True stories of unusual happenings during the civil war.
In 1861, Wilmer McLean, distressed that a cannon ball crashed through his home during the battle of Bull Run, moved to a farm where "the sound of battle would never again reach him and his family." Almost four years later, McLean's Appomattox Court House home was used for Lee's surrender to Grant. There wasn't damage from cannon balls, but souvenir-hunting Union officers left McLean's parlor bare of furniture.
After the Confederacy was defeated, Jefferson Davis was stripped of his citizenship. He died as a man without a country. His citizenship was restored by Congress during the administration of Georgian Jimmy Carter.
Three members of the Guillet family were killed while riding the same horse, which was then given to the Ohio Ninety-eighth regiment. Three officers were killed while riding the same horse. Lieutenant Milliner, the senior officer left on the field, then jumped on the jinxed horse. He escaped death, but suffered all his life from an arm shatterred by a minie ball while he was in the saddle.
Civil War Curiosities uncovers those unusual persons, attitudes, and events that take you beyond a textbook understanding of the Civil War. A collection of fascinating anecdotes and colorful stories, this book covers a wide variety of subjects, including "newfangled" weapons that changed the nature of war, the press' outrageous inaccuracy in covering the conflict, the phenomenon of "silent battles, " and various disguises, atrocities, and mix-ups.
From May 1804 to September 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark undertook one of the great adventures of modern man. Their government-sponsored exploration of the wilderness between the Mississippi River and the Pacific covered, in total miles, a distance equal to one-third the circumference of the earth and took its participants through what is now mapped as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Washington State, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. It was an epoch-making expedition through one of the most magnificent geographical areas of the world.
The story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is America's national epic. Both men proved themselves not only intrepid pioneers but also acute observers and top-flight journalists. Their day-to-day journal filled thousands of pages with the most complete and authentic record of any exploring venture in history. But the world had to wait years for the story. In 1814, the only authorized history of the expedition, a personal narrative pieced together by Nicholas Biddle from the journal manuscript, finally appeared. While undeniably exciting, that publication left a lot to be desired. Only with the appearance, in 1893, of the four-volume Elliott Coues edition was the story told in such a way as to be both a thrilling narrative and a valuable document for students of Americana, historians, and all others interested in this vital chapter in the opening up of the American West.
Now that four-volume set is reprinted in its entirety in a three-volume edition. Here is the whole story as summarized by Biddle: encounters with dozens of Indian tribes; descriptions of their political and social organization, dress, living habits, and ways; personal anecdotes of courage and stamina; vivid descriptions of staggering natural wonders that no white man had ever seen. Here, too, is all the material that Coues added: chapter synopses; critical footnotes that clarify hundreds of obscure references, add important biological data, provide modern locations of camp and exploration sites, bring into account additional material from the manuscript journal, and correct countless errors; a bibliographical introduction; brief Memoirs of Clark and the expedition's sergeant, Patrick Gass; a modern map to supplement Lewis and Clark's originals; and a much-needed index.
Intended not only to further knowledge of North American geography but also to see the extension of American commerce, the Lewis and Clark Expedition marked the beginning of major growth in the United States. Partly because of this and partly because of its inherent excitement, this firsthand account should be read by every student of American history as well as by all who enjoy the adventure of exploration.
The Journals of Lewis and Clark are the first report on the West, on the United States over the hill and beyond the sunset, on the province of the American future" (Bernard DeVoto).
In 1803, the great expanse of the Louisiana Purchase was an empty canvas. Keenly aware that the course of the nation's destiny lay westward--and that a "Voyage of Discovery" would be necessary to determine the nature of the frontier--President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific coast and back. From 1804 to 1806, accompanied by co-captain William Clark, the Shoshone guide Sacajawea, and thirty-two men, Lewis mapped rivers, traced the principal waterways to the sea, and established the American claim to the territories of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Together the captains kept this journal: a richly detailed record of the flora and fauna they sighted, the native tribes they encountered, and the awe-inspiring landscape they traversed, from their base camp near present-day St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River, that has become an incomparable contribution to the literature of exploration and the writing of natural history.
