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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
- 6 November. The Tar Heels of General Hoke's brigade, encamped near Brandy Station, Virginia, have a wonderful day. They are paid for the first time in 5 months.
- 6 November. President Lincoln takes an evening off to see one of his favorite actors, John Wilkes Booth. He invites Booth to dinner at the White House, but his invitation is declined.
- 17 November. General Burnside's Union forces make it to Knoxville, Tennessee before the Confederates led by General Longstreet. This begins the "siege" of Knoxville.
- 19 November. Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
- 24 November. Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge both overlook the city of Chattanooga. Confederates, perched on the high point, have an excellent view of the Federal forces trapped in the city and their guns control the river. However, when the Union troops, led by General Joseph Hooker, attack the troops on the mountain itself, Bragg finally decides to abandon this strong point. By evening the Confederate troops withdraw under cover of the darkness of a lunar eclipse. This battle becomes known as the "Battle Above the Clouds" as the heavy cloud cover had made the action invisible to the anxious spectators below.
This victory is a demonstration of the power of railroads in military logistics. Hooker's forces, 20,000 men and 3,000 horses and mules, had been moved from Virginia to Tennessee in only 7 days.
- 25 November. At Missionary Ridge the Federal forces , now commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant, continue their success of the day before, chasing the Confederates from their position and ending the siege of Chattanooga. Bragg's army retreats to Dalton, Georgia. Arthur MacArthur of the 24th Wisconsin succeeds in placing his regiment's flag on the crest of the ridge, for which he will be awarded the Medal of Honor. Arthur survives the war and fathers a son, Douglas, the General MacArthur of WW I and II.
- This month in Texas, Santos Benavides, a Texas state cavalry commander, is authorized to raise a brigade of Confederate cavalry. Benavides will defend the border and defeat a combined Union-Mexican attack on Laredo in May 1864; he is later referred to as "the war's most distinguished Hispanic Confederate".
- Also this month the Moravians in North Carolina receive word that back in September their Cherokee mission had been attacked by Cherokees belonging to the Union army. One missionary was killed and two taken prisoner with their fate unknown. Johanna Mack [see June 1862] knows only that her parents who staffed another mission are said to be alive and fleeing to Arkansas.
This Month's Fiction
Civil War Women
Call Number: sss C
Publication Date: 1988-05-01
The 10 short stories in the anthology are linked by their female authorship and by their common subject matter, the Civil War. As the introduction to the compilation states, the stories are also similar thematically, each focusing on the strength of women who, while not on the battlefield, nonetheless played active roles in supporting the war effort, either by helping the troops or by keeping life going as best they could back home. Some of the stories were written during the war, others much later. Writers represented include well-known names and some that will be considered ``finds.'' Eudora Welty's ``The Burning,'' the last story in the book, is the best, but that's no surprise: nothing can compare with the gutsy dignity of a Welty story.
The Journal of James Edmond Pease
Call Number: J MUR
Publication Date: 1998-09-01
This is the fictional journal of teenager Jim Pease who has joined the Union army in search of a hot meal and a decent pair of boots. He becomes his regiment's "Jonah" -- the jinxed, clumsy camp misfit. Despite a bad luck complex and fatalistic leanings, he's assigned to record his company's activities in a journal that evolves in detail and eloquence as Pease matures. Although his troop is relegated to guarding transport wagons instead of fighting, Pease's courage is tested when he is unexpectedly swept into battle, and again when he gets lost behind enemy lines. The journal technique will either win readers over or alienate them altogether; since the prose is quite dense this is for older readers and even young adults.
I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg 1863
Call Number: J TAR
Publication Date: 2013-02-01
It's 1863, and Thomas and his little sister, Birdie, have fled the farm where they were born and raised as slaves. Following the North Star, looking for freedom, they soon cross paths with a Union soldier. Everything changes: Corporal Henry Green brings Thomas and Birdie back to his regiment, and suddenly it feels like they've found a new home. Best of all, they don't have to find their way north alone--they're marching with the army. But then orders come through: the men are called to battle in Pennsylvania. Thomas has made it so far...but does he have what it takes to survive Gettysburg? Gr. 2-5.
This Month's Non-Fiction
The Gettysburg Gospel
Call Number: 973.73 BOR
Publication Date: 2008-02-05
Boritt manages to offer a fresh perspective on one of America's most famous speeches which was not the main event at the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg in November 1863, four months after the battle. He addresses many of the myths surrounding the address, such as that Lincoln wrote it in haste on the train.
Call Number: 973.782 MAY
Publication Date: 2008-08-13
The issue of secession tore Kentucky apart. This is the story of one of the most vicious outlaws spawned by the violence. Ferguson, a rising slave owner, sided with the Confederacy while many of his neighbors and family members took up arms for the Union. For Ferguson and others in the highlands, the war would not be decided on the distant fields of Shiloh or Gettysburg: it would be local-and personal. Cumberland Blood,enhanced by twenty-one illustrations, is an illuminating assessment of one of the Civil War's most ruthless men.
Fields of Honor
Call Number: 973.73 BEA
Publication Date: 2007-06-05
Bearss presents the story of the Civil War as he has in the battlefield tours he has conducted for many years. A former chief historian of the National Parks Service, he chronicles 14 crucial battles, including Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Sherman's march through the Carolinas, and Appomattox, the battles ranging between 1861 and 1865. Included is an introductory chapter describing John Brown's raid in October 1859. Bearss relates the details of terrain and tactics and of personalities and command decisions; he personalizes generals and politicians, sergeants and privates. The text is augmented by 80 black-and-white photographs and 19 maps.
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln
Call Number: j973.7349 FRI
Publication Date: 1993-09-15
Making history tangible in a delightfully down-to-earth way, the author writes that Lincoln's address was very brief; after uttering a mere 271 words, `"He was finished. It took longer to boil an egg." Featuring typeface, vocabulary and themes carefully geared to her intended audience, the text informally yet ably conveys the significance of Lincoln's eloquent speech, which is reprinted on the book's final page.
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