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Full-Text Articles in United States History

The Little Civil War Drummer Boy, Cameron T. Sauers May 2019

The Little Civil War Drummer Boy, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

When I think about the battle front, I think about soldiers in uniform marching off to fight with their weapons and small mementos from home. I also think about the many doctors and nurses who provided care to men riddled with bullet holes and disease. I never thought of drummers, though, until I saw the snare drum pictured above. However, this drum and the many others like it were an integral part of army life. For the drummers themselves, their instrument represented a unique avenue of service where zealous, but often underaged, patriots could join the war efforts without being ...


Private Confederacies: A Review, Olivia Ortman, Cameron T. Sauers May 2019

Private Confederacies: A Review, Olivia Ortman, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

For generations, notable scholars such as Gerald Linderman, Reid Mitchell and Joseph Glatthaar, have tried to understand the experience of common Civil War soldiers. With Private Confederacies, James J. Broomall makes a penetrating dive into the emotional world of elite male slaveholders, focusing on how the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction affected their personal lives, emotional expressions, and gender identities. He argues that white Southern men struggled to process their wartime experiences due to societal expectations of male self-restraint. To overcome such expectations regarding their self-expression they created soldier communities that they could rely upon for emotional support and comfort ...


A Song For Jennie, Claire Bickers May 2019

A Song For Jennie, Claire Bickers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

The simple tune was created by lyricist E. B. Dewing and composer J. P. Webster who hoped they would inspire patriotism in their female audience while they worked to become accomplished musicians. When the Civil War broke out, the young women who played the piece had been left behind on the home front, only to imagine what horrors their men were facing. The government and the warfront alike relied on the homefront to present a brave and loyal face in order to maintain support for the war effort through the fostering of a nationalistic, sentimental culture that bled into all ...


Small But Deadly: The Minié Ball, Isaac J. Shoop Apr 2019

Small But Deadly: The Minié Ball, Isaac J. Shoop

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

When Claude-E’tienne Minié perfected the minié ball in 1849, it is doubtful he knew of the carnage that it would cause in the American Civil War some twelve years later. However, this small and compact bullet can teach us far more than simply the horrific bloodletting it caused on the battlefield itself. A closer analysis of the bullet’s impact on the human body also reveals a deeper glimpse into Civil War hospitals, medicine, and an entirely new scale and scope of death with which Victorian Americans were forced to come to terms as the war’s long casualty ...


The Complexity Of A Soldier: Mitchell Anderson’S Life, Death, And Legacy, Ryan Bilger Apr 2019

The Complexity Of A Soldier: Mitchell Anderson’S Life, Death, And Legacy, Ryan Bilger

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

It is hard to believe that this is my last semester as a Civil War Institute Fellow, but that time has indeed come. When offered my choice of projects for this term, I figured it would only be appropriate to finish out my work on the Killed at Gettysburg project with one last deep dive into the life and legacy of a soldier who died here in Pennsylvania. I know I have stated this several times in my previous reflections on the project, but I feel that Killed at Gettysburg profiles offer an excellent way to consider the battle from ...


Cutting Through The Ranks: The Navy’S Forgotten Legacy, Cameron T. Sauers Apr 2019

Cutting Through The Ranks: The Navy’S Forgotten Legacy, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

The bearer of this sword was a member of a United States Navy that rapidly grew in power during the Civil War, increasing its enlistment 500% and developing the first ironclad ship. However, even as the Navy was in the midst of its transition, one thing remained in place: The U.S. Model 1852 Navy Officer’s Sword. The sword is still used in the Navy today, albeit for ceremonial purposes. Yet, for all that this sword symbolizes, very few scholars have given much attention to it or the sailors who used it in the Civil War. The common soldier ...


Review: Looming Civil War, Olivia Ortman Apr 2019

Review: Looming Civil War, Olivia Ortman

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

In Looming Civil War, Phillips writes about the future, specifically, the one predicted by nineteenth-century Americans in the years preceding the Civil War. Challenging dominant narratives of the war, Phillips argues that nineteenth-century individuals were fully aware of a looming civil war and that many believed it would be a long, bloody, and disastrous conflict, not just a short excursion. As individuals looked to the uncertain future, they all made predictions unique to their race, religion, gender, and location. Some white southern elites saw the looming war as an Armageddon that would destroy civilized society, while abolitionists and slaves saw ...


