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Yankee Blitzkrieg

Wilson's Raid through Alabama and Georgia

James Pickett Jones

Yankee Blitzkrieg is the first comprehensive survey of Wilson's Raid, the largest independent mounted expedition of the Civil War.

The Confederacy was reeling when Wilson's raiders left their camps along the Tennessee River in March 1865 and rode south. But there was talk of prolonged rebel resistance in the deep South using the agricultural and industrial facilties of a sweep of territory that ran from Macon to Meridian. That area had hardly been touched by the war, and in Columbus, Georgia, and Selma, Alabama, the South had two of its most productive industrial communities. Twenty-seven year-old General Wilson was certain his large, well-officered, well-trained, and well-armed cavalry corps could deny the Confederates a redoubt in the heart of Alabama and Georgia. Wilson, like many cavalry leaders, north and South, believed the mounted arm had been grievously misused through four years of war. But in March 1865, armed with support from Grant, Sherman, and Thomas, Wilson at last could test the theory that massed heavily armed cavalry could strike swiftly in great strenghth and press to quick victory.... Wilson's strategy was to get there "first with the most men," and it would be tested against the man who had invented the very phrase, Nathan Bedford Forrest. -- from the book

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Yankee Division in the First World War

In the Highest Tradition

By Michael E. Shay

Historians have been unkind to the 26th Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite playing a significant role in all the major engagements of the American Expeditionary Force, the “Yankee Division,” as it was commonly known, and its beloved commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Clarence Edwards, were often at odds with Gen. John J. Pershing. Subsequently, the Yankee Division became the A.E.F.’s “whipping boy,” a reputation that has largely continued to the present day. In The Yankee Division in the First World War, author Michael E. Shay mines a voluminous body of first-person accounts to set forth an accurate record of the Yankee Division in France—a record that is, as he reports, “better than most.” Shay sheds new light on the ongoing conflict in leadership and notes that two of the division’s regiments received the coveted Croix de Guerre, the first ever awarded to an American unit. This first-rate study should find a welcome place on military history bookshelves, both for scholars and students of the Great War and for interested general readers.

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Yankee Dutchmen under Fire

Civil War Letters from the 82nd Illinois Infantry

Thousands of volumes of Civil War letters are available, but little more than a dozen contain collections written by native Germans fighting in this great American conflict. Yankee Dutchmen under Fire presents a fascinating collection of sixty-one letters written by immigrants who served in the 82nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 82nd Illinois was one of the thirty or so predominantly “German Regiments” in the Union army, and one of only two Federal regiments containing a Jewish company. Fighting alongside the Germans was a company of Scandinavians, plus a scattering of immigrants from many other countries.

The letters span nearly three years of war and include firsthand accounts of major battles: Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in the East and Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, and Kolb’s Farm in the West. The soldiers of the 82nd Illinois also describe campaigning in East Tennessee, Sherman’s Atlanta campaign and his March to the Sea, and the Carolinas campaign (including the Battle of Bentonville).

The majority of the letters originally appeared in wartime issues of German American newspapers and kept the German community informed of the regiment’s marches, camps, battles, and casualties. Lt. (later Capt.) Rudolph Müller, an idealistic and highly critical commentator, wrote twenty-one of the twenty-nine private letters to his close friend and confidant Col. Friedrich Hecker. Müller cautioned the colonel not to make his letters public because they often contained highly critical comments about commanders, fellow officers, public figures, Anglo-Americans, and American society.

Besides providing details of military life and combat, the documents reveal how the German-born writers viewed the war, American officers and enlisted men, other immigrant soldiers, and the enemy. They shed light on the ethnic dimensions of the war, including ethnic identity, ethnic pride and prejudice, and ethnic solidarity, and they reflect the overarching political climate in which the war was fought. Yankee Dutchmen under Fire is a valuable addition to Civil War studies and will also be welcomed by those interested in ethnicity and immigration.

