• Find Me On:

  • Office Hours:

    Mondays and Tuesdays, 10:00 to 11:00 and by appointment
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Professor
    • Chair
  • Concentration:

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

    • History
  • Education:

    • PhD Louisiana State University
  • Curriculum Vitae:


My research interests include steamboats, slavery, the Civil War, the  South, and sports in America. My book manuscript, "The Devil's Own Purgatory: A History of the Mississippi Squadron," is under advance contract with LSU Press. The Mississippi Squadron was the Union's second largest fleet and its sailors fought a series of overlapping wars against Confederate forts, guerrillas, and civilians. This project has given me the opportunity to use spatial analysis (or GIS) to understand the nature of the conflict. I have also employed student researchers to examine naval muster rolls in order to compile a database of 16,000 sailors who served in the Mississippi Squadron. I've published a short piece on Union gunboats for the The Conversation (and have also written about Harriet Tubman in the same venue). I worked with an undergraduate student to publish a related article in the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation. This piece details an unusual instance of military emancipation that resulted in the recording of demographic information for 960 enslaved people, including their names, ages, and birth places.

I've written two books: Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (LSU Press, 2011) and A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade (LSU Press, 2003). A few years ago, I appeared on the TV Show "Who Do You Think You Are?" as a historical expert and met Jim Parsons. I've also published an article about a baseball team and the memory of the Civil War (it is referenced here) and a piece about the connection between football and the promotion of patriotic values.

My undergraduate courses include the first half of the American survey, the Civil War Era, the American Military Experience, Southern History, Slavery in the Americas, and the capstone course as American Sport History. For graduate students I teach a readings seminar. In my Civil War Era course, students often do a Reacting to the Past project in order to learn more about the secession crisis and I incorporate a number of active learning assignments into my classes.

I support graduate student training in American History and, to an extent, digital history. I am willing to take on one or two graduate students per year who largely work in the thesis track or the non-thesis track. In any given year, I serve on two or three committees as a minor field member. Graduate students who are interested in working with me should email me for an introductory meeting before applying to the program.


"Elusive Victory: The Union Navy's War along the Western Waters," Civil War History 67 (June 2021): 79-109.

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.


  • HIST 460 Slavery in the Americas


    HIST 460 examines the origins of slavery, the influence of slavery in Africa, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the growth of plantations in the Americas, the lives of enslaved people, rebellion and resistance, and the end of slavery in the Americas.