The Front Line

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

Published 1/22/2013

2012 | The Year in Review

By: Laura June Davis Category: News & Events

Another year has come and gone and The Civil War Monitor editorial staff is thankful for a very productive 2012. As we begin to make plans for another exciting year, we cannot help but reflect back on 2012 and all the accomplishments of The Monitor?s first full year.

Published 11/26/2012

"Not Since the Days of William the Conquerer" - Anti-War Democrats of Ohio in their Own Words

By: James Schmidt Category: Commentary

James Schmidt reads other people's mail; specifically, letters from an Ohio Copperhead. It is one thing to read about Copperhead sentiment during the war years; it's quite another to hold the letter and sense the anger and venom.

Published 11/11/2012

Wither Liberia? Civil War Emancipation and Freedmen Resettlement in West Africa

By: Phillip W. Magness Category: Commentary

In October 1862, Robert J. Walker went to the Treasury Department to convince the Lincoln Administration of the righteousness of colonizing Liberia with the slaves who would soon be freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.

Published 10/29/2012

The Peace Monument At Appomattox, UDC, and Reconstruction

By: Caroline Janney Category: Commentary

In May 1932, Mary Davidson Carter, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) from Upperville, Virginia, learned that the federal government was planning to erect a Peace Monument at the scene of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant; or, as she put it, "the place where Constitutional Government and Lee were crucified in 1865."

Published 10/8/2012

The Myth of the H.L. Hunley's Blue Lantern

By: Christopher D. Rucker, MD Category: Analysis

It has long been said that, after sinking the USS Housatonic on the evening of February 17, 1864, the crew of the Confederate submarine Hunley used a "blue light" to signal their success to shore. In truth, the blue lantern is a modern myth, born of ignorance of a lost technology.

Published 10/1/2012

The Consequences of Damning the Torpedoes

By: John Grady Category: Analysis

When Lieutenant Commander William H. Gamble reported that he had moved out of the way of an ironclad and was about to drop anchor, "a torpedo exploded under the bow, and the vessel immediately commenced sinking." He reported two sailors were killed in the explosion, was unsure about how many were wounded below deck but confirmed three sailors were wounded on deck. "The wounded were conveyed to the...

Published 9/17/2012

The Battle For Freedom: Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation

By: Louis P. Masur Category: Commentary

Abraham Lincoln spent the late summer of 1862 waiting. He had in his mind a plan to issue a proclamation of emancipation, and needed only a Union victory in battle to do so.

Published 8/27/2012

Bowdoin's Other Civil War Sons

By: David Thomson Category: Analysis

Discussions surrounding Bowdoin College and the Civil War invariably return to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine. But another brotherly duo at Bowdoin is even more important to our understanding of the War: Oliver Otis and Charles Howard.

Published 8/24/2012

Fathering Recruitment

By: Laura June Davis Category: Friday Funny

Titled, "A Good Way for Fathers of Families to Aid Recruiting," this July 1862 Harper's Weekly cartoon is a playful take on Union recruitment efforts.

Published 8/17/2012

Hercules of the Union

By: Laura June Davis Category: Friday Funny

Today's Friday Funny is a celebration of Union General Winfield Scott, cast here as the mythical Hercules slaying a secessionist hydra. Aiding Scott in his epic battle is the great club of "Liberty and Union." Each of the hydra's seven heads represent a prominent Southern leader and their major vice or crime.