Browsing All Posts filed under »historical interpretation«

History in context(?): the ACS, “National racism” in the early 19th century, and our path forward

August 4, 2015 by


While I continue to hash out details about the ACS, I’m certainly not blind to what we consider (under our modern lenses) “racist” views held in the actions of people in the past. The difference is, however, that I think I’m able to realize the difference in views between today and yesterday, as more properly evaluated within […]

Civil War Monuments and the beauty of their flexibility in interpretation

July 15, 2015 by


There’s been lots discussed lately about the need to keep Civil War monuments standing, and I wholeheartedly agree. Despite what some say, they should not come down. They serve a purpose, and there are unique qualities in each… not only from an art perspective, but also for the fact that some provide interpretation (or make […]

The Confederate Flag… what some people seem to fail to realize

July 13, 2015 by


I’m going to go off topic for just a bit… Still sitting back, watching all that’s taking place… Anyway, I drove down a long country back road in the Shenandoah Valley yesterday. It’s not unusual to see an occasional Confederate flag… not at all. Before mid-June, you’d zip past it in a car and might not […]

“we deprecate the horrors of slavery”

July 9, 2015 by


An Update: Please see an added comment at the bottom of this post. Thanks.   Now… as to where those quotes originated (those I used in yesterday’s post)… They came from The Annual Report of the Auxiliary Society of Frederick County, VA. For Colonizing the Free People of Colour in the United States (1820). I […]

Consider, for example, an unwelcome army on your doorstep…

July 2, 2015 by


Think about it. When was the last time your government threatened to deploy the military of your government to your neck of the woods. Of course, I’m not talking about a simple military exercise, but a full-blown deployment set on silencing what appeared to be… for better or worse, whether you were in agreement with it […]

“Be Kind”

February 11, 2015 by


I really need to get back to J.K. Paulding, and hope to do so soon, but in the meantime… Lacking in my knowledge of the Crusades (apart from the romantic efforts of antebellum Virginians to recapture a little of that), I spent some time recently (thanks to a recent event that made news), looking at a […]

Thinking about the Sesqui of Strother’s farewell from the army

August 9, 2014 by


Around 1:30 p.m. (I’m almost to the very minute when posting this), 150 years ago on this day, David Hunter Strother boarded a train at Harper’s Ferry, bound for Baltimore. He was just taking 20 days leave of absence… but ultimately, it sure appears as if he had had his fill of war. Was it […]

One narrow vision… followed by a more remarkable set of 19th century observations by Brantz Mayer

July 11, 2014 by


I read, somewhere recently, about how someone holds such low regard for Harper’s Ferry… because… as this person sees things… the site interprets John Brown as a hero. It’s actually odd, but John Brown only crosses my mind a couple of times when I visit (which, as regular readers know, is often) Harper’s Ferry, and when he […]

The less you know, the better the ghost story: the real Corbin Cabin of Nicholson Hollow

October 24, 2013 by


Since it’s October, I figured I’d bring up a ghost story… not that I care much for it. To be honest, I see it amounting to something along the lines of the tall tales told by George Freeman Pollock. Anyway, there’s this “ghost story” about Corbin Cabin, in Shenandoah National Park, that came out and got attention a […]

Mark Twain challenges the South’s love of Romantacism

September 2, 2013 by


In reading early 19th century works which Southerners read… and wrote, I’m also fascinated by the influence that some say Sir Walter Scott had on the South. As we see in Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain abhorred the Romantic movement, and put the blame square on Scott… Then comes Sir Walter Scott with his […]

John Esten Cooke… but, not the Cooke most would recognize.

August 31, 2013 by


When reading about the early nineteenth century’s top authors (I’m defining them as such, for their ability demonstrated in their works… in that they were able to make their way into popular literature circles of the time) from the Shenandoah Valley, I find that I’m interested first in what influenced them, and next on how […]

What’s the objective?

August 27, 2013 by


For the (over) five years in which I’ve been blogging, I’ve focused mostly on the American Civil War. As the title of the blog suggests, however, I have room to roam whenever I get the whim. I don’t like to keep myself too “hemmed-in”. The title has given me enough flexibility that I feel comfortable moving in just […]

The battle for and against Southern Heritage

August 21, 2013 by


There is a struggle that exists (and thrives) that continues to feed misconceptions, and I can’t help but cringe when I hear either argument. There are those who say that they defend Southern Heritage… but that is usually limited to a fraction of the heritage that did, in fact, make up the South. Usually, it’s […]

Who was free black Isaac Dunn?

