Mercy Street Revealed: A Blog

Dive Deeper into the Series with Mercy Street’s Historical Advisors

Untold History: The African American Community of Mercy Street

Audrey P. Davis is Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum in Alexandria, Virginia. In this blog post, Davis explores the African American community of 1862 Alexandria.

MERCY STREET airs Sundays at 10/9c on PBS.


On this day in history, July 31st, in 30 B.C. the Battle of Alexandria was fought between the forces of Marc Antony and Octavian. Though Antony’s side suffered a great many desertions he won the initial phase of the battle. The desertions kept continuing though, and Octavian won the second stage of the battle.

The following day, having retreated back to the palace, Antony received mistaken news that his wife, Cleopatra VII, had already taken her own life. He proceeded to fall on his sword, though he didn’t die immediately. He found out that she was still alive, hiding in her mausoleum. Antony was carried there and hauled up through a window to her, where he died in her arms.

Cameron Monaghan plays Tom Fairfax and AnnaSophia Robb plays Alice Green, childhood friends now secretly betrothed in PBS’ MERCY STREET. Tom, a Confederate soldier, is a patient at Mansion House who has been traumatized by his experience in battle. Alice, initially frivolous and naïve, is profoundly changed by the circumstances her family and Alexandria face. See their relationship beginning January 17 at 10/9c on PBS.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Nurse Mary Phinney in PBS’ MERCY STREET. She is a feisty New England abolitionist looking for a new purpose in her life, which leads her to volunteer at Mansion House Hospital. Witness her journey beginning Jan. 17 on PBS. 

It's been a minute...

It’s been a minute since I have posted anything on tumblr. I go back and forth with whether I should use blogspot, tumblr, or wordpress. I have all three. I actually have like 4 blogspot blogs! All of this social media and internet stuff is a bit overwhelming. I have my days when I love it then I have my days when I am overwhelmed by it. I have decided to step out and go for my dream which is to be a writer and own my own business. I now own my own business and well the second novel is coming at some point in life. Writing a novel is hard. Not because the writing itself is challenging just remaining dedicated is challenging. But I have to get it done. I am sure that it is what I am supposed to be doing with my life and it that is the case I cannot keep procrastinating.

Tumblr is a lot easier to use than blogspot or wordpress so I think I will use it more, however, social media allows you to move with the wind so who knows. At the moment I am just rambling because I feel like I just need to let some random thoughts go. I have always been one to have lots of ideas, lots of slick ways to get things done, I guess that’s why I became a Computer Scientist. I have always felt different, well even a little weird for thinking so much more different then my peers. Different doesn’t mean better or worse it just means different. Embracing your differences is realizing that you are you unique. It’s actually more ok to be unique than not, well as an adult anyway. As a kid it was not always ok to be unique.

Children tread a thin line of “OK” and “NOT OK” all the time. Everything is so black and white from birth until about 10. At 10 your eyes start to pop out of socket. Your hormones start doing weird things and from then on out you may as well be in reverse evolution. Getting more hair, men getting a deeper voice, as you become a senior citizen you shrink, what the heck was God thinking about when he came up with this idea. This notion that placing humans on a monopoly game board including money, property, and jail would ever amount to anything but a cycle of the same. Ah ha! Maybe God knew just that! Maybe life is just a game. Maybe it’s not even called life, it’s called monopoly.


April 9th of this year marks the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War. The Charles E. Shain Library is hosting an exhibition of letters and documents from the collections of the Lear Center documenting the experiences of Connecticut soldiers. Each day this month we will bring you items from that exhibition and other Civil War collections held by the Lear Center.

First up is a letter from Homer Curtis of Warren, Connecticut to his sister Lucy from December 1862. At the time Homer was a sergeant in the 19th Connecticut Infantry, which would later be reorganized as a Heavy Artillery unit (although they would never receive their cannons and would continue to fight as an infantry). For the first year or so the 19th moved from camp to camp on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. When they did finally see combat it was as brutal as could be imagined, but we will cover that later. This letter shows the letterhead of the 19th with a layout of the regiment’s encampment and Homer’s annotations.

The walking dead – Alexandria

This goes out to all my walking dead people who read the comics, I am asking for a spoiler. Is Alexandria safe because I can’t have my heart broken again. After the camp, and then the ranch, then the jail, then the governor, then the jail again, and then Terminous and now this. Is it safe? That’s my question.