The University Press of Kentucky

Virginia at War

William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

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Virginia at War, 1861

edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.

Although nine of the former British colonies joined the United States before Virginia, the fate of the new republic depended heavily on the Commonwealth. With four of the first five American presidents, and many other founding fathers and framers of the Constitution, calling Virginia their home, the roots of American democracy are firmly planted within the borders of the Old Dominion. Similarly, several Southern states preceded Virginia in seceding from the Union, but until Virginia joined them in April 1861, the Confederacy lacked cohesion. Richmond was immediately named the capital of the fledgling nation, and by the end of spring, Virginia had become the primary political and military theater in which the grand tragedy of the Civil War was enacted. Virginia at War, 1861, edited by acclaimed historians William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr., vividly portrays the process of secession, the early phases of conflict, and the struggles of Virginians to weather the brutal storms of war. Virginia at War, 1861 is the first in a series of volumes on each of Virginia’s five years as a Confederate state. Essays by eight noted Civil War scholars provide a three-dimensional view of Virginians’ experiences during the first year of the War Between the States. In addition to recounting the remarkable military events taking place in Virginia in 1861, this collection examines a civilian population braced for war but divided on crucial questions, an economy pressed to cope with the demands of combat, and a culture that strained to reconcile its proud heritage with its uncertain future. In 1861, the outcome of the Civil War was far from determined, but for Virginians there was little doubt that the war experience would alter nearly everything they had known before the outbreak of hostilities. In exacting detail, Virginia at War, 1861 examines the earliest challenges of the Civil War, the changes war wrought, and the ways in which Virginians withstood and adapted to this profound, irrevocable upheaval.

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Virginia at War, 1862

edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.

As the Civil War entered its first full calendar year for the Old Dominion, Virginians began to experience the full ramifications of the conflict. Their expectations for the coming year did not prepare them for what was about to happen; in 1862 the war became earnest and real, and the state became then and thereafter the major battleground of the war in the East. Virginia emerged from the year 1861 in much the same state of uncertainty and confusion as the rest of the Confederacy. While the North was known to be rebuilding its army, no one could be sure if the northern people and government were willing to continue the war. The landscape and the people of Virginia were a part of the battlefield. Virginia at War, 1862 demonstrates how no aspect of life in the Commonwealth escaped the war’s impact. The collection of essays examines topics as diverse as daily civilian life and the effects of military occupation, the massive influx of tens of thousands of wounded and sick into Richmond, and the wartime expansion of Virginia’s industrial base, the largest in the Confederacy. Out on the field, Robert E. Lee’s army was devastated by the Battle of Antietam, and Lee strove to rebuild the army with recruits from the interior of the state. Many Virginians, however, were far behind the front lines. A growing illustrated press brought the war into the homes of civilians and allowed them to see what was happening in their state and in the larger war beyond their borders. To round out this volume, indefatigable Richmond diarist Judith McGuire continues her day-by-day reflections on life during wartime. The second in a five-volume series examining each year of the war, Virginia at War, 1862 illuminates the happenings on both homefront and battlefield in the state that served as the crucible of America’s greatest internal conflict.

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Virginia at War, 1863

edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.

Between the epic battles of 1862 and the grueling and violent military campaigns that would follow, the year 1863 was oddly quiet for the Confederate state of Virginia. Only one major battle was fought on its soil, at Chancellorsville, and the conflict was one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s greatest victories. Yet the pressures of the Civil War turned the daily lives of Virginians—young and old, men and women, civilians and soldiers—into battles of their own. Despite minimal combat, 1863 was an eventful year in Virginia history—Stonewall Jackson died within its borders and Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. In Virginia at War, 1863, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. present these and other key events, as well as a discussion of the year’s military land operations to reveal the political, social, and cultural ramifications of the ongoing national conflict. By this time, the war had profoundly transformed nearly every aspect of Virginia life and culture, from education to religion to commerce. Mounting casualties and depleted resources made the citizens of the Commonwealth feel the deprivations of war more deeply than ever. Virginia at War, 1863 surveys these often overlooked elements of the conflict. Contributors focus on the war’s impact on Virginia’s children and its newly freed slaves. They shed light on the origins of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, explore the popularity of scrapbooking as a form of personal recordkeeping, and consider the changing role of religion during wartime and the uncertain faith of Virginia’s Christians. The book concludes with the 1863 entries of the Diary of a Southern Refugee by Richmond’s Judith Brockenbrough McGuire. At the midpoint of the Civil War, the hostility of this great American struggle had become an ingrained part of Virginia life. Virginia at War, 1863 is the third volume of a five-book series that reexamines the Commonwealth’s history as an integral part of the Confederacy. The series looks beyond military campaigns and tactics to consider how the war forever changed the people, culture, and society of Virginia.

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Virginia at War, 1864

edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.. with contributions byRichard J. Sommers, Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Ted Tunnell, Ginette Aley, Peter Wallenstein, Jared Bond, Bradford A. Wineman, and J. Michael Cobb

The fourth book in the Virginia at War series casts a special light on vital home front matters in Virginia during 1864. Following a year in which only one major battle was fought on Virginia soil, 1864 brought military campaigning to the Old Dominion. For the first time during the Civil War, the majority of Virginia’s forces fought inside the state’s borders. Yet soldiers were a distinct minority among the Virginians affected by the war. In Virginia at War, 1864, scholars explore various aspects of the civilian experience in Virginia including transportation and communication, wartime literature, politics and the press, higher education, patriotic celebrations, and early efforts at reconstruction in Union-occupied Virginia. The volume focuses on the effects of war on the civilian infrastructure as well as efforts to maintain the Confederacy. As in previous volumes, the book concludes with an edited and annotated excerpt of the Judith Brockenbrough McGuire diary.

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Virginia at War, 1865

edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr.

By January 1865, most of Virginia’s schools were closed, many newspapers had ceased publication, businesses suffered, and food was scarce. Having endured major defeats on their home soil and the loss of much of the state’s territory to the Union army, Virginia’s Confederate soldiers began to desert at higher rates than at any other time in the war, returning home to provide their families with whatever assistance they could muster. It was a dark year for Virginia. Virginia at War, 1865 closely examines the end of the Civil War in the Old Dominion, delivering a striking depiction of a state ravaged by violence and destruction. In the final volume of the Virginia at War series, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. have once again assembled an impressive collection of essays covering topics that include land operations, women and families, wartime economy, music and entertainment, the demobilization of Lee’s army, and the war’s aftermath. The volume ends with the final installment of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire’s popular and important Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War. Like the previous four volumes in the series, Virginia at War, 1865 provides valuable insights into the devastating effects of the war on citizens across the state.

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