The Front Line

Our communal blog featuring the latest in Civil War news, research, analysis, and events from a network of historians

Published 6/24/2013

Oh Lord, Where Art Thou? Civil War Guards, Prisoners, and Punishments

By: Angela M. Zombek Category: Commentary

The unglamorous task of guarding Confederate prisoners at Johnson's Island Prison in Ohio tempted many guards to commit crimes that resulted in punishments similar to those administered to their incarcerated wards. A quick perusal of the prison register reveals crimes from drunkenness on duty to desertion and robbery, often resulting in 90 days hard labor for Union guards.

Published 6/10/2013

A New Battle for Brandy Station

By: Eric J. Wittenberg Category: Commentary

On June 9, 1863 some of the Civil War's most famous personalities met in the largest cavalry battle on American soil with destruction on their minds. Today, the focus on Brandy Station has shifted to preservation.

Published 6/3/2013

Friends Across the Color Line

By: Linda Barnickel Category: Commentary

In an early twentieth-century memoir, an Illinois artilleryman paid special attention to the friendship he formed with Big Jack Johnson, an escaped slave from the Yazoo district of Mississippi, who died fighting in the battle of Milliken's Bend.

Published 5/27/2013

Captain Kit Dalton on Guerrilla Memory, Civility, and the Rules of War

By: Matthew C. Hulbert Category: Commentary

In a 1914 memoir, Confederate guerrilla Kit Dalton agreed with William Tecumseh Sherman that war was hell, but saw little difference between the actions of Confederate guerrilla bands and those of the uniformed men under the Union general.

Published 5/20/2013

Grant and the Forgotten Court of Inquiry

By: Michael B. Ballard Category: Commentary

When Union Colonel Isaac Shepard punished one of his white soldiers with a whipping administered by African American troops at Milliken's Bend, the racially charged incident threatened to derail both his career and Grant's Vicksburg Campaign.

Published 5/13/2013

"The Most Fatal of All Acute Diseases:" Pneumonia and the Death of Stonewall Jackson

By: Dr. Matthew Lively Category: Commentary

Four days after his wounding led to the amputation of his arm, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson began to experience chest pain and difficulty breathing. A close examination by the attending physician would reveal the problem--pneumonia in the right lung.

Published 5/6/2013

An Excerpt from Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front

By: Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White Category: Commentary

Most visitors to the Fredricksburg battlefield focus on the futile Union charges against the Sunken Road of December 13, 1862. But months later, in May of 1863, Union troops would indeed breach the stone wall at the battle of Chancellorsville.

Published 4/29/2013

"The Grandest Charity in the Country:" The Missouri Home For Confederate Veterans

By: Amy Fluker Category: Commentary

Though Missouri never seceded, it hosted some of the most violent partisan warfare of the Civil War. By 1893, however, Union and Confederate sympathizers came together to build a retirement home and monument for Confederate veterans.