Thursday, December 30, 2010

To-Read List: 2011

One of my favorite things to do this time of the year is look ahead to the new books scheduled to come out in the year ahead; it's that proverbial kid-in-a-candy-store-type feel.

Next year promises to be a good one as far as new Civil War titles are concerned, for 2011 kicks off the war's Sesquicentennial. After a rather quick search on amazon, I have identified the following as my must-read books of 2011. They will all be coming soon to a bookshelf--or nightstand--in my home!

[Note: I will not include my two titles scheduled for release in 2011: Antietam: September 17, 1862 (Sharpsburg, MD: Western Maryland Interpretative Association), Spring 2011; and The Battle of South Mountain (Charleston, SC: The History Press), Spring 2011. Doing so would seem too much like a shameless plug ;) ]


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The Siege of Washington:
The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union,
by John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood
Oxford University Press
March 2011


On April 14, 1861, the day Fort Sumter fell to Confederate forces, Washington, DC was ripe for invasion. Located 60 miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the nation's capital was virtually surrounded by the slave states of Maryland and Virginia. Only a few hundred soldiers were stationed in the city, and a rebel army rumored at 20,000 men lay just across the Potomac River. The south echoed with cries of "On to Washington!" Jefferson Davis boasted that the federal capital would fall by the beginning of May, not two weeks away.
In The Siege of Washington, John and Charles Lockwood offer a heart-pounding, minute-by-minute account of the twelve days when the fate of the Union hung in the balance. The fall of Washington would have been a disaster: it would have crippled the federal government, left the remaining Northern states in disarray, and almost certainly triggered the secession of Maryland. Indeed, it would likely have ended the fight to preserve the Union before it had begun in earnest.
On April 15, Lincoln quickly issued an emergency proclamation calling upon the Northern states to send 75,000 troops to Washington. The North, suddenly galvanized by the attack on Sumter, responded enthusiastically. Yet one powerful question gripped Washington, and indeed the nation--whose forces would get to the capital first, Northern defenders or Southern attackers?
Drawing from unseen primary documents, this compelling history places the reader on the scene with immediacy, brilliantly capturing the tense, precarious first days of America's Civil War.

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The Battle of Glendale: The Day the South Nearly Won the Civil War
by Jim Stempel
McFarland & Company
March 2011


Description
It is commonly accepted that the South could never have won the Civil War. By chronicling perhaps the best of the South’s limited opportunities to turn the tide, this provocative study argues that Confederate victory was indeed possible. On June 30, 1862, at a small Virginia crossroads known as Glendale, Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee sliced the retreating Army of the Potomac in two and came remarkably close to destroying their Federal foe. Only a string of command miscues on the part of the Confederates--and a stunning command failure by Stonewall Jackson--enabled the Union army to escape a defeat that day, one that may well have vaulted the South to its independence. Never before or after would the Confederacy come as close to transforming American history as it did at the Battle of Glendale.

About the Author
Writer Jim Stempel is a writer and lives in western Maryland.

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Second Manassas: Longstreet's Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge
by Scott C. Patchan
Potomac Books
July 2011

Product Description
In 1862, looking for an opportunity to attack Union general John Pope, Confederate general Robert E. Lee ordered Gen. James Longstreet to conduct a reconnaissance and possible assault on the Chinn Ridge front. At the time Longstreet launched his attack, only a handful of Union troops stood between Robert E. Lee and Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Virginia’s rolling terrain and Bull Run also provided Lee with a unique opportunity seldom seen during the entire Civil War—that of “bagging” an army, an elusive feat keenly desired by political leaders of both sides.

Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge details the story of Longstreet and his men’s efforts to obtain the ultimate victory that Lee desperately sought. At the same time, this account tells of the Union soldiers who, despite poor leadership and the lack of support from Pope and his senior officers, bravely battled Longstreet and saved their army from destruction along the banks of Bull Run.

