Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Most Mispronounced Words When Describing the Civil War

Posted By on October 31, 2016


There is a handy book for those who frequently discuss the Civil War and want to make sure that they are correctly pronouncing the names of people, places and battles associated with it.  Civil War Spoken Here, by Robert David Quigley, was published by C. W. Historicals of Collingswood, New Jersey, in 1993.  As the full title states, it is a “dictionary of mispronounced” things of the 1860s.  Quigley is a former radio talk show host who has made it his mission to make sure the words associated with the Civil War are pronounced correctly.

The book provides a simplified pronunciation key, much like the ones used in the phrase dictionaries used by world travelers who have no foreign language skills.

It may surprise Pennsylvanians (and others) to find out that they could be pronouncing “Gettysburg” incorrectly.  In the following excerpt, Quigley presents the following:

Consider the fact that countless people mispronounce this most famous of Civil War names,  The most common mispronunciation is GET-eez-burg, and this makes sense, since that is how the name is spelled.  Spelling notwithstanding, the proper pronunciation is [GET-iss-burg]….

This, and many other corrections are presented throughout the book.  For those from the Northeast who travel South, knowing how to pronounce “Beaufort” depends on which “Beaufort” is referred to.  In North Carolina, “Beaufort” is BOH-furt, while in South Carolina, “Beaufort” is BYOO-furt.





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