Prepare yourself. I’m climbing on a soapbox this morning. The Reconstruction Era mystifies many with its complexity. It was an era of positive change and social oppression. An era of anger and reconciliation. And era of hatred and caring sacrifice. An era when American ideals and values were changing, and an era where there was extreme conflict against those changes as the battle for Constitutional interpretation continued. Continue reading
Breckinridge’s Old Sorrel
Recently, we’ve noted how horses built a commander’s reputation. For Confederate General John C. Breckinridge, his reputation as a battlefield commander in Virginia was enhanced by his horse – or more specifically by the color of his horse.
It’s quite a story, and today we’ll share some facts about Breckinridge’s horse: Old Sorrel. Continue reading
Those Beautiful Lighthouse Lenses
Ever seen something practical, but it was just so mesmerizingly beautiful you couldn’t stop looking at it? You wanted to see it safe and protected forever as a piece of art…
That’s the way I feel about Fresnel Lenses. They were/are beautifully cut glass lenses used in lighthouses. Many are well over a hundred years old, and happily some of them have found safe homes in maritime or lighthouse museums.
Today, I’ll share briefly about how the lenses worked, a story about Fresnel lenses during the American Civil War, and a couple that I’ve seen in museums. Continue reading
5 Famous Blockade Runners
Famous is a relative term. Someone who is famous in his hometown might be unknown in the next state. Choosing just five blockade runners to discuss today was a challenge. Some lists of “famous” blockade runners are lengthy, leaving me wondering what qualified as “famous.”
In the end, I decided to just choose five ships that illustrate interesting details about blockade running during the Civil War. If you’d nominate other runners, leave me a comment with the story!
Thanksgiving 1862: A Civil War Soldier’s Holiday
Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday by proclamation in 1863 when he urged Americans to set aside the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving. (President Franklin D. Roosevelt later made it the fourth Thursday of November).
However, days of thanksgiving or autumn “thanksgiving” feasts weren’t uncommon in American prior to Lincoln’s announcement. Thus, Civil War soldiers (particularly from the North) were familiar with the concept of harvest feasts and family gatherings, often choosing to have celebrations in camp or hospital as their supplies and time allowed.
We introduce a primary source written by a Union soldier in 1862 to start today’s discussion of Thanksgiving Through The Decades: Continue reading
Cruisers & Blockade Runners: A Simplified Comparison
I used to get very confused about Blockade Runners and Confederate Cruisers during the American Civil War. Were they the same or not?
Since we’re launching into our discussion of the Union blockade and Southern blockade runners, I thought it might be good to clarify the difference. Runners and Cruisers are the not the same, though there were a few similarities. Continue reading