Connecticut in the American Civil War
Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
It is with true appreciation that I dedicate this book to the “Crew,” a title used by the Hartford Courant in one of its articles about the wider Civil War project. Jim Brown, Gregg Cerosky, Kristin Duke, Jessica Jenkins, and Mike Sturges are graduate students at Central Connecticut State University; Mark Shafer is a graduate student at Trinity College. They spent ...
On July 29, 1860, Milo A. Holcomb of Granby, Connecticut, wrote to Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln: “I am not hostile to your election though you are represented to be an abolitionest and in sentiment I am a pro Slavery man. I would if I could have my way, authorize Slavery in New England and the importation of African servants.” Holcomb went ...
CHAPTER ONE. Connecticut within the Nation, 1776–1860: Slavery, Race, and Politics
What was Connecticut’s position on slavery and race? How did sectional politics between the North and South play out within the state? How do the answers to such questions explain the causes of the Civil War and Connecticut’s involvement in it? The answers may not be what readers assume. Too often we wrongly conclude that the North had little...
CHAPTER TWO. And the War Came, 1860–61
The Republican victory in Connecticut and Abraham Lincoln’s election as president were not inevitable. Each was the result of carefully coordinated campaigns and the marshaling of voters into the anti-Southern, Republican camp. Nor was war certain. Some believed that talk of secession was merely a Southern bluff. South Carolina had made the same threat during ...
CHAPTER THREE. A Recognition of Death, 1862
If 1861 and the defeat at Bull Run steeled the Union minded citizens of Connecticut to the necessity of a prolonged war, 1862 taught them the bloody realities of such convictions. It also presented the less bloody, but very real, soldiers’ deaths caused by any number of diseases. And though many at home may have snapped to attention in supporting the...
CHAPTER FOUR: The Union Crucible, 1863
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln instituted a revolutionary change in the nation’s history by signing the Emancipation Proclamation. He justified his decision “by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and “as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion.”1 The...
CHAPTER FIVE. Expensive Victory, 1864–65
Hope for the Union was mighty in 1864. After the victories of the previous year, many in the North anticipated the Confederacy’s quick collapse. This was not to be. Robert E. Lee proved to be what he had been so many times before—a tenacious, resourceful commander who could rally his ragged, battle-worn soldiers, getting them to fight against what seemed...
CHAPTER SIX. Survival’s Memory, 1865–1965
The memory of war is a tricky thing. It inevitably changes as time marches on and those who actually participated in a conflict pass on. A new generation can never fully experience the fear, despondence, and loss, or the joy, victory, and nationalism of those who came before. Every nation desires to remember and promote the justice of its cause and the sacrifice of those ...
Connecticut’s experience during the Civil War offers a window into a remarkable period in the state’s history. Perhaps never in Connecticut’s long past was there a time that revealed more division and more commitment. The war represented a national rift, which also played itself out within the state and its towns and cities. Connecticut’s citizens both reviled the war ...
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