Category Archives: Civil War

Episode #16 Beyond the Irish Brigade with Damian Shiels

DamianOh yes…if you ever wanted to know  about the Irish in the United States during the 19th century I’ve got your guy. Archeologist and historian Damian Shiels has done a tremendous amount of work on Irish immigration and Irish involvement in the American Civil War. He is the author of The Irish in the American Civil War and most recently, The Forgotten Irish: Irish Emigrant Experiences in America.

Seriously – it turns out there is a lot more to the Irish in 19th century American culture (and Irish throughout the world, for that matter) than the famous Irish Brigade. We touch on quite a bit of what they were doing – you’ll want to listen up to be sure.

We discuss:

  • Damian’s work as an archeologist (stay tuned for another show on this…)
  • Developing a comprehensive narrative of the emigrant experience through the use of pension records
  • The Irish commitment to the Union (and Confederate too) cause.
  • Slavery and emancipation
  • And of course…the Irish Brigade

You will be able to meet Damian in person in Washington DC at a book signing slated for March, 2017. For now you can connect with him on Twitter and on his blog, Irish in the American Civil War.

Listen to this show…I mean it. Damian has some great advice for students and recommends that we all read Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot that Shook the Nation One Year After the Civil War by Stephen V. Ash. If you would like a free audio version of the book,  visit this show’s sponsor at Audible.

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Music by Advent Chamber Orchestra is licensed under Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/

Episode #5 Civil War Music with Christian McWhirter

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-9-50-43-amHave you ever been standing in line at the grocery store and found yourself quietly humming the melody to John Brown’s Body? Or…maybe that’s just me. At any rate, as a Civil War historian the music of the era has always captured my attention – not just as a background to the action but as an important component of each national cause. As such I am really stoked to have Christian McWhirter, author of Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, on the show. Christian agrees that music was central to the lives and causes of soldiers and civilians alike.

We discuss:

  • Alternate career paths for academic historians
  • The significance of music in the armies
  • The popularity of particular tunes
  • Music and nationalism
  • Battles of the bands – in history and mythology
  • Music and reconciliation

Christian has great advice to which any student of history should pay great attention, he talks about his blog: Civil War Pop, and he suggests we all read a classic: Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! by George C. Rable

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Music by Advent Chamber Orchestra is licensed under Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/

Episode #3 – Megan Kate Nelson on the Civil War in the Far West

3Guess what – there were Civil War battles way out west…I mean way out there – in the desert, west of Texas. If you did not now about this, it is most likely because your history teacher never mentioned it…probably thinking it an unimportant sideshow to the real action in Virginia or Tennessee or Georgia. After discussing her book, Ruin Nation, Megan and I look beyond the eastern, western, and trans-Mississippi theaters of the Civil War. Megan tells us the war in the far west – New Mexico territory and even California  – reveals much about the broader scope of the war.

We discuss:

  • What it means to be an “independent scholar”
  • Broken stuff
  • War in the New Mexico/Arizona Territory
  • The significance of the Civil War in the far West
  • Camels

And that’s not all – Megan offers great advice for history students, a point on movie recommendation, and suggests we all read the book, This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust – so you had better get to it.

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Episode #1 – Kevin Levin on Black Confederates

1Have you ever been minding your own business enjoying a little  Civil War history contemplation when someone tries to convince you that there were thousands of black  soldiers in the Confederate Army?  I have a little talk with historian Kevin Levin, author of Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murderabout this phenomenon. We talk about the controversy and the myth…and in the end, try to come to some conclusions about why it is so important for so many to imagine black soldiers in gray.

We discuss…

  • How one might define a “soldier.”
  • How black people involuntarily contributed to the Confederate cause
  • Why the myth of Black Confederates is so persistent
  • And whether or not it is worthwhile arguing with wingnuts

And that’s not all – Kevin offers some advice for students and makes a great movie recommendation…you’ll want to move on this one.

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