Business pressures and tax time have not left much for blogging, for which I apologize. Have some posts in the works, but until then here’s something from Fold3 that might interest readers.

For a very limited time (until April 15th) Fold3 has their entire Civil War collection available for free access (you do have to register). Record groups available include:

Popular Titles

Civil War “Widows’ Pensions” Files
Census – US Federal 1860
Civil War Service Records
Civil War Pensions Index
Pension Numerical Index

Confederate Records

Confederate Amnesty Papers
Confederate Casualty Reports
Confederate Citizens File
Confederate Navy Subject File
Confederate Service Records
Southern Claims Commission

And much more. If you want to do a quick check of your ancestor’s Compiled Service Record, now is the time.

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

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Ian at Forgotten Weapons examines two products of the Confederate Cook & Brother manufactury.

Cook and Brother was one of the largest and most successful of the private ordnance factories in the South during the Civil War. It was formed by two British brothers who had moved to New Orleans, Frederick and Francis Cook. They opened a rifle factory at the intersection of Common and Canal streets, and began making Enfield pattern rifles. A contract was soon procured for sale of a thousand rifles to the state of Alabama, and in total they produced about 1100 rifles in New Orleans before the city fell to the Union. When that happened, they managed a hectic evacuation, and the armory was reestablished in Athens Georgia by early 1863. Production there took some time to ramp back up due to labor shortages, and they produced only about another thousand rifles in 1863. By this time they had a large contract with the CSA government, and managed an impressive 4500 more guns in 1864, before the entire enterprise collapsed as the CSA became unable to make payments. What we have today are a very early New Orleans production rifle and an early Athens production cavalry carbine, the latter engraved with its owner’s name and unit (the 3rd Virginia Cavalry).

As you might expect they are scarce like any Confederate-built arms and quite valuable. One was actually received in trade for an ice cream cone!

On the other side of the pond Cap and Ball tries out a Pedersoli reproduction of an 1854 Lorenz rifle, and explains a bit about the history and the model variations. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lorenz was was the second most common imported infantry rifle after the Enfield, and was used by both North and South.

If you’re really interested he has more about the search for a perfect bullet here. Ironically he ended up using a Minié ball rather than the Wilkinson compression bullet used by the originals.

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Then They Came for General Hooker…

by Fred Ray March 19, 2018

Being in New England Massachusetts suffers from an acute shortage of Confederate monuments, giving activists little to do. However, creative ones will find a way, and you can always go after Union heroes. One Massachusetts lawmaker has a problem with General Joseph Hooker (a native son) because an entrance named in his honor insults “women’s […]

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The Robinson Confederate Sharps

by Fred Ray March 11, 2018

Ian at Forgotten Weapons examines the Confederate Robinson carbine. S. C. Robinson’s company made some 1900 of them before the Confederate government bought the factory in early 1863. Although there were some complaints about them, the Robinsons were well made arms and quite serviceable. Unfortunately, as with so many of the Confederacy’s manufacturing efforts, there […]

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Pregnant…And On Picket

by Fred Ray March 9, 2018

Raynor’s Historical Collectible Auctions site is worth a visit to look at the Civil War manuscripts for auction. You can learn a lot just by looking at the excepts of the letters about soldiers’ attitudes about the war, their enemies, politicians, their leaders, and slavery. It’s often quite different than what you read in the […]

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Picketing, Skirmishing, and Sharpshooting in the Civil War

by Fred Ray March 8, 2018

My essay on Picketing, Skirmishing, and Sharpshooting in the Civil War is up at Essential Civil War Curriculum, a Sesquicentennial project of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech. Primary sponsors are Dr. James I. (Bud) Robertson and Professor William C. (Jack) Davis, both Professors at Virginia Tech. The security of an […]

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Review: Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh

by Fred Ray March 2, 2018

Southern Reconstruction By Philip Leigh Hardcover: 229 pages, $29.95 Publisher: Westholme Publishing; 1st edition (June 7, 2017) Language: English ISBN-10: 159416276X ISBN-13: 978-1594162763 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches Reconstruction in the South has become a subject dominated these days mostly by academics writing about race and America’s “unfinished revolution,” as viewed through the lens […]

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