"American scholarship is richer for this unique exercise. More important--the great community, . . . one again sorely beset by unsettled problems of sectional rivalry and world tension, can read this book with great profit. Too few historians put their talents at the disposal of society so effectively." --American Historical Review"A brilliant, straightforward summary of the background of America's favorite armchair war. So deceptively simple is Craven's] exposition that the solid worth of the book sneaks up on the reader when, having finished it, he realizes that the brief volume may be short on detail but is complete as a well-considered, authoritative statement of history."--Chicago Tribune "Never has he--or anyone else--analyzed the growing sectional conflict in more graphic or understandable terms than in the present volume."--Civil War History
General John A. Wickham, commander of the famous 101st Airborne Division in the 1970s and subsequently Army Chief of Staff, once visited Antietam battlefield. Gazing at Bloody Lane where, in 1862, several Union assaults were brutally repulsed before they finally broke through, he marveled, "You couldn't get American soldiers today to make an attack like that." Why did those men risk certain death, over and over again, through countless bloody battles and four long, awful years ? Why did the conventional wisdom -- that soldiers become increasingly cynical and disillusioned as war progresses -- not hold true in the Civil War?It is to this question--why did they fight--that James McPherson, America's preeminent Civil War historian, now turns his attention. He shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, the soldiers of the Civil War remained powerfully convinced of the ideals for which they fought throughout the conflict. Motivated by duty and honor, and often by religious faith, these men wrote frequently of their firm belief in the cause for which they fought: the principles of liberty, freedom, justice, and patriotism. Soldiers on both sides harkened back to the Founding Fathers, and the ideals of the American Revolution. They fought to defend their country, either the Union--"the best Government ever made"--or the Confederate states, where their very homes and families were under siege. And they fought to defend their honor and manhood. "I should not lik to go home with the name of a couhard," one Massachusetts private wrote, and another private from Ohio said, "My wife would sooner hear of my death than my disgrace." Even after three years of bloody battles, more than half of the Union soldiers reenlisted voluntarily. "While duty calls me here and my country demands my services I should be willing to make the sacrifice," one man wrote to his protesting parents. And another soldier said simply, "I still love my country." McPherson draws on more than 25,000 letters and nearly 250 private diaries from men on both sides. Civil War soldiers were among the most literate soldiers in history, and most of them wrote home frequently, as it was the only way for them to keep in touch with homes that many of them had left for the first time in their lives. Significantly, their letters were also uncensored by military authorities, and are uniquely frank in their criticism and detailed in their reports of marches and battles, relations between officers and men, political debates, and morale. For Cause and Comrades lets these soldiers tell their own stories in their own words to create an account that is both deeply moving and far truer than most books on war. Battle Cry of Freedom, McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times, called "history writing of the highest order." For Cause and Comrades deserves similar accolades, as McPherson's masterful prose and the soldiers' own words combine to create both an important book on an often-overlooked aspect of our bloody Civil War, and a powerfully moving account of the men who fought it.
Every aspect of the common sailor's life in the Union navy--from recruiting, clothing, training, shipboard routine, entertainment, and wages to diet, health, and combat experience--is addressed in this study, the first to examine the subject in rich detail. The wealth of new facts it provides allows the reader to take a fresh look at nineteenth-century social history, including issues like racial integration in the military. As he examines daily life in the Union navy, Dennis Ringle also calls attention to the enlisted sailor's enormous contributions to the development of the U.S. Navy as it moved from wood and sail to steam and iron.
A marine engineer with more than twenty years of naval experience, Ringle describes the lives of the steam engineers whose work later proved critical to the success of the ironclad monitors and the development of the powerful predreadnought warships. His focus is on the sailors assigned to the western river vessels, the ships enforcing the blockade, and those dispatched to destroy Confederate commerce raiders. To reconstruct daily life, he draws on a large number of published and unpublished diaries, journals, and letters. To put the information in context, he compares the sailor's life to that of a soldier's, including health conditions to explain why, for example, fewer sailors died from disease than soldiers.
