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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
- 7-8 March. In the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas (aka Elkhorn Tavern) the Federal Army of the Southwest, under the command of Brigadier General Samuel Ryan Curtis, defeats the combined Confederate Army of the West commanded by Major General Earl Van Dorn. This victory is a key factor in deciding whether Missouri will remain in the Union or join the Confederacy. The battle is marked by poor Confederate leadership. However, Colonel Stand Watie, leader of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and his men distinguish themselves by capturing Federal artillery and covering the Confederate retreat. Stand Watie will become the war's only Native American general in 1864.
- 9 March. The Battle of Hampton Roads is the first-ever naval battle between two ironclad warships, as the USS Monitor fights the CSS Virginia (aka Merrimack or Merrimac), of the Confederate States Navy.
As a result of this battle, the Confederate authorities, fearing the capture of their Navy Yard at Norfolk, Virgina, decide to move it. Following the railroad 200 miles inland, they decided to move it to Charlotte, North Carolina!
- 14 March. The Battle of New Bern, North Carolina takes place. Some North Carolina militia units are involved as well as regular troops, but their combined forces can't stem the Federal advance.
During the Confederate retreat, North Carolina almost loses its future governor, as Zeb Vance plunges his horse into Brice's Creek which turns out to be very deep. As the horse sinks under the weight of rider and equipment, soldiers pull the Colonel to safety. He then swims the creek (without the horse) to get boats to use in the retreat.
New Bern will be occupied by the Union for the rest of the war.
- 15 March. The Pleasant Home Guards enlist at Lincolnton; the men are from Lincoln and Gaston Counties. They will be Co. K, 49th Regiment North Carolina Infantry. Peter Z. Baxter of Lincoln County is the first captain.
- 15 March. The 25th North Carolina leaves Charleston, South Carolina headed for Goldsboro, North Carolina. The 250 mile trip will take them 4 days and involve 4 different railroads with 3 different gauges. Most of the men ride on open flatcars.
- 15 March. The 23rd North Carolina enlists Cephas Bell, age 15. Cephas will be discharged in September for "debility and youth", but not without leaving a good story behind him. During an attack on a Federal position, Cephas didn't notice that he had left his fellow soldiers behind and continued running after fleeing Federals. Overtaking an officer, he ordered him to surrender. The officer said he would surrender only to another officer, but a waving pistol and a threat to blow his brains out convinced him to come along. As Cephas took his prisoner back to heaquarters, some officers told him that they would take the man. Replied Cephas, pointing to the enemy lines, "No you won't; if you want to go get you one, there's plenty of them over there. You shall not have mine."
- 17 March. The Union army begins moving to the Virginia Peninsula. The soldiers board ships to get there rather than having to march.
- 26-28 March. At Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, Confederate forces from Texas reach the high point of their campaign to take control of the far West (and the gold of California) from the Union. The Union forces are pushed back across the pass, but a successful attack on the Confederate supply train and the loss of the horses forces the Texans to retreat.
- 31 March. At Charlotte, men from Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties are mustered in as Co. A, 11th North Carolina Infantry. Their first captain is Egbert A. Ross; in May he will be replaced by William L. Hand. Also mustered in is Co. I from Gaston and Lincoln Counties with Albert Sidney Haynes of Lincoln County as captain. Some of the men are veterans of the original 1st North Carolina Volunteers, the Bethel Regiment, which had served only for 6 months.
- Sometime this month another company from Lincoln County enlists, the Dry Pond Dixies, later Co. G, 52nd Regiment North Carolina Infantry, with Joseph B. Shelton as captain.
This Month's Fiction
That Anvil of Our Souls
Call Number: FIC POY
Publication Date: 2005-06-28
In this superbly researched and well-written novel, Poyer deftly intersperses historical and fictional characters to re-create an era while presenting an exciting narrative of the building of both ships and their climactic confrontation.
