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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
- 5 October. In Tennessee Wheeler's Confederate cavalry cuts the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga, thus worsening the position of the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans. However, they are pursued by Federal forces and badly mauled.
- 5 October. Sergeant-Major William H. Von Eberstein of the 61st North Carolina returns to duty after being wounded. William is one of the state's more unusual soldiers. He has been a sea captain, a whaler, a slaver, a merchant, a soldier, a farmer, and a school teacher. He is also a German nobleman, Baron William Henry Von Eberstein. His memoirs survive today in the archives of East Carolina University.
- 17 October. Major Gen. Ulysses S. Grant receives command of the Western armies, designated the Military Division of the Mississippi. He moves to reinforce Chattanooga and replaces Rosecrans with Major General George H. Thomas.
- 23 October. In Chattanooga, Tennessee on a rainy evening, Captain Horace Porter is called to Headquarters to meet "a general officer, slight in figure and of medium stature, whose face bore an expression of weariness. He was carelessly dressed and his uniform coat was unbuttoned and thrown back from his chest. He held a lighted cigar in his mouth, and sat in a stooping posture, with his head bent slightly forward. His clothes were wet and his trousers and top-boots were spattered with mud." This is Grant, the new commander. [See right.]
- This month a new Union regiment, the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, is organizing in Knoxville, Tennessee. Among its members is Keith Blalock, who, with his wife Malinda, has deserted from the Confederate 26th North Carolina and become notorious as guerrillas in the mountain counties of North Carolina. [See right]
- Meanwhile the Confederate commanders are distracted by quarrelling among themselves. President Davis receives petitions from other generals to remove Braxton Bragg, but he continues to support his old friend.
This Month's Fiction
Jacob's Ladder by
Call Number: FIC MCC
Publication Date: 1998-04-01
Imagine a collaboration between Shelby Foote and Margaret Mitchell and you get some idea of the historical irony and passion that inform this fine literary novel, which captures the full sweep of the Civil War in Virginia. In 1934, a WPA writer interviewing 90-year-old Marguerite Omohundru, former Richmond bank president, uncovers the dark secrets of a prominent Virginia family. In 1857, 14-year-old Duncan Gatewood is disowned and sent off to VMI when his father, Samuel, discovers he has fallen in love with and impregnated Midge, a 13-year-old light-skinned slave. To prevent scandal, the girl and infant son, Jacob, are sold south by slave dealer Silas Omohundru, who eventually reclaims Midge from a Vicksburg brothel and marries her. But Midge (or Maggie) already has a black husband. When he runs away to look for her, the daughter of a neighboring white planter and her husband are sent to prison for giving him shelter. War breaks out, and these many oddly linked characters are flung apart and cross paths with various actual figures of the day.
Mountain Valor by
Call Number: J HOU N.C.
Publication Date: 1996-01-01
While her father, brothers, and uncle are off fighting in the Civil War, 11-year-old Valor McAimee, her mother, and younger cousin Jed tend their North Carolina farm. Family members fighting on both sides, Valor's mother's illness, and the constant threat of either army ransacking the farm for food and supplies place the McAimees in difficult circumstances. Although Valor fears she will not be able to live up to her name, an old mountain woman assures her that "courage is being afraid, but doing a thing anyway--because it must be done." When the farm is robbed by vicious Yankee soldiers, Valor, masquerading as a boy, infiltrates the camp and manages to recapture her family's supplies. Based on the life of the author's relative Matilda Houston, the story is valuable for its perspective--showing a frontier settler whose major goal was survival rather than blind allegiance to either North or South. Gr. 4-7.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Civil War Tennessee by
Call Number: 973.7309 C
Publication Date: 1979-12-01
This is a general overview of what happened in Tennessee during the war with an outline of the campaigns and battles. Written by a well-known scholar, it is a good introduction to the complicated history of the area at this time and will also be of interest to Civil War buffs interested in visiting the state.
Campaigning with Grant by
Call Number: 973.7 POR
Publication Date: 1981-01-01
Porter, who would become Grant's personal aide, kept a detailed journal of his experiences beginning on October 23, 1863 and ending with Appomattox. This memoir was originally published in 1897.
Rebels in Blue by
Call Number: 973.7 STE NC
Publication Date: 1999-05-01
Mountaineers and avowed Unionists from western North Carolina, the Blalocks were married on the eve of the Civil War and hoped to avoid the coming trouble. Keith was nevertheless coerced into joining the Confederate army, and Malinda disguised herself and went along; both entered the 26th North Carolina regiment. In March 1862, Malinda was wounded in a skirmish, unmasked and quickly discharged, whereupon her husband deliberately rolled in some poison oak, feigned "swamp fever" and was allowed to join her. Veteran features journalist Stevens tracks the Blalocks back to their mountain, where they apprehensively looked on as Southern conscription officers combed the region for "cannon fodder." As local men joined both sides, Keith's family pressured him to reenlist. Deserters and Unionists took to hiding in the hills, and when a rebel group came to grab Keith, the Blalocks joined the outlaws, sniping at rebel soldiers, raiding their enemies' farms and houses and generally raising a ruckus. Keith eventually joined the 10th Michigan Cavalry, and both Blalocks led daring raids and scouting missions into North Carolina. Patriots or murderers? Let the reader decide.
When Were the First Slaves Set Free During the Civil War? by
Call Number: j973.7 KNU
Publication Date: 2010-01-09
This is "an instructive account of the history of slavery in the United States and why it proved so difficult to abolish this institution." It includes a time line, maps, a bibliography and a list of web sites. Gr. 4 and up.
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