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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 October. In Pamlico Sound on the North Carolina coast, the USS Fanny, an Army tug, grounds herself and is captured by Confederates although the pilot and deckhand escape by diving overboard and swimming to shore. She is the first Union ship captured in the war. Despite this loss, the Union blockade is having an effect(see below).
- 6 October. The "Gaston Blues" enlist at Dallas; they are assigned to the 37th North Carolina Infantry as Co. H with William Rufus Rankin as their first captain.
- 12 October. At Head of Passes, Louisiana, on the Mississippi River, the CSS Manassas leads an attack on Union warships. She is a steam powered ram covered with 1" iron plate and is the first ironclad to be used in the war.
- 21 October. The newspaper in Salisbury, North Carolina says: "We are authorized to announce WILLIAM LANDER, Esq., of Lincolnton, as a candidate to represent this District in the Congress of the Confederate States. Oct. 5, 1861." Lander will win his election and serve from 1862 through 1864.
- 28 October. William Alexander Graham writes from Hillsboro, North Carolina, "All woolen goods & leather are becoming very scarce. I had some trouble to get enough for the negroes this fall. The enemy's ships prevent any from being brought into the country, and we have only what is made here."
As winter approaches it is becoming obvious that the South lacks fabric to even supply the armies with warm uniforms as well as blankets and tents. Public meetings will be held in some cities to protest the rising prices of cloth. Cotton twill fabric for uniforms has risen from 50 cents a yard to as much as $1.50 although the price to the mill owners of the labor and materials has not risen.
- This month Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Tennessean who had originally enlisted as a private, is given command of a regiment, Forrest's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. He will end the war as a general despite his lack of military training.
- During this month President Lincoln is visited by a salesman with machine guns, often referred to as "coffee-mill" guns. He buys 10 of them for $1300. This is the first machine gun order in history. The actual inventor of the guns is unknown.
This Month's Fiction
Call Number: FIC BEL
Publication Date: 2009-11-03
Bell brings us a novel about infamous Tennessee native and Civil War general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest's life on and off the battlefield, and before and after the war, is described as the novel's chronology moves back and forth through the years 1845-65. Forrest was no angel, as the book's title can attest; he was a slave trader with a weakness for gambling and a man who loved his wife and children but also had a slave family. He enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army and rose to its highest ranks despite a lack of formal military training, a fierce temper, and a real disdain for authority. Rich descriptions of battles, accounts of the lives of the men who fought alongside Forrest, and the pure force of Forrest's personality make this an engrossing read. Verdict Highly recommended; great for fans of historical and Civil War fiction, but engaging and well written enough for broad appeal.
Three Against the Tide
Call Number: J LOV
Publication Date: 1998-01-01
Love offers an uncommon perspective in this Civil War novel told from the point of view of a 12-year-old Confederate girl. Susanna Simons must fend for herself and two younger brothers when her father goes to help with the war effort and, implausibly, the arrangements made for the children to stay with a neighbor fall through. Things get off to a rusty start for the inexperienced girl, but she shows both perseverance and courage when the Yankees invade South Carolina. In fact, she grapples with survival at every turn in this action-packed story. Love successfully and nonjudgmentally presents Susanna's plight and beliefs, portraying the girl as a strong young woman whose convictions about slavery and the war eventually soften somewhat. At the same time, Love makes it clear that protecting home and family is Susanna's first concern. Gr. 5-8.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Call Number: 923.573 Forrest HUR
Publication Date: 1993-05-11
Hurst presents a balanced, well-documented study of Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom many consider to be the most brilliant general of the Civil War. Hurst, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune , explores Forrest's entire career more thoroughly than other writers, devoting the first part of the book to Forrest's prewar occupation as a slave trader and the last to Forrest's involvements with the Ku Klux Klan and state politics as well as his attempts to regain the fortune he lost during the war. The author presents a detailed study of Forrest's wartime campaigns, from his brilliant exploits in battle to his controversies with his commanding officers and the debacle at Fort Pillow.
The Coastal War
Call Number: 973.75 CHA
Publication Date: 1999-05-01
In text and with a wonderful collection of period illustrations, this book chronicles an aspect of the war that many of us have never heard of, an aspect that will be of special interest to Carolinians.
Weep not for me, Dear Mother
Call Number: 973.782 ROB
Publication Date: 1991
When her neighbor handed her the stack of yellowed letters that had been rescued from an Atlanta, Georgia, pile of trash, author Roberson had no idea she was about to embark on a fact-finding mission through six states from Civil War battlegrounds in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to Gwinnett County in north Georgia. The author of these letters was a young man named Eli Pinson Landers, a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Weep Not For Me, Dear Mother is a collection of the letters this brave young man diligently wrote to his mother, Susan Landers, back in their home of Yellow River, Georgia. The book traces his life in battles at Gettysburg, Manassas, and Chickamauga among others.
The Silent Witness
Call Number: j973.7 FR
Publication Date: 2005-05-30
Lula McLean lived on a plantation in Virginia, near Bull Run Creek, with her family and her beloved rag doll. When she was four years old, the Civil War began. General Beauregard moved into her house, using it as his headquarters, and the peaceful fields were turned into a military camp. That summer, when the fighting drew too close, Lula's father relocated the family to the town of Appomattox Court House. On April 9, 1865, General Lee and General Grant met in the McLean home to negotiate the surrender of the Confederacy. Lula was playing in the parlor when the men arrived, and she "fled the room, leaving her rag doll on the horsehair sofa." Soldiers called it "the silent witness." Although Lula never saw her doll again, it still exists and is now on display at the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. Friedman's economical text clearly shows how the Civil War touched the life of a young child. The watercolor-and-gauche illustrations and folk-art style add a sense of comfort to the turmoil and destruction of the war. An author's note provides historical details about the story. Gr. K-4.
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