" . . . detailed, well-written and thoroughly documented." --The Journal of Military History
" . . . comprehensive, well-written, and thoroughly researched . . . " --Booklist
" . . . the definitive work on the life of Winfield Scott Hancock . . . " --Blue and Gray
"At last we have a complete life of Hancock], and it, too, is superb." --The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Jordan's careful attention to detail and excellent use of sources highlight a lively writing style to make a highly readable book." --America's Civil War
"Jordan's study of Hancock is an important contribution to both military and political history." --Journal of Southern History
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
What could be more "liberal" than believing in society's responsibility for crime--that crime is less the product of free will than of poverty and other social forces beyond the individual's control? And what could be more "progressive" than the belief that the law should aim for social, not merely individual, justice? This work of social, cultural, and legal history uncovers the contested origins and paradoxical consequences of the two protean concepts in the cosmopolitan cities of industrial America at the turn of the twentieth century.
From his youthful days as a delivery boy for William Randolph Hearst's Baltimore newspapers through his many years as a journalist and commentator, Russell Baker has been a keen observer of American politics and culture. Now, in these eleven essays, all originally published in The New York Review of Books, he looks back on a group of iconic public figures from his own past.Profiled here are presidents (Lyndon Johnson feuding with Robert F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon in his grasping, spectral exile), would-be presidents (Eugene V. Debs and Barry Goldwater, "gentlemen fallen among brutes"), and those who set their sights on something besides the presidency (Joe DiMaggio, and Martin Luther King, "the one indisputably great American of the century's second half"). Undeluded by the roar of what he calls "our national engines of ballyhoo, bushwah, and baloney," Russell Baker reflects on the strange fascination that these larger-than-life characters have held for the American imagination. With an elegiac yet shrewd sense of their accomplishments both enduring and ephemeral, he traces the impressions they left on twentieth-century America--and on him.
Throughout the nineteenth century, swarms of locusts regularly swept across the continent, turning noon into dusk, demolishing farm communities, and bringing trains to a halt as the crushed bodies of insects greased the rails. In 1876, the U.S. Congress declared the locust "the single greatest impediment to the settlement of the country." From the Dakotas to Texas, from California to Iowa, the swarms pushed thousands of settlers to the brink of starvation, prompting the federal government to enlist some of the greatest scientific minds of the day and thereby jumpstarting the fledgling science of entomology. Over the next few decades, the Rocky Mountain locust suddenly--and mysteriously--vanished.A century later, Jeffrey Lockwood set out to discover why. Unconvinced by the reigning theories, he searched for new evidence in musty books, crumbling maps, and crevassed glaciers, eventually piecing together the elusive answer: A group of early settlers unwittingly destroyed the locust's sanctuaries just as the insect was experiencing a natural population crash. Drawing on historical accounts and modern science, Locust brings to life the cultural, economic, and political forces at work in America in the late-nineteenth century, even as it solves one of the greatest ecological mysteries of our time.
All school children know the story of the fatal duel between Hamilton and Burr - but do they really? In this remarkable retelling, Thomas Fleming takes the reader into the post-revolutionary world of 1804, a chaotic and fragile time in the young country as well as a time of tremendous global instability. The success of the French Revolution and the proclamation of Napoleon as First Consul for Life had enormous impact on men like Hamilton and Burr, feeding their own political fantasies at a time of perceived Federal government weakness and corrosion. Their hunger for fame spawned antagonisms that wreaked havoc on themselves and their families and threatened to destabilize the fragile young American republic. From that poisonous brew came the tangle of regret and anger and ambition that drove the two to their murderous confrontation in Weehawken, New Jersey. Readers will find this is popular narrative history at its most authoritative, and authoritative history at its most readable.
Walt Whitman experienced the agonies of the Civil War firsthand, working, in his forties, as a dedicated volunteer throughout the conflict in Washington's overcrowded, understaffed military hospitals. This superb selection of his poems, letters, and prose from the war years, filled with the sights and sounds of war and its ugly aftermath, express a vast and powerful range of emotions.
Among the poems include here, first published in Drum-Taps (1865) and Sequel to Drum-Taps (1866), are a number of Whitman's most famous works: "O Captain My Captain " "The Wound-Dresser," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," and "Come Up from the Fields, Father." The letters and prose selections, including Whitman's musings on the publication of his works, on the wounded men he tended, and his impressions of Lincoln traveling about the city of Washington, offer keen insights into an extraordinary era in American history.