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Frederick Douglass was born enslaved in February 1818, but from this most humble of beginnings, he rose to become a world-famous orator, newspaper editor, and champion of the rights of women and African Americans. He not only survived slavery to live in freedom but also became an outspoken critic of the institution and an active participant in the U.S. political system. Douglass advised presidents of the United States and formally represented his country in the diplomatic corps. He was the most prominent African American activist of the nineteenth century, and he left a treasure trove of documentary evidence detailing his life in slavery and achievements in freedom. This volume gathers and interprets valuable selections from a variety of Douglass's writings, including speeches, editorials, correspondence, and autobiographies.
At Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, a Union force composed predominantly of former slaves met their Confederate adversaries in one of the bloodiest small engagements of the war. This important fight received some attention in the North and South but soon drifted into obscurity. In Milliken's Bend, Linda Barnickel uncovers the story of this long-forgotten and highly controversial battle. The fighting at Milliken's Bend occurred in June 1863, about fifteen miles north of Vicksburg on the west bank of the Mississippi River, where a brigade of Texas Confederates attacked a Federal outpost. Most of the Union defenders had been slaves less than two months before. The new African American recruits fought well, despite their minimal training, and Milliken's Bend helped prove to a skeptical northern public that black men were indeed fit for combat duty. Soon after the battle, accusations swirled that Confederates had executed some prisoners taken from the ""Colored Troops."" The charges eventually led to a congressional investigation and contributed to the suspension of prisoner exchanges between the North and South. Barnickel's compelling and comprehensive account of the battle illuminates not only the immense complexity of the events that transpired in northeastern Louisiana during the Vicksburg Campaign but also the implications of Milliken's Bend upon the war as a whole. The battle contributed to southerner's increasing fears of slave insurrection and heightened their anxieties about emancipation. In the North, it helped foster a commitment to allow free blacks and former slaves to take part in the war to end slavery. And for African Americans, both free and enslaved, Milliken's Bend symbolized their never-ending struggle for freedom.
A military operation unlike any other on American soil, Morgan's Raid was characterized by incredible speed, superhuman endurance and innovative tactics. One of the nation's most colorful leaders, Confederate general John Hunt Morgan, took his cavalry through enemy-occupied territory in three states in one of the longest offensives of the Civil War. The effort produced the only battles fought north of the Ohio River and reached farther north than any other regular Confederate force. With twenty-five maps and more than forty illustrations, Morgan's Raid historian David L. Mowery takes a new look at this unprecedented event in American history, one historians rank among the world's greatest land-based raids since Elizabethan times.
"We can no longer see ourselves as minor spectators or weary watchers of history a fter finishing this astonishing work of nonfiction." --Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy In Down Along with That Devil's Bones, journalist Connor Towne O'Neill takes a deep dive into American history, exposing the still-raging battles over monuments dedicated to one of the most notorious Confederate generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Through the lens of these conflicts, O'Neill examines the legacy of white supremacy in America, in a sobering and fascinating work sure to resonate with readers of Tony Horwitz, Timothy B. Tyson, and Robin DiAngelo. When O'Neill first moved to Alabama, as a white Northerner, he felt somewhat removed from the racism Confederate monuments represented. Then one day in Selma, he stumbled across a group of citizens protecting a monument to Forrest, the officer who became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and whom William Tecumseh Sherman referred to as "that devil." O'Neill sets off to visit other disputed memorials to Forrest across the South, talking with men and women who believe they are protecting their heritage, and those who have a different view of the man's poisonous history. O'Neill's reporting and thoughtful, deeply personal analysis make it clear that white supremacy is not a regional affliction but is in fact coded into the DNA of the entire country. Down Along with That Devil's Bones presents an important and eye-opening account of how we got from Appomattox to Charlottesville, and where, if we can truly understand and transcend our past, we could be headed next.
Leonidas Polk is one of the most fascinating figures of the Civil War. Consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church and commissioned as a general into the Confederate army, Polk's life in both spheres blended into a unique historical composite. Polk was a man with deep religious convictions but equally committed to the Confederate cause. He baptized soldiers on the eve of bloody battles, administered last rites and even presided over officers' weddings, all while leading his soldiers into battle. Historian Cheryl White examines the life of this soldier-saint and the legacy of a man who unquestionably brought the first viable and lively Protestant presence to Louisiana and yet represents the politics of one of the darkest periods in American history.
