"The Printing Press Cannot Remain Idle": The Ohio Twenty-Second, A Civil War Soldier Newspaper

"The Printing Press Cannot Remain Idle": The Ohio Twenty-Second, A Civil War Soldier Newspaper

In their inaugural and only issue, dated July 12, 1861, the erstwhile printers of The Ohio Twenty-Second made their purpose and politics clear. “Our motto is: ‘Death to traitors and protection to all loyal citizens.’ It has been well said that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ While we find the latter indispensable in these perilous times, we will unite with it the power of the former, and go forth to battle for ‘the Constitution, the Union, and the Enforcement of the Laws.”

For the men of the Twenty-Second Ohio Infantry, and indeed for many Union soldiers throughout the Civil War, the war could be waged by musket and pen alike, and soldier newspapers offered an avenue for Union soldiers to keep abreast with the wider war effort, opine on national politics, interact with the local civilian population, document their war deeds, and foster a sense of community and esprit among their ranks. The Ohio Twenty-Second offers a brief window into the patriotism, politics, and daily life of Union soldier in the opening months of the Civil War.

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Civil War Censorship: The Arrest & Imprisonment of Wheeling's Democratic Editors

Civil War Censorship: The Arrest & Imprisonment of Wheeling's Democratic Editors

On Saturday, July 9th, 1864, Captain Ewald Over of the 6th West Virginia Infantry received an order originating from Major General David Hunter. The order directed Capt. Ewald—the military commander of Wheeling, West Virginia—to arrest the editors of the Wheeling Daily Register and shut the newspaper’s offices down. At three o’clock in the afternoon, Captain Ewald and a small cadre of soldiers entered the offices of the Wheeling Daily Register and placed editors Lewis Baker and O.S. Long under arrest. A soldier was posted outside the Register’s office, and the two prisoners were escorted to Athenaeum on the corner of 16th and Market Streets. A small military prison that housed upwards of one hundred Confederate prisoners, the Athenaeum (christened “Lincoln’s Bastille” by the locals) now confined two United States citizens as well…

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Secession Documents: Kentucky and Missouri

Secession Documents: Kentucky and Missouri

Kentucky and Missouri were divided border states. Pro-Confederate governments within both states declared secession and issued formal documents, but neither state officially left the Union and remained with the United States during the war. The divided nature of the border states caused conflict within their borders and men from Kentucky and Missouri fought for both sides of the Civil War.

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Secession Documents: Texas

Secession Documents: Texas

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.

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Secession Documents: Georgia

Secession Documents: Georgia

Georgia was the fifth state to secede on January 19, 1861. It was one of the original seven states to declare the Confederate States of America on February 8, 1861. Georgia gives one of the longest explanations for its secession from the Union. 

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Secession Documents: Mississippi

Secession Documents: Mississippi

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the United States on January 9, 1861 and one of the states to declare the formation of the Confederacy on February 8, 1861. The state's declaration of secession provides one of the clearest connections between secession and slavery.

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Secession Documents: South Carolina

Secession Documents: South Carolina

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. Because they were the first to leave they needed to explain to the rest of the states and the world why they were dissolving the Union and defend the legality of secession. South Carolina's declaration of secession includes a defense of states’ rights as the foundation of the legality of secession as well as the grievances with the North that sparked that action.

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Secession Documents: Introduction

Secession Documents: Introduction

While secession and the lead up to the Civil War were very complex, conflict over slavery was certainly central to the South’s decision to leave the Union. This is evident from the Southern states’ own words as they issued the ordinances of secession and documents of explanation as they each left the United States to form the Confederacy.

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"Come and Go with Us": Legacies of Union, Freedom, and Civil War at Yorktown

"Come and Go with Us": Legacies of Union, Freedom, and Civil War at Yorktown

Yet with their retreat, and the subsequent Union occupation of Yorktown for the rest of the war, the success of this siege had far more deep implications for the legacies of Yorktown and the Revolution.

