Civil War Words

Here at Taylor Studios, we work on a lot of museums that want to cover the Civil War in their messaging.

I have had the pleasure of researching, writing, and proofing label copy for many of these projects, and now know more about the Kansas-Nebraska Act than I ever thought I would. In doing so, I’ve noticed the following commonly misspelled/misused Civil War words:

Correct Civil War Word: Cavalry
Dictionary Definition:

  • the part of a military force composed of troops that serve on horseback.
  • mounted soldiers collectively.
  • the motorized, armored units of a military force organized for maximum mobility.
  • horsemen, horses, etc., collectively.

Used in a sentence: The cavalry charged.

Not to be confused with: Calvary
Dictionary Definition:

  • Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. Luke 23:33.
  • (often lowercase) a sculptured representation of the Crucifixion, usually erected in the open air.
  • (lowercase) an experience or occasion of extreme suffering, especially mental suffering.

Used in a sentence: This painting depicts Calvary.

Correct Civil War Word: Cannon
Dictionary Definition:

  • a mounted gun for firing heavy projectiles; a gun, howitzer, or mortar.

Used in a sentence: Soldiers fired the cannon.

Not to be confused with: Canon
Dictionary Definition:

  • an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope.
  • the body of ecclesiastical law.
  • the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon.
  • a fundamental principle or general rule: the canons of good behavior.
  • a standard; criterion: the canons of taste.

Used in a sentence: The Odyssey is in the Western canon.

Correct Civil War Word: Guerrilla
Dictionary Definition:

  • a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc.

Not to be confused with: Gorilla

Used in a sentence: The gorillas engaged in guerrilla warfare.

Correct Civil War Word: Bushwhacker
Dictionary Definition:

  • a person or thing that bushwhacks.
  • (in the American Civil War) a guerrilla, especially a Confederate.
  • any guerrilla or outlaw.

Not “bushwacker”. The “h” is often overlooked.

Used in a sentence: Confederate Bushwhacker Bloody Bill Anderson terrorized Unionist villages.

Correct Civil War Word: Jayhawker

  • a native or inhabitant of Kansas (used as a nickname).
  • (sometimes lowercase) a plundering marauder, especially one of the antislavery guerrillas in Kansas, Missouri, and other border states before and during the Civil War.

Not “jayhocker”.

Used in a sentence: Jayhawkers fought slavery in the border states.

So, the next time the need arises for you to write about Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers engaging in guerrilla warfare alongside the cavalry with their cannons, you will be in luck! What is your favorite Civil War word?

Find Yourself in Our Story

I fell in love with Nashville about five years ago when my husband and I were on our honeymoon. Aside from my love of classic country music and Civil War history, there was something about the Nashville area that just felt more inviting than other cities I had been to.

My husband and I decided to take our two-year-old to Tennessee for a small vacation this fall, and we discovered Franklin, Tennessee, a “small” (approximately 60,000 population, but it has a small-town feel) town about 20 minutes from Nashville. If I had to choose a favorite town in America, so far this would be my pick.

A brief background for Franklin, TN:

  • It was established in 1799 and named for Benjamin Franklin
  • The Battle of Franklin was fought in 1864 during the Civil War
  • It won Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” as well as “Most Romantic Main Street” in 2010

A winning feature of Franklin is its historic downtown. Franklin has utilized master plans to retain its historic downtown and unique sense of place. Franklin’s motto, as seen on their tourism marketing material, is “Find Yourself in Our Story.” I love this statement, for many reasons, but most of all because it is personal, for visitors and residents. Residents in Franklin seem to take its ‘branding’ to heart, helping make it the place it is.

People think of the Midwest as a friendly region. This southern town was the friendliest place I’ve ever been to. My family was in a toy store for a half hour, and at least five families stopped to talk to us, and really interested in who we were and why we were visiting Franklin. My son made friends. Even from our small town, where everyone knows everyone, this was a new experience. This is not a town for antisocial loners. And it doesn’t want to be.

