World’s Strangest

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The US Government Still Pays 2 Civil War Pensions

The American Civil War ended in 1865, but as of last September, the Department of Veterans Affairs still pays out 2 pensions from that conflict. Privacy rules prevent the release of the names or reasons for the pensions, but it’s likely that the recipients are the disabled elderly children of veterans: Department of Veteran Affairs spokesman [...]

The Defense Rests (in Peace): How a Civil War Rabble-Rouser Went Out With a Bang

Clement Laird Vallandigham was never a household name, but during the era of the Civil War, he led an interesting and amazing life that ended abruptly and bizarrely. Over the course of his career, Vallandigham edited the Dayton Empire, practiced law, served as a brigadier general in the Ohio militia, and was elected to the U.S. [...]

Where Do Historical Reenactors Get Their Gear?

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. With all eyes on America’s historic battlegrounds, it’s going to be a big year for sutlers, too. Sutlers, historically, were civilian merchants who sold supplies to armies in the field and in their camps. They often followed marching soldiers across long distances, selling [...]

How We’ve Commemorated the Civil War

It has been 150 years since the US Civil War began. How should we mark the anniversary? The first recorded reunion of Civil War soldiers (Union only) took place a mere ten years after the beginning of the war. The anniversaries in the first 50 years after the war were dedicated to healing the wounds [...]

The Late Movies: Civil Rights Roundtable

Tonight, instead of a handful of short clips, we’re bringing you one half-hour video. On August 28, 1963, Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Charlton Heston, Joseph Mankiewicz, and Sidney Poitier gathered to discuss the Civil Rights Movement. Hosted by David Schoenbrun of CBS, the discussion occurred following the March on Washington for Jobs and [...]

Let’s Get Jiggy with Civil War Dudes!

The blog named Let’s Get Jiggy with Civil War Dudes! features individual soldiers of the Civil War, highlighting their magnificent names, their accomplishments, and their manly facial hair. Pictured is Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox. He lived during a time when mustaches could be mustaches, and not simply a means to mask a scrawny hipster’s weak chin and [...]

The Confederacy’s Plan to Conquer Latin America

During the Civil War, Confederate leaders didn’t just want to defeat the Union Army, they wanted to create a giant Latin American empire. In the years leading up to the Civil War, many Northerners and Southerners alike wanted the federal government to take a more aggressive approach to acquiring new territory. In fact, some private citizens, [...]

American Civil War Re-enactors … in the UK!

I know some people who are really obsessed with the American Civil War. For the most part they’re older, white Southerners (like my college English professor, Perry Lentz, who’s written several wonderful novels set during the Civil War). But there’s a group of re-enactors out there who defy all the usual stereotypes — first and [...]

What’s the Oldest Thing You’ve Ever Found?

I used to live in SoHo, in a pre-war (Civil War!) basement apt. One day I was patching a hole in the wall when I found this penny from 1832. I felt like I’d taken a trip in a time machine, back to when Andrew Jackson was re-elected president, when the Greek War of Independence [...]