Watch free American Civil War videos online

I’ve watched all of the Civil War movies available at the Internet Archive, and I can only watch Gettysburg so many times, the same is true for the parts (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) of Ken Burns’ The Civil War mini-series that are available online.

Today, I re-explored some old bookmarks:

Annenberg Media’s A Biography of America, chapters. 8 – 13.

Yale Open Courseware: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era 1845-1877. Video Library (search: Civil War; Shelby Foote)

PBS:  History Detectives; American Experience.

Youtube: Scenes from Wicked Spring; The Battle of Aiken, Littlest Rebel, Little Colonel; Gray Ghost tv series, Gettysburg of the West.

The National Geographic Special: Civil War Gold was interesting.

Don’t forget to search for “Civil War” movies at Hulu every once in awhile… they just had GLORY recently.

Pennsylvania vs. Tennessee

I am so glad that my hobby is practically free.  Aside from the occasional no-to-low cost local ACW event, there is a wealth, a veritable treasure trove, of content and information available to me for free online.

I watch ACW programs on (when are they finally going to post “U.S. Grant: Warrior” in full already!!?), spend literal hours watching/listening to Mr. Shelby Foote on, I voraciously consume ACW books at Gutenberg, the IA (movies too!), google books, (and the local library), I subscribe to several ACW pages on FB, I know of a few OCW (open course ware) sites, I visit the very active ACW community at CWDG (but I have yet to make a comment), The NPS is a great place to lose hours, as are the gold-mines at either “civilwar” site – .com or .org.

Today, I feel like getting lost in a good book…

So, should I read “Co. Aytch: Maury Grays, First Tennessee, or a side show of the big show“, or “Enemies in the rear: or A golden circle squared, a story of southeastern Pennsylvania in the time of our civil war” – since I am a Pennsylvania Dutch girl…?

Or maybe I should take the 4.4 pound, 744 page book: “The American Civil War – 365 Days from the Library of Congress” outside and spend the day under a shade tree.

The Secession Question

Both have value, but which is historically more important –

The date when a State seceded from the Union, or when it was admitted to the Confederacy?

January 1861 was a hot and busy month, the following states passed Secession Ordinances:

Mississippi, January 9.

Florida, January 10.

Alabama, January 11.

Georgia, January 19.

Louisiana, January 26.

And on January 16, the “Legislature of Arkansas voted to submit the question of a State Convention to the people” 1, but… on January 30, the “Legislature of North Carolina passed a bill submitting the question of a State Convention to the people – the first recognition the the seceding States that people had any right to a voice in the matter“.  2


On January 2,”the Legislature of Delaware passed a joint resolution in opposition to Secession” 3, and on January 5,”Gov. Hicks, of Maryland, published a strong Union address to the people, refusing to call a Convention”. 4


Read a fascinating play-by-play of all the action in R. S. Fisher’s book, A Chronological History of the Civil War in America over at the Internet Archive.



1; 2; 3; 4: Fisher, Richard S., A Chronological History of the Civil War in America (Johnson and Ward, 1863) p. 14; 16; 11; 12.

Published in: on January 6, 2011 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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November 6, 1860 – And so it begins


Results aren’t announced until November 8, but the wedge has been driven.

On November 9-11, two US Senators from South Carolina, James Chesnut Jr. and James Hammond, resigned their Senate seats in protest.

I highly recommend reading Senator Chesnut’s wife, Mary Boykin Chesnut’s A Diary From Dixie if you ever get the chance.

Know your Confederate Flags

It is so annoying (sad, disheartening…), for lack of a better word, when I hear people refer to the”Battle Flag” as the “Stars & Bars”.

People, people, people… PLEASE get it right….  and this photo of the Confederate flags and the below quoted text, both from pages 349 and 350 of 100 Great Battles of the Rebellion by Wesley Potter Kremer found at the Internet Archive, will help you learn the difference.




"A— The Stars and Bars.B-The Battle Flag. C— The Camp Flag.D — Last Flag of the Confederacy.

In March, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted as the national emblem the so-called "Stars and Bars.It was made up of three horizontal bars of red, white, and red, with a blue union in the upper left-hand corner, on which were displayed thirteen white stars in a circle, thus giving the historical red, white, and blue, which tricolor appeared in all the succeeding changes. 

The resemblance of this to the "Stars and Stripes" led to confusion, mistakes, and loss of life in the battle of Manassas, and shortly after that action another flag was born to the Confederacy, in September, 1861. 