On September 10, 1813, the hot, still air that hung over Lake Erie was broken by the sounds of sharp conflict. Led by Oliver Hazard Perry, the American fleet met the British, and though they sustained heavy losses, Perry and his men achieved one of the most stunning victories in the War of 1812. Author Walter Rybka traces the Lake Erie Campaign from the struggle to build the fleet in Erie, Pennsylvania, during the dead of winter and the conflict between rival egos of Perry and his second in command, Jesse Duncan Elliott, through the exceptionally bloody battle that was the first U.S. victory in a fleet action. With the singular perspective of having sailed the reconstructed U.S. brig Niagara for over twenty years, Rybka brings the knowledge of a shipmaster to the story of the Lake Erie Campaign and the culminating Battle of Lake Erie.
Marching with Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas with the 154th New York presents an innovative and provocative study of the most notorious campaigns of the Civil War -- Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating 1864 "March to the Sea" and the 1865 Carolinas Campaign. The book follows the 154th New York regiment through three states and chronicles 150 years, from the start of the campaigns to their impact today. Mark H. Dunkelman expands on the brief accounts of Sherman's marches found in regimental histories with an in-depth look at how one northern unit participated in the campaigns and how they remembered them decades later. Dunkelman also includes the often-overlooked perspective of southerners -- most of them women -- who encountered the soldiers of the 154th New York. In examining the postwar reminiscences of those staunch Confederate daughters, Dunkelman identifies the myths and legends that have flourished in the South for more than a century. Marching with Sherman concludes with Dunkelman's own trip along the 154th New York's route through Dixie -- echoing the accounts of previous travelers -- and examining the memories of the marches that linger today.
When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that "Men is cheep here to Day," he exposed an unsettling contradiction at the heart of the Union's war effort. Despite Northerners' devotion to the principles of free labor, the war produced rampant speculation and coercive labor arrangements that many Americans labeled fraudulent. Debates about this contradiction focused on employment agencies called "intelligence offices," institutions of dubious character that nevertheless served the military and domestic necessities of the Union army and Northern households. Northerners condemned labor agents for pocketing fees above and beyond contracts for wages between employers and employees. Yet the transactions these middlemen brokered with vulnerable Irish immigrants, Union soldiers and veterans, former slaves, and Confederate deserters defined the limits of independence in the wage labor economy and clarified who could prosper in it. Men Is Cheap shows that in the process of winning the war, Northerners were forced to grapple with the frauds of free labor. Labor brokers, by helping to staff the Union military and Yankee households, did indispensable work that helped the Northern state and Northern employers emerge victorious. They also gave rise to an economic and political system that enriched the managerial class at the expense of laborers--a reality that resonates to this day.
Too far north, the great state of Maine did not witness any Civil War battles. However, Mainers contributed to the war in many important ways. From the mainland to the islands, soldiers bravely fought to preserve the United States in all major battles. Men like General Joshua Chamberlain, a hero of Little Round Top, proudly returned home to serve as governor. Maine native Hannibal Hamlin served as Abraham Lincoln's first vice president. And Maine's strong women sacrificed and struggled to maintain their communities and support the men who had left to fight. Author Harry Gratwick diligently documents the stories of these Mainers, who preserved "The Way Life Should Be" for Maine and the entire United States.
Irish patriot, Civil War general, frontier governor--Thomas Francis Meagher played key roles in three major historical arenas. Today he is hailed as a hero by some, condemned as a drunkard by others. Paul R. Wylie now offers a definitive biography of this nineteenth-century figure who has long remained an enigma.
"The Irish General "first recalls Meagher's life from his boyhood and leadership of Young Ireland in the revolution of 1848, to his exile in Tasmania and escape to New York, where he found fame as an orator and as editor of the "Irish News." He served in the Civil War--viewing the Union Army as training for a future Irish revolutionary force--and rose to the rank of brigadier general leading the famous Irish Brigade. Wylie traces Meagher's military career in detail through the Seven Days battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.
