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Civil War Dynasty

The Ewing Family of Ohio

Kenneth Heineman

Publication Year: 2012

For years the Ewing family of Ohio has been lost in the historical shadow cast by their in-law, General William T. Sherman. In the era of the Civil War, it was the Ewing family who raised Sherman, got him into West Point, and provided him with the financial resources and political connections to succeed in war. The patriarch, Thomas Ewing, counseled presidents and clashed with radical abolitionists and southern secessionists leading to the Civil War. Three Ewing sons became Union generals, served with distinction at Antietam and Vicksburg, marched through Georgia, and fought guerillas in Missouri. The Ewing family stood at the center of the Northern debate over emancipation, fought for the soul of the Republican Party, and waged total war against the South.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

Every student of history owes a great debt to the organizations and archivists who make reconstruction of the past possible. The Kansas State Historical Society, the Ohio Historical Society, the University of Notre Dame Archives, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives are treasures—as are their respective...

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pp. 1-16

Ellen Ewing Sherman had seen her share of death. At William Tecumseh Sherman’s encampment near Vicksburg, Mississippi, she had toured abandoned entrenchments laden with blood. It was during Ellen’s visit with her husband in the summer of 1863 that their son Willie had fallen sick. He died before Ellen could...

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1. “The Devoted Band of Leonidas”: Thomas Ewing’s Ascent

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pp. 17-55

Turn but your eyes on modern Greece and remember how short the time since she was sunk to the lowest stage of political and moral degeneration—her degeneracy, her abject slavery, a by-word, a reproach among the nations. She sued for foreign aid, but no Christian arm was raised...

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2. “Reaching up into the Blue Ether . . . Sinking Down into the Abyss”: The Next Generation Comes of Age

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pp. 56-96

The Royal Road, or King’s Highway, that leads from Durango to the sea at Mazatlan begins the ascent of the Cordillera, on leaving Durango, and, after a sinuous course of two hundred and eighty miles, descends to the coast almost in sight of the latter city. It was laid out, or rather traced, by the conquistadores...

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3. “Argument Is Exhausted”: An Election, an Insurrection, and an Invasion, 1860–61

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pp. 97-136

Argument is exhausted, and the appeal to arms at last is made. If the border states shall remain passive, all will work out to a successful issue for the Union—but if they go with the Confederated States, the fight will end I think in a final disruption of the Government. In either event, we...

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4. “Render to Caesar”: Shiloh, Antietam, and Prairie Grove, 1862

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pp. 137-174

The Ewings had waged a no-holds-barred campaign to salvage Cump’s military career. Whatever small prospect they might have had for warmer relations with President Lincoln was considerably diminished as a result. Thomas Ewing and Lincoln had found it difficult to interact with each other on a comfortable footing...

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5. “Forlorn Hope”: Vicksburg, Lawrence, and Missionary Ridge, 1863

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pp. 175-212

Years earlier Hugh Ewing had walked the streets of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He had been unmolested—and unimpressed. Now, as the new year of 1863 approached, the port had become a navigation chokepoint on the Mississippi River. Vicksburg was also a militarily vital transfer point between rail lines headed east and west...

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6. “War Is Cruelty”: Atlanta, Pilot Knob, and Washington, 1864

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pp. 213-248

As December 1863 slipped into the New Year, Cump had regained his footing. The fact that he and Grant had nearly destroyed their reputations— along with Hugh’s Fourth Division—at Missionary Ridge may have shocked Cump out of his doldrums. He also had more time to grieve and then come to accept the loss of Willie as something beyond his control. When it came to religious matters...

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7. “Stand on the Crater of a Living Volcano”: Processions, Trials, and Recriminations

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pp. 249-282

Few soldiers in Cump’s army could complain about the hardships they endured while occupying Savannah. The city boasted gracious architecture and bore no resemblance to the dismal settlements they had seen in north Georgia. Admittedly, it took the sons of the Old Northwest some effort to get used to eating rice...

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pp. 293-290

In the years following Hugh Ewing’s death, Ohio, the Old Northwest, and the nation underwent a dramatic economic transformation. Railroads replaced the canals Thomas Ewing had helped to build. Each new mode of transportation, from wagon to canal boat and locomotive to automobile, was simply layered over the same narrow route through the Hocking Valley. Just a few remnants of the past poked...


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pp. 291-354


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pp. 355-384

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About the Author

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pp. 385

Kenneth J. Heineman, Professor of History and Department Chair at Angelo State University, is a student of American political and social history. He received the Philip..

E-ISBN-13: 9780814790700
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814773017

Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Ohio -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
  • Ewing family.
  • Ewing, Thomas, -- 1829-1896.
  • Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891 -- Family.
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