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Civil War Era

“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.

 


Crossing the Deadlines

| Filed under: Civil War Era, History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Crossing the Deadlines edited by Michael P. Gray

The “deadlines” were boundaries prisoners had to stay within or risk being shot. Just as a prisoner would take the daring challenge in “crossing the deadline” to attempt escape, Crossing the Deadlines crosses those boundaries of old scholarship by taking on bold initiatives with new methodologies, filling a void in the current scholarship of Civil War prison historiography, which usually does not go beyond discussing policy, prison history and environmental and social themes. Due to its eclectic mix of contributors—from academic and public historians to anthropologists currently excavating at specific stockade sites—the collection appeals to a variety of scholarly and popular audiences. Readers will discover how the Civil War incarceration narrative has advanced to include environmental, cultural, social, religious, retaliatory, racial, archaeological, and memory approaches.

 


“This Infernal War”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
This Infernal War Cover-Timothy Mason Roberts

Among collections of letters written between American soldiers and their spouses, the Civil War correspondence of William and Jane Standard stands out for conveying the complexity of the motives and experiences of Union soldiers and their families. The Standards of Lewiston in Fulton County, Illinois, were antiwar Copperheads. Their attitudes toward Abraham Lincoln, “Black Republicans,” and especially African Americans are, frankly, troubling to modern readers. Scholars who argue that the bulk of Union soldiers left their families and went to war to champion republican government or to wipe out slavery will have to account for this couple’s rejection of the war’s ideals.

 


“Our Little Monitor

and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Military History, Naval History, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
Our Little Monitor: The Greatest Invention of the Civil War. Holloway and White. Kent State University Press

On March 9, 1862, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia met in the Battle of Hampton Roads—the first time ironclad vessels would engage each other in combat. For four hours the two ships pummeled one another as thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers and civilians watched from the shorelines. Although the battle ended in a draw, this engagement would change the nature of naval warfare by informing both vessel design and battle tactics. The “wooden walls” of navies around the world suddenly appeared far more vulnerable, and many political and military leaders initiated or accelerated their own ironclad-building programs.

 


Oliver P. Morton and the Politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction

| Filed under: Civil War Era, History, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
Fuller cover

Remembered as the “Great War Governor” who led the state of Indiana during the Civil War, Oliver P. Morton has always been a controversial figure. His supporters praised him as a statesman who helped Abraham Lincoln save the Union, while his critics blasted him as a ruthless tyrant who abused the power of his office. Many of his contemporaries and some historians saw him as a partisan politician and an opportunist who shifted his positions to maintain power. Later generations treated Governor Morton as either a hero or a villain and generally forgot about his postwar career as a Radical Republican leader in the U.S. Senate…

 


Phantoms of the South Fork

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, History, Military History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
French cover

At 3 a.m. on February 21, 1865, a band of 65 Confederate horsemen slowly made its way down Greene Street in Cumberland, Maryland. Thinking the riders were disguised Union scouts, the few Union soldiers out that bitterly cold morning paid little attention to them. In the meantime, over 3,500 Yankee soldiers peacefully slept.

 


Recollections of a Civil War Medical Cadet

and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Medicine, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
Reid Cover

Richard M. Reid’s introduction captures the ways the war dramatically reconfigured the American medical landscape. Prior to the war, the medical community was badly fragmented, and elite physicians felt undervalued by the American public. The war offered them the chance to assert their professional control and to make medicine more scientific and evidence-based. The introduction also includes an extensive historiographical analysis of Civil War medicine and situates Wilder’s recollections in the changing direction of the field.

 


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