The New York City Draft Riots: "As a hot and muggy Monday morning dawned on July 13, 1863, a large crowd of New York working people moved uptown, gathering workers from workshops and factories along the way... They banded together to express their collective outrage at the new draft law. Once they reached the Provost Marshall's office on 46th Street and Third Avenue, the scene of Saturday's first draft lottery, the crowd attacked the building, setting it on fire."
Maps, commentary, history. The main site is pretty cool too: Virtual New York City. Previously in the blue: a primary account from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives.
Maps, commentary, history. The main site is pretty cool too: Virtual New York City. Previously in the blue: a primary account from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives.
The 10 year long civil war in West Africa's Sierra Leone may have concluded in the last couple of years but rehabilitation of the country is painfully slow. War crime trials are under way but are underfunded and there's only scant attention paid by the western press. Naturally, the most vulnerable are at greatest risk. Pep Bonet has photographed children at the hospital for the blind, a war amputees soccer team and the rather disturbing conditions at Kissy mental hospital in Freetown. There is only space for about 150 of the estimated 50,000 people left psychotically disturbed by the war. These lucky ones are held in chains by way of treatment control. (via) [aid]