Welcome, readers of "Touch the Elbow"!

I was contacted the other day by Donald Thompson, one of three Civil War researchers who run a wonderful website and related blog about the Civil War, and specifically the 18th Regiment of Massachusetts. Donald Thompson, Tom Churchill, and Stephen McManus research and collect records, memorabilia, letters, etc. about the men who served in the regiment, and have compiled great biographies of the men.

One of those men from the 18th, my great-great-great uncle Erastus Everson, was recently featured on this blog as the subject of one of my genealogical biographies. He served in three regiments, and sustained head, chest, groin, and leg wounds during his service. But he was dedicated to the cause of the Union, and continued to work for the Freedman’s Bureau and as an army assessor. He later became a newsaper man, as passionate a writer as he was a soldier. The story of Erastus’s colorful life, and his run-in with the Ku Klux Klan after the war, are currently being featured on the blog “Touch the Elbow“.

The phrase “touch the elbow” comes from a popular Union song, “Comrades, Touch the Elbow”, to gather strength and unity before a battle.

When battleā€™s music greets our ear,
Our guns are sighted at the foe,
Then nerve the hand, and banish fear
And comrades, touch the elbow

Touch the elbow, comrades elbow
Elbow comrades, touch the elbow
Nerve the hand, banish fear
Comrades, touch the elbow

The blog features a wide variety of information and stories about the Civil War, and provides wonderful advice for those interested in researching the Civil War. “Touch the Elbow” is attached to their website on The Eighteenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. For researchers, this website is a treasure trove of information. Nowhere is there such centralized information offered on the 18th Massachusetts regiment. Donald, Tom, and Stephen are working to publish a book about the 18th, and they have already published The Civil War Research Guide, on how to research ancestors of the Civil War.

Additionally, they have ventured far and wide to many cemeteries, gathering genealogical information and photographs, a past-time Donald refers to as “chasing the dead” – which is at the heart of this blog! If you are new to this site, please take a read-through, and share your thoughts!