Past Civil War Events
Historian Terry Beckenbaugh maintains that the Civil War was inevitable given the failure of the nation’s political leadership to resolve fundamental questions over the nature of the American republic and the meaning of constitutional liberty.
Beckenbaugh examines the leaders of the North and the South, the issues and ideologies that drove debate, and the effect politics had on the war.
Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 is the bloodiest day in American military history. Now, exactly 150 years later, a panel of historians discusses the events of that day.
Leading his Confederate troops into Maryland for their first fight on Union soil, Robert E. Lee was met at Antietam Creek by George McClellan’s federals. The battle claimed 23,000 casualties and resulted in a standoff. But after that the Union believed it could win, giving President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to issue his Emancipation Proclamation.
Historian Jim Denny examines the Battle of Island Mound, the first Civil War battle in which African-American soldiers engaged in combat and proved their courage. This event is keyed to the grand opening on October 27, 2012, of the new Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler, Missouri.
Now retired, Denny was a historian for 33 years with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and continues to lecture and write about many aspects of local history.
Civil War battlefields stubbornly conceal their secrets and their archaeology remains a buried, largely untapped source of historical information. Douglas D. Scott, developer of methodology that has enabled archaeologists to systematically investigate battlefields all over the world, discusses his recent studies of Civil War battlefields in Missouri, as well as the site of the Centralia Massacre.
Retired from the National Park Service, Scott is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Nebraska.
In pursuing the Civil War, did Abraham Lincoln play fast and loose with civil liberties?
Pulitzer Prize winner Mark E. Neely, Jr., author of Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation, rejects that idea and argues that Lincoln’s interpretation of the Constitution was well suited to tolerate the stresses of wartime.
Neely is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at Pennsylvania State University.
Co-presented with the Truman Library Institute; co-sponsored by KCUR’s Up to Date.
Ethan S. Rafuse of the military history department of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth discusses the life and accomplishments of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.
In April 1862 a Union force under Ulysses S. Grant and a Confederate army led by Albert Sidney Johnston clashed in southwestern Tennessee in the Battle of Shiloh. Precisely 150 years later, military historian Gregory S. Hospodor discusses what was to that point the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War and explains how it brought home to both sides the grim reality of the conflict.
Guy Gugliotta discusses his new book about the raising of the U.S. Capitol, a process steeped in irony.
Even as the majestic structure rose, the Union it represented was drifting toward Civil War. Among the historic characters in this drama was Jefferson Davis, a big supporter of the project – until he left Washington to become president of the Confederacy. (And the engineer in charge of construction, Montgomery Meigs, feuded bitterly with the architect, Thomas U. Walter).
Historian Bud Bowie looks at economic miscalculations by Confederate President Jefferson Davis and other Southerners that in effect doomed their cause even as it was winning on the battlefield.
Foremost among these was the belief that the North would never risk ruining the immensely important cotton trade by waging war on secessionist states.
Bowie is a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
Musician/historian James Christopher Edwards brings the Civil War in Kansas and Missouri to life in this musical program about the notorious bushwacker “Bloody” Bill Anderson.
Edwards’ program is drawn from his new CD Blood on the Border, a musical narrative about Quantrill’s Raiders. Edwards has taught classical and folk guitar, and holds a master’s degree in history (with an emphasis on the Civil War in Missouri) from the University of Missouri.