Civil War Profiles

Rediscovering a long-forgotten intelligence organization

In October 1959, Edwin C. Fishel visited the National Archives & Records Administration in Washington, D.C., in search of information for a research project. What he found changed the known history of the Civil War up to that period of time...

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 10:11am

A Confederate soldier learns ‘war is hell’

William Joshua “W.J.” Croy was born on Sept. 17, 1843, in Dawson County, Ga., and enlisted in the 38th Georgia Regiment of the Confederate army in Atlanta, Ga., in May 1862. One month later, he found himself in Petersburg General Hospital in...

Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:12am

The South’s remarkable achievement in Augusta

When secession of several Southern states led to bombardment of Fort Sumter, S.C., and the beginning of war with the North in April 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis recognized the South’s vulnerability as a predominantly agricultural...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 9:28pm

The Civil War for sale!

The further removed we become from the time of our mid-19th century national confrontation, the more valuable the artifacts from that period become. Values placed on these items on the open market continue to rise.

Civil War Times (CWT)...

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 10:23am

A tale of two Civil War presidents

Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808, in a community now known as Fairview; and, less than a year later, on Feb. 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln arrived on the scene, 125 miles away in Hodgenville. Both were natives of Kentucky, and were destined...

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 9:43am

Touring Civil War Delaware

Those who have been to well-known Civil War sites, such as national military battlefields at Gettysburg, Pa., Antietam, Md., and Fredericksburg, Va., may be interested in learning about lesser-known Civil War-related locations right here in our...

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 1:21pm

Learning about Civil War Delaware

Delaware’s participation in the mid-19th century conflict that took the lives of thousands in this state and hundreds of thousands throughout the country was unique in a number of ways. Politically and emotionally, the state divided along North-...

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 11:53am

A towering tribute to Abraham Lincoln

A few years ago, a group of historians wanted to memorialize the 16th president of the United States in an unusual way. They came up with the idea to create a tower of books written about him over the time since his departure from this earth in...

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 10:28am

America’s most reviled president

The day a person puts his left hand on the bible and raises his right hand to affirm, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States…” he immediately becomes fair game for members of the...

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 10:12am

Townsend behind the scenes of battle

Civil War history typically focuses on the strategy and tactics of clashing armies on the battlefield. Less attention is paid to the grotesque and consequential scenes unfolding to the rear of the main action.

As a reporter for the New...

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 10:40am

‘Doc’ Johnson and the Gettysburg anniversaries — a remembrance

The sad news of C. Elwood Johnson’s passing arrived recently from his son Phil, and a service honoring this World War II Navy veteran took place at the Delaware Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 6, 2018. Coincidentally, this was the same date for the...

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 10:32am

A family’s experience during the Civil War

Bethany Beach resident Jeanne Golibart O’Brien Rodgers is a descendant of ancestors who lived through and were affected by the Civil War. A story about Rebel soldiers confiscating a horse from a family farm in Maryland appeared in a previous...

Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 1:53pm

A Christmas present for President Lincoln

Following the capture and occupation of Atlanta, Ga., in September and October 1864, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman proposed and received approval to march part of his army all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

In mid-November, after...

Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 1:28pm

Civil War Profiles: ‘Instant death’ for desertion during the Civil War

About 2.75 million soldiers donned uniforms during the Civil War. There was a considerable disparity, however, considering some 2 million served for the North and only 750,000 for the South.

Union soldiers represented 12.5 percent of the...

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 3:41pm

‘Gath’ Townsend visits Lincoln’s law partner

An up-close-and-personal view of a lawyer from Springfield, Ill., by the name of William Herndon — the one-time partner of Abraham Lincoln — can be found in the New York Tribune issue dated Feb. 15, 1867. Lincoln had been dead for almost two...

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 12:38pm

The Second Delaware Regiment during the Gerrysburg Campaign

On Aug. 15, 1863, Col. William P. Baily, commander of the Second Delaware, submitted a report of the regiment’s activities from June 29 to July 26. That included the approach to, the battle of, and the retreat from the town of Gettysburg in...

Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 12:20pm

Civil War Profiles: Thanksgiving during the Civil War

In 1861, in the midst of a spreading conflagration in the North and South, Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer for his fellow countrymen; and, later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a...

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 1:33pm

Civil War historical fiction: Two spy thrillers

Stories about clandestine operations are a popular literary genre. Readers are naturally drawn to a good spy story.

