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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 January. Stonewall Jackson sets out in bitter cold on an unsuccessful mission to disrupt the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. He reaches Hancock, Maryland, but is unable to subdue the town with an artillery bombardment or to cross the Potomac River. This is one of many battles in the war that revolves around the importance of transportation for supplies and troops.
- 6 January. The Union assembles what has been described as "the first major amphibious force" in American history at Fort Monroe, Virginia. This is often referred to as the Burnside Expedition for its commander, Ambrose Burnside. The expedition with its 80 ships and 12,000 soldiers is aimed at the North Carolina coast.
- 6 January. Edwin Stanton becomes U. S. Secretary of War.
- 10 January. At a meeting with 2 of the generals of the Army of the Potomac (McClellan is down with typhoid fever), Lincoln remarks that if General McClellan doesn't want to use the army, he would "like to borrow it". He is reflecting the widespread disatisfaction of both officials and the public with the lack of progress made by McClellan.
- 10 January. On the same day another meeting is held by Moravians in Salem, North Carolina. The participants resolve "that until after Easter next no Lovefeasts...shall be kept, owing to the extraordinary prices of coffee and sugar, occasioned by the blockade of the southern ports, the former now selling at 75¢ and the latter at 20£ per lb., with the probability of still higher rates and greater scarcity thereafter."
- 30 January. The USS Monitor is launched. She is the first ironclad built for the U. S. Navy and also the first ship with a rotating central gun in her turret. The word "monitor" becomes a generic term to describe a broad class of ships in many navies.
- During this month John Rogers begins work on a new sculpture, "Making Friends with the Cook" which depicts a soldier reading a newspaper to the cook as he stirs the kettle of food. Not many people remember Rogers today but his figures, whether produced in plaster or cast in medal, were found in homes all over the country and his portrayals of soldiers were very popular. (Read more about him in John Rogers: The People's Sculptor)
This Month's Fiction
Thieves of Mercy
Publication Date: 2005-04-12
Having survived the bloody Battle of New Orleans and the loss of their ironclad Yazoo River, captain Samuel Bowater, engineer Hieronymus Taylor, and the survivors of their crew are given new orders -- take command of an ironclad warship being built in Memphis, Tennessee. Bowater and his men take passage upriver from "Mississippi" Mike Sullivan, one of the wild, undisciplined captains of the River Defense Squadron, only to find, on their arrival, that their ship is not even half built and the enemy is closing fast. Against their better judgment, Bowater and crew join forces with the mercurial Sullivan on board his ad hoc river gunship the General Page. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Confederates once again fling themselves bravely at the overwhelming power of the Yankee invaders. The deadly back-and-forth fight along the Mississippi ends at last in the massive naval battle of Memphis, and the near-suicidal attempt by the Confederates to hold back the Northern flood. Filled with wild characters and heart-pounding action, and set against the bold backdrop of the Civil War, this is a worthy successor to the W. Y. Boyd Award-winning novel Glory in the Name.
Ironclad! : A true story of the Civil War
,by Seymour Reit; illustrated with old prints and drawings, pub. 1977, 93 p., call #: J R. This is the story of the historic Civil War battle between two ironclad ships, the Merrimac
(also called the Virginia
) and the Monitor
, from the viewpoint of Peter Williams, a young helmsman, who has impulsively volunteered to serve aboard the Monitor
, the "tin can on a raft".
This Month's Non-Fiction
Lincoln and McClellan
Call Number: 973.7 WAU
Publication Date: 2010-05-11
In this enjoyable study of Civil War leadership, Waugh has less to say about the oft-analyzed Lincoln than about Gen. George McClellan, the war's great military failure. Hailed as the Union's savior when he took command of the Army of the Potomac in 1861, McClellan was a brilliant organizer and strategist with just one flaw: he was afraid to fight. ... The dynamic between Lincoln and the toweringly neurotic McClellan makes for a revealing case study of the importance of personality and character in war.
Call Number: 923.573 Sherman KEN
Publication Date: 2001-05-22
Resigning after the Mexican War from an army that offered too little scope for his ambitions, William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) moved restlessly from jobs as banker to lawyer to educator. Returning to the Union uniform in 1861, he stood out from the beginning as a man of action, energy and something more. Historian Kennett makes a strong case in this well-balanced analytical biography that Sherman was a narcissistic personality, driven to avert criticism by constantly increasing his level of achievement. Fear that he could not deal with the pressures of independent command in Kentucky drove Sherman in 1861 into a spectacular attack of acute anxiety. Yet his limited performance in the final stages of the Vicksburg campaign and later at Chattanooga, Kennett suggests, reflected discomfort at playing an increasingly subordinate role to U.S. Grant. Given full command in the West in 1864, Sherman rose to the challenge. This book traces the career of a man so depressed that he considered suicide as he becomes a man regarded as one of America's great generals.
American Civil War Railroad Tactics
Call Number: 973.73 HOD
Publication Date: 2009-08-18
During the American Civil War, the steam train was as revolutionary a military tool as the helicopter was in Vietnam. Not only could rail-mobile troops be delivered into battle faster than ever before, but trains in the Civil War were adapted to serve as ambulances and as artillery platforms, and both sides fought fiercely over these strategic lifelines. From the famous rail batteries immortalized in The General to the little-known uses of railroads - including for reconnaissance and as hot-air balloon carriers - this book examines the fascinating story of America's first mechanized war, illustrated with stunning color paintings and rare photography.
Civil War Cooking
Call Number: j641.5 DOS
Publication Date: 2000-01-01
Here's a unique and intriguing way to explore history. The authors look at the foods people ate during the Civil War and on pioneer farms and offer recipes for modern readers. Each title begins with rules for kitchen safety, a metric conversion table, and an illustrated list of cooking equipment. Color is a marvelous feature of the books: the covers, maps, and page borders. Full-color photos and reproductions appear on every page. The recipes, eight per book, are divided into double-page chapters such as "Rations for Johnny Reb." Gr. 6 up.
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