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Diary Disclosures: David Hunter Strother on Civil War Leaders

Diary Disclosures: David Hunter Strother on Civil War Leaders

Forty-five years old at the start of the Civil War, David Hunter Strother had built his career through pen and pencil. A renowned artist, known via his pen-name "Porte Crayon," Strother traveled throughout the nation in the antebellum years, sharing sketches and stories of his travels via popular magazines of the day. Yet as the nation collapsed in 1861, Strother, who hailed from western Virginia, decided to put his artistic talents to use for the Union army. In the war's early years, Strother served as a topographer for Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and western Virginia; he eventually earned a commission as a Union officer. Besides Strother's daily work of scouting terrain and sketching maps, the observant Virginian also kept a meticulous, detailed diary which would eventually span dozens of journals. In today's post, I want to share David Hunter Strother's experiences and opinions of various important Civil War figures with you. All of these diary entries date from September, 1861-February, 1862; these diary entries were not published in Cecil Eby's Virginia Yankee. While I have edited lightly for clarity, I have largely left Strother's words and occasional misspellings as they were. After each entry, I have offered a small note with my thoughts and biographical information.

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'A Most Dangerous Precedent:' Charting the Progress of Freedom in the Civil War

'A Most Dangerous Precedent:' Charting the Progress of Freedom in the Civil War

 Yet here we are, as Maury and her peers were, confronted with a people demanding recognition even without the protection or support of the law.  In this moment, freedom existed alongside slavery, making it all the more difficult to reckon with both for contemporaries and for historians. 

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"In behalf of humanity:" Richard Etheridge, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, and Reconstruction

"In behalf of humanity:" Richard Etheridge, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, and Reconstruction

Within one hundred miles of Ft. Monroe, the catalyst for military emancipation under the command of Benjamin Butler, military operations along the coast of Virginia bled into North Carolina’s Outer Banks and had lasting implications for its seemingly small population.  Within this militarily and geographically dynamic area, Richard Etheridge would make a name for himself both as an advocate for Civil Rights and leader of the freedman’s population along the coast.

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"A Very Spicy Little Sheet": The Knapsack, A Soldiers' Newspaper and the Politics of War

"A Very Spicy Little Sheet": <i>The Knapsack</i>, A Soldiers' Newspaper and the Politics of War

A Union officer once remarked, “Does not a newspaper follow a Yankee march everywhere?” In the fall of 1863, the soldiers of the Fifth West Virginia Infantry found themselves stationed at Gauley Bridge in their newly-minted home state. It proved to be a relatively peaceful posting and, apparently true to Yankee form, the men promptly set about establishing a regimental newspaper. Forming the rather grandly named Fifth Virginia Publishing Association, the Association soon began issuing copies of the four-page Knapsack every Thursday morning at five cents a copy. Although only published for a few months, the paper illuminates much about soldier life and the politics of war.

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Reforming a Nation, Saving the Union: the Problem of “Fallen” Women in Antebellum U.S. Culture

Reforming a Nation, Saving the Union: the Problem of “Fallen” Women in Antebellum U.S. Culture

The complicated role that women played in nineteenth-century American culture meant that the case of female crime was more complicated, and that despite the fact that many women were vocal and influential members of reform movements, their counterparts guilty of committing crimes were often left outside of the reformative process. Yet women played a unique role in the breakdown of the systems of control enforced prior to the Civil War, and consequently were responsible for challenging the normative barriers that endeavored to keep them on the margins of public life.

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Confederate Meccas: The Unexpected Legacy of the Civil War in East Tennessee

Confederate Meccas: The Unexpected Legacy of the Civil War in East Tennessee

So what is the legacy of the Civil War in East Tennessee? The short answer is, not a good one. War came to East Tennessee in the form of guerilla conflicts that harassed the lesser-developed portions of the United States in 1861.

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"Wrap the World In Fire," Part III: Confederate Foreign Policy with Great Britain

&quot;Wrap the World In Fire,&quot; Part III:  Confederate Foreign Policy with Great Britain

"No you dare not make war on cotton.  No power on earth dares to make war upon it.  Cotton is king!" -South Carolina Senator James Hammond

To a certain extent, the Confederacy's foreign policy can be summed up by the bold words of James Hammond above.  As my previous posts have examined examined possible reasons for British intervention in the Civil War and Union efforts to prevent such an intervention, it is time to turn our eyes South and explore Confederate foreign policy with Great Britain.  The Confederacy built much of its policy around "King Cotton," and the result was a foreign policy more disastrous than many could imagine.

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