Wylie then recounts Meagher's final years as acting governor of Montana Territory, sorting historical truth from false claims made against him regarding the militia he formed to combat attacking American Indians, and plumbing the mystery surrounding his death.
Even as Meagher is lauded in most Irish histories, his statue in front of Montana's capitol is viewed by some with contempt. "The Irish General" brings this multi-talented but seriously flawed individual to life, offering a balanced picture of the man and a captivating reading experience.
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley was known as the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy" due to its ample harvests and transportation centers, its role as an avenue of invasion into the North and its capacity to serve as a diversionary theater of war. The region became a magnet for both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War, and nearly half of the thirteen major battles fought in the valley occurred as part of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. Civil War historian Jonathan A. Noyalas examines Jackson's Valley Campaign and how those victories brought hope to an infant Confederate nation, transformed the lives of the Shenandoah Valley's civilians and emerged as Stonewall Jackson's defining moment.
During the Civil War, the Second Colorado Volunteer Regiment played a vital and often decisive role in the fight for the Union on the Great Plains - and in the westward expansion of the American empire. Christopher M. Rein's The Second Colorado Cavalry is the first in-depth history of this regiment operating at the nexus of the Civil War and the settlement of the American West. Composed largely of footloose '59ers who raced west to participate in the gold rush in Colorado, the troopers of the Second Colorado repelled Confederate invasions in New Mexico and Indian Territory before wading into the Burned District along the Kansas border, the bloodiest region of the guerilla war in Missouri. In 1865, the regiment moved back out onto the plains, applying what it had learned to peacekeeping operations along the Santa Fe Trail, thus definitively linking the Civil War and the military conquest of the American West in a single act of continental expansion. Emphasizing the cavalry units, whose mobility proved critical in suppressing both Confederate bushwhackers and Indian raiders, Rein tells the neglected tale of the ""fire brigade"" of the Trans-Mississippi Theater - a group of men, and a few women, who enabled the most significant environmental shift in the Great Plains' history: the displacement of Native Americans by Euro-American settlers, the swapping of bison herds for fenced cattle ranges, and the substitution of iron horses for those of flesh and bone. The Second Colorado Cavalry offers us a much-needed history of the ""guerilla hunters"" who helped suppress violence and keep the peace in contested border regions; it adds nuance and complexity to our understanding of the unlikely ""agents of empire"" who successfully transformed the Central Plains.
From the earliest stirrings of southern nationalism to the defeat of the Confederacy, analysis of European nationalist movements played a critical role in how southerners thought about their new southern nation. Southerners argued that because the Confederate nation was cast in the same mold as its European counterparts, it deserved independence. In Newest Born of Nations, Ann Tucker utilizes print sources such as newspapers and magazines to reveal how elite white southerners developed an international perspective on nationhood that helped them clarify their own national values, conceive of the South as distinct from the North, and ultimately define and legitimize the Confederacy. While popular at home, claims to equivalency with European nations failed to resonate with Europeans and northerners, who viewed slavery as incompatible with liberal nationalism. Forced to reevaluate their claims about the international place of southern nationalism, some southerners redoubled their attempts to place the Confederacy within the broader trends of nineteenth-century nationalism. More conservative southerners took a different tack, emphasizing the distinctiveness of their nationalism, claiming that the Confederacy actually purified nationalism through slavery. Southern Unionists likewise internationalized their case for national unity. By examining the evolution of and variation within these international perspectives, Tucker reveals the making of a southern nationhood to be a complex, contested process.
Sounding Forth the Trumpet brings to life one of the most crucial epochs in America's history--the events leading up to and precipitating the Civil War. In this enlightening book, readers live through the Gold Rush, the Mexican War, the skirmishes of Bleeding Kansas, and the emergence of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the tragic issue of slavery.
