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Sons of Confederate Veterans loses license plate legal battle

This controversy has finally been decided by the Supreme Court.

Civil War History

I posted about this almost four years ago, then updated on the story after readers and fellow bloggers alerted me to some pertinent details. Now, the controversy over the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) seeking to have a license plate made for their organization in Texas has finally been adjudicated and they are on the losing end.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (you can read the briefing here)that Texas may reject the SCV license plate on the grounds that license plate designs constitute government speech and does not violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Stephen Breyer, who authored the decision, as well as Justices Kagan, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor. Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Alito, Kennedy, and Scalia dissented, with Alito providing some biting criticism of the decision, writing, according to CNN, “the Court’s decision categorizes private speech as government…

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New book and exhibit by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Civil War History

Contact: Megan Williams, Director of External Affairs, 312.374.9333

The original journals of a Civil War veteran, Chicagoland native are the focus of
a new book and exhibit by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library

CHICAGO, June 18, 2015—The Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host a free public reception next Wednesday, June 24, to officially launch its newest original work and to unveil an accompanying exhibit on the life and times of Civil War veteran and Valparaiso, Ind. native Erasmus Corwin Gilbreath. The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the Museum & Library’s main floor, and will be immediately followed by a formal discussion and recording for television by the book’s editor and others involved in its production, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Museum & Library’s third major publication, Dignity of Duty: The Journals of Erasmus Corwin Gilbreath, 1861-1898 will be released in hardcover and…

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For those of you in Tennessee interested in learning more about Reconstruction.

Civil War History

I receive the following press release from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development about an upcoming event, so if you are in Tennessee, check it out:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 2015 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Event will welcome acclaimed historians and authors to present “Reconstruction Tennessee” to audiences in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is the co-sponsor of the speaker events.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Caroline E. Janney, history professor at Purdue University, is the author of “Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation,” an examination of how men and women protected memories of the Civil War. Janney will present her keynote address “Remembering the Civil War” 7 p.m. April 30 at The Bijou Theatre. The world-renown Fisk Jubilee Singers will open the evening with a special musical performance.

The “Reconstruction Tennessee” Speaker Symposium will take place 1-2:30 p.m. May 1

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A legend passes away

Frontier Battles

I found out via Facebook that renowned historian Edmund S. Morgan passed away at 97. You can read more about it at

Morgan wrote on the Puritans and the larger colonial period. One of his major works that influenced generations was American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975). He was an influential and important scholar and will be missed.

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150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Civil War History

Given it’s still July 1 here in the Central Time Zone, today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle has been the subject of much discussion and several movies, including my favorite Gettysburg (1993). It remains one of the largest battles in North America, with over 50,000 casualties. With this anniversary and the benefit of new technology the folks at ESRI produced an amazing interactive map of the battle, including three-dimensional animation related to the troop positions. I encourage you all to check it out at

I have been following some of the internet coverage of the 150th anniversary reenactment held this past weekend and it looks like, for the most part, the event went well, though some unfortunate reenactors suffered heat injuries. My good friend Stuart Lawrence is returning home from taking part in the event and hopefully will share an after action…

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Book Review of Austria’s Wars of Emergence, 1683-1797: War, State, and Society in the Habsburg Monarchy

Interesting study on the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy, focusing on war and diplomacy

Book Review of Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War

LSU Press Civil War Titles 40% Off Until June 25

I always love book sales, so if you are looking for some Civil War titles to add to your library, check this out.

Civil War History

Baton Rouge—Hundreds of fascinating Civil War titles can be yours at a 40% discount until June 25. This offer includes classic hardcover and paperback titles, as well as new releases like Alfred C. Young III’s “Lee’s Army during the Overland Campaign” with a foreword by Gordon C. Rhea. For the Civil War buff and historian this is a great opportunity to affordably deepen your understanding and broaden your library. Through this offer only you can also buy the newly released, commemorative boxed set “Generals in Blue and Gray” at 20% off! Visit to discover more Civil War titles at up to 40% off. Order online at or call 800.848.6224 and use the code 04CIVILWAR.

This limited-time offer includes titles like “Lincoln and McCellan at War” by Chester G. Hearn, Mark Stegmaier’s “Henry Adams in the Secession Crisis,” and new releases like David C. Keehn’s “Knights of the Golden…

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Book Review of May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands

Book Review of The Diplomatic Corps under Charles II and James II

International History

Phyllis S. Lachs. The Diplomatic Corps under Charles II and James II. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1965. ISBN-13 9781299343917. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xv, 269.

LachsBritish diplomats and diplomacy in the early modern age are often subjects in historical studies.  Some of the more specialized studies such as David Bayne Horn’s The British Diplomatic Service, 1689-1789 (1961) and Jeremy Black’s British Diplomats and Diplomacy, 1688-1800 (2001) focus on the eighteenth century.  There are few specialized studies for earlier periods.  Those studies include Christian Edmund Henneke’s unpublished doctoral dissertation “The Art of Diplomacy under the Early Stuarts, 1603-1642” (University of Virginia, 1999) and the work currently under review.

Dr Phyllis S. Lachs, formerly of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, provides us a monograph on the diplomatic corps of Charles II and James II in the late seventeenth century.  In this study Lachs surveys the English diplomatic institution and its growth from…

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