Category: Social History

  • Her Majesty Takes a Shot

    It is the summer of 1860. The British government, rattled by a French invasion scare, seeks to train a sizable corps of volunteers armed with the new rifles, much as the Americans had done to them eight-five years earlier. To properly kick things off the queen herself pulls a silken cord and fires the first […]

  • Pregnant…And On Picket

    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 […]

  • Review: Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh

    Southern Reconstruction By Philip Leigh

  • Cotton Pickin’ and Black Geography

    Two recent articles are worth a look, one on the changing geography of Black America and another on how mechanization took over cotton farming. Mona Chalabi maps black populations in the US for the last 118 years, but unfortunately does not go back to the 1850s. However, the distribution in 1900 was probably not that […]

  • Finding the Clotilda, America’s Last Slave Ship

    Led by a local reporter, archeologists think they may have found the wreck of the Clotilda, the last ship reasonably documented as transporting slaves to North America. What’s left of the ship lies partially buried in mud alongside an island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, a few miles north of the city of Mobile. The […]

  • Short Takes

    A nostalgic look back at the long relationship between the Army and whiskey. American commanders began supplying strong drink in 1775 — right after the Continental Army was formed. Congress voted to supply it with beer. Gen. George Washington, who was fond of beer and all sorts of drink, nonetheless felt something heartier was required. […]

  • Runaways Returned to Plantations—By Yankees in 1864

    Wait, what? So says a letter from a Union surgeon, William C. Towle of the 12th Maine, written from Camp Parapet, near Carrolton, Louisiana, on April 4, 1864. The most of the Negroes who were carried up river from here to work on plantations have returned having runaway as soon as they were at liberty. […]