Civil War

General Grant in Memphis

Jun 24, 2014
Brady-Handy Photograph Collection / Library of Congress

General Ulysses S. Grant nearly met his end, or, at least, certain capture by Confederate General William Hicks Jackson, on a visit through Memphis. 

Allen James Walker

Apr 10, 2014

As a soldier in the 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery, Allen James Walker was stationed at Corinth, Mississippi and Ft. Pickering, here in Memphis.

The Atlantic Magazine

Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent at The Atlantic, joins host Jonathan Judaken for a discussion on his upbringing, his influences, politics, and race in America. 

George H. Ellsbury - Harper's 1864 / The New York Public Library, Digital Gallery

Ever since the Battle of Memphis in June of 1862, the town had been in Union hands. This was especially galling to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, since Memphis was his home town.

On September 10, 1864 Forrest staged a nighttime raid, hoping to free Confederate prisoners and capture two Union Generals, Washburne and Hurlburt, who were in command there. Forrest led about 1,500 men against a force of 6,000 Union soldiers. His forces arrived on Beale Street, and then split up.

Hidden beneath the tall buildings and major venues of Downtown Memphis lies General Washburn’s Escape Alley, which is home to a significant piece of Memphis history.

Union Major General C.C. Washburn was in Memphis during the Union army’s occupation of the city during the Civil War. The alley, which runs from Front Street to Autozone Park, backed-up to the General’s home.

The Battle of Memphis

Jun 6, 2013
A.R. Ward

When the Civil War broke out, Memphis declared its allegiance to the Southern cause. 

Randall Fuller

Host Jonathan Judaken talks with with author Professor Randall Fuller about what symbolic role the Civil War ought to play in our imaginations or in our cultural landscape.

The Civil War: America's epic battle with itself, transformed every aspect of American culture, including its great writers like Whitman, Emerson, Hawthorne, Dickinson, and Frederick Douglass.

Frank and Jesse James hold a prominent place in the history of outlaws. One member of the James gang has a Memphis connection. Captain Kit Dalton, born in Logan County, Kentucky in 1848, ran away from home during the Civil War and joined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.

Struck by the destruction that he witnessed when he returned home on a furlough, Dalton organized a band of guerrillas to avenge what he believed to be Union atrocities. Soon it became impossible for Dalton and his gang to return home, so he linked his fortunes with the James gang, and the rest is history. 

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University is one of this country's most prominent historians.

Jonathan D. Sarna is the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History.