U.S. Grant, Artistic Genius…

“Grant arrived at his operational vision through perceptual speed and a ‘gift of historic imagination,’ that enabled him to ‘take in at a glance the whole field of war, to form a correct opinion of every suggested and possible…campaign, their logical order and sequence, their relative value, and the interdependence of one upon the other.'”

Gettysburg’s Headlines, Day Two (Don’t Worry, Be Happy)

On July 3, the New York Times announced its possession of “VERY IMPORTANT NEWS: Further Particulars of the Battle Near Gettysburg on Wednesday.”  The item that follows isn’t what the reader of a contemporary paper would expect: rather than redact their correspondent’s reports into an article, the Times devotes its front page to his of…

Gettysburg’s Headlines, Day One (The Fog of War)

At the beginning of July, 1863, Union newspapers were abuzz with reports of Lee’s invasion.  Headlines in the New York Times fell under the bold-print category “REBEL INVASION”: “Important Intelligence Regarding the Movements of Lee”; “Sudden Withdrawal of His Forces Before Harrisburgh”; etc.  The Philadelphia Inquirer worried over the safety of the state capital, posting…

Compensated Emancipation Was Tried — But Didn’t Work

Ta-Nehisi Coates takes the time to respond, with historical data, to the those who would claim the Civil War could have been avoided through a program of compensated emancipation.  He’s certainly right that this was impossible among slaveholders from the states that seceded — but it’s worth noting that we know compensated emancipation would not have…

The Glorious Cause

Below, J. L. Wall suggests that Rooster Cogburn’s character arc in True Grit is basically redemptive. I’m interested in an alternative hypothesis: What if Cogburn’s heroism is entirely consistent with his history as a Confederate guerrilla? Rooster shows no sign of being ashamed of his past; indeed, it’s not much of a stretch to say…