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.
Hero, adulterer, bon vivant, murderer and rogue, Dan Sickles led the kind of existence that was indeed stranger than fiction. Throughout his life he exhibited the kind of exuberant charm and lack of scruple that wins friends, seduces women, and gets people killed. In American Scoundrel Thomas Keneally, the acclaimed author of Schindler's List, creates a biography that is as lively and engrossing as its subject.Dan Sickles was a member of Congress, led a controversial charge at Gettysburg, and had an affair with the deposed Queen of Spain--among many other women. But the most startling of his many exploits was his murder of Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key), the lover of his long-suffering and neglected wife, Teresa. The affair, the crime, and the trial contained all the ingredients of melodrama needed to ensure that it was the scandal of the age. At the trial's end, Sickles was acquitted and hardly chastened. His life, in which outrage and accomplishment had equal force, is a compelling American tale, told with the skill of a master narrative.
Among the autobiographies of generals and statesmen, the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant ranks with the greatest. Mark Twain called it "the best of any general's since Caesar." And few historians would disagree. Unquestionably, it is the finest literary achievement by any American president, the frankest, least pretentious, most nearly tragic account we have of the failings and triumphs of leadership.Written as Grant was dying of cancer, it tells the straightforward story of his boyhood in Ohio, graduation from West Point, and the grimy military campaigns in the West and Mexico that ended with his resignation in disgrace and a return to Galena where he ran the family store. Then began the rebellion that broke the Union and recast Grant's fortune: the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Appomattox, Five Forks, Sailor's Creek, Vicksburg and Lookout Mountain, the bloody Wilderness campaign, Sherman's "March to the Sea, ." Grant the tactician, the victim of his friends, the alcoholic, the plain and tough professional soldier, the ideal commander--all of these images are brightened in the work of Grant the writer as he assesses himself and the events that forged his character.
A group at the headquarters, near Fairfax Court-House, taken in June, 1863. Thoughtful and erect, the most prominent figure is Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, then a Captain on the Staff of General Meade. Handsome, chivalric, one of the bravest to the brave, his character was fitly compared to that of the good knight, the Chevalier Bayard, and like him, he was truly "sans peur et sans reproche." So noble a man, that all the heroes who have perished for the nation, his loss is the hardest to realize. The story of his short but brilliant career has been written by abler hands, and is now a "household word." Of its closing scenes, the writer narrowly escaped being a witness, having been invited to accompany the Colonel on that ill-starred expedition by which his life was sacrificed. Just recovering from the loss of his leg, and suffering acutely from any physical exertion, his active spirit could not be controlled, when the thought of his brothers in arms pining under the cruelties of Libby and Belle Isle. No ruthless raid was his, but a Christian effort to help the despairing Union Prisoners. None, who knew him, need be told how false was the document, claimed to have been found upon his person. General Meade, suspecting his inability to undergo the fatigues of an expedition in the inclement weather of February, was disinclined to give his permission, but Dahlgren, determined on his purpose, mounted his horse, and proceeding to a review of the Second Corps, rode fearlessly over the fields, and under his frank smile, so well hid all traces of bodily suffering, that the General reluctantly permitted him to depart. After the review, when he came over (for the retirement it offered) to the writer'stent, it was too evident how fearful had been the effort of his will.
The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs--many never before published--as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
April 1865 was a month that could have unraveled the nation. Instead, it saved it. Here Jay Winik offers a brilliant new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. Uniquely set within the larger sweep of history, filled with rich profiles of outsize figures, fresh iconoclastic scholarship, and a gripping narrative, this is a masterful account of the thirty most pivotal days in the life of the United States.
It was not inevitable that the Civil War would end as it did, or that it would end at all well. Indeed, it almost didn't. Time and again, critical moments could have plunged the nation back into war or fashioned a far harsher, more violent, and volatile peace. Now, in a superbly told story, Winik captures the epic images and extraordinary history as never before. This one month witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond; a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare; Lee's harrowing retreat; and then Appomattox. It saw Lincoln's assassination just five days later, and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation. In the end, April 1865 emerges as not just the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the making of our nation.
Provocative, bold, exquisitely rendered, and stunningly original, April 1865 is the first major reassessment of the Civil War's close and is destined to become one of the great stories of American history.
Stephen E. Ambrose, acclaimed author of Band of Brothers and Undaunted Courage, carries us along in the crowded and dangerous B-24s as their crews fought to destroy the German war machine during World War II.The young men who flew the B-24s over Germany in World War II fought against horrific odds, and, in The Wild Blue, Ambrose recounts their extraordinary heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship with vivid detail and affection. Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and selected the elite few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war. These are the boys--turned pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners of the B-24s--who suffered over fifty percent casualties. With his remarkable gift for bringing alive the action and tension of combat, Ambrose carries us along in the crowded, uncomfortable, and dangerous B-24s as their crews fought to the death through thick black smoke and deadly flak to reach their targets and destroy the German war machine. Twenty-two-year-old George McGovern, who was to become a United States senator and a presidential candidate, flew thirty-five combat missions (all the Army would allow) and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. We meet him and his mates, his co-pilot killed in action, and crews of other planes. Many went down in flames. As Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers portrayed the bravery and ultimate victory of the American soldiers from Normandy on to Germany, The Wild Blue illustrates the enormous contribution that these young men of the Army Air Forces made to the Allied victory.
The Civil War is most often described as one in which brother fought against brother. But the most devastating war fought on American soil was also one in which women demonstrated heroic deeds, selfless acts, and courage beyond measure. Women mobilized soup kitchens and relief societies. Women cared for wounded soldiers. Women were effective spies. And it is estimated that 300 women fought on the battlefields, usually disguised as men. The most fascinating Civil War women include:
- Harriet Tubman, a former slave, who led hundreds of fellow slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad
- Four hundred women who were seized in Roswell, Georgia, deported to Indiana, and vanished without a trace
- Belle Boyd, the "Siren of the Shenandoah," who at the age of seventeen killed a Union soldier
- "Crazy" Elizabeth Van Lew, who deliberately fostered the impression that she was eccentric so that she could be an effective spy for the North
"The poor fellow sprang from my hands and fell back quivering in the agonies of death. A bullet had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through my sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder." ?Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
"We were all amused and disgusted at the sight of a thing that nothing but the debased and depraved Yankee nation could produce. A woman] was dressed in the full uniform of a Federal surgeon. She was not good looking, and of course had tongue enough for a regiment of men." ?Captain Benedict J. Semmes, describing Mary Walker, M.D.