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The North's Civil War

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The North's Civil War

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New Bedford's Civil War

Earl F. Mulderink, III

New Bedford's Civil War examines the social, political, economic, and military history of New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the nineteenth century, with a focus on the Civil War homefront from 1861 to 1865 and on the city's black community, soldiers, and veterans. Earl Mulderink's engaging work contributes to the growing body of Civil War studies that analyzes the "war at home" by focusing on the bustling center of the world's whaling industry in the nineteenth century. Using a broad chronological framework of the 1840s through the 1890s, this book contextualizes the rise and fall of New Bedford's whaling enterprise and details the war's multifaceted impacts between 1861 and 1865. A major goal of this book is to explore the war's social history by examining how the conflict touched the city's residents-both white and black. Known before the war for both its wealth and its antislavery fervor, New Bedford offered a congenial home for a sizeable black community that experienced a "different Civil War" than did native-born whites. Drawing upon military pension files, published accounts, and welfare records, this book pays particular attention to soldiers and families connected with the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the "brave black regiment" (made famous by the Academy Award-winning 1989 film Glory) that helped shape national debates over black military enlistment, equal pay, and notions of citizenship. New Bedford's enlightened white leaders, many of them wealthy whaling merchants with Quaker roots, actively promoted military enlistment that pulled 2,000 local citizen-soldiers (about 10 percent of the city's total population) into the Union ranks. As the Whaling City gave way to a postwar landscape marked by textile manufacturing and heavy foreign immigration, the black community fought to keep alive the meaning and history of the Civil War. Joining their one-time neighbor Frederick Douglass, New Bedford's black veterans used the memory of the war and their participation in it to push for full equality-a losing battle by the turn of the twentieth century.

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On the Edge of Freedom

The Fugitive Slave Issue in South Central Pennsylvania, 1820-1870

David G. Smith

In On the Edge of Freedom, David G. Smith breaks new ground by illuminating the unique development of antislavery sentiment in south central Pennsylvania a border region of a border state with a complicated history of slavery, antislavery activism, and unequal freedom. During the antebellum decades every single fugitive slave escaping by land east of the Appalachian Mountains had to pass through the region, where they faced both significant opportunities and substantial risks. While the hundreds of fugitives traveling through south central Pennsylvania (defined as Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland counties) during this period were aided by an effective Underground Railroad, they also faced slave catchers and informers. "Underground" work such as helping fugitive slaves appealed to border antislavery activists who shied away from agitating for immediate abolition in a region with social, economic, and kinship ties to the South. And, as early antislavery protests met fierce resistance, area activists adopted a less confrontational approach, employing the more traditional political tools of the petition and legal action. Smith traces the victories of antislavery activists in south central Pennsylvania, including the achievement of a strong personal liberty law and the aggressive prosecution of kidnappers who seized innocent African Americans as fugitives. He also documents how their success provoked Southern retaliation and the passage of a strengthened Fugitive Slave Law in 1850. The Civil War then intensified the debate over fugitive slaves, as hundreds of escaping slaves, called "contrabands" sought safety in the area, and scores were recaptured by the Confederate army during the Gettysburg campaign. On the Edge of Freedom explores in captivating detail the fugitive slave issue through fifty years of sectional conflict, war, and reconstruction in south central Pennsylvania and provocatively questions what was gained by the activists' pragmatic approach of emphasizing fugitive slaves over immediate abolition and full equality. Smith argues that after the war, social and demographic changes in southern Pennsylvania worked against African Americans achieving equal opportunity, and although local literature portrayed this area as a vanguard of the Underground Railroad, African Americans still lived "on the edge of freedom." By the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was rallying near the Gettysburg battlefield, and south central Pennsylvania became, in some ways, as segregated as the Jim Crow South. The fugitive slave issue, by reinforcing images of dependency, may have actually worked against the achievement of lasting social change.

