Author Archives: Donald R. Shaffer

About Donald R. Shaffer

Donald R. Shaffer is the author of _After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans_ (Kansas, 2004), which won the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2005. More recently he published (with Elizabeth Regosin), _Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files_ (2008). Dr. Shaffer teaches online exclusively (i.e., a virtual professor). He lives in Arizona and can be contacted at

Enslaving the Free: The Gettysburg Campaign

“Negroes Driven South By The Rebel Officers,” Harper’s Weekly, November 8, 1862. While not African Americans kidnapped by Confederate forces in June 1863, it presents an image something like witnesses saw in southern Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg campaign. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The sesquicentennial of … Continue reading

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Parting Thoughts on Juneteenth

Juneteenth (June 19) has yet again rolled around and passed. What began as former slaves in Texas commemorating the arrival of the Union Army in 1865 and their liberation from bondage has morphed in more recent years into an informal … Continue reading

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Happy Juneteenth!

Originally posted on Civil War Emancipation:
From Wikipedia: “Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas in 1865. Celebrated on June…

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Harvard Presentation Video

I do not mean to keep touting my Harvard triumph, but it just came to my attention that the Dubois Institute at Harvard just posted the video of Freedom Rising Symposium on YouTube, so I am posting the video of … Continue reading

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Frederick Douglass on Decoration Day, 1871

Originally posted on Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog:
On Decoration Day, 1871, Frederick Douglass gave the following address at the monument to the Unknown Dead of the Civil War at Arlington National Cemetery. It is a short speech,…

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Slow Death of the Fugitive Slave Law

One of the curious aspects of slavery’s end in the United States is that even after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect that 1850’s infamous fugitive slave law remained on the books, and some stubborn slaveholders even tried to make … Continue reading

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Repost: The World Turned Upside Down

Dear Readers: Please check out Jimmy Price’s fine piece on the founding of the U.S. Colored Troops:

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Missionaries of Freedom, Part 2

Source: Harper’s Weekly – May 9, 1863, An earlier edition of Civil War Emancipation dealt with the phenomenon of slaves that had escaped to federal lines journeying back into rebel held territory to let family and friends know that they would … Continue reading

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The Confederate Retaliatory Act

Late last year, this blog discussed Jefferson Davis’ proclamation in late 1862 denying black Union soldiers the traditional protections of prisoners of war should they ever fall into Confederate hands. Instead, Davis indicated they and their white officers would be … Continue reading

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Harvard Conference Paper

Today, I participated in the “Freedom Rising” symposium at Harvard University. It featured a terrific group of scholars and scholarship related to the emancipation of slaves of African descent in the United States and elsewhere, and I was honored to … Continue reading

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