The Front Line

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

Published 12/5/2022

Extra Voices: Army Stragglers

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of our Winter 2022 issue we highlighted quotes about the "straggling" of soldiers in the Union and Confederate armies. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that just missed the cut.

Published 11/29/2022

The Best Civil War Books of 2022

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

The Books & Authors section of our Winter 2022 issue contains our annual roundup of the year's best Civil War titles. As usual, we've enlisted a handful of Civil War historians, avid readers all, and asked them to pick their two favorite books published in 2022. Below are their selections.  We also gave them a chance to name an additional title or two that they’re looking forward to, books...

Published 11/21/2022

Extra Dossier: George G. Meade

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

For the Dossier section of our Fall 2022 issue, we asked a panel of Civil War historians a series of questions about Union general George G. Meade, from what they most admired about the Army of the Potomac commander to their favorite book about him. Due to space constraints, we weren't able to include any of the answers to two of our questions for the panel. Below are the questions, and their...

Published 11/18/2022

Voices From the Army of Northern Virginia, Part 5

By: Gary W. Gallagher Category: Articles

Four division commanders wrote letters that rival the best from anyone who served in the Army of Northern Virginia. The men wrote frequently and perceptively: Lafayette McLaws, a Georgian and for a time the army’s senior division chief; North Carolinians William Dorsey Pender and Stephen Dodson Ramseur, who died of wounds at Gettysburg and Cedar Creek, respectively; and Gabriel C. Wharton, a...

Published 10/31/2022

Voices From the Army of Northern Virginia, Part 4

By: Gary W. Gallagher Category: Articles

Literature on the Army of Northern Virginia contains book-length testimony from four of the seven officers who commanded its infantry corps. These titles include memoirs by James Longstreet, Jubal Anderson Early, and John Brown Gordon and an annotated edition of Richard Stoddert Ewell’s correspondence. This published evidence from the four generals reveals a great deal about their personalities,...

Published 9/28/2022

Quick Picks: Sherman's March Books

By: Bennett Parten Category: Articles

Looking to do some reading on William T. Sherman's March to the Sea? We asked Bennett Parten, a professor of history at Georgia Southern University who is completing a book on the history of emancipation in the wake of Sherman's March, for his five essential books on one of the war’s most consequential campaigns. Below are his selections.

Published 9/26/2022

A Straggler

By: Alfred Waud Category: From the Archives

On March 28, 1863, Harper's Weekly published Alfred R. Waud's description, and associated illustration, of an army straggler—a class of soldier encountered repeatedly during the conflict by the famous sketch artist. It follows, in full:

Published 9/12/2022

"Union Jim" Williams

By: Harper's Weekly Category: From the Archives

The March 28, 1863, issue of Harper's Weekly included the following article about, and illustration of, Jim Williams, a formerly enslaved man who assisted Union forces during their presence in Lousiana. Nothing more is known about Williams' wartime service or postwar life.

Published 8/31/2022

The Five Best Books on the Civil War in the (Far) West

By: Matthew Christopher Hulbert Category: Articles

On the first day of my American West in History and Film class, I ask students to explain where the historical West of their imaginations is located, when it existed, and what characteristics make it distinctly “western.” As the discussion progresses, it gradually becomes clear that, though each of them assumes their version is the West, we all have different ideas about the American West, be...