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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
- 4 December. General James Longstreet's Confederate forces abandon the siege of Knoxville, Tennessee leaving the city to be occupied by the Union 2 days later. Longstreet has tied up men who could have reinforced Bragg at Chattanooga without gaining any advantage. The Union now controls eastern Tennessee.
- 8 December. Lincoln issues a proclamation offering full pardon to all rebels who will voluntarily take a prescribed oath.
- 15-16 December. Major General George Thomas wins a "resounding victory" over John Bell Hood's Confederates at Nashville, Tennessee. Hood had originally planned to block Sherman's march east, but Sherman evaded him and left the defense of Tennessee to Thomas who effectively destroys the Confederate army facing him.
- 27 December. General Joseph E. Johnston takes command of the Army of Tennessee at Dalton, Georgia; Jefferson Davis having finally accepted a resignation from his favorite general, Braxton Bragg.
- This month The Confederate Congress repeals the law allowing men to buy substitutes for military service. This practice has existed since the Revolution, but is bitterly resented as the price of a substitute has risen to over $1000, much more than the average small farmer can afford. Many soldiers grumble, "This is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."
- This month at Salem, North Carolina, Moravian minister George Frederic Bahnson writes a summary of the past year, commenting on hard times caused by the war and by floods in the area. "While we were once living in a land flowing with milk and honey and yielding even to the poor the necessaries of life, not only have plenty and abundance left us in general, but want and destitution have taken their place." He mentions high prices and shortages (bacon "not to be had"), but nevertheless is thankful. "No footprint of an enemy has been seen in our parts, while elsewhere the fairest portions of the land, our own state not excepted, have been overrun and destroyed." .
This Month's Fiction
Call Number: FIC MAN
Publication Date: 2006-06-01
Bad things happen under a snake moon in Manzarek's gothic tale about the Dillard clan of Coker Creek Hollow, Tenn., based on an unproduced screenplay written with Rick Valentine. Manzarek, cofounder of the classic rock band the Doors, portrays the nasty impact of the Civil War on two brothers, Boone and Jebber Dillard, after they leave the farm to pursue fame and fortune in Chattanooga. Boone's psychic grandmother Delilah warns them not to go, but is unable to stop them. Boone's path leads him into a dangerous affair with the lusty Mardi Jamerson, a ghostly Southern belle who tries to prevent his return to his wife, Cassandra, and their children, while Jebber joins the Confederate army to try and impress his wife, Jewel. Homespun sweet prose and a dash of voodoo magic enhance a morality message that many paranormal or normal romance readers will relate to: leave loved ones and tragedy is more than likely to occur.
Young Adult Fiction
A Soldier's Secret
Call Number: YA MOS
Publication Date: 2012-09-01
Nineteen-year-old Sarah masquerades as a man during the Civil War, serving as a nurse on the battlefield and a spy for the Union Army, escaping from the Confederates, and falling in love with one of her fellow soldiers. Based on the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds.
When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
Call Number: J DEN
Publication Date: 1996-09-01
This is the diary of a fictional fourteen-year-old girl living in Virginia, in which she describes the hardships endured by her family and friends during one year of the Civil War beginning at Christmas 1863. This is a volume in the Dear America series for grades 4-7.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Reminiscences of the Civil War
Call Number: 973.7 GOR
Publication Date: 1981-01-01
This view of the war, originally published in 1903, by Confederate General John B. Gordon, has been accused of being exaggerated, but Gordon tells a good story as he traces his career from elected captain of a group of men called the Raccoon Roughs from the Georgia mountains to his final military command.
God Alone Knows Which Was Right
Call Number: 973.7 ARM
Publication Date: 2010-02-01
According to legend, William H. Terrill had the phrase "God Alone Knows Which Was Right" inscribed on a monument to honor two of his fallen sons, generals who fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. This history uses excerpts from family letters and official military records to depict both a family and a nation divided.
General James Longstreet
Call Number: 923.573 Longstreet WER
Publication Date: 1994-12-01
This is the most comprehensive military biography to date of the man Robert E. Lee called "my war horse." Wert makes a strong case for James Longstreet (1821-1904) as the best corps commander on either side of the Civil War. A superb battle captain and a masterful tactician, he clearly recognized the limitations of the offensive under mid-19th century conditions. For Longstreet, Gettyburg in particular was not an opportunity, but a mistake. Wert argues convincingly that events vindicated Longstreet's opposition to Lee's insistence on repeatedly attacking the strong Union positions. Longstreet also recognized more clearly than most of his Confederate contemporaries that war was not an absolute. He accepted the political consequences of military defeat; his reconciliation with the restored Union brought him the open contempt of irreconcilables like Jubal Early. The resulting controversies obscured Longstreet's military reputation. This work restores a balanced view of the career of one of America's great soldiers.
The Battle of Nashville
Call Number: j973.7 BOB
Publication Date: 2010-10-12
Broader in scope than its title implies, this book offers an alternate perspective on the Civil War and its generals. Bobrick, who wrote Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas (2009) for adults, now offers young people an account of the Civil War emphasizing General Thomas and the Battle of Nashville, which he calls the most important battle of the American Civil War. Knowledgeable and passionate about his subject, Bobrick is quite critical of Generals Grant and Sherman, but he unstintingly praises Thomas, calling his death a national calamity and saying, With the single exception of George Washington, George H. Thomas was the greatest patriot-soldier America had ever produced. Black-and-white and sepia-and-white reproductions of period photos, drawing, paintings, and prints illustrate the text. The book's extensive back matter includes source notes for quotes, a bibliography, and the full texts of Lincoln's two inaugural addresses. Although most Civil War books for young people blandly present the same widely held views, this one expresses a different point of view and does so with conviction. Gr. 5-8.
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