“I had little doubt that the majority of German people would swallow these idiotic lies. After all my time in this Nazi cuckooland, I still found it profoundly depressing to see a people so easily deceived.”

— William L. Shirer, reflecting on Hitler’s New Year’s proclamations, January 1940, in 20th Century Journey: The Nightmare Years, 1930-1940.

Photo: Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, at a League of Nations Assembly, Geneva, Switzerland, 1933, by Alfred Eisenstaedt


Out of School

“Those slaves of mine were worth to me a year ago, seventeen thousand dollars and there was some young ones among them who increased in value every day. My yearly income from them was not less than $2000 to $2500. I could afford to send you and your sister to expensive schools. This income is stopped, and God knows when it will begin again. I am obliged to use strictest economy, turn a penny a dozen times before I spend it. This loss of our slaves forces me to take Mary from school… as I cannot make enough to pay her school bills.”

— Christian Boye, merchant of St. Augustine, Florida, who lost fifteen slaves to the Union contraband policy, writing to his son, September 23, 1862. Quoted in Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida (2010) by Daniel L. Schafer

Tea & Letters

Matania 1

Fortunino Mantania was an Italian artist, living in London, who worked as an “allied war artist” during World War I, with most of his work being published in The Sphere. Above, British officers having afternoon tea in a ruined farm house in Ypres, and below, a soldier writes a Christmas letter to his family, using an ammunition box as a desk.

Matania 2

From Goodbye, Old Man: Mantania’s Vision of the First World War (2014) by Lucinda Gosling.


“When machine gunners have to locate their positions and lay out lines of fire after dark, errors usually will creep in.”

— Walter Campbell Short in The Employment of Machine Guns (1922)

The Burial of a Tame Crow


“I had lived for years at the North, had been graduated recently at Yale, and had but just entered upon the study of law in the city of New York when the war began. Thus torn away by the inexorable demands of conscience and of loyalty to the South from a focal point of intense intellectual life and purpose, one of my keenest regrets was that I was bidding a long good-by to congenial surroundings and companionships. To my surprise and delight, around the camp-fires of the First Company, Richmond Howitzers, I found throbbing an intellectual life as high and brilliant and intense as any I had known.

“I have known the burial of a tame crow to be witnessed not only by the entire command, but by scores, perhaps hundreds, of intelligent people from a neighboring town, and to be dignified not only by salvos of artillery, but also by an English speech, a Latin oration, and a Greek ode, which would have done honor to any literary or memorial occasion at old Yale.”

— Maj. Robert Stiles in Four Years Under Marse Robert (1903)


Robert Augustus Stiles (1836-1905), Yale, Class of 1859, rose from Private to Major while serving in the Richmond Howitzers. After the war he studied law at the University of Virginia and in 1867 opened his practice in Richmond.