Pope Pius IX During the Civil War

by fifer1863 on September 28, 2015

Pope Pius IXOver the past few days, Pope Francis has been visiting the United States and talking to families, prisoners and politicians.  During the Civil War, politicians also sought the guidance and support of Pope Pius IX.

Pius IX was Pope from June 161846 to his death in 1878. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility.


In 1863, Pius IX sent a letter addressed to the “Illustrious and Hon. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, Richmond,” and concluded with a hope for a union in “perfect friendship.”  Jefferson Davis took this letter as a form of recognition for the Confederacy and the letter was reported in Southern newspapers with the ideas that His Holiness supported the Confederacy.

The following is the letter from His Holiness Pope Pius IX to Jefferson Davis:

Illustrious and honorable sir, greeting:

We have lately received with all kindness, as was meet, the gentlemen sent by your Excellency to present to us your letter dated on the 23d of last September. We have received certainly no small pleasure in learning both from these gentlemen and from your letter the feelings of gratification and of very warm appreciation with which you, illustrious and honorable sir, were moved when you first had knowledge written in October of the preceding year to the venerable brethren, John [Hughes], archbishop of New York, and John [Odin], archbishop of New Orleans, in which we again and again urged and exhorted those venerable brethren that because of their exemplary piety and episcopal zeal they should employ their most earnest efforts, in our name also, in order that the fatal civil war which had arisen in the States should end, and that the people of America might again enjoy mutual peace and concord, and love each other with mutual charity. And it has been very gratifying to us to recognize illustrious and honorable sir, that you and your people are animated by the same desire for peace and tranquillity, which we had so earnestly inculcated in our aforesaid letters to the venerable brethren above named. May it please God at the same time to make the other peoples of America and their rulers, considering seriously how cruel and how deplorable is this internecine war, would receive and embrace the counsels of peace and tranquillity. We indeed shall not cease with most fervent prayer to beseech God, the best and highest, and to implore Him to pour out the spirit of Christian love and peace upon all the people of America, and to rescue them from the great calamities with which they are afflicted. We, at the same time, beseech the God of pity to shed abroad upon you the light of His grace, and attach you to us by a perfect friendship.

Given at Rome at St. Peter’s on the 3d December, 1863, in the eighteenth year of our pontificate.
Illustrious and Hon. Jefferson Davis


The following is a letter that Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent appointing A. Dudley Mann as a special envoy to the Holy See.

A Dudley MannJefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, to
A. Dudley Mann, greeting.

Reposing special trust and confidence in your prudence, integrity, and ability, I do appoint you, the said A. Dudley Mann, special envoy of the Confederate States of America, to proceed to the Holy See and to deliver to its most venerable chief, Pope Pius IX, sovereign pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, a communication which I have addressed to his Holiness under date of the twenty-third of this month.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States of America at the city of Richmond, this 24th day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three.




Students Reenact the Battle of Antietam

by fifer1863 on May 8, 2015

This is a cool way for students to learn about the Civil  War.  Note the cannons.



Two New Gettysburg Rock Carving Videos

by fifer1863 on April 7, 2015

Family Fun Finding Rock Carvings in Gettysburg National Military Park

The kids had the Monday after Easter off and it was a beautiful day so we packed a lunch and headed to Gettysburg for the day.  While there, we did a lot of walking around Devil’s Den, Little Round Top and the Wheatfield.  We also found some rock carvings.

The first one is the “PB Rock” which is located directly across from the monument to the Irish Brigade.  Here is a video to tell you all about it:


As we were driving around we decided to look for a carving that we had never seen before.  This one is located on the first day’s fighting at the McPherson Barn.  It is also very hard to see.  Here is a video of CJ telling us all about the carving:

Here is a close up of the carving and I used Skitch to highlight the lettering

McPherson Barn








So, spring has sprung!  Get out there and enjoy the weather and explore your favorite battlefield.  If you are heading to Gettysburg, be sure to pick up your copy of The Complete Gettysburg Guide by JD Petruzzi.