On May 1, 1865, two weeks after Abraham Lincoln's assassination, recently inaugurated president Andrew Johnson appointed John Frederick Hartranft to command the military prison at the Washington Arsenal, where the U.S. government had just incarcerated the seven men and one woman accused of complicity in the shooting. From that day through the execution of four of the accomplices, the Pennsylvania-born general held responsibility for the most notorious prisoners in American history. A strict adherent to protocol, Hartranft kept a meticulously detailed account of his experiences in the form of a letterbook. In The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators, noted Lincoln scholars Edward Steers, Jr., and Harold Holzer, in partnership with the National Archives, present this fascinating historical record for the first time with contextual materials and expert annotations, providing a remarkable glimpse behind the scenes of the assassination's aftermath.
Hartranft oversaw every aspect of the prisoners' daily lives, from making sure they were fed and kept clean to ensuring that no one communicated with them except on the written orders of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In his Letterbook, Hartranft scrupulously recounts the arrival of each prisoner and describes the prison routine -- which included three simple meals a day, a twice-daily cell inspection by Hartranft himself, and frequent physical examinations by an army physician. The prisoners wore wrist and leg shackles and, controversially, most of them wore special hoods designed to isolate them from their surroundings.
When the conspirators' trial began, the nation waited eagerly for news, and many sought retribution against those they held responsible for the nation's grief. Hartranft resisted calls for both vengeance and mercy and continued to treat his notorious charges as humanely as possible, facilitating meetings with clergy and sending letters to and from family members. Yet, as his detached, detailed description of the execution of four of the conspirators shows, he did not allow emotion to impede the performance of his duty.
The legal and moral issues surrounding the conspirators' trial -- the extraordinary use of military rather than civil justice, the treatment of the accused while incarcerated, the fine line between swift and precipitous justice -- remain volatile, unsettled issues today. Hartranft's keen observations, ably analyzed by historians Steers and Holzer, will add a riveting new chapter to the story of Lincoln's assassination.
The twenty essays collected here explore the Virginia story throughout the Civil War era. Some contributors examine Robert E. Lee and the issues confronting his men, such as soldier morale and religious conversion. Others emphasize the wartime home front--in some cases reexamining its connection with the battlefront--or explore questions of gender, race, or religion. Several essays extend the story into the postwar years and consider various Virginia individuals or groups in the context of the conflict's aftermath. Building on current knowledge, but often contesting conventional thinking, the essays give the most comprehensive view yet of Civil War Virginia and suggest avenues of inquiry that remain to be explored.
Contributors: Ian Binnington * Theodore C. DeLaney * Michael Fellman * Lisa Tendrich Frank * Monte Hampton * Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh * Charles F. Irons * Caroline E. Janney * Suzanne W. Jones * Ervin L. Jordan Jr. * Charles Joyner * Daniel Kilbride * Susanna Michele Lee * Lucinda H. MacKethan * John M. McClure * Amy Feely Morsman * Jason Phillips * David G. Smith * Emory M. Thomas * Peter Wallenstein * Bertram Wyatt-Brown
In this companion to The Life of Johnny Reb, Bell Irvin Wiley explores the daily lives of the men in blue who fought to save the Union. With the help of many soldiers' letters and diaries, Wiley explains who these men were and why they fought, how they reacted to combat and the strain of prolonged conflict, and what they thought about the land and the people of Dixie. This fascinating social history reveals that while the Yanks and the Rebs fought for very different causes, the men on both sides were very much the same.
"This wonderfully interesting book is the finest memorial the Union soldier is ever likely to have.... Wiley] has written about the Northern troops with an admirable objectivity, with sympathy and understanding and profound respect for their fighting abilities. He has also written about them with fabulous learning and considerable pace and humor.
On the evening of February 2, 1864, Confederate Commander John Taylor Wood led 250 sailors in two launches and twelve boats to capture the USS Underwriter, a side-wheel steam gunboat anchored on the Neuse River near New Bern, North Carolina. During the ensuing fifteen-minute battle, nine Union crewmen lost their lives, twenty were wounded, and twenty-six fell into enemy hands. Six Confederates were captured and several wounded as they stripped the vessel, set it ablaze, and blew it up while under fire from Union-held Fort Anderson. The thrilling story of USS Underwriter is one of many involving the numerous shipwrecks that occupy the waters of Civil War history. Many years in the making, W. Craig Gaines's Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks is the definitive account of more than 2,000 of these American Civil War--period sunken ships. From Alabama's USS Althea, a Union steam tug lost while removing a Confederate torpedo in the Blakely River, to Wisconsin's Berlin City, a Union side-wheel steamer stranded in Oshkosh, Gaines provides detailed information about each vessel, including its final location, type, dimensions, tonnage, crew size, armament, origin, registry (Union, Confederate, United States, or other country), casualties, circumstances of loss, salvage operations, and the sources of his findings. Organized alphabetically by geographical location (state, country, or body of water), the book also includes a number of maps providing the approximate locations of many of the wrecks -- ranging from the Americas to Europe, the Arctic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. Also noted are more than forty shipwrecks whose locations are in question.
