Reconstruction: the insurgency that followed the war

 This is the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, an ugly but historically important period in which the Union, having won a long and ghastly Civil War, lost the peace to the same set of antagonists. That realization arrived in different places at different times....

Aunt Janie vs. the Yankees — and me

My great-grandfather’s youngest sister has been dead for more than 130 years, but she’s still driving me crazy. In fairness, she’s had a lot of help. Janie Smith, who was living in the house I now occupy when William T. Sherman and William J. Hardee...

What Lee and Grant didn’t bother to debate

Lee. Grant. Appomattox. The three names have become almost shorthand for an end to four ghastly years of a war, all of whose casualties were Americans turned against one another. It is worth revisiting the correspondence and other documents of April 8, 9, and 10,...

A few Southern perspectives on the Civil War

Near the end of the 19th century, author-journalist Cornelia Ann Phillips Spencer lost patience with what she considered Yankee revisionist history and decided to set the record straight. The result was a North Carolina history textbook that offered a full-throated...

Every good story deserves an audience

Snippets from a war story:      Being outnumbered and flanked on our right (Sherman’s left), we fell back in good order to Line No. 3, hundreds of yards from Line No. 2, and there Hardee’s entire corps, so far as I could tell, held the enemy in check until night.    ...

Have a boxful of history? Share the wealth!

Thousands of North Carolina boys and men began their Confederate service as members of local militias, some of which had colorful names such as “Scotch Tigers” and “Cumberland Plough Boys.” The names, and the men, were sometimes lost to view as those units disappeared...
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