Two books of historical fiction, published in the early part of the 21st century, are “On Secret Service” by well-known...

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 2:11pm

‘Shrouds of Glory’ — From Atlanta to Nashville

One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War that has not received the historical attention it deserves is the conflagration that occurred at the remote community of Franklin, Tenn., in November 1864 (see Coastal Point’s March 16, 2018, issue)....

Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 11:50am

Civil War historical fiction: ‘Courage on Little Round Top’

Michael Shaara’s novel “The Killer Angels” about the Battle of Gettysburg features Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Regiment. It was...

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 12:59pm

Civil War historical fiction: ‘Courage on Little Round Top’

Michael Shaara’s novel “The Killer Angels” about the Battle of Gettysburg features Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine Regiment. It was on Little Round Top, a low-lying eminence that anchored the left of the Union defensive line at...

Friday, November 2, 2018 - 12:16pm

Civil War Profiles: Civil War Historical fiction: ‘Varina’

Anyone who has read Charles Frazier’s novel “Cold Mountain” will recognize the application of its template to “Varina,” his tale of flight from a hazardous situation and a long trek in hope of survival that does not end well.

Based on the...

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 9:56am

Civil War historical fiction: ‘Harbor of Spies’

Regardless of what skeptics claim, the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery. Slavery was ingrained in segments of society in this country to the point that it was a life-or-death issue.

In “Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic...

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 9:45am

Civil War historical fiction: ‘Paradise Alley’

In the mid-19th century, residents of Ireland fled famine, as well as dirty and unhealthy conditions in their homeland, by the millions, only to find similar conditions when they arrived in America. Many of these poor, downtrodden Irish migrated...

Friday, October 12, 2018 - 11:09am

Civil War historical fiction: ‘Andersonville’

Renowned Civil War author Bruce Catton called it “The best Civil War novel I have ever read, without any question,” and the Chicago Sun Times echoed: “A great book, perhaps the greatest of all Civil War novels.”

They were talking about...

Friday, October 5, 2018 - 9:55am

Civil War historical novel: ‘The Judas Field’

By Tom Ryan

Special to the Coastal Point


Americans typically associate the Civil War with well-known events, such as Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, Sherman’s March to the Sea and Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox. A mention of...

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 12:21pm

Civil War historical fiction: ‘The Widow of the South’

As the Civil War dragged on for three long years, with much death and destruction, President Abraham Lincoln was in danger of not being re-elected in 1864. As discussed in my previous article, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s capture of...

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 9:38am

Civil War historical fiction: ‘The March’

Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s capture of the city of Atlanta, Ga., in early September 1864 had a positive effect in the North, and helped to guarantee the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln to a second term.


Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 11:39am

Civil War Profiles — Civil War historical fiction: ‘Cold Mountain’

During the siege of Petersburg, Va., in 1864, the Union army attempted to blast a hole in the formidable line of entrenchments protecting the Confederate defenders from attack. Pennsylvania coal miners now serving in the military dug a tunnel...

Thursday, September 6, 2018 - 5:45pm

Civil War historical fiction: 'The Red Badge of Courage'

Having been born six years after the end of the Civil War, aspiring young author Stephen Crane learned firsthand about “combat” on the football field, rather the battlefields of the bloody conflict between North and South. Yet, reading the...

Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 4:36pm

Civil War historical fiction: ‘The Killer Angels’



Many people are familiar with the antebellum novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly,” written by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe. This story is credited with shining a light on the harsh conditions of enslaved...

Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 3:04pm

Civil War Profiles — The Civil War in Columbia, S.C.

This last in a series of articles about American cities and towns during the Civil War features Columbia, S.C.

In early 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman caused havoc in South Carolina in general, and Columbia in particular, when...

Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 2:37pm

Civil War Profiles — The Civil War in San Antonio, Texas

In early 1861, prior to the outbreak of hostilities in America, the U.S. Army’s headquarters in Texas was located in San Antonio, at the Alamo, under the command of Brig. Gen. David E. Twiggs, a Georgian whose state had already seceded from the...

Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 5:11pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Augusta, Ga.

Over the years since the War Between the States, Augusta, Ga., has displayed both satisfaction and anxiety about its role during the conflict.

Pride for having been an important Confederate munitions and hospital center is tempered by Maj...

Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 3:47pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Selma, Ala.

