Monthly Archives: March 2017

Sickles at Gettysburg

This book by Licensed Battlefield Guide James Hessler tells the story of Major General Daniel E. Sickles’ actions during the Gettysburg Campaign and afterward. Lawyer, politician, cad, liar, and probably embezzler. Daniel Edgar Sickles was infamous before the Civil War for murdering his wife’s lover, Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key, in broad […]

Charge to Grand Jury – Fugitive Slave Law, April, 1851

At the beginning of the April, 1851 term, Justice Samuel Nelson, the Circuit Justice for the District of New York, delivered these directions to the Grand Jury in anticipation of cases arising from the 1850 law popularly known as the “Fugitive Slave Law.” The citation for this is 30 Fed. Cas. 1007, Case No. 18,261. […]

The Thompson House on March 25, 2017

On Saturday, March 25, I visited the Thompson House [aka, “Lee’s Headquarters”] to get some views of the house and its surroundings. The Civil War Trust has done some tremendous work. The outside looks great. I was also able to look through the windows to see what they’re doing inside the house as well, even […]

General Lee’s Headquarters at Gettysburg

Here’s a Civil War Trust tour of the Thompson House, aka “General Lee’s Headquarters” at Gettysburg National Military Park. Garry Adelman and Jim Lighthizer give the tour. Of course, Gen. Lee’s actual headquarters was in the field across the Chambersburg Pike from the house, but there is considerable evidence he took some meals and held […]

Washington Brotherhood

This excellent book by Rachel Sheldon discusses how Washington’s social life influenced politics in the antebellum years. Students who simply read the Congressional Globe to try to determine how policies were made are missing the most important parts. “While in the capital city, politicians from different sections of the country could hardly avoid interacting in […]

Historical Portrayals of Nat Turner

Here’s Professor Kenneth S. Greenberg of Suffolk University giving a fine presentation on how Nat Turner has been portrayed in historical works. The video’s description reads, “Kenneth S. Greenberg talked about historical portrayals of Nat Turner, the African American leader of an 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia. He spoke about the competing accounts of Turner’s rebellion, […]

Cummings v. Missouri

The citation for this case is 71 US 277. This Reconstruction Era case comes to us courtesy of the Missouri Constitution of 1865. Unionists in Missouri were split between conservatives and radicals. The radicals, who wanted to grant civil rights to African-Americans, gained control of the constitutional convention. An abolition clause passed easily, as did […] Flunks American History

The Smithsonian Institute is normally a reputable source for information; however, when they rely on freelance writers for stories, they put their reputation at risk, such as with this story. Freelance journalist Kat Eschner wrote the story. She has a master’s degree in journalism, but from what I can tell no training in history. She […]

Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies

This book by Professor John Marszalek is a full-length, scholarly treatment of the life of Major General Henry W. Halleck. Halleck was the ultimate bureaucrat, and he began to show tendencies toward this role early. In 1845, as a young engineer, Halleck found a number of things objectionable and raised his objections in letters to […]

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Here’s William Marvel snearing his way through a presentation on Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. His contempt for Stanton is palpable. The video’s description reads, “William Marvel talked about Edwin Stanton, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War during most of the Civil War. Mr. Marvel argued that Stanton’s loyalties to people lasted only […]