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Blood Image

Turner Ashby in the Civil War and the Southern Mind

Paul ChristopherAnderson

Publication Year: 2006

With Blood Image, Paul Anderson shows that the symbol of a man can be just as important as the man himself. Turner Ashby was one of the most famous fighting men of the Civil War. Rising to colonel of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, Ashby fought brilliantly under Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson during the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign until he died in battle. Anderson demonstrates that Ashby's image—a catalytic, mesmerizing, and often contradictory combination of southern antebellum cultural ideals and wartime hopes and fears—emerged during his own lifetime and was not a later creation of the Lost Cause. The stylistic synergy of Anderson's startling narrative design fuels a poignant irony: men like Ashby—a chivalrous, charismatic "knight" who had difficulty complying with Stonewall Jackson's authority—become trapped by the desire to have their real lives reflect their imagined ones.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xx

This is a book about the image of a Confederate cavalry leader. Necessarily it contains biography, although it is not wholly or primarily a biography; necessarily it contains military history, but it is not a military study. It approaches its subject as a living symbol, a vivid and powerful representation of what Confederates ...


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pp. xxi-xxii

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Prologue: Child of Victory

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pp. 1-16

He lay now as they had known he would lie. Disarmed, the bloodlust in him stilled (yes, the bloodlust they admired now quiet), they moved to him and then past in a long black line. ‘‘You have heard before this of the death of Colonel Ashby,’’ one woman wrote to another in the late spring of 1862, and the truth was not long going South and North. ...

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1 Riding a Horse Back Home

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pp. 17-67

There are thousands of rueful ironies in Civil War history, and Turner Ashby claims one of them: the Confederacy’s finest horseman was killed on foot. He should have been shot during a cavalry charge— that would only have been fitting and proper—but sometimes bullets do not let men die in their own way. ...

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2 A Day of Long Knives

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pp. 68-113

Tombstones measure life with time, usually locking birth and death in two inseparable dates. A third over Ashby’s stone, carved to show June 26, 1861, would be an equally significant mark of life for his image and maybe even more compelling than the others, since it would not be coupled with the closure of any graveyard ending. ...


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pp. 114-120

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3 The Savagery in Romance

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pp. 121-168

Ho! For the tournament!’’ In parts of the Old South, during every spring, summer, and fall of the 1850s, the calls rose and rang with mannish challenge. In Virginia, and in Fauquier especially, latter-day knights answered. The ring tournament, the game that put a man on a stage and tested his horsemanship, ...

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4 The Nature of Independence

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pp. 169-219

Of all the distinguishing marks of Turner Ashby’s cavalry, William McDonald, the command’s ordnance officer, thought the manner in which it came into being was unique. ‘‘It was a growth,’’ McDonald said, ‘‘and not an artificial formation.’’ Most Civil War regiments and brigades were arbitrarily pieced together; ...

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Epilogue: Days of the Dead

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pp. 220-234

She did not live in the Valley, and she did not know its idol. She knew that like her there were countless others who would not and could not know, many born and yet to be born. She asked the people of the future to remember the people of the past. ‘‘Drop a tear for Turner Ashby,’’ she requested as the June summer approached in 1862, …


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pp. 235-250


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pp. 251-258

E-ISBN-13: 9780807152355
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807131619

Page Count: 258
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War