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Congratulations to Mark Neely!

Mark E. Neely, Jr. has won the annual George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era for the 2016 volume year. Three members of the editorial board selected his article, “Guerrilla Warfare, Slavery, and the Hopes of the Confederacy” for the prize, which earns the recipient $1,000. The article appeared in the September issue.

Neely’s essay asks why the Confederacy did not turn to guerrilla warfare in the waning days of the Civil War and looks to Confederate national mythology for the answer. Neely argues that Confederate national identity was intimately bound up with the romantic myth of the yeoman partisan. Challenging the conclusions of historians who argue that southerners ultimately rejected guerrilla warfare for fear that it would undermine slavery, he counters that Confederate citizens evinced little fear that partisan warfare would put the South’s institutions, including slavery, at risk. Rather, the Confederacy’s military leadership did not resort to guerrilla warfare in the waning days of the conflict simply because they did not believe it was a viable strategy. The prize committee complimented Neely for revisiting this old debate in a creative and novel way and praised the essay as a “model article” that was “theoretically sophisticated and beautifully written.”

Mark E. Neely, Jr. is the emeritus McCabe Greer Professor in the American Civil War Era at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including “Was the Civil War a Total War,” chosen as one of the top three articles published in the first 50 years of Civil War History, and The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties (1991), which earned the Bell I. Wiley Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for history. His most recent book is Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War (2011). He currently is at work on a book on Confederate nationalism.

Awarded annually, the Richards Prize recognizes the generosity of George and Ann Richards, who have been instrumental in the growth of the Richards Civil War Era Center and in the founding of The Journal of the Civil War Era.

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Congratulations Carol Reardon!

Congratulations to George Winfree Professor of American History, Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler on their second, updated edition of, A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People.

This second, updated edition of the acclaimed, A Field Guide to Gettysburg, will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Both Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler are themselves experienced guides who understand what visitors to Gettysburg are interested in, but they also bring the unique perspectives of a scholar and a former army officer. Divided into three day-long tours, this newly improved and expanded edition offers important historical background and context for the reader while providing answers to six key questions: What happened here? Who fought here? Who commanded here? Who fell here? Who lived here? And what did the participants have to say about it later?

Blair's talk available on C-SPAN

C-SPAN recently aired Richards Center director William Blair's talk at Pamplin Historical Park's 2016 Civil War Symposium. Dr. Blair's talk, "Punishment for Secession and the 14th Amendment," discussed how a Republican-controlled Congress designed the 14th Amendment to punish former Confederates and assure that citizens never again would resort to secession. Touching on citizenship, voting rights, congressional representation, and exclusion from public office, the amendment was designed as a comprehensive punishment for secession and the actions of Confederate leaders. In the talk, Dr. Blair traces changes in American attitudes about punishment of former rebels in the immediate postwar period. Reacting to the conviction and hanging of the Lincoln assassins in a military tribunal, Americans voiced their opposition to conducting treason trials in military courts. Unsure that civil courts would convict former Confederates of treason, the federal government sought an alternative mode of punishment, one that was achieved through the 14th Amendment. You can view Dr. Blair's talk at

Latest Brose Book to be released in February

Judith Giesberg
’s Sex and the Civil War: Soldiers, Pornography, and the Making of American Morality is the latest volume in the Brose Book Series, to be released by UNC Press February 2017. Based on Giesberg's 2014 Brose Lectures, the book examines how Civil War soldiers’ consumption and production of pornographic materials during idle hours led to a vigorous campaign to stamp out obscenity in the postwar period, culminating with the anti-obscenity Comstock Laws of the 1870s.

Congratulations to William Cossen!

Congratulations to William (Bill) Cossen who received his Ph.D. on December 17, 2016!  Bill's dissertation was, “The Protestant Image in the Catholic Mind: Interreligious Encounters in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era”,” and his co-advisors were Dr. Philip Jenkins and Dr. Amy Greenberg. Good luck Dr. Cossen!

Congratulations to Paul Matzko!

Congratulations to Paul Matzko who received his PhD on December 17, 2016!  Paul's dissertation was, “Creating the Silent Majority: State Censorship and the Radio Right in the 1960s,” and his co-advisors were Dr. Philip Jenkins and Dr. Amy Greenberg. Good luck Dr. Matzko!