• Female Spies and Gender-Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War After 150 years, America is still haunted by the ghosts of its Civil War, whose story has been romanticized for so long it’s hard to keep the facts straight. In our collective memory of the war, men are the giants, the heroes remembered as fighting nobly for their beliefs. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia on A…
  • During the Civil War, Some People Got Rich Quick By Minting Their Own Money When coins were withdrawn from circulation in the northern states during the Civil War, opportunists began minting private pennies that became de facto legal tender throughout the Union. The coinage of a few cents may seem like small change, but in 1863 alone, almost 9,000 different token designs, depicting everything from patriotic flags to beer barrels, were struck. Some so closely resembled rea…
  • War and Prosthetics: How Veterans Fought for the Perfect Artificial Limb There's something undeniably beautiful about prosthetic limbs, designed to echo the physical grace and mechanical engineering of the human body. For most people, these objects elicit some combination of squeamish discomfort and utmost respect. But far fewer of us connect those feelings to the untold generations of battle-scarred amputees whose sacrifices made prosthetics a public priority. "Pat…