Society for Military History Annual Meeting

Originally posted to Civil Warriors.

The program for the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, which is being held on 14-16 March 2013, in New Orleans, LA, and sponsored by the Center for the Study of War and Society at The University of Southern Mississippi, with the National World War II Museum and Southeastern Louisiana University, has recently been posted.

Not much this year, unfortunately, to interest the Civil War enthusiast. I saw only one session dedicated to the subject, which is definitely odd considering this is the 150th anniversary of not a few events of note in the military history of the Civil War. No doubt this is in large part due to a program on the 150th at Gettysburg College that is running the same weekend. Still, there will once again be a decent contingent of Civil War historians in attendance, including George Rable, Susannah Ural, and Carol Reardon. As for me, I will be chairing a panel on “Alcohol and Drugs in Three Wars: The Great War, Korea , and Vietnam”.

Further information about the meeting, including the program and logistics, can be found here.

If you are in New Orleans in mid-March, definitely consider attending, as the program looks interesting.

The Civil War meets Star Wars . . . sort of

Civil War blogger Ethan Rafuse over at Civil Warriors has posted an interesting story regarding the Battle of Hoth and the futility of the Rebel Alliance’s stand. He posed the pseudo comparison between Hoth and the Battle of Franklin. Reading the linked article, complete with illustrations reminiscent of books dealing with campaigns and battles, was quite interesting as well as humorous.

Antietam: 150 years ago today

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg, if you prefer) in 1862. It represents the bloodiest one-day battle in American history with over 23,000 casualties on both sides. Ethan Rafuse provides a wonderful post on this subject, complete with the opening to the film Glory (1989), which began with this battle.

He also noted the letter from Lt Col. Wilder Dwight, who died from wounds at the battle and the letter he wrote was featured in the documentary Death and the Civil War, which I reviewed earlier.

This battle was significant for several reasons. One was that it allowed Lincoln to justify the Emancipation Proclamation, as the tactical draw served as a psychological and strategic victory for the Union, aiding in a small way in keeping the European powers out of the conflict, though this was largely accomplished by this point in 1862.

Also, it was a major setback for Robert E. Lee, as his invasion of the North failed. It represented a series of missed opportunities and blunders that could have ended the war sooner, had McClellan acted more decisively upon finding Lee’s Special Order 191, which was his battle plan, or had McClellan pursued and destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia after the battle.

Though, 150 years old, this battle is still an important event in our history, worthy of continuing staff rides by military educational programs around the country. One of the better books on the battle that is both scholarly and great for a general audience is James McPherson’s Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War (2002), as it discusses the larger significance of the battle as well as how it relates to the concept of freedom at the time. As we approach the anniversaries of some of the most important battles of the war, it will be notable to see how we reflect and what historians write and do to understand the importance of these events against our modern society.

Lecture opportunity at Carlisle, PA

Ethan Rafuse, professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and blogger at Civil Warriors is delivering a lecture as part of the 44th Annual Lecture Series “Perspectives in Military History.” The lecture is entitled “We Always Understood Each Other So Well:  McClellan, Lee and the War in the East.” If you are in the area of Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania on July 18, I urge you to take in his lecture.

The Rebel Yell in video

Hat tip to Civil Warriors for this awesome video of a film that is held at the Library of Congress, but was made available online via the Smithsonian. I have heard a recording of the Rebel Yell before, but this is by far the best, as you can see the actual veterans doing the yell. Though the audio quality is a bit grainy, this video represents the power of digital history in making a unique piece of American history available to the world. Check it out, as I am sure it will send a shiver up your spine.

What Did the Rebel Yell Sound Like?

You should also check out this interesting article on video and audio recordings of veterans.

Where this blog is linked

Adding to the helpful post that the folks at WordPress created to let me share with you all how this blog did this last year, I decided to check out how folks are getting to this site and I am a bit humbled. The Civil War Preservation Trust lists this site as one of their featured blogs, describing it as “a must read for those interested in the subject.” Thank you CWPT, as you placed me with some good company, including Eric Wittenberg, Kevin Levin, and the gang at Civil Warriors. In addition, The Washington Post links this site under their blog A House Divided, which covers the 150th anniversary of the war. Written by Linda Wheeler among others, who lists this site as one of her favorites, this group blog covers a variety of subjects so far.

Overall, while I am linked at some great places and other blogs, I was quite surprised to delve deeper into the referrals of this site. I look forward to continuing the work in 2011, and hope that I will perhaps make enough of an impression on Eric Wittenberg that he will add me to his blogroll (hint). Thanks again everyone for making 2010 a great year for the blog.

A great weekend for hockey

I know, you are all thinking, what does this have to do with the Civil War? Well, some of the gang over at Civil Warriors are into ice hockey and I can’t let them be the only ones talking a bit of hockey. Plus, I can’t resist a friendly jibe at Dr. Mark Grimsley, who teaches at Ohio State University (though he is currently a visiting professor at the Army War College), as that was one of the teams visiting scenic Grand Forks this weekend.

This weekend was the tenth annual Subway Holiday Classic, which brings teams that UND would normally not play to Grand Forks for a fun weekend of hockey over Thanksgiving break. Last year, we hosted Cornell for one of the games. This year, the weekend featured three of the top ten college hockey teams, as the Bemidji State University Beavers (#6), Miami University of Ohio RedHawks (#1), Ohio State University Buckeyes (yes, OSU actually has ice hockey), and the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (#4) all played.

Bemidji opened the weekend on Friday by defeating Miami in a good game that was a rematch of last season’s semi-final match (Frozen Four), where Miami beat Bemidji 4-1. This time, the tables were turned, as Bemidji defeated Miami 3-2. Later that day, the Sioux played the Buckeyes, which was a fun game, as I was sitting right behind the boards by the penalty box for OSU, which was a bit interesting with some of the crowd who were around me. We defeated the Buckeyes (sorry Mark) 4-1 in an awesome game. On Saturday, Bemidji lost a tough game to OSU in overtime 2-1 and we had to settle with a tie in a very exciting game against Miami 5-5. While not related to the Civil War, some of the rivalries in college and pro hockey can get pretty intense, with brother against brother and parents against kids in friendly disagreements over teams. Needless to say, the weekend was good and the rankings should change soon. To the hockey fans at Civil Warriors, we should talk hockey sometime.

Cross-posted to Doctoral Bliss