Flags of the Kentucky Orphan Brigade

 The 1st Kentucky Brigade is also known as the Orphan Brigade. Six different Kentucky Regiments were in this brigade. (Confederate Brigades were composed of two to six regiments.) Some Kentucky regiments used flags with a upright Latin/Christian cross on them. The most prominent are the blue flags with large red Latin crosses adorned by 13 […]

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Civil War Sharpshooters

The Civil War produced many fine shooters, and some made their way into sharpshooter units. Champion marksman Hiram Berdan of New York raised a Union sharpshooter unit. To qualify, volunteers had to put ten shots in a circle of 10 inches from 200 yards. Berdan’s Sharpshooters wore green uniforms, like the reenactor above. Sharp’s rifles, […]

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Being Friendly

When the battle wasn’t raging, Yankee and Rebel soldiers were known to get along with each other. Confederate Private Sam Watkins tells a story about a Sunday after the Battle of Chickamauga. He came and his buddies came to relieve some sentries on the Tennessee River. There was a Union outpost on the opposite riverbank. […]

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The Civil War Private

If you have spent much time reading here, you probably know Private Sam Watkins of Company H, First Tennessee Infantry. Sam had a keen eye for nonsense, and his tales were often told with humor. He saw things as the man on the firing line, from the bottom of the totem pole. In his words: […]

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“Turn back, turn back! We’re whipped.”

It was July 31st, 1861. Federal troops were just north of Manassas, Virginia. There were many who thought they would send the Rebels reeling, putting an end to the rebellion. The day was Sunday, and a throng of civilian sightseers had come down from the U.S. capitol, just 25 miles away. Lieutenant Tibdall commanded a […]

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“All were American Soldiers…”

“All were American soldiers…” We often hear today what the Civil War was all about. Professors and reporters and “very important” folks tell us. And with what conviction they tell us! But I rarely hear from the scholars about why the man in uniform was fighting. Seems the soldier is simply forgotten. I usually write […]

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Did Robert E. Lee have any Regrets?

The photo you see above is Robert E. Lee with his son, in 1845. Someone asked me whether Lee ever regretted fighting for the South. General Long worked alongside Lee. He wrote Lee said the following, a day or two before surrender at Appomattox: “…I have never believed we could…make good in the long run […]

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His Court Martial Almost Ended It

We know how George Armstrong Custer met his end. But did you know he fought in the Civil war from the first major battle all the way to Appomattox? We have copies of his correspondence with several friends that were then fighting for the South. That’s Custer on the right above. And by the way, […]

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“All were American soldiers…”

We often hear why the Civil War was fought. Professors and reporters and “very important” folks tell us. And with great conviction they tell us! But you rarely hear from these scholars about why the man in uniform was fighting. Seems the soldier is simply forgotten. I usually write about a person. Sometimes about an […]

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He “warn’t afraid of nuthin’ or nobody.”

Many know Confederate cavalrymen like J.E.B. Stuart, or the fierce Nathan Bedford Forrest. But Robert E. Lee believed that Confederate General Wheeler (who later served as a Major General in the U.S. Army) was one of his two best Cavalry officers. Wheeler graduated from West Point (ironically, his lowest marks were in Cavalry Tactics). His […]

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