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The battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1862 involved hundreds of thousands of men; produced staggering, unequal casualties (13,000 Federal soldiers compared to 4,500 Confederates); ruined the career of Ambrose E. Burnside; embarrassed Abraham Lincoln; and distinguished Robert E. Lee as one of the greatest military strategists of his era. Francis August?n O'Reilly draws upon his intimate knowledge of the battlegrounds to discuss the unprecedented nature of Fredericksburg's warfare. Lauded for its vivid description, trenchant analysis, and meticulous research, his award-winning book makes for compulsive reading.
A Broken Regiment recounts the tragic history of one of the Civil War's most ill-fated Union military units. Organized in the late summer of 1862, the 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was unprepared for battle a month later, when it entered the fight at Antietam. The results were catastrophic: nearly a quarter of the men were killed or wounded, and Connecticut's 16th panicked and fled the field. In the years that followed, the regiment participated in minor skirmishes before surrendering en masse in North Carolina in 1864. Most of its members spent months in southern prison camps, including the notorious Andersonville stockade, where disease and starvation took the lives of over one hundred members of the unit. The struggles of the 16th led survivors to reflect on the true nature of their military experience during and after the war, and questions of cowardice and courage, patriotism and purpose, were often foremost in their thoughts. Over time, competing stories emerged of who they were, why they endured what they did, and how they should be remembered. By the end of the century, their collective recollections reshaped this troubling and traumatic past, and the "unfortunate regiment" emerged as "The Brave Sixteenth," their individual memories and accounts altered to fit the more heroic contours of the Union victory. The product of over a decade of research, Lesley J. Gordon's A Broken Regiment illuminates this unit's complex history amid the interplay of various, and often competing, voices. The result is a fascinating and heartrending story of one regiment's wartime and postwar struggles.
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.
Unsurpassed since their publication fifty years ago, Ezra J. Warner s Genderals in Blue and Generals in Gray provide a complete guide to the military leadership of both the South and the North and remain the most exhaustive and celebrated work on the Civil War s generals. In commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Warner s magnum opus is available, for the first time, as a hardcover boxed set of both volumes containing concise, detailed biographical sketches and photographs of all 425 Confederate and 583 Union generals. Through tireless research and captivating detail, Warner provides fascinating insight into these commanders, well known and obscure, from the legendary Union general George Custer to the youngest brigadier in the Confederate Army, William Paul Roberts, only nineteen years of age in 1861. Hailed by scholars and critics as one of the few indispensable books on the American Civil War, Warner s work offers the only comprehensive reference of the men who led over three million soldiers into the most divisive and bloodiest war in American history.
When Bell Irvin Wiley's composite portrait of the rank-and-file Confederate soldier was published in 1943, professional historians and general readers alike greeted it enthusiastically. Over a half century later, the book still offers one of the best available accounts of the ordinary citizens who made up the Confederate army. THE LIFE OF JOHNNY REB provides an intimate history of a soldier's daily lifethe songs he sang, the foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant, sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb. In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I. Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared in the great conflict of the 1860s. "This book deserves to be on the shelf of every Civil War modeler and enthusiast.
With his third book, To the North Anna River, Gordon Rhea resumes his spectacular narrative of the initial campaign between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in the spring of 1864. May 13 to 25, a phase oddly ignored by historians, was critical in the clash between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. During those thirteen days -- an interlude bracketed by horrific battles that riveted the public's attention -- a game of guile and endurance between Grant and Lee escalated to a suspenseful draw on Virginia's North Anna River. Rhea skillfully sets the stage at dawn May 13 and from there lends every imaginable perspective -- from mental interiors to sweeping panoramas to scholarly retrospection -- on the ensuing hours.
From the bloodstained fields of the Mule Shoe to the North Anna River, with Meadow Bridge, Myers Hill, Harris Farm, Jericho Mills, Ox Ford, and Doswell Farm in between, grueling night marches, desperate attacks, and thundering cavalry charges became the norm for both Grant's and Lee's men. But the real story of May 13-25 lay in the two general's efforts to outfox each other, and Rhea charts their every step and misstep. Realizing that his bludgeoning tactics at the Bloody Angle were ineffective, Grant resorted to a fast-paced assault on Lee's vulnerable points. Lee, outnumbered two to one, abandoned the offensive and concentrated on anticipating Grant's maneuvers and shifting quickly enough to repel them. It was an amazingly equal match of wits that produced a gripping, high-stakes bout of warfare -- a test, ultimately, of improvisation for Lee and of perseverance for Grant.