Politics And Crisis In The 1850s: An Interview With Rachel Shelden, Ashley Whitehead Luskey Apr 2019

Politics And Crisis In The 1850s: An Interview With Rachel Shelden, Ashley Whitehead Luskey

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Today we are speaking with Rachel Shelden, Associate Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), which received honorable mention for the Wiley-Silver Prize for the best first book on the Civil War and was a selection of the History book club. She is also the co-editor, with Gary W. Gallagher, of A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Political History (University of Virginia Press, 2012). Dr. Shelden serves as the book review editor for the ...


To Remake A Man: Disability And The Civil War, Cameron T. Sauers Apr 2019

To Remake A Man: Disability And The Civil War, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

With a disability certificate and discharge from the military in hand, disabled citizens who had not long previously been abled bodied servicemen went through a period of emasculation followed by a return to waged labor which redeemed their sacrifice. These disability certificates were issued in large quantities by the sprawling northern bureaucratic machines created by the Civil War. The above-pictured certificate, issued to James Murray of the 56th New York, discharged Murray from service because, according to his regimental surgeon, he would “never be able to discharge his duty as a soldier.” Murray stood 5’8″ when he re-enlisted for ...


Fact Or Fiction: African American Confederate Veterans, Isaac J. Shoop Apr 2019

Fact Or Fiction: African American Confederate Veterans, Isaac J. Shoop

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

As an intern this past summer at The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I came across many intriguing artifacts. One of the artifacts that stood out to me most was the photo above, which I discovered when the museum’s CEO conducted a behind-the-scenes tour. When I look at this photo, I see, on the surface at least, a group of 13 African American men who are presumably Confederate veterans. Several of these men are dressed up for the occasion. Many are wearing ribbons, one man has a Confederate flag, and another has a trumpet. There are also ...


The Third-Annual Abolitionists’ Day Event, Claire Bickers Apr 2019

The Third-Annual Abolitionists’ Day Event, Claire Bickers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Three years ago, Adams County declared the first ever Abolitionists Day—a day dedicated to honoring the lives of the county’s abolitionists. The county’s abolitionists were a varied group, comprised of both whites and free blacks, men and women. Through their efforts, thousands of slaves were able to find their freedom in the North. One impressive couple, William and Phebe Wright, helped approximately one thousand men, women, and children to freedom. Adams County was also home to Thaddeus Stevens, a Gettysburg resident who used his position in the US House of Representatives to fight against the institution of ...


Violence And Restraint: An Interview With Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Civil War Institute Mar 2019

Violence And Restraint: An Interview With Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Civil War Institute

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Today we are speaking with Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies at Louisiana State University and the Chair of LSU’s History Department. He teaches courses on nineteenth-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and southern History. He is the author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia (UNC Press, 2007), Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2008), and is the editor of several other volumes. His most recent book, The Calculus of Violence: How Americans Fought the Civil War, was released by Harvard University ...


Getting In Touch With The Civil War: An Interview With Jason Phillips, Ashley Whitehead Luskey Mar 2019

Getting In Touch With The Civil War: An Interview With Jason Phillips, Ashley Whitehead Luskey

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Today we are speaking with Jason Phillips, Eberly Family Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. He is the author of Looming Civil War: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Imagined the Future (Oxford University Press, 2018), Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility (University of Georgia Press, 2007), and the editor of Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South (Louisiana State University Press, 2013). His current research explores the material culture of Civil War America. [excerpt]


Review: Calculus Of Violence, Cameron T. Sauers Feb 2019

Review: Calculus Of Violence, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

It seems counterintuitive to imagine the bloodiest conflict in American history being worse, but Sheehan-Dean argues that the death toll could have been dramatically higher without both sides’ emphasis on restraint, as dictated by the laws of war. Most of the book is spent examining “how people on both sides justified the lethal violence of conflict and when, how, and why they balanced cruelty and destruction.” Despite the rules of war, however, Civil War participants, like all humans, were contradictory. Sometimes they acted instinctively and spontaneously, while at other times, their actions were the result of deeply seated ideology. The ...


