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During the American Civil War, more than one hundred thousand men fought on ships at sea or on one of America's great inland rivers. There were no large-scale fleet engagements, yet the navies, particularly the Union Navy, did much to define the character of the war and affect its length. The first hostile shots roared from rebel artillery at Charleston Harbor. Along the Mississippi River and other inland waterways across the South, Union gunboats were often the first to arrive in deadly enemy territory. In the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard, blockaders in blue floated within earshot of gray garrisons that guarded vital ports. And on the open seas, rebel raiders wreaked havoc on civilian shipping. In Faces of the Civil War Navies, renowned researcher and Civil War photograph collector Ronald S. Coddington focuses his considerable skills on the Union and Confederate navies. Using identifiable cartes de visite of common sailors on both sides of the war, many of them never before published, Coddington uncovers the personal histories of each individual who looked into the eye of the primitive camera. These unique narratives are drawn from military and pension records, letters, diaries, period newspapers, and other primary sources. In addition to presenting the personal stories of seventy-seven intrepid volunteers, Coddington also focuses on the momentous naval events that ushered in an era of ironclad ships and other technical innovations. The fourth volume in Coddington's series on Civil War soldiers, this microhistory will appeal to anyone with an interest in the Civil War, social history, or photography. The narratives and photographs in Faces of the Civil War Navies shed new light on a lesser-known part of our American story. Taken collectively, these "snapshots" remind us that the history of war is not merely a chronicle of campaigns won and lost, it is the collective personal odysseys of thousands of individual life stories.
African American women enslaved by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, andCreek Nations led lives ranging from utter subjection to recognized kinship. Regardless of status, during Removal, they followed the Trail of Tears in the footsteps of the slaveholders, suffering the same life-threatening hardships and poverty.As if Removal to Indian Territory weren't cataclysmic enough, the Civil War shatteredthe worlds of these slave women even more, scattering families, destroying property, anddisrupting social and family relationships. Suddenly free, they had nowhere to turn. Freedwomen found themselves negotiating new lives within a labyrinth of federal and tribaloversight, Indian resentment, and intruding entrepreneurs and settlers.Remarkably, they reconstructed their families and marshaled the skills to fashion livelihoods in a burgeoning capitalist environment. They sought education and forged newrelationships with immigrant black women and men, managing to establish a foundationfor survival. Linda Williams Reese is the first to trace the harsh and often bitter journey of these women from arrival in Indian Territory to free-citizen status in 1890. In doing so, she establishes them as pioneers of the American West equal to their Indian and other Plains sisters.
A sweeping survey of the impact of the Civil War on American painting and photography in the 19th century The Civil War redefined America and forever changed American art. Its grim reality, captured through the new medium of photography, was laid bare. American artists could not approach the conflict with the conventions of European history painting, which glamorized the hero on the battlefield. Instead, many artists found ways to weave the war into works of art that considered the human narrative-the daily experiences of soldiers, slaves, and families left behind. Artists and writers wrestled with the ambiguity and anxiety of the Civil War and used landscape imagery to give voice to their misgivings as well as their hopes for themselves and the nation. This important book looks at the range of artwork created before, during, and following the war, in the years between 1852 and 1877. Author Eleanor Jones Harvey surveys paintings made by some of America's finest artists, including Frederic Church, Sanford Gifford, Winslow Homer, and Eastman Johnson, and photographs taken by George Barnard, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy H. O'Sullivan. Harvey examines American landscape and genre painting and the new medium of photography to understand both how artists made sense of the war and how they portrayed what was a deeply painful, complex period in American history. Enriched by firsthand accounts of the war by soldiers, former slaves, abolitionists, and statesmen, Harvey's research demonstrates how these artists used painting and photography to reshape American culture. Alongside the artworks, period voices (notably those of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman) amplify the anxiety and dilemmas of wartime America.
