Muster

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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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JCWE Editors’ Note, June 2021 issue

JCWE Editors’ Note, June 2021 issue

This issue, like many since the journal’s inception, reflects the chronological and thematic breadth of the field of the Civil War Era. It includes three original research articles, the Tom Watson Brown Award essay, a review essay, and the usual complement of incisive book reviews. The Tom Watson Book Award ...
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“A Grand Thing”: The Rebirth of Milwaukee’s Soldiers’ Home

“A Grand Thing”: The Rebirth of Milwaukee’s Soldiers’ Home

When the U. S. government lived up to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural promise to “care for him who shall have borne the battle,” it chose Milwaukee as one of the sites for the three original branches of the National Asylum (later Home) for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS). The first men ...
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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!

Catherine A. Jones has won the $1,000 George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era in 2020. The article, “The Trials of Mary Booth and the Post-Civil War Incarceration of African American Children,” appeared in the September 2020 issue. Drawn ...
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We’ve Always Been Here: Rediscovering African American Families in the U.S. Census

We’ve Always Been Here: Rediscovering African American Families in the U.S. Census

When I initially began examining United States Colored Troops (USCT) soldiers, I primarily focused on Civil War pension records. As previously noted, these rich primary sources can illuminate the forgotten lives of African Americans in many ways but do not (nor does any single historical record) tell the whole story ...
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Portrait of Henry Winter Davis

UVA Unionists: A Digital Project Studying University of Virginia Alumni Who Stayed Loyal to the Union

Note: “UVA Unionists” is one of two digital projects at the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History that shed light on the area’s untold Unionist stories. The other project, “Black Virginians in Blue” [link to Will Kurtz’s Muster blog post], launched in April. See Will Kurtz’s recent Muster ...
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Disney and Battlefields: A Tale of Two Continents

Disney and Battlefields: A Tale of Two Continents

In the United States, significant portions of land have been set aside for battlefield parks to commemorate the actions of past generations and interpreted these spaces with regard to how they have shaped the present. In turn, as Edward Linenthal has argued, they became sacred ground.[1] As a result, some ...
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Texas Secession: Whose Tradition?

Texas Secession: Whose Tradition?

The Texan secessionists are at it again.  In a bill submitted to the Texas State Legislature on January 26, 2021, state representatives have sparked, in legal form, the question of Texas secession once more.  According to the author, Rep. Kyle Biedermann of Fredericksburg, TX, House Bill 1359 offers Texans “of ...
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Black Virginians in Blue: A Digital Project Studying Black Union Soldiers and Sailors from Albemarle County, Virginia

Black Virginians in Blue: A Digital Project Studying Black Union Soldiers and Sailors from Albemarle County, Virginia

For the last four years, the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia has been working to uncover the untold story of Albemarle County, Virginia’s Black men who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) or Union navy. Our project, which we ...
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Insurrections, Indigenous Power, & The Empire for Slavery in the Southwest

Insurrections, Indigenous Power, & The Empire for Slavery in the Southwest

The realities of Indigenous power, marronage, and Mexico’s emancipation policies haunted Anglo-American visions of a white supremacist imperial order in the trans-Mississippi West. On May 25, 1836 Congressman John Quincy Adams rose from his desk in the U.S. House of Representatives to excoriate Anglo-Texans’ “war of aggression, of conquest, and ...
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