Since the 1960s, the underwater access afforded by SCUBA gear has allowed divers, historians, treasure hunters, and archaeologists to discover and explore many of the American Civil War-related shipwrecks. In a remarkable feat of historical detective work, Gaines scoured countless sources -- from government and official records to sports diver and treasure-hunting magazines -- and cross-indexes his compilation by each vessel's various names and nicknames throughout its career.
An essential reference work for Civil War scholars and buffs, archaeologists, divers, and aficionados of naval history, Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks revives and preserves for posterity the little-known stories of these intriguing historical artifacts.
"A holistic account of New Jersey's role in the Civil War, throwing light on the state's social divisions before and during the conflict . . . New Jerseyans may have been divided about the great issues of the Civil War, but historians should decidedly appreciate this useful study."-The Journal of American History "Jackson has written a broad overview of New Jersey's participation in the Civil War. . . . Whether looking at the armies in the field or the folks at home, one theme recurs: New Jersey's painful struggle with the issues of race and slavery. It is the thoughtful treatment of this larger slavery] issue that makes this an especially appropriate choice."-Choice The Civil War divided New Jersey just as it did the nation. As a small state sandwiched between two large and powerful neighbors, New Jersey had always enthusiastically supported the creation of a strong central government. On the other hand, many New Jersey citizens did not share the anti-slavery sentiments of the North; they supported property rights of slave owners and believed in the natural inferiority of blacks. Subsequently, when southern states began to secede from the Union to form the Confederacy, New Jerseyans were left divided and confused. William J. Jackson examines the ironies, paradoxes, and contradictions that characterized New Jersey's unique historical role in the war. This is the only book to incorporate social and political history with that of military history and strategy. Civil War aficionados and historians will also welcome Jackson's analysis of the participation of New Jersey African Americans on the home front and in the military. William J. Jackson taught history at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey from 1966 to 1994. Since his retirement, he has led courses on the Civil War in Elderhostel and the ILEAD program at Dartmouth College.
As the day for Lincoln's second inauguration drew near, Americans wondered what their sixteenth president would say about the Civil War. Would Lincoln guide the nation toward "Reconstruction"? What about the slaves? They had been emancipated, but what about the matter of suffrage? When Lincoln finally stood before his fellow countrymen on March 4, 1865, and had only 703 words to share, the American public was stunned. The President had not offered the North a victory speech, nor did he excoriate the South for the sin of slavery. Instead, he called the whole country guilty of the sin and pleaded for reconciliation and unity.
In this compelling account, noted historian Ronald C. White Jr. shows how Lincoln's speech was initially greeted with confusion and hostility by many in the Union; commended by the legions of African Americans in attendance, abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass among them; and ultimately appropriated by his assassin John Wilkes Booth forty-one days later.
Filled with all the facts and factors surrounding the Second Inaugural, "Lincoln's Greatest Speech" is both an important historical document and a thoughtful analysis of Lincoln's moral and rhetorical genius.
Michael Gorra asks provocative questions in this historic portrait of William Faulkner and his world. He explores whether William Faulkner should still be read in this new century and asks what his works tell us about the legacy of slavery and the American Civil War, the central quarrel in America's history. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such iconic novels as Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, creating in Yoknapatawpha County the richest gallery of characters in American fiction, his achievements culminating in the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. But given his works' echo of "Lost Cause" romanticism, his depiction of black characters and black speech, and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed South, Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Interweaving biography, absorbing literary criticism and rich travelogue, The Saddest Words recontextualises Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him, while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.
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