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A Philadelphia Perspective

The Civil War Diary of Sidney George Fisher

Sidney George Fisher

Invaluable.many insights into the life and thought of the nineteenth century.. [Fisher's] comments are stimulating, often barbed..the narrative is smooth-flowing and fascinating.-American Historical ReviewAn important literary event..an invaluable historical source. Unexcelled.-Pennsylvania HistoryFisher was an astute and acerbic commentator on politics and society in Philadelphia, Washington, and the country as a whole during the Civil War. While legal, historical, and literary scholars will mine this diary for its penetrating insights, lovers of history will delight in Fisher's ability to record the quotidian and the monumental with clarity, force, and lasting effect.-Herman Belz, University of MarylandAn indispensable source for the Northern home front during the Civil War.-Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Pennsylvania State UniversityAn aristocratic member of a prominent Philadelphia family, Sidney George Fisher (1809-1871) was a prolific man of letters. Between 1834 and 1871, he kept a detailed diary that chronicled not only daily life in America's second city but also the key political, social, and cultural events of the nineteenth century. Published in 1967, Fisher's diary quickly became one of the most remarkable works of its kind; few published diaries are as incisive and illuminating of their era.This book makes available once again the pages of Fisher's diary written during the Civil War. As he wrote on November 9, 1861, My diary has become little else than a record of the events of the war, which occupies all thoughts and conversation.His record of the eventsis a uniquely valuable portrait of a city, and a nation, at war. Fisher recorded everything from conversations on street corners to arrests of civilians for treason (including some members of his family), critiques of partisan speeches and pamphlets to descriptions of battles, accounts of runaway slaves, and tales of mob violence. At the same time, he reports on dinners, parties, weddings, and funerals among the city's elite.Brilliant journalism, the Diary is rich with Fisher's own observations- on secession, war and peace, on his admiration for Lincoln and his complicated feelings about slavery and emancipation.The Diary, with a new introduction by Jonathan W. White, joins those of George Templeton Strong and Mary Boykin Chesnut as classic windows on American lifeDuring the War Between the States.Jonathan W. White's articles on Civil War politics have appeared in such journals as Civil War History, American Nineteenth Century History, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, and Pennsylvania History. Awarded a John T. Hubbell prize for the best article in Civil War History, he is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Maryland, College Park.Cover illustrations:Cover design byFordham University PressNew Yorkwww.fordhampress.com

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Sacred Debts

State Civil War Claims and American Federalism

Kyle Sinisi

In this innovative book, Kyle Sinisi explores a little-known chapter in the history of American politics-the struggle between states and the federal government over the costs of fighting the Civil War. At stake was the disposition of some 8 million. Focusing on Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri, Sinisi explores the process by which states were reimbursed by Washington in the most expensive intergovernmental contact of the 19th century. Recasting our understanding of governance, he shows that traditional sources of influence-courts and political parties-were less important in settling claims than adjutants general and private agents who fought for cash bonanzas. These power brokers helped shape the federal bureaucracy-and the process of state building.

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Shades of Green

Irish Regiments, American Soldiers, and Local Communities in the Civil War Era

Ryan W. Keating

Drawing on records of about 5,500 soldiers and veterans, Shades of Green traces the organization of Irish regiments from the perspective of local communities in Connecticut, Illinois, and Wisconsin and the relationships between soldiers and the home front. Research on the impact of the Civil War on Irish Americans has traditionally fallen into one of two tracks, arguing that the Civil War either further alienated Irish immigrants from American society or that military service in defense of the Union offered these men a means of assimilation. In this study of Irish American service, Ryan W. Keating argues that neither paradigm really holds, because many Irish Americans during this time already considered themselves to be assimilated members of American society. This comprehensive study argues that the local community was often more important to ethnic soldiers than the imagined ethnic community, especially in terms of political, social, and economic relationships. An analysis of the Civil War era from this perspective provides a much clearer understanding of immigrant place and identity during the nineteenth century. With a focus on three regiments not traditionally studied, the author provides a fine-grained analysis revealing that ethnic communities, like other types of communities, are not monolithic on a national scale. Examining lesser-studied communities, rather than the usual those of New York City and Boston, Keating brings the local back into the story of Irish American participation in the Civil War, thus adding something new and valuable to the study of the immigrant experience in America’s bloodiest conflict. Throughout this rich and groundbreaking study, Keating supports his argument through advanced quantitative analysis of military-service records and an exhaustive review of a massive wealth of raw data; his use of quantitative methods on a large dataset is an unusual and exciting development in Civil War studies. Shades of Green is sure to “shake up” several fields of study that rely on ethnicity as a useful category for analysis; its impressive research provides a significant contribution to scholarship.

