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History > U.S. History > Civil War Era

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Brother of Mine Cover

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Brother of Mine

The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie

Edited by Hampton Smith

In 1861, as President Lincoln called for volunteers to defend the Union, Thomas Christie wrote to his father, voicing desires shared by many an enlistee: “I do want to ‘see the world,’ to get out of the narrow circle in which I have always lived, to ‘make a man of myself,’ and to have it to say in days to come that I, too, had a part in this great struggle.” As it turned out, Thomas had an excellent partner in his quest: his brother William. Both signed on with the First Minnesota Light Artillery, working as “cannoneers,” responsible for loading and aiming big guns at the enemy. The First Minnesota saw action in major battles at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, and Atlanta. But the adventurers also endured the monotony of camp life, the hunger of poor supply lines, and, in William’s case, the challenges of enemy capture. The ups and downs, the doubts and thrills are recounted from their differing perspectives in this collection of letters to worried parents, a winsome sister, and a younger brother eager to join in the fight. Their vivid epistles are enhanced by the familial connection of brothers in arms who eventually did see the world—and returned home changed.

Brothers One and All Cover

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Brothers One and All

Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment

Mark H. Dunkelman

During the Civil War, the regiment was the fundamental component of armies both North and South, its reliability and effectiveness crucial to military success. Soldiers' devotion to their regiment—their esprit de corps—encouraged unit cohesion and motivated the individual soldier to march into battle and endure the hardships of military life. In Brothers One and All, Mark H. Dunkelman identifies the characteristics of Civil War esprit de corps and charts its development from recruitment and combat to the end of the war and beyond through the experiences of a single regiment, the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry. Dunkelman offers a unique psychological portrait of a front-line unit that fought with distinction at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Lookout Valley, Rocky Face Ridge, and other engagements. He traces the evolution of natural camaraderie among friends and neighbors into a more profound sense of pride, enthusiasm, and loyalty forged as much in the shared unpleasantness of day-to-day army life as in the terrifying ordeal of battle.

Burying the Dead but Not the Past Cover

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Burying the Dead but Not the Past

Ladies' Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause

Caroline E. Janney

Immediately after the Civil War, white women across the South organized to retrieve and rebury the remains of Confederate soldiers scattered throughout the region. In Virginia alone, these Ladies' Memorial Associations (LMAs) relocated and reinterred the remains of more than 72,000 soldiers, nearly 28 percent of the 260,000 Confederate soldiers who perished in the war. Challenging the notion that southern white women were peripheral to the Lost Cause movement until the 1890s, Caroline Janney restores these women's place in the historical narrative by exploring their role as the creators and purveyors of Confederate tradition between 1865 and 1915.

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Busy in the Cause

Iowa, the Free-State Struggle in the West, and the Prelude to the Civil War

Lowell J. Soike

Despite the immense body of literature about the American Civil War and its causes, the nation’s western involvement in the approaching conflict often gets short shrift. Slavery was the catalyst for fiery rhetoric on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and fiery conflicts on the western edges of the nation. Driven by questions regarding the place of slavery in westward expansion and by the increasing influence of evangelical Protestant faiths that viewed the institution as inherently sinful, political debates about slavery took on a radicalized, uncompromising fervor in states and territories west of the Mississippi River.

Busy in the Cause explores the role of the Midwest in shaping national politics concerning slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. In 1856 Iowa aided parties of abolitionists desperate to reach Kansas Territory to vote against the expansion of slavery, and evangelical Iowans assisted runaway slaves through Underground Railroad routes in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. Lowell J. Soike’s detailed and entertaining narrative illuminates Iowa’s role in the stirring western events that formed the prelude to the Civil War.

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By the Noble Daring of Her Sons

The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee

By the Noble Daring of Her Sons is a tale of ordinary Florida citizens who, during extraordinary times, were called to battle against their fellow countrymen.
 
Over the past twenty years, historians have worked diligently to explore Florida’s role in the Civil War. Works describing the state’s women and its wartime economy have contributed to this effort, yet until recently the story of Florida’s soldiers in the Confederate armies has been little studied.
 
This volume explores the story of schoolmates going to war and of families left behind, of a people fighting to maintain a society built on slavery and of a state torn by political and regional strife. Florida in 1860 was very much divided between radical democrats and conservatives.
 