A Grave at Glorieta
Call Number: FIC KIL MYS
Publication Date: 2003-01-07
Pinkerton spy Harrison Raines and fellow detective Joseph "Boston" Leahy travel to territorial New Mexico to uncover the plans of the Confederacy in the West. Separated from his partner, Raines arrives in Sante Fe to find the hero of the Battle of Glorieta Pass mysteriously shotgunned-and Leahy accused of the crime. A new sidekick, an Indian named Tantou, offers not a single kemo sabe, but livens up every page he appears on by keeping the bumbling spy alive through the perils of the West, including a shootout in an Anasazi ruin. Once again Kilian's delightful characters propel readers through the Civil War, with much fun on the way.
Young Adult Fiction
Call Number: YA AVI
Publication Date: 2007-09-18
Early in 1862, 13-year-old Tom Carroll must go to work when his father is killed in a Maryland battle. He finds a job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he is put to work on "Ericsson's Folly," the ironclad that will become the Monitor.
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
Call Number: J PHI
Publication Date: 2009-01-01
Philbrick offers rip-roaring adventure in this Civil War-era novel featuring a mistreated orphan who doesn't let truth stand in the way of spinning a good yarn. When his guardian, Uncle Squinton--"the meanest man in the entire state of Maine"--sells off Homer P. Figg's older brother, Harold, to take a rich man's son's place in the Union army, Homer can't just stand around doing nothing. Determined to alert the authorities (and his brother) that Harold is too young to be a soldier, the plucky narrator traces the path of the regiment. He faces many dangers, including "an abduction or two, and being robbed and thrown in with the pigs, and joining the Caravan of Miracles" before landing smack in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, where he reunites with his brother and more or less drives the Confederates away. The book wouldn't be nearly as much fun without Homer's tall tales, but there are serious moments, too, and the horror of war and injustice of slavery ring clearly above the din of playful exaggerations. Ages 9-12.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Call Number: 973.757 DEK
Publication Date: 1997-10-01
Naval historian deKay spins a good seaman's yarn about the making and fighting of the ironclads during the American Civil War.
Call Number: 973.752 MON N.C.
Publication Date: 2000-07-03
A lavishly illustrated commemorative volume of the renowned Civil War ironclad's past and present.
A Woman's Civil War
Call Number: 920.7 McDonald
Publication Date: 1992-06-01
Original title: A diary with reminiscences of the war and refugee life in the Shenandoah Valley, 1860-1865. McDonald kept a diary at the request of her husband, who wanted a reckoning of his family's life while he was off fighting. There was plenty to relate, since they lived in Winchester, Virginia, which was constantly occupied by troops. Covering both public and private activities, McDonald offers a refreshingly feminine perspective on an age heretofore described primarily by men.
Blood and Treasure
Call Number: 973. 7464 FRA
Publication Date: 1997-02-01
Long before secession, southern politicians dreamed of a slave empire reaching deep into Latin America. Frazier's superbly written work examines how that dream played out in the cauldron of the Civil War. Here there were no great set-piece battles with huge foraging armies slaughtering each other, as in the East. Rather, relatively small numbers of men stalked each other over huge expanses of virtually uninhabited land, where marauding Apaches often posed as great a threat as the opposing army. Frazier has done an outstanding job of illuminating a relatively obscure aspect of the Civil War, and his work should appeal to both the history buff and those general readers who appreciate epic but futile adventures.
The End of Slaveryin the United States
Call Number: j973.7 MCK
Publication Date: 2003-02-01
"There wasn't one day when all the slaves were freed at the same time," write the McKissacks in this compelling chronicle of slavery's demise in America. "Whenever slaves learned they were free, that day became their Jubilee." The authors begin with the tenuous compromises made after the Revolutionary War and underscore historical events by weaving extensive quotes from slave narratives and the stories of contemporary persons. They include not only the famous, such as President Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but also citizens such as Mary Barbour of North Carolina who remembered escaping to New Bern as a little girl in 1862 (p. 28). Gr. 4-8.
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