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Civil War in the North highlights innovative scholarship that broadens our understanding of what the American Civil War meant to Northern society. This series encompasses overlooked and under-researched topics, from the battlefield to the home front, from the antebellum era through Reconstruction.

The Printer’s Kiss

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Understanding Civil War History
Donohoe jacket

In language that resonates with power and beauty, this compilation of personal letters written from 1844 to 1864 tells the compelling story of controversial newspaper editor Will Tomlinson, his opinionated wife (Eliza Wylie Tomlinson), and their two children (Byers and Belle) in the treacherous borderlands around that “abolitionist hellhole,” Ripley, Ohio. The

Printer’s Kiss includes many of Tomlinson’s columns that appeared in the Ripley Bee, the local Ripley newspaper, and excerpts from a short story in the Columbian Magazine. It features many of his letters to his family and a remarkable number of letters from Eliza and the children to Tomlinson while he was away during the Civil War, serving variously as quartermaster sergeant for the Fifth Ohio, as captain of a company of counterinsurgents in West Virginia, as an independent scout and spy in Kentucky, as a nurse on a hospital boat, and as a compositor for the Cincinnati Gazette.

 


Yankee Dutchmen under Fire

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Understanding Civil War History

Thousands of volumes of Civil War letters are available, but little more than a dozen contain collections written by native Germans fighting in this great American conflict. Yankee Dutchmen under Fire presents a fascinating collection of sixty-one letters written by immigrants who served in the 82nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 82nd Illinois was one of the thirty or so predominantly “German Regiments” in the Union army, and one of only two Federal regiments containing a Jewish company. Fighting alongside the Germans was a company of Scandinavians, plus a scattering of immigrants from many other countries.

 


The Election of 1860 Reconsidered

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North
Fuller Cover

The election of 1860 was a crossroad in American history. Faced with four major candidates, voters in the North and South went to the polls not knowing that the result of the election would culminate in the bloodiest conflict the United States had ever seen. Despite its obvious importance, surprisingly few studies have focused exclusively on this electoral contest itself. In The Election of 1860 Reconsidered, seven historians offer insightful essays that challenge the traditional view of the election, present fresh inter- pretations, and approach the contest from new angles.

 


“A Punishment on the Nation”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North
Miller cover image

Private Silas W. Haven, a native New Englander transplanted to Iowa, enlisted in 1862 to fight in a war that he believed was God’s punishment for the sin of slavery. Only through the war’s purifying bloodshed, thought Haven, could the nation be redeemed and the Union saved. Marching off to war with the 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Haven left behind his wife Jane and their three young children. Over the course of four years, he wrote her nearly two hundred letters, collected here for the first time.

 


The Story of a Thousand

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Military History
Tougee Cover

Written at the behest of his former comrades in the 105th Ohio, The Story of a Thousand draws on Tourgée’s own wartime papers, as well as diaries, letters, and recollections of other veterans, to detail the remarkable story of the regiment during its campaigns in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. Tourgée concentrates on the lives and experiences of the enlisted soldiers, describing the backgrounds of the men and how they rallied around the Union flag as citizen soldiers and also on discussions about the role of slavery as the impetus of the war. Tourgée’s concern for the common soldier prefigures the scholarship of twentieth-century historians, such as Bell Irvin Wiley, who devoted attention to the men in the ranks rather than the generals and politicians in charge.

 


“They Have Left Us Here to Die”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North

“They Have Left Us Here to Die” is an edited and annotated version of the diary Sergeant Adair kept of his seven months as a prisoner of war. The diary provides vivid descriptions of each of the five camps as well as insightful observations about the culture of captivity. Adair notes with disdain the decision of some Union prisoners to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy in exchange for their freedom and covers the mock presidential election of 1864 held at Camp Lawton, where he and his fellow inmates were forced to cast votes for either Lincoln or McClellan. But most significantly, Adair reflects on the breakdown of the prisoner exchange system between the North and South, especially the roles played by the Lincoln administration and the Northern home front. As a white soldier serving with African Americans, Adair also makes revealing observations about the influence of race on the experience of captivity.

 


Dispatches from Bermuda

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North
Wiche Book Cover

Author Glen N. Wiche has compiled all of Allen’s Civil War dispatches to the U.S. State Department and provides well-documented commentary to place Allen’s activities in the wider context of the “Atlantic campaign” of the Civil War. Dispatches from Bermuda paints a detailed picture of these activities and offers a rare account of this blockade-running traffic from a northern perspective.

 


Orlando M. Poe

| Filed under: Biography, Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Regional Interest
Poe Book Cover

Orlando M. Poe chronicles the life of one of the most influential yet underrated and overlooked soldiers during the Civil War. After joining the Union Army in 1861, Poe commanded the 2nd Michigan Infantry in the Peninsula Campaign and led brigades at Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. He was then sent west and became one of the Union heroes in the defense of Knoxville. Poe served under several of the war’s greatest generals, including George McClellan and William T. Sherman, who appointed him chief engineer to oversee the burning of Atlanta and Sherman’s March to the Sea. Though technically only a captain in the regular army at the war’s end, Poe was one of Sherman’s most valued subordinates, and he was ultimately appointed brevet brigadier general for his bravery and service.

 


A German Hurrah!

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North
German Book Cover

Lieutenant Friedrich Bertsch and Chaplain Wilhelm Stängel of the 9th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry were not typical soldiers in the Union army. They were German immigrants fighting in a German regiment. Imbued with democratic and egalitarian ideals, the pair were disappointed with the imperfections they found in America and its political, social, and economic fabric; they also disdained puritanical temperance and Sunday laws restricting the personal freedoms they had enjoyed in Europe. Both men believed Germans were superior to Americans and other ethnic soldiers and hoped to elevate the status of Germans in American society by demonstrating their willingness to join in the fight and preserve the Union at the risk of their own lives.

 


August Willich’s Gallant Dutchmen

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North
Reinhart Book Cover

The letters collected here originally appeared in German in wartime issues of German American newspapers. These rare documents connect the contemporary reader to the world of the patriotic immigrant soldier and his hard-fighting regiment, revealing personal motivations, wartime experiences, opinions, ethnic pride, and bravery, as this regiment engaged in some of the most bitter fighting in the West. These gripping letters also provide insight into the social, political, and cultural dimensions of the war and reveal the competing ethnic identities, nativism, and immigrant acculturation of late-nineteenth-century America. The Germans of the 32nd Indiana proved themselves to be “Gallant Dutchmen” in the fight to save the Union.

 



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