Cracked History

This one is from the website

6 Civil War Myths Everyone Believes (That Are Total B.S.)

The list outlines popular myths, like how the North was full of abolitionists or the Confederate Flag looks like the one we always see on trucks and t-shirts. But one of the best parts of the page are the comments. One commenter, Bored12222, wrote, “Why some of this is bull****: The South did in fact have a very good chance of winning, despite what the author would like to think.” Then he goes into a long diatribe about how wrong the article is.


A House Divided

The WaPo has a Civil War blog, too! Its description says: “‘A House Divided’ is a blog dedicated to news and issues of importance to Civil War enthusiasts across the country and around the world. Blogger Linda Wheeler and a panel of respected Civil War experts will debate and dissect historical issues and explore new concepts. Wheeler will also report on conferences and seminars, find little-known battlefields and sites to explore, keep track of local, national and international stories of interest to readers and provide advice on upcoming events.”  This can add to our list of other blog posts,  and demonstrates this funny notion of “blogging the war.”

Guerilla Warfare

I chose this website because I wanted to continue on the theme of Western United States conflicts during the Civil War.  Like I stated in a early blog post, it seems that many people forget about this bloody aspect of the Civil War.  The conflict between the Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers created a personal, deep-seeded hatred for one another.  This blog discusses the use of guerilla warfare tactics during the Civil War.  I enjoyed the article and hope you all do to.

courtesy of This image is a depiction of Quantrill’s infamous Raid of Lawrence, KS

A Kevin Levin Interview

The Civil War Monitor conducted an interview with Kevin Levin about his book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder. He talks about Civil War memory through the Battle of the Crater and focuses on issues of race, but how it is different from David Blight’s, Race and Reunion. It helps show the different approaches scholars have taken while looking at the memory of the war.


“The Civil War Monitor”

This online Civil War magazine covers new topics and issues. The site has three blogs, photo essays, and digital editions of some issues. One interesting aspect is the name itself. The USS Monitor was an ironclad in the infamous Battle of Hampton Roads on the northern side. Quick glances at the site make it appear to be from a northern perspective.

New Song About Confederate Flag

So, while I was at home this weekend, my mom was watching CMT and there was an interview with Brad Paisley about one of his new songs called Accidental Racist which features L.L. Cool J.  The song is about how different people view the Confederate flag and how see it as racist although that may not be what the wearer may be trying to portray…either way, enjoy.

Sorry I couldn’t find the actual interview..but here’s the song.

Ride with the Devil

Ang Lee’s 1999 film, “Ride with the Devil,” portrays the bitter Kansas-Missouri border war during the Civil War.  The film focuses on Jake Roedel, a southern-sympathizing militiaman, who joins a Missouri gang of guerilla warfare using marauders.  The film depicts the hatred between the pro-slavery, Bushwhackers, and anti-slavery, Jayhawkers, sides, the war’s dramatic escalation, and the onslaught between the warring states.  As the tension and hostility between the two reach an apex, the Bushwhackers strategy for retaliation against the hostile Jayhawkers is to raid Lawrence, Kansas, an anti-slavery headquarters.  The gang, led by William Quantrill, rides into Lawrence, killing many of the male citizens and burning much of the city down.  After the raid, the gang flees the annihilated city, attempting to escape the Union Army’s counterattack.  As the film progresses, Roedel is intentionally shot by a fellow gang member, who holds a grudge towards him due to the disapproval of his German heritage.  After Roedel’s recovery, he leaves the gang, is forced into marriage, and by the Civil War’s end, moves with his new wife to California.

This film relates to the themes of our class because it portrays the tension between the pro and anti slavery movements and the hostile escalation their causes ignited.  Constant armed clashes between Kansas Jayhawkers, and pro-slavery Bushwhackers were common.  The conflict intensified in 1861 when the Civil War began and Kansas was admitted into the Union as a free state.  The Lawrence massacre further split the nation from unification.  Quantrill and his gang of marauder’s premeditated invasion into Lawrence elevated the futile tension between Kansas and Missouri.  Their brutal assault against the city ignited the anti slavery’s deeper hatred towards the pro-slavery movement, advocating heightened military action against Missourians.  Lawrence was subjected to Quantrill and his gang’s ruthless guerrilla tactics, which led to the execution of 200 men and the city’s demise.  The attack was deliberate, brutal, and filled with hate.  After the onslaught, Lawrence became a symbol for each side, representing the cultural differences that initially separated the country, which led to the outbreak of the Civil War.  The north viewed the destruction of the city as an act of terrorism.  While the south saw the attack as a necessary act of war.  Violence became the primary method to end disputes between the border states.  The Border War in itself became a scaled-down Civil War due to the conflict stemming from the initial reason the Civil War began:  Slavery.  The deep tensions laid among Kansas and Missouri acted as a microcosm of the whole nation:  North vs. South.  It is interesting to view the film’s portrayal of the hatred between the states and the nation as a whole.  Although the depiction of Roedel puts a more sympathetic face to the pro slavery movement, it does little to illustrate other Bushwhackers in the same regard.  “Ride with the Devil” portrays the feud between Kansas and Missouri as a precautionary tale, advocating that the ideas of two rival movements, such as slavery, can lead to the death of many and destruction of cities.