The battle flag was then adopted. This, in the language of heraldry, was a red field charged with a blue saltier, with a narrow border of white, on which were displayed thirteen white stars; in other words, a blue St. Andrew's cross on a red ground. This was easily distinguishable, and was never changed. 

The stars and bars were in '63 supplemented by the camp flag. 

This was in size and shape like the other, except that it was white with no stripes, and the battle flag in the upper corner, next the staff. It was found deficient in actual service, in that, displaying so much white, it was sometimes apt to be mistaken for a flag of truce, and on Feb. 24, 1865, it gave place to the last flag of theConfederacy, the outer half being a red vertical bar.Appearing so late in the war, it was not so familiar as the others — in fact, was comparatively little known."

SOURCE: Internet Archive's "out of copy-right" copy of 100 Great Battles of the Rebellion by Wesley Potter Kremer

(My personal favorite is still the Palmetto Flag...)




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Fort Point Civil War Living History Day, San Francisco, CA. 8/21/10

Even all the way out here, as far West as you can possibly go, there's Civil War history.

I live just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fort Point sits at the base of the bridge on the San Francisco side.  I went there today for Civil War Living History Day.

I was lucky enough to get a good parking spot after traversing the parking lot only once, and I couldn't believe all of the salt on my windshield when I got back to the car.  And I am glad I was dressed for it.  Fort Point is one of the coldest, dampest, windiest places ever.

I didn't get to talk to the Washer Woman as she always had so many people around her, or see and hear the Brass Band concert as it wasn't until 4, and I had been there since 12:30 and had seen it all by 1:30, but I stuck around until 2 when they had a Fife and Drum exhibition and then I sat in the warm car and watched the Bay view, the tide, the windsurfers, the Bridge and the scenery for a tiny bit and then headed home and stopped at In & Out Burger.

I wish they had put some kind of schedule of events on-line, if I had known there was a Brass Band concert at 4 I would have made the trip a bit later in the day.

I did see everything at the Fort that there was to see.  I walked all around the dark corridors and weird hidden alcoves and went up and down the awesome stone spiral staircases several times just for the fun of it.  Boy that place was DARK, even in broad daylight.  I wonder how many lamps they had to keep burning to be able to see their way around?

I went into all of the rooms that were open and some of them had displays and exhibits, and I also went up on the ramparts where the cannons once stood.  Talk about SOME VIEW, but I would not like to have been stationed there – Brrrr Chilly…

There were re-enactors of all kinds, but I didn't see one Confederate.

I spoke to some of the Sons of Union Veterans and played some games with them.  They had these wooden toys – cups on sticks with a ball or ring tied to it and you had to get the ball in the cup or the ring on the hook.

I spoke with a Zouave and he likes to pattern dance.

And I had my blood let (pretend).  The Physician had this tool that was like a quarter on a stick and they'd heat it and burn you with it to release the evil spirits.  And he showed us some other sinister looking tools…

And then I visited the Infirmary, and was given a Curiously Strong does of Opium for the pain of having my blood let… but it was really only a wintergreen Altoid.

There were Artillery and Infantry Drills, but no "fighting", this event was about the cultural history of the period, not warfare and gun-fire.  The Fife and Drum Corps played a few tunes whilst I was there and got hearty, rousing applause from the audience and while listening to them I was sitting on a bench pretending I was a captured Confederate spy.

You can see photos of the last CWLHD they held at Fort Point back in January 2010 on Ranger Craig's Flickr account, you can also do a general search on flickr for "Fort Point Civil War", and you can learn more about Fort Point at the NPS site.

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BOOK: Local Designations of Confederate Troops (Total 3974)

Ever wonder who the BILLY GILMER GREYS, the HAW RIVER BOYS, or the PAINT ROCK RIFLES were?

This handy little manual will tell you.

I found it very interesting to see the great nick-names each Confederate Company had.  I hope you will too.


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Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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Good Book: Civil War Experiences by Henry C. Meyer

There are so many Civil War diaries out there, all different.  I've read a few, and have tried especially to read Mary Boykin Chesnut's Diary from Dixie THREE TIMES now, and never getting very far and having to return it to the library.  I know it's online, but I like the tactile experience of turning pages.  I like the book just fine, but the copy at my library has such small font, and Mary was quite verbose and no matter what volume you read they're all tomes.

