While listening to Volume 1 of Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, A Narrative, Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville as an audiobook on my iPod during the drive to and from work, I’ve noticed a LOT of names and places being butchered by the narrator. And then I got to thinking. How do I *know* the narrator is butchering these names and places? Have I heard Civil War “experts” use them on television, radio, podcasts, movies, etc? Do I just “know” the correct way to pronounce many names and places associated with the Civil War? I soon realized that for as many names I am 100% sure how to pronounce, there are many more I’ve only guessed at up until now.
The result of this questioning leads to the topic of today’s blog entry here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog. I’m going to present a few names and places which are not exactly easy to pronounce, and several more names and places which I honestly do not know the correct pronunciation of. That’s where you the readers come in. If you know the correct pronunciations of any of the following Civil War people or places, feel free to set me straight in the comments below!
Names/Places (I Think?) I Know
- Benjamin Huger (pronounced U-gee or HU-gee) – Confederate Division commander during the Seven Days
- Cairo, Illinois (pronounced KEH-roh or CARE-oh) – A Union supply base and training center located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
- Henrico County, Virginia (hen-RYE-co) – Richmond, Virginia was the county seat of Henrico County, and many Civil War battles were fought here, including almost all of the Seven Days.
- James Birdseye McPherson (BIRD-see) – The
highest ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War(hat tip to Harry for the correction) only Union Army commander killed in the Civil War. McPherson died at the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864 while commander of the Union Army of the Tennessee.
- William B. Taliaferro – (TAH-liver) – Confederate Division commander under Stonewall Jackson, among other things.
- Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia (pronounced MAR-ee) – High ground from which Robert E. Lee’s men slaughtered waves of Union troops at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
- Beaufort, North Carolina (BO–furt) & Beaufort, South Carolina (BYOO-furt)
- Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher (pronounced MARR) – Leader of the famous Irish Brigade at some of its most famous and bloody battles.
- Antietam Creek (pronounced an-TEET-uhm) – The result of the Battle of Antietam allowed Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. I had major trouble with this as a kid!
- Henry Heth (pronounced HEETH) – Reputedly the only man in the Army of Northern Virginia Robert E. Lee spoke to and used his first name.
Names/Places Where I Need Your Help
Mattaponi River, Virginia (and all of the resultant smaller rivers which make up its name)
Pocotaligo, South Carolina
Brigadier General Wladimir Krzyzanowski
Kanawha (the area of West Virginia and the Division)
Lastly, what are some Civil War names and places you’ve always wondered about?
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