Here at Taylor Studios, we’ve been talking more and more about Community Experience Plans—this community completely inspired me. This community is close-knit although diverse, passionate about its heritage, and committed to keeping Franklin, well, Franklin.

Does your community inspire you?

I think my house needs a pillar.

Even the trash cans tout the motto. If this scene looks familiar to any of you with “Bieber Fever,” this is where he shot his Christmas music video, a mere two weeks before we visited.

The theater was renovated summer 2011 and shows old movies and hosts live music.

My absolute favorite breakfast location, Merridee’s.

You can learn more about Franklin here:

Useful or Beautiful?

It’s New Year’s Resolutions time, and each year I wish for a slightly less chaotic life. I love my very busy life; but it could use some organizational help sometimes. I love to organize, but I’m not always sure how to go about it.

One rule I stumbled upon I’ve taken to heart, a quote from William Morris,

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

All New Year’s weekend I was evaluating my Christmas decorations:

  • Ornament hooks: Useful.
  • Crate and Barrel tea light candle holders: Useful and Beautiful.
  • Cartoony snowman picture frame missing the glass: Neither useful nor beautiful.

I’ve now been inspired to evaluate my workspace. The Advil Liqui-Gels box with 100 capsules is not particularly beautiful, but if a tight deadline comes along, it is very useful. It stays. The 8 ½ x 11 frame with a photo of my son? Beautiful. It stays, too. The dried-out non-Sharpie pen gets thrown away.

I know I’m much happier with a fun, inspiring workspace—for example, polka dot push pins just make my day better. (Although, in my opinion, polka dots make everything better.)

Enjoy the images of pretty workspaces that inspire me—how do you evaluate your workspace? What makes a good work environment for you?

I really love the circles going on here.

Look at all the colored storage boxes!

Color really makes a difference.

I really love office supplies, and tend to stockpile them. These stenciled office supplies make my heart flutter.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

“The little rare-ripe sort that are smarter at about five than ever after.” –Abraham Lincoln on the subject of children

A group of us from Taylor Studios decided to go to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and I brought my husband and our two-year-old, Sam.

Sam came proudly toting his new Abraham Lincoln doll, and on the whole hour and a half drive down we tried to describe that we live in the United States, the United States has a leader called a president, and a long, long time ago, before grandma and grandpa were born, Abraham Lincoln was a president. Big concepts for a toddler who doesn’t speak in sentences yet.

Because Taylor Studios is currently working on a project about Abraham Lincoln, I thought the whole museum was very engaging and interesting. I especially loved the section about Mary Todd Lincoln and her social rivals in Washington, D.C.

My family’s favorite part of the museum experience was the “Lincoln’s Eyes” presentation. I was very interested to see how Sam reacted, in reference for little kids that would visit the museum we are working on. Thematic sound effects, booming cannons, lightning, people shouting about the Emancipation Proclamation, John Wilkes Booth’s gun going off with accompanying smoke…it’s a lot to take in. The seats even moved! I kept my eye on the exit sign and, as most parents would, tried to plan a graceful escape with my screaming child if need be. But Sam loved it! He clapped at the end and said it was a “good movie.”

Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic, an interpretive play space complete with a doll house replica of Lincoln’s Springfield home, was Sam’s favorite part of the museum. I think he would have stayed for hours if we didn’t have to go eat lunch.

I often wonder at how children will react to museum experiences, especially historical ones that may not be as hands-on. I am continually amazed at how much my son understands. He may not remember that Abraham Lincoln was president from 1861-65, but he remembers that he had a wonderful time, he can now say “Lincoln,” and hopefully we are laying the groundwork for a love of lifelong learning.

Figures of the Lincoln family. Sam adores lifecast figures and mannequins. He hugs them in Old Navy.
Me, Sam, Lincoln the doll, and a young Lincoln figure.