Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
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 July. The U. S. Senate receives a petition for "The establishment of a board of health for the army, and that the authority of the volunteer sanitary commission may be recognized and increased." The 5 page petition reviews the history of losses due to illness in other wars and the measures taken to deal with this, mentioning Florence Nightingale and others during the Crimean War. It "respectfully represents, that there is a great and needless waste of human health and life and of effective force of soldiers in camp and barrack, independent of all the necessary losses in battle..." (The entire petition may be read in the U. S. Serial Set, available through the Heritage Quest database in NC Live.)
- 1 July. Today's Richmond, Virginia paper notes, "The Howitzer Batteries of Captains Latham and Shields had a target practicing on Saturday evening last. At a distance of 800 yards, the shooting was excellent, a number of balls being put into a space less than the size of a man. Several shells were fired, and exploded with extraordinary precision. One of them did rather more execution than was expected of it, by bursting in the midst of a flock of sheep that chanced to come in range, killing seventeen. The next day we had '"sheep meat"' for dinner." The war will be hard on animals as well as on humans.
- 3 July. John C. Fremont, the noted explorer, is made commander of the Union's "Western Department", but given very few resources to carry out his responsibilities. He makes one decision that will have lasting consequences; he selects Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of the District of Southeast Missouri. Fremont wrote later, "I believed him to be a man of great activity and promptness in obeying orders without question or hesitation. For that reason I gave General Grant this important command at this critical period. I did not consider him then a great general, for the qualities that led him to success had not had the opportunity for their development." Grant will assume this command on August 7th.
- 7 July. Legislative speaker Henry Toole Clark becomes governor of North Carolina upon the death of John Willis Ellis from tuberculosis while on a visit to Virginia, generating a debate as to Clark's legal status. He will be acting governor until the next election. Clark is a planter from Edgecombe County.
- 10 July. George Washington Rains of North Carolina is assigned the task of building a mill to supply the Confederacy with gunpowder. He builds a factory in Augusta, Georgia and, basing his work only on a pamphlet about the manufacturing of gunpowder, he eventually produces over 2.75 million pounds of powder.
- 13 July. Robert Selden Garnett, a Confederate brigadier general is killed at the battle of Corrick's Ford, Virginia (now West Virginia). He has been a general for a little over month and is the first Confederate general to be killed. Eventually his body is taken to Brooklyn, New York and buried next to his wife, but the burial is secret due to wartime ill-feeling. The location of his grave will not be widely revealed until 1959.
- 20 July. The New York Times uses the term "Copperhead". This term becomes widely used to refer to both anti-war Democrats and Democrats sympathetic to the South -- actually being applied to people with a wide range of views.
- 21 July. First Battle of Manassas aka Bull Run. It is here that Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson acquires his nickname "Stonewall" as General Bernard E. Bee reputedly calls to his men, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Rally behind the Virginians." This Confederate victory brings about the general realization that this conflict is not going to be short nor easy.
- 22 July. On this day large numbers of Union soldiers reach the end of their original 3 month enlistment. New bills will authorize the enlistment of men for 3 years.
- 30 July. This is enlistment day for the Gaston Invincibles (Co. B, 28th Regiment North Carolina Infantry). Their first captain is Thomas H. Edwards.
This Month's Fiction
Call Number: FIC COR
Publication Date: 1993-02-01
Running away from his abolitionist preacher father, Nate Starbuck arrives in Richmond as Fort Sumter falls. He becomes an aide to Washington Faulconer, who is raising a legion to defend the South. Nate falls in love with a gorgeous country girl, recruits her father for the legion, and learns just enough soldiering to ``see the elephant'' at First Manassas and look across the battle line at his brother. Cornwell provides an excellent depiction of the unrealistic attitudes held by both sides as the Civil War began. Highly recommended for historicity, plotting, and general excitement.
