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Few issues created greater consensus among Civil War-era northerners than the belief that the secessionists had committed treason. But as William A. Blair shows in this engaging history, the way politicians, soldiers, and civilians dealt with disloyalty varied widely. Citizens often moved more swiftly than federal agents in punishing traitors in their midst, forcing the government to rethink legal practices and definitions. In reconciling the northern contempt for treachery with a demonstrable record of judicial leniency toward the South, Blair illuminates the other ways that northerners punished perceived traitors, including confiscating slaves, arresting newspaper editors for expressions of free speech, and limiting voting. Ultimately, punishment for treason extended well beyond wartime and into the framework of Reconstruction policies, including the construction of the Fourteenth Amendment. Establishing how treason was defined not just by the Lincoln administration, Congress, and the courts but also by the general public, Blair reveals the surprising implications for North and South alike.
In Confederate Political Economy, Michael Bonner suggests that the Confederate nation was an expedient corporatist state -- a society that required all sectors of the economy to work for the national interest, as defined by a partnership of industrial leaders and a dominant government. As Bonner shows, the characteristics of the Confederate States' political economy included modern organisational methods that mirrored the economic landscape of other late nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century corporatist governments. Southern leaders, Bonner argues, were slave-owning agricultural capitalists who sought a counterrevolution against northern liberal capitalism. During secession and as the war progressed, they built and reinforced Confederate nationalism through specific centralized government policies. Bolstered by the Confederate constitution, these policies evolved into a political culture that allowed for immense executive powers, facilitated an anti-party ideology, and subordinated individual rights. In addition, the South's lack of industrial capacity forced the Confederacy to pursue a curious manufacturing policy that used both private companies and national ownership to produce munitions. This symbiotic relationship was just one component of the Confederacy's expedient corporatist state: other wartime policies like conscription, the domestic passport system, and management of southern railroads also exhibited unmistakable corporatist characteristics. Bonner's probing research and new comparative analysis expand our understanding of the complex organisation and relationships in Confederate political and economic culture during the Civil War.
Most histories of Civil War Texas - some starring the fabled Hood's Brigade, Terry's Texas Rangers, or one or another military figure - depict the Lone Star State as having joined the Confederacy as a matter of course and as having later emerged from the war relatively unscathed. Yet as the contributors to this volume amply demonstrate, the often neglected stories of Texas Unionists and dissenters paint a far more complicated picture. Ranging in time from the late 1850s to the end of Reconstruction, Lone Star Unionism, Dissent, and Resistance restores a missing layer of complexity to the history of Civil War Texas. The authors - all noted scholars of Texas and Civil War history - show that slaves, freedmen and freedwomen, Tejanos, German immigrants, and white women all took part in the struggle, even though some never found themselves on a battlefield. Their stories depict the Civil War as a conflict not only between North and South but also between neighbors, friends, and family members. By framing their stories in the analytical context of the ""long Civil War,"" Lone Star Unionism, Dissent, and Resistance reveals how friends and neighbors became enemies and how the resulting violence, often at the hands of secessionists, crossed racial and ethnic lines. The chapters also show how ex-Confederates and their descendants, as well as former slaves, sought to give historical meaning to their experiences and find their place as citizens of the newly re-formed nation. Concluding with an account of the origins of Juneteenth - the nationally celebrated holiday marking June 19, 1865, when emancipation was announced in Texas - Lone Star Unionism, Dissent, and Resistance challenges the collective historical memory of Civil War Texas and its place in both the Confederacy and the United States. It provides material for a fresh narrative, one including people on the margins of history and dispelling the myth of a monolithically Confederate Texas.
From the time of the American Revolution, most junior officers in the American military attained their positions through election by the volunteer soldiers in their company, a tradition that reflected commitment to democracy even in times of war. By the outset of the Civil War, citizen-officers had fallen under sharp criticism from career military leaders who decried their lack of discipline and efficiency in battle. Andrew S. Bledsoe's Citizen-Officers explores the role of the volunteer officer corps during the Civil War and the unique leadership challenges they faced when military necessity clashed with the antebellum democratic values of volunteer soldiers. Bledsoe's innovative evaluation of the lives and experiences of nearly 2,600 Union and Confederate company-grade junior officers from every theater of operations across four years of war reveals the intense pressures placed on these young leaders. Despite their inexperience and sometimes haphazard training in formal military maneuvers and leadership, citizen-officers frequently faced their first battles already in command of a company. These intense and costly encounters forced the independent, civic-minded volunteer soldiers to recognise the need for military hierarchy and to accept their place within it. Thus concepts of American citizenship, republican traditions in American life, and the brutality of combat shaped, and were in turn shaped by, the attitudes and actions of citizen-officers. Through an analysis of wartime writings, post-war reminiscences, company and regimental papers, census records, and demographic data, Citizen-Officers illuminates the centrality of the volunteer officer to the Civil War and to evolving narratives of American identity and military service.
