Robert Gudmestad



  • Office Hours:

    Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:00 to 12:50
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor
    • Chair
  • Education:

    • PhD Louisiana State University
  • Concentration:

    • American South
    • Civil War
    • Military History
    • Sport History
  • Department:

    • History


My research focuses broadly on the nineteenth century American South. Presently I am looking at the use of ironclads and other naval technology to control access to the western rivers system during the Civil War. I have learned that Union gunboats fought a hard war against southern civilians because the brownwater navy had to protect Union supply lines from partisan attacks. This project has given me the opportunity to think about using GIS to track the points of conflict between Union gunboats and southern civilians, guerrillas, and soldiers. This irregular war also contributed to low morale in the fleet and I've used research with the fleet's muster rolls to document an astonishing turnover rate in the fleet. I am currently preparing an article for publication.

I argue for the importance of steamboats to the Southern and, by extension, American economy and society in Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (LSU Press, 2011). My A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade (LSU Press, 2003) examines the changing nature of forced migration in the Early Republic. I've also published an article on a baseball team and the memory of the Civil War in the New South and written a blog post about militarism and American football. My longer piece of scholarship on the subject is part of the "Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present" exhibit at CSU's University Art Museum.

My undergraduate courses include the first half of the American survey, the Civil War Era, Southern History, American Military History, and the capstone course as American Sports History. For graduate students I teach a readings seminar and a research seminar. In my Civil War Era course, students are doing a Reacting to the Past project in order to learn more about the secession crisis.


Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (LSU Press, 2011).

A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade (LSU Press, 2003).

"Baseball, the Lost Cause, and the New South in Richmond, Virginia, 1883-1890," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 106 (Summer 1998): 267-300.

Curriculum Vitae

Download Curriculum Vitae


  • HIST 345: The Civil War Era

    This semester we are re-creating the special session of the Kentucky legislature to consider secession. It’s a Reacting to the Past lesson. We will also create Story Maps as a way to understand the war.