Civil War

The Myth of Black Confederates

My two worlds converged recently. In my world as a writer for the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I recently did a story about the "Myth of Black Confederates"--a subject that...

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...

Chicago Politics and How Lincoln Got Nominated

Chicago politics was alive and well in May of 1860 when the Republican party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate at the convention in the Windy City. Check out this fascinating article, which...

‘The Lincoln League’ Off the Press

Print copies of the The Lincoln League are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sources. It's also available as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, and iBook. The Lincoln League is based on the...

Burnsides’ Sideburns

Thank General Burnsides for the word "sideburns." General Ambrose Burnsides was a Union general during the Civil War known for his facial hair, which came down the sides of his face and connected with his...

August 23, 1861: The Socialite Spy

HISTORY BY THE SLICE--Washington socialite Rose Greenhow was arrested for spying for the Confederacy on August 23, 1861, 151 years ago today. Greenhow's information on Union troop movements was believed to have aided the...

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Julia Ward Howe woke up before sunrise one morning in 1861, and history was made. When she woke, Julia heard the tramping of soldiers marching beneath her window in her room in Washington. Suddenly, the...

No Small Feat–A Daring Civil War Escape

In the very early hours of May 13, 1862, a slave named Robert Smalls decided to make his move. Smalls had worked his way up to becoming a wheelman--a pilot--and the Confederates used him to...

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...

A Shocking First Battle

No one expected the American Civil War to last very long. Senator James Chestnut of South Carolina even boasted that he would be able to drink all of the blood spilled during the brief...