Civil War

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...

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...

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...

The Lincoln Movie Trailer

Ted Johnson, a wonderful actor I got to visit with at this year's Gideon Media Arts Conference, plays a small but very important role in the upcoming Stephen Spielberg movie, Lincoln. He has pointed...

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...

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...

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...

The Rail-Splitter and the Little Dougs

I was listening to the audio version of Adam Goodheart's amazing book, 1861, when the phrase "The Little Dougs" leaped out at me. As a Doug myself, I have to say I like 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...