The Front Line

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

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...

Published 8/22/2022

Extra Voices: A Thirst For Battle

By: The Civil War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of our Fall 2022 issue we highlighted quotes about the thirst for battle that consumed many Union and Confederate soldiers. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that just missed the cut.

Published 8/15/2022

Major Knipe Winging a Secessionist

By: Harper's Weekly Category: From the Archives

The following news item and image about an incident involving Union officer Joseph Knipe ran in Harper's Weekly on July 20, 1861—the day before the Battle of Bull Run. Knipe, a major and aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Edward Williams at the time, would be wounded several times during the war and rise to the rank of brigadier general. The Pennsylvania native survived the conflict and died...

Published 7/22/2022

Quick Picks: First Bull Run Books

By: Harry Smeltzer Category: Articles

Looking to do some reading on the First Battle of Bull Run? We asked Harry Smeltzer, proprietor of the website Bull Runnings, for his five essential books on the war’s first major battle. Below are his selections.

Published 7/11/2022

Extra Voices: Salt Pork

By: The Civi War Monitor Category: Articles

In the Voices section of the Summer 2022 issue of The Civil War Monitor we highlighted quotes about one of the more common foods consumed by soldiers on both sides: salt pork. Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include all that we found. Below are those that just missed the cut.

Published 6/22/2022

CARROLL: Invisible Wounds (2021)

By: Jonathan S. Jones Category: American Iliad

Dillon J. Carroll's "Invisible Wounds" is a fascinating study that unequivocally illustrates the links between the Civil War and mental illness.

Published 6/21/2022

The Five Best Books on Lincoln and His Commanders

By: Gerald J. Prokopowicz Category: Articles

Abraham Lincoln was not a military man, yet in March 1861 he became commander in chief of forces that would soon face the task of suppressing an 11-state rebellion. Other than a few months’ service in the Illinois militia in 1832, he had no experience or training on which to draw. He would need to rely on the professional officers commanding his army and navy, but some of them joined the...