Young Adult Fiction
Bull Run, by Paul Fleischman ; woodcuts by David Frampton, pub. 1993, 104 p. . Newbery Medalist Fleischman's fictional treatment of this Civil War battle relies on individual voices to give a human face to history. The result is at once intimate and sweeping, a heartbreaking and remarkably vivid portrait. Ages 10-up.
Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run by
Call Number: J HEM
Publication Date: 2009-04-02
Twelve-year-old Stonewall Hinkleman, named for the general and not too happy about it, is once again pressed into service as a bugle boy, wearing an itchy costume in yet another weekend Civil War reenactment a replay of the First Battle of Bull Run. After his namesake magically appears and hands him a time-travel talisman, though, Stonewall soon finds himself at the actual battle with an important mission: to keep another time traveler from changing the course of history. Stonewall's wry first-person narrative will appeal to readers from the start: if his resentful rant against his parents doesn't draw laughs, his amusing spin on hallowed family history surely will. As he steps back in time and tries to complete his mission, his tone gradually changes. While the narration never completely loses its ironic edge, Stonewall's outlook shifts when his actions and choices actually matter. This engaging novel offers a fresh approach to Civil War fiction. [There is one use of the "N" word.] Gr. 4-6.
This Month's Non-Fiction
For Love and Liberty by
Call Number: 973.74 YOU
Publication Date: 2005-12-20
Read as the music soared at the end of the first episode of the 1990 documentary "The Civil War", the letter from unsung Rhode Island soldier Sullivan Ballou to his wife on the eve of battle-and likely death-brought a nation of viewers to tears for its eloquence and passion. This is Ballou's story. He served in the army for almost two months but was struck down at the First Battle of Manassas-Bull Run. Civil War enthusiasts will devour the detailed depiction of the battle in which Ballou participated, and romantics will be absorbed in Sarah and Sullivan's love story.
Storm over Carolina by
Call Number: 973.757 CAM
Publication Date: 2005-12-01
The little known story. This book tells the reader about: The coming storm -- Preparation -- Disaster on the outer banks -- The Chicamacomico races -- The battle for Roanoke Island -- More disasters -- The White Hall gunboat -- The building of the Albemarle -- Gun flashes on the Neuse -- The Albemarle attacks -- Frustration at Kinston -- Storm over Albemarle Sound -- Wilmington and the Cape Fear -- The loss of the ironclads.
Henry Toole Clark by
Call Number: 975.6 POT N.C.
Publication Date: 2009-01-27
This is the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Henry Toole Clark, North Carolina's second Civil War governor. It explores Clark's role as a member of the Old South's planter elite and his change in status after the war, his slaveholding business, the constitutional crisis that made him governor, and his career during years of Reconstruction and gives a detailed account of the state's initial dealings with the Confederate government and war measures.
A Rising Thunder by
Call Number: 973.73 WHE
Publication Date: 1994-01-01
Using the vast mass of eyewitness accounts with his usual deftness, Wheeler takes the reader from the secession of South Carolina through the firing on Fort Sumter, the wave of further secessions, the Union loss of the naval base at Norfolk, and the efforts of both sides to cobble together armies. He ends the book with the First Battle of Bull Run, in which those armies (more accurately, armed mobs) clashed and the Confederacy won a large but ultimately fruitless victory. Accessible and readable, drawing upon a host of resources that only the largest Civil War collection would include, this is a fine narrative of the first steps on the long road to Gettysburg.
First Bull Run; the Nation wakes to war, by Bruce Palmer., pub. 1965, 96 p. This account focuses on the battle itself. The text is supplemented with diagrams of the troop movements and chronologies. Black and white illustrations include contemporary photographs and engravings.
Call Number: jB Jackson
Publication Date: 1979-09-05
Lives of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson are plentiful . . . but none, for all its brevity, surpasses Jean Fritz's . . . She places him firmly within the context of an extraordinary knotted period of American history. . . . Stonewall gives us both the strangeness and the greatness. Ages 9-12.
©Copyright 2021, Gaston County Public Library. All Rights Reserved.