The Confederate war effort: “…moved to a common end, but by different… and inconsistent reasons”

July 16, 2015
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Another break from the transcriptions, just for a little while… but still related. I recently came across (again) a quote I thought rather telling. It actually came from another transcription I completed for this blog, with a newspaper article focused on a discussion Lincoln had with representatives from the border states… and, as it so […]

To redress wrongs or become “accomplices to the crime”

July 15, 2015
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And, continuing from the post from a couple of days ago… Oh, and please feel free to take advantage of the hyperlinks I’ve provided below… you might be interested in additional information. What follows is not necessarily original to the American Colonization Society. In fact, I recall an episode of American Experience in which Thomas […]

Civil War Monuments and the beauty of their flexibility in interpretation

July 15, 2015
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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
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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 […]

“To prepare the way of the gradual emancipation and colonization of our slaves.”

July 11, 2015
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ColonizationFrederickAuxiliary

Carrying over from the last post… this next run of text from the pamphlet continues to provide a history of the American Colonization Society. As I mentioned before, I feel as if the Auxiliary of Frederick County was trying to explain itself, and perhaps gather more financial support (if not simply support in general). We […]

Background of the new colony for “free persons of colour”

July 10, 2015
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Continuing from yesterday’s post… While I’m still in a period of “gaining a better understanding” when it comes to the proposed colonization of “free persons of colour” (see the grouping of books I’ve acquired in the last month or so, to the right… and you can also see that this study involves the study of […]

“we deprecate the horrors of slavery”

July 9, 2015
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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 […]

“That slavery is an evil no one can deny”

July 8, 2015
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As we look to the past, we might be familiar with wording similar to what follows: Africa, the pride of antiquity, and the original seat of the arts and sciences, has for three hundred years been visited with every act of oppression which could be devised by the tyranny or injustice of mankind. After improving […]

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

July 2, 2015
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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 […]

When does it go too far?

June 25, 2015
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With the Charleston massacre being at the center of it all… I’ve spent a little more time sitting and listening… (although, I have felt compelled to post, on Facebook, about the “collateral damage”, as those events have sped by). I’m struck by the manner in which we can be so focused, in our conversations, on one topic and […]

Charleston… and observations

June 23, 2015
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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, pt. 2.

June 17, 2015
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StrotherAnAmericanRuin

Continuing with Porte Crayon’s “Home”… but first, as mentioned in the blog post on Tuesday, keep in mind that Crayon (David Hunter Strother) lays out a story that differs from his actual experiences of returning home to Martinsburg and then later, Berkeley Springs. Still, one has to wonder where reality might intersect with fiction. We […]

A Southern Unionist goes home.

June 16, 2015
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PorteCribbage

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 […]

With the end of the Sesqui, a return to meatier content?

June 11, 2015
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It’s been nearly two months since my last blog posts, and one might think, with the end of the Sesquicentennial (don’t split hairs with me… I know there’s more that can be considered “on the calendar”, this year… and one event of interest to me is on the horizon), so too came the end to this blog. Not […]

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

April 15, 2015
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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 […]

Magill, on the initial hours of the evacuation of Richmond

April 2, 2015
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Picking-up from the previous post, and continuing with Magill’s account: No pen can describe the horror of the moment. In the streets all was confusion. Officers hurried to the different departments of the Government. The Banks were open, and the depositors eagerly embraced the opportunity to withdraw their gold, while the Directors superintended the removal […]

April 2, 1865, from a vantage point within the Second Presbyterian Church, Richmond

April 2, 2015
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Taking the time to read various works of fiction from the antebellum period (and shortly after the war), one comes to understand that, quite often, the authors of these works were writing accounts of their own experiences. Mary Tucker Magill was one of those authors. Interestingly, in 1886, Magill’s story (which had originally appeared in […]

Present for the last gasps… on the 150th of Five Forks

April 1, 2015
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The last card in Strole's Combined Service Record, showing him as present in February, 1865

I thought about how this post might come together, and I think my reflections are on both the meaning of the day, and on the manner in which I’ve taken-in a lot of the Sesqui. So… … it was on this day, 150 years ago that the Army of Northern Virginia suffered a critical defeat […]

A different contribution to the “Sesqui landscape”, on the last days of the war

March 26, 2015
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It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine… I subscribe to a number of different Civil War-related blogs, sites, Facebook pages, etc., and over the last week or so, I’ve watched as many have focused on the closing fights… at places like Bentonville and Fort Stedman. While even I noted the anniversary of the attack on Stedman (not in […]

Connecting a signed book with an actor, the Alamo, the Shenandoah… and Lincoln

March 5, 2015
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The actor portraying Hackett, in The Alamo (2004), bids "good evening" to Billy Bob Thornton portraying Crockett.

