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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
In this month
, in the mountain counties of North Carolina, chaos reigns as bands of bushwhackers take advantage of the lack of organized troops and law officers to raid and steal. Men from several counties finally unite to wipe out one band of marauders at "Fort Hamby" and a short while later a detachment of Federal soldiers suceeds in capturing one of the other outlaw leaders.
- 1 May. At Greensboro, General Robert F. Hoke issues a circular bidding farewell to his troops. He then returns home to Lincolnton where the 27 year old ex-general hitches his horse, Old Joe, to a plow and sets about making a crop for his family. .
- During the month in the woods near White Sulpher Springs (now Waynesville), North Carolina, a Union soldier named James Arwood is killed in a skirmish. He is believed to be the the last regular soldier, Union or Confederate, to die east of the Mississippi. Arwood is buried in Asheville.
- 6-14 May. In the mountains, the last Confederate forces in North Carolina surrender as the news of Lee's surrender and of negotiated surrenders reaches them.
- 8 May. Capt. Bromfield Ridley and companions have surrendered and for them the war is over. Traveling home to Tennessee, they are camped for the night near Kings Mountain. They sit around the fire and sing: "Just Before the Battle, Mother"; "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, The Boys Are Marching"; "Joe Bowers"; "Lorena"; "Maryland"; "Dixie"; "When This Cruel War Is Over" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me".
"If ever I get through this war,
And Lincoln's chains don't bind me,
I'll make my way to Tennessee--
To the girl I left behind me."
This touching tribute to Tennessee girls is weakened by the space he devotes in his journal tonight to a Kings Mountain girl seen today. "My idea of a veritable mountain maid. ... Zounds! She was the top blossom of the mountain, and prettier than any flower in the valley." Captain Ridley is ready to think about things other than war.
- 10 May. Jefferson Davis is captured at Irwinville, Georgia.
- 13 May. At Palmito Ranch, Texas the news from the east has not yet been received and Confederate forces win a victory in what is regarded as the last land battle of the war.
- 26 May. Terms of surrender are offered to General E. Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. He will finally surrender on June 2.
- 29 May. President Johnson issues a proclamation of amnesty offering pardons to most Confederates other than top Confederate officers and government officials. At the same time he appoints William Woods Holden as provisional governor of North Carolina.
This Month's Fiction
American Falls: a Novel, by John Calvin Batchelor, pub. 1985, 570 p. "This is an unusual Civil War novel. It deals not with military campaigns or battles, but with the Confederate incendiary attack on New York City late in November 1864, and with the espionage and counterespionage activities that preceded it. As such it can be enjoyed simply as a complex cat-and-mouse tale of pursuit and evasion, of widening interlocking plots and ever-constricting suspense. But it is much more. Only Richard Slotkin's The Crater approaches the depth of its historical appreciation of the many issues involved in the war. And for Batchelor it is a war that still continues: his American Civil War is a metaphor for the civil war raging in the American soul between liberty and conscience, virtue and betrayal, greed and guilt, success and failure. This is a more traditional novel than his earlier books and is Dickensian in scope and characterization and in its compulsive readability. An exceptional work."
Ghost Soldier by
Call Number: J ALP
Publication Date: 2001-08-01
In this ghost story with a historical bent, Alex Raskin connects with a young Civil War ghost who wants to find out what happened to the family he was unable to protect. Alex, whose ability to see and hear spirits is something his computer-programmer father doesn't understand, is inexorably drawn by the ghost of Richeson Francis Chamblee into a search for Chamblee's family, whose homestead was in the path of Sherman's march through North Carolina. The ghost story is intertwined with Alex's personal problems. He still yearns for the mother who left him and is resisting the idea that his father plans to remarry. As Alex and the ghost hunt through modern-day Raleigh for clues to the fate of Rich's family, Alex learns about history and what it meant to real people. Gr. 5-7.
This Month's Non-Fiction
A Year in the South by
Call Number: 920 ASH
Publication Date: 2002-11-15
Samuel Agnew, Louis Hughes, Cornelia McDonald, and John Robertson lived in the South during 1865, a year that saw the death of the Old South and the birth of the New South. Between January and December, they watched, from very different vantage points, the fall of the Confederacy to the Union Army; the institution of slavery giving way to freedom; and the long, arduous process of reuniting the North and the South into a single nation. Against this tumultuous stage, each southerner fought a private batle. Agnew, a minister, grappled with spiritual and worldly concerns; Hughes, a slave, strove to gain freedom for himself and his family; McDonald, a widow, struggled to raise her children amid poverty and despair; and Robertson, a former Confederate soldier, searched for a new life far away from war. In this vivid history of their daily lives, Stephen V. Ash shares their hopes, fears, frustrations, and triumphs.
Last Train South : the Flight of the Confederate Government from Richmond, by James C. Clark, pub. 1984, 164 p., call #:973.738 C. The story begins in March 1865 as Union troops closed in on Richmond. Jefferson Davis tries to establish new capitals in Danville, Greensboro, and Charlotte and is ultimately captured in Georgia. Secretary of War Breckinridge dons the style of a pirate to escape. Secretary of State Benjamin disguises himself as a poor farmer-with his gold sewn inside his clothes. Nearly 60 primary and secondary sources were used to research this dramatic history. The book contains sketches made by an artist who accompanied Davis on much of the escape, and includes maps of the escape route.
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