Civil War

Elmer-Mania!

Long Before The Beatles, There Was Elmer Just prior to the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, triggering the Civil War in 1861, one of the most famous men in America was Elmer...

What Was the Real Lincoln League?

Timothy Webster, the most famous spy during the first year of the Civil War, first encountered the Lincoln League when he was taken to a secluded hideout in the woods. He was taken there...

Lincoln’s Life Masks

Abraham Lincoln had two "life masks" created--one in 1860 before the Civil War began and the other in 1865, when the war was ending. The masks were made to preserve what he really...

Baseball, 1860 Style

Whenever I came off the field after a day playing vintage baseball, my hands were often stinging something fierce. That's because we played by 1860 rules, which meant NO GLOVES. And since I played...

Quaker Cannons

Fighting the Union Army With Logs? One of the most effective weapons used by the Confederates against General George B. McClellan's army was the "Quaker Cannon"--simple logs painted black to look like cannons. These artificial...

Infernal Machines

On a misty night in October of 1863, the aptly named David, a small Confederate torpedo boat, set out to slay the much larger Union vessel, the New Ironsides. The David was the first important steam-powered...

Infernal Machines, Part 3

Some called it a murdering machine. But the question was: Who faced the greatest risk from this machine—the enemy or the men operating it? Eight men were jammed side by side in this cramped Civil...

Infernal Machines: Civil War Submarines

"If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate," businessman Thomas J.Watson once said. James R. McClintock, Baxter Watson, and Horace Hunley certainly had their share of failures as they pioneered the...

The Nastiest Fence in the United States

The fence you see in these photos has to be the wickedest looking fence I have ever laid eyes upon. It is perhaps the most dangerous non-electrified fence in the country. My wife and I...

The Confederate Death Trap

One hundred and fifty years ago this week, on February 17, 1864, a Confederate submarine made the first successful attack in history, sinking the USS Housatonic while trying to break the Federal blockade during...