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This second, updated edition of the acclaimed A Field Guide to Gettysburg will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Both Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler are themselves experienced guides who understand what visitors to Gettysburg are interested in, but they also bring the unique perspectives of a scholar and a former army officer. Divided into three day-long tours, this newly improved and expanded edition offers important historical background and context for the reader while providing answers to six key questions: What happened here? Who fought here? Who commanded here? Who fell here? Who lived here? And what did the participants have to say about it later? With new stops, maps, and illustrations, the second edition of A Field Guide to Gettysburg remains the most comprehensive guide to the events and history of this pivotal battle of the Civil War.
Serving both as home to the Confederacy's capital, Richmond, and as the war's primary battlefield, Virginia held a unique place in the American Civil War, while also witnessing the privations and hardships that marked life in all corners of the Confederacy. Yet despite an overwhelming literature on the battles that raged across the state and the armies and military leaders involved, few works have examined Virginia as a distinctive region during the conflict. In ""Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration"", Edward L. Ayers, Gary W. Gallagher, and Andrew J. Torget together with other scholars, offer an illuminating portrait of the state's wartime economic, political, and social institutions. Weighing in on contentious issues within established scholarship while also breaking ground in areas long neglected by scholars, several of the essays examine such concerns as the war's effect on slavery in the state, the wartime intersection of race and religion, and the development of Confederate social networks. Other contributions shed light on topics long disputed by historians, such as Virginia's decision to secede from the Union, the development of Confederate nationalism, and how Virginians chose to remember the war after its close. For anyone interested in Virginia during the Civil War, ""Crucible of the Civil War"" offers new ways to approach the study of the most important state in the Confederacy during the bloodiest war in American history.
Most Americans think of the Civil War as a series of dramatic clashes between massive armies led by romantic-seeming leaders. But in the Appalachian communities of North Georgia, things were very different. Focusing on Fannin and Lumpkin counties in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Georgia's northern border, A Separate Civil War: Communities in Conflict in the Mountain South argues for a more localized, idiosyncratic understanding of this momentous period in our nation's history. The book reveals that, for many participants, this war was fought less for abstract ideological causes than for reasons tied to home, family, friends, and community.
Making use of a large trove of letters, diaries, interviews, government documents, and sociological data, Jonathan Dean Sarris brings to life a previously obscured version of our nation's most divisive and destructive war. From the outset, the prospect of secession and war divided Georgia's mountain communities along the lines of race and religion, and war itself only heightened these tensions. As the Confederate government began to draft men into the army and seize supplies from farmers, many mountaineers became more disaffected still. They banded together in armed squads, fighting off Confederate soldiers, state militia, and their own pro-Confederate neighbors. A local civil war ensued, with each side seeing the other as a threat to law, order, and community itself. In this very personal conflict, both factions came to dehumanize their enemies and use methods that shocked even seasoned soldiers with their savagery. But when the war was over in 1865, each faction sought to sanitize the past and integrate its stories into the national myths later popularized about the Civil War. By arguing that the reason for choosing sides had more to do with local concerns than with competing ideologies or social or political visions, Sarris adds a much-needed complication to the question of why men fought in the Civil War.
"They say I'm a Yankee -- but if wanting peace is Yankee -- then "I am one." I am tired of "Disunion" of husband & wife."
In 1858, nineteen-year-old Priscilla "Mittie" Munnikhuysen began a new diary that saw her marry, leave her family in the genteel Protestant seaboard culture of Chesapeake Bay, and take up residence with her wealthy husband, Howard Bond, in the frontier plantation society of Catholicsouth Louisiana. By 1865, Priscilla Bond had witnessed trials and disillusionments enough to fill a two-volume journal: her father-in-law's brutality toward his slaves; her husband's alleged ambush of Union soldiers and subsequent flight from home; the retaliatory burning of the family's sugar plantation in Houma; and the losses, horrors, and daily depredations of war.
