The Bostonian Who Armed the Anti-Slavery Settlers in “Bleeding Kansas”

Amos Lawrence Backed Abolitionist Pioneers in the Town That Bears His Name

On May 24, 1854, Anthony Burns, a young African-American man, was captured on his way home from work. He had escaped from slavery in Virginia and had made his way to Boston, where he was employed in a men’s clothing store. His owner tracked him down and had him arrested. Under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the United States Constitution, Burns had no rights whatsoever.

To the people of Boston, his capture was an outrage. Seven thousand citizens tried to break him out of jail, and the …

How Charleston Celebrated Its Last July 4 Before the Civil War

As the South Carolina City Prepared to Break From the Union, Its People Swung Between Nostalgia and Rebellion

In the cooling evening air, Charleston, South Carolina’s notable citizens filed into Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street for the traditional banquet to close their July 4th festivities. The year was …

The Civil War General Whose Godly “Mission” Went Astray

Oliver Otis "Uh Oh" Howard Was a Crusader for Ex-Slaves and a Scourge of Native Americans

When God first visited him in 1857, Oliver Otis Howard was a lonely army lieutenant battling clouds of mosquitoes in a backwater posting that he described as a “field …

Were the Bald Knobbers Law-and-Order Folk Heroes or Murderous Thugs?

In the Lawless Post-Civil War Ozarks, the Vigilante Bald Knobbers Took Government's Place

When I was seven years old, in 1983, my family took a road trip from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Branson, Missouri, a family-oriented resort town deep in the Ozark Mountains. …

Archiving the Civil War’s Text Messages

A Massive Crowdsourcing Project Is Digitizing Thousands of Coded Union Telegrams, and Unearthing Astonishing “Emails”

The Thomas T. Eckert Papers—consisting of records, ledgers, and cipher books kept by the head of the War Department’s military telegraph office—came to us at the Huntington Library four years …