Civil War

Mario Van Peebles directs and stars in a new film titled Outlaw Posse.

How a Century of Black Westerns Shaped Movie History

Mario Van Peebles' "Outlaw Posse" is the latest attempt to correct the erasure of people of color from the classic cinema genre

Two unidentified Gullah Geechee women photographed by Lorenzo Dow Turner in the early 1930s

How the Memory of a Song Reunited Two Women Separated by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

In 1990, scholars found a Sierra Leonean woman who remembered a nearly identical version of a tune passed down by a Georgia woman’s enslaved ancestors

Abraham Lincoln pardoned Moses J. Robinette on September 1, 1864.

Abraham Lincoln Pardoned Joe Biden's Great-Great-Grandfather, 160-Year-Old Records Reveal

Historian David J. Gerleman discovered the link between the two presidents while reviewing historic documents at the National Archives

Lincoln Cemetery was established in 1867, two years after the Civil War ended.

Near the Site of the Gettysburg Address, These Black Civil War Veterans Remain Segregated, Even in Death

Denied burial alongside Union soldiers killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, the 30 or so men were instead buried in the all-Black Lincoln Cemetery

A white Baptist woman named Harriet M. Buss taught Civil War hero Robert Smalls (pictured) how to read and write.

What a Teacher's Letters Reveal About Robert Smalls, Who Stole a Confederate Ship to Secure His Freedom From Slavery

Harriet M. Buss' missives home detail the future congressman's candid views on race and the complicity of Confederate women

Abraham Lincoln’s third annual message to Congress spurred prompt and consequential action on what became the first piece of proactive federal legislation to encourage, rather than discourage, immigration to the U.S.

Abraham Lincoln's Oft-Overlooked Campaign to Promote Immigration to the U.S.

A few weeks after the president delivered the Gettysburg Address, he called on Congress to welcome immigrants as a "source of national wealth and strength"

Genealogy researchers use military records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, wills, legal and court documents, and census records to help piece together the past.

How the Smithsonian Is Helping Black Americans Trace Their Roots

Free sessions hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture offer visitors advice on researching their genealogy

Fascinating finds unveiled in 2023 ranged from a 12-sided object that may have been used for sorcery to a lost Rembrandt portrait.

117 Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2023

The year's most exciting discoveries included a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting, a hidden medieval crypt and a gold-covered mummy

Safety fencing at Arlington National Cemetery rings the Confederate memorial.

Federal Judge Allows Removal of Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery

The Defense Department had mandated that the monument be dismantled by January 1, 2024

Nine-year-old Neikoye Flowers (foreground), photographed in 2023 wearing in a Civil War uniform like the one worn by his ancestor, David Miles Moore, Jr. (background),160 years ago.

When Your Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Is a Civil War Hero

Can recreating photographs from the 19th century connect a family to its lost heritage?

Jared Miller poses as his ancestor Richard Oliver, a soldier in the 20th Colored Infantry, at Penumbra Tintype Portrait Studio in New York City.

Descendants of Black Civil War Heroes Wear Their Heritage With Pride

A bold new photographic project asks modern-day Americans to recreate portraits of their 19th-century ancestors in painstakingly accurate fashion

At the beginning of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant wasn’t an abolitionist, admitting that his beliefs were “not even what could be called antislavery.” By August 1863, he had changed his mind, writing, “Slavery is already dead and cannot be resurrected.”

Unraveling Ulysses S. Grant's Complex Relationship With Slavery

The Union general directly benefited from the brutal institution before and during the Civil War

The premier lady of sex work in Victorian St. Louis built an empire estimated to be worth at least $100,000—the equivalent of about $3.7 million today.

The Formerly Enslaved Black Bordello Queen Who Built a Notorious Business Empire

In 19th-century St. Louis, Madam Priscilla Henry earned a life-changing fortune—and scores of enemies vying for her crown

A portrait of the congressman by the famous photographer Mathew Brady, c. 1860.

Why America Is Just Now Learning to Love Thaddeus Stevens, the 'Best-Hated Man' in U.S. History

The Pennsylvanian was one of America’s greatest heroes. Why hasn’t he gotten his due?

Crews used armor-plated excavators while working on the riverbed in case they came across unexploded ordnances.

Civil War Weapons Recovered From South Carolina's Congaree River

Union troops tossed Confederate munitions and supplies into the waterway after taking Columbia in February 1865

Smithsonian's picks for the best history books of 2023 include King: A Life, The Sisterhood and The Wager.

The Ten Best History Books of 2023

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the United States ended up where it is today

Foundry workers disassembled Charlottesville's Robert E. Lee statue before melting it down.

Foundry Workers Melt Down Charlottesville's Divisive Robert E. Lee Statue

Eventually, an artist will be chosen to transform the bronze bars into a public art installation

Can every living thing be traced to a single cell?

Can Every Living Thing Be Traced to a Single Cell? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

Stamped with the date—April 14, 1865—the two tickets correspond with a front-row spot in the dress circle.

What Did These Two Ticket Holders See on the Night of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination?

A rare pair of Ford's Theatre tickets—for seats across from the president's box—have sold for $262,500

“Had it not been for the testament given [to] him by Mr. Foster, which received a second bullet, I doubt if you would have ever seen him again,” wrote journalist Benjamin Perley Poore in a letter to Merrill's father.

The Bible That Stopped a Bullet

In 1863, a New Testament tucked in the pocket of Union soldier Charles W. Merrill prevented a musket ball from mortally wounding him

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