Muster

Imperfect Justice in the Imperfect Archive: Uncovering Extrajudicial Black Resistance in Richmond's Civil War Court Records

Imperfect Justice in the Imperfect Archive: Uncovering Extrajudicial Black Resistance in Richmond’s Civil War Court Records

As the guest editors and article authors of the December 2022 JCWE special issue, "Archives and Nineteenth-Century African American History" demonstrate, there is no perfect archive.  Historians must therefore read every imperfect archive with a particular perspicacity, to uncover the histories so many archives were meant to suppress or erase.[1] ...
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Printed newspaper ad for the return of a self-liberating African American woman.

For the Cause of Freedom: William Still and Abolitionist Data Collection

Emeline Chapman faced a difficult choice in the summer of 1856. As an enslaved woman in Washington, D.C., Chapman and her husband John Henry were raising a young family while enduring the daily struggles of enslavement. Chapman’s enslaver, Emily Thompson, profited by regularly hiring her out to different White residents ...
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Guest Editors' JCWE December 2023 Note: Researching Nineteenth-Century African American History

Guest Editors’ JCWE December 2023 Note: Researching Nineteenth-Century African American History

In 1985, The Historic New Orleans Collection purchased one of the few known nineteenth-century paintings of a free woman of color in the United States. François Fleischbein’s Portrait of a Free Woman of Color, completed in 1837, is mounted in an elaborate and expensive goldleaf frame. The woman wears a ...
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White clapboard house with a field and fence in background.

Walking with Enslaved and Enslavers at Pickett’s Charge (and Retreat)

Trampling down Black people and Black property in order to remake history, memory and geography was a quotidian activity in the post-Civil War United States. In the states that Robert E. Lee’s soldiers hailed from, this was often done with ugly, tortuous violence against Black southerners. In 1938, in the ...
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Conveying the 1876 Election to the Public in an Era of Diminishing Democratic Norms

Conveying the 1876 Election to the Public in an Era of Diminishing Democratic Norms

At the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums, we work to stay on top of the historiographical treatment of the 19th president. As you might expect, the controversial election of 1876 takes up the lion’s share of our efforts. It is the best known aspect of Hayes’s legacy, and ...
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African American man standing over gold mining claim in California.

California’s slavery reparations task force and the lessons of history

The nine members of California’s reparations task force have a monumental job before them. They have already conducted a detailed investigation into the history of anti-Black discrimination in the United States; they’re also expected to make a formal recommendation to the California legislature as to who will be eligible for ...
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Previewing the September 2022 JCWE Issue

Previewing the September 2022 JCWE Issue

This issue includes one original article, two very interesting lectures, a review essay, and the usual slate of excellent book reviews that together continue to expand our understanding of the field, its key actors, and its central questions. The first of the published lectures is Thavolia Glymph's acceptance speech for ...
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Capital Building in background with a large crowd in foreground of the sepia tone photograph.

“An Earthquake”: Lincoln’s First Inaugural, Fugitive Slave Rendition, and Virginia’s Secession

[Editor's Note: This article is adopted from Evan Turiano’s forthcoming  “‘Prophecies of Loss’: Debating Slave Flight During Virginia’s Secession Crisis,” which will appear in the September 2022 issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era. The Virginia secession convention was set into motion on November 15, 1860, barely a ...
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Historic map with a river at top and historic fort identified.

Haunted Former Safe Havens of Reconstruction

I had had enough of ghost stories as the author of a book about the Colfax Massacre.  I had discovered the awkwardness of being a white woman who became the expert on the suffering of Black people. And while no one had told me it was not right, I came ...
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B/W photo of group of armed 19th C. soldiers

Crossing Borders as Refugees: A Comparison of Dakota and Poles

Civil War era historians have made several comparisons between Russia’s suppression of the Polish rebellion in 1863 and the U.S. efforts to quash the enslavers’ rebellion in the United States. Most of these comparisons are either imbued by traces of U.S. exceptionalism, such as the many U.S. centric interpretations of ...
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Congratulations to the Winner of The Journal of the Civil War Era’s George and Ann Richards Prize

Congratulations to the Winner of The Journal of the Civil War Era’s George and Ann Richards Prize

Cynthia Nicoletti  has won the $1,000 George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era in 2021. The article, “William Henry Trescott: Pardon Broker,” appeared in the December 2021 issue. Nicoletti’s essay details the efforts of William Henry Trescot, “executive agent” for South ...
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Connecting the Nation: The U.S. Army and the American West in the Study of the Civil War Era Image?

Connecting the Nation: The U.S. Army and the American West in the Study of the Civil War Era Image?

Read the introduction to the A Prelude to an Unholy Union roundtable here, the first installment here, and the third installment here. In the aftermath of a fatal confrontation between elements of Washington Territory’s militia and an enraged anti-Chinese mob, elements of the U.S. Army’s Fourteenth Infantry Regiment occupied Seattle between February ...
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The Reconstruction Politics of the Allotment Era in Indian Territory

The Reconstruction Politics of the Allotment Era in Indian Territory

Read the introduction to the A Prelude to an Unholy Union roundtable here and the first installment here In the post-Civil War period, Republicans in Congress and the White House were as equally interested in bringing the American West into the nation as they were in the former Confederate South ...
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White building with columns in the front. Walkers are in front of the structure in the historic photograph.

The Case of the Abstracted Indian Bonds

Read the introduction to the A Prelude to a Unholy Union roundtable here. “The investment was made in these particular bonds without consultation with the Indians and without their assent, and the bonds have been stolen.” - Rep. Thomas M. Edwards (R-New Hampshire), July 7, 1862[1] One night early in the ...
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Group of soldiers standing in a row.

Prelude to an Unholy Union: A Muster Roundtable

The roundtable ahead features three posts that gather Southern and Western history in a continental conversation, from Khal Schneider, Alexandra Stern, and Kevin Adams, respectively. I write to offer background and context for those pieces, all of which build toward October 2024, when the Western History Association and Southern Historical Association will ...
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Introducing "Detailed: A Semi-Occasional Series within the Muster Blog"

Introducing “Detailed: A Semi-Occasional Series within the Muster Blog”

On August 26, 1861, soldiers of the Seventh Iowa Volunteers announced that Lauman’s Own would be “published Semi-occasionally” for “the benefit of the Regiment.” Similarly, the men of Morgan’s Brigade launched The Vidette to be “published semi-occasionally” in Springfield, Tennessee in late 1862, a member of the Twenty-First Mississippi promised ...
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