Walt Whitman – Pensive On Her Dead Grazing

Walt Whitman wrote a stirring poem titled “Pensive On Her Dead Grazing” within days of the surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia. “Pensive on her dead gazing I...

A Civil War Basket Case

So this came across my Facebook feed recently.  It is a photo of a Civil war amputee carrying basket from 1861. According to the card on the image, the historical origin of the phrase ‘basket case’ came from Civil war veterans with amputated legs who were...

Civil War in Color Series – 2nd New York Artillery

Civil War in Color Series – 2nd New York Artillery My latest in my Civil War in Color series is of the Officers of Company F, 2d New York Artillery at Fort C.F. Smith.  The original image was taken in June 1865 by photographer William Morris Smith. Fort C. F....

Civil War in Color Series – Robert E Lee

Happy Birthday General Robert E. Lee Confederate General Robert Edward Lee was born on this day in 1807. He was the fifth child of Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee. In 1829 he was graduated second in his class at West Point without having incurred a single demerit in his...

Civil War Music – Rosin the Bow

Rosin the Bow  “Rosin the Bow” is an American folk song popular in the 19th century, probably of British or Irish origin, first published in Philadelphia during 1838. The song refers to rosining the bow of a violin, and the tune has been used in many songs...

General Reynolds and Kate Hewett

A Secret Civil War Engagement At the time that he was killed during the first day of the battle, John Reynolds was secretly engaged to a woman by the name of Kate Hewett. His family did not even know about Kate. But when Reynolds’ body was returned home to...
Merry Christmas – Civil War Santa Claus

Merry Christmas – Civil War Santa Claus

Thomas Nast and the Original Santa Claus Clement C. Moore’s famous poem “The Night Before Christmas” was published in 1823 and gave us a unique image of St. Nick.  What many don’t know is that it wasn’t until 1863 that America saw a...

Thomas Nast – Christmas Eve

Taking a moment to think of those who cannot be with their families this Holiday Season.  The following image is by Thomas Nast and was published in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper’s...

Major Sullivan Ballou and the Letter to His Wife Sarah

On July 14th, 1861, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote a letter to his wife Sarah at home in Rhode Island one week before he fought and died in the First Battle of Bull Run.  Sullivan Ballou was born to Hiram and Emeline Ballou, a distinguished Huguenot family in Smithfield,...