Civil War

Sojourner Truth & Talking to Ashes

Sojourner Truth was once told that if she dared to preach, the building where she spoke would be burned. The famous abolitionist responded, "Then I will speak to the ashes." You gotta love it. This past...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The Civil War in Living Color

During the past month, I have been doing research on the wet-plate photographic method, also known as the collodion process. This early photographic process was introduced in the 1850s, and by the time the...

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...

Civil War Wreck Gets 3D Treatment

Few people probably remember the sinking of the iron-hulled Union ship, USS Hatteras, off the coast of Galveston, Texas, during the Civil War. But the ship played a key role in the struggle over...