Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword to the Great Lakes Books Edition

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pp. vii-viii

FATHER ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN was first published on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. It was a time of great interest in this period of our history, and a time that saw the publication of hundreds of new books about the War of the Great Rebellion. These books were widely read and many, by authors such as Bruce Catton, became major book club selections and even reached best-seller status...

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xii

THE PEOPLE of Michigan, like the American people as a whole, were more directly and intimately involved in the Civil War than in any other national conflict. Most readers of this book will have vivid and sometimes poignant memories of World War II, and many will have experienced the intense excitement and hazards of modern warfare. Some will have sustained severe wounds or the fierce shock of battle, while others will have seen comrades fall beside them...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

IT IS USUALLY DIFFICULT to put the finger on the exact place or moment of a book's genesis, and this book is no exception. It may have had its origin many years ago when, as a member of the Boy Scouts of America, I walked alongside the veterans of the Civil War in Memorial Day parades, carrying a bucket of water from which the marching old soldiers might refresh themselves...

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I So Much for Valor

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pp. 1-6

IN THE COLD, gray dawn's mist of April 12, 1861, the shooting phase of the Civil War began when the Confederate batteries rimming the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, commenced to lob shells into Union-held Fort Sumter. Defending the fort was a garrison of seventy-two officers and men under Major Robert Anderson. One of the junior officers was Norman J. Hall,* a twenty-five-year-old second lieutenant, from Monroe, Michigan...

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II Freedom Train

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pp. 7-16

"SLAVE CATCHERS!" The cry echoed through the streets of Marshall, Michigan; crackling in the crisp morning air of January 2, 1847. "Slave catchers!" The sleepy men of Marshall tumbled out of their warm beds, pulled on their breeches and boots, and reached for their shotguns. They reacted instinctively, like minutemen...

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III Reveille in Michigan

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pp. 17-24

A WAR HAD begun in Charleston harbor. The deep-throated roar of the Confederate batteries bombarding Sumter, and the answering bark of the fort's guns, stirred distant reverberations in the streets of Michigan towns and in her country lanes. At first people received the news in stunned silence. They gathered outside the newspaper offices, waiting for the latest bulletins to be posted, or they stood around the railroad depots, listening while the clacking telegraph instruments told of new developments...

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IV Thank God for Michigan!

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pp. 25-36

WILLIAM H. WITHINGTON * went to war, but on the way he stopped long enough to buy a corset for his wife at Mrs. McAdams' shop in Jackson, Michigan. To remind himself of what he had to purchase—a "No. 28, fasten in front with strap, $2"—he jotted down the essential information and specifications in his little pocket notebook. On the opposite page, he registered the number of his service revolver. It was 1107...

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V The Ordeal of Colonel Willcox

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pp. 37-52

SITTING RAMROD STRAIGHT in his saddle, Colonel Orlando Bolivar Willcox led the 1st Michigan Infantry across Washington's Long Bridge over the Potomac and into Virginia. It was a proud moment for the handsome West Pointer because his regiment had been chosen to be the vanguard of the Grand Army. It was the first Union force to invade that part of Virginia which, for the next four years, was to be one of history's bloodiest battlegrounds...

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VI A General Wins His Spurs

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pp. 53-62

THE 2ND Michigan Volunteer Cavalry had galloped around just enough by the spring of 1862 to give its troopers the impression they were a ripsnorting, hell-for-leather outfit. That explains why the 2nd was inclined to look down its long Michigan nose when its newly appointed colonel rode into camp near Corinth, Mississippi and took command on the evening of May 26, 1862...

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VII March Terror

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pp. 63-70

SOME ATTRIBUTED it to war nerves, others to just plain cussedness. Whatever the cause, the result was civil disturbance in Detroit which jeopardized the war effort and, for a few hours, threatened to destroy a substantial part of the city. The occurrence went into the history books as the Riot of 1863.* A disgraceful affair, it manifested itself in an attack on the Negro community and took a toll of life and property. It started about noon on March 6, 1863...

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VIII Private Lane's War

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pp. 71-90

WHEN THE Union army wasn't marching or fighting, it was writing letters home or recording experiences and observations in countless diaries. The men of the North were, on the whole, more literate than the citizen soldiers of previous wars. That is understandable because by 1861 educational facilities were available to almost anyone who wanted to take advantage of them...

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IX The Road to Gettysburg

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pp. 91-100

IT WAS A BRIGHT, cloudless day and stifling heat pressed down upon the countryside. Shuffling feet of the column of marching men raised a smother of dust which settled on either side of the Emmitsburg road, dulling the green fields of wheat and corn. The men marched easily. They carried only light equipment, their heavy gear having been left behind. They had rested well the night before on the grounds of a Catholic convent on the edge of Emmitsburg, Maryland...

