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The Civil War from the Mississippi to the Mountains
The Western theater of the Civil War, rich in agricultural resources and manpower and home to a large number of slaves, stretched 600 miles north to south and 450 miles east to west from the Appalachians to the Mississippi. If the South lost the West, there would be little hope of preserving the Confederacy. Earl J. Hess’s comprehensive study of how Federal forces conquered and held the West examines the geographical difficulties of conducting campaigns in a vast land, as well as the toll irregular warfare took on soldiers and civilians alike. Hess balances a thorough knowledge of the battle lines with a deep understanding of what was happening within the occupied territories.
A great many commanders in the American Civil War (1861-1865) served in the Mexican War (1846-1848). Civil War Leadership and Mexican War Experience explores the influence of the earlier war on those men who would become leaders of Federal and Confederate forces. Military historian Kevin Dougherty sets the context with a discussion of professional soldiering before both wars. He then depicts the unique experiences of twenty-six men in Mexico, thirteen who would later serve the Confederacy and thirteen who would remain with the Union. He traces how tactics they used and reactions they had to Civil War combat reveal a remarkable connection to what they learned campaigning against Santa Anna and other Mexican generals. Personalities discussed range from well-known leaders such as Ulysses S. Grant to lesser-known figures such as John Winder; from geniuses such as Robert E. Lee to mediocrities such as Gideon Pillow; and from aged heroes such as Winfield Scott to developing practitioners such as William Sherman. No other volume so exclusively and thoroughly focuses on connections of service in both wars. Two appendixes in the book list 194 Federal generals and 142 Confederate generals who served in Mexico. The impact of these experiences on major tactical decisions in the Civil War is far-reaching. A retired U.S. Army officer, Kevin Dougherty teaches history at the University of Southern Mississippi. His books include The Coastal War in North and South Carolina.
A Chaplain's Story
In 1861 young Joseph Twichell cut short his seminary studies to become a Union Army chaplain in New York's Excelsior Brigade. A middle-class New England Protestant, Twichell served for three years in a regiment manned mostly by poor Irish American Catholics. This selection of Twichell's letters to his Connecticut family will rank him alongside the Civil War's most literate and insightful firsthand chroniclers of life on the road, in battle, and in camp. As a noncombatant, he at once observed and participated in the momentous events of the Peninsula and Wilderness Campaigns and at the Second Bull Run, as well as at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania.
Twichell writes about politics and slavery and the theological and cultural divide between him and his men. Most movingly, he tells of tending the helpless, burying the dead, and counseling the despondent. Alongside accounts of a run-in with slave hunters, a massive withdrawal of wounded soldiers from Richmond, and other extraordinary events, Twichell offers close-up views of his commanding officer, the "political general" Daniel Sickles, surely one of the most colorful and controversial leaders on either side.
Civil War scholars and enthusiasts will welcome this fresh voice from an underrepresented class of soldier, the army chaplain. Readers who know of Twichell's later life as a prominent minister and reformer or as Mark Twain's closest friend will appreciate these insights into his early, transforming experiences.
Lt. Robert T. Hubard Jr.
Pit your knowledge of the War Between the States against your friends' and family's claims to expertise with A Civil War Round Table Quiz Book. The book features 117 different quizzes, the subjects ranging from the infamous Dred Scott case to the final surrender at Appomattox Court House. Each quiz has a theme, and the themes have been selected to cover myriad subjects and to lead readers into the lesser-known aspects of the war that they might not otherwise explore. The Hartford (Connecticut) Civil War Round Table even used these quizzes as a key component of their meetings.
Civil War experts and general history fans alike will enjoy challenging their friends and rivals with the fun and interesting trivia found in A Civil War Round Table Quiz Book. The extensive knowledge that readers will learn from this book will amaze and befuddle even the most stalwart Civil War aficionado.
William Pitt Fessenden and the Fight to Save the American Republic
One of the most talented and influential American politicians of the nineteenth century, William Pitt Fessenden (1806–1869) helped devise Union grand strategy during the Civil War. A native of Maine and son of a fiery New England abolitionist, he served in the United States Senate as a member of the Whig Party during the Kansas-Nebraska crisis and played a formative role in the development of the Republican Party. In this richly textured and fast-paced biography, Robert J. Cook charts Fessenden’s rise to power and probes the potent mix of political ambition and republican ideology which impelled him to seek a place in the U.S. Senate at a time of rising tension between North and South. A determined and self-disciplined man who fought, not always successfully, to keep his passions in check, Fessenden helped to spearhead Republican Party opposition to proslavery expansion during the strife-torn 1850s and led others to resist the cotton states’ efforts to secede peaceably after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. During the Civil War, he chaired the Senate Finance Committee and served as President Lincoln’s second head of the Treasury Department. In both positions, he fashioned and implemented wartime financial policy for the United States. In addition, Fessenden’s multifaceted relationship with Lincoln helped to foster effective working relations between the president and congressional Republicans. Cook outlines Fessenden’s many contributions to critical aspects of northern grand strategy and to the gradual shift to an effective total war policy against the Confederacy. Most notably, Cook shows, Fessenden helped craft congressional policy regarding the confiscation and emancipation of slaves. Cook also details Fessenden’s tenure as chairman of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction after the war, during which he authored that committee’s report. Although he sanctioned his party’s break with Andrew Johnson less than a year after the war’s end, Cook explains how Fessenden worked decisively to thwart attempts by Radical Republicans to revolutionize post-emancipation society in the defeated Confederacy. The first biography of Fessenden in over forty years, Civil War Senator reveals a significant but often sidelined historical figure and explains the central role played by party politics and partisanship in the coming of the Civil War, northern military victory, and the ultimate failure of postwar Reconstruction. Cook restores Fessenden to his place as one of the most important politicians of a troubled generation.
Temporality and Identity in America, 1861-1865
Wells calls this phenomenon 'battle time.' To create a modern war machine military officers tried to graft the antebellum authority of the clock onto the actual and mental terrain of the Civil War. However, as Wells's coverage of the Manassas and Gettysburg battles shows, military engagements followed their own logic, often without regard for the discipline imposed by clocks. Wells also looks at how battle time's effects spilled over into periods of inaction, and she covers not only the experiences of soldiers but also those of nurses, prisoners of war, slaves, and civilians.
After the war, women returned, essentially, to an antebellum temporal world, says Wells. Elsewhere, however, postwar temporalities were complicated as freedmen and planters, and workers and industrialists renegotiated terms of labor within parameters set by the clock and nature. A crucial juncture on America's path to an ordered relationship to time, the Civil War had an acute effect on the nation's progress toward a modernity marked by multiple, interpenetrating times largely based on the clock.
Grant and Lee, May 26–June 3, 1866
Gordon Rhea's gripping fourth volume on the spring 1864 campaign-which pitted Ulysses S. Grant against Robert E. Lee for the first time in the Civil War-vividly re-creates the battles and maneuvers from the stalemate on the North Anna River through the Cold Harbor offensive. Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864 showcases Rhea's tenacious research which elicits stunning new facts from the records of a phase oddly ignored or mythologized by historians. In clear and profuse tactical detail, Rhea tracks the remarkable events of those nine days, giving a surprising new interpretation of the famous battle that left seven thousand Union casualties and only fifteen hundred Confederate dead or wounded. Here, Grant is not a callous butcher, and Lee does not wage a perfect fight. Within the pages of Cold Harbor, Rhea separates fact from fiction in a charged, evocative narrative. He leaves readers under a moonless sky, with Grant pondering the eastward course of the James River fifteen miles south of the encamped armies.