Articles by Fergus M. Bordewich

In a video clip from the 1930s, old Confederate soldiers step up to a microphone and let loose with the howling yelp that was once known as the fearsome "Rebel yell."

The Civil War

Civil War Veterans Come Alive in Audio and Video Recordings

Deep in the collections of the Library of Congress are ghostly images and voices of Union and Confederate soldiers

After Union troops refused to evacuate Fort Sumter, today a National Monument, Confederates opened fire.

The Civil War

Fort Sumter: The Civil War Begins

Nearly a century of discord between North and South finally exploded in April 1861 with the bombardment of Fort Sumter

Phineas Staunton paid homage to his subject, Henry Clay, in an 11-by7-foot canvas.

The Rescue of Henry Clay

A long-lost painting of the Senate's Great Compromiser finds a fitting new home in the halls of the U.S. Capitol

John Brown and many of his followers holed up in the fire engine house awaiting reinforcements by a swarm of "bees"—slaves from the surrounding area.  But only a handful showed up.

John Brown's Day of Reckoning

The abolitionist's bloody raid on a federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry 150 years ago set the stage for the Civil War

This 1852 lithograph depicts extensions to Thornton's House and Senate Wings; the additions, authorized in 1851, were not yet constructed.

A Capitol Vision From a Self-Taught Architect

In 1792, William Thornton designed America's defining monument, where a new visitor center opens in December

The basillica and its storied mosaics constitute a matchless and threatened treasure.  Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank calls it a "sacred mountain of a building, vast and elemental."

A Monumental Struggle to Preserve Hagia Sophia

In Istanbul, secularists and fundamentalists clash over restoring the nearly 1,500 year-old structure

Douglas expected to crush his untried opponent in the enormously crowd-pleasing debates

How Lincoln Bested Douglas in Their Famous Debates

The 1858 debates reframed America's argument about slavery and transformed Lincoln into a presidential contender

After his son David located the Arabia under 30 feet of mud, Bob Hawley (pictured) dug in.

Pay Dirt

When self-taught archaeologists dug up an 1850s steamboat, they brought to light a slice of American life

These whale-oil lamps were found in the Arabia, along with bullwhips, doorknobs, pickles and more.

Time Capsule

A riverboat's telltale contents included 133-year-old pickles. Want one?

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Odyssey's End?: The Search for Ancient Ithaca

A British researcher believes he has at last pinpointed the island to which Homer's wanderer returned

Between 6 B.C. and A.D. 4, Roman legions established bases on the Lippe and Weser rivers.

The Ambush That Changed History

An amateur archaeologist discovers the field where wily Germanic warriors halted the spread of the Roman Empire

The fate of the Civil War hinged on the battle at South Carolina's Morris Island. If Union forces captured Fort Wagner they could control access to the harbor.

Preservation or Development at Morris Island?

On this site where the nation's legendary African-American fighting force proved its valor in the Civil War, a housing development ignited a debate

Artifact of bondage: This 19th-century tobacco barn (on its original site, a Kentucky alfalfa pasture, in 1998) contains an interior hut fitted with manacles. The entire structure—a slave jail—was dismantled and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where it forms the centerpiece of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which opened in August.

Free at Last

A new museum celebrates the Underground Railroad, the secret network of people who bravely led slaves to liberty before the Civil War

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Digging into a Historic Rivalry

As archaeologists unearth a secret slave passageway used by abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, scholars reevaluate his reputation and that of James Buchanan

Machu Picchu remained unknown to the outside world until the 20th century.

Winter Palace

The first major exhibition devoted to the Incas' fabled cold-weather retreat highlights Machu Picchu's secrets

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Manhattan Mayhem

Martin Scorsese's realistic portrayal of pre-Civil War strife Gangs of New York re-creates the brutal street warfare waged between immigrant groups

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The Way of Confucius

In a remote corner of eastern China, travelers tread the path of the ancient sage

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Review of 'The Great Hill Stations of Asia'

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Review of 'William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic'

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How to Succeed in Business: Follow the Choctaws' Lead

Within a generation, the rural Mississippi tribe has created thousands of jobs and transformed itself into an economic dynamo

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