As the sectional crisis gripped the United States, the rancor increasingly spread to the halls of Congress. Preston Brooks's frenzied assault on Charles Sumner was perhaps the most notorious evidence of the dangerous divide between proslavery Democrats and the new antislavery Republican Party. But as disunion loomed, rifts within the majority Democratic Party were every bit as consequential. And nowhere was the fracture more apparent than in the raging debates between Illinois's Stephen Douglas and Mississippi's Jefferson Davis. As leaders of the Democrats' northern and southern factions before the Civil War, their passionate conflict of words and ideas has been overshadowed by their opposition to Abraham Lincoln. But here, weaving together biography and political history, Michael E. Woods restores Davis and Douglas's fatefully entwined lives and careers to the center of the Civil War era. Operating on personal, partisan, and national levels, Woods traces the deep roots of Democrats' internal strife, with fault lines drawn around fundamental questions of property rights and majority rule. Neither belief in white supremacy nor expansionist zeal could reconcile Douglas and Davis's factions as their constituents formed their own lines in the proverbial soil of westward expansion. The first major reinterpretation of the Democratic Party's internal schism in more than a generation, Arguing until Doomsday shows how two leading antebellum politicians ultimately shattered their party and hastened the coming of the Civil War.
Patrick Henry Jones's obituary vowed that ""his memory shall not fade among men."" Yet in little more than a century, history has largely forgotten Jones's considerable accomplishments in the Civil War and the Gilded Age that followed. In this masterful biography, Mark H. Dunkelman resurrects Jones's story and restores him to his rightful standing as an exceptional military officer and influential politician of nineteenth-century America. Patrick Henry Jones (1830-1900), a poor Irish immigrant, began his career in journalism before gaining admittance to the New York bar. When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Jones volunteered for service in the Union Army. He rose steadily through the ranks of the 37th New York, became general of the 154th New York, and eventually attained the rank of brigadier general. Jones was one of only twelve native Irishmen ever to attain that rank in the federal forces. When the war ended, Jones's reputation as a military hero gave him an entry into politics under the mentorship of editor Horace Greeley and politician Reuben E. Fenton. He served in both elective and appointed offices in the state of New York, navigating the corruptions, scandals, and political upheavals of the Golden Age. Ultimately, his entanglement with one of the most sensational crimes of his era-a high-profile grave-robbing from the cemetery of St. Mark's Church-tainted his name and ruined his once-respectable career. In the first full-length biographical account of this important figure, Patrick Henry Jones tells the quintessentially American story of an immigrant who overcame both his humble origins and the rampant xenophobia of mid-nineteenth-century America to achieve a level of prominence equaled by few of his peers.
The familiar story of the Civil War tells of a predominately agricultural South pitted against a rapidly industrializing North. However, Adam Wesley Dean argues that the Republican Party's political ideology was fundamentally agrarian. Believing that small farms owned by families for generations led to a model society, Republicans supported a northern agricultural ideal in opposition to southern plantation agriculture, which destroyed the land's productivity, required constant western expansion, and produced an elite landed gentry hostile to the Union. Dean shows how agrarian republicanism shaped the debate over slavery's expansion, spurred the creation of the Department of Agriculture and the passage of the Homestead Act, and laid the foundation for the development of the earliest nature parks. Spanning the long nineteenth century, Dean's study analyzes the changing debate over land development as it transitioned from focusing on the creation of a virtuous and orderly citizenry to being seen primarily as a ""civilizing"" mission. By showing Republicans as men and women with backgrounds in small farming, Dean unveils new connections between seemingly separate historical events, linking this era's views of natural and manmade environments with interpretations of slavery and land policy.
When Louisiana seceded from the Union on January 26, 1861, no one doubted that a battle to control the Mississippi River was imminent. Throughout the war, the Federals pushed their way up the river. Every port and city seemed to fall against the force of the Union Navy. The capitol was forced to retreat from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. Many of the smaller towns, like Bayou Sara and Donaldsonville, were nearly shelled completely off the map. It was not until the Union reached Port Hudson that the Confederates had a fighting chance to keep control of the mighty Mississippi. They fought long and hard, under supplied and under manned, but ultimately the Union prevailed.
