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America's Civil War

America's Civil War September 2020

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Published since 1987, America’s Civil War strives to deliver to our readers the best articles on the most formative and tumultuous period of American history — the Civil War. Noted authors present the many battles, personalities and fascinating stories of the period.

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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
eager newcomer

I am not a history buff. That being said, I love to read, and I love to learn. Picking up your magazine was exactly the unexpected treat I didn’t know I was looking for. The articles were well-written, and they were filled with interesting information about the Civil War and post–Civil War that kept my eyes glued to the pages. Reading about the Wilderness in particular was a pleasure. As a 16-year-old girl who mainly reads fiction, I was very much pleased with the evocative images the author’s prose invoked. The way the Union soldiers described the densely packed forest in Virginia intrigued me — “… The abode of hydras and goblins”; “a place of foreboding and of wild, untamable wilderness.” As soon as the author of the “Labyrinth of…

1 min.
from our facebook page

Despite ongoing controversy concerning the Confederacy and its leaders, certain Southern generals seemed to have maintained their iconic status among our readers. The what-ifs and leadership qualities of Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson, for instance, were passionate subjects on our Facebook page back in May. One reader echoed what historians have mused for 150 or so years: What if Stonewall had been at Gettysburg? Danny Kinsella: People think [George] Patton & Ike [Eisenhower] were great, but yet Jackson died at age 39 and is one of the most studied tacticians in all military history right alongside Napoleon & Julius Caesar! Douglas Spahni: Gettysburg was the first battle that General Lee didn’t pick the battleground. It was also the first major battle that was fought after General Jackson’s death. Again, General Jackson would have…

8 min.
fishing buddies

ON A SUMMER DAY IN 1863, near Fort DeRussy, in the northwest sector of the District of Columbia, Lieutenant Fred Mather of Battery L, 7th New York Heavy Artillery met with an old school chum, Captain George Seward Dawson of Battery F, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery. They went fishing. Mather loved to fish. More than anything else, he found solace in it. As Mather claimed later in life, he had, as a boy, no further desire “than to be in the woods or on the waters,” and he had “no taste for anything like the harness of civilization.” His friend, Captain Dawson, also loved to fish, and for whatever reason, on this day in 1863, they found peace doing so together. “That day’s fishing was firmly fixed in my mind,”…

6 min.
better with age

BETWEEN 1884 AND 1887, Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel of Century Magazine published the “Century War Series,” articles by former Union and Confederate officers and some common soldiers about battles and campaigns of the war. It proved so popular that Century nearly doubled its circulation, and Johnson and Buel collected the articles into the superbly illustrated four-volume set Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, which was published between 1887 and 1888. To this day, Battles and Leaders remains one of the most widely read primary sources of the war. The series provided an opportunity for many officers to shape public opinion, defend reputations, rekindle old animosities, or air grievances. Volume 2 included articles covering the 1862 Maryland Campaign. Two of these dealt with the Battle of South Mountain…

8 min.
black in navy blue

AT A TIME WHEN the entertainment media is rife with comics and movies about superheroes, the true meaning of the word “hero” has become somewhat obscured, and has perhaps lost some of its cachet. On board USS Hartford, however, during the August 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay, two sailors—wounded and under heavy fire—performed an act of heroism that earned them their shipmates’ gratitude, the nation’s respect, and the Navy’s highest honor. Their names were John Henry Lawson and Wilson Brown, and they were two of the nearly 18,000 African-American seamen who fought for the Union and a better future. It is a safe assumption that most Americans—and all Civil War buffs—are familiar with the phrase, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” These words were reputedly spoken by Rear Admiral David Glasgow…

17 min.
true grit

In 1907, a monument honoring Union Maj. Gen. George Sears Greene was dedicated on Culp’s Hill at the Gettysburg National Military Park. It was on that ground that Greene and his New York brigade had secured the northern end of the Army of the Potomac’s fish-hook battle line at a critical point of the July 1863 battle. Although the Little Round Top stand by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine tends to receive more credit for the Federal victory at Gettysburg, Greene’s actions on Culp’s Hill on July 2-3 were just as important—maybe more so. Speaking at the Culp’s Hill dedication, Colonel William F. Fox paid tribute to the general’s leadership and the trademark tenacious fighting spirit of his men not just at Gettysburg but throughout the war. “Greene’s division…