During the Civil War, Americans confronted profound moral problemsabout how to fight in the conflict. In this innovative book, D. H. Dilbeckreveals how the Union sought to wage a just war against the Confederacy. Heshows that northerners fought according to a distinct "moral vision of war,"an array of ideas about the nature of a truly just and humane military effort.Dilbeck tells how Union commanders crafted rules of conduct to ensuretheir soldiers defeated the Confederacy as swiftly as possible while also limitingthe total destruction unleashed by the fighting. Dilbeck explores howUnion soldiers abided by official just-war policies as they battled guerrillas,occupied cities, retaliated against enemy soldiers, and came into contact withConfederate civilians. In contrast to recent scholarship focused solely on the Civil War'scarnage, Dilbeck details how the Union sought both to deal sternly withConfederates and to adhere to certain constraints. The Union's earnest effortto wage a just war ultimately helped give the Civil War its distinct
During the winter of 1864, more than 3,000 Federal prisoners of warescaped from Confederate prison camps into South Carolina and NorthCarolina, often with the aid of local slaves. Their flight created, in the wordsof contemporary observers, a "Yankee plague," heralding a grim end to theConfederate cause. In this fascinating look at Union soldiers' flight for freedomin the last months of the Civil War, Lorien Foote reveals new connectionsbetween the collapse of the Confederate prison system, the large-scaleescape of Union soldiers, and the full unraveling of the Confederate States ofAmerica. By this point in the war, the Confederacy was reeling from prisonoverpopulation, a crumbling military, violence from internal enemies, andslavery's breakdown. The fugitive Federals moving across the countryside inmass numbers, Foote argues, accelerated the collapse as slaves and desertersdecided the presence of these men presented an opportune moment forescalated resistance. Blending rich analysis with an engaging narrative, Foote uses these raggedUnion escapees as a lens with which to assess the dying ConfederateStates, providing a new window into the South's ultimate defeat.
This book discusses the relationship between geology and fighting during the American Civil War. Terrain was largely determined by the underlying rocks and how the rocks weathered. This book explores the difference in rock type between multiple battlegrounds and how these rocks influenced the combat, tactics, and strategies employed by the soldiers and their commanding officers at different scales.
The Civil War brought many forms of upheaval to America, not only in waking hours but also in the dark of night. Sleeplessness plagued the Union and Confederate armies, and dreams of war glided through the minds of Americans in both the North and South. Sometimes their nightly visions brought the horrors of the conflict vividly to life. But for others, nighttime was an escape from the hard realities of life and death in wartime. In this innovative new study, Jonathan W. White explores what dreams meant to Civil War-era Americans and what their dreams reveal about their experiences during the war. He shows how Americans grappled with their fears, desires, and struggles while they slept, and how their dreams helped them make sense of the confusion, despair, and loneliness that engulfed them. White takes readers into the deepest, darkest, and most intimate places of the Civil War, connecting the emotional experiences of soldiers and civilians to the broader history of the conflict, confirming what poets have known for centuries: that there are some truths that are only revealed in the world of darkness.
In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian depicts much more than a break with England. He gives readers a revolution that transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one, whose emerging realities sometimes baffled and disappointed its founding fathers.
Marking the two-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth, this
marvelous short biography by a leading historian offers an
illuminating portrait of one of the giants in the American story.
It is the best concise introduction to Lincoln in print, a
must-have volume for anyone interested in American history or in
our greatest president.
At a cost of at least 800,000 lives, the Civil War preserved the Union, aborted the breakaway Confederacy, and liberated a race of slaves. Civil War Memories is the first comprehensive account of how and why Americans have selectively remembered, and forgotten, this watershed conflict since its conclusion in 1865. Drawing on an array of textual and visual sources as well as a wide range of modern scholarship on Civil War memory, Robert J. Cook charts the construction of four dominant narratives by the ordinary men and women, as well as the statesmen and generals, who lived through the struggle and its tumultuous aftermath. Part One explains why the Yankee victors' memory of the "War of the Rebellion" drove political conflict into the 1890s, then waned with the passing of the soldiers who had saved the republic. It also touches on the leading role southern white women played in the development of the racially segregated South's "Lost Cause"; explores why, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the majority of Americans had embraced a powerful reconciliatory memory of the Civil War; and details the failed efforts to connect an emancipationist reading of the conflict to the fading cause of civil rights. Part Two demonstrates the Civil War's capacity to thrill twentieth-century Americans in movies such as The Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. It also reveals the war's vital connection to the black freedom struggle in the modern era. Finally, Cook argues that the massacre of African American parishioners in Charleston in June 2015 highlighted the continuing relevance of the Civil War by triggering intense nationwide controversy over the place of Confederate symbols in the United States. Written in vigorous prose for a wide audience and designed to inform popular debate on the relevance of the Civil War to the racial politics of modern America, Civil War Memories is required reading for informed Americans today.