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A Yankee Horseman in the Shenandoah Valley

The Civil War Letters of John H. Black, Twelfth Pennsylvania Cavalry

David J. Coles

In many ways, John H. Black typified the thousands of volunteers who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Born in 1834 and raised on his family’s farm near Allegheny Township, Pennsylvania, Black taught school until he, like many Pennsylvanians, rushed to defend the Union after the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861. He served with the Twelfth Pennsylvania Cavalry, one of the Union’s most unruly, maligned, and criticized units.Consistently outperformed early in the conflict, the Twelfth finally managed to salvage much of  its reputation by the end of the war. Throughout his service, Black penned frequent and descriptive letters to his fiancée and later wife, Jennie Leighty Black. This welcome volume presents this complete correspondence for the first time, offering a surprisingly full record of the cavalryman’s service from 1862 to 1865 and an intimate portrait of a wartime romance.


            In his letters, Black reveals his impassioned devotion to the cause, frequently expressing his disgust toward those who would not enlist and his frustration with friends who were not appropriately patriotic. Despite the Twelfth Pennsylvania’s somewhat checkered history, Black consistently praises both the regiment’s men and their service and demonstrates a strong camaraderie with his fellow soldiers. He offers detailed descriptions of the regiment’s vital operations in protecting Unionists and tracking down and combating guerrillas, in particular John Singleton Mosby and his partisan rangers, providing a rare first-person account of Union counterinsurgency tactics in the Lower Shenandoah Valley. In the midst of portraying heated and chaotic military operations, Black makes Jennie a prominent character in his war, illustrating the various ways in which the conflict altered or nurtured romantic relationships.


            One of the few compilations of letters by a long-term Yankee cavalry member and the only such collection by a member of the Twelfth Pennsylvania, A Yankee Horseman in the Shenandoah Valley provides new insights into the brutal, confused guerrilla fighting that occurred in northwestern Virginia. Moreover, these letters make a significant contribution toward an emerging consensus that Yankee cavalry—often maligned and contrasted with their celebrated Confederate foes—became a superior fighting force as the war progressed.
 
David J. Coles, professor of history at Longwood University, is the associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Civil War, coauthor of Sons of Garibaldi in Blue and Gray, and coeditor of the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War.

Stephen D. Engle, professor of history at Florida Atlantic University, is the author of Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel, Don Carlos Buell: Most Promising of All, and Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth.

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Yankee Invasion of Texas

By Stephen A. Townsend

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A Yankee Scholar in Coastal South Carolina

William Francis Allen's Civil War Journals

James Robert Hester

New Englander William Allen (1830–1889) is mostly known today as the lead editor of the 1867 anthology Slave Songs of the United States, the earliest published collection of Negro spirituals, and as a distinguished history professor at the University of Wisconsin. During the Civil War, he served from late 1863 through mid-1864 as a member of the “Gideonite band” of businessmen, missionaries, and teachers who migrated to the South Carolina Sea Islands as part of the Port Royal Experiment. After the war, he served as assistant superintendent of schools in Charleston from April through July 1865. Allen kept journals during his assignments in South Carolina in which he recorded events and impressions of about several hundred people, especially ex-slaves, along with fellow Gideonites, Union soldiers and officials, and ex-Confederates. In A Yankee Scholar in Coastal South Carolina, editor James Robert Hester has transcribed Allen’s journals and fully annotated them to create a significant documentary source of information on Civil War South Carolina. Hester notes that Allen’s journals are more than travelogues, as he often analyzed the people, events, and ideas he encountered. In addition to being a competent amateur musician, Allen was a Harvard-trained historian and philologist and brought his impressive skills to his writing. Later in his life he became an eminent professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. Hester’s introductory chapter summarizes Allen’s life from his early childhood in Northborough, Massachusetts, through his education at Harvard, his duties as associate principal of the West Newton (Massachusetts) English and Classical School, and his engagement in the Port Royal Experiment. The introduction also surveys Allen’s essays on the South published in the Christian Examiner during the Civil War and his articles written for The Nation at the war’s end. Two chapters cover Allen’s St. Helena and Charleston journals, respectively, and the book closes with a short epilogue. The work is generously annotated, containing almost 600 endnotes, which amplify Allen’s narrative and complement Allen’s vivid glimpses of coastal South Carolina during the Civil War.