Ride with the devil. DVD. Directed by Ang Lee. Universal City, CA: Universal, 2000.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Movie Post

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood, is a western from 1962—with a twist.  Most of the second half of the film takes place amidst the backdrop of the Civil War.  The war presents more of a backdrop than a driving force in the movie, but several of the themes that the war scenes evoke develop into overarching messages of the film.

The film highlights three characters: Blondie, the Good; Angel Eyes, the Bad; and Tuco, the Ugly.  They all have one purpose: to find the Confederate gold secretly buried in a grave somewhere in the west (probably in the New Mexico area).  At one point, Tuco and Blondie pretend to be Union sympathizers and camp with a Union battalion.  The soldiers there reveal a personal look into camp life that is very cynical and does not romanticize the war.  The captain says to Tuco and Blondie, “There’s only one thing in common between us and the guys across the river. We both reek of alcohol…Whoever has the most liquor to get the soldiers drunk and send them to be slaughtered… he’s the winner.”  His comments reflect Blondie’s later sentiment that the bloodshed was all such a waste, on both sides.  This theme of wasting lives is present throughout the movie; the reason that Angel Eyes is considered the bad is because he has little regard for human life.  Blondie and Tuco, while they are certainly not afraid to kill in most cases, do have a greater respect for life—if evidenced only by the fact that neither one ever manages to kill the other, despite attempts and threats to do so.

The movie hints at some of the perceptions held in mainstream culture in the 1960s.  Race is not addressed to any great degree, and even then the most predominant ethnicity or race portrayed is Hispanic.  The movie has a more northern bend, with only fleeting depictions of southern soldiers and typically not as rounded characters.  There are pacifist themes that echo a nation tired of conflict, alongside the escapism of the Western genre of film, idealizing a time past.  In fact, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of two highly idealized eras in American history: that of a wild West, romanticized in the movie, and that of a fractured nation, depicted rather starkly in the film.

Gangs of New York — The movie that’s sort of, kind of about the Civil War

Amsterdam and Cutting

Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002) is a gritty look into the riots of New York City before and during the Civil War. The film begins in 1846 with the gathering of two rival sides: natives and Irishmen. They meet at the center of five streets known as “Five Points” in order to settle conflict over the Irishmen’s and Irishwomen’s right to live and work in the city and in America. The protagonist of the story, a young Irish boy in 1846 by the name of Amsterdam, watches his father die at the hands of a nativist that goes by the name of Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. This begins Amsterdam’s quest for revenge on Cutting as the young boy is sent to an orphanage. Sixteen years later, Amsterdam returns and finds the city filled with corrupt leaders, including Cutting, who now runs Five Points. The Civil War is in its second year by this point, and the dead are returning home in coffins on the harbor just as Irish immigrants leave their boats and set foot in America for the first time. Amsterdam joins in with Cutting’s corrupt dealings within the Five Points in hopes of getting close to his enemy. He meets a woman named Jenny who is under the care of Cutting since she was an orphan child. Drama arises between Cutting and Amsterdam over Jenny and Amsterdam’s plot to kill Cutting. Amsterdam attempts a different method and amasses the Irish people of Five Points in order to take control of the town. The final confrontation takes place during the New York City draft riots of 1863, and Cutting is killed by cannon fire.

Gangs of New York is not about the Civil War; however, it is set within the context of the war. One of the first scenes depicts the celebration of and resistance to the emancipation by Lincoln. A number of other scenes also impress upon the audience the problems facing the North during the war, mainly that they needed soldiers. As Irish immigrants apply for citizenship they also sign up to be soldiers, put on their uniforms, grab their guns, and get on another boat, this one headed for the South. While this is often considered a movie about the draft riots, it would be more accurate to describe it as a film with the draft riots in the last 10 minutes. This film does offer an interesting and modern look at the racist and uncooperative North during the Civil War. People of the North are often regarded as abolitionists, and at the very least, a safe place for African Americans. This movie illustrates a small part of the difficulties they faced. The war is not a positive event in this movie; it means death and conflict. Given that Scorsese had hoped to make this movie in the 1970s, it may be possible that the Vietnam War and the subsequent wars affected this perspective.


Cocks, Jay. Gangs of New YorkDVD. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Santa Monica, CA: Miramax Films, 2002.

IMDb. Gangs of New York. Photos. (accessed April 3, 2013).