Library of Congress Acquires Collection of Civil War Images

March 31, 2015

Library of Congress Acquires Collection of Civil War Images The Library of Congress recently took ownership of more than 500 rare Civil War images when 87-year-old Robin Stanford delivered her stereograph images from her collection to the library. “They’re just tremendously significant,” Bob Zeller, president of the Center for Civil War Photography, told the Washington Post. “These are […]

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Google Earth Tour of the Lincoln Assassination

February 2, 2015

Using Google Earth to Tour the Lincoln Assassination You know that I am a huge fan of Google Earth. Lately I have really enjoyed creating tours of various locations like the Rose Woods and Devil’s Den in Gettysburg.  With the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, I thought I would offer a Google […]

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Merry Christmas

December 25, 2014

On January 3, 1863, Harper’s Weekly ran the following Thomas Nast image of Santa Claus visiting the Civil War Soldiers What can you see in the picture?  There is so much to see in this photo.  From the drummer boys playing with the Jack-in-the-box to the troops chasing a pig in the background (notice one […]

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Using GIMP to Colorize Civil War Era Photos

October 14, 2014

Bringing Civil War Photos to Life with Color As you know I am a huge fan of having students use primary sources in the classroom.  This is especially true when comes to using photographs from the Library of Congress.  I have blogged about using images in the past.  I have also crated videos on finding […]

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Touring Gettysburg with Students and Their iPads

October 6, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to lead a group of students on a trip to Gettysburg. The original plan was to take the Seniors and visit Little Round Top and Devil’s Den.  My role was to talk to the students about the fighting at Devils Den and another teacher would talk about Little Round Top. […]

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Google Earth and Devils Den

September 23, 2014

Using original photographs and Google Earth to Explore the Battle of Gettysburg In an effort to continue my exploration of original Gettysburg photographs using Google Earth, I have created a new video on exploring some of the famous locations in Devil’s Den.  Be sure to check out my Rose Woods video and other videos on my […]

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NHD in PA Student Institute

September 2, 2014

Received the following from the Pennsylvania National History Day Coordinator and thought I’d share: ————————————————————————————- Dear Teachers: Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual National History Day in Pennsylvania Student Institute.  This year’s program will include advice and guidance for student on selecting and narrowing a topic, writing an effective thesis, and creating an evidence […]

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Exploring the Rose Farm with Google Earth

July 22, 2014

I am often asked about where the Rose Woods is in Gettysburg and how others can find it when they visit.  Well, I took a few minutes and created a video showing you exactly where the Rose Woods is in Gettysburg and where you can find the famous photographs of the dead soldiers.     […]

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Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive

July 2, 2014

The Digital Library of Georgia has released the Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive online.  This is way cool to access these primary sources.  The following is a press release: The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce the availability of a new online resource: The Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive. http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/savnewspapers The Savannah Historic Newspapers Archive provides online […]

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History of Confederate Flags and a Giveaway

April 8, 2014

The following is a guest post from Michael Cronin who is the Founder and CEO of Gettysburg Flag Works  ——————————— When we think of American flags, “red, white and blue” is probably the first thing that comes to mind. When it comes to civil war flags, this is still the case, but the faithful red, […]

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Please Help National History Day in Pa

March 4, 2014

I received the following the other day and thought I would share.  Please help if you can. _____________________________________________________ National History Day in Pennsylvania needs your help! Each year, NHD in PA supports the Pennsylvania Delegation to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland by covering student entry fees for […]

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Fort Morgan video

February 21, 2014

Fort Morgan, Alabama Found this neat video on Fort Morgan that I thought I’d share. Enjoy!  

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The Gettysburg Project

February 5, 2014

Quick post today on The Gettysburg Project The purpose of the Gettysburg Project Site is to enhance public  awareness and appreciation of the Battle of Gettysburg and The Gettysburg Address through the song “Gettysburg,” other Civil War inspired music, and links to other Gettysburg Memorial websites and blogs. The song Gettysburg was inspired by the […]

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Fun Animal Statistics

February 3, 2014

Here are some fun Battle of Gettysburg related statistics to use with your students: Between the two armies there were approximately 72,243 horses present. Of these, nearly 3,000 – 5,000 were killed.  What percentage was killed? Each horse requires 10 gallons of water per day, making the water needs for just the horses 722,430 gallons […]

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Lincoln Letter to McCullough

December 21, 2013

President Abraham Lincoln wrote this touching letter of condolence to the daughter of his long-time friend, William McCullough. During Lincoln’s law circuit days, McCullough was sheriff and clerk of the McLean County Circuit Court in Bloomington, Illinois. Early in the Civil War he helped organize the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, which he served as Lieutenant Colonel. […]

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Gettysburg Address Live Stream

November 19, 2013

Check out the live stream of the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address Event: Watch live streaming video from encompass at livestream.com

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Timeline Civil War App Review

October 31, 2013

I was recently asked to review the Timeline Civil War app for the iPad and to put it simply, this is a really good and enjoyable app.  This app is packed with tons of information, images, primary sources, maps and various texts. Key features on Timeline Civil War include: A unique interactive timeline that allows […]

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