Monthly Archives: May 2016

Waiting for (Don Carlos) Godot: a tragicomedy in two acts 4 comments

Of the myriad blunders that needed to be excused or covered up concerning the Battle of Shiloh, one of the most notorious was Ulysses S. Grant’s absence from his army. Maintaining headquarters from approximately March 17th to the start of the battle on April 6th in a mansion at Savannah, Tennessee—ten miles downriver and on the opposite bank from his army at Pittsburg Landing—General Grant took a steamboat up to […]

Ulysses S. Grant hagiographies

Ethan Rafuse recently commented about “those who have pushed Grant scholarship to the point where history becomes hagiography.” Now, I have just run across Russell Bonds’ review of H.W. Brands’ “The Man Who Saved the Union.” In it, Bonds noted how the publication of William S. McFeely’s “Grant: A Biography” “sparked a flurry of responses trending toward hagiography. More than a dozen biographies, ‘dual biographies’ and studies of Grant have […]

Errors in U.S. Grant Biographies (Part One: Missionary Ridge) 2 comments

Although the standard version of Ulysses S. Grant’s war-time history portrays him to be a military genius and a reliable chronicler of the American Civil War, his biographers have exaggerated, distorted, or omitted certain, salient facts. One of the most stark examples of this practice is from the Chattanooga campaign, which featured many of the most famous Union generals: Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, Joseph Hooker, […]

The Historian’s Ten Commandments

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the following, but it’s amusing and of interest nonetheless. The Historian’s Ten Commandments (Revised and Enlarged) Original attributed to William B. Hesseltine (1902-1963) Department of History, The University Of Wisconsin Thou shalt not use the passive voice. Thou shalt not use the present voice. Thou shalt not quote from secondary sources. Thou shalt not quote more than three lines–and never shalt thou use […]