What were the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River? The largest? Who took the tactical offensive more often in the Trans-Mississippi Theater? By cobbling together an array of data, these questions and more are answered, shedding light on the Civil War from Texas to New Mexico and Louisiana to Missouri…Read More
Last week, twenty-one year old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. An act of violence and racial hatred, the tragedy has sparked a nationwide debate over racism and, in particular, the symbolism of the Confederate flag. The flag of a now-dead nation dedicated to the defense of slavery, the flag that appears in photographs with Dylann Roof, and the flag that today floats free over the South Carolina Capitol grounds.
I suspect, owing to public outcry and political pressure, the flag in Columbia will come down. The governor of South Carolina has called for its removal, and yesterday Alabama removed its Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds. Yet while the flag faces greater scrutiny, the current debate cannot merely rest on the Confederate flag. The discussion instead needs to encompass the Confederacy’s legacy in the United States—what the Confederacy stood for, what it means today, and the place (if any) it should occupy in 21st-century America.Read More
Young David O. Dodd hung on the end of a rope in the yards of his alma mater, St. Johns’ College. His death was not a merciful one, as the rope stretched and nearly five minutes passed before Dodd finally passed away. Convicted of spying on occupation forces in Little Rock, Arkansas, David had been sentenced to death by Union forces. The date was January 8, 1864, and David Dodd was only seventeen years old.Read More
The young second lieutenant stepped out of General Winfield Scott Hancock’s office, having reported for duty and ready for his next assignment—whatever it may be. He didn’t have to wait long. That night, lounging in the lobby of the Willard Hotel in the heart of Washington, D.C., Second Lieutenant William Woods Averell was approached by several United States officers, including Majors Irwin McDowell and Fitz-John Porter. Invited to play a game of pool, William quickly learned that more than billiards was at hand. “While engaged in the game,” Averell recalled, “the Captain quietly asked me where I lodged and requested me to go to my room when the game should be finished and he would follow me.” Meeting surreptitiously in Averell’s hotel room, the officers relayed orders and forced the young officer to memorize them. Helpful suggestions were offered up by those familiar with the area in which Averell would soon be sojourning, and he prepared himself to set out the next day. It was the night of April 16, 1861, and William Woods Averell would soon be headed west across a disintegrating United States.Read More