My Ancestor at the Battle of Spotsylvania

This week is the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, one of the bloodiest and most terrible battles of the Civil War.  This particular phase of Grant’s Overland Campaign began on May 7th and lasted until May 19th.  The battle is most famous for the Union assaults on a stretch of Confederate fortifications called the Mule Shoe because of its shape, and particularly for the violence that took place in an area known as the Bloody Angle.

1280px-Battle_of_Spottsylvania_by_Thure_de_Thulstrup

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Donald Trump is more of a symptom than the cause of our political mess

I don’t like to talk about politics too much on our blog, because frankly I need more positivity in my life, and these days it is really difficult to find anything whatsoever in politics that gives me cause for optimism.  Still, I am a historian, and I can’t help but think that we are currently experiencing one of those watershed Presidential elections, like the election of 1860 or the election of 1932 or the election of 1968, in which those of us who experience it will talk about in terms of what things were like before, and what they were like after.

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Firearm safety and assumptions

In my life I have spent a fair amount of time around firearms of one type or another.  I have learned how to safely handle them from a fairly young age, and won my first shooting trophy when I was nine.  I still own several.  I have hunted deer and done various kinds of target shooting.  I am not a “gun nut” in that I have fetishized my firearms the way so many American men have.  I do not feel the need to carry everywhere, and I would never, ever call one of my firearms a “toy”.  I think I have a healthy amount of fear and respect for firearms in general.  And that is why when I see stories like this I am just astounded.  And angry.

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