Was it possible to commission an African-American soldier as an officer in the Union Army and in the same act not commission an African-American soldier as an officer in the Union Army?
Lawrence Taliaferro’s civil war should have ended on very familiar ground when he crossed the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg shortly after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House. Instead Taliaferro was struck by the drastic changes to the landscape.
The odd circumstances of the history of the Medal of Honor mean that there are twenty medals that have been contested almost since the day they were awarded. These are the medals awarded to soldiers who participated in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.
Most people who are passingly familiar with the Civil War or who have seen the film Gangs of New York likely know that Irish immigrants were the chief culprits in one of the most infamous incidents in that conflict: the New York City Draft Riots.
Although few people associate the Golden State with the Civil War, in fact, during the war years California was transformed in a multitude of ways – as was most of the country, though the transformation to the east is better-known.
The United States of American entered World War I with a lofty goal: to make the world “safe for democracy.” Millions of Americans answered their nation’s call to arms, including African Americans who did not enjoy the acceptance of their own countrymen.
Since the Medal of Honor’s creation during the Civil War, many awardees have become household names and gone on to notable careers at least partially enabled by their status as Medal recipients.
As his forces wore down the last of Confederate resistance around Petersburg, Virginia, General Ulysses S. Grant contemplated launching another invasion – this time thousands of miles to the west.