Gettysburg Heartthrobs: The 10 Most Attractive Officers, Cameron T. Sauers Feb 2019

Gettysburg Heartthrobs: The 10 Most Attractive Officers, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

While the author received many names that deserved to be on this list, he regrettably had to choose only ten. That being said, please sit back, relax, and prepare to fall in love with the officers of Gettysburg this Valentine’s Day.


Digital-Lee Archived: An Interview With Colin Woodward, Ashley Whitehead Luskey Feb 2019

Digital-Lee Archived: An Interview With Colin Woodward, Ashley Whitehead Luskey

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Today we are speaking with Colin Woodward, historian and editor of the Lee Family Digital Archive at Stratford Hall. He holds a Ph.D. in History and is the author of Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army During the Civil War, which was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2014. He also maintains an active history and pop culture podcast entitled “Amerikan Rambler,” which is available at www.amerikanrambler.libsyn.com and on iTunes. Dr. Woodward is presently working a book called Country Boy: The Roots of Johnny Cash. [excerpt]


“Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past”: Fitzgerald’S Forgotten Civil War Literature, Cameron T. Sauers Feb 2019

“Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past”: Fitzgerald’S Forgotten Civil War Literature, Cameron T. Sauers

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

“So, we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These are the brilliant last lines of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, lines that speak to the fallibility of Gatsby’s American Dream and his inescapable, yet simultaneously unreachable, past. The legendary ending sentence in The Great Gatsby has captured me since I first read the book as a freshman in high school and made me want to read every Fitzgerald book I could find. The more I read, the more I realized the unique implications this famous last line had for Fitzgerald ...


Interview With Erica Uszak: Scholarship Recipient For 2018 Cwi Summer Conference, Civil War Institute Jan 2019

Interview With Erica Uszak: Scholarship Recipient For 2018 Cwi Summer Conference, Civil War Institute

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Recently, the CWI reached out to Erica Uszak ’22 to reflect on her experience at the 2018 CWI Summer Conference. Uszak, currently a freshman at Gettysburg College studying History and the Civil War, was one of ten high school students to receive a scholarship to attend the conference. Any high school student with an interest in history is eligible to apply for the High School Scholarship. [excerpt]


Overpriced Stamps And Mystery Pies: The Complicated Legacy Of Civil War Sutlers, Savannah Labbe Jan 2019

Overpriced Stamps And Mystery Pies: The Complicated Legacy Of Civil War Sutlers, Savannah Labbe

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

In every story, including ones about historical events, there are people who inevitably end up in the background. These people are ever-present but deemed unimportant to the story, like the Union Army sutler depicted next to his makeshift store above. Sutlers were merchants who would follow the Army around, selling the soldiers things they were not issued but might have wanted, such as paper and envelopes for writing home. The reason why the sutler is often left out of history is not just because they were only indirectly related to the fighting, but also because they were greatly disliked by ...


A Complete Transformation Of Medicine: John Letterman’S Ambulance Corps, Savannah Labbe Jan 2019

A Complete Transformation Of Medicine: John Letterman’S Ambulance Corps, Savannah Labbe

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Looking back on the practices of Civil War Americans, many people tend to believe the Civil War was a particularly dark time in medical history, a time when doctors sawed off limbs to solve any problems and often did it with dirty instruments and no anesthesia. This idea of Civil War medicine is a misconception because most amputations were, in fact, done with anesthesia and the Civil War did introduce many improvements in the medical field. In fact, the Civil War can be seen as a turning point from more ancient practices of medicine to more modern practices. [excerpt]


25 Years Of Gettysburg, Olivia Ortman Jan 2019

25 Years Of Gettysburg, Olivia Ortman

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Amongst the Civil War community here at Gettysburg College, the movie Gettysburg is very much a part of our daily lives. Quotes are thrown back and forth in witty banter, the music is played for dramatic effect, and history professors are badgered to show clips in class. Since the movie fits so seamlessly into our experience here in Gettysburg, we often take it for granted. However, Gettysburg recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special showing at the Majestic Theater, with remarks from the director preceding the viewing. Although none of the Fellows attended, it got a lot of us ...