The Civil War Correspondence of Henry McNeal Turner
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: West Virginia University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Note on the Text
The U.S. Civil War, like nearly all wars, presents the spectacle of an event of purely human creation, quickly generating its own trajectory and spin, pulling and pushing people to take actions they might have fiercely resisted or never imagined only a short time before. ...
Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915) embodied the tumultuous spirit of his age. Born free but poor in South Carolina, he labored alongside slaves as a young boy. By the age of thirty, he had risen through the ranks of the Methodist Church and was appointed one of the first black chaplains of the Union Army during the Civil War. ...
Chapter 1. Emancipation and Enlistment
Turner’s first letter to the Christian Recorder was published on March 22, 1862, just over two years after Elisha Weaver relaunched the newspaper. He wrote to Weaver in response to President Lincoln’s March 6 message to Congress, where he recommended the passage of a joint resolution ...
Chapter 2. Petersburg
Turner was appointed chaplain of the 1st U.S.C.T. in the fall of 1863, and joined his regiment on November 15. However, he was soon sidelined by several serious illnesses, including smallpox, which prevented him from accompanying them to the Virginia front until the spring of 1864. ...
Chapter 3. Fort Fisher
This group of entries, dating from January 7, 1865, to February 18, 1865, includes Turner’s accounts of the First and Second Battles of Fort Fisher (December 23–27, 1864 and January 13–15, 1865, respectively), which the historian Rod Gragg describes as “an expedition riddled with controversy.”1 ...
Chapter 4. Freeing Slaves, Meeting Sherman
In February 1865, Turner was sent to North Carolina to help recruit newly freed slaves for the Union Army. While there, he also took the opportunity to recruit new members of the A.M.E. Church from these “great Southern fields.” On both fronts, Turner reveals the complex interplay between white and black, Northerner and Southerner, civilian and soldier. ...
Chapter 5. Roanoke Island
After the war, the Union troops that remained in the South became, in Edwin S. Redkey’s words, “the only official government in the ex-Confederate states.”1 Because the term of enlistment in the army was customarily three years, many white soldiers were mustered out at war’s end. ...
About the Contributors
Jean Lee Cole is an associate professor in the Department of English at Loyola University Maryland. She is the coeditor, with Charles Mitchell, of The Collected Plays of Zora Neale Hurston, and the author of The Literary Voices of Winnifred Eaton: Redefining Ethnicity and Authenticity. ...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: First Edition.
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