Muster

Outdoor funeral procession

The Case for Posthumously Awarding André Cailloux The Congressional Medal of Honor

Now that a brigade of Confederate commanders has been hauled down from their pedestals, there’s scant consensus about what should take their place. In Richmond, Virginia, monumentalizing social justice activists is all the talk.  Kentucky leans toward a rotating cast of deserving figures from across the spectrum.[1] But in my ...
Read More
Group of Black men sitting on lumber and standing in pose for a group photograph.

“I remember that Jasper Gray told me that he had herded sheep in Australia”

In 1906, Oscar Nelson, a local African American living in Tennessee, provided testimony on the extraordinary life of Jasper Gray, a United States Colored Troops (USCT) veteran, of the Thirty-First United Colored Infantry (USCI). Gray was a man whose entire life—in bondage and freedom—was one of constant physical movements and ...
Read More
Women and Gender History of the Civil War Era: A Roundtable

Women and Gender History of the Civil War Era: A Roundtable

We are delighted to publish three essays on women’s history of the Civil War Era by three leading scholars in the field. This roundtable draws on a lively session at last summer’s Society of Civil War Historians conference. Together these pieces provide a wide-ranging assessment of the field as a ...
Read More

The Gendered Consequences of Legislation Targeting Critical Race Theory

When Professor Silber asked us to reflect on what it means to study women and gender in the Civil War era, the news in the state of Texas, but also in other states, centered on efforts in the legislature to restrict what we teach in American history and the theoretical ...
Read More

Why We Should Forget the Civil War

Nearly twenty years ago, now, in a 2002 review essay on women in the Civil War, Thavolia Glymph concluded that “the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction remains the most racially gendered and regionally segregated historiographical space in US history.”  Surveying the first wave of literature on the period ...
Read More

Introductory Remarks: The Study of Gender and the Civil War

When we began planning for the SCWH 2020 conference, one critical component of our planning entailed a special plenary that would survey the field of gender and Civil War history.  This is a field of long-standing interest for me, going back to the publication of the co-edited collection I did ...
Read More
Historical marker with text

Jousting with History-on-a-stick: Centering African American Women in Civil War Public History

In April 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia would add five new markers focused on African American history to its state historical marker program. Playfully referred to as "history-on-a-stick," historical markers are intended to inform passersby about a significant person, place, or event. As useful as they might be ...
Read More
Previewing September 2021 Issue: Immigration in the Civil War Era

Previewing September 2021 Issue: Immigration in the Civil War Era

While recent immigration scholars have turned most of their attention to the twentieth century, many historians are also reexamining immigration policy in the mid-nineteenth century. Alison Clark Efford, in a recent review essay in this journal, reflects on how nineteenth-century immigration historiography is marked by an “imperial framework in which the ...
Read More
Portrait of William Welsh standing with hand over breast in uniform.

Retracing Hallowed Grounds From the Battle of the Crater

For Black men during the Civil War, military service in the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) offered a hopeful pathway towards citizenship and equality. Freedom would be theirs by the sword. However, to temper prejudicial Northern attitudes concerning the arming of black men, the U.S. War Department’s Bureau of Colored Troops ...
Read More
Group of African American in outdoor setting

Contested Freedoms: Black Life in Texas During Juneteenth

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden, with the stroke of a pen, cemented Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States. The momentous occasion was long overdue. Modern advocates, including Ralph Abernathy Lula Briggs Galloway, publicly reignited attention to the importance of Juneteenth to honor the lives of ...
Read More
Studio portrait of Julia Dent Grant seated.

Julia Dent Grant’s Personal Memoirs as a Plantation Narrative

Julia Dent Grant holds the unique distinction of being the first in a line of distinguished First Ladies to have written a memoir. Following the death of her husband Ulysses S. Grant in 1885, Julia Grant began contemplating the idea of telling her own life story and sharing insights into ...
Read More
Mural of Gordon Granger signing the Special orders with African American soldiers looking on

Juneteenth, Public Memory, and Teaching Reconstruction Through an International Perspective

A few weeks ago, the United States celebrated Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time. The bill recognizing the emancipation celebration passed the Senate and House and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in a matter of days, just in time for Americans to celebrate this ...
Read More
Removing the White Supremacy Marker at Colfax, Louisiana: A 2021 Success Story

Removing the White Supremacy Marker at Colfax, Louisiana: A 2021 Success Story

On May 15, 2021, state officers, parish officials, and private citizens gathered in Colfax, Louisiana to watch local contractors remove an historical marker in front of Grant Parish Courthouse. Erected on June 14, 1951, the sign’s bold white letters announced that a civil disturbance claimed the lives of “three white ...
Read More
Hand holding paper with cat looking at it

Helping Humans Cope: The Popularity of Pandemic Pets and Civil War Companion Animals

In the fall of 1863, Civil War soldier Levi Downs wrote to his sister in Connecticut to apologize for not sending a dog home to her son. Apparently, he had promised one to his nephew, but the animals were in short supply near his regiment’s location in Virginia. “Last winter ...
Read More
Multi-screen images of actor portraying Frederick Douglass in a dark exhibition space.

Isaac Julien’s “Lessons of the Hour” and the Many Visions of Frederick Douglass

Hired out to the brutal Edward Covey, a young Frederick Douglass worked to exhaustion during the week and spent Sundays “in a sort of beast-like stupor, between sleep and wake, under some large tree,” alternating between flashes of “energetic freedom” and “mourning,” he wrote in his Narrative. Beyond the woods, ...
Read More
Image of two men

From Gray to Blue: An Odyssey of Deserting the Confederate Army and Joining the U.S. Army

Though radical at first, the U.S. Army’s recruitment of Confederate prisoners of war and deserters was not unreasonable by the winter of 1863-1864. “Thousands of Union soldiers were nearing the end of their three-year voluntary enlistment and draft calls were causing riots in Northern cities.”[1]  Combined with prolonged indecision from ...
Read More