After the American Revolution, sites representing key events in American history were crucial to the young nation's efforts to formalize its story. Following the Civil War, national history became a primary vehicle for patriotic and spiritual reconstruction, and sites such as historic battlefields served important roles in remembering the past during the nation's subsequent challenging periods, including the Great Depression and the Vietnam War. Gettysburg Contested traces patterns of commemoration back to the well-known field of battle of July 1 3, 1863, which earned a legacy as sacred ground that remains today, more than 150 years later. But the landscape history and record of preservation at Gettysburg are complicated, for Gettysburg has wrestled with large issues, ranging from public versus private development, to the role of local, state, and federal governments, to the actual implementation of memorialization on the battlefield. Although the story of the battle is ingrained in the fabric of American memory, Brian Black's account considerably broadens the scope. Never before has Gettysburg's story been told so completely, offering layer upon layer, story upon story. Gettysburg thus becomes a springboard to understanding more fully the nation's need for sacred sites and symbols of America's past, including cherished landscapes such as Gettysburg. In Gettysburg Contested, America's treasured battlefield becomes the great laboratory for how Americans preserve and honor the past.
Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin's 1946 autobiography The Making of a Southerner is considered a classic testament of a white southerner's commitment to racial justice in a culture where little was to be found. Lumpkin's unpublished novel Eli Hill, which was discovered in Lumpkin's papers after her death, contributes to the same struggle by imaginatively re-creating a historical figure and a moment in the violent white resistance to Reconstruction. Born to enslaved parents in York County, South Carolina, Elias Hill (1819-1872) learned to read and write and became a popular Baptist minister. Owing to his influence, Hill was one of many victims of a series of vicious attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. After testifying before a congressional committee that emigration was the only solution, Hill and 135 other formerly enslaved people emigrated to Liberia. Lumpkin had trained as a sociologist and historian to use archival sources and data in arguing for socioeconomic change. In her autobiography, she uses the lens of an individual life, her own, to understand how racism was inculcated in white children and how they could free themselves from its grip. With Eli Hill, she turns to imagination, informed by archival research, to put an African American man at the center of a story about Reconstruction. In curating this important work of historical recovery for use in the classroom, Bruce Baker and Jacquelyn Dowd Hall have included the full text of the original manuscript and an introduction that contextualizes the novel in both its historical setting and its creation.
At the crux of America's history stand two astounding events: the immediate and complete destruction of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world, followed by a political reconstruction in which new constitutions established the fundamental rights of citizens for formerly enslaved people. Few people living in 1860 would have dared imagine either event, and yet, in retrospect, both seem to have been inevitable. In a beautifully crafted narrative, Edward L. Ayers restores the drama of the unexpected to the history of the Civil War. From the same vantage point occupied by his unforgettable characters, Ayers captures the strategic savvy of Lee and his local lieutenants, and the clear vision of equal rights animating black troops from Pennsylvania. We see the war itself become a scourge to the Valley, its pitched battles punctuating a cycle of vicious attack and reprisal in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. In the weeks and months after emancipation, from the streets of Staunton, Virginia, we see black and white residents testing the limits of freedom as political leaders negotiate the terms of readmission to the Union. With analysis as powerful as its narrative, here is a landmark history of the Civil War.
Initially published between 1970 and 2012, the essays in Approaching Civil War and Southern History span almost the entirety of William J. Cooper's illustrious scholarly career and range widely across a broad spectrum of subjects in Civil War and southern history. Together, they illustrate the broad scope of Cooper's work. While many essays deal with his well-known interests, such as Jefferson Davis or the secession crisis, others are on lesser-known subjects, such as Civil War artist Edwin Forbes and the writer Daniel R. Hundley. In the new introduction to each chapter, Cooper notes the essay's origins and purpose, explaining how it fits into his overarching interest in the nineteenth-century political history of the South. Combined and reprinted here for the first time, the ten essays in Approaching Civil War and Southern History reveal why Cooper is recognized today as one of the most influential historians of our time.
