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U.S. History

Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Forthcoming, Justice Studies, U.S. 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.”

 


Crossing the Deadlines

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Forthcoming, History, U.S. History
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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.

 


Women and the American Civil War

and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Explore Women's History, Forthcoming, U.S. History, Women’s Studies
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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:

 


At the Forefront of Lee’s Invasion

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Forthcoming, Military History, U.S. History
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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.

 


“The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Forthcoming, U.S. 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.

 


Meade

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, Forthcoming, Military History, U.S. History
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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.

 


A Family and Nation Under Fire

| Filed under: Civil War in the North, Forthcoming, Military History, U.S. History
Baldino cover

This collection of previously unpublished diaries and correspondence between Maj. William Medill and older brother Joseph, one of the influential owners of the Chicago Tribune, illuminates the Republican politics of the Civil War era. The brothers correct newspaper coverage of the war, disagree with official military reports, and often condemn Lincoln administration policies. When shots were fired at Fort Sumter, the Medills mobilized, unaware how their courage would be tested in the coming years.

 


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