Madelyn Omietanski

  • Notes on Beall

    Charges against Beall included that he captured the Steamboat Philo Parsons as well as capturing and sinking the Steamboat the Island Queens, acting as a spy, and carrying unlawful warfare. […]

  • I think this is such an interesting and abstract topic and I learned so much from just reading your post alone. I think its interesting how food was such an important issue to people despite the large issue of the war going on. Something so basic and common as food isn’t commonly considered to be so important but clearly it was a huge topic to the…[Read more]

  • I had never realized quite how expensive the war was when initially learning about it. Its truly astounding to think about how much of a debt that was especially in comparison to what things cost in todays times. The American Dollar almost had a different value back then because prices were so much lower so I think it would be very interesting to…[Read more]

  • Before reading your post I had never really thought of the ramifications of the railroad system during this time. Its interesting to think about how transportation of any kind may have affected the outcome of the War. I think it would be interesting in your project to try and discover how the War may have ended diffusely if there were more…[Read more]

  • Before reading your post I really had no idea that the sanitary conditions of the war had such a dire effect on the soldiers. I found it very interesting and shocking the amount of soldiers who died from disease. It seems that even though such a large number of people were dying little was done to stop the spread of these diseases during the war…[Read more]

  • After the Civil War ended and Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed, Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency and faced the daunting task of reuniting the Union and Confederacy. In doing so, he first appointed military […]

    • For my ISS class last year we read “The New Jim Crow”, written by Michelle Alexander, which shows how Jim Crow laws have evolved into present day. If you wanted to include what these laws transformed into for your project that book may be interesting to look into!

    • I had never heard of the Black Codes until this so this is pretty interesting. So basically the black codes only put a more formal title on black people but they were still treated like slaves?

    • I read that whites in the south, post civil war, did things to keep former slaves from getting ahead. For example, a former slave that worked as a tenant farmer had little opportunity for improving his standard of living. The property owner would require crops to be planted right up to the door of the tenant’s home, leaving no space for the tenant to plant a garden of his own. This would force the tenant to have to purchase food which was an expense they couldn’t afford. By keeping such tight control over what former slaves could do, served to keep them poor and dependent.
      African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, Vol. 12 (2009)

    • The aftermath of the abolition of slavery is something I never really payed attention to, my attention was always focused on the bigger picture of reconstruction, I had no idea each state instituted its own “black codes”. It goes to show that even though slavery had come to an end, blacks still had a long and hard road ahead of them.

    • It is not so very suprising at all that their were codes in which to enforce the assurance of supremacy over blacks. We have the issue of race even today. The installment that white was superior has been an issue immediately after the war and still is in present day. There are still laws and stereotypes that hinder the progression and flexibility of other races such as racial profiling and what is perceived “beautiful”

    • Reconstruction wasn’t ever focused on much in my history classes, so learning about it now is really fascinating. The fact that slavery was abolished didn’t change much for African-Americans at the time, and learning about the many ways that each state kept them down will be interesting.

    • The part that I found most interesting about your research was the part about the main purpose of the black codes were to limit labor. I had heard of the black codes before and other measures to hold them back socially and economically, but I though the main focus of the laws were to hinder them legally and civically. I thought their economic struggles were more de facto but I find it interesting that your research proved otherwise.

  • I think your point about how having more sources can actually lead to discrepancies is very interesting. It is often assumed that the more information we know about a topic the better but in a case like the one you suggested it would in fact hinder historians work. The physical or mental state of whoever is reporting the event is also a very…[Read more]

  • I really agree with your point about how it is difficult for historians to make sound facts as its reliant on the memory of the person reporting the events. I think this could lead to either over or under reporting as some may want to make a specific battle more or less violent for example. Reporting these kinds of events accurately is difficult…[Read more]

  • I agree with your idea to look to surrounding units to see if that helps clarify the movement of another troop or brigade. I think it would be very interesting to see whether or not doing so supports or negates facts given by other commanders. I also ran into the same problem as you did in the Trust video as it didn’t depict as much of the side to…[Read more]

  • I was surprised to discover that I too thought the primary sources were pretty useless when it came to tracking any certain group. This was opposite from what I assumed would be true because I thought that the primary sources would be much more accurate and comprehensive. I agree that the secondary sources were much more beneficial and provided a…[Read more]

  • For my assignment I chose CSA Brigade General P. R. Cleburne who led the second brigade. Cleburne describes how his brigade was stationed to the far left of the CSA line and describing his position as left of […]

    • As to your theory as to why it was so easy to track Major General Cleburne, you’re right. As a commander of a brigade, he did in fact oversee several battalions, companies and units, each with corresponding Majors, Captains, and Lieutenants that each wrote a report and fed into his collective brigade movement. So he had a lot of information feeding into his account whereas if you were to follow the movements of a battalion or even company, you would have a difficult time due to lack of officers’ reporting.