Published here for the first time, with extensive notes and a critical introduction by Kimberly Harrison, Bond's intimate writings illuminate the Civil War's impact on women, families, and individual identities. Occasionally Bond records her experiences for the benefit of later readers, but more often she uses her diary to carve a space and time for self-reflection, self-instruction, and self-persuasion. Nineteenth-century women's lives were defined by their relation to others -- as wife, mother, daughter, and sister -- and keeping a diary allowed Bond to claim time for herself. It served as a rhetorical tool that helped motivate her to conform to contemporary standards of "true womanhood," adapt to a harsh new environment, and survive the collapse of a civilization.
Harrison's interpretive commentary enables readers to appreciate the context within which Bond writes even as entries about everything from marital anguish to in-law difficulties to religious struggles to failing health bring Priscilla Bond uniquely and movingly to life. Her diary, deftly cross-referenced with numerous letters, adds a valuable and enriching layer of complexity to the larger story of the Civil War home front.
One of the most influential philosophers of liberalism turns his attention to the complexity of Lincoln s political thought. At the center of Lincoln s career is an intense passion for equality, a passion that runs so deep in the speeches, messages, and letters that it has the force of religious conviction for Lincoln. George Kateb examines these writings to reveal that this passion explains Lincoln s reverence for both the Constitution and the Union.
The abolition of slavery was not originally a tenet of Lincoln s political religion. He affirmed almost to the end of his life that the preservation of the Union was more important than ending slavery. This attitude was consistent with his judgment that at the founding, the agreement to incorporate slaveholding into the Constitution, and thus secure a Constitution, was more vital to the cause of equality than struggling to keep slavery out of the new nation. In Kateb s reading, Lincoln destroys the Constitution twice, by suspending it as a wartime measure and then by enacting the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. The first instance was an effort to save the Constitution; the second was an effort to transform it, by making it answer the Declaration s promises of equality.
The man who emerges in Kateb s account proves himself adequate to the most terrible political situation in American history. Lincoln s political life, however, illustrates the unsettling truth that in democratic politics perhaps in all politics it is nearly impossible to do the right thing for the right reasons, honestly stated."
Nearly two-thirds of the Civil War's approximately 750,000 fatalities were caused by disease--a staggering fact for which the American medical profession was profoundly unprepared. In the years before the war, training for physicians in the United States was mostly unregulated, and medical schools' access to cadavers for teaching purposes was highly restricted. Shauna Devine argues that in spite of these limitations, Union army physicians rose to the challenges of the war, undertaking methods of study and experimentation that would have a lasting influence on the scientific practice of medicine. Though the war's human toll was tragic, conducting postmortems on the dead and caring for the wounded gave physicians ample opportunity to study and develop new methods of treatment and analysis, from dissection and microscopy to new research into infectious disease processes. Examining the work of doctors who served in the Union Medical Department, Devine sheds new light on how their innovations in the midst of crisis transformed northern medical education and gave rise to the healing power of modern health science.
In The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience (1970) and The Confederate Nation (1979), Emory Thomas redefined the field of Civil War history and reconceptualized the Confederacy as a unique entity fighting a war for survival. Today scholars continue to build on Thomas's work. Inside the Confederate Nation honors his enormous contributions to the field with fresh interpretations of all aspects of Confederate life--nationalism and identity, family and gender, battlefront and homefront, race, and postwar legacies and memories. Many of the volume's twenty essays focus on individuals, households, communities, and particular regions of the South, highlighting the sheer variety of circumstances southerners faced over the course of the war. Other chapters explore the public and private dilemmas confronted by diplomats, policy makers, journalists, and soldiers within the new nation. All of the essays attempt to explain the place of southerners within the Confederacy, how they came to see themselves and others differently because of the new nation, and the disparities between their expectations and reality. Contributors include James M. McPherson, William C. Davis, Joseph T. Glatthaar, and many other prominent and rising scholars. This exciting new collection continues the interpretive debates Thomas's work first inspired thirty-five years ago, affirming his lasting influence on Civil War history.