With what has become an unintentional series of “every other year” posts (see here from 2011, and here, from 2013) about the Alamo, since 2011… the timing seemed right for this post… Just this past year, I was looking to add a book to my collection… one written by John Pendleton Kennedy (1795-1870) that might also […]

“Be Kind”

February 11, 2015
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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 […]

James Kirke Paulding provides a window to the early nineteenth century Shenandoah

January 26, 2015
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PauldingJamesKirkeSmaller

In digging backwards from the Civil War, through the literature that mentions the Shenandoah Valley, I came upon a great work written by James Kirke Paulding. In 1816, Paulding ventured into the Valley and apparently stuck around a bit, providing some details as to what he encountered. So, what is the value of reading experiences […]

An Antebellum snapshot of “The Tuleyries”

January 3, 2015
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Note to the reader: Please, if visiting the Virginia Arboretum, remember… “The Tuleyries” is private property and the grounds are not open for visits. All of the photos you see in this post were taken from a distance. Thanks. Following up from my walk this past Sunday… For starters… let’s get the name issue cleared […]

A walk at “Tuleyries”

December 28, 2014
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Looking at the west wing of "the quarters", which was the actual portion which served as slave quarters. The central and west wing were built in the 1940s.

Earlier today, circumstances were such that I had an opportunity to catch a glimpse at a sunrise. Granted, it was overcast, but watching the dawning of a new day can still be pleasant enough. My destination… the Virginia Arboretum (aka, Blandy Experimental Farm). Why? For one, it’s free… and open, literally, from dawn to dusk. […]

“Marion Harland’s” Civil War

December 27, 2014
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Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune

Though not a Shenandoah Valley author, Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune (aka… “Marion Harland”) is still someone who caught my attention. Yes… Virginia-born, but… she comes with a particular twist when dealing with the Civil War. Here’s what the entry in Encyclopedia Virginia has to say about her and the war… Harland’s novels were written over […]

“Papers and books were scattered everywhere…”: A Day at The Briars

December 26, 2014
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A photo of The Briars... taken just last week, by yours truly...

In speaking with someone just the other day, I mentioned how I’ve had an incredibly enjoyable time working through the nineteenth century literature of the Shenandoah Valley… meaning, the literature generated by those who lived here, and by those from without who wrote about the Valley and its people. In fact, I’m still working through […]

Revisiting the movie,”Field of Lost Shoes”… and the portrayal of “Old Judge”

December 19, 2014
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It’s no mystery that I cared little for the movie the Field of Lost Shoes. Folks can go to Keith Harris’ online journal, The Americanist Independent (access is free now), to see the review that I wrote. In short, the story of the VMI cadets and their New Market experience deserves thoughtful consideration… and a film worthy of […]

One account of Christmas, as described in a piece from 1857

December 15, 2014
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VictorianChristmasTree

One of the things that I find fascinating is “reading between the lines” of novels and poetry of the 19th century, and finding tidbits regarding life (whether real or exaggerated) at that time. For example, consider this extract from John Esten Cooke’s “Our Christmas at The Pines”, which appeared in the December, 1857 issue of […]

Charles T. O’Ferrall remembers the trial of Southern Unionist, Col. John Strother

December 8, 2014
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Charles T O'Ferrall

Something I ran across again, just recently… and, a pleasant “revisit” of a couple of my favorite topics (Southern Unionism and David Hunter Strother). As some may recall, I have mentioned the incident relating to the capture and trial of Col. John Strother in a previous post… as remembered by his son, David Hunter Strother. No […]

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

November 27, 2014
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Margaret Junkin Preston

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 […]