150th anniversary of the siege of Fort Abercrombie

From the Grand Forks Herald:

Fort Abercrombie: On 150th anniversary, a look back at a bloody clash

By: Patrick Springer, Grand Forks Herald

FARGO – The first hint of trouble came to Fort Abercrombie on a tranquil summer day when word arrived that the Dakota Sioux in Minnesota were ripe for an uprising.

It was unwelcome news for a military post whose new commander had recently discovered was stocked with ammunition that was the wrong caliber for the soldiers’ muskets.

Also, since the fort wasn’t yet protected by a stockade or blockhouses, the soldiers scrambled to build defensive breastworks of earth and timber to surround the key buildings comprising the post.

Help was 227 miles away, at Fort Snelling, and the nearest community of any size was more than 150 miles away, in St. Cloud.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Author’s Note:  I will be taking part in the commemoration this Saturday, portraying a soldier, so if you are in the area, come on down to the fort and check out the program, as it looks to be pretty good. I will also share my thoughts on the event and the actual siege over the weekend.

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A new blog and new journal for 2011

As I mentioned in my last post, Brooks Simpson, has chosen to leave the group at Civil Warriors to pursue personal and professional projects. He has started his own blog up, called Crossroads, which is linked in the sidebar as well. I look forward to seeing what he produces in the coming months. His posting on the Dakota uprising that occurred in 1862-3, is particularly interesting to me given that I live in North Dakota and am within a couple of hours drive of sites associated with that conflict.

In addition to this new blog, a new journal will make its début in March. The University of North Carolina Press will publish The Journal of the Civil War Era, which will become the flagship journal of the Society of Civil War Historians. I look forward to seeing what this journal offers in terms of new directions on the war and the overall period surrounding it. I urge anyone with an interest in the conflict to consider subscribing to the journal and joining the Society.

All in all, 2011 will be a great year for Civil War studies, as we begin in earnest the 150th anniversary of secession, which will ignite some feelings, the anniversary of the Confederacy’s creation, Lincoln’s first inauguration, Bull Run, Wilson’s Creek, etc. I hope to attend a couple major reenacting events in Missouri this coming year, but we’ll see. I have a couple of items to finish this semester before I head to Illinois for Christmas, but I will attempt to remember to post later this month on South Carolina’s secession. Until next time, keep researching and studying.

A new Civil War Roundtable

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that a colleague and I have decided to form a physical Civil War Round Table. I have mentioned in the past my wish to create a virtual one, due to our remote location in North Dakota. Well, fellow doctoral student Stuart Lawrence put together the organizational materials, with me helping plug the group and offer moral support, and we have created the Northern Plains Civil War Roundtable. We are constructing a web-based home (will link that very soon). Anyway, if you live in the Grand Forks area and read this blog, please consider joining us at the E. Grand Forks, MN VFW Club this Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 PM. Stuart will present the first paper, which will deal with the Zuoves in the Union Army. This blog will give coverage of the first meeting and I will explore how to put presentations on Youtube. I hope you will support us through encouragement and suggestions of ways we can reach those physically unable to join us at our meetings.

Click here to download an info. sheet on the group.

Flood Fighting in North Dakota

Greetings readers,

I wanted to let you all know that for the next few days, I may be out of commission as to updating the blog because we are experiencing major flooding here in North Dakota. The University of North Dakota where I attend has canceled classes until Tuesday to allow us to assist in the fight. I am dry right now, but am watching things close because my apartment is in a basement (I am not looking forward to trying to move my library). The Red River of the North is currently at 47′ here at Grand Forks and is expected to crest at 52′, which is the second highest crest on record. Down river in Fargo, they are bracing for the worst flood ever, which would break a 112 year old record. Things are a bit stressful. I served on a sandbag line yesterday and had to take the day to rest, so as not to hurt myself, but it was rewarding to help out. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we battle the Red.