U.S. Civil War

Louisa May Alcott

Once you examine Louisa May Alcott's life story, the inspirations for her writing become clear. But while she had some things in common with her most famous heroine, a lot sets her apart from Jo March. Read the show notes here.

Plessy v. Ferguson

The ruling in this infamous U.S. Supreme Court case stated that segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities were equal. But most people are more familiar with the name of the case than with the actual events that transpired around it.

Andrews' Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 2

As the second part of the story picks up, James Andrews and 22 men have commandeered a northbound train in Big Shanty, Georgia. Its conductor, William Fuller, has begun chasing them on foot with two other men in a valiant effort to thwart their plot.

Andrews' Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 1

The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring - but very failed - plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southeastern U.S. Read the show notes here.

The S.S. Sultana

Because the Sultana sank the day after John Wilkes Booth was captured and killed for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, it didn't make headline news. But it's considered the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

The Red Ghost of Arizona and the U.S. Camel Corps

In 1883, a mysterious beast was spotted in Arizona and trampled a woman. First described a a demon, the creature turned out to be a camel. But what was it doing in the American Southwest in the first place? Read the show notes here.

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce was a soldier, a journalist, an editor, a satirist and a philosopher. He was a complicated man with an unwavering moral code and a life of experiences both fantastic and horrific, which informed his writing. Read the show note for this episode here.

Thomas Morris Chester

Chester was the first African American war correspondent working for a major daily paper, covering the U.S. Civil War. He also had a troubled relationship with the colonization movement, and spent years striving for equal rights for African Americans

Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

Though she was Canadian, Sarah Emma Edmonds fought for the Union during the Civil War. She adopted the name Franklin Thompson while traveling. Disguised as a man, she enlisted and began a career as a nurse, courier and spy (if you believe her memoir).

Leading the Charge: The Massachusetts 54th

A 1792 law prevented African Americans from taking up arms in the Civil War. As attitudes against blacks serving changed, black regiments were formed. But prejudices remained until the heroism of black soldiers won the attention of the nation.