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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
- This month in North Carolina former governor William Alexander Graham is a candidate for election to the state convention to consider secession. He makes notes for himself on 5 points to use in his speeches. Points 1 and 5 are especially interesting. "1st. If slavery is concerned, if we fail, it will certainly be abolished. ... 5. The idea that there will be no war because the Northern people will not fight is absurd. The North Western men [he means Indiana, Illinois, etc.] are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, their ancestors in many cases having gone from the old Southern States, and in all our wars have proved themselves worthy soldiers."
- 4 February. Delegates from the six seceded states meet in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Confederate States of America. The North Carolinians who attend (Matt W. Ransom, David L. Swain, and John L. Bridgers) are designated as "observers" since North Carolina has not yet withdrawn from the United States. Montgomery becomes the capital of the Confederacy.
- 4 February. While the secession convention is meeting in Alabama, another group meets in Washington. This is the Peace Conference or Convention with more than 130 delegates who hope that they can forge a compromise and "adjust the present unhappy controversies". North Carolina sends 5 delegates headed by former governor John Motley Morehead. The other members are Thomas Ruffin, George Davis, Daniel Barringer, and David S. Reid. The conference does offer a proposed constitutional amendment, but it pleases neither pro- nor anti-slavery supporters.
- 7 February. The Choctaw Nation votes to ally itself with the Confederacy.
- 9 February. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi is elected president of the Confederacy; Alexander Stephens of Georgia is vice-president. Their inauguration is on the 18th. Since the Confederate constitution provides for one 6-year term for the president, Davis will be the Confederacy's only chief executive.
- 11 February. The train carrying Abraham Lincoln to Washington leaves Springfield, Illinois.
- 18 February. In Texas General David Twiggs surrenders all U. S. military posts in the state to the Confederacy.
- 23 February. Texas secedes from the Union.
- 28 February. Efforts to call a secession convention in North Carolina fail by 651 votes out of nearly 94,000 cast in a statewide referendum.
This Month's Fiction
Gods and Generals
Call Number: FIC SHA
Publication Date: 2000-09-01
This Shaara is the son of Michael Shaara, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels (1974). Gods and Generals is Shaara fils' homage to Shaara pere's interest in the Civil War and to the vein of superior historical fiction he mined so notably. This robust, thoughtful novel focuses simultaneously on the lives of four men who played significant roles in the military side of the Civil War in battles leading up to the great one at Gettysburg. A prequel, then, to Killer Angels, the novel follows Stonewall Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Chamberlain, and Robert E. Lee from 1858 to 1863, giving the reader splendidly detailed witness to how the war drew them into commanding positions. As should be the case with good historical fiction, Shaara, in taking actual figures from the past, rekindles them; he uses the personal experiences of these four men to meaningfully explore the political and military issues of the day.
On Secret Service
Call Number: FIC JAK
Publication Date: 2000-06-01
Jakes constructs a story of the shadow war waged by Union and Confederate spies and counterspies, by undercover agents and provocateurs on both sides of the line. From the involvement of the Pinkertons to the creation of the Secret Service to Lincoln's assassination, Jakes focuses on four young people caught up in the chaos of war: a spy, a rebel, an actress, and an officer, their lives swept away in a tumult of love, hatred, political intrigue, violence, and constant danger. Set against the fiery backdrop of the Civil War, from fierce battles to the stunning violence of the New York Draft Riots to that fateful night at Ford's Theater when even the President's handpicked men could not stop an assassin's bullet, On Secret Service is rife with real people and accurate period detail--historical narrative at its finest--and is another classic from the master of the genre.
Cyrus Holt and the Civil War
Call Number: J HAL
Publication Date: 1964
Cyrus is 9 years old and he lives in the small town of North Hemlock in upstate New York. He never goes to war, never even sees a famous general, but from 1859 on, what is happening elsewhere affects his life and family and neigbors. Told as a series of vignettes, this book is an excellent way for children to learn about life 150 years ago.
This Month's Non-Fiction
The Road to Disunion
Call Number: 973.7 FRE
Publication Date: 2007-04-16
Author of several histories about the politics of secession in the antebellum South, Freehling here follows their sinuous routes in the 1850s toward the final secession crisis of 1860-61. Concentrating on Southern politicians at the local more than at the national level, Freehling traces the evolution of opinion toward the extreme position of the so-called fire-eaters that secession was the solution to the South's grievances against the North. His emphasis results in detailed accounts of politics in particular areas, such as western Missouri, southern Maryland, New Orleans, and South Carolina. Though defending slavery was their common assumption, Southern politicians and propagandists reached in different directions for the means. Covering the activities and declamations of advocates for territorially expanding slavery, for enslaving free blacks, and for combating free-soilers and abolitionists as were already occurring in Missouri and Kansas, Freehling underscores the anger and fear felt by Southern spokesmen about Northern criticisms of slavery. Concluding with South Carolina's instigation of secession in 1860, Freehling underscores political complexities in the immediate prelude to the Civil War.
Call Number: 923.273 Davis EAT
Publication Date: 1977
When originally published in 1977, Library Journal described this as "the most balanced biography of Davis to date, but save for his description of Davis' privte life, Eaton's portrait of the elusive and enigmatic Davis does not significantly alter prevailing scholarly views. Eaton's Davis is a man of high principle and character who nevertheless was a poor judge of men, a loose administrator, a legalist, and a provincial.
Call Number: 973.7 DAV
Publication Date: 2002-04-02
In his latest book, prolific Civil War author Davis turns away from the battlefield and focuses mostly on the nonmilitary history of the Confederate States of America--political leaders, economic developments, women, and the rise and fall of the Confederacy. Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Nashville, and other major battles are not even listed in the index. Davis concentrates instead on politics in Richmond and in state capitals and on life on the home front, adding richness and texture to the story of the Confederacy. ... Well written and heavily researched, with endnotes, adequate index, and photographs.
A Government of Our Own
Call Number: 973.713 DAV
Publication Date: 1994-09-01
Drawing on previously untapped primary sources, prize winning author William C. Davis presents the first full-length history of the founding of the Confederate government.
Call Number: j973.7 STA
Publication Date: 2000-09-27
This illustrated history offers a stunning array of reproductions and photographs of the sites, people, and artifacts associated with the war. The book is divided into 29 two-page chapters covering such topics as the slavery debate, the election of 1860, raising armies, camp life, women during the war, Gettysburg, and the Confederacy surrender. A paragraph of text introduces each topic and informative, often lengthy, captions accompany the numerous black-and-white and full-color illustrations. This title will make an outstanding addition to collections of Civil War history and will draw visual learners. The many dramatic photos may inspire students to seek more in-depth material. Gr. 4 up.
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