The Enigmatic South brings together leading scholars of the Civil War period to challenge existing perceptions of the advance to secession, the Civil War, and its aftermath. The pioneering research and innovative arguments of these historians bring crucial insights to the study of this era in American history. Christopher Childers, Sarah L. Hyde, and Julia Huston Nguyen consider the ways politics, religion, and education contributed to southern attitudes toward secession in the antebellum period. George C. Rable, Paul F. Paskoff, and John M. Sacher delve into the challenges the Confederate South faced as it sought legitimacy for its cause and military strength for the coming war with the North. Richard Follett, Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., and Eric H. Walther offer new perspectives on the changes the Civil War wrought on the economic and ideological landscape of the South. The essays in The Enigmatic South speak eloquently to previously unconsidered aspects and legacies of the Civil War and make a major contribution to our understanding of the rich history of a conflict whose aftereffects still linger in American culture and memory.
The outcomes of campaigns in the Civil War often depended on top generals having the right corps commanders in the right place at the right time. Mutual trust and respect between generals and their corps commanders, though vital to military success, was all too rare: Corps commanders were often forced to exercise considerable discretion in the execution of orders from their generals, and bitter public arguments over commanders' performances in battle followed hard on the heels of many major engagements. Controversies that arose during the war around the decisions of corps and army commanders-such as Daniel Sickles's disregard of George Meade's orders at the Battle of Gettysburg-continue to provoke vigorous debate among students of the Civil War. Corps Commanders in Blue offers eight case studies that illuminate the critical roles the Union corps commanders played in shaping the war's course and outcome. The contributors examine, and in many cases challenge, widespread assumptions about these men while considering the array of internal and external forces that shaped their efforts on and off the battlefield. Providing insight into the military conduct of the Civil War, Corps Commanders in Blue fills a significant gap in the historiography of the war by offering compelling examinations of the challenges of corps command in particular campaigns, the men who exercised that command, and the array of factors that shaped their efforts, for good or for ill.
More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War, scores of websites, articles, and organizations repeat claims that anywhere between 500 and 100,000 free and enslaved African Americans fought willingly as soldiers in the Confederate army. But as Kevin M. Levin argues in this carefully researched book, such claims would have shocked anyone who served in the army during the war itself. Levin explains that imprecise contemporary accounts, poorly understood primary-source material, and other misrepresentations helped fuel the rise of the black Confederate myth. Moreover, Levin shows that belief in the existence of black Confederate soldiers largely originated in the 1970s, a period that witnessed both a significant shift in how Americans remembered the Civil War and a rising backlash against African Americans' gains in civil rights and other realms. Levin also investigates the roles that African Americans actually performed in the Confederate army, including personal body servants and forced laborers. He demonstrates that regardless of the dangers these men faced in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield, their legal status remained unchanged. Even long after the guns fell silent, Confederate veterans and other writers remembered these men as former slaves and not as soldiers, an important reminder that how the war is remembered often runs counter to history.
The Arkansas River Valley is one of the most fertile regions in the South. During the Civil War, the river also served as a vital artery for moving troops and supplies. In 1863 the battle to wrest control of the valley was, in effect, a battle for the state itself. In spite of its importance, however, this campaign is often overshadowed by the siege of Vicksburg. Now Mark K. Christ offers the first detailed military assessment of parallel events in Arkansas, describing their consequences for both Union and Confederate powers.
Christ analyzes the campaign from military and political perspectives to show how events in 1863 affected the war on a larger scale. His lively narrative incorporates eyewitness accounts to tell how new Union strategy in the Trans-Mississippi theater enabled the capture of Little Rock, taking the state out of Confederate control for the rest of the war. He draws on rarely used primary sources to describe key engagements at the tactical level--particularly the battles at Arkansas Post, Helena, and Pine Bluff, which cumulatively marked a major turning point in the Trans-Mississippi.
In addition to soldiers' letters and diaries, Christ weaves civilian voices into the story--especially those of women who had to deal with their altered fortunes--and so fleshes out the human dimensions of the struggle. Extensively researched and compellingly told, Christ's account demonstrates the war's impact on Arkansas and fills a void in Civil War studies.
