Sorry for the absence, folks. I’ve been pretty busy with classes, so we’ve got some catching up to do. Here are a few items to amuse and inform:
If you’re a student looking for some public history experience or a Civil War buff who loves sharing your knowledge with people, here’s a neat opportunity for you. The Knoxville Civil War Gateway is recruiting volunteer docents and walking tour guides. If you’re interested, e-mail KnoxCivilWarGateway@gmail.com, or call (865) 277-6398.
Cross-posted to the blog of the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy
The Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy and The Duncan School of Law are pleased to present the R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture. The 2014 McMurtry Lecture is scheduled for Friday October 24, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s Arnold Auditorium. The subject of this year’s lecture is “The Emancipation Proclamation to the March on Washington” by Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, a prolific author and expert on the South and race relations.
Burton is Creativity Professor of Humanities, Professor of History, Sociology, and Computer Science at Clemson University, and the Director of the Clemson CyberInstitute. His books include The Age of Lincoln (2007) and In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions: Family and Community in Edgefield, South Carolina (1985).
Burton obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He was the founding Director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois, where he is emeritus University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar, University Scholar, and Professor of History, African American Studies, and Sociology. He is a Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where he was Associate Director for Humanities and Social Sciences. He is also vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Congressional National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.
His honors and recognitions include: selection as the 1999 U.S. Research and Doctoral University Professor of the Year, the 2004 American Historical Association’s Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Prize, the 2006 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement from the University of Illinois, appointment as an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, and election to honorary life membership in BrANCH (British American Nineteenth-Century Historians) and the Society of American Historians. He has served as president of the Southern Historical Association and of the Agricultural History Society, and was one of ten historians selected to contribute to the Presidential Inaugural Portfolio by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for 2013.
I’m taking a seminar on African history this semester, and we’re supposed to write a substantial research paper on a topic in which Africa intersects with our own area of research.
Inspired by my visit to the USS Constellation a few months ago, I thought I might look into the US Navy’s suppression of the slave trade in the Civil War era, maybe examining how this activity changed between the Buchanan and Lincoln administrations or something along those lines.
So here’s a question for you naval history folks out there. What sources would you suggest? I know where to go to find presidential documents, but I want to see what the Navy itself was doing, and if possible get some accounts from the sailors who were confronting the slave trade in person to see how they felt about it. Help a landlubber like me get started.
Remember that PBS documentary from last year about Loreta Janeta Velázquez, the Cuban woman who passed as a soldier and spied for the Confederacy? A recent interview with actress Diane Guerrero (from Orange is the New Black) includes this tidbit:
We just finished shooting in Nantucket. It’s this film called Peter and John where I play a Cuban woman who’s a confederate spy, set in the 1800s. It was loosely based on the life of Loreta Velazquez.
Loosely based indeed; even the character’s name is different. Here’s a bit more info from the movie’s website:
Kingdom County Productions has announced that actress Diane Guerrero will play the role of Lucia Childs in its film Peter and John, now shooting on Nantucket. Lucia Childs is the mysterious young woman who, during the spring of 1872, arrives on Nantucket island. She brings long-buried secrets with her and attracts the attention of brothers Peter and John Roland. Diane Guerrero plays the recurring character of Maritza on the new Netflix hit series, “Orange is the New Black.”
The story is adapted from a Maupassant novel. Not sure where Confederate spies fit into the picture, but anyway, there it is.
I could’ve made a “Gray/Butternut is the New Orange” joke, but I didn’t. You’re welcome.
MilitaryOnlineColleges.org has created a pretty handy list of 100 Civil War websites. It’s aimed at military personnel, but anybody interested in the Civil War should find plenty of useful stuff listed—databases, blogs (including this one), CWRTs, museums, and so on. Definitely worth checking out.
In The Face of Battle, John Keegan noted how the environment of combat changed over the course of history. One way it changed in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is immediately apparent—battles got a whole lot bigger.
If you had four and a half hours to lead a tour of a major Civil War battlefield, what would you highlight? You’d never have this problem with a Rev War battlefield, at least not a Southern Campaign site. You could probably lead three back-to-back-to-back tours of King’s Mountain or Cowpens in four and a half hours.
Take a look at King’s Mountain, Cowpens, and Gettysburg on Google Maps, all at the same zoom level. The Cowpens field would likely fit between the Round Tops and Emmitsburg Road, and I think you’d still have room for King’s Mountain.
Numbers engaged illustrate the difference, too. Greene had something like 4,500 men at Guilford Courthouse; the Confederates fielded ten times that many at Shiloh. Washington had over 14,000 at Brandywine, which sounds like a lot until you consider that the Union suffered over 12,000 casualties at Antietam.