Between Freedom and Progress recovers and analyses the global imaginings of Reconstruction's partisans, those who struggled over and with Reconstruction, as they vied with one another to define the nature of their country after the Civil War. The remarkable technological and commercial transformations of the mid-nineteenth century, in particular, steam engines, telegraphs, and an expanded commercial printing capacity, created a constant stream of news, description, and storytelling from across and beyond the nation. Reconstruction's partisans contended with each other to make sense of this information, motivated by intense political antagonism combined with a shared but contested set of ideas about freedom and progress. As writers, lecturers, editors, travelers, moral reformers, racists, abolitionists, politicians, suffragists, soldiers, and diplomats, Reconstruction's partisans made competing claims about their place in the world. Understanding how, why, and when they did so helps ground our understanding of Reconstruction, itself a mysterious, transatlantic term, in its own intellectual context. Three factors proved pivotal to the making of Reconstruction's world. First, from 1865 to the early 1870s, the interconnected issues of how to remake the Union and how to remake the South exerted a powerful hold on federal politics, defining the partisan landscape and inspiring rival arguments about what was possible and what was good. The daunting nature of these issues created a sense of crisis across the political spectrum, with political discourse ranging in tone from combative to euphoric to apocalyptic. Second, though domestic in nature, these issues were refracted through two broadly held beliefs: that the causes of freedom and progress defined history and that distinctive peoples with their own characters composed the world's population. These beliefs produced a disposition to think of developments from across and beyond the United States as essentially relatable to each other, encouraging an intellectual style that favoured wide-ranging comparisons. Third, far from being confined to the elite, this mode of thinking and arguing about the world lived and breathed in public texts that were produced and consumed on a weekly and daily basis. This commercialised and politicised world of mass publishing was highly unequal in structure and content, but it was also impressively vibrant and popular. Together, these three factors made the world of Reconstruction a global landscape of information, argumentation, and imagination that derived much of its vigor from domestic political battles.
Much of the confusion about a central event in United States history begins with the name: the Civil War. In reality, the Civil War was not merely civil--meaning national--and not merely a war, but instead an international conflict of ideas as well as armies. Its implications transformed the U.S. Constitution and reshaped a world order, as political and economic systems grounded in slavery and empire clashed with the democratic process of republican forms of government. And it spilled over national boundaries, tying the United States together with Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Britain, and France in a struggle over the future of slavery and of republics. Here Gregory P. Downs argues that we can see the Civil War anew by understanding it as a revolution. More than a fight to preserve the Union and end slavery, the conflict refashioned a nation, in part by remaking its Constitution. More than a struggle of brother against brother, it entailed remaking an Atlantic world that centered in surprising ways on Cuba and Spain. Downs introduces a range of actors not often considered as central to the conflict but clearly engaged in broader questions and acts they regarded as revolutionary. This expansive canvas allows Downs to describe a broad and world-shaking war with implications far greater than often recognized.
During a career as both a lawyer and a Supreme Court justice, Benjamin R. Curtis addressed practically every major constitutional question of the mid-nineteenth century, making judgments that still resonate in American law. Aside from a family memoir written by his brother over one hundred years ago, however, no book-length treatment of Curtis exists. Now Stuart Streichler has filled this gap in judicial biography, using Curtis's life and work as a window on the most serious constitutional crisis in American history, the Civil War.
Curtis was the lead attorney for President Andrew Johnson in the Senate's impeachment trial, where he delivered the pivotal argument, and his was an influential voice in the pervasive constitutional struggle between states and the federal government. He is best remembered, however, for dissenting in the Dred Scott case, in which he disputed Chief Justice Taney's proslavery ruling that no black person could ever become a citizen of the United States. In the wake of the decision, Curtis resigned from the court, the only justice in the Supreme Court's history to do so on grounds of principle. Yet he also clashed with Boston's abolitionists over enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act, and he opposed the Emancipation Proclamation.
