Browsing All Posts filed under »historical memory«

A decade of Southern Unionist studies

September 19, 2016 by


After receiving a comment last night on a recent post, and while driving into work this morning, I realized that, for over a decade, I’ve been involved in the study of Southern Unionists in the Shenandoah Valley. It was ten years ago this fall when I started writing my thesis on Southern Unionism and disaffected […]

Virginia’s old SCV license plate – an observation

September 15, 2016 by


I saw this article, and taking the time to actually read it… and re-read it… I’m actually able to hear both sides to this argument. For one, the plate is no longer a legal plate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. So, under the law, being no longer legal, I understand the basic thought behind why […]

If you like an interpretation of history, why not also find the flaws in it?

September 6, 2016 by


Lately, in the midst of the arguments being made about standing for the National Anthem, I’ve seen a fair number of folks attach themselves to an interpretation of some aspect of history and then attempt to defend that position (actually, it’s more a matter of them going on the offensive, using that interpretation as if […]

The SPLC’s report… more “purposed” opinion than history?

April 22, 2016 by


I saw, today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center issued their “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” report, yesterday. Anyone who has watched the SPLC over the years knows how they are inspired and, to be clear, they simply don’t recognize complexities in the story of anyone associated with the Southern Confederacy. Of course, it’s […]

150 years ago this week – properties listed for sale in the Rockingham Register

March 5, 2016 by


Does a listing of properties for sale, as of March 1866, tell us something about the Shenandoah Valley and the inability of some to recover from war? From the March 2, 1866 issue of the Rockingham Register (Harrisonburg):      

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 […]

“…time would terminate the domestic contact of the races in the United States.”

July 27, 2015 by


As I mentioned yesterday, in the course of looking through my notes to compile a couple of lists for a blog post or two, I ran across something that I had forgotten. When rereading it, I thought it might be of value to go ahead and post it. It might come as a surprise to […]

“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 […]

Charleston… and observations

June 23, 2015 by


Update: I don’t think I was vague about my opinion on the Confederate flag in public venues, and you can see that below. How the symbolism of the flag contributed to the actions of the shooter are also mentioned, but only briefly. To be clear, the issue of the flag is only an aside to my […]

A Southern Unionist goes home.

June 16, 2015 by


By far, one of my favorite blogging experiences of the Sesqui was posting David Hunter Strother’s accounts of the early war (before he joined the Union army), in real time. It should be no surprise, therefore, that I often find myself returning to Strother for the rich content he left behind. Interestingly, in addition to […]

7:22 a.m., April 15… what range of emotions followed?

April 15, 2015 by


At 7:22:10 a.m., there will be reflection by many on the meaning of the day and hour. Sadly… most others, I suspect, will remain indifferent, except for the instance in which they might happen to run across a newspaper article or something on the internet or t.v., and have that “Ah, that happened today” moment. Others […]

“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 […]

Stonewall Jackson’s sister-in-law on… Thanksgiving.

November 27, 2014 by


For a number of years I’ve posted different perspectives on Thanksgiving (here, here, and here, for example), and usually related to “Southern memory”. Ultimately, there seems to be a tug of war between traditional and historic firsts. Yet, while there are those who stand resistant to the tradition inspired by Massachusetts Bay’s Puritans, perhaps they shouldn’t […]

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 […]

Reflections on D-Day’s 70th

June 6, 2014 by


I recall, years ago, asking my grandfather to document his WW2 service in the Navy, and one of the things that stuck out… not only to myself, but clearly to him… was where he was on June 6, 1944. Though he wasn’t off the coast of Normandy, he was on a convoy in the Red […]

Confederate History Month – a disservice to Antebellum Southern history?

April 2, 2014 by


I know… I’ve been incredibly quiet for well over a month, but I’ve been considering various things regarding directions in which to go with writing history. Another topic for another day, perhaps. For now, however, since “Confederate History Month” (as I was reminded by a post I saw on Facebook this morning) is now underway, it […]

Confederate sons, Postwar, and Manifest Destiny

January 16, 2014 by


Just over a year ago, I encountered a headstone that really… seemed to pique my interest. I began developing a post around it, but, for whatever reason, it fell by the wayside. Today, the thought seemed to find its way back to me. The lighting was not the best when I took the photo this […]

Does the South have more ties to New England-focused Thanksgiving than realized?

November 26, 2013 by


Plimoth (Plymouth)… or Jamestown… or Berkeley Hundred? A few years ago, I covered the complexities behind “who had the first Thanksgiving”, but there’s something else worth noting. Despite a mindset among some that seems to distance both the Massachusetts Bay colonists from the Virginia Colony colonists, the lines that seem to have only been blurred over time, […]

How can “historical memory” be made a more palatable dish?

November 12, 2013 by


Pardon me for being so quiet lately, but things have been a bit… busy. It doesn’t mean I stop thinking about the history… or the practice of the same. Take… “historical memory”. I’ve wondered if the practice among historians is as great as what it was a few years back. More important, I wonder if […]

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 […]

What does this have to do with the Civil War?

October 19, 2013 by


For one… I offer a friendly reminder to consider, again, the title of the blog. It’s not just about the Civil War… it’s more about the area, and, because who I am and because of my interests… yes, it usually comes back to the Civil War, in some way or the other. Nonetheless, I’ve actually […]

The reach of religion in the Shenandoah Valley in 1860

September 15, 2013 by


In part, my interest in looking into churches in the Shenandoah Valley is to see if there is any connection to the literacy rate. I’m also curious how the denominations reflect anything that may help me further in my understanding of Southern Unionism in the Valley. Though I don’t think I have anything that gives […]

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 […]

Following-up on the panel dicussion on the Legacy of the American Civil War, at the Library of Virginia

August 24, 2013 by


Finally getting around to posting about it, but I had a great time at the panel held at the Library of Virginia. For those who weren’t able to make it, check out the video below. There were some great folks on the panel, who shared their perspectives, and gave me time to think more about […]

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 […]

Did West Virginia know what it was doing?

June 20, 2013 by


Yesterday, on Harper’s Ferry’s Facebook page, I saw a comment in response to a post about the following day (today) being the 150th anniversary of the birth of West Virginia. The response was simply… “Traitors!!!” Obviously, it wasn’t a comment that involved much thought, to say nothing of the evident lack of knowledge when it […]