May 8, 2013 by


There are certain things that sit there… in my mind… unanswered in my quest to understand better my ancestors and the people around them… and this is one of them. He appears but once, as far as I can tell, in the census records. Isaac Dunn was listed, on September 6, 1860, as residing with […]

The future of Civil War history… yet another angle

April 24, 2013 by


Harry’s doing some interesting stuff over in his blog. If you haven’t seen it already, there are two polls… here, and here. Chime-in if you haven’t already done so. Now, that said… I’ve had something on my mind for several weeks. I keep meaning to write something about it, but I’m not quite sure how […]

Easter then is not Easter today

March 31, 2013 by


I spent a little time going through both the Spirit of Jefferson and the Virginia Free Press and Farmer’s Repository looking for what might be found regarding Easter in the mid-19th century lower Valley. I didn’t go through all of the papers, but did hit about a dozen years between 1842 and 1858, looking at the […]

Don’t ignore that which is contrary…

March 25, 2013 by


It’s interesting… the more I dig (historical research), the more I find examples to the contrary. “To the contrary of what?”… one might ask. Is it… the “norm”… whether that be a long-standing norm, or one that is acceptable at a particular time (trending)? There are times in which I hear arguments made, yet know […]

A closer look at those USCT monuments and markers

March 12, 2013 by


In the poll, from earlier today, I asked readers how many monuments and markers there are, that interpret the story of the USCTs. Based on the monuments/markers uploaded to the Historical Markers Database, there are 115 (using “USCT” in the search engine), and 161 (using the phrase “colored troops” in the search engine). I took […]

Interpreting USCTs in places where they were not…

March 10, 2013 by


Recently, there’s been a flurry of posts about USCTs (see Craig Swain’s, here; Emmanuel Dabney’s, here; Kevin Levin’s, here; and Jimmy Price’s, here), and, as I’m in the process of compiling a list of USCTs born in Shenandoah Valley counties, I find it timely. Should the interpretation of USCTs be incorporated into places in which they were not… […]

It’s the little things… an evaluation of blogging’s “seedlings” on the Web

February 28, 2013 by


Some folks obsess on numbers; some way too much. Some even write to score numbers. That’s fine. To each his/her own. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see that folks are visiting the blog, but I’ve moved on from the “obsessed by numbers phase”. In my first year or two of writing the blog… oh, yes; […]

A little “sensory history” & volunteer time at Harpers Ferry

December 4, 2012 by


We see; we touch; we hear… but can we smell and taste history as much? Granted, it might be a good thing that we don’t always smell and taste what might have been encountered in the mid-19th century. There are exceptions, however… and certainly, the smells and tastes associated with food rank at the top. So, […]

German influence in the Shenandoah Valley… even into the Civil War

September 23, 2012 by


I posed a question yesterday… But, how far back, before the 1850s, is it necessary to take such a study? Of course, I meant, specifically… how the varying sentiments during the Civil War era South came to be… and how they might be traceable  to earlier points in time. Again, as one who concentrates heavily […]

Nobody really cares (NOT!): Sesqui 150, “Live” @ Antietam

September 17, 2012 by


On my drive toward Antietam this morning, I wondered how many would actually be there (here) so early in the morning. Upon closing-in on the park entrance, I noticed the increased traffic. Making the left turn and rounding the corner… the Visitor’s Center parking lot was closed… already full. I continued past the Dunker Church […]

Catching-up: day 3 of the Harpers Ferry-Antietam Sesqui weekend

September 15, 2012 by


Finding myself adequately worn-out after the hike up Maryland Heights, on Thursday… and then the “breakout” tour in Harpers Ferry, last night, I haven’t been able to keep pace with blog posts. So, drafting a hasty one before heading out this morning. It’s been great so far. The hike up Maryland Heights… with a friend/co-worker […]

John Albert Racer of Page County… Southern Unionist?

September 2, 2012 by


A friend of mine asked me if I thought his ancestor (John Albert Racer) might have been a Southern Unionist. He has a hunch he was, plus, there’s some pretty interesting stuff surrounding this fellow’s life in the war. For one, there’s a pretty cool story that comes out of Page County, about one of […]

The confectioner Southern Unionist of Harpers Ferry… and his Unionist son

August 24, 2012 by


Before writing this, I probably should have posted something about the rifts between some Southern fathers and sons, when it came to sentiments in the war, but I’ll get around to it. Tonight, I’m focusing instead on Frederick Augustus Roeder. The name might be familiar, especially if you’ve visited Harpers Ferry. Yes, THAT Frederick Roeder, […]

Telling the story of the Civil War: The Joseph’s Coat* approach

August 10, 2012 by


Over at Emerging Civil War, Kathleen Logothetis posted something today (Let’s Talk Openly About Slavery: Interpretation at Monticello) that caught my attention and made me think a little more about what might be considered a challenge in telling the story of the Civil War. Not that it’s difficult to weave together the topic of slavery with the Civil War… that’s […]


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