Americans, free or enslaved, citizen or emigrant, were touched individually and collectively by the American Civil War: Its causes, fighting, “collateral damage,” unintended consequences and results. Here are a few blogs on some of that impact.
Appealing to God on Both Sides
America in the 1860s identified itself as a devoutly religious–most often specifically as a Christian–nation. As the war between two Christian-based regional social orders heated up, increased “devotion” to God followed. Northern and Southern Americans vied for the claim of Heaven’s support and for Deity’s actual benediction. Each endeavored to see any outcome as a blessing from God, an endorsement of the nation or, at times, as a warning to repent.
Camp Nelson: Slave and Freedman Recruiting
Kentucky’s Camp Nelson was the third largest Union recruiting center for African-Americans during the Civil War. After a rough and tragic start in a frozen November, it eventually became a safe haven for refugees.
Castle Thunder: Visiting the Southern Bastille
Confederados: Brazilian Neighbors I Never Knew
Following the Civil War, an estimated 20,000 Americans fled the South, many trying to make a new life in the welcoming nation of Brazil where slavery was still legal. Would they be able to recreated the Antebellum South in South America?
First Confiscation Act: Awkward Beginnings to Freedom
On August 6, 1861, Abraham Lincoln signed the First Confiscation Act, codifying General Benjamin Butler’s proclamation of three runaway slaves as “contraband.” Butler’s actions and the Act paved the way for eventual emancipation.
Roll, Jordan, Roll: A Book Review
A fascinating, exhaustive, sometimes laborious, look at slavery: How slaves and slaveholders were impacted by the abusive institution and how they dealt with it. A Bancroft Prize winner published in 1976, it is sometimes criticized for his theory of paternalism. He does presents both slave and slaveholder perspectives, enriching the book and the reader with the voices of both. The author, Eugene Genovese, approached the topic as a marxist, looking at it in terms of class. Genovese apparently drifted rightward and died in 2012 as a conservative.
The Emancipation Proclamation
At the time and ever since, Abraham Lincoln has been criticized and praised for signing the Emancipation Proclamation. But with courage and commitment, with a firm signature, he strengthened a great social change and refocused the North’s purpose in the Civil War.
The Rathbones and The Octagon House
The real Thomas Rathbone fictional shadow appears in Civil War novel “A River Divides.” The Englishman arrived in the US just before the war. He served in Union Army during the conflict and became an American citizen.
Robert Frost: A Yankee Poet named for a Southern General
Quintessential “New England Poet” Robert Frost’s father was a Confederate at heart and named his son after Southern icon Robert E. Lee. Did Robert Frost chose not to use his middle name because of its Southern affiliation? I doubt anyone now knows.
“That Big Black Dog”: Nero or Hero?
One of the war’s most famous or infamous dogs: Nero was a canine guard at Richmond’s Castle Thunder prison, a facility for traitors, escaped slaves and Confederate deserters. What was he really called? What breed was he? Was he vicious or gentle and loving? The answers depend on who’s telling the story.