When Confederate men marched off to battle, southern women struggled with the new responsibilities of directing farms and plantations, providing for families, and supervising increasingly restive slaves. Drew Faust offers a compellilng picture of the more than half-million women who belonged to the slaveholding families of the Confederacy during this period of acute crisis, when every part of these women's lives became vexed and uncertain. Faust chronicles the clash of the old and the new within a group that was at once beneficiary and victim of the social order of the Old South.
Visions of Glory brings together twenty-two images and twenty-two brisk essays, each essay connecting an image to the events that unfolded during a particular year of the Civil War. The book focuses on a diverse set of images that include a depiction of former slaves whipping their erstwhile overseer distributed by an African American publisher, a census graph published in the New York Times, and a cutout of a child's hand sent by a southern mother to her husband at the front. The essays in this collection reveal how wartime women and men created both written accounts and a visual register to make sense of this pivotal period. The collection proceeds chronologically, providing a nuanced history by highlighting the multiple meanings an assorted group of writers and readers discerned from the same set of circumstances. In so doing, this volume assembles contingent and fractured visions of the Civil War, but its differing perspectives also reveal a set of overlapping concerns. A number of essays focus in particular on African American engagements with visual culture. The collection also emphasizes the role that women played in making, disseminating, or interpreting wartime images. While every essay explores the relationship between image and word, several contributions focus on the ways in which Civil War images complicate an understanding of canonical writers such as Emerson, Melville, and Whitman.
In the decade before the Civil War, Northern Democrats, although they ostensibly represented antislavery and free-state constituencies, made possible the passage of such proslavery legislation as the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the Lecompton Constitution of 1858. In Northern Men with Southern Loyalties, Michael Todd Landis forcefully contends that a full understanding of the Civil War and its causes is impossible without a careful examination of Northern Democrats and their proslavery sentiments and activities. He focuses on a variety of key Democratic politicians, such as Stephen Douglas, William Marcy, and Jesse Bright, to unravel the puzzle of Northern Democratic political allegiance to the South. As congressmen, state party bosses, convention wire-pullers, cabinet officials, and presidents, these men produced the legislation and policies that led to the fragmentation of the party and catastrophic disunion.
Through a careful examination of correspondence, speeches, public and private utterances, memoirs, and personal anecdotes, Landis lays bare the desires and designs of Northern Democrats. He ventures into the complex realm of state politics and party mechanics, drawing connections between national events and district and state activity as well as between partisan dynamics and national policy. Northern Democrats had to walk a perilously thin line between loyalty to the Southern party leaders and answering to their free-state constituents. If Northern Democrats sought high office, they would have to cater to the "Slave Power." Yet, if they hoped for election at home, they had to convince voters that they were not mere lackeys of the Southern grandees.
