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History > U.S. History > Civil War Era

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Chancellorsville Cover

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Chancellorsville

The Battle and Its Aftermath

Edited by Gary W. Gallagher

A variety of important but lesser-known dimensions of the Chancellorsville campaign are explored in this collection of eight original essays. Departing from the traditional focus on generalship and tactics, the contributors address the campaign's broad context and implications and revisit specific battlefield episodes that have in the past been poorly understood. Contributors include Keith S. Bohannon, Gary W. Gallagher, A. Wilson Greene, John J. Hennessy, Robert K. Krick, James Marten, Carol Reardon, and James I. Robertson Jr.

Chancellorsville and the Germans Cover

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Chancellorsville and the Germans

Nativism, Ethnicity, and Civil War Memory

Christian Keller

Often called Lee's greatest triumph, the battle of Chancellorsville decimated the Union Eleventh Corps, composed of large numbers of German-speaking volunteers. Poorly deployed, the unit was routed by StonewallJackson and became the scapegoat for the Northern defeat, blamed by many on the flightof German immigrant troops. The impact on America's large German community was devastating. But there is much more to the story than that. Drawing for the first time on German-language newspapers, soldiers' letters, memoirs, and regimental records, Christian Keller reconstructs the battle and its aftermath from the German-American perspective, military and civilian. He offers a fascinating window into a misunderstood past, one where the German soldiers' valor has been either minimized or dismissed as cowardly. He critically analyzes the performance of the German regiments and documents the impact of nativism on Anglo-American and German-American reactions-and on German self-perceptions as patriots and Americans. For German-Americans, the ghost of Chancellorsville lingered long, and Keller traces its effects not only on ethnic identity, but also on the dynamics of inclusion andassimilation in American life.

Changes in Law and Society during the Civil War Reconstruction Cover

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Changes in Law and Society during the Civil War Reconstruction

A Legal History Documentary Reader

Christian G. Samito

Edited collection of primary sources from America’s transformative Civil War and Reconstruction period that document the profound legal changes that took place during the Civil War era but also highlight how law, society, and politics inextricably mixed and set American legal development on particular paths that were not predetermined. 

The Chickamauga Campaign Cover

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The Chickamauga Campaign

Edited by Steven E. Woodworth

Collection of 8 essays about leadership, morale, and historical commemoration of the 1863 Campaign for Chickamauga. The campaign resulted in the war’s only major Confederate victory west of the Appalachians, on September 19-20 at the battle of Chickamauga, but the victory failed to achieve the truly decisive results that many high-ranking Confederates had expected.

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Chickasaw, a Mississippi Scout for the Union

The Civil War Memoir of Levi H. Naron, as Recounted by R. W. Surby

Thomas D. Cockrell

A well-to-do planter and slave owner in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, Levi Holloway Naron was an unlikely supporter of the Union. And yet, at the outbreak of war in 1861, his agitation against the Confederacy so outraged his fellow Mississippians that they drove him from his home. Bent on retaliation, Naron headed North, contacted the Union army, and was ushered into the presence of General William T. Sherman, who quickly saw the possibilities for employing such a man. Thus began Levi Naron's career as "Chickasaw," Federal scout, spy, and raider. Dictated in 1865, when his memory of events was still fresh—as was his passion—Naron's memoir offers a rare and remarkably vivid firsthand account of a southerner loyal to the Union, operating behind Confederate lines. Active primarily in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee, Naron proved invaluable to Federal commanders in the West, not only Sherman but William Rosecrans, John Pope, Grenville Dodge, Benjamin Grierson, and others—leaders whose official testimony to that effect is included in an appendix here. Naron stood before Rebel commanders as well—Sterling Price, James Chalmers, and John C. Breckinridge—having bedeviled their security forces and intelligence agents. In these pages, he tells how he maneuvered under their noses, burning bridges and railcars full of supplies intended for Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Bell Hood, recruiting for the Union while clad in a Confederate uniform, chasing down Union deserters and Rebel spies, and, for diversion, suppressing guerrillas and bushwhackers. This long-forgotten historical document, newly edited and annotated, provides indispensable information about Confederate as well as Union espionage and counter-espionage activity. Naron's adventures illuminate this clandestine war in the West while allowing readers to experience with startling immediacy the agony, frustrations, and convictions of a pro-Union southerner trapped inside the Confederate States.

