Civil War

Finding a More Complicated Lincoln

Edna Greene Medford became a historian at a time when the legacy of Abraham Lincoln had lost some of its luster in the African American community. So she said she never had any plans to...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...