Civil War

A diver takes a rubbing of John Greer’s gravestone underwater at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Cool Finds

Quarantine Hospital and Cemetery Found Underwater Off the Coast of Florida

Before it was submerged, a small island was home to 19th-century yellow fever patients

Descendants of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and descendants of slaves owned by Lee face Washington, DC, as they pose for a photo during a reunion at Lee's former plantation home, the Arlington House, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on April 22, 2023.

The Descendants of Robert E. Lee and the Workers He Enslaved Join Hands in Racial Reconciliation

The Confederate general's Virginia home hosted families from all across the United States.

An etching of Black families gathering the dead after the Colfax Massacre published in Harper's Weekly, May 10, 1873

Trending Today

The 1873 Colfax Massacre Set Back the Reconstruction Era

Occuring 150 years ago, one of the worst incidents of racial violence after the Civil War set the stage for segregation

A hand-colored 1892 print of the Battle of Fort Pillow

At Fort Pillow, Confederates Massacred Black Soldiers After They Surrendered

Targeted even when unarmed, around 70 percent of the Black Union troops who fought in the 1864 battle died as a result of the clash

Ulysses S. Grant’s 1872 brush with the law marked the first and so far only time a United States president has been arrested while in office. Pictured: Grant with his racehorse Cincinnati

History of Now

When President Ulysses S. Grant Was Arrested for Speeding in a Horse-Drawn Carriage

The sitting commander in chief insisted the Black police officer who cited him not face punishment for doing his duty

How much advance warning would we have if a large comet were headed on a collision course with Earth?

How Much Warning Would We Have of an Earth-Shattering Comet? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

The seven-inch artillery shell found at Gettysburg National Military Park

160-Year-Old Civil War Artillery Shell Found at Gettysburg

After clearing the area, park officials sent experts to safely detonate the object

Drummer boy John Clem (left) and Robert Henry Hendershot, who claimed to be the celebrated "drummer boy of Rappahannock" (right)

Why the Union Army Had So Many Boy Soldiers

A new book unearths the startling numbers behind underage enlistment during the Civil War

The statue Sons of St. Augustine imagines a warm encounter between Alexander Darnes, a physician, and Edmund Kirby Smith, the Confederate general who had enslaved him.

The Doctor and the Confederate

A historian’s journey into the relationship between Alexander Darnes and Edmund Kirby Smith starts with a surprising eulogy

The Smithsonian Castle Building, in a colorized photograph taken by Alexander Gardner, was severely damaged in a January 1865 fire.

A Look Back at the First Time the Smithsonian Castle Closed for Renovations

In February, the building will shutter for five years for much-needed improvements

A photo of Henrietta Lacks in the living room of her grandson, Ron Lacks

Henrietta Lacks' Virginia Hometown Will Build Statue in Her Honor, Replacing Robert E. Lee Monument

Lacks' unique cancer cells were taken without consent and used for medical breakthroughs

Workers removing the statue of Ambrose P. Hill from its pedestal in Richmond, Virginia, on December 12

Richmond Removes Its Last City-Owned Confederate Monument

The statue of Ambrose P. Hill had stood at a busy intersection since 1892

Felton advocated lynching Black men accused of raping white women—“a thousand times a week if necessary,” as she said in an infamous 1897 speech.

The Nation's First Woman Senator Was a Virulent White Supremacist

In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton, a Georgia women's rights activist and lynching proponent, temporarily filled a dead man's Senate seat

In the more than 100 years since his death, William Still has been marginalized, sometimes even forgotten, by histories of the movements to which he contributed so much.

The Forgotten Father of the Underground Railroad

The author of a book about William Still unearths new details about the leading Black abolitionist—and reflects on his lost legacy

In the not-so-distant past, the Russian and American governments talked up the shared crucibles of their two mid-19th century leaders as a way of improving diplomatic relations.

Before Lincoln Issued the Emancipation Proclamation, This Russian Czar Freed 20 Million Serfs

The parallels between the U.S. president and Alexander II, both of whom fought to end servitude in their nations, are striking

Designer Samantha Black created three special-edition outfits for Claudie.

New American Girl Doll Celebrates Black Joy During the Harlem Renaissance

Nine-year-old Claudie Wells' story unfolds in 1920s New York

By March 1862, Judith Henry's Virginia home had been reduced to rubble.

Untold Stories of American History

The Civil War's First Civilian Casualty Was an Elderly Widow From Virginia

Union gunfire killed 85-year-old Judith Carter Henry on July 21, 1861—the day of the First Battle of Bull Run

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Untold Stories of American History

The Southbound Underground Railroad Brought Thousands of Enslaved Americans to Mexico

Rather than head north, many of those in bondage made a different treacherous journey in a bold quest for freedom that historians are now unearthing

Members of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps pose on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park in 1896.

Untold Stories of American History

The Black Buffalo Soldiers Who Biked Across the American West

In 1897, the 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps embarked on a 1,900-mile journey from Montana to Missouri

According to author Christopher A. Thomas, the dedication "was a microcosm of the strained race relations of its day, marked by the rhetoric of good intentions and the behavior of bigotry."

A Century Ago, the Lincoln Memorial's Dedication Underscored the Nation's Racial Divide

Seating was segregated, and the ceremony's only Black speaker was forced to drastically revise his speech to avoid spreading "propaganda"

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