In a period when the Constitution was radically transformed from a charter that protected slavery to one that granted all persons equal rights of citizenship, Justice Curtis maintained his faith in the Constitution as an adaptable instrument of self-government and tried to mark out a path for gradual change. Streichler assesses Curtis's common-law methods in the context of his divisive times and shows how the judge's views continue to shed light on issues that have become once again relevant, such as the presidential impeachment process and, after 9/11, the use of military tribunals to try civilians.
On the eve of the American Civil War, Wade Hampton, one of the wealthiest men in the South and indeed the United States, remained loyal to his native South Carolina as it seceded from the Union. Raising his namesake Hampton Legion of soldiers, he eventually became a lieutenant general of Confederate cavalry after the death of the legendary J. E. B. Stuart. Hampton's highly capable, but largely unheralded, military leadership has long needed a modern treatment. After the war, Hampton returned to South Carolina, where chaos and violence reigned as Northern carpetbaggers, newly freed slaves, and disenfranchised white Southerners battled for political control of the devastated economy. As Reconstruction collapsed, Hampton was elected governor in the contested election of 1876 in which both the governorship of South Carolina and the American presidency hung in the balance. While aspects of Hampton's rise to power remain controversial, under his leadership stability returned to state government and rampant corruption was brought under control. Hampton then served in the U.S. Senate from 1879 to 1891, eventually losing his seat to a henchman of notorious South Carolina governor "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, whose blatantly segregationist grassroots politics would supplant Hampton's genteel paternalism. In "Wade Hampton," Walter Brian Cisco provides a comprehensively researched, highly readable, and long-overdue treatment of a man whose military and political careers had a significant impact upon not only South Carolina, but America. Focusing on all aspects of Hampton's life, Cisco has written the definitive military-political overview of this fascinating man. Winner of the 2006 Douglas SouthallFreeman Award.
In this landmark book, Daniel Crofts examines a little-known episode in the most celebrated aspect of Abraham Lincoln's life: his role as the "Great Emancipator." Lincoln always hated slavery, but he also believed it to be legal where it already existed, and he never imagined fighting a war to end it. In 1861, as part of a last-ditch effort to preserve the Union and prevent war, the new president even offered to accept a constitutional amendment that barred Congress from interfering with slavery in the slave states. Lincoln made this key overture in his first inaugural address. Crofts unearths the hidden history and political maneuvering behind the stillborn attempt to enact this amendment, the polar opposite of the actual Thirteenth Amendment of 1865 that ended slavery. This compelling book sheds light on an overlooked element of Lincoln's statecraft and presents a relentlessly honest portrayal of America's most admired president. Crofts rejects the view advanced by some Lincoln scholars that the wartime momentum toward emancipation originated well before the first shots were fired. Lincoln did indeed become the "Great Emancipator," but he had no such intention when he first took office. Only amid the crucible of combat did the war to save the Union become a war for freedom.
The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862, and still standsas the bloodiest single day in American military history. Additionally, inits aftermath, President Abraham Lincoln issued his famous EmancipationProclamation. In this engaging, easy-to-use guide, Carol Reardon and TomVossler allow visitors to understand this crucial Civil War battle in finedetail. Abundantly illustrated with maps and historical and modern photographs,A Field Guide to Antietam explores twenty-one sites on and near thebattlefield where significant action occurred. Combining crisp narrative andrich historical context, each stop in the book is structured around the followingquestions: What happened here? Who fought here? Who commanded here? Who fell here? Who lived here? How did participants remember the events? With accessible presentation and fresh interpretations of primary andsecondary evidence, this is an absolutely essential guide to Antietam and itslasting legacy.
