Happy Halloween

by fifer1863 on October 31, 2015

On October 31, 1863, Harper’s Weekly featured a cartoon by artist Henry Louis Stephens about the controversial campaign of Clement Vallandignham, a leading Peace Democrat or “Copperhead” who was running for governor of Ohio.

Copperhead Clement Vallandigham
Under the image it states:

The State Elections
Pennsylvania.  “Friend OHIO, I thought thee hadst got rid of this noxious weed, as I of mine; and yet I see an ugly Pumpkin growing upon the land.”
Ohio.  “Not upon my land, I guess!  It’s the VALLANDIGHAM PUNKIN as I’ve tossed over into my neighbor’s field, and he’s bin and tuck root, you see, among the Canady thistles!”



Clement L. Vallandigham was born July 29, 1820 in Lisbon, Ohio and died June 17, 1871 in Lebanon, Ohio.  He was a famous politician during the Civil War who was court-martialed and exiled to the Confederacy because of his Southern sympathies and outspokenness against the Federal government.  Vallandigham was elected to the Ohio state legislature in 1845 and as a member of the US House of Representatives, he was outspoken against the  policies of the Republican Party especially when it came to the topic of slavery.   He soon became the leader of a group of Midwest Democrats known as Copperheads. The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats who opposed the Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates.

During the Civil War he continually attacked the Lincoln administration.  He claimed that Lincoln was destroying the Constitution. In 1863 he made numerous speeches throughout Ohio against the war and the government.  This lead to him to become one of the most suspected and hated men in the North. He was arrested in May by military authorities for expressing treasonable sympathy with the enemy.  He was tried and found guilty by a military commission and sentenced to imprisonment. Soon afterward Lincoln commuted his sentence to banishment behind Confederate lines.

Vallandigham eventually made his way to Canada where he continued to attack Lincoln and the Republicans.  In September 1863 the Ohio Peace Democrats nominated him for governor. He returned illegally to Ohio in 1864 and took an active part in that year’s election campaign. He also wrote part of the national Democratic platform in which the war was denounced as a failure.

After the war Vallandigham criticized the Radical Reconstruction policy of the Republicans as both unconstitutional and tyrannical, but in 1870 he recognized the uselessness of further opposition and urged his party to emphasize financial issues instead. He died the following year after accidentally shooting himself with a firearm that was an exhibit in a murder trial.


“Clement L. Vallandigham | Biography – American Politician.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.


Google Earth Tour of the Lincoln Assassination

by fifer1863 on 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 Earth tour of the events surrounding the assassination.

The tour focuses on the last days of President Lincoln and his killer, the famed actor John Wilkes Booth.

You can download the KMZ (zipped) file for yourself and enjoy the tour.  If you’d like to open the file on your iPad, use this KMZ link.

You can read my other posts about the Lincoln Assassination HERE, HERE and HERE.


Lincoln Letter to McCullough

by fifer1863 on 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. On December 5, 1862, he was killed during a night charge near Coffeeville, Mississippi.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, December 23, 1862.

Dear Fanny

It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before.

Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.

Your sincere friend
A. Lincoln


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

Read the full article →

Online Course on Abraham Lincoln from Dickinson College

July 6, 2013

Dickinson College, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to Offer Online Course on Abraham Lincoln  “Understanding Lincoln” is designed especially for K-12 educators seeking graduate-level credit and ideas for teaching the new Common Core State Standards  (Carlisle, Pa.) – Dickinson College, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will offer K-12 educators as […]

Read the full article →

Teaching the Civil War Podcast Episode 9.5 – Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2011

      Thanks for staying subscribed to my podcast and I hope you enjoy listening. Just a short episode today to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Feedback on the show? email me at Follow Me on Twitter Music is by the Mark Ferguson and is used with permission. Subscribe in iTunes SHOW NOTES: Today […]

Read the full article →

Digital Historical Newspapers

May 9, 2011

While browsing my Delicious feed the other day, I came across the website and found it very interesting and thought I’d share. is providing digitized versions of newspapers from throughout history.  According the the website the “site focuses primarily on HOW news of major, and not so major, events in American history were […]

