Alexander Smith

  • Alexander Smith commented on the post, Assignment 5 10 months ago

    I’m really interested in your topic even though it’s never crossed my mind until now. Stepping outside in the summer heat already sucks, I can’t even imagine fighting during this time of year in the muggy South. Throw in the poor sanitation, trench fighting and countless bodies and it’s a literal cesspool. No wonder so many people died.

  • Alexander Smith commented on the post, Assignment 5 10 months ago

    As this country gets more crowded I always wonder how long land preservation will last. I’ve seen debate over national forests, wouldn’t be surprised if historical sites are in danger too.

  • Alexander Smith commented on the post, Assignment 5 10 months ago

    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.

  • Alexander Smith commented on the post, Assignment 5 10 months ago

    Literature during wartime always fascinates me yet I’ve never read any from the Civil War. More interesting would be to see what came out from the side of the Confederacy.

  • So far I’ve read about the advances in technology and combat in the U.S. Navy before, during and after the Civil War. These changes also spurred foreign nations to adopt some of the revolutionary characteristics o […]

    • I also found out through this research about all of the things that I didn’t know about the civil war and slavery. It was interesting learning about the educational backgrounds that the army commanders had as well as the technical skill training that the soldiers had.

    • From the development of the US NAVY, the technology had huge impact on the war. Ironclads should be one of the most important improvement that built on the ship. It can be clearly recognized since both Britain and France had experimented before US NAVY actually developed it. During the civil war, we put more attention on the policy, army, and slavary. Most of us are unfamiliar with the military technology. It is really interesting to know something about it.

    • I really think this is great topic to cover. When you think of the American Civil War naval warfare isn’t what most people typically think of. Learning more about the somewhat significant role that the North’s naval superiority played in the outcome of the war will be very interesting.

    • I found this topic to be really interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that I like to think about the development in technology of warships. How did we go from wooden ships powered by sail to the massive nuclear powered ships we have today in just few centuries? Another reason I find this interesting is that you mention France and UK which makes me wonder if there was something of an “arms race” equivalent.

  • I agree that the hardest part of research is cross-referencing the primary sources, especially if they are conflicting. At that point, I think even more primary sources need to be examined, but it could be easy to lose yourself in that. However, that’s where new conclusions come from. Without exploring more primary sources, we could be working…[Read more]

  • There were a couple topography maps I saw in the resources provided. The general I picked was not very descriptive at all, otherwise I think it would have been cool to see where the hills and valleys were. Your guy sounds much easier to follow around on the map than mine was.

  • Interesting to follow a Confederate general. It may have been because I wasn’t looking for them, but it seemed most of the maps followed Union movements better than the Rebels. I also found the primary maps to be better laid-out than secondary ones, probably because of first-hand experience and orders as well as cross-referencing reports after the fact.

  • The lack of a compass rose and the variation between which direction each map was drawn really threw me when I was first comparing them. I’m glad there was such a landmark as the Tennessee River because for a few of them, that was the only way I could tell where everything was.

  • Brigadier General William Nelson showed up late to the party in Shiloh. In his report, Nelson’s troops arrived at Pittsburg’s Landing at 9 p.m. on April 6, where they holed up for the night with the support of gun […]

    • Your comment about historians scouting intrigues me– I wonder how much of reconciling data comes from looking at battle maps and reports and what actually comes from the historians visiting the preserved Civil War battle sites (thank you to the CW for the preservation work). As we try to reconcile our sketch of the battle with the maps online, historians must also try to reconcile maps they find with the real location.

    • Luckily for me the report I used for the assignment was rife with references to various landmarks and detailed descriptions of which direction the unit was moving and when. It’s kind of strange how different soldiers reports varied so drastically when it came to what they chose to report on. I think it would be interesting to compare Union and Confederate reports and see how they differ.

    • I think the point you made about a historian actually wanting to tour the site is excellent. Like you said, there were quite a few maps that, when compared to each other, wouldn’t be recognized as describing the same location. I think by touring the site, the historian can parse for themselves which map is the most accurate, and then better analyze the account of the battle.

    • I think if it were possible for historians to tour the site, historians would be very happy to do that. Touring the site its the most accurate way for historians to know what did happen during that time. I think it is a little bit difficult for historians to read different maps. They need to collect different data and distinguish real data from fake data.

  • Object Link:

    For my project I’m interested in the U.S.S. Monitor, the first ironclad of its type to use a swiveling cannon design. The photo that inspired me shows two men surveying the damage after her first f […]

  • One of the parts I found interesting was in Bibb’s account of religion and how the slaveholders did not want it taught because that would mean teaching the slaves how to read. His anecdote about the teachers who were eventually shut down due to slaveowners’ reactions went contrary to the other account I read, where the master was a devout minister…[Read more]

  • I also found the range of treatement to be an interesting point. We are taught (rightly so) about the horrors of slaveholding and what people like Bibb went through, while there are still accounts of fairer slaveholders who treated their property like hired work. I wonder if this was a holdover mindset from the early days of America where slavery…[Read more]

  • The familial bonds some slaves felt as well as their affection for masters who treated them well was really surprising to me. However, if I was suddenly taken away and forced into servitude, I would not care who it was for, I’d want to get out because I had known freedom before. Many slaves were born into slavery and never knew any different. They…[Read more]

  • During my reading of the textbook, I still can’t believe how much racist rhetoric and ideology the South leaned on in order to justify slavery. We’ve always been taught about the horrors of bondage, but the mindset that normalized it is just as horrific to me, as many people truly believed God had created the black man to serve the white. With…[Read more]

  • Slavery was common south of the Mason-Dixon line, with the border states being Missouri, Kentucky and North Virginia. Texas was also a slave state. The farther south, the stronger the belief that slavery was a […]

    • I’m very surprised that in both your interview, another interview which I commented on, and the interview which I read, the former slave’s views of their former masters were fairly positive. I would’ve thought that this would be extremely rare. It could be that the sample of interviews isn’t very representative of the average slave’s experience. After all, anyone being interviewed in the 1930’s would have been very young as a slave. And it could also be that slaves who had a more traumatic experience were less willing to be interviewed about their past life as a slave, in order to avoid reliving the trauma.


    Hi, I’m Alex Smith. I’m taking this class because I feel there has been a renewed interest in the Civil War, Reconstruction and how those events fit into the modern political landscape. Many people, I feel […]