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Cities of the Dead

Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914

William A. Blair

Exploring the history of Civil War commemorations from both sides of the color line, William Blair places the development of memorial holidays, Emancipation Day celebrations, and other remembrances in the context of Reconstruction politics and race relations in the South. His grassroots examination of these civic rituals demonstrates that the politics of commemoration remained far more contentious than has been previously acknowledged. Commemorations by ex-Confederates were intended at first to maintain a separate identity from the U.S. government, Blair argues, not as a vehicle for promoting sectional healing. The burial grounds of fallen heroes, known as Cities of the Dead, often became contested ground, especially for Confederate women who were opposed to Reconstruction. And until the turn of the century, African Americans used freedom celebrations to lobby for greater political power and tried to create a national holiday to recognize emancipation. Blair's analysis shows that some festive occasions that we celebrate even today have a divisive and sometimes violent past as various groups with conflicting political agendas attempted to define the meaning of the Civil War. Blair examines Civil War commemorations in postbellum Virginia, focusing on the sharply different remembrances and celebrations that developed among whites and blacks. Blair places these commemorations in the context of Reconstruction politics and race relations across the South and the nation. He argues that black commemorations, despite their vibrancy in the years immediately after the war, were pushed aside over time by holidays and memorials that catered to the political and racial needs of whites as whites moved to consolidate their primacy in the post-Reconstruction era. Blair examines Civil War commemorations of blacks and whites and shows how arguments over how the war would be remembered and memorialized were part of a larger competition over how society would be structured and power exercised. Exploring the history of Civil War commemorations from both sides of the color line, William Blair places the development of memorial holidays, Emancipation Day celebrations, and other remembrances in the context of Reconstruction politics and race relations in the South. His grassroots examination of these civic rituals demonstrates that the politics of commemoration remained far more contentious than has been previously acknowledged. Commemorations by ex-Confederates were intended at first to maintain a separate identity from the U.S. government, Blair argues, not as a vehicle for promoting sectional healing. The burial grounds of fallen heroes, known as Cities of the Dead, often became contested ground, especially for Confederate women who were opposed to Reconstruction. And until the turn of the century, African Americans used freedom celebrations to lobby for greater political power and tried to create a national holiday to recognize emancipation. Blair's analysis shows that some festive occasions that we celebrate even today have a divisive and sometimes violent past as various groups with conflicting political agendas attempted to define the meaning of the Civil War.

Citizens or Papists? Cover

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Citizens or Papists?

The Politics of Anti-Catholicism in New York, 1685-1821

Dean Duncan

Based on careful work with rare archival sources, this book fills a gap in the history of New York Catholicism by chronicling anti-Catholic feeling in pre-Revolutionary and early national periods. Colonial New York, despite its reputation for pluralism, tolerance, and diversity, was also marked by severe restrictions on religious and political liberty for Catholics. The logic of the American Revolution swept away the religious barriers, but Anti-Federalists in the 1780s enacted legislation preventing Catholics from holding office and nearly succeeded in denying them the franchise. The latter effort was blocked by the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, who saw such things as an impediment to a new, expansive nationalist politics. By the early years of the nineteenth century, Catholics gained the right to hold office due to their own efforts in concert with an urban-based branch of the Republicans, which included radical exiles from Europe. With the contributions of Catholics to the War of 1812 and the subsequent collapse of the Federalist Party, by 1820 Catholics had become a key part of the triumphant Republican coalition, which within a decade would become the new Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.Jason K. Duncan is Assistant Professor of History at Aquinas College.

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The Civil War as Global Conflict

Transnational Meanings of the American Civil War

David T. Gleeson

In an attempt to counter the insular narratives of much of the sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War in the United States, editors David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis present this collection of essays to highlight the war not just as a North American conflict but as a global one affected by transnational concerns. The book, while addressing the origins of the Civil War, places the struggle over slavery and sovereignty in the U.S. in the context of other conflicts in the Western hemisphere. Additionally Gleeson and Lewis offer an analysis of the impact of the war and its results overseas. Although the Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in America’s history and arguably its single most defining event, this work underscores the reality that the war was by no means the only conflict that ensnared the global imperial powers in the mid–nineteenth century and was in some ways just another part of the contemporary conflicts over the definitions of liberty, democracy, and nationhood. The editors have successfully linked numerous provocative themes and convergences of time and space to make the work both coherent and cogent. Subjects include such disparate topics as Florence Nightingale, Gone with the Wind, war crimes and racial violence, and choices of allegiance made by immigrants to the United States. While we now take for granted the values of freedom and democracy, we cannot understand the impact of the Civil War and the victorious “new birth of freedom” without thinking globally. The contributors to The Civil War as Global Conflict reveal that Civil War–era attitudes toward citizenship and democracy were far from fixed or stable. Race, ethnicity, nationhood, and slavery were subjects of fierce controversy. Examining the Civil War in a global context requires us to see the conflict as a seminal event in the continuous struggles of people to achieve liberty and fulfill the potential of human freedom. The book concludes with a coda that reconnects the global with the local and provides ways for Americans to discuss the war and its legacy more productively.

Civil War Citizens Cover

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Civil War Citizens

Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict

Susannah Ural, 0, 0

“In the Union and the Confederacy, in the armed forces and on the home front, the Civil War caused people of different races and ethnicities to interact in new ways. The well‒written, well‒researched essays in this important new book offer a fine‒grained narrative about the experiences of different ethnic groups during the Civil War. The essays also probe, in provocative ways, the intersection between military service and the call by different ethnic groups for fuller inclusion and citizenship. This book is not only a fascinating read, it makes a real contribution to the study of ethnic groups during the Civil War era.”

The Civil War Confiscation Acts Cover

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The Civil War Confiscation Acts

Failing to Reconstruct the South

John Syrett

This book is the first full account in more than 20 years of two significant, but relatively understudied, laws passed during the Civil War. The Confiscation Acts (1861-62) were designed to sanction slave holding states by authorizing the Federal Government to seize rebel properties (including land and other assets held in Northern and border states) and grant freedom to slaves who fought with or worked for the Confederate military. Abraham Lincoln objected to the Acts for fear they might push border states, particularly Missouri and Kentucky, into secession. The Acts were eventually rendered moot by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. John Syrett examines the political contexts of the Acts, especially the debates in Congress, and demonstrates how the failure of the confiscation acts during the war presaged the political and structural shortcomings of Reconstruction after the war.

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