The Front Line

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

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...

Published 6/14/2022

Grand Opening of American Civil War Museum's Robins Theater

By: Zethyn McKinley Category: Interviews

We recently asked Jeniffer Maloney, director of marketing and public relations at American Civil War Museum, about their new Robins Theater opening this month. She gave us a first look at the facility and film it will show, A People’s Contest.

Published 6/13/2022

Ticks in Camp

By: Josiah M. Favill Category: In the First Person

Josiah M. Favill, a young officer in the 57th New York Infantry, kept a detailed diary during the Civil War. In one entry, dated May 16, 1862, Favill writes in detail about a common summer pest found (then and now) in the eastern U.S.—the wood tick. Read his itch-enducing description of his—and his comrades'—encounters with the aggressive insect.

Published 6/3/2022

Eyewitness to Cold Harbor

By: Theodore Lyman Category: In the First Person

Between May 31 and June 12, 1864, the armies of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee clashed near Mechanicsville, Virginia, in the Battle of Cold Harbor. June 3 witnessed particularly fierce fighting after Grant ordered repeated attacks against the strong Confederate positions—attacks in which Union forces suffered casualties two to four times greater than their opponents. Among those who...

Published 5/23/2022

Quick Picks: Civil War Photography Books

By: Ronald S. Coddington Category: Articles

Looking for good books on Civil War photography? We asked Ronald S. Coddington, author and publiser of Military Images magazine, for three books on the subject that he considers essential reads. Here are his picks: