The fiercest, bloodiest wars are those fought not over territory or a throne, but over a way of life.


The story of her long life begins before that war, and there is a touch of mystery and interesting tradition in the very beginning.


The Shenandoah and Alabama were anchored just south of Harthaven one recent muggy, overcast morning and it struck me how innocent these famously-named schooners looked.


The other day I was looking at a photo taken from Pam Clark’s old house of Shenandoah, at anchor in back of the Black Dog, and waxing nostalgic. Then today I read about Shenandoah’s namesake, and the original Alabama. I had thought they had been Confederate blockade runners, sort of romantic vessels.


Robert Douglas Civil War cannon


The Civil War came perilously close to the Vineyard in 1863 and 1864, when Confederate raiders sank fishing boats and schooners all around the Island.

James B. (Jim) Richardson 3rd of Oak Bluffs, a respected historian, told tales about the raiders in a talk at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum titled The Civil War Comes to New England: Confederate Raiders by Land and Sea.

Jim Thomas

For the Jim Thomas Spirituals Choir, the history is as much a part of the experience as the music. Tracing the evolution of American music through the Underground Railroad and the Middle Passage, Jim Thomas and his chorus sing a story of our cultural past.