American Civil War, American Indians, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Standing Rock Sioux and the Whitestone Massacre of 1863

The effort by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is the largest gathering of Indian tribes in decades. As Mark Sundeen so eloquently put it on Outside Online: “Two of our country’s biggest issues, racism and climate change, have collided on a North Dakota reservation.” It’s also about history.… Continue reading Standing Rock Sioux and the Whitestone Massacre of 1863

American Civil War, Famous People of the Old West, Photography and History, Researching Historical Fiction

Historical Icons in Living Color

A photo of Ulysses Grant colorized by Mads Madsen The spring issue of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine had photos of Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee that I’d seen before, but this time I did a doubletake. The photos were in color. I was baffled for a moment. There was no color… Continue reading Historical Icons in Living Color

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Writing/Rewriting

A Portrait of Rural Life after the Civil War

In Jeffrey Lent’s new novel “A Slant of Light,” Union soldier Malcolm Hopeton comes home to his farm in western New York to discover that his wife has run off with his hired hand. What he does in a fit of rage propels him to flee — and sets in motion a somewhat unconventional narrative.… Continue reading A Portrait of Rural Life after the Civil War

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Resources and Events for Writers

Ford’s Theatre After Lincoln’s Assassination

After President Lincoln was killed, the government shut down Ford’s Theatre and imprisoned owner John T. Ford for over a month. By the time he was released, arsonists had tried at least twice to burn the building down. When Ford announced plans to reopen the theater, he received so many threats that the government took… Continue reading Ford’s Theatre After Lincoln’s Assassination

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction

Abe Lincoln Dead — Film at 11

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 150 years ago today, and nearly 60 years ago, the last surviving eyewitness appeared on a TV game show called “I’ve Got a Secret.” Samuel J. Seymour was 96 when the show aired. The Atlantic posted a video clip of his appearance, and Robbie Gonzalez picked it up on the… Continue reading Abe Lincoln Dead — Film at 11

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction

Celebrating the End of the Civil War Today

Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant 150 years ago today, and bells will toll across the country this afternoon to commemorate the occasion. The bells will peal at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) to mark the time when Lee and Grant concluded their meeting to negotiate… Continue reading Celebrating the End of the Civil War Today

American Civil War, American Indians, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Thanksgiving without the Pilgrims

Sarah Josepha Hale. Portrait by James Reid Lambdin. Americans owe the modern-day celebration of Thanksgiving to Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Josepha Hale. However, I fear we owe our warm, fuzzy image of Pilgrims and Indians living in harmony to a lazy attitude toward history. Hale promoted women’s issues through the American Ladies Magazine, which she… Continue reading Thanksgiving without the Pilgrims

American Civil War, Blacks in the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction

Contraband: The Secret to the Union Army’s Success?

I came across this photograph in a magazine with a fascinating article about the often-overlooked impact that refugees from slavery had on the Union’s victory in the Civil War. When three slaves — Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend — fled to the Union-held Fort Monroe, Va., in May 1861, Gen. Benjamin Butler faced… Continue reading Contraband: The Secret to the Union Army’s Success?

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

In her own words: Civil War soldier Sarah Rosetta Wakeman

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman I went looking for some of the source material for "They Fought Like Demons" and found "An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman," edited by Lauren Cook. It is rare to come across an account written in an everyday woman’s… Continue reading In her own words: Civil War soldier Sarah Rosetta Wakeman

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

How we lost sight of women soldiers

Women soldiers were not a secret during the Civil War. Men wrote letters home about the women discovered in their ranks, most often with surprise and admiration, and newspapers also carried the stories. The knowledge naturally worked its way up to the highest level of both armies, with evidence that Sherman, Sheridan, Burnside, Forrest and… Continue reading How we lost sight of women soldiers

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

How women soldiers avoided detection

Women soldiers in the Civil War had an easier time hiding their identities than you might think, according to DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook’s fascinating book, “They Fought Like Demons.” Soldiers spent the majority of the war outdoors — in tents or on the march. They rarely had an opportunity to bathe or even… Continue reading How women soldiers avoided detection

American Civil War, Researching Historical Fiction, Women in the West

Best-kept secret of the Civil War

I don’t profess to know everything about the Civil War by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of the basics. However, “They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War” by DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook blew me away. Until I read the book,… Continue reading Best-kept secret of the Civil War