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Civil War Times February 2021

Biographies, battles, eyewitness accounts & period photos of America’s greatest internal conflict. Civil War Times delivers the thrilling, extraordinary history of America’s most deadly internal struggle, from biographies to battle stories, eyewitness accounts to period photographs, plus travel guides, perceptive book reviews and more.

United States
6 Issues

in this issue

5 min
return fire

I QUITE ENJOYED the October 2020 article, “Little Mac on the Move,” about McClellan’s activities at the Battle of Antietam. All that has been written about the battle and this is rarely noticed. Unfortunately, wherever George McClellan went, he brought along George McClellan. It would be nice to see how his activities might have affected his decision on September 18 not to renew the battle. In another vein, reading Private Alexander Wight’s recollection about the general, and if it is true, shows really how much he loved his men and why they loved him. Perhaps it was more difficult for some men two years later to have cast their vote against him than is commonly acknowledged even though the Army of the Potomac voted for Lincoln in large numbers. Perhaps…

9 min
future gettysburg attraction

On December 16, the Adams County Historical Society kicked off a capital funding drive with the announcement of $2.7 million already donated or pledged to support the construction of a 29,000-square-foot center to house the society’s collection of some one million items. The ACHS has long outgrown its current home, a Victorian era house. “With no fire protection or climate control, we worry that all of Gettysburg’s history could be lost in a matter of minutes,” said Executive Director Andrew Dalton. The new center will be at the battlefield’s north edge and require $5.5 million to construct, with opening slated for the fall of 2022. More than 300 civilian battle accounts, diaries, letters, and published works are in the collection along with objects reflecting battle damage; William Tipton’s camera that…

2 min
action front!

Light Artillery, pose with their cannons ready to open fire, but in this case the warlike pose was for the camera only. The battery, raised in October 1862 by Captain John Nevin in Pittsburgh, Pa., actually never left the defenses of Washington during the war, and its potent Napoleon cannons never fired a shot in anger before it mustered out in June 1865. Nevin was forced to resign his commission not long after the battery was formed due to an unrevealed offense, but the unit colloquially remained known as “Nevin’s Battery” throughout its service. This image is one of several photographs of the battery, and all of them were labeled as being taken in a location referred to as “Camp Nevin.” The exact location of that camp remained a mystery…

5 min
active participants

BLACK RECONSTRUCTION: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 appeared on New York publisher Harcourt, Brace & Company’s list of new titles in 1935. Written by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963), a leading African American intellectual, sociologist, and historian best known for The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches (1903), the book received a good deal of attention from newspapers but less from mainline academic journals. Du Bois challenged the prevailing interpretation of Reconstruction as a dark time when carpetbaggers, scalawags, and their recently freed Black allies ran roughshod over a prostrate White South struggling to recover from the Civil War. That interpretation, widely disseminated by D. W. Griffith’s blockbuster film The Birth of…

8 min
death valleys …and ridges

WHEN U.S. ARMY VETERAN Chuck Lott examines a Civil War battlefield, he sees something much different than most of the rest of us. “Every stretch of ground,” the 72-year-old says, scanning Kentucky ridges cloaked in green and brown on a deep-blue sky day at the Perryville battlefield, “is a chance to die. I’m thinking, ‘That’s good for concealment, that’s good for cover.’” This “battlefield vision,” as I like to call it, is a product of experience and perhaps family genes. Lott witnessed the carnage of war in Vietnam, where he served as a medic. And his family is steeped in service in the American military: His father was a Marine during World War II, surviving the bloodbath at Okinawa in the conflict’s waning weeks. An uncle stormed Anzio in 1944; another fought…

7 min
stone savers

SCOTT HALVERSON AND MARGARET MOORE, partners in Minneapolis-based Northern Stone Carving LLC, have overcome challenges in restoring damaged monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park and elsewhere. Among their projects have been 38 repairs to 14 monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park and the 21st Indiana Battery monument in Chickamauga, Ga. The two met while working on stone carving in the restoration of the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., in 2014 and founded their company in 2018. CWT: How did you become stone carvers? SH: I have been carving stone for 20 years. I was an art major in the ’80s and got interested in working with stone while traveling in Europe. When I got back, I found a place to start learning in Austin, Texas, and later went back to Minnesota,…