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CW - 150
The Civil War 150th Anniversary
Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.
This Month's Events
- 1 June. Captain John Quincy Marr is killed in a skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia -- the first Confederate officer to die in the war.
- 1 June. The Confederate Postal Service begins operations. Until this time, strange as it seems, the U. S. Postal Service has continued to deliver and send mail in the Confederacy.
- 3 June. The Battle of Philippi, in and around Philippi, Virginia (now West Virginia) is the first organized land action in the war. It is sometimes described as a "skirmish" rather than a "battle". A Union attack, ordered by Major General George B. McClellan, on sleeping Confederate forces results in a Confederate flight with relatively few casualties.
This minor action has some interesting consequences. It gives McClellan a reputation and aids in his promotion to commander of the Union armies.
Also, one of the wounded is James E. Hanger, an 18-year old college student whose leg is amputated. After recovering, he makes an artificial leg for himself from barrel staves with a hinge at the knee. Hanger patents his device in 1863 and founds what is still today the Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc., a leading manufacturer of prosthetics.
Philippi is named after the town in Macedonia where a decisive battle of the Roman civil wars took place in 42 BC.
- 6 June. An article in the Salisbury, North Carolina Watchman talks about the importance of paper. "The Mills of Messers OAKS & WISWALL, Lincolnton, N. C., are turning out the various kinds of writing paper ... This is an important branch of business, and if the blockade continues, must succeed completely." Mentioning an earlier Lincolnton mill, the editor points out that manufacture of "blank books -- Ledgers, Dockets, Day Books, is not less important at a time like this." He is an accurate prophet -- by the end of the war the South will have an acute paper shortage even for such necessities as court records.
- 8 June. Tennessee secedes, the last state to do so. The vote reflects a deep split in the state with Unionist sentiment especially strong in East Tennessee. This division will lead to continued guerilla and "bushwhacker" conflict in the state that adds to the destruction caused by the numerous battles there.
- 10 June. In Virginia Confederate troops at the Battle of Big Bethel include the 1st North Carolina Volunteers led by Colonel Daniel Harvey Hill. The battle is a Confederate victory; 1400 Confederates defeat a force 3 times their size. Hill is rapidly promoted to general. The regiment becomes known as "the Bethel Regiment" and is authorized to add the word "Bethel" to its flag.
Henry Lawson Wyatt,19, of Edgecombe County, North Carolina is killed here. He is the first North Carolina soldier killed in action. There are 10 men wounded including Private William White of the Lincoln County "Southern Stars".
- 10 June. Famed reformer Dorothea Dix is appointed superintendent of women nurses for the U. S. military hospitals.
- 12 June. The "Gaston Guards" enlist in Gaston County. They will be Co. H, 23rd N. C. Infantry. Their first captain is Elias M. Faries.
- 14 June. Robert E. Lee becomes a full general.
- 16 June. In Illinois, the 21st Illinois, a regiment known as Governor Yates's Hellions, get a new commander, Ulysses S. Grant.
- 19 June. The war has theological implications. For example, at Salem, North Carolina the Moravian Provincial Council states, "Since...the state of North Carolina has severed its relations with the government of the United States and has joined...the Confederate States, the P. A. C. holds this to be the time so to amend the prayers in the church litany which refer to the government of our country, and also the prayer in times of war, that they would be consistent with our circumstances."
- 21 June. Daniel Harvey Hill writes to Governor Ellis reporting on the battle at Bethel. His report includes the names of many individual soldiers. (See Papers of John Willis Ellis, v. 2, p. 856-865 [923.275 Ellis NCC].)
- 22 June. The Beattie's Ford Riflemen from Lincoln County enlist at Garysburg. Their captain is Robert Daniel Johnston. The Riflemen will be Co. K, 23rd N. C. Infantry.
- 27 June. Captain James Harmon Ward of the Thomas Freeborn is killed while erecting a breastworks for a cannon. He is the first U. S. naval officer to die in the conflict.
- This month North Carolina builds Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark on Hatteras Island to control the entrance to Pamlico Sound.
This Month's Fiction
Call Number: FIC MCM
Publication Date: 1998-09-01
Narcissa Powers, a young Virginia widow, learns her brother, Charley, is severely ill in Richmond. The short, painful illness kills Charley and reveals unsettling events, including grave robberies. To understand her brother's last months, Narcissa investigates, with the help of her best friend, a British journalist and a free black herbalist and "conjure woman." Except for a slow start and some too formal conversation--a hazard, perhaps, of observing the refined antebellum South--this is a fine first mystery that offers fresh views of nineteenth-century medicine and the early Civil War. Traditional genre fans will not be disappointed by the mystery element: Charley's death is so perplexing that motive, means, and opportunity remain hidden well into the story. Those who turn to historical mysteries for information and atmosphere will also be more than satisfied.