Read the full article →

Exploring the Gettysburg Address with kids

April 8, 2011

Just a quick post today to share that I was asked to write a guest blog post for the National Museum of American History’s blog. The post is entitled, “Exploring the Gettysburg Address with Kids” and it was a great experience working with the staff at the Museum and exploring their resources. Please check it […]

Read the full article →

Abraham Lincoln Cartoons

February 14, 2011

I came across the following link and thought I would share: The HarpWeek website and has over 400 political cartoons on the Lincoln presidency.  You can view different people, symbols, topics, places or artists that had something to do with these cartoons.  You could easily have your students select one of the hundreds of cartoons […]

Read the full article →

Teaching the Gettysburg Address Part 2

November 20, 2010

In Part 1 of of this series we started to look at some of the key words and concepts in the Gettysburg Address.  Let’s continue our exploration by looking for some deeper meanings.  Let’s begin again with the Wordle of Mr. Lincoln’s Famous speech: If you look at the Wordle, the larger and bolder words […]

Read the full article →

Teaching the Gettysburg Address

November 18, 2010

I have talked about the Gettysburg Address in the past but during the 2010 Civil War Preservation Trust Teacher’s Institute I attended a session by Mr. Chuck Teague on Teaching the Gettysburg Address.  He has graciously given me permission to share some of his presentation with you.  This is the first of a three part […]

Read the full article →

A Civil War Thanksgiving Proclamation

November 15, 2010

Today is Thanksgiving and it is a holiday steeped in tradition. I wonder how many of you know that it was Abraham Lincoln who, on October 3, 1863, proclaimed “the last Thursday of November” as Thanksgiving Day. Another interesting bit of information is that a lady by the name of Sara J. Hale, the Editress […]

Read the full article →

The Lincoln Archive

July 17, 2010

During the recent ISTE Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Karen Needles who is the Director for the Lincoln Archives Digital Project (LADP). According the the website, “the Lincoln Archives Digital Project is providing unlimited access to the historic but fragile paper records of the administration of President Abraham Lincoln.”  This project is “identifying […]

Read the full article →

Lincoln Museum Podcast

January 14, 2010

Eric Langhorst is an 8th Grade History teacher from Illinois and is the host of the Speaking of History podcast.  Well, a while back he made a trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and recorded a podcast of his thoughts on the museum. You can view pictures from his trip and listen to his […]

Read the full article →

Civil War era Presidential Elections

November 21, 2009

In this season of elections, I thought it would be interesting to share a website on Civil War era elections. Harper’s Weekly has created a website for researching historical elections from 1860 to 1912. According to the website, the Presidential Elections page features political cartoons from several different digital resource centers such as Harper’s Weekly, […]

Read the full article →

Examining the Image of Lincoln at Gettysburg

November 19, 2009

Since I have posted on The Gettysburg Address in the past, I thought I would share this USA Today headline article about a “new” image of Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg being found at the Library of Congress. The story discusses how an amateur historian was looking at photographs of the famous Gettysburg Address and found […]

Read the full article →

President Lincoln Using Technology

September 19, 2009

There is a very good book called Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails by Tom Wheeler that I encourage everyone to read. The book discusses how President Lincoln used technology, in this case the telegraph, to stay connected with his troops in the field. In today’s technological society, the President knows exactly what is going on with his […]

Read the full article →

Civil War Sallie Visits Ford’s Theatre

July 5, 2009

Hi.  As you know I have a project called Civil War Sallie and she recently visited Fords Theater in Washington DC so I thought I would share her post here on my dad’s blog. I just came back from a busy few days at the National Education Computing Conference in Washington D.C. While there, me, […]

Read the full article →

Lincoln Loved Learning

June 14, 2009

Here is another cool use of VoiceThread for your classroom. Melanie Lewis is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Virgina and has created a webpage called Lincoln Loved Learning. Mrs. Lewis has taken several images from the life of Abraham Lincoln and combined them together with a narrative text using VoiceThread. These photographs depict various […]

Read the full article →

The Death of John Wilkes Booth

April 25, 2009

April 26th marks the day that John Wilkes Booth was shot in the neck and killed by a Union Calvary soldier while hiding in a barn on the farm of Richard Garrett near Bowling Green, Virginia. Photo of the Garrett farm from Since April 14th, Booth had spent many days feeling south into Virginia. […]

Read the full article →