by Matthew H. Wallace | | Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 11:19


Following the disaster at the Crater in the summer of 1864, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant planned for another offensive late in the following September. Grant ordered Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler to lead an attack towards Richmond north of the James River with the goals of taking the city and diverting Robert E. Lee’s forces away from Petersburg.

by Matthew H. Wallace | | Monday, April 29, 2019 - 09:24


Of the Union veterans who attended the University of Virginia, nearly a dozen pursued military careers after the Civil War, including Wray Wirt Davis, George Worth Woods, Joseph Cabell Breckinridge, Charles Eversfield, John Fox Hammond, Stephen Dandridge, John Edward Summers, Charles Irving Wilson, George Lea Febiger, John Thornley, and William Evelyn Hopkins. This blog will discuss the lives of Wray Wirt Davis and George Worth Woods in depth. While Davis was a southerner and a cavalry officer, Woods was a navy physician from the North.

by Brian Neumann | | Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 11:04


Most UVA Unionists—men like William Fishback, James Broadhead, and Albert Tuttle—viewed themselves as conservative men trying to preserve, rather than transform, their world. They rejected political radicalism, sought compromises to avert secession and Civil War, and often accepted post-war reconciliation with former Confederates. New York lawyer Robert Henry Shannon, however, embraced the possibilities of progress. As a Whig and a Republican, he insisted that government action could solve society’s problems and protect Americans’ liberties.

by Clayton J. Butler | | Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 15:51


Albert H. Tuttle

Although he would later do so in the classroom as a matter of routine, the first time that University of Virginia Professor Albert Henry Tuttle ever presided over a large group of white southern young men was as a Union soldier on prison guard duty during the Civil War. Born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in 1844, Tuttle enlisted in the Eighth Ohio Independent Battery at the age of nineteen and spent his Union service keeping watch over captured Confederates on Johnson’s Island in his home state. After the war he became an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of zoology and biology.

by Jennifer M. Murray | | Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 15:33


Visitors to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, will find no shortage of tourist and trinket shops in town, each selling a variety of Civil War souvenirs, memorabilia, and paraphernalia. The battle, its generals, and its leaders have been commercialized and commodified, their images placed on innumerable products, ranging from t-shirts to bobble-heads to decorative art. Recently, one tourist store offered interested buyers a framed Gettysburg collage.

by Matt H. Wallace | | Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 00:00


After Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman took Atlanta in the fall of 1864, the Union army commenced Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea.” As an auxiliary effort to his main campaign, Sherman ordered an expedition up the Broad River in South Carolina. Sherman hoped to either cut the railroad between Charleston and Savannah in half, trapping the rebels in Savannah, or spread a weakened rebel force across the state. The resulting encounter between the Union and rebel armies resulted in a Union defeat at the battle of Honey Hill.

by Casey Bowler | | Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 14:38


Narratives of African American men in the Civil War usually begin in 1863, with the establishment of the Bureau of Colored Troops and the federal push for the enlistment of black soldiers into the Union army. For black men in Louisiana, however, involvement began over two years earlier, with the formation of a Confederate militia to be drawn from the state’s significant population of free men of color. They were called the First Native Guards.

by Matt H. Wallace | | Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 13:30


On July 30, 1864, the Union army exploded a mine to expose a breach in Confederate lines at Petersburg in the hope of breaking the stalemate and ending the siege. The ensuing assault, which became known as the battle of the Crater, resulted in a Union failure and thousands of casualties in the worst racial massacre of the war. The black troops of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) faced much greater danger at the Crater than their white Union counterparts.

by William B. Kurtz | | Monday, October 29, 2018 - 17:06


Of the six Albemarle-born men who joined the Union navy during the Civil War, no one left behind a larger paper trail than Alexander Caine. Caine, a barber living as a freeman in Philadelphia at the war’s outbreak, joined the Union navy in 1862 as a landsman and served on an ocean-going sloop called the U.S.S. St. Louis off the coast of West Africa. Even after leaving the navy in February 1865, Caine quickly signed up for another tour of duty, traveling to every major port in Europe and the Mediterranean.

by Caroline Wood Newhall | | Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 15:41


Castle Thunder

During a short-term fellowship generously provided by the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History at the University of Virginia, I found primary sources at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library to contextualize my dissertation research on black Union soldiers’ experiences as prisoners of war (POWs) in the Confederacy. UVA’s Special Collections houses countless documents that provide insights into the nature of American enslavement through to the end of the Civil War, particularly in Virginia and the Upper South.

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