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Understanding Civil War History

“This Infernal War”

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

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

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.


Her Voice Will Be on the Side of Right

| Filed under: American Abolitionism and Antislavery, Explore Women's History, Literature & Literary Criticism, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History, Women’s Studies
Kent cover

Decades before the Civil War, the free American public was gripped by increasingly acrimonious debates about the nation’s “peculiar institution” of slavery. Ministers considered the morality of slavery from their pulpits, legislators debated it in the halls of government, professors discussed it in their classrooms, and citizens argued about it in their communities. Antislavery women wrote novels and stories designed to convince free Americans about slavery’s evils, to discuss the future of abolitionism, and to debate the proper roles of free and enslaved women in the antislavery struggle. Many antebellum writers and editors believed fiction was an especially genderappropriate medium for women to express their ideas publicly and a decidedly effective medium for reaching female readers. Believing that women were naturally more empathetic and imaginative than men, writers and editors hoped that powerfully told stories about enslaved people’s sufferings would be invaluable in converting free female readers to abolitionism.


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.


For Their Own Cause

| Filed under: American History, Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Discover Black History, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
Mezurek Cover

The 27th United States Colored Troops (USCT), composed largely of free black Ohio men, served in the Union army from April 1864 to September 1865 in Virginia and North Carolina. It was the first time most members of the unit had traveled so far from home. The men faced daily battles against racism and against inferior treatment, training, and supplies. They suffered from the physical difficulties of military life, the horrors of warfare, and homesickness and worried about loved ones left at home without financial support. Yet their contributions provided a tool that allowed blacks with little military experience, and their families, to demand social acceptance and acknowledgment of their citizenship.


Democracy and the American Civil War

and | Filed under: African American Studies, American History, Civil War Era, Discover Black History, Recent Releases, Symposia on Democracy, Understanding Civil War History
Adams and Hudson Cover

In 1865, after four tumultuous years of fighting, Americans welcomed the opportunity to return to a life of normalcy. President Abraham Lincoln issued his emancipation decree in January 1863 and had set the stage for what he hoped would be a smooth transition from war to peace with the announcement of his reconstruction program in December 1863 and with his call of “malice toward none and charity for all” in his Second Inaugural Address in March 1865. Lincoln’s dream of completing the process of reconstructing the nation was cut short just one month later by the hand of an assassin.


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