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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
- 4 January Today's issue of the Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, North Carolina, is much concerned with foodstuffs. There is an indignant editorial about the government purchase of 30,000 bushels of corn to make whiskey. The editor calculates that this will make 90,000 gallons of whiskey -- more according to his figures than the hospitals need. A notice from a local official, J. S. McCubbin, to "The farmers of Rowan" says, "I am anxious to buy corn, wheat, flour, meal and bacon for the soldiers families of Rowan. Some of them are almost suffering and I have the money to pay market prices for these things and I do hope the Farmers of the county will give the poor soldiers families the preference." Meanwhile other advertisers, including buyers for the army, are looking for food to purchase.
- 7 January. The Confederate Navy Yard in Charlotte, North Carolina is destroyed by an explosion and the resulting fire. The cause is undetermined.
- 7 January. A soldier writes home to New York from Washington D. C.. "As for coming home, I Shall come if I live long enough. You mustn't look for me until you see me where you are." "Edwin R. Wakeman". However, Edwin is not Edwin, but Rosetta. For her letters see right.
- 13 January. Nat Raymer of the 4th North Carolina, writing a letter to his local newspaper from winter camp in "cabins below Orange, Va.", makes a perhaps only partially tongue-in-cheek plead for letters. "Now that it is leap year once again, I think it just and proper that the ladies ought to be making some advances, at least so much as to "take their seats, pen in hand" occasionally and "drop us a few lines informing us" of their welfare, their wishes, and their future prospects. ... But we are flourishing, and if our fair friends would now make use of their privileges, and give us dissolving love epistles as they "orter" to help us drive away this oppressive ennui, we would get on much better."
- At this time, Wilmington, North Carolina is the South's major port and one of the most important cities in the Confederacy. With an 1860 population of about 10,000, it has shipbuilding yards and ironworks. Situated 25 miles inland on the Cape Fear River and protected by strong defenses, Wilmington is a major Union frustration and goal.
This Month's Fiction
The Raiders: a novel of the Civil War at sea, by Willard M. Wallace, pub. 1970, 470 p. The ship on the stocks in England, dubbed the 290, will become the CSS Alabama, Confederate raider, the pride of the South and a major menace to the North. U. S. Navy lieutenant Scott Pettigrew is told to find out what exactly are the plans for the 290, an assignment that takes over his life for the rest of the war as he joins the crew of the Alabama on her dangerous journeys with his life at stake if he is discovered.
Young Adult Fiction
Gabriel's Horses by
Call Number: YA HAR
Publication Date: 2007-04-01
Gabriel, 12, is a slave in Kentucky in 1864 but dreams of becoming a famous jockey. His father, a free man married to a slave, is a trainer for Master Giles's stable of Thoroughbreds. When his father enlists in the Union Army to earn the money to buy his wife's freedom, Gabriel must adjust to a cruel new trainer. Although the war's impact in Kentucky is less dire than in other Southern states, marauding bands of Confederate raiders terrorize residents, seeking horses, food, and anything else they can steal. One Arm Dan's bunch raids Master Giles's farm, not for food, but for the horses that Gabriel is determined to protect. Gabriel's adventures in this momentous year are continued in Gabriel's Triumph and Gabriel's Journey. A wonderful blend of horses and history. Gr 5-8.
Escape by Night by
Call Number: J MYE
Publication Date: 2011-06-07
Woodrow Wilson's boyhood inspired this taut novel set in 1863. Tommy's father, like Wilson's, is the pastor of an Augusta, Ga., church converted to a hospital for Confederate soldiers. In the sobering opening scene, nine-year-old Tommy and his sister watch a wagon roll into town piled with mostly dead soldiers (who "looked like old rags that had been cast aside"). When a book falls off the wagon, Tommy returns it to its owner, Red, a wounded soldier who shares his poetry with him. Piecing together clues, Tommy surmises that Red is a Yankee in disguise, and he agonizes about whether to turn him in. Myers (Cat Diaries) effectively contrasts the glorification of the Civil War at its onset, when soldiers paraded proudly off to battle, and the grim reality two years in. Though the pace is swift from the start, it accelerates in the final sequence, as Tommy helps Red and a slave he's befriended escape to the North. Sharp historical fiction, adeptly streamlined for reluctant readers. Gr. 3-5.
This Month's Non-Fiction
The Wilmington Campaign by
Call Number: 973.709756 FON N.C.
Publication Date: 1997-05-01
Based on 25 years of research, this first full-length study of this important campaign, the largest combined army-navy operations effort of the Civil War. includes detailed accounts of every engagement and new information on Fort Fisher. A must-have campaign study!
After Chancellorsville, Letters from the Heart by
Call Number: 973.7 DUN
Publication Date: 1997-12-02
Emma Randolph, a young woman not yet twenty, wrote to her distant cousin, Private Walter G. Dunn of the 11th New Jersey Infantry. He lay in a crowded, filthy hospital ward during the Civil War. They corresponded when Walter went off to war, but their real story only began when he was carried from the smoke and carnage of Chancellorsville to a hospital in Baltimore. There, barely recovered, he aided overworked surgeons when the Gettysburg wounded poured into the city, and regularly took up his pen to relay everyday events that became history. She replied in kind. At home, men were torn by guilt, women lost in grief, and a presidential election loomed. This was the American Civil War for many who lived it, overwhelming and ultimately tragic. Viewed through the eyes of a courageous youth and an unforgettable young woman.
Call Number: 973.74756 TRO N.C.
Publication Date: 1991-03-01
Trotter excels at telling a story and this is quite a story from the beginning to the end. Both sides have long rolls of heroes and villains and the same names may be on both lists. As he says, "It was this kind of war in the mountains. The killers had names, their victims had kin, and everybody owned a gun."
An Uncommon Soldier by
Call Number: 973.7 WAK
Publication Date: 1996-02-29
What transforms the letters of Pvt. Lyons Wakeman from merely interesting reading into a unique and fascinating addition to Civil War literature is who wrote them--for Private Wakeman was not what "he" seemed to be. The five-foot tall soldier's true identity was that of a simple young farm girl from central New York state named Sarah Rosetta Wakeman. Her letters, the only such correspondence known to exist, provide a rare glimpse of what life was like for a woman fighting as a common soldier in the Civil War under the guise of a man. Written shortly after she left home to pursue her fortune in 1862, Rosetta's letters over the next two years tell of army life in the defences of Washington, D.C. and on the march and in battle during the 1864 Louisiana Red River Campaign. Although Rosetta did not survive the war, her letters remain as an singular record of female military life in the ranks, a phenomenon largely ignored by historians and researchers.
The battles for Fort Fisher : the story of the South's largest fort and the terrible struggles to defeat it by
Call Number: j973.7 FRY
Publication Date: 2006
In the Civil War, there was no fort more important than Fort Fisher. Guarding the Cape Fear River and the port at Wilmington, North Carolina, the fort was the largest in the Confederacy. As long as it stood guard over the blockade runners bringing in much needed supplies to the South, America's bloodiest war could drag on and on. By 1864, the Northern generals knew Fort Fisher had to go. This is the story of their attempts to capture the fort, and the story of the brave men on both sides who fought to defend their homes and nations on the sandy beaches of the Cape Fear. This short heavily illustrated account in "The Young Reader's Series of North Carolina History" provides an exciting introudction to this piece of history.
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