Winner: Richard Barksdale Harwell Award On a cold day in early January 1864, Robert E. Lee wrote to Confederate president Jefferson Davis "The time is at hand when, if an attempt can be made to capture the enemy's forces at New Berne, it should be done." Over the next few months, Lee's dispatch would precipitate a momentous series of events as the Confederates, threatened by a supply crisis and an emerging peace movement, sought to seize Federal bases in eastern North Carolina. This book tells the story of these operations-the late war Confederate resurgence in the Old North State. Using rail lines to rapidly consolidate their forces, the Confederates would attack the main Federal position at New Bern in February, raid the northeastern counties in March, hit the Union garrisons at Plymouth and Washington in late April, and conclude with another attempt at New Bern in early May. The expeditions would involve joint-service operations, as the Confederates looked to support their attacks with powerful, homegrown ironclad gunboats. These offensives in early 1864 would witness the failures and successes of southern commanders including George Pickett, James Cooke, and a young, aggressive North Carolinian named Robert Hoke. Likewise they would challenge the leadership of Union army and naval officers such as Benjamin Butler, John Peck, and Charles Flusser. Newsome does not neglect the broader context, revealing how these military events related to a contested gubernatorial election; the social transformations in the state brought on by the war; the execution of Union prisoners at Kinston; and the activities of North Carolina Unionists. Lee's January proposal triggered one of the last successful Confederate offensives. The Fight for the Old North State captures the full scope, as well as the dramatic details of this struggle for North Carolina.
During the Civil War, neither the Union nor the Confederate army could have operated without effective transportation systems. Moving men, supplies, and equipment required coordination on a massive scale, and Earl J. Hess's Civil War Logistics offers the first comprehensive analysis of this vital process. Utilizing an enormous array of reports, dispatches, and personal accounts by quartermasters involved in transporting war materials, Hess reveals how each conveyance system operated as well as the degree to which both armies accomplished their logistical goals. In a society just realizing the benefits of modern travel technology, both sides of the conflict faced challenges in maintaining national and regional lines of transportation. Union and Confederate quartermasters used riverboats, steamers, coastal shipping, railroads, wagon trains, pack trains, cattle herds, and their soldiers in the long and complicated chain that supported the military operations of their forces. Soldiers in blue and gray alike tried to destroy the transportation facilities of their enemy, firing on river boats and dismantling rails to disrupt opposing supply lines while defending their own means of transport. According to Hess, Union logistical efforts proved far more successful than Confederate attempts to move and supply its fighting forces, due mainly to the North's superior administrative management and willingness to seize transportation resources when needed. As the war went on, the Union's protean system grew in complexity, size, and efficiency, while that of the Confederates steadily declined in size and effectiveness until it hardly met the needs of its army. Indeed, Hess concludes that in its use of all types of military transportation, the Federal government far surpassed its opponent and thus laid the foundation for Union victory in the Civil War.
While the Civil War raged in the East and South, Dakota Indians in Minnesota erupted violently into action against white settlers, igniting the tragic Dakota War of 1862. Hemmed in on a narrow reservation along the upper Minnesota River, the Dakota (Sioux) were frustrated by broken treaties, angered by dishonest agents and traders, and near starvation because of crop failures and late annuity payments. Led by Little Crow, Dakota warriors attacked the Redwood and Yellow Medicine Indian agencies and all whites living on their former lands in south-western Minnesota. They killed more than 450 whites and took some 250 white and mixed-blood prisoners during the 38-day conflict. White civilians and military units commanded by Henry H. Sibley defended towns and forts, pursued warriors, and eventually forced the Indians to surrender or flee westward. The penalties imposed by vengeful whites were swift and devastating. The federal government hanged 38 Dakota men in the largest mass execution in US history, 300 were imprisoned, and the Dakota people were banished from the state. This is the most accessible and balanced account available which draws on a wealth of written and visual materials by white and Indian participants and observers to show the sources of the Dakotas' justified and bitter wrath -- and the terrible consequences of the conflict.
Expelled from occupied New Orleans by Federal forces after refusing to pledge loyalty to the Union, Henri Garidel remained in exile from his home and family from 1863 to 1865. Lonely, homesick, and alienated, the French-Catholic Garidel, a clerk in the Confederate Bureau of Ordnance, was a complete outsider in the wartime capital of Richmond.
In his faithfully kept diary, Garidel relates the trials and discomforts--physical, emotional, spiritual, and professional--of life in a city entirely foreign to him. Civil War Richmonders were predominantly white, evangelical Protestants in a relatively small, insular city. His living quarters devolved from a private home shared with his family in cosmopolitan New Orleans to a cramped, cold rooming house away from everything familiar.
