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Inspiration for Mercy Street: A Conversation with Sarah Coster

Alexandrian Sarah Coster was the Director of Carlyle House museum during the Civil War sesquicentennial in 2011. Her research into events at Carlyle House and the Mansion House Hospital during the Civil War provided a base upon which the Mercy Street series was built. Kris Gilbertson interviewed Sarah in December 2015. I’m told that you […]

Beyond Mercy Street— The Rest of Alexandria During the Civil War

By Kris Gilbertson Mercy Street portrays the interactions of two Civil War nurses, one from New England, the other Virginia, at the real Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria. The series is not about conflict on the battlefield; rather, it dramatizes the extraordinary challenges ordinary people faced behind the frontlines. But there is more to understanding […]

Contraband – The Path from Bound to Free

By Kris Gilbertson PBS and various production companies (Lone Wolf, Dave Zabel, and David Zucker) that collaborated on Mercy Street carefully researched the history and conditions in Civil War Alexandria. They assembled an impressive team of technical advisors, headed by historian James McPherson, which included Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum. Lisa […]

Civil War Series Part 21: Lee Tries Unsuccessfully to Resign in August 1863

By Mary Wadland General Robert E Lee, the most famous Confederate general of the American Civil War offered his resignation in August 1863 after the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg in July. Lee took full responsibility for the defeat but Jefferson Davis refused his offer. While the South licked its wounds in August, Lincoln ordered new arms […]

Civil War Series Part 20: Gettysburg, The True Turning Point

by Mary Wadland The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (July 1–July 3, 1863), was the largest battle of the American Civil War as well as the largest battle ever fought in North America, involving around 85,000 men in the Union’s Army of the Potomac under Major General George Gordon Meade and approximately 75,000 in the Confederacy’s […]

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