    • You suggest that casualties might be underreported. This is a good point since a commander would want to seem like they had a more decisive victory without the loss of life on their side. This would seem to the public like a better victory but it would also make it hard for historians to get an accurate account of what happened.

    • With such staggering loses, its hard to believe either side would claim victory. Your point about the casualties being underreported is really good because both sides would want to maintain the illusion of victory so as not to discourage soldiers or supporters but yet the loved ones of those killed had to be notified at some point so ultimately there had to some accurate count. I wonder if the government conducted any censuses before and after the war?

  • For my final project, I am very interested in looking at the “black codes” introduced during Reconstruction as my object.  As for what I “know” about the object I think that the “black codes” were a set of rules […]

  • I noticed that most of our initial assumptions about the ideas of slavery were the same. I think it is an interesting point that you made that most slaves just wanted basic human rights. This struck a chord with me as I had never really thought that slaves weren’t arguing for anything grand or over the top but just the basic freedoms granted to…[Read more]

  • We had many similar ideas of what slavery was like in our original assumptions. I also found it interesting what you said about how slaves were mostly considered to be in the South. Considering how far north your account shows slaves were was very eye opening and made me realized that slavery was not just confined to the South.

  • I noticed that we had for the most part the same assumptions about what slavery was like. I also think that we read the same slave narrative and I had very similar findings to yours. I think you make a very interesting point in your conclusion that we do often hear just about the horrid ways slaves were treated. Of course the entire institution of…[Read more]

  • I noticed that we had for the most part the same assumptions about what slavery was like. I also think that we read the same slave narrative and I had very similar findings to yours. I think you make a very interesting point in your conclusion that we do often hear just about the horrid ways slaves were treated. Of course the entire institution of…[Read more]

  • Assignment 2


    Region of the US: Slaves were located predominantly in the Southern States during the tin period of the Civil War. Slaves were also more common in areas where farming and plantations were […]

    • I was also surprised about whites and slaves in the same place of worship but for a different reason. I always thought that the slaves had to worship on the outside of the church in the back with a designated slave approved by a white pastor. I had never heard of whites and slaves under the same roof when it came to worshiping.

    • I agree with what you said about slavery being a personalized experience. Before this assignment, I too didn’t really think about slavery in this way. I thought that every slave kinda experienced the same harsh conditions and daily beatings, but that’s not exactly the case.

    • In some sense, it is understandable that some owners treated them relatively nice, but they are still at the lower class in the society which lacked of freedom. Most of people stayed in the same spot for their entire lives which might be caused by the death of those escaping slaves. It was really common that an escaping slave got caught again by the owner and became more tough. Situation could be varied, but still, slavery was the worst part during the US civil war.

    • Two things you mentioned stuck out to me:

      1. Having slaveholders look down on slaves AND laboring whites shows how ending slavery would not solve the problem of class separation. Even if slaves were freed, they would still lack the education and training required to obtain skilled jobs; therefore, they would continue to be looked down upon by society for their job status.

      2. Having a poor white woman teach the Bible to slaves supports that not all white Southerners objectified blacks. Some whites, to a certain extent, had faith in blacks that they could learn and grow in Christ. It was people like these that resulted in the eventual freeing and better treatment of blacks.

    • I think my experience was very similar to yours, I thought I already had a pretty comprehensive understanding of slavery already but after reading some of these personal accounts of slavery first hand I definitely got a more nuanced understanding. The fact that some slaves actually had harmonious relationships with their masters threw me for a loop, until reading these interviews I had never really considered the possibility that slaves and their masters could actually get along.

    • I also found it really interesting that not all resented their owners, the interview I read did not mention her owners all too much but never said anything bad about them.

    • Madelyn,
      I found your comments on family life very interesting. My initial impressions of slaves were that they were very often split up from their family and they would never hear from them again. Your initial view was almost the exact opposite stating that slaves very often lived their whole lives with their whole family on a plantation doing slave labor. Because of such varying experiences between individuals, both our views are correct. Also, the different families who owned the slaves had different ideals of keeping slave families together and slave marriages. You spoke of an owner matchmaking, essentially, two random slaves to be married. I read an account where the slaves proposed their wedding to their owners and they would throw them a wedding with food and a party. This speaks to how families and owners really dictated the type of experience each slave had.

    • You wrote that Allen said he was well fed. The narrative I read was about a slave named Campbell who also reported having been given plenty of good food and being well taken care of. Their stories contrast with the many stories of slaves being mistreated but I guess that some slave holders were more humane than others and treated their slaves well.

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