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X Rendezvous at Armageddon

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pp. 101-112

THE WAN LIGHT of the moon touched the fields bordering the Emmitsburg road, where the 24th Michigan Infantry lay sleeping. To the east, low against the horizon, false dawn faintly tinted the sky. It was four o'clock, still half an hour until sunrise. The date was July 1, 1863. Near neighbors to the 24th were the other regiments of the Iron Brigade. Strung out for a considerable distance along the road where it crosses Marsh Creek...

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XI Sabers at Rummel's Farm

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pp. 113-126

SIGNAL FLAGS wigwagged furiously at the observation post atop Cemetery Ridge. Out to the east, about three miles from Gettysburg on the Hanover Road, General David M. Gregg of the Second Cavalry Division, read the message and acted on it. The flags informed him that a strong column of Confederate cavalry was under observation, moving out of Gettysburg along the York Pike, which runs parallel to the Hanover Road...

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XII Lady of the Regiment

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pp. 127-152

THE MORNING REPORT of the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry for April 19, 1863, listed Private Franklin Thompson, Company F, absent without leave. That notation created no particular stir among the regimental rank and file. There had been desertions from the 2nd before; there would be others. The 2nd had been organized in April 1861 when the reverberations of the rebel guns firing on Fort Sumter echoed in indignant Northern ears...

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XIII The Cruise of the Philo Parsons

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pp. 137-148

QUIET MAY have reigned along the Potomac in September 1864, but all was not serene on the Detroit River. Citizens of Detroit and other port towns on the Great Lakes were thrown into panic by a bizarre plot of Confederate agents. Their plan was to capture a Federal sloop-of-war on Lake Erie, free several thousand rebel prisoners in a camp near Sandusky, Ohio, and turn them loose to raid and pillage cities along the upper lakes...

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XIV Escape by Night

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pp. 149-166

LUCIEN B. SMITH was a typical Michigan farm boy. He grew up in the lush country close to the border of Lenawee and Washtenaw counties. His home was in Franklin Township in Lenawee. The village nearest his home was Tipton; not far away was Tecumseh. Adrian, twelve miles south, was the important city of the area and the seat of Adrian College, a small but highly regarded Methodist school...

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XV The Roundhead and the Cavalier

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pp. 167-176

THIS IS the story of two men. One wore blue, the other gray. Neither knew the other. Their paths crossed only once and then for a matter of a few fleeting seconds—no longer than it took to lift a revolver and snap off a quick, almost unaimed shot. In that brief encounter the man in gray received a mortal wound and the Confederacy was given a staggering blow...

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XVI Out of "Rat Hell"

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pp. 177-190

COLONEL BILL MCCREERY, 21st Michigan Infantry, came back to consciousness on the battlefield of Chickamauga, completely disillusioned about the so-called "glory of war." * He lay where he had fallen. The tide of battle had swept over him; now all was quiet except for the moans of men who, like himself, had been wounded and left behind...

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XVII Death in the Crater

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pp. 191-200

THE SERGEANTS MOVED quietly among the men of the 3rd Division, prodding them awake, hissing admonitions of silence. The men rolled to their feet, grumbling and growling. They had slept in the open under a fringe of trees, without tents or blankets, their arms and knapsacks at their sides. But the grass was soft, the night warm and still. The Third had slept in worse places...

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XVIII "To Bind up the Nation's Wounds"

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pp. 201-214

MICHIGAN GOT ITS first taste of blood at Blackburn's Ford, July 18, 1861. Hardly more than a reconnoitering skirmish, that engagement took place on the same field upon which, three days later, the Battle of Bull Run was fought. The Blackburn's Ford tussle was brought on by an attempt of Tyler's division (Union) to force its way across the stream which gave its name to the first major battle of the Civil War...

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XIX Boat Ride on the Styx

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pp. 215-228

THEY HAD BEEN assembled on the levee at Vicksburg, about eighteen hundred of them. They were the backwash of the war, the casuals—the all-but-forgotten men, sick, lame, and blind —who had swarmed out of the Confederate prison camps. Now, after long months of imprisonment, they were on their way home. The bank of the Mississippi was black with them as they stood waiting to board the steamer. They were a tatterdemalion lot...

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XX The Great Manhunt

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pp. 229-244

WHEN THE 4th Michigan Cavalry went into camp at Macon, Georgia, April 21, 1865, the weary troopers felt that they had been assigned squatters' rights in the Elysian Fields. For thirty days without rest or pause the 4th had romped across Alabama and Georgia, trading punches with Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate cavalry. It had been no Sunday school picnic, and the Wolverines had saddle sores to prove it...

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XXI The Last Man

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pp. 245-248

AT LAST the bloody work was done! One by one, in Virginia, in Tennessee, in North Carolina and in Georgia, the Michigan regiments furled their banners and boarded the trains for home. Most of the soldiers—they were veterans now—went through Detroit, where they were mustered out and paid off. This formality concluded, they drifted away by twos and by squads for a last drink together in one of the saloons on Woodbridge or Franklin Streets...

Appendix

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pp. 249-306

Index

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pp. 307-320