Trapped in Richmond for the last two years of the conflict and a witness to the eventual Federal occupation of the city, Garidel made daily entries that offer a striking and realistic blend of Southern domestic and political life during the Civil War. From his candid remarks about slavery and race, gender issues, military history, immigration, social class and structure, and religion, Henri Garidel's readers gain a revealing human picture of a major turning point in American history.
William Wiley was typical of most soldiers who served in the armies of the North and South during the Civil War. A poorly educated farmer from Peoria, he enlisted in the summer of 1862 in the 77th Illinois Infantry, a unit that participated in most of the major campaigns waged in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama. Recognizing that the great conflict would be a defining experience in his life, Wiley attempted to maintain a diary during his years of service. Frequent illnesses kept him from the ranks for extended periods of time, and he filled the many gaps in his diary after the war. When viewed as a postwar memoir rather than a period diary, Wiley's narrative assumes great importance as it weaves a fascinating account of the army life of Billy Yank.
Rather than focus on the noble and heroic aspects of war, Wiley reveals how basic the lives of most soldiers actually were. He describes at length his experiences with sickness, both on land and at sea, and the monotony of daily military life. He seldom mentions army leaders, evidence of how little private soldiers knew of them or the larger drama in which they played a part. Instead, he writes fondly of his small circle of regimental friends, fills his pages with refreshing anecdotes, records troop movements, details contact with civilians, and describes the appearance of the countryside through which he passed. In the epilogue, Terrence J. Winschel recounts Wiley's complex and often frustrating struggle to obtain his military pension after the war.
Wiley was an ingenious misspeller, and his words are transcribed just as he wrote them more than 130 years ago. Through his simple language, we come to know and care for this common man who made a common soldier. His story transcends the barriers of time and distance, and places the reader in the midst of men who experienced both the horror and the tedium of war.
Winschel's rich annotation fleshes out Wiley's narrative and provides an enlightening historical perspective. Scholars and buffs alike, especially those fascinated by operations in the lower Mississippi Valley and along the Gulf Coast, will relish Wiley's honest portrait of the ordinary serviceman's Civil War.
That the Confederacy in its waning days frantically turned to the idea of arming slaves has long been known by all close students of the Civil War. Yet the more explosive, if unexamined, issue before the southern people and leaders in this last great crisis was whether or not the South itself should initiate a program of emancipation as part of a plan to recruit black soldiers. Jefferson Davis and other leaders, including Robert E. Lee, attempted to force the South to face the desperate alternative of sacrificing one of its war aims- the preservation of slavery- in order to achieve the other- an independent southern nation. In The Gray and the Black, Robert F. Durden reconstructs this intensely passionate debate that cuts to the heart of what the war was about for the South. Throughout his narrative, Durden lets the participants speak for themselves- in journal extracts, newspaper articles, letters, and speeches. These documents and Durden's perceptive commentary demonstrate with sad finality that, when faced with this ultimate choice, southerners, with certain fascinating exceptions, could not bring themselves to abandon the ""peculiar institution.
In this highly revisionist study, historian Adam H. Petty tracks how veterans and historians of the Civil War created and perpetuated myths about the Wilderness, a forest in Virginia that served as the backdrop for three of the war's most interesting campaigns. This forest had a fearsome reputation among soldiers, especially those from Union armies; many believed it to be an exceptional landscape with a menacing mystique that created favorable combat conditions for Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. According to Petty, the mythology surrounding the campaigns in the Wilderness began to take shape during the war but truly blossomed in the postwar years, continuing into the present. Those myths, he suggests, confounded accurate understandings of how the physical environment influenced combat and military operations. While the Wilderness did create difficult combat conditions, Petty refutes claims that it was unique and favored the Confederates. Unlike previous studies of the Wilderness, this work does not focus on a single battle or campaign. Instead, Petty explores all the major clashes there- Chancellorsville, Mine Run, and the battle of the Wilderness- which allows Petty to observe changes over time, especially regarding the attitudes and actions of generals and soldiers. Yet Petty's study is not a narrative history of the campaigns. Instead, he reconsiders traditional interpretations surrounding the nature of the Wilderness and how it affected military operations and combat. His work analyzes not only the interaction between military campaigns and environment but also how the memory of that interaction evolved into the myth we know today.