North and South
Call Number: FIC JAK
Publication Date: 1982-02-01
wo strangers, young men from Pennsylvania and South Carolina, meet on the way to West Point . . . Thus begins this brilliant novel of antebellum America, spanning three generations and chronicling the lives and loves of two great family dynasties. The Hazards and the Mains are brought together in bonds of friendship and affection that neither jealousy nor violence can shatter -- until a storm of events sunders the nation and brings the cataclysm of war! Volume 1 of a trilogy.
Young Adult fiction
Call Number: YA PAU
Publication Date: 1998-09-08
Paulsen neither glorifies war nor sentimentalizes the soldier's experience in this fictional narrative based on the story of a real Union soldier fighting during the Civil War. Although Charley was just 15 years old when the war began, he listened when folks said it would all be over in a month or two and "if a man didn't step right along he'd miss the whole thing." This plainspoken novel follows Charley and the Minnesota Volunteers through training, camp life, and four battles, beginning with First Manassas and ending with Gettysburg. Wounded, Charley is finally sent home. His body begins to mend, but he still suffers from "soldier's heart," which Paulsen explains was the term used in the 1860s for the condition later known during World War I as shell shock, during World War II as battle fatigue, and today as post-traumatic stress disorder. Compressing six years of Charley's life into just over 100 pages seems to speed up the time frame too much, however many individual scenes are memorable, and Charlie's evolution from eager enlistee to war-weary trooper will give readers something to ponder.
The Haunting of Holroyd Hill, by Brenda Seabrooke, pub. 1995, 137 p. Almost-12 Melinda is finding the adjustment from Alexandria to her new home in rural Virginia a difficult one. A run-in with surly Mr. Sasser is just one more piece of proof of how awful the whole change has been. All other problems fade into insignificance, however, when the girl discovers that a ghost has started walking through the house every night. Her older brother, Kevin; their new friend Dan, the grandson of the unpleasant neighbor; and Melinda begin keeping watch, trying to discover where the ghost comes from and where it goes on its nightly journey. A little research at the local library provides some clues, while Dan's recollections of some family stories yield additional hints. Gradually, the young people put all the information together and the three investigators confront three ghosts caught up in a tragic event from Civil War days. Gr. 5-8.
This Month's Non-Fiction
The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide
Call Number: 917.304 WEE
Publication Date: 2009-06-01
This book outlines ten suggested itineraries for short road trips that cover every major battle of the war and will enable a traveler to experience this definitive period of American history. For those who can’t resist trying to see it all, the book contains complete information on and reviews of almost 450 historical sites across the United States related to the Civil War, including all 384 of the principal battlefields listed by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, as well as lodging and other travel information. The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide will enable the historical traveler of any level to experience the Civil War like no other book has done.
Grant moves south
Call Number: 923.173 Grant C
Publication Date: 1960
With maps by Samuel H. Bryant. In the next 2 years following this June, Grant would move slowly and relentlessly down the Mississippi, severing the Confedracy. Catton gives a dramatic and kaleidoscopic account of these years, during which Grant fought not only against the enemy, but also against the obstacles and frustrations imposed by his own superiors.
Heroines of Mercy Street
Call Number: 973.7 TOL
Publication Date: 2016-02-16
"Companion to Mercy Street on PBS." Contents: Dorothea Dix goes to war -- The army is unprepared -- Volunteers -- Nurses on the hospital transport ships -- Arriving at Mansion House Hospital -- Learning by experience -- Becoming indispensible -- Leaving Mansion House Hospital -- Reporting back to duty -- After the war -- Afterword: a different viewpoint.
Call Number: 923.173 Lincoln WHI
Publication Date: 2009-01-13
In this excellent biography, veteran historian White emphasizes that Lincoln was our most likable major president, lacking Washington's aloofness and the deviousness of FDR and Jefferson. The author makes good use of Lincoln's voluminous private papers and those of his contemporaries to paint a vivid picture of Lincoln's thoughts as he matured and then guided the nation through the four worst years of its existence. White knows his subject cold and writes lucid prose, so readers choosing this as their Lincoln bicentennial reading will not go wrong.
Robert E. Lee
Call Number: jB Lee
Publication Date: 1992-01-01
Chronicles the life and times of the Civil War general who commanded the Confederate army. For older readers.
Ulysses S. Grant
Call Number: jB Grant
Publication Date: 2001-01-01
A biography of Ulysses Grant, from his childhood in Ohio, through his education at West Point and his career as an Army officer, to his terms as president of the United States. The format, style, and content of this book is appropriate for high-interest/low-reading level students.
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