Anyway, I check Gutenberg every morning to see what new books have been posted, and this morning I saw another Civil War diary – Civil War Experiences under Bayard, Gregg, Kilpatrick, Custer, Raulston, and Newberry, 1862, 1863, 1864 – and took a look as I always do.  They're usually dull and boring, but not this one.  The content is as full and rich as the title is bone dry.

I was captivated before the end of the first sentence.  I'm not yet on page 5 and I had to start this post as the book is so engaging I just knew I was going to post about it.

It is written in such a delightfully easy conversational tone, I can almost imaging him saying it out-loud – here are some samples:

*"That night I went to my home, at Dobb's Ferry, on the Hudson River, and reported what I had done, intending to leave for Washington the next morning, when I was promised transportation. This interview with my parents was quite unpleasant, as my father was very angry and my mother in great distress. At that time both my father and his friends regarded my action as worse than foolish and almost as bad as though I had done something disreputable. Indeed, as I was afterwards informed, one gentleman remarked, "Well, that is too bad; that boy has gone to the devil, too. 

*"The following morning I bade my parents good-bye, feeling that if I were wounded or crippled I should not care to return home for them to take care of me. Subsequent letters from home, however, removed that feeling."

WOW.  That's some deep sentiment.  And then he speaks of the beginnings of his trip to meet his regiment, and the part inbetween about his filling out his own enlistment papers and the armless man entering the recruiting station were amusing too, and then there was this part about him selling his civilian clothes and the buyer deserting… and we aren't even on page 7 yet and I can't post everything he wrote, but this part about the pickles and ice cream made me chuckle.

*"On landing at Walnut Street wharf I went into the soldiers' refreshment room, maintained by the citizens of Philadelphia, which was open night and day, and at which all soldiers passing through the city were fed free of charge. It was about two o'clock in the morning, very hot, and I was tired and depressed. Hence, when invited to partake of some refreshments, I was unable to do so but contented myself with eating a few pickles."

*"On arriving in Baltimore I walked to another part of the city to take the train for Washington. Meanwhile I wanted some breakfast. Going into a place which I supposed was a restaurant, I found that the only thing they could offer me was ice-cream. I thereupon ate some, and soon after took the train for Washington. In a few moments the Philadelphia pickles, the hot night, and the Baltimore ice-cream produced most severe cramps, and I was in a very distressed state of mind, fearing that I would never be able to reach the front, but would have to submit to the mortification of being returned home."

And I just know there's a joke in there about keeping your nose to the grindstone somewhere….

*"On this raid the regiment destroyed considerable property, and many of the men carried away all sorts of things for which they had no use. Indeed, I heard Colonel Kilpatrick laughingly remark that one fellow, in his zeal to have something, actually had a grindstone on his saddle in front of him. After carrying it about a mile he concluded, however, that he had no further use for it, and dropped it in the road."

That's most of chapter one, and if I haven't sufficiently piqued your interest nothing in chapter two will.

*Book excerpts taken from Project Gutenberg's copy of Civil War Experiences under Bayard, Gregg, Kilpatrick, Custer, Raulston, and Newberry, 1862, 1863, 1864 by Henry C. Meyer.

If you enjoyed this book, or just like Civil War diaries I highly recommend Alf Burnett's Incidents of the War: Humorous, Pathetic, and Descriptive; and I do have a particular favorite, but I am saving that one for a post of its own, so I'll mention Sarah Dawson Morgan's A Confederate Girl's Diary instead.

And I am going back to reading chapter two now…

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Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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5 short Civil War videos

I have not come across much worth posting recently.  I've been reading lots lately, and one of these days I'll post a reading list…

Until then, watch some videos at the Internet Archive.

Civil War Overview:

Encyclopaedia Britannica Films – The Civil War (15 minutes)

A House Divided (30 minutes)

Southern Life Overview:

The Plantation System in Southern Life (10 minutes)

Life in Old Louisiana (10 minutes)

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

Nor Long Remember (15 minutes)

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Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Table of Contents alone makes for OUTSTANDING reading

A Pictorial History of the War for the Union, Volume 2, by Ann Sophia Stephens has an amazing FOUR PAGE table of contents which alone is well worth reading.

Volume One is well-written, easy to read and interesting, but the Table of Contents from Volume Two is really quite REMARKABLE….

Four years worth of Civil War history boiled down to four pages, remarkable – I say.

I am so impressed with this volume that I am going to let the fact that she dedicated the book to that so-and-so General William T. Sherman slide…

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