Many Americans, argues Michael C. C. Adams, tend to think of the Civil War as more glorious, less awful, than the reality. Millions of tourists flock to battlefields each year as vacation destinations, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate mutilation, madness, chronic disease, advanced physical decay. In Living Hell, Adams tries a different tack, clustering the voices of myriad actual participants on the firing line or in the hospital ward to create a virtual historical reenactment. Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory of its horror has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized even the experience of the Civil War. Neither film nor reenactment can fully capture the hard truth of the four-year conflict. Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences. Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of communal living, the enormous problems of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease. He describes the slaughter produced by close-order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields-where tens of thousands of dead and wounded often lay in an area of only a few square miles-and the resulting psychological damage survivors experienced. Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress Confederate and Union soldiers faced daily: sickness, exhaustion, hunger, devastating injuries, and makeshift hospitals where saws were often the medical instrument of choice. Inverting Robert E. Lee's famous line about war, Adams suggests that too many Americans become fond of war out of ignorance of its terrors. Providing a powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification, Living Hell echoes William Tecumseh Sherman's comment that war is cruelty and cannot be refined. Praise for Our Masters the Rebels: A Speculation on Union Military Failure in the East, 1861-1865 "This excellent and provocative work concludes with a chapter suggesting how the image of Southern military superiority endured in spite of defeat."- Civil War History "Adams's imaginative connections between culture and combat provide a forceful reminder that Civil War military history belongs not in an encapsulated realm, with its own categories and arcane language, but at the center of the study of the intellectual, social, and psychological currents that prevailed in the mid-nineteenth century."- Journal of American History Praise for The Best War Ever: America and World War II "Adams has a real gift for efficiently explaining complex historical problems."- Reviews in American History "Not only is this mythologizing bad history, says Adams, it is dangerous as well. Surrounding the war with an aura of nostalgia both fosters the delusion that war can cure our social ills and makes us strong again, and weakens confidence in our ability to act effectively in our own time."- Journal of Military History
When Jefferson Davis commissioned Henry H. Sibley a brigadier general in the Confederate army in the summer of 1861, he gave him a daring mission: to capture the gold fields of Colorado and California for the South. Their grand scheme, premised on crushing the Union forces in New Mexico and then moving unimpeded north and west, began to unravel along the sandy banks of the Rio Grande late in the winter of 1862. At Valverde ford, in a day-long battle between about 2,600 Texan Confederates and some 3,800 Union troops stationed at Fort Craig, the Confederates barely prevailed. However, the cost exacted in men and materiel doomed them as they moved into northern New Mexico. Carefully reconstructed in this book is the first full account of what happened on both sides of the line before, during, and after the battle. On the Confederate side, a drunken Sibley turned over command to Colonel Tom Green early in the afternoon. Battlefield maneuvers included a disastrous lancer charge by cavalry--the only one during the entire Civil War. The Union army, under the cautious Colonel Edward R. S. Canby, fielded a superior number of troops, the majority of whom were Hispanic New Mexican volunteers. "The definitive study of the Battle of Valverde."--Jerry Thompson, author of Henry Hopkins Sibley
One month in 1865 witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond, a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare, Lee's harrowing retreat, and then, Appomattox. It saw Lincoln's assassination just five days later and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation.
In the end, April 1865 emerged as not just the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the making of our nation.
Jay Winik offers a brilliant new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. Uniquely set within the larger sweep of history and filled with rich profiles of outsize figures, fresh iconoclastic scholarship, and a gripping narrative, this is a masterful account of the thirty most pivotal days in the life of the United States.
The unforgettable saga of one enslaved woman's fight for justice-and reparations Born into slavery, Henrietta Wood was taken to Cincinnati and legally freed in 1848. In 1853, a Kentucky deputy sheriff named Zebulon Ward colluded with Wood's employer, abducted her, and sold her back into bondage. She remained enslaved throughout the Civil War, giving birth to a son in Mississippi and never forgetting who had put her in this position. By 1869, Wood had obtained her freedom for a second time and returned to Cincinnati, where she sued Ward for damages in 1870. Astonishingly, after eight years of litigation, Wood won her case: in 1878, a Federal jury awarded her $2,500. The decision stuck on appeal. More important than the amount, though the largest ever awarded by an American court in restitution for slavery, was the fact that any money was awarded at all. By the time the case was decided, Ward had become a wealthy businessman and a pioneer of convict leasing in the South. Wood's son later became a prominent Chicago lawyer, and she went on to live until 1912. McDaniel's book is an epic tale of a black woman who survived slavery twice and who achieved more than merely a moral victory over one of her oppressors. Above all,Sweet Taste of Libertyis a portrait of an extraordinary individual as well as a searing reminder of the lessons of her story, which establish beyond question the connections between slavery and the prison system that rose in its place.
In "A Late Encounter with the Civil War," Michael Kreyling
confronts the changing nature of our relationship to the
anniversary of the war that nearly split the United States. When
significant anniversaries arrive in the histories of groups such as
families, businesses, or nations, their members set aside time to
formally remember their shared past. This phenomenon--this social
or collective memory--reveals as much about a group's sense of
place in the present as it does about the events of the past. So it
is with the Civil War.
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