‘Now comes good sailing’: Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod (1865) and Early Postbellum America

Although the text for May’s forthcoming #bookhour discussion, Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod, has never attracted scholarship in the way that Walden, ‘Resistance to Civil Government’, and the Journal have done, it echoes the blend of geniality, history, metaphysics, and occasional grotesqueries found in the celebrated works of contemporaries such as Hawthorne, Melville, or Poe. Continue reading

“The Land Entire Saturated”: Commemorating the Civil War Dead at 150 years

  April 9th, 2015 marked the sesquicentennial commemoration of the surrender of the General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac under the command of General Grant. The surrender sounded the death knell for the shattered Confederacy. Appomattox was no cause for outpourings of joy; the … Continue reading

Songs about Rebels: The American Civil War in modern country music

Each of these songs link into what Geoff Mann has called country music’s ‘narrative of loss,’ in that they recall and reconstruct what has allegedly been lost in history – on material, emotional and personal levels. The power of these four songs lies primarily in that sense of loss, rather than in any particular political or martial themes. Perhaps then, these songs form part of what has been called a ‘mild version’ of the Lost Cause, in that they present the memory of the Civil War as a way of both commemorating their ancestors and of supporting the United States. Continue reading

The United States Christian Commission and the Civil War Dead

To aid in the identification of remains, and to alleviate the distress felt by bereaved families unable to ascertain the final resting-place of their sons, the Christian Commission distributed small identifier tags a rudimentary precursor to metal dog tag. Continue reading