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Civil War History: Archive

March 2014, Volume 60, No. 1

Dec 11th, 2013

 CWH 60th anniversary cover


By: William B. Kurtz

Military historians have often written about the important role the Mexican War played in preparing both Union and Confederate generals for the American Civil War. But studying the two conflicts together can also be rewarding for scholars interested in nineteenth-century religion. For Catholic Americans, seeking to prove their loyalty through military service in the face of rampant nativism, the Mexican War served as a dress rehearsal in making arguments on behalf of their community’s patriotism and citizenship during the Civil War. Many editors of Catholic religious weeklies often cheered on Catholic soldiers’ gallantry as evidence of their fitness to be Americans despite their non-Protestant faith. Others, however, grew war weary and criticized the excesses of both conflicts. Such heavy-handed criticism, when combined with apparent confirmations of Catholics’ disloyalty symbolized by the San Patricio Regiment and the New York City Draft Riots, reinforced nativist fears that Catholics were ultimately loyal to the pope and not the United States. Ultimately, pro- and anti-war divisions within the Catholic community strengthened concerns about Catholicism’s place in American society, accelerating the growth of a separate Catholic subculture in the United States.

By: Megan L. Bever

This manuscript examines the role of wartime intersectional romances written in the North in determining how white northerners (mainly women) conceived of reuniting and reconstructing the nation. Based on three novels and twenty-six short stories appearing in popular periodicals such as Harper’s Weekly and Flag of our Union, this manuscript argues that most northern authors believed that reuniting the nation required that disloyal citizens repudiate secession, act in support of the Union war effort, and, ultimately, abolish slavery. Moreover, in order for reunion to occur, northern authors stress that all loyal citizens – especially those living in the border states and in the Confederacy – must work to bring wayward Confederates back in to the national family. This study furthers our understanding of reunion, emancipation, and reconciliation.


Megan L. Bever is a doctoral candidate at the University of Alabama whose work focuses on alcohol and drunkenness in the Civil War. She previously served as editor of the Southern Historian, and her work has been published in the Journal of Sport History.

William B. Kurtz received his PhD in 2012 from the University of Virginia, where he studied under Gary W. Gallagher. He is currently working as an assistant editor at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities on a project helping to provide early access to thousands of historical documents on the National Archives’ website Founders Online. His dissertation, which will be published by Fordham University Press, examines the impact of the American Civil War on the Catholic Church in the North.

Keith Dickson is professor of military studies at the Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University. His most recent book, Sustaining Southern Identity, was published in 2011 and won the Richard Slatten Award for best Virginia biography.

Ethan S. Rafuse is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of nine books, including a forthcoming volume on the Richmond–Petersburg campaign of 1864–65, to be published in the U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles series.

Bruce Tap earned his doctorate in American history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied under Robert W. Johannsen. He is a past contributor to Civil War History and author of Over Lincoln’s Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War (1998) and The Fort Pillow Massacre: North, South and the Status of African Americans in the Civil War Era (2013).


Media Review:

The American Experience: The Abolitionists. Reviewed by Carol Faulker.

Book Reviews:

McPherson, James M. War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861–1865. Reviewed by Andrew Duppstadt.

Masur, Louis P. Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union. Reviewed by Frank J. Williams.

Gallagher, Gary W. and Rachel A. Sheldon, Ed. A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Political History. Reviewed by Katherine E. Rohrer.

Cecelski, David S. The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War. Reviewed by Jonathan Lande.

Williams, Heather Andrea. Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery. Reviewed by Christopher Hager.

Dirck, Brian R. Lincoln and the Constitution. Reviewed by James E. Sefton.

Danielson, Joseph W. War’s Desolating Scourge: The Union’s Occupation of North Alabama. Reviewed by Brett J. Derbes

Smith, Timothy B. Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation. Reviewed by Thomas D. Mays.

Levin, Kevin M. Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder. Reviewed by Benjamin Cloyd.

Gerteis, Louis S. The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History. Reviewed by Joseph M. Beilein Jr.

Clampitt, Bradley R. The Confederate Heartland: Military and Civilian Morale in the Western Confederacy. Reviewed by Richard Starnes.

Steward, Rodney. David Schenck and the Contours of Confederate Identity. Reviewed by Lucius Wedge.

Matthews, Glenna. The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican Party, and the Birth of Modern California. Reviewed by Jacob F. Lee.

Brown, Curt. Ed. Leaving Home in Dark Blue: Chronicling Ohio’s Civil War Experience through Primary Sources and Literature. Reviewed by Christopher S. Landino.

Hewitt, Lawrence Lee and Thomas E. Schott, Ed. Lee and His Generals: Essays in Honor of T. Harry Williams. Reviewed by Robert W. Sidwell.

Wilson, John P. Ed. From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps: A Civil War Soldier’s Journals and Letters Home. Reviewed by Kristopher Allen.

Books Received:

Beck, Paul N. Columns of Vengeance: Soldiers, Sioux, and the Punitive Expeditions, 1863–1864. 

Burnette, Patricia B. James F. Jaquess: Scholar, Soldier and Private Agent for President Lincoln.

Callenda, Frank. The Fourteenth Brooklyn Regiment in the Civil War: A History and Roster.

Cole, Jean Lee, Ed. Freedom’s Witness: The Civil War Correspondence of Henry McNeal Turner.

Daniel, Larry J. Battle of Stones River: The Forgotten Conflict between the Confederate Army of Tennes‐ see and the Union Army of the Cumberland. 

Eggleston, Michael A. President Lincoln’s Recruiter: General Lorenzo Thomas and the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War.

Etulain, Richard. Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era. 

Fleming, Thomas. A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War. 

Goldfield, David. Still Fighting the Civil War: The American South and Southern History, updated edition.

Gragg, Rod. The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle.

Hinks, Peter P. and Stephen Kantrowitz, Ed. All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry.

Kohl, Rhonda M. The Prairie Boys Go to War: The Fifth Illinois Cavalry, 1861–1865.

Kraus, Michael G., David M. Neville, and Kenneth C. Turner. The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History.

Mack, John N. Bucking the Railroads on the Kansas Frontier: The Struggle over Land Claims by Homesteading Civil War Veterans, 1867–1876.

Mackowski, Chris and Kristopher D. White. The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson: The Mortal Wounding of the Confederacy’s Greatest Icon.

Mingus, Scott L. Sr. Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith: From Virginia’s Statehouse to Gettysburg Scapegoat.

Oertel, Kristen Tegtmeier. Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre‐Civil War Kansas.

O’Shaughnessy, Mary Searing. Ed. Alonzo’s War: Letters from a Young Civil War Soldier. 

Peterson, Anne E. The Civil War in Photographs: New Perspectives from the Robin Stanford Collection.

Sauers, Richard. Civil War Battlegrounds: The Illustrated History of the War’s Pivotal Battles and Campaigns.

Wittenberg, Eric J. Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg: The Battles for Brinkerhoff ’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, July 2–3, 1863.