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A Triumph of the Wet-Plate, Among Other Things

The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jun 21, 2014 - 9 comments

The Lion of the Union is No More

One hundred years ago today, General Joshua L. Chamberlain - the "lion of the union" - linguist, professor, mason, soldier, Medal of Honor winner, public servant, and author -- died at the age of 85, from the lingering wounds he had suffered at the Siege of Petersburg, fifty years earlier.
posted by anastasiav on Feb 24, 2014 - 12 comments

Growing Up in a Cocoon

In an ongoing revisionist history effort, Southern schools and churches in the United States still pretend the Civil War wasn't about slavery.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Feb 22, 2014 - 459 comments

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

Humming Ashokan Farewell While Viewing Is Optional

The Civil War Trust's animated maps provides viewers with a bird's eye view of American Civil War battles.
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Oct 9, 2013 - 10 comments

United States of America

Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased, entry for the United States of America
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 29, 2013 - 49 comments

Perry Van Arsdale's maps of US historic events

In 1960 or so, Professor Perry C. Van Arsdale was helping his 7-year-old granddaughter researching the Santa Fe trail. He found his granddaughter's textbook to have some number of errors. He set off to create a map of pioneer history (prior to the 1900's), using his own knowledge and information from judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures. This was his start in creating the Pioneer New Mexico map, which would contain 300 towns that no longer exist, old trails of all sorts (including the three historic Santa Fe trails and various camel routes), locations of minor squabbles and major battles, and because he couldn't fit everything on the maps, he also included extensive notes in the corner of the map. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 27, 2013 - 17 comments

Civil War hero Robert Smalls seized the opportunity to be free

Robert Smalls sat at the conference table next to Frederick Douglass as they tried to convince President Abraham Lincoln that African Americans should be allowed to fight for their own freedom. He served five terms in Congress. He ran a newspaper and helped found a state Republican Party.
But first, he had to win his freedom.

posted by Blasdelb on Feb 15, 2013 - 14 comments

December 11th: A Day of Firsts in US Military History

On Dec 11, 1862 the Union Army was pinned on the Northern shore of the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, unable to cross the river and invade the town. This desperate situation led to two decisions by General Burnside of the Union Army that ultimately had wide ranging effects not just on the outcome at Fredericksburg, but on how the US would conduct war in the future. [more inside]
posted by COD on Dec 11, 2012 - 40 comments

July 4th, 1862

“If ever men should celebrate the day with the rapt ardor of devotees, it is the soldiers of the Union,” bent on “saving the Union of the revolutionary fathers from destruction.” The residents of Fredericksburg VA didn't celebrate Independence Day in 1862. It was no longer their Independence Day. However, just across the river, within both sight and sound of the residents of Fredericksburg, the Union Army threw a raucous celebration, complete with fireworks, artillery salutes, mule races, a greased pole, and a greased pig.
posted by COD on Jul 4, 2012 - 10 comments

The funeral of Hiram Cronk, the last veteran from the war of 1812

Hiram Cronk was born in 1800, at 14 he enlisted to fight the British, and in 1905, he passed away as the last veteran of the war of 1812. This amazing video shows the funeral procession, featuring veterans from the Civil War and the Spanish-American war as they marched through Brooklyn. [more inside]
posted by quin on Mar 6, 2012 - 25 comments

"...though we may have our differences, we are one people, and we are one nation, united by a common creed."

Founded in 1857, The Atlantic is one of the oldest publications still being produced in the US. They have created a commemorative issue for the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War that includes articles published in the magazine over a century ago, an extensive gallery of images, as well as a few essays and analyses by modern writers, including President Obama. Editor's note. (Via: James Fallows' Reddit AMA) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 8, 2012 - 22 comments

Not Quite Stalag 13

Sandusky, Ohio is probably best known for its roller coasters (and maybe the wineries in the area), but one of the most interesting places--a tiny little island in the Sandusky Bay called Johnson's Island--is very often overlooked. Once the home of a prison camp for confederate soldiers, daring (and not so daring) escapes, convoluted espionage schemes, poetry, and eating rats. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Jan 4, 2012 - 14 comments

150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Telegraph

150 years ago, a primitive Internet united the USA. "Long before there was an Internet or an iPad, before people were social networking and instant messaging, Americans had already gotten wired. Monday marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental telegraph. From sea to sea, it electronically knitted together a nation that was simultaneously tearing itself apart, North and South, in the Civil War. Americans soon saw that a breakthrough in the spread of technology could enhance national identity and, just as today, that it could vastly change lives."
posted by homunculus on Oct 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Report of The Truth Commission for El Salvador

On March 15, 1993, The Truth Commission for El Salvador published its report From Madness to Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvador. The Commission attributed the assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero to the death squads, as well as the deaths of the victims of the El Mozote Massacre. ... Five days after the commission issued its report, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved an amnesty law covering all the violent events of the war.
posted by Trurl on Sep 23, 2011 - 5 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Civil War and/or Aerial Reconnaissance Nerds Only

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]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 6, 2008 - 5 comments

History Archives: Online.

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]
posted by flibbertigibbet on Dec 27, 2007 - 6 comments

What Happened to My Forty Acres and a Mule, Fool?

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]
posted by jonp72 on Dec 14, 2007 - 43 comments

U.S. Civil war simplified

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.)
posted by zardoz on May 21, 2007 - 83 comments

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves

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.
posted by Miko on Apr 4, 2007 - 18 comments

A different 13th Amendment?

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?
posted by JoshTeeters on Aug 1, 2006 - 39 comments

Gettysburg of the West

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: [1] [2]-Some site photos.
posted by rollbiz on Mar 27, 2006 - 27 comments

CivilWar@Smithsonian

"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.
posted by OmieWise on Dec 20, 2005 - 6 comments

Images of the American Civil War

Images of the American Civil War
posted by matteo on May 20, 2005 - 23 comments

Yanks behaving like human beings with a few exceptions.

Alice Williamson is bitterly resentful of the Union occupation. The diary of a 16 year old girl in Yankee-occupied Gallatin, Tennessee. Images of the actual diary and a text version with annotations.
posted by marxchivist on Feb 28, 2005 - 21 comments

Civil War Maps

Civil War Maps The Library of Congress just published an online collection of approximately 2,240 Civil War maps, with information about the collection and a History of Mapping the Civil War.
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 11, 2005 - 6 comments

The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam is the single bloodiest single day battle American history. Historically told in words, the battle illustrated in pictures [SVG required] shows jostling strategies that resulted in a loss of over 20,000 troops in 13 hours.
posted by pedantic on Apr 30, 2004 - 7 comments

Yes... or no?

Giuseppe Garibaldi, who united Italy in the 1860s, was asked by Lincoln to lead the army during the US Civil War. Garibaldi said he would if Lincoln officially declared that the aim of the war was to end slavery. Lincoln replied that he couldn't at that time, and so Garibaldi moved on to other things. But what if Giuseppe had gotten involved? The Papacy would clearly have denounced the North (indeed, the pope was the only world leader to recognize the Confederacy). The French hated him; the English loved him. Had he led the Federal troops, would France have jumped in on the side of the South? Would England have then jumped in on the Union side to counter? A whole different world history, perhaps, hanging on a yes/no question.
posted by ewagoner on Aug 12, 2003 - 12 comments

FBI Discovers Bill of Rights

FBI Discovers Bill of Rights after 138 years. No word on whether they will sell it or use it.
posted by flagrante_delicto on Mar 19, 2003 - 5 comments

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