Airing: May 31, 2019

Coming Up: The Civil War Off the Battlefield

Officers of a Union Monitor warship sit in front of the ship. Image source: Library of Congress, Public Domain

The very first ironclad ship built by the Union Navy in the Civil War was called The Monitor. It revolutionized the way battleships were built. Jonathan White (Christopher Newport University) is the co-author of  “Our Little Monitor: The Greatest Invention of the Civil War.” He was also named a 2018 outstanding faculty member by The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. And: Civil War buffs pride themselves on knowing the great battles of the war. But what about the fighting that took place away from battlefields? John Matsui (Virginia Military Institute) says that guerilla fighting during the Civil War challenged the rules of warfare. Plus: Civil War monuments and reenactments often prop up popular myths, instead of reflecting an accurate history. Take Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan, for example. Stephen Rockenbach (Virginia State University) says Morgan killed unionist farmers in Indiana, but today he’s celebrated as a dashing cavalryman.

Later in the show: From potable water to the forgotten impact of things like weather and horses on the outcome of the war, Some of the country’s most eminent Civil War scholars including James Robertson and William C. Davis (Virginia Tech), and equine specialist John M. Bowen discuss the forgotten elements of the conflict.


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