William Kurtz's blog

"Quite Unhealthy"

Approximately 180,000 African-American men enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. In our first pass through the compiled military service records at the National Archives, we have discovered that 233 of these men were born in Albemarle County, Virginia. Of those Albemarle men, 70 died while serving in the army. Sixty-five died of disease, a 27.8% mortality rate significantly higher than the 18.5% mortality from disease of all USCT soldiers. We believe this disparity to result in part from the concentration of 40 Albemarle men in the deadly 65th and 67th regiments.

Shenandoah at War (Part 2)

This second of three installments on the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War, which as a group anticipate our Signature Conference for 2017, focuses on military action. From the confrontation between Joseph E. Johnston and Robert Patterson during the campaign of First Bull Run through the Confederate defeat at Waynesboro on March 2, 1865, almost continuous activity of some sort disturbed the Valley’s pastoral countryside.

Shenandoah at War (Part 1)

The Nau Center’s Signature Conference for 2017 will focus on the Shenandoah Valley’s role in the Civil War. Lecturers will examine various facets of the overall topic, including military operations, civilian experiences, how events in the Valley resonated in the United States and the Confederacy, and how the Valley figured in memories of the conflict. In this, the first of three installments anticipating the conference, I will examine the Valley's geography and logistical and strategic significance.

From Carter’s Mountain to Morganza Bend

Note:  What follows is a three part story, which we will present in consecutive blog posts, that permits us to see the history of central Virginia in a new way:  with a focus on the journeys of African American men, born in the shadow of Jefferson’s Monticello, who fought for the Union army in the Civil War.  These men represent the Virginia roots of thousands of U.S.C.T. soldiers, men who were dispersed by the system of slavery and then converged, during the war, in black regiments, and fought to save the Union and to end slavery.

 

Monuments in Print

Historians have neglected what regimental histories can reveal about the experience of common soldiers during the Civil War. Many in number, regimental histories provide an accurate portrait of the life of the Union soldier during the conflict and also comment on why soldiers went to war.

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