“We believe in making treason odious:” U.S. Veterans of the Civil War Attack the Lost Cause

It was 1866, and the men of the US Army, Navy, and Marines had destroyed the rebellion on the battlefield and ushered in a "new birth of freedom." Their work done, they hoped to return to lives filled with the fruits of their blood and toil. That year, they formed a veterans' organization called "The …

Francois de Fleury: the Most Badass Engineer of the American Revolution:

Hey, Army Engineer community, pull up a chair, we need to have a little chat about how we talk about our own history. Somehow, we always let the infantry, armor, and field artillery take center stage when it comes to talking about badass historical figures. We just sort of sit back and mutter, "Well, we …

Stop Calling Armed Mobs the “Militia”

This morning, the Virginia state capitol in Richmond saw dozens of armed men gathering to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment of the US Constitution - the right to bear arms. These men were not merely bearing arms, however; they were fully accoutered in the trappings of what one would call a paramilitary group: …

Army Unit Numerical Designations: Where do they come from?

If you’re like me, you’ve always wondered where some of the wonky unit numbers in the US Army come from. Like, where did the other 99 airborne divisions other than the 82nd and 101st go? Did we ever have 503 infantry regiments at the same time? The answer comes down as a combination of some …

Thaddeus Kosciusko: The Polish Engineer You Never Heard of who Saved America

So, we know all about the heroes of the American Revolution, right? George Washington, John Adams, Paul Revere – OK, well, not him, he was a good silversmith, an average errand rider, and a godawful general. But odds are you probably haven’t heard of Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko. Nor can you spell it or pronounce …

Debunking the Myth of Southern Hegemony: Southerners who Stayed Loyal to the US in the Civil War

On April 1, seven states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia - will begin their celebration of Confederate Heritage Month. As a counter to this narrative of southern hegemony, I'd like to take a moment and celebrate those Southerners who remained loyal to the United States and who - if they were …

Eight Times the National Guard Saved the Day

The Siege of Louisbourg by Domenick d’Andrea and Rick Reeves (National Guard Heritage Series) There's this thing in the Army where the Active Component is always looking down its nose at the Reserve Component, specifically the National Guard. Why? Because the National Guard is part-time, of course, "weekend warriors" and all that. But also because …

Armistice and After: The Legacy of the WWI Generation in the U.S.

"This is the great reward of service, to live, far out and on, in the life of others." - Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain I came upon this quote about four years ago - near the 100th anniversary of Chamberlain's death - and right around the time that France, Germany, the UK (and the Commonwealth Countries) were …

Reading List for the U.S. in World War I

As we move through the centenary of the U.S. experience in World War I, I've had several people ask me for book recommendations on the topic. Which is tough, because when someone generally asks me for recommendations my head goes blank and I mutter something about "Good Omens" (seriously, phenomenal book, nothing to do with …