Before the war the state’s inhabitants engaged in bitter political rivalries, and Sheppard argues that prior to secession Florida citizens maintained regional loyalties rather than considering themselves “Floridians.” He shows that service in Confederate armies helped to ease tensions between various political factions and worked to reduce the state’s regional divisions.
 
Sheppard also addresses the practices of prisoner parole and exchange, unit consolidation and its effects on morale and unit identity, politics within the Army of Tennessee, and conscription and desertion in the Southern armies. These issues come together to demonstrate the connection between the front lines and the home front.

Camp Chase and the Evolution of Union Prison Policy Cover

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Camp Chase and the Evolution of Union Prison Policy

Written by Roger Pickenpaugh

Camp Chase was a major Union POW camp and also served at various times as a Union military training facility and as quarters for Union soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the Confederacy and released on parole or exchanged. As such, this careful, thorough, and objective examination of the history and administration of the camp will be of true significance in the literature on the Civil War.

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The Canoe and the Saddle

A Critical Edition

Theodore Winthrop

In 1853, with money in his pocket and elegant clothes in his saddlebags, a twenty-four-year-old New Englander of aristocratic Yankee stock toured the territories of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The Canoe and the Saddle recounts Theodore Winthrop’s Northwest tour. A novelized memoir of his travels, it became a bestseller when it was published shortly after the author’s untimely death in the Civil War.

This critical edition of Winthrop’s work, the first in over half a century, offers readers the original text with a narrative overview of the nature and culture of the Pacific Northwest and reflections on the ecological and racial turmoil that gripped the region at the time. It also provides a fresh perspective on the aesthetic, historical, cultural, anthropological, social, and environmental contexts in which Winthrop wrote his sometimes disturbing, sometimes enlightening, and always riveting account. Whether offering portraits of Native American culture—in particular, commenting on the Chinook Jargon—making keen and often prescient observations on nature, or deploying transcendental, animist, or Hudson River School aesthetics (likely learned from his friend Frederick Church), Winthrop develops a clear and compelling picture of a time and place still resonant and relevant today.

Captives in Blue Cover

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Captives in Blue

The Civil War Prisons of the Confederacy

Roger Pickenpaugh

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The Capture of New Orleans, 1862

Chester G. Hearn

On April 24, 1862, Federal gunboats made their way past two Confederate forts to ascend the Mississippi River, and the Union navy captured New Orleans. News of the loss of the Crescent City came to Jefferson Davis as an absolute shock. In this exhaustive study, Chester G. Hearn examines the decisions, actions, individuals, and events to explain why. He directs his inquiry to the heart of government, both Union and Confederate, and takes a hard look at the selection of military and naval leaders, the use of natural and financial resources, and the performances of all personnel involved. His vivid, fast-paced narrative provides fascinating reading, as well as penetrating insight into this crucial campaign.

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Caution and Cooperation

The American Civil War in British-American Relations

A provocative reinterpretation of Civil War–era diplomacy

It has long been a mainstay in historical literature that the Civil War had a deleterious effect on Anglo-American relations and that Britain came close to intervention in the conflict. Historians assert that it was only a combination of desperate diplomacy, the Confederacy’s military losses, and Lincoln’s timely issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation that kept the British on the sidelines. Phillip E. Myers seeks to revise this prevailing view by arguing instead that wartime relations between Britain and the United Staets were marked by caution rather than conflict.

Using a wide a rray of primary materials from both sides of the Atlantic, Myers traces the sources of potential Anglo-American wartime turmoil as well as the various reasons both sides had for avoiding war. And while he does note the disagreement between Washington and London, he convincingly demonstrates that transatlantic discord was ultimately minor and neither side serioiusly considered war against the other.

Myers further extends his study into the postwar period to see how that bond strengthened and grew, culminating with the Treaty of Washington in 1871. The Civil War was not, as many have believed for so long, an unpleasant interruption in British-American affairs; instead, it was an event that helped bring the two countries closer together to seal the friendship.

Soundly researched an cogently argued, Caution and Cooperation will surely prompt discussion among Civil War historians, foreign relations scholars, and readers of history.

“Phillip E. Myers’s Caution and Cooperation places Anglo-American relations during the Civil War within the broader context of the whole nineteenth century, arguing convincingly for the lack of any real chance of British intervention on the side of the Confederacy and dating the end-of-the-century Anglo-American rapprochement back about three decades. Based on extensive research in the United States and Great Britain, this major reinterpretation of the transatlantic special relationship is ‘international history’ in its truest sense.”<br />

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