On Immigration

Jefferson discussed immigration to the United States in 1805: “Shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe?” America was growing and Jefferson approved: “We contemplate this rapid growth, and theContinue reading “On Immigration”

A New Look at Grant

Frank P. Varney, General Grant and the Rewriting of History, California, Savas and Beatty, 2013 A critical examination of Grant’s memoirs and their effects on the historical record.    Professor Frank Varney’s first book is a bold effort to right historical wrongs…. and the wrongs were perpetrated by none other than US Grant.   Varney proposesContinue reading “A New Look at Grant”

Remarkable Restraint

Abraham Lincoln could have curried much political favor in the West had he ordered the executions of 303 Dakota Sioux – Instead, he reviewed each case. Despite the crushing defeat at Second Bull Run, the horrific carnage of Antietam, and the political fallout of issuing the Emancipation proclamation Lincoln still listened to the facts ofContinue reading “Remarkable Restraint”

Facts in Five

Lincoln and Military Justice Edition: Lincoln was petitioned with over 1,600 military justice cases 343 military pardons were issued during his time in office Three time offenders, rapists, and traitors were shown no mercy Lincoln’s liberal pardoning policy was unpopular with his Generals Though disliked by his Generals, Lincoln’s use of military clemency was popularContinue reading “Facts in Five”

History Wishes for the New Year

Practical historical advice everyone can use- More Civil War discussion- less monument destruction PBS rebroadcasts Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” nationally Congress authorizes one quarter of the total for Trump’s wall to be used for historic preservation Ed Bearss is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Americans rediscover the greatness of George Washington The HouseContinue reading “History Wishes for the New Year”

Drink Like a Founder

If you seek a historically acceptable wine… for this holiday season, consider Madeira.  The fortified wine is produced in the island group of the same name.  Madeira is fortified with another spirit, typically rum.  The fortification process dates to the 16th century where it prevented spoilage over long ocean voyages.  Tinta Negra Mole grapes are used toContinue reading “Drink Like a Founder”

Christmas on the Mountain

Thomas Jefferson celebrated Christmas… but not with stockings and Christmas trees- modern incarnations of the season didn’t take hold in America until after the Civil War.  Jefferson’s Christmas was a time for family, friends, and as he described it, “merriment.”   Family was all important to the Sage of Monticello, and he described the day”  “theContinue reading “Christmas on the Mountain”

Tearing Down to Build Up

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu made national headlines for rationalizing his city’s iconoclastic fury in 2017. “Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of ourContinue reading “Tearing Down to Build Up”

None Braver

The charge of the Irish Brigade against the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights outside Fredericksburg is the stuff of legend.        The legendary  stature of these men and their deeds is largely due to the reminiscences of their opponents. James Longstreet, whose troops occupied the stonewall position at Marye’s Heights remembered: “The manner inContinue reading “None Braver”

Garry Owen!

The Irish Brigade crossed the Rappahannock river at Fredericksburg… a shadow of its former self.  Three months earlier, along the banks of the Antietam Creek, the Irish Brigade marched to glory with more than 2,000 men.  At Fredericksburg, the newly arrived 28th Massachusetts regiment bolstered the ranks to 1,200, but the veteran regiments had been decimatedContinue reading “Garry Owen!”