From unprecedented research into more than 550 published and unpublishedsources, Rhea produces an exciting new take on this overlooked passage in the Civil War. He discovers a surprising similarity in military temperament between Lee and Grant, whom historians traditionally contrast. He also presents the first detailed recounting of Philip Sheridan's dramatic battle to save his cavalry corps in front of Richmond; the story of the novice New York and New England heavy artillerists drawn down from Washington; the specifics of Grant's forlorn attack of May 18 at Spotsylvania Court House; and the full picture of Lee's ingenious inverted V formation on the North Anna. The most accurate, not to mention enthralling, account to date of this next phase in Lee and Grant's opening match, To the North Anna River is a worthy sequel to Rhea's earlier acclaimed works.
One of the bloodiest days in American military history, the Battle of Antietam turned the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North and delivered the first major defeat to Robert E. Lee's army. In The Gleam of Bayonets, James V. Murfin gives a compelling account of the events and personalities involved in this momentous battle. The gentleness and patience of Lincoln, the vacillations of McClellan, and the grandeur of Lee -- all unfold before the reader. The battle itself is presented with precision and scope as Murfin blends together atmosphere and fact, emotions and tactics, into a dramatic and coherent whole. Originally published in 1965, The Gleam of Bayonets is now recognized as a classic and the standard against which all books on Antietam are measured.
Historian Ben Cleary takes readers beyond the legend of Stonewall Jackson and directly onto the Civil War battlefields on which he fought, and where a country once again finds itself at a crossroads. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was the embodiment of Southern contradictions. He was a slave owner who fought and died, at least in part, to perpetuate slavery, yet he founded an African-American Sunday School and personally taught classes for almost a decade. For all his sternness and rigidity, Jackson was a deeply thoughtful and incredibly intelligent man. But his reputation and mythic status, then and now, was due to more than combat success. In a deeply religious age, he was revered for a piety that was far beyond the norm. How did one man meld his religion with the institution of slavery? How did he reconcile it with the business of killing, at which he so excelled? In SEARCHING FOR STONEWALL JACKSON, historian Ben Cleary examines not only Jackson's life, but his own, contemplating what it means to be a white Southerner in the 21st century. Now, as statues commemorating the Civil War are toppled and Confederate flags come down, Cleary walks the famous battlefields, following in the footsteps of his subject as he questions the legacy of Stonewall Jackson and the South's Lost Cause at a time when the contentions of politics, civil rights, and social justice are at a fever pitch. Combining nuanced, authoritative research with deeply personal stories of life in the modern American South, SEARCHING FOR STONEWALL JACKSON is a thrilling, vivid portrait of a soldier, a war, and a country still contending with its past.
In the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail from his homeland for an extended journey through the United States and Canada. A major milestone in U.S.-Russia relations, the tour also served Duke Alexis's family by helping to extricate him from an unsuitable romantic entanglement with the daughter of a poet. Alexis in America recounts the duke's progress through the major American cities, detailing his meetings with celebrated figures such as Samuel Morse and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people. The first Russian royal ever to visit the United States, Alexis received a tour through post-Civil War America that emphasized the nation's cultural unity. While the enthusiastic American media breathlessly reported every detail of his itinerary and entourage, Alexis visited Niagara Falls, participated in a bison hunt with Buffalo Bill Cody, and attended the Krewe of Rex's first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. As word of the royal visitor spread, the public flocked to train depots and events across the nation to catch a glimpse of the grand duke. Some speculated that Russia and America were considering a formal alliance, while others surmised that he had come to the United States to find a bride. The tour was not without incident: many city officials balked at spending public funds on Alexis's reception, and there were rumors of an assassination plot by Polish nationals in New York City. More broadly, the visit highlighted problems on the national level, such as political corruption and persistent racism, as well as the emerging cultural and political power of ethnic minorities and the continuing sectionalism between the North and the South. Lee Farrow joins her examination of these cultural underpinnings to a lively narrative of the grand duke's tour, creating an engaging record of a unique moment in international relations.
