Why Confederates Fought
Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Series: Civil War America
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Introduction: Choosing War
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Despite the massive volume of writing on the American Civil War, one of the fundamental questions about it continues to bedevil us. Why did nonslaveholders sacrifice so much to build a slave republic? Nonslaveholders’ commitment...
PART I. CONFLICT & COLLABORATION
1 Building the Plain People’s Confederacy: January–June 1861
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Between 1861 and 1865, almost 70 percent of Virginia’s white men between the ages of fifteen and fifty served in Confederate forces. Calculating the figure using only those sections of Virginia controlled by the Confederacy...
2 A Nation of Their Own: July 1861–March 1862
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Virginians had barely grasped the idea of secession and the prospect of building a new nation when they flung themselves into war. Tens of thousands of Virginia men volunteered in April, May, and June, and these new soldiers...
PART II. THE CRUCIBLE OF WAR
3 The Ardor of Patriotism: April–July 1862
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By late April 1862, the uncertainties and problems generated by the enactment of the Draft Act receded as a new campaign season dawned. Virginia Confederates took solace from the belief that this would be the last year of war, if indeed the war lasted...
4 War in Earnest: August–December 1862
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The battles on the Peninsula shifted the momentum of the war away from the Federals who had initiated the campaign to the Confederates who ended it. Lee began moving his army north, first through central Virginia and then into Maryland...
5 The Family War: January–December 1863
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As the Civil War entered its third year, military fortunes and home front conditions assumed a curiously inverted relationship. At the start of 1863, the Federal army was recovering from its debilitating defeat at Fredericksburg...
PART III. WAR WITHOUT END
6 The Cost of Independence: January–June 1864
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In 1864 a renewed battle for control of Virginia occurred. The Union army, after following Lee’s army back into northern Virginia in mid-1863, camped on the north bank of the Rapidan River. The battles of 1864 all took place south of this point...
7 The Fall of the Confederacy: July 1864–March 1865
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Virginia Confederates started the second half of 1864 in their weakest military position since the war began. Although they had inflicted massive casualties on Grant’s armies, they had suffered immensely. The Overland campaign cost Lee’s army 33,000...
Epilogue: Swallowing the Elephant: Toward the New South
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The Federals opened a coordinated attack on Petersburg from all directions in the early morning of April 2, and Lee retreated to avoid complete destruction. With the loss of Petersburg, Richmond lay undefended. Confederates...
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: Civil War America
The Civil War America series interprets the field broadly to include biography, military and nonmilitary history, works that explore the immediate background of the conflict, and studies of postbellum topics related to the war. A few diaries, sets of letters, and memoirs that make exceptional contributions to our understanding of the era also will appear as volumes in the series.