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So Conceived and So Dedicated

Intellectual Life in the Civil War–Era North

Edited by Lorien Foote, and Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Highlighting recent and new directions in contemporary research in the field, So Conceived and So Dedicated offers a complete and updated picture of intellectual life in the Civil War–era Union. Compiling essays from both established and young historians, this volume addresses the role intellectuals played in framing the conflict and implementing their vision of a victorious Union. Broadly defining “intellectuals” to encompass doctors, lawyers, sketch artists, college professors, health reformers, and religious leaders, the essays address how these thinkers disseminated their ideas, sometimes using commercial or popular venues and organizations to implement what they believed. Offering a vast range of perspectives on how northerners thought about,experienced, and responded to the Civil War, So Conceived and So Dedicated is organized around three questions: To what extent did educated Americans believe that the Civil War exposed the failure of old ideas? Did the Civil War promote new strains of authoritarianism in northern intellectual life or did the war reinforce democratic individualism? How did the Civil War affect northerners’ conception of nationalism and their understanding of their relationship to the state? Essays explore myriad topics, including: how antebellum ideas about the environment and the body influenced conceptions of democratic health; how leaders of the Irish American community reconciled their support of the United States and the Republican Party with their allegiances to Ireland and their fellow Irish immigrants; how intellectual leaders of the northern African American community explained secession, civil war, and emancipation; the influence of southern ideals on northern intellectuals; wartime and postwar views from college and university campuses; the ideological acrobatics that professors at midwestern universities had to perform in order to keep their students from leaving the classroom; and how northern sketch artists helped influence the changing perceptions of African American soldiers over the course of the war. Collectively, So Conceived and So Dedicated offers relevant and fruitful answers to the nation’s intellectual history and suggests that antebellum modes of thinking remained vital and tenacious well after the Civil War.

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Their Patriotic Duty

The Civil War Letters of the Evans Family of Brown County, Ohio

Robert F. Engs

Many of the farm families in the river country of southern Ohio sent fathers, husbands, and sons to fight and die in the Civil War. Few families have bequeathed a record of that experience as remarkable as that created by the Evans family: an extraordinary collection of letters that offers a unique portrait of life both on the home front and on the front lines.From his homestead near Ripley on the Ohio River, patriarch Andrew Evans sent two sons to war, and from 1862 to 1866 father and sons wrote each other hundreds of letters. Called the soldier's lettersby the family, this cache lay untouched in a barn until the 1980s, when Robert Engs was invited to edit them.Here are 273 family letters, most between Andrew and son Samuel, that draw us into the complicated lives of a Midwestern family not just suffering the dislocations of war, but also experiencing-and describing in intimate detail-the sorrows and occasional joys of rural life in nineteenth-century America.From the front lines with the 70th Ohio and, later, as an officer commanding a unit of colored troops,Samuel writes of the horrors of Shiloh, of the loneliness and fear of patrolling Union lines in Tennessee. Andrew writes of the seasons of rural life, of illness and deaths in the family, of the complicated politics of this borderland where abolitionists and Copperheadpro-slavery voices shared daily debates.One of the very few collections of Civil War letters from home front and front lines, this meticulously edited book is an engrossing chronicle of war and peace, family and country, and an indispensable addition to the history of the Civil War.

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This Distracted and Anarchical People: New Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War-Era North

New Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War-Era North

Andrew L. Slap

While most of the fighting took place in the South, the Civil War profoundly affected the North. As farm boys became soldiers and marched off to battle, social, economic, and political changes transformed northern society. In the generations following the conflict, historians tried to understand and explain the North's Civil War experience. Many historical explanations became taken for granted, such as that the Union Army was ideologically Republican, northern Democrats were disloyal, and German Americans were lousy soldiers. Now in this eye-opening collection ofeleven stimulating essays, new and important information is unearthed that solidly challenges the old historical arguments.The essays in This Distracted and Anarchical People range widely throughout the history of the Civil War North, using new methods and sources to reexamine old theories and discover new aspects of the nation's greatest conflict. Many of these issues are just as important today as they were a century and a half ago. What were the extent and limits of wartime dissent in the North? How could a president most effectively present himself to the public? Can the savagery of war ever be tamed? How did African Americans create and maintain their families?This Distracted and Anarchical People highlights the newest scholarship on a diverse array of topics, bringing fresh insight to bear on some of the most important topics in history today--such as the democratic press in the antebellum North, peace movements, the Union Army and the elections of 1864, Liberia and the U.S. Civil War, and African American veterans and marriage practices after Emancipation.

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Warriors into Workers

The Civil War and the Formation of the Urban-Industrial Society in a Northern City

Russell L. Johnson

In this portrait of Dubuque, Iowa, Russell Johnson combines personal narratives with social, political, and economic analysis to shed new light on what the War meant for one city and for the rapidly growing north.



Johnson examines the experiences of Dubuque's soldiers and their families to answer crucial questions: What impact did the Civil War have on the economic and social life of Dubuque? How did military service affect the social mobility of veterans? And how did army service, as a form of industrial organization, help create a modern workforce?



Warriors into Workers makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the formation of American industrial society, and addresses key issues in labor history, military history, political culture, and gender.

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