07 May

A Cautionary Tale for Journalists

The summer issue of MHQ, The Quarterly Journal of Military History has a cautionary tale for journalists in a time of war.  In this case, it was Thomas Knox, a reporter for the nation’s leading newspaper, the New York Herald defying an order from William Sherman barring any correspondent...

12 Apr

A Cautionary Tale: John Peter Zenger

‘ None be so hardy to tell or publish any false news or tales’   For a special project in history in my senior year at the University of Illinois, I produced a research paper on the colonial American newspaper and its role leading up to the break with...

01 Apr

Fate of a Confederate Spy, Pirate, and Guerrilla

I was delighted to learn from a friend that Civil War Monitor recently reposted my piece on John Yates Beall, who was hanged as a spy and guerrilla in February 1865.  His life’s story, complicated as it is by legend, rumor, mystery and conspiracy theories about Lincoln’s assassination, and...

01 Apr

The Things You Learn

When you go to a conference there are always a few surprises and chances to learn new things, Friday’s Military Reporters and Editors gathering Friday in Arlington, Va., was no different.  Margaux Ewen’s with Reporters Sans Frontieres discussion with John Donnelly of Congressional Quarterly on safety of journalists in...

05 Mar

Toxic Leader Posted Great Achievement

Portrait of Charles Wilkes about the time he commanded The South Seas Exploring Expedition. Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery”  should be on every commander’s reading list and also in every business and government schools’ syllabus. The work is every bit as valuable and pertinent today...

24 Feb

A Spy, Pirate and Guerrilla Goes to Charleston

The cell were Beall was shackled at Fort McHenry, Baltimore Well, not quite, but I will be talk about John Yates Beall’s days of raiding on the Chesapeake Bay at the May conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History in Charleston in mid-May.  For his efforts to...

23 Feb

Conspiracies, Assassinations, Executions

I spent four extremely profitable  hours at the Surratt Museum in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I was rooting around in the research center’s collections for more information on John Yates Beall’s operations from Canada on and around the Great Lakes in the later stages of the Civil War and...

10 Feb

Vickie Lewis and Side by Side

Vickie Lewis I want to share some thoughts on Vickie’s Side by Side and how it finally was published in 1999.  As she wrote in the acknowledgements to that wonderful work, “It’s creation didn’t take a straight and narrow path.” Through two friends, Kate Patterson and Phil Budahn, I...

13 Jan

Another Great Walk with Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart following Hadrian’s Wall   Rory Stewart’s The Places in Between, his personal account of his long trek across Afghanistan in 2002 in winter, made me a fan.  What a remarkable book! I thought then and still believe now. Having read more exploration and travel adventure books by...

20 Dec

Christmas Revels: Wonderful D.C. Tradition


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