History Wishes for the New Year – 2020

This historian would like to see… Discourse on the New York Times’s 1619 Project. The current vitriol is unacceptable. Academic historians engage each other in substantive debate, rather than insipid tweeting. Acknowledging contributions and expertise of established scholars in the 1619 Project debate Gordon Wood, James McPherson, and Sean Wilentz must be heard and respected.Continue reading “History Wishes for the New Year – 2020”

Christmas on the Mountain

Thomas Jefferson celebrated Christmas… but not with stockings and Christmas trees- modern incarnations of the season didn’t take hold in America until after the Civil War.  Jefferson’s Christmas was a time for family, friends, and as he described it, “merriment.”   Family was all important to the Sage of Monticello, and he described the day”  “theContinue reading “Christmas on the Mountain”

Drink Like a Founder

If you seek a historically acceptable wine… for this holiday season, consider Madeira.  The fortified wine is produced in the island group of the same name.  Madeira is fortified with another spirit, typically rum.  The fortification process dates to the 16th century where it prevented spoilage over long ocean voyages.  Tinta Negra Mole grapes are used toContinue reading “Drink Like a Founder”

Great American Duels- Congressional Violence

Challenger:  Henry Clay- United States Secretary of State, Former Speaker of the  US House of Representatives Challenged: John Randolph- United States Senator from Virginia, Seven term US Representative from Virginia The Offense:  On the floor of the US Senate, Randolph challenged the legitimacy of the John Quincy Adams administration and implicated Clay was part ofContinue reading “Great American Duels- Congressional Violence”

Facts in Five- Monticello

Jefferson edition #2-  Monticello Hurry up and finish!  – Jefferson started construction in 1769 and never stopped building until 1809.  Jefferson was the primary architect and a majority of the labor was completed by slaves. The tour seemed rather short-  There are 43 rooms in Monticello, many are on the upper floors which are closedContinue reading “Facts in Five- Monticello”

Burnside’s Folly- Fredericksburg

Ambrose Burnside had done it…. he outmaneuvered Robert E. Lee.  The reluctant commander  guided the massive Army of the Potomac down the Rappahannock river to Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was scrambling to catch up, but Burnside’s path to Richmond temporarily lay open.  He needed pontoon bridges to get his lengthy supply trainsContinue reading “Burnside’s Folly- Fredericksburg”

Is Civil War History Losing Ground?

Originally posted on Student of the American Civil War:
This was a question Dana Shoaf, publisher of Civil War Times, consulting editor of America’s Civil War, and involved with other history-themed magazines, posed in this article to some well-known historians. He writes, “Yes, some aspects of Civil War culture appear to be on the wane, but…

Uncommon Valor- Fredericksburg

Lt. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain describes the horrific night of December 13th, 1862 at the base of Marye’s Heights. Fredericksburg, Virginia- December 14, 1862 “But out of that silence rose new sounds more appalling still; a strange ventriloquism, of which you could not locate the source, a smothered moan, as if a thousand discords wereContinue reading “Uncommon Valor- Fredericksburg”

Madison’s Invitation to Washington

To George Washington Richmond Dec. 7th. 1786 Dear Sir Notwithstanding the communications in your favor of the 18th. Ult: which has remained till now to be acknowledged, it was the opinion of every judicious friend whom I consulted that your name could not be spared from the Deputation to the Meeting in May in Philada.Continue reading “Madison’s Invitation to Washington”