A Free Man

I was just doing some research on Abigail Hopper Gibbons, whom I knew had served as a nurse during the Civil War. I recently read that efforts were being made to protect the integrity of the house on 29th Street in Manhattan where she, her husband James Sloan Gibbons (who, during the Civil War, wrote … Read more

Fireman Andrew C. Schenck

I recently found myself at an Association for Gravestone Studies convention in Schenectady with a few hours of free time, and decided to head over to the New York State Museum in Albany for a visit. Headed in–quite an exhibition on the September 11 attack–video of a fireman who lost all of his fellows, a … Read more

Found: A Confederate Captain

I recently got another e-mail from Bob McAvoy. I’ve never met Bob, but I’ve certainly gotten a lot of e-mails from him. Bob’s passion is Civil War veterans from New Jersey. Sometimes I think that 7 years is a long time for me to have spent so far searching for Civil War soldiers. But then … Read more

Captain William Gilfillan–A Strange Coincidence

During the first weekend of June, I headed off to the Civil War Preservation Trust’s annual convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A great organization–saving battlefield land, hallowed ground, holding its yearly event in the mecca of Civil War towns. Brought along my t-shirt–the one I had made a few years ago when I led a trip … Read more

Baseball Legend James Creighton

I was reading an article in The New York Times today: “No Casual Fans At World Series of Baseball Trivia.” The article was about the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), which has a membership of 6,000 baseball geeks, and its annual convention. Midway in the article, in a discussion about the aging of its … Read more

Burials: 50,000 at a Time

I was doing some research recently, helping a New York Times reporter with an article, and thought it would be interesting to find out how the frequency of burials at Green-Wood has changed over the cemetery’s history. Though Green-Wood was chartered by New York State on April 18, 1838, is was more than two years … Read more

Finding Edwin Bennett

Well, we did know that Edwin Bennett was interred at Green-Wood and had served in the Civil War. His obituary in The New York Times told us that much. But we couldn’t find the details of his service. That’s where Sue Ramsey, a truly remarkable researcher, came in. Sue, who lives out in California, loves … Read more

The Confederate Ironclad Ram Albemarle

A few weeks ago, in preparing for a tour of Civil War Conderates who are interred at Green-Wood, I came across the story of Gilbert Elliott (1843-1895). It is really quite a remarkable tale: Gilbert, with some training in boat building and some experience as a law clerk, enlisted in 1862 in the 17th North … Read more

The Obamas’ Taste in Art

Today’s New York Times reports that the Obamas’ have made their choices, from several Washington museums, of the art that will be hanging in the White House during their occupancy. Take a look at the slide show of some of the highlights–two paintings by George Catlin and the patent model for Samuel Finley Breese Morse’s … Read more

Here A Confederate, There a Confederate

I have long-known the story of Samuel Chester Reid (1783-1861). Reid was a naval officer and hero of the War of 1812–commanding the privateer General Armstrong off the Azores, he took on a British fleet, delaying its arrival in Louisiana, and enabling General Andrew Jackson to triumph over the British at the Battle of New … Read more