by Ineke La Fleur | | Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 11:45

There is no finite amount of history. After spending a summer adding to the historical record, I have concluded that the only limits on it are what we are willing to learn. History itself will only ever expand. This summer, my responsibility was to contextualize and contribute to the local historical record, revealing shades of gray in some figures’ lives while highlighting other figures who had been forgotten or erased. I wrote more than fifty articles for Cvillepedia, Charlottesville’s hyperlocal online encyclopedia.

by Stefan Lund | | Friday, September 10, 2021 - 09:03

Before Major General William T. Sherman made his name as “Burnin’ Sherman,” the patriotic pyromaniac and terror of Georgia, he took out his over-the-top hostility on a smaller target: a newspaper reporter named Thomas Knox. Sherman was notoriously antagonistic towards the traveling correspondents that newspapers dispatched to the army.

by Haley French | | Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 13:43

This summer I spent twelve weeks at Manassas National Battlefield Park, learning the history of the park and battles and how to engage and interpret for visitors. When I applied for an internship through the Institute of Public History, I did not originally have Manassas as my first choice, preferring at the time an internship in a city I grew up in. That would have been a great experience, I’m sure, but my summer at Manassas NBP was exactly what I needed to take me out of my comfort zone and to show me just how many opportunities there are in history if I choose to pursue them.

by Brian Neumann | | Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 11:15

After the Civil War, the University of Virginia and its alumni played a leading role in propagating the mythology of the Lost Cause. Determined to “vindicate the character of the South,” they defended secession, valorized Confederate soldiers, and declared the postwar experiment in biracial democracy a failure. Few alumni challenged this culture of Confederate orthodoxy, and even fewer openly defended Reconstruction. Among those who did, however, was Alexander Rives, an eccentric but fiercely principled Charlottesville jurist.

by Brian Neumann | | Friday, April 23, 2021 - 10:04

Thomas M. Mathews Home

The vast majority of UVA alumni opposed Reconstruction and worked to dismantle its achievements. As political and cultural leaders, they played a major role in reasserting white supremacy and constructing the southern “Lost Cause” memory of the war. Even most UVA Unionists were political conservatives who fiercely defended the South’s racial hierarchy. Once the war was over, Unionists like William M. Fishback and James O.

by Brian Neumann | | Friday, April 16, 2021 - 16:03

Like most nineteenth-century Americans, UVA’s Unionists were mainly political moderates who hoped to restore rather than radically alter the Union. Many, for example, supported emancipation as a military necessity but hoped to keep southern society essentially unchanged. For a few alumni, however, the war and its aftermath were radicalizing experiences that forced them to cast off old convictions. For men like Benjamin F. Dowell, the only way to permanently preserve the Union was to punish Confederate leaders, empower African Americans, and dramatically reconstruct the southern states.

by William B. Kurtz | | Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 10:12

In his fifth and final letter from the front, Sergeant J. T. S. Taylor reported on how the end of the war had affected the 2nd USCT’s service in Florida. The regiment would finally muster out on January 5, 1866.



July 26th, 1865. }

by William B. Kurtz | | Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 14:05

In his fourth letter from the front, Sergeant Taylor describes a general inspection of the 2nd USCT and subsequent festivities that took place on January 22, 1865. He closes his letter with a heartfelt plea for the Black men of his regiment to be allowed to rise to the rank of commissioned officers. “Are we still to be deprived of all those rights and privileges which, by our sacrifices, we justly merit?” Taylor asks. Only around 100 Black soldiers were ever commissioned during the war.



by William B. Kurtz | | Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:24

In his third letter from the front, Sergeant Taylor described how a detachment of the regiment successfully captured the Confederate-held town of Tampa, Florida. Citing the recent massacre of Black troops at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, Taylor promised his readers that the men of the 2nd USCT would “never... be taken prisoner by the rebels and butchered in cold blood by them.” Instead they would rather “d[ie] upon the battlefield, fighting for liberty and freedom to the oppressed of our native land.”


by William B. Kurtz | | Sunday, March 14, 2021 - 13:49

James T. S. Taylor Reports the Civil War (Part 2): Arrival at Key West     

In his second letter to the Anglo-African newspaper, Commissary Sergeant James T. S. Taylor described the 2nd USCT’s sudden move from Ship Island to Key West, Florida. This brief letter describes the regiment’s experience of being “the first regiment of colored troops that ever paraded [Key West’s] streets” and looks forward to the day when James and his comrades would first meet their enemy on the field of battle.