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
Texas was the seventh state to secede on February 1, 1861, the last of the first phase of secession and the final of the seven states to formally declare the Confederacy on February 8, 1861.Read More
The crew was sitting down to their breakfast when they heard the sounds of the engine and saw it start to pull away from the station. A local resident rode off toward Marietta, and the nearest telegraph, to alert authorities, but William Fuller knew the train would be long gone before the word went out. Fuller took off after the train on foot, followed by his engineer, Cain, and Anthony Murphy. The “Great Locomotive Chase” had begun.Read More
During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of young men found themselves prisoners of war, their fates in the hands of the enemy. For those lucky enough, parole or exchange awaited. Yet most men faced the grim reality of harsh prison camps. Some Civil War prisons were so infamous their names are still notorious today: places like Andersonville, Elmira, Libby Prison, and Point Lookout. Yet perhaps their names perhaps overshadow the fact that over 150 prison camps existed during the war.
Tucked away among the piney woods of East Texas rests a small historic park in Tyler, Texas. The park's humble appearance today belies the magnitude of the place it commemorates. Camp Ford constituted the largest Confederate-run prisoner-of-war camp west of the Mississippi River, housing some 5,550 Union soldiers over the course of the war's final years.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
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