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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
- 3 February. French diplomats offer their services as mediators to end the war. Their offer is rejected several days later by the United States.
Meanwhile Great Britain announces that their country will not play the part of mediators either.
- 5 February. General Joseph Hooker reorganizes the Army of the Potomac. His cavalry chief is George Stoneman, a name North Carolinians will become familiar with.
- 9 February. Francis Fries of Salem, North Carolina is a frustrated man. His mills are all set to make desperately needed cloth for Confederate army uniforms and blankets, but the wool he has purchased is stuck in Texas -- the Union advance along the Mississippi is preventing materials from crossing the Confederacy -- just what the Union wants to do. Fries's wool sits and rots in Texas and he writes today that he has lost "between 50 & $60,000", much more than his profits for the year.
- 25 February. Major General Daniel Harvey Hill takes command of all North Carolina forces.
- 28 February. The newspaper in Richmond, Virginia carries a long ad offering a $200 reward for the return of 5 slaves, all lately purchased from North Carolina, "runaway from the Carbon Hill Mines". Their names are Harry Williams, Ben Williams, Jim Lawrence, George Holy, and Ryall Griffin. After detailing their descriptions, the ad notes, "Jim is no doubt the leader of the party, and is probably endeavoring to reach the Yankee lines near Goldsborough." These men and many others will run great risks in their attempts to reach the freedom of the Union lines.
- During this month the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory reverses it position on both secession and slavery, swinging support to the Union.
- During this month in Charlotte, North Carolina which is now a major manufacturing and munitions center, the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad announces that, due to heavy use, the company has bought 40 slaves to work on the railroad. The railroad links to Charlotte will remain important to the very end of the war.
This Month's Fiction
Unholy Fire by
Call Number: FIC MRA
Publication Date: 2003-04-04
Mrazek has crafted a suspenseful Civil War era adventure. After being critically wounded in a Union battle fiasco, Lieutenant McKitredge is sent to a makeshift hospital on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., to die. Believing he has no chance of survival, well-meaning doctors continually dose him with laudanum. Defying the odds, Kit survives, one of the many Civil War heroes to be rewarded with a serious opium addiction. Dispatched to the office of the provost marshal, he is assigned to investigate the cases of thieves, murderers, and deserters. Caught up in a murder case that seems to implicate General Joseph Hooker, he must unravel a perplexing mystery and foil a plot to assassinate the president while trying to cope with his increasingly debilitating addiction. Full of dark twists and turns, this brooding drama underscores the brutal nature of both the physical and the psychological casualties associated with war.
Rebels of Babylon by
Call Number: FIC PAR
Publication Date: 2005-03-01
The intrepid Major Abel Jones, special agent to the Federal Army, takes on New Orleans in this satisfying sixth installment to Parry's humorous, well-written and meticulously researched series of Civil War mysteries. Dispatched to investigate the murder of a Northern heiress-cum-crusading abolitionist, our reluctant hero finds that despite the bitter cold of the winter of 1863, "New Orleans burns torrid." On his incredible first day in the Crescent City, Jones gives chase to a voodoo woman and survives kidnapping, being buried alive, a midnight gunfight, a venomous snake and paralysis by a poison charm. This is just business as usual for the puritanical Welshman, who fearlessly forges ahead with the assistance of Barnaby B. Barnaby, the rotund former haberdasher from earlier Abel Jones novels.
Rebel Mail Runner, by Manly Wade Wellman, pub. 1954, 221 p., call #: J Wel NC. This story about the Confederate Underground Mail Service is based on fact and, while the hero Barry Mills is fictional, his commander Absalom Grimes was a real person who smuggled mail from Missouri into the deep South.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Lee's Maverick General, Daniel Harvey Hill, by Hal Bridges, pub. 1961, 323 p., call #: 923.573 Hill B. Among the high-ranking gray uniforms Daniel Harvey Hill caused a stir as a sash of red in a bullpen would. Hot-tempered, outspoken, he stormed his way through the Civil War, leading his soldiers at Malvern Hill and Antietam, and sometimes stepping on the toes of superiors. But he was much more than a seemingly impervious shield against Union bullets: a devout Christian, a family man, a gloomy fatalist, an intellectual. This book makes clear that he was often caught in the crossfire of military politics and ultimately made a scapegoat for the costly, barren victory at Chickamauga
The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War by
Call Number: 973.089 CON
Publication Date: 2007-04-15
Just as the American Civil War was a time of great upheaval for the United States as a whole, so was it for the Cherokee Nation, which as a sovereign nation was involved with negotiations with the Union and the Confederacy, had members involved in the fighting on both sides of the conflict, and even experienced military battles within their territory. Confer presents a history of the Cherokee experience of the war, going beyond mere military history to also discuss decision making and leadership within the tribe, civilian experiences, land losses, and assaults on the Nation's political integrity, among other issues.
What This Cruel War Was Over by
Call Number: 973.7 MAN
Publication Date: 2008-03-11
For this impressively researched Civil War social history, Georgetown assistant history professor Manning visited more than two dozen states to comb though archives and libraries for primary source material, mostly diaries and letters of men who fought on both sides in the Civil War, along with more than 100 regimental newspapers. The result is an engagingly written, convincingly argued social history with a point-that those who did the fighting in the Union and Confederate armies "plainly identified slavery as the root of the Civil War." Manning backs up her contention with hundreds of first-person testimonies written at the time, rather than often-unreliable after-the-fact memoirs. While most Civil War narratives lean heavily on officers, Easterners and men who fought in Virginia, Manning casts a much broader net. She includes immigrants, African-Americans and western fighters, in order, she says, "to approximate cross sections of the actual Union and Confederate ranks.
Horse Soldiers by
Call Number: j973.742 BLA
Publication Date: 1998-03-01
This book opens with a brief history of cavalry in the antebellum era and a two-page overview of the background of the conflict. The equipment, equine, and training needs of a cavalry are explained, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of these units in the Union and Confederate armies, and their importance in the conflict. The roles of irregular, guerrilla, and outlaw operations are examined and important leaders such as Jeb Stuart, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Philip Sheridan are profiled. This is an attractive book, with a pleasing layout and well-chosen period photographs and full-color reproductions. However, since so many battles and places are mentioned, this book may best be used as a supplement and with adult aid. Gr. 5-7.
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