This magisterial study, ten years in the making by one of the field's most distinguished historians, will be the first to explore the impact fugitive slaves had on the politics of the critical decade leading up to the Civil War. Through the close reading of diverse sources ranging from government documents to personal accounts, Richard J. M. Blackett traces the decisions of slaves to escape, the actions of those who assisted them, the many ways black communities responded to the capture of fugitive slaves, and how local laws either buttressed or undermined enforcement of the federal law. Every effort to enforce the law in northern communities produced levels of subversion that generated national debate so much so that, on the eve of secession, many in the South, looking back on the decade, could argue that the law had been effectively subverted by those individuals and states who assisted fleeing slaves.
The Civil War divided the nation, communities, and families. The
town of Batesville, Arkansas, found itself occupied three times by
the Union army. This compelling book gives a unique perspective on
the war's western edge through the diary of Mary Adelia Byers
(1847-1918), who began recording her thoughts and observations
during the Union occupation of Batesville in 1862.
While a political refugee in London, former Confederate general John G. Walker wrote a history of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. Walker's account, composed shortly after the war and unpublished until now, remains one of only two memoirs by high-ranking Confederate officials who fought in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Edited and expertly annotated by Richard Lowe -- author of the definitive history of Walker's Texas division -- the general's insightful narrative describes firsthand his experience and many other military events west of the great river.
Before assuming command of a division of Texas infantry in early 1863, Walker earned the approval of Robert E. Lee for his leadership at the Battle of Antietam. Indeed, Lee later expressed regret at the transfer of Walker from the Army of Northern Virginia to the Trans-Mississippi Department. As the leader of the Texas Division (known later as the Greyhound Division for its long, rapid marches across Louisiana and Arkansas), Walker led an attempt to relieve the great Confederate fortress at Vicksburg during the siege by the Federal army in the spring and summer of 1863. Ordered to attack Ulysses Grant's forces on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Walker unleashed a furious assault on black and white Union troops stationed at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana. The encounter was only the second time in American history that organized regiments of African American troops fought in a pitched battle. After the engagement, Walker realized the great potential of black regiments for the Union cause.
Walker's Texans later fought at the battle of Bayou Bourbeau in south Louisiana, where they helped to turn back a Federal attempt to attack Texas via an overland route from New Orleans. In the winter of 1863--1864, Walker's infantry and artillery disrupted Union shipping on the Mississippi River. According to Lowe, the Greyhound Division's crucial role in throwing back the Union's 1864 Red River Campaign remains its greatest accomplishment. Walker led his men on a marathon operation in which they marched about nine hundred miles and fought three large battles in ten weeks, a feat unmatched by any other division -- Union or Confederate -- in the war. General Walker's history stands as a testament to his skilled leadership and provides an engaging primary source document for scholars, students, and others interested in Civil War history.
Land and Labor, 1866-1867 examines the remaking of the South's labor system in the tumultuous aftermath of emancipation. Using documents selected from the National Archives, this volume of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation depicts the struggle of unenfranchised and impoverished ex-slaves to control their own labor, establish their families as viable economic units, and secure independent possession of land. Among the topics addressed are the dispossession of settlers in the Sherman reserve, the reordering of labor on plantation and farm, nonagricultural labor, new relations of credit and debt, long-distance labor migration, and the efforts of former slaves to rent, purchase, and homestead land. The documents--many of them in the freed people's own words--speak eloquently for themselves, while the editors' interpretive essays provide context and illuminate major themes.
In The Politics of Faith, Timothy L. Wesley examines the engagement of both northern and southern preachers in politics during the American Civil War, revealing an era of denominational, governmental, and public scrutiny of religious leaders. Controversial ministers risked ostracism within the local community, censure from church leaders, and arrests by provost marshals or local police. In contested areas of the Upper Confederacy and Border Union, ministers occasionally faced deadly violence for what they said or would not say from their pulpits. Even silence on political issues did not guarantee a preacher s security, as both sides arrested clergymen who defied the dictates of civil and military authorities by refusing to declare their loyalty in sermons or to pray for the designated nation, army, or president. The generation that fought the Civil War lived in arguably the most sacralized culture in the history of the United States. The participation of church members in the public arena meant that ministers wielded great authority. Wesley outlines the scope of that influence and considers, conversely, the feared outcomes of its abuse. By treating ministers as both individual men of conscience and leaders of religious communities, Wesley reveals that the reticence of otherwise loyal ministers to bring politics into the pulpit often grew not out of partisan concerns but out of doctrinal, historical, and local factors. The Politics of Faith sheds new light on the political motivations of homefront clergymen during wartime, revealing how and why the Civil War stands as the nation s first concerted campaign to check the ministry s freedom of religious expression.
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