As discussed in the previous article (Coastal Point, July 20, 2018), the birth of the Confederacy took place in Montgomery, Ala., in 1861. Four years later, one of the final nails in its coffin was hammered home in the not-too-distant town of...

Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 3:17pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Montgomery, Ala.

The crowd standing below the capitol building portico in Montgomery, Ala., on Feb. 18, 1861, listened as Jefferson Davis spoke: “I enter upon the duties of the office to which I have been chosen with the hope that the beginning of our career as a...

Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 3:24pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Wilmington, N.C.

When the newly formed Confederacy provoked a fight with the North by attacking Fort Sumter, S.C., in April 1861, both sides were aware that the South lacked the manufacturing capacity to sustain a war. Knowing the Rebels would have to rely on...

Monday, July 16, 2018 - 5:50pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Jacksonville, Fla.

The adage “War is hell!” is applicable to Jacksonville, Fla., where divided loyalties led to violence during the mid-19th century. Compatible in peacetime, a regionally and racially diverse population proved volatile when hostilities began...

Monday, July 9, 2018 - 1:58pm

The Civil War in Gettysburg, Pa.

This coming week we celebrate the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Civil War’s deadliest and most renowned battle. My innumerable visits over the years have formed an enduring admiration for those who fought there, as well as...

Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 2:04pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Hanover, Pa.

The citizens of Hanover, Pa., were elated when Union cavalry rode into town the morning of June 30, 1863. The sight of Brig. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick’s 4,000-man 3rd Cavalry Division relieved their concern about the proximity of Gen. Robert E...

Friday, June 22, 2018 - 3:02pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Aiken, S.C.

Following the fall of Atlanta, Georgia, to Union forces in September 1864 and the capture of Savannah in December, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman directed his attention toward South Carolina — the so-called “Cradle of the Confederacy.”


Friday, June 15, 2018 - 3:45pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in Wrightsville, Pa.

The vanguard of the Army of Northern Virginia reached Pennsylvania in June 1863 after marching from the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Va. With orders from Gen. Robert E. Lee to capture Harrisburg, the state capital on the east bank of...

Friday, June 8, 2018 - 6:11pm

Civil War Profiles: The Civil War in American cities and towns

As a special contributor to the weekly Civil War page of the Washington Times newspaper from 1997 to 2009, I traveled to many locations to discover what occurred during the tumultuous years of 1861 through 1865. The conflict affected communities...

Friday, June 1, 2018 - 1:57pm

A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Winding up in New Orleans

Realizing that three weeks on the road and a steady diet of visiting Civil War sites may be more of a test my wife and traveling companion may wish to endure, I had arranged to end our 1995 escapade with a mini-vacation in New Orleans’ French...

Friday, May 25, 2018 - 3:06pm

A Civil War trip of a lifetime, Part 14

Having been on the road for more than two weeks while visiting nine states from West Virginia to Louisiana, the intrepid Civil War travelers soldiered on. The itinerary called for a drive from Port Hudson, La., south and west into Texas.


Friday, May 18, 2018 - 12:04pm

A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 13

The gods that sanctioned good weather continued to cooperate in October 1995 as the Civil War travelers headed south through Mississippi toward Louisiana. The odometer had spun past the 2,000-mile mark since this adventure began.


Friday, April 20, 2018 - 11:32am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 12

As this whirlwind tour of Civil War-era sites continued, the explorers left Vicksburg, Miss., and drove 70 miles south to the pleasant town of Natchez. Along the route, we stopped at Port Gibson where a battle took place on May 1, 1863, as Maj....

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 7:51am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 11

Ending the second adventurous week on the road, the roving travelers pursued new Civil War vistas in Mississippi. We drove south on the Natchez Trace from mid-Tennessee for more than 200 miles to Jackson, Miss., and exited the Trace heading west...

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 9:24am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 10

The travelers, continuing on their quest for Civil War lore in October 1995, drove 10 miles west on Route 96 from Franklin, Tenn., to the Natchez Trace — having clocked 1,750 miles on the odometer since this journey began. The Trace, an old...

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 7:39am

Civil War Profiles — A Civil War trip of a lifetime: Part 9

During our trip to Civil War sites more than two decades ago, discovery of our nation’s Civil War battlefields and sites continued after leaving Murfreesboro, Tenn., heading west for 35 miles to Franklin. It was there that a senseless and tragic...

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 9:07am