Written in scraps and soon afterwards transcribed, this is the journal of a chemist who was trying to remove his family from the path of Sherman's army. William Blair provides insights into the South Atlantic's importance as a food producer and the role of slaves during the war.
In Lincoln's Mercenaries, renowned Civil War historian William Marvel considers whether poor northern men bore the highest burden of military service during the American Civil War. Examining data on median family wealth from the 1860 United States Census, Marvel reveals the economic conditions of the earliest volunteers from each northern state during the seven major recruitment and conscription periods of the war. The results consistently support the conclusion that the majority of these soldiers came from the poorer half of their respective states' population, especially during the first year of fighting. Marvel further suggests that the largely forgotten economic depression of 1860 and 1861 contributed in part to the disproportionate participation in the war of men from chronically impoverished occupations. During this fiscal downturn, thousands lost their jobs, leaving them susceptible to the modest emoluments of military pay and community support for soldiers' families. From newspaper accounts and individual contemporary testimony, he concludes that these early recruits, whom historians have generally regarded as the most patriotic of Lincoln's soldiers, were motivated just as much by money as those who enlisted later for exorbitant bounties, and that those generous bounties were made necessary partly because war production and labor shortages improved economic conditions on the home front. A fascinating, comprehensive study, Lincoln's Mercenaries illustrates how an array of social and economic factors drove poor northern men to rely on military wages to support themselves and their families during the war.
The story of secession-the prelude to perhaps the most dramatic chapter in American history-has typically been told on a grand scale. In Daydreams and Nightmares, historian Brent Tarter uses a smaller, more intimate lens, sharing the story of one Virginia family who found themselves in the middle of the secession debate and saw their world torn apart as the states chose sides and went to war. George Berlin was elected to serve as a delegate to the Virginia Convention of 1861 as an opponent of secession, but he ultimately changed his vote, later defending his decision in a speech in his hometown of Buckhannon, Upshur County, and had to flee for his safety when Union soldiers arrived. Berlin and his wife, Susan Holt Berlin, were separated for extended periods-both during the convention and, later, during the early years of the Civil War. The letters they exchanged tell a harrowing story of uncertainty, bringing to life for the modern reader an extended family that encompassed both Confederate and Union sympathizers. This is in part a love story. It is also a story about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. Although unique in its vividly evoked details, the Berlins' story is representative of the drama endured by millions of Americans. Composed during the nightmare of civil war, the Berlins' remarkably articulate letters express the dreams of reunion and a secure future felt throughout the entire, severed nation. In this intimate, evocative, and often heartbreaking family story, we see up close the personal costs of our larger national history.
The Army of the Potomac was a hotbed of political activity during the Civil War. As a source of dissent widely understood as a frustration for Abraham Lincoln, its onetime commander, George B. McClellan, even secured the Democratic nomination for president in 1864. But in this comprehensive reassessment of the army's politics, Zachery A. Fry argues that the war was an intense political education for its common soldiers. Fry examines several key "crisis points" to show how enlisted men developed political awareness that went beyond personal loyalties. By studying the struggle between Republicans and Democrats for political allegiance among the army's rank and file, Fry reveals how captains, majors, and colonels spurred a pro-Republican political awakening among the enlisted men, culminating in the army's resounding Republican voice in state and national elections in 1864. For decades, historians have been content to view the Army of the Potomac primarily through the prism of its general officer corps, portraying it as an arm of the Democratic Party loyal to McClellan's leadership and legacy. Fry, in contrast, shifts the story's emphasis to resurrect the successful efforts of pro administration junior officers who educated their men on the war's political dynamics and laid the groundwork for Lincoln's victory in 1864.
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