Petitions from the Home Front

I continue, when time allows, to search the many letters written to Austin Blair, Michigan’s wartime governor, which are held in the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.  Civilians, rather than soldiers, wrote some of the most intriguing letters in the collection.  In many cases, the civilians, usually men with some standing within a community,…

Remounts – The Life Blood of the Cavalry – Caught in Traffic

General Robert E. Lee began moving his army out of the lines near the Rappahannock River on June 3.  His counterpart, General Joseph Hooker, must have considered the necessity of moving his army shortly thereafter, though exactly when he did so remains a bit of a mystery.  Rather than going after Lee and bringing him…

Mount Vernon in the Civil War

In April 1858, John Augustine Washington, George Washington’s great grandnephew, executed a contract to sell Mount Vernon to Miss. Ann Pamela Cunningham, Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. As David Ribblett explains in his article, “Saviors of Mount Vernon,” Ann Cunningham’s mother had sailed past the deteriorating estate in 1853 and then asked her…