Ringle's efforts to gain respect for the courageous Union sailors who helped save the nation are certain to bring them recognition, just as Bell Wiley's landmark studies Billy Yank and Johnny Reb did for the Civil War soldiers.
Drawing on new research as well as period journals and diaries, this study provides a detailed account of the battle of Chancellorsville and assesses the factors that led to a Confederate victory
"The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing."- Shelby Foote, from The Civil WarWhen the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as "a treasure for the eye and mind." Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is available in a text-only edition that interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through the cataclysmic trial of our nationhood: not just Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee, but genteel Southern ladies and escaped slaves, cavalry officers and common foot soldiers who fought in Yankee blue and Rebel gray. The Civil War also includes essays by our most distinguished historians of the era: Don E. Fehrenbacher, on the war's origins; Barbara J. Fields, on the freeing of the slaves; Shelby Foote, on the war's soldiers and commanders; James M. McPherson, on the political dimensions of the struggle; and C. Vann Woodward, assessing the America that emerged from the war's ashes.
Denney explores the history of medical treatment during the Civil War, using firsthand accounts from letters, journals, reports, and diaries from both sides of the conflict, arranged chronologically from January 1862 to October 1865. Includes b&w photos. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
For forty years, Charles Whilden lived a life noteworthy for failure. Then, in a remarkable chain of events, this aging, epileptic desk clerk from Charleston found himself plunged into the brutal battlefields of the Wilderness (May 57, 1864) and Spotsylvania Court House (May 820, 1864). In an astonishing act of bravery, he wrapped the flag around his body and led a charge that won critical ground for the Confederates, changing the course of one of the war's most significant battles.Gordon C. Rhea combines his deep knowledge of Civil War history with original sources, such as a treasure trove of letters written by Charles Whilden, to tell the story of this unusual life. Growing up in a prominent family that had fallen on hard times, Charles received a good education, and his letters reveal flashes of intelligence. But he failed at the practice of law in his home state and in his endeavors elsewhere, including copper speculation, real estate ventures, and farming. After the attack on Fort Sumter, Charles returned to Charleston to enlist in Confederate service, only to be turned down until the rebellion was on its last legs. Even then he saw only a few weeks of combat. But in that time, he discovered a bravery within himself that nothing in his former existence suggested he had.
From New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, the third installment in The Starbuck Chronicles.
The epic battle for control of the Confederate capital continues through the hot summer of 1862.
It's a battle that Captain Nate Starbuck, a Yankee fighting for the Southern cause, has to survive and win. He must lead his ragged company in a bitter struggle, not only against the formidable Northern army, but against his own superiors who would like nothing better than to see Nate Starbuck dead.
Second only to Mathew Brady as the foremost early American photographer was Alexander Gardner, the one-time manager of Brady's Washington salon and Brady's chief photographer in the field during the early days of the Civil War.
Indeed, Gardner -- who later photographed the War independently -- often managed the famous horse-drawn photographic laboratory and took many of the pictures that used to be attributed to Brady. He accompanied the Union troops on their marches, their camps and bivouacs, their battles, and on their many hasty retreats and routs during the early days of the War.
In 1866 Alexander Gardner published a very ambitious two-volume work which contained prints of some 100 photographs which he had taken in the field. A list of them reads like a roster of great events and great men: Antietam Bridge under Travel, President Lincoln (and McClellan) at Antietam, Pinkerton and His Agents in the Field, Ruins of Richmond, Libby Prison, McLean's House Where Lee's Surrender Was Signed, Meade's Headquarters at Gettysburg, Battery D, Second U.S. Artillery in Action at Fredericksburg, the Slaughter Pen at Gettysburg, and many others. This publication is now amoung the rarest American books, and is here for the first time republished inexpensively.
Gardner's photographs are among the greatest war pictures ever taken and are also among the most prized records of American history. Gardner was quite conscious of recording history, and spared himself no pains or risk to achieve the finest results. His work indicates a technical mastery that now seems incredible when one bears in mind the vicissitudes of collodion applications in the field, wet plates, long exposures, long drying times, imperfect chemicals -- plus enemy bullets around the photographer's ears. It has been said of these photographs: photography today . . . is far easier, but it is no better.