What were the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River? The largest? Who took the tactical offensive more often in the Trans-Mississippi Theater? By cobbling together an array of data, these questions and more are answered, shedding light on the Civil War from Texas to New Mexico and Louisiana to Missouri…Read More
During the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of young men found themselves prisoners of war, their fates in the hands of the enemy. For those lucky enough, parole or exchange awaited. Yet most men faced the grim reality of harsh prison camps. Some Civil War prisons were so infamous their names are still notorious today: places like Andersonville, Elmira, Libby Prison, and Point Lookout. Yet perhaps their names perhaps overshadow the fact that over 150 prison camps existed during the war.
Tucked away among the piney woods of East Texas rests a small historic park in Tyler, Texas. The park's humble appearance today belies the magnitude of the place it commemorates. Camp Ford constituted the largest Confederate-run prisoner-of-war camp west of the Mississippi River, housing some 5,550 Union soldiers over the course of the war's final years.Read More
Last week, twenty-one year old Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. An act of violence and racial hatred, the tragedy has sparked a nationwide debate over racism and, in particular, the symbolism of the Confederate flag. The flag of a now-dead nation dedicated to the defense of slavery, the flag that appears in photographs with Dylann Roof, and the flag that today floats free over the South Carolina Capitol grounds.
I suspect, owing to public outcry and political pressure, the flag in Columbia will come down. The governor of South Carolina has called for its removal, and yesterday Alabama removed its Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds. Yet while the flag faces greater scrutiny, the current debate cannot merely rest on the Confederate flag. The discussion instead needs to encompass the Confederacy’s legacy in the United States—what the Confederacy stood for, what it means today, and the place (if any) it should occupy in 21st-century America.Read More
How does the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution relate to a group of disgruntled butchers? In 1873, the United States Supreme Court struggled to answer exactly this question.
Perhaps no image better captured the tumultuous and confused nature of the Reconstruction Era than former Supreme Court Justice John Campbell during the 1873 Slaughter-House Cases. A former slave owner who served as the Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy, Campbell oddly found himself arguing against states rights in an attempt to overturn a Louisiana state statute. When the Reconstructionist, Republican-dominated legislature of Louisiana incorporated all the slaughterhouses within New Orleans, giving a single company the exclusive right to slaughter within the city, no one expected the butcher’s protests to lead to the first interpretation of the new Fourteenth Amendment by the nation’s highest court. Campbell, however, quickly saw an opportunity.Read More