We often think about the Civil War in terms of two large armies facing off on the battlefield, but less seldom do we consider the clandestine efforts on behalf of the Confederate States of America to bring the war to United States territory and influence Great Britain and other European nations to join the attack on the United States. [Read more…] about Confederate Spies at the Canadian Border
“The most famous of American almanacs, Benjamin Franklin‘s Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was published annually from 1732 to 1758, begins each edition by invoking its year’s distance from both the birth of Christ and the year of Creation as calculated by varying ancient cultures,” says historian Jill Spivey Caddell. [Read more…] about Confederate Almanacs: Harvests and Histories
This week on the Historians Podcast, Chris Carola, a former Albany-based Associated Press reporter who lives in Saratoga Springs, discusses the Civil War’s 77th New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment. [Read more…] about The 77th New York Infantry Volunteers in the Civil War
After 160 years, letters from a 4th Wisconsin Civil War Regiment Lieutenant have come to light and are now reprinted in Dear Friend: Letters from Union Soldier Gustavus Wintermeyer to John A. Bentley (Historical Society of Moreau and South Glens Falls, 2023).
Wintermeyer was a German immigrant who settled with his family in Wisconsin and became friends with Bentley, a native of Kingsbury, Washington County, NY, who moved to Wisconsin to set up his law practice. [Read more…] about Dear Friend: Letters From A Union Soldier
This week marks the anniversary of John Brown’s execution on December 2, 1859. Had Brown escaped from Harpers Ferry rather than been captured he might well today be just a footnote, one of the tens of thousands that struggled to undermine the institution of slavery in America before the Civil War.
It’s often said that just one thing secured Brown’s place in the hearts of millions of Americans that came after him – his execution and martyrdom. There is another equally important reason Americans will celebrate the life of John Brown this week however – he was right that slavery would end at a heavy price. [Read more…] about The Last Days of John Brown: Martyr, Revolutionary or Terrorist?
The fabled 1621 “First Thanksgiving” celebrated in elementary school plays across the country was reported on by Edward Winslow in Mourt’s Relation (A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceedings of the English Plantation Settled at Plimoth in New England, 1622) and William Bradford in Of Plymouth Plantation. [Read more…] about Abraham Lincoln’s First Thanksgivings
Adrienne Morris’ historical novel By the Shores of Solon Pond: A Farmer Boy Goes to the Civil War (Middlemay Farm Publishing, 2023) is an epic of heroism, sacrifice, and family devotion.
Farm boy Waldo Potter strives to save his father’s impoverished Upstate New York acreage as drums of war beat. When his uncle Charles takes him under his wing, Waldo must navigate family resentments and tragic twists of fate at home and at the seat of war. [Read more…] about By the Shores of Solon Pond: A Farmer Boy Goes to the Civil War
On November 23, 1861, hundreds of men dressed in the blue uniforms of the United States Army mustered in Saratoga Springs. Hailing from villages and towns across Saratoga County as well as from Fulton and Essex counties, the soldiers of the newly formed 77th New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment were heading off to war.
Nearly seven months earlier, on April 12, successionist forces had opened fire on the federal government’s Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. [Read more…] about The 77th Infantry: The Bemis Heights Regiment in the Civil War
Southern secession was a disaster for American nationalists with a pro-slavery vision. Few were as virulent as John Van Evrie (1814–1896), a Canadian educated as a physician, who spent the 1850s building a publishing company that churned out pro-slavery works, including the notorious New York Weekly Day Book newspaper.
Van Evrie’s pseudoscience theories, which lacked evidence even for the time, claimed black people were inferior to white people, defended slavery as practiced in the United States, and attacked abolitionism. [Read more…] about Professional Racist John Van Evrie & The New York Weekly Day Book
From Binghamton to the Battlefield: The Civil War Letters of Rollin B. Truesdell (SUNY Press Excelsior Editions, 2022) draws the reader alongside Rollin B. Truesdell, a prolific letter-writer and an early enlistee in the 27th New York Volunteers, an infantry regiment that was one of the first to form and that was in the thick of some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. [Read more…] about Binghamton to the Battlefield: The Civil War Letters of Rollin B. Truesdell