Artists James Walker and Theodore Davis of Harper’s Weekly sketch at Chattanooga

Two seated artists work outside of a tent on a smoky hillside. A third figure chops wood at lower right.

James Walker (1819-1889) and Theodore Davis (1840-1894) were “Special Artists” for news magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, illustrating news reports from the front. Here, the artists are working on Lookout Mountain, the scene of “The Battle above the Clouds” in November, 1863. The three leading American papers to dispatch special artists after war broke out in 1861 were Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Harper’s Weekly, and The New York Illustrated News. Winslow Homer, who worked for Harper’s Weekly, and a number of other artists got their starts in this fashion, as artists accompanying a newspaper correspondent to the front. None of these papers were available to the Confederate population, as circulation to the South stopped in May, when mail between the areas ceased. The Southern Illustrated News was established in the South after the war had raged for over a year, but it never hired an artist to work in the field.

Union soldiers and civilians posing in front of a train station in Stevenson, Alabama, c. 1864.


one thing I noticed about civil war was this cut where they were all suddenly dressed in their suits so i can only assume

Endeavor to know what is right, and to do it, dreading no consequences. Do good because it is good, not because men call it so.” –Elihu Embree
—  Started an anti-slavery newspaper, The Emancipator,  around 1820. Because of stiff opposition the movement died out and most of its leaders moved to free states. 

April 9th 1865: The American Civil War ends

On this day in 1865, 150 years ago, Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, thus ending the civil war that had ravaged America since 1861. Sectional tensions over slavery, which had existed since the nation’s founding, came to boiling point with the election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. The outraged Southern states feared the government would attempt to emancipate their slaves, whose labour provided the basis for the Southern economy, and thus seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Hopes for peace were dashed when shots were fired upon the Union Fort Sumter in April 1861, and the nation descended into civil war. The Confederacy, largely led by General Lee, initially had great success and defeated the Union in key battles including at Manassas and Fredericksburg. However, the Union’s superior resources and infrastructure ultimately turned the tide of war in their favour, crushing the Confederates at Gettysburg and with the destruction of Sherman’s march to the sea. Lee surrendered to Grant when hope of Confederate victory was lost, though Grant - out of respect for Lee and his desire for peaceful reconciliation -  defied military tradition and allowed Lee to keep his sword and horse. While more armies and generals had yet to surrender, Lee’s surrender essentially marked the end of the deadliest war in American history, which left around 750,000 dead. Union victory ensured the abolition of slavery, opening up questions about what was to be the fate of the four million freedpeople. These debates, as well as how to treat the seceded states and how to negotiate their readmission into the Union, defined the challenges of the postwar Reconstruction era. The Civil War remains a pivotal moment in American history and in many ways, 150 years later, the nation is still struggling to unite the sections and cope with the legacy of slavery. 

“The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”
- Grant upon Lee’s surrender

150 years ago



Set against the antebellum South, THE BIRTH OF A NATION follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer), accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION New Trailer (2016)
A Movie directed by Nate Parker
Cast : Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union
Release Date : October 7, 2016
Genre : Drama


Ambulances Through History

Ambulances post-date mobile medical units by several hundred years - the first evidence of “mobile hospitals” dates back to the units set up by the Knights Hospitallier during the first Crusades in the 11th century - but they are much more ancient than our current high-tech, specially-equipped vehicles may suggest.

The first consistent military ambulances emerged in the 15th century to transport Spanish troops away from the action, and the first wide-spread civilian ambulance services were developed during the cholera epidemics in 1830s London.

Many of our current ambulance services were developed during the U.S. Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

In recent decades, many ambulance services have expanded into specialty care (cardiovascular, obesity, stroke, and athletic), and in the United States and United Kingdom, almost all municipal fire departments are directly affiliated with a public or private ambulance service.


National Museum of Medicine

Wikimedia Commons



Although I think – I hope – most people know by now that she dies in Civil War (of old age, not of anything plot-related), and that’s the only spoiler here.

I took screenshots of Peggy’s obit in tonight’s Agents of SHIELD episode. Unfortunately you can’t read the whole thing (the camera only panned across part of it), but here are the parts fic writers might be interested in:

  • She was born April 9, 1921 in Hampstead, and was 95 when she died, putting her canonical death approximately when the movie came out (2016)
  • Her parents’ names were Harrison and Amanda.
  • Peggy’s career began as an office worker under the British Royal Military; she moved on to be a code-breaker and work for British intelligence (as we know).
  • Even if her brother Michael turns out to be alive in canon, he is still thought by the general public to have died in WWII; the obit mentions his death in the war as Peggy’s inspiration for joining the SOE. The obit also says that Michael is her only sibling.
  • She married and had two children who are both still alive as of 2016 (cagily, the obit only says that she married, but doesn’t say who).
  • Much of Peggy’s life is still classified.
  • The obit also describes her childhood as “one of adventure that served as a precursor to her later life as a spy and feminist pioneer”. Given that she grew up in Hampstead (an affluent suburb of London), I have no idea what THAT is supposed to mean. The family traveled a lot? They were once kidnapped by pirates who inexplicably wandered through Hampstead? Have fun, writers. :D