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Civil War Era

James Riley Weaver’s Civil War

, , and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Forthcoming, Military History, U.S. History
James Riley Weaver's Civil War by Schlotterbeck, Wilson, Kawaue, and Klingensmith. Kent State University Press.

Captured on October 11, 1863, James Riley Weaver, a Union cavalry officer, spent nearly seventeen months in Confederate prisons. Remarkably, Weaver kept a diary that documents 666 consecutive days of his experience, including his cavalry duties, life in a series of prisons throughout the South, and his return to civilian life. It is an unparalleled eyewitness account of a crucial part of our history.

 


Blue-Blooded Cavalryman 

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Forthcoming, Military History, U.S. History
Blue-Blooded Cavalryman by J. Gregory Acken. Kent State University Press

In May 1863, eighteen-year-old William Brooke Rawle graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and traded a genteel, cultured life of privilege for service as a cavalry officer. Traveling from his home in Philadelphia to Virginia, he joined the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry and soon found himself in command of a company of veterans of two years’ service, some of whom were more than twice his age. Within eight weeks, he had participated in two of the largest cavalry battles of the war at Brandy Station and Gettysburg.

 


Meade

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Military History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Meade by John G. Selby. Kent State University Press

George Gordon Meade has not been treated kindly by history. Victorious at Gettysburg, the biggest battle of the American Civil War, Meade was the longest-serving commander of the Army of the Potomac, leading his army through the brutal Overland Campaign and on to the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. Serving alongside his new superior, Ulysses S. Grant, in the last year of the war, his role has been overshadowed by the popular Grant. This first full-length study of Meade’s two-year tenure as commander of the Army of the Potomac brings him out of Grant’s shadow and into focus as one of the top three Union generals of the war.

 


At the Forefront of Lee’s Invasion

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Military History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
At the Forefront of Lee's Invasion. Robert J. Wynstra. Kent State University Press

After clearing Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley of Federal troops, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s bold invasion into the North reached the Maryland shore of the Potomac River on June 15, 1863. A week later, the Confederate infantry crossed into lower Pennsylvania, where they had their first sustained interactions with the civilian population in a solidly pro-Union state. Most of the initial encounters with the people in the lush Cumberland Valley and the neighboring parts of the state involved the men from the Army of Northern Virginia’s famed Second Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, who led the way as Lee’s veteran soldiers advanced north toward their eventual showdown with the Union army at the crossroads town of Gettysburg.

 


Women and the American Civil War

and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Explore Women's History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History, Women’s Studies
Giesberg Cover

The scholarship on women’s experiences in the U.S. Civil War is rich and deep, but much of it remains regionally specific or subsumed in more general treatments of Northern and Southern peoples during the war. In a series of eight paired essays, scholars examine women’s comparable experiences across the regions, focusing particularly on women’s politics, wartime mobilization, emancipation, wartime relief, women and families, religion, reconstruction, and Civil War memory. In each pairing, historians analyze women’s lives, interests, and engagement in public issues and private concerns and think critically about what stories and questions still need attention. Among their questions are:

 


Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons

| Filed under: Award Winners, Civil War Era, Justice Studies, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Zombeck

Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons confronts the enduring claim that Civil War military prisons represented an apocalyptic and ahistorical rupture in America’s otherwise linear and progressive carceral history. Instead, it places the war years in the broader context of imprisonment in 19th-century America and contends that officers in charge of military prisons drew on administrative and punitive practices that existed in antebellum and wartime civilian penitentiaries to manage the war’s crisis of imprisonment. Union and Confederate officials outlined rules for military prisons, instituted punishments, implemented prison labor, and organized prisoners of war, both civilian and military, in much the same way as peacetime penitentiary officials had done, leading journalists to refer to many military prisons as “penitentiaries.”

 


“The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Taylor Cover

In “The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known,” Paul Taylor examines the Union League movement. Often portrayed as a mere footnote to the Civil War, the Union League’s influence on the Northern home front was far more important and consequential than previously considered. The Union League and its various offshoots spread rapidly across the North, and in this first comprehensive examination of the leagues, Taylor discusses what made them so effective, including their recruitment strategies, their use of ostracism as a way of stifling dissent, and their distribution of political propaganda in quantities unlike anything previously imagined. By the end of 1863, readers learn, it seemed as if every hamlet from Maine to California had formed its own league chapter, collectively overwhelming their Democratic foe in the 1864 presidential election.

 


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