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Yankee Town, Southern City

Race and Class Relations in Civil War Lynchburg

Steven Tripp

One of the most hotly debated issues in the historical study of race relations is the question of how the Civil War and Reconstruction affected social relations in the South. Did the War leave class and race hierarchies intact? Or did it mark the profound disruption of a long-standing social order?

Yankee Town, Southern City examines how the members of the southern community of Lynchburg, Virginia experienced four distinct but overlapping events--Secession, Civil War, Black Emancipation, and Reconstruction. By looking at life in the grog shop, at the military encampment, on the street corner, and on the shop floor, Steven Elliott Tripp illustrates the way in which ordinary people influenced the contours of race and class relations in their town.

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Yankee Twang

Country and Western Music in New England

Clifford R. Murphy

Merging scholarly insight with a professional guitarist's keen sense of the musical life, Yankee Twang delves into the rich tradition of country & western music that is played and loved in the mill towns and cities of the American northeast. Clifford R. Murphy draws on a wealth of ethnographic material, interviews, and encounters with recorded and live music to reveal the central role of country and western in the social lives and musical activity of working-class New Englanders. As Murphy shows, an extraordinary multiculturalism informed by New England's kaleidoscope of ethnic groups created a distinctive country and western music style. But the music also gave--and gives--voice to working-class feeling. Yankee country and western emphasizes the western , reflecting the longing for the mythical cowboy's life of rugged but fulfilling individualism. Indeed, many New Englanders use country and western to comment on economic disenfranchisement and express their resentment of a mass media, government, and Nashville music establishment they believe neither reflects nor understands their life experiences.

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Yankee Warhorse

A Biography of Major General Peter Osterhaus

Mary Bobbit Townsend

A German-born Union officer in the American Civil War, Maj. Gen. Peter Osterhaus served from the first clash in the western theater until the final surrender of the war. Osterhaus made a name for himself within the army as an energetic and resourceful commander who led his men from the front. He was one of the last surviving Union major general and military governor of Mississippi in the early days of Reconstruction.
This first full-length study of the officer documents how, despite his meteoric military career, his accomplishments were underreported even in his own day and often misrepresented in the historical record. Mary Bobbitt Townsend corrects previous errors about his life and offers new insights into his contributions to major turning points in the war at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, as well as other battles.
            Townsend draws on battle reports not found in the Official Records, on personal papers, and on other nonpublished material to examine Osterhaus’s part in the major battles in the West as well as in minor engagements. She tells how he came into his own in the Vicksburg campaign and proved himself through skill with artillery, expertise in intelligence gathering, and taking the lead in hostile territory—blazing the trail down the west side of the river for the entire Union army and then covering Grant’s back for a month during the siege. At Chattanooga, Osterhaus helped Joe Hooker strategize the rout at Lookout Mountain; at Atlanta, he led the Fifteenth Corps, the largest of the four corps making Sherman's March to the Sea. Townsend also documents his contributions in the battles of Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, Ringgold Gap, and Resaca and shows that he played a crucial role in Canby’s Mobile Bay operations at the end of the war.
            In addition to reporting Osterhaus’s wartime experiences, Townsend describes his experiences as a leader in the 1848–1849 Rebellion in his native Germany, his frustration during his term as Mississippi’s governor, and his stint as U.S. consul to France during the Franco-Prussian War.
            Osterhaus stood out from other volunteer officers in his understanding of tactics and logistics, even though his careful field preparation led to criticism by historians that he was unduly cautious in battle. Yankee Warhorse sets the record straight on this important Civil War general as it opens a new window on the war in the West.

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Yankees in Michigan

As Brian C. Wilson describes them in this highly readable and entertaining book, Yankees — defined by their shared culture and sense of identity — had a number of distinctive traits and sought to impose their ideas across the state of Michigan.
     After the ethnic label of "Yankee" fell out of use, the off spring of Yankees appropriated the term "Midwesterner." So fused did the identities of Yankee and Midwesterner become that understanding the larger story of America's Midwestern regional identity begins with the Yankees in Michigan.

 

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