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Civil War History: Archive

June 2014, Volume 60, No. 2

Mar 18th, 2014


CWH Journal Cover



By: John Casey

Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty registers traces of a now almost forgotten subject of concern for northern civilians in the years immediately following the Civil War. Exposed to the violence of combat and the supposedly “demoralizing” influences of the army, civilians were afraid that soldiers might fail to adjust to the ways of peacetime life. Time would eventually prove these civilian fears to be unfounded, but in the immediate postwar period relations between northern soldiers and civilians were tinged with misunderstanding and uneasiness along with the joy at having loved ones home from battlefield and camp. These ambivalent emotions were expressed most clearly in the trope of the wounded warrior, which portrayed all veterans as potentially disabled and in need of civilian care. Union veteran John William De Forest’s 1867 novel Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty illustrates one veteran’s attempt to answer civilian concerns about returning soldiers. De Forest combats the trope of the wounded warrior or “suffering soldier” with the equally hoary image of the citizen-soldier. The presence of these competing tropes indicates that peaceful relations between former soldiers and civilians were not foreordained at the close of the war. Each group needed to become reacquainted with the other and the process of social reintegration slowly begun.

By: Andrew Heath

In 1869, a monarchist newspaper, The Imperialist, caused a “sensation” across the Union. In the South, where it circulated widely, most conservatives read it as a Radical blueprint to dismember the republic. These critics used the paper to rally the white electorate, and their response sheds light on the “phantasms of fear” Mark Summers has argued characterized Reconstruction politics. But the weekly also found adherents in the South. Whether out of admiration for the nation-building efforts of European monarchies, contempt for black suffrage, or hostility to Herrenvolk democracy, they saw a strong centralized government with a king at its head as a path to stabilization that would maintain their power and authority. The monarchist moment in the South was fleeting and never attracted widespread support, but proclamations of fidelity to the principles of The Imperialist illuminate a rarely-explored variant of southern conservatism.


John Casey is a lecturer and assistant director of English Undergraduate Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on the cultural legacy of the Civil War and the influence of war veterans on American literature.

Andrew Heath is a lecturer in American history at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. He studied history at University College London before undertaking his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working on a book exploring the reconstruction of Philadelphia between the 1830s and 1870s.


Book Reviews:

Guelzo, Allen C. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. Reviewed by George C. Rable.

Downs, Jim. Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Reviewed by Cheryl A. Wells.

Levine, Bruce. The Fall of the House of Dixie: How the Civil War Remade the American South. Reviewed by Adrian Brettle.

Rothman, Joshua D. Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson. Reviewed by Gregory A. Peek.

Wolf, Eva Sheppard. Almost Free: A Story about Family and Race in Antebellum Virginia. Reviewed by Padraig Riley.

Ball, Erica L. To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class. Reviewed by Frederick J. Blue.

West, Emily. Family or Freedom: People of Color in the Antebellum South. Reviewed by David E. Goldberg.

Lubet, Steven. John Brown’s Spy: The Adventurous Life and Tragic Confession of John E. Cook. Reviewed by R. Blakeslee Gilpin.

Childers, Christopher. The Failure of Popular Sovereignty: Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the Radicalization of Southern Politics; Quitt, Martin H. Stephen A. Douglas and Antebellum Democracy. Reviewed by Michael E. Woods.

Brands, H.W. The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace. Reviewed by Timothy B. Smith.

Dirck, Brian R. Abraham Lincoln and White America. Reviewed by William E. Hardy.

Rivers, Larry Eugene. Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida. Reviewed by Robert L. Paquette.

Brasher, Glenn David. The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom. Reviewed by Alex Christopher Meekins

Hartwig, D. Scott. To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862. Reviewed by Lauren Thompson.

Hess, Earl J. The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee. Reviewed by Laura J. Ping.

Woodworth, Steven E. and Charles D. Grear. Eds. The Chattanooga Campaign. Reviewed by Carl C. Creason.

Heineman, Kenneth J. Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio. Reviewed by James Hill Welborn III.

Alderson, Kevin and Patsy Alderson. Eds. Letters Home to Sarah: The Civil War Letters of Guy C. Taylor, 36th Wisconsin Volunteers. Reviewed by Michael Mumaugh.

Book Notes:

Armistead, Gene C. Horses and Mules in the Civil War: A Complete History with a Roster of More than 700 War Horses.

Giesberg, Judith. Keystone State in Crisis: The Civil War in Pennsylvania.

Hubbard, Mark. Ed. Illinois’s War: The Civil War in Documents.

Books Received:

Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments: An Illustrated History.

Dunham, Valgene. Allegheny to Appomattox: The Life and Letters of Private William Whitlock of the 188th New York Volunteers.

Fergus, Claudius K. Revolutionary Emancipation: Slavery and Abolitionism in the British West Indies.

Finnegan, Terrence. A Deed So Accursed: Lynching in Mississippi and South Carolina, 1881–1940.

Halpert, Robert. The Other Side of the River.

Heitzler, Michael J. The Goose Creek Bridge: Gateway to Sacred Places.

Hood, Stephen M. Ed. John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General.

Lively, Matthew W. Calamity at Chancellorsville: The Wounding and Death of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

Mackey, Thomas C. Ed. A Documentary History of the American Civil War, Volume 2, Political Arguments.

Mackowski, Chris and Kristopher White. Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863.

Marroti, Frank Jr. Heaven’s Soldiers: Free People of Color and the Spanish Legacy in Antebellum Florida.

Patchan, Scott C. The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7–September 19, 1864.

Phillips, Jason. Ed. Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South.

Rosenheim, Jeff L. Photography and the American Civil War.

Smith, Caleb. The Oracle and the Curse: A Poetics of Justice from the Revolution to the Civil War.

Smith, Timothy B. Rethinking Shiloh: Myth and Memory.

Varney, Frank P. General Grant and the Rewriting of History.

Ward, David C. and Frank H. Goodyear III. Eds. Lines in Long Array: A Civil War Commemoration: Poems and Photographs, Past and Present.

Young III, Alfred C. Lee’s Army during the Overland Campaign: A Numerical Study.