Long after the Civil War ended, one conflict raged on: the battle to define and shape the war's legacy. Across the Bloody Chasm deftly examines Civil War veterans' commemorative efforts and the concomitant-and sometimes conflicting-movement for reconciliation. Though former soldiers from both sides of the war celebrated the history and values of the newly reunited America, a deep divide remained between people in the North and South as to how the country's past should be remembered and the nation's ideals honored. Union soldiers could not forget that their southern counterparts had taken up arms against them, while Confederates maintained that the principles of states' rights and freedom from tyranny aligned with the beliefs and intentions of the founding fathers. Confederate soldiers also challenged northern claims of a moral victory, insisting that slavery had not been the cause of the war, and ferociously resisting the imposition of postwar racial policies. M. Keith Har-ris argues that although veterans remained committed to reconciliation, the sectional sensibilities that influenced the memory of the war left the North and South far from a meaningful accord. Harris's masterful analysis of veteran memory assesses the ideological commitments of a generation of former soldiers, weaving their stories into the larger narrative of the process of national reunification. Through regimental histories, speeches at veterans' gatherings, monument dedications, and war narratives, Harris uncovers how veterans from both sides kept the deadliest war in American history alive in memory at a time when the nation seemed determined to move beyond conflict.
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.
The Union army's overwhelming vote for Abraham Lincoln's reelection in 1864 has led many Civil War scholars to conclude that the soldiers supported the Republican Party and its effort to abolish slavery. In Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln Jonathan W. White challenges this reigning paradigm in Civil War historiography, arguing instead that the soldier vote in the presidential election of 1864 is not a reliable index of the army's ideological motivation or political sentiment. Although 78 percent of the soldiers' votes were cast for Lincoln, White contends that this was not wholly due to a political or social conversion to the Republican Party. Rather, he argues, historians have ignored mitigating factors such as voter turnout, intimidation at the polls, and how soldiers voted in nonpresidential elections in 1864.
While recognizing that many soldiers changed their views on slavery and emancipation during the war, White suggests that a considerable number still rejected the Republican platform, and that many who voted for Lincoln disagreed with his views on slavery. He likewise explains that many northerners considered a vote for the Democratic ticket as treasonous and an admission of defeat.
Using previously untapped court-martial records from the National Archives, as well as manuscript collections from across the country, White convincingly revises many commonly held assumptions about the Civil War era and provides a deeper understanding of the Union Army.
While most Americans count Abraham Lincoln among the most beloved and admired former presidents, a dedicated minority has long viewed him not only as the worst president in the country's history, but also as a criminal who defied the Constitution and advanced federal power and the idea of racial equality. In Loathing Lincoln, historian John McKee Barr surveys the broad array of criticisms about Abraham Lincoln that emerged when he stepped onto the national stage, expanded during the Civil War, and continued to evolve after his death and into the present.
The first panoramic study of Lincoln's critics, Barr's work offers an analysis of Lincoln in historical memory and an examination of how his critics -- on both the right and left -- have frequently reflected the anxiety and discontent Americans felt about their lives. From northern abolitionists troubled by the slow pace of emancipation, to Confederates who condemned him as a "black Republican" and despot, to Americans who blamed him for the civil rights movement, to, more recently, libertarians who accuse him of trampling the Constitution and creating the modern welfare state, Lincoln's detractors have always been a vocal minority, but not one without influence.
By meticulously exploring the most significant arguments against Lincoln, Barr traces the rise of the president's most strident critics and links most of them to a distinct right-wing or neo-Confederate political agenda. According to Barr, their hostility to a more egalitarian America and opposition to any use of federal power to bring about such goals led them to portray Lincoln as an imperialistic president who grossly overstepped the bounds of his office. In contrast, liberals criticized him for not doing enough to bring about emancipation or ensure lasting racial equality. Lincoln's conservative and libertarian foes, however, constituted the vast majority of his detractors. More recently, Lincoln's most vociferous critics have adamantly opposed Barack Obama and his policies, many of them referencing Lincoln in their attacks on the current president. In examining these individuals and groups, Barr's study provides a deeper understanding of American political life and the nation itself.
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.
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.
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.
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