Longstreet’s men were able to push the Union forces back, but only after they had purchased enough time for the Union army to retreat in good order. Although Lee did not achieve a decisive victory, his success at Chinn Ridge allowed him to carry the war north of the Potomac River, thus setting the stage for his Maryland Campaign. Within three weeks, the armies would meet again along the banks of Antietam Creek in western Maryland. Uncovering new sources, Scott Patchan gives a detailed knowledge of the battle ground and a fresh perspective that sharpens the detail and removes the guesswork found in previous works dealing with the climactic clash at Second Manassas.
About the Author
Scott C. Patchan, a veteran Civil War battlefield guide and historian, is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (Bison Books, 2009) and The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia (Sergeant Kirkland’s Press, 1996). He also served as a research consultant and contributing writer for Time Life's Voice's of the CIvil War: Shenandoah, 1864 (1998). He resides in Northern Virginia with his family, has twice served as president of the Bull Run Ciivl War Round Table, and is a much sought after tour guide for both Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields and historic sites.

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The Second Day at Gettysburg:
The Attack and Defense of the Union Center on Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863
by David Shultz and David Wieck
Savas-Beatie
August 2011


Product Description
On the afternoon of July 2, 1863, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet struck the Union left flank with a massive blow that collapsed Dan Sickles' advanced position in the Peach Orchard and rolled northward, tearing open a large gap in the center of the Federal line on Cemetery Ridge. Fresh Confederates from A. P. Hill's Corps advanced toward the mile-wide breach, where Southern success would split the Army of the Potomac in two. The fate of the Battle of Gettysburg hung in the balance.

Despite the importance of the position, surprisingly few Union troops were available to defend Cemetery Ridge. Major General Winfield S. Hancock's veteran Second Corps had been whittled from three divisions to less than one after Gibbon's division was sucked into earlier fighting and Caldwell's command was shattered in the Wheatfield. With little time and few men, Hancock determined to plug the yawning gap. Reprising Horatio at the Bridge, the gallant commander cobbled together various commands and refused to yield the precious acres in Plum Run ravine. The swirling seesaw fighting lasted for hours and included hand-to-hand combat and personal heroics of which legends are made.

The Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of the Union Center on Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863 expands on David Shultz and David Wieck's critically acclaimed earlier work The Battle Between the Farm Lanes. This completely revised and expanded study, which includes new photographs, original maps, and a self-guided tour of the fighting, is grounded in extensive research and unmatched personal knowledge of the terrain. The result is a balanced and compelling account of this often overlooked portion of the battle.

About the Authors: David L. Shultz is the author of numerous books, pamphlets, and articles concerning the Battle of Gettysburg including the acclaimed Double Canister at Ten Yards: The Federal Artillery and the Repulse of Pickett's Charge; Guide to Pennsylvania Troops at Gettysburg; and The Battle Between the Farm Lanes: Hancock Saves the Union Center. His acclaimed historical pamphlet in 1997 entitled "The Baltimore Pike Artillery Line and Kinzie's Knoll," received special recognition from numerous battlefield preservation societies. He is the recipient of numerous awards including special citations from the House of Representatives and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Meritorious Public Service for Battlefield Preservation. He is currently working on an extensive and comprehensive tactical study on the artillery at Gettysburg.

In addition to co-authoring The Battle Between the Farm Lanes and The Second Day at Gettysburg, David F. Wieck has written several articles on Civil War topics, most recently on Frank Furness, Medal of Honor winner and famous Philadelphia architect. He has edited more than twenty books on military history, and is a frequent speaker on the Civil War and a personal favorite, John Quincy Adams. He works for the federal government, specializing in the advocacy of rights and benefits for military veterans. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and four presidential cats.

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America Aflame:
How The Civil War Created A Nation

by David Goldfield
Bloomsbury Press
March 2011


Product Description
In this spellbinding new history, David Goldfield offers the first major new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. Where past scholars have limned the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America's greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second GreatAwakening surged through America, political questions became matters of good and evil to be fought to the death.

The price of that failure was horrific, but the carnage accomplished what statesmen could not: It made the United States one nation and eliminated slavery as a divisive force in the Union. The victorious North became synonymous with America as a land of innovation and industrialization, whose teeming cities offered squalor and opportunity in equal measure. Religion was supplanted by science and a gospel of progress, and the South was left behind.

Goldfield's panoramic narrative, sweeping from the 1840s to the end of Reconstruction, is studded with memorable details and luminaries such as HarrietBeecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman. There are lesser known yet equally compelling characters, too, including Carl Schurz-a German immigrant, warhero, and postwar reformer-and Alexander Stephens, the urbane and intellectual vice president of the Confederacy. America Aflame is a vivid portrait of the "fiery trial"that transformed the country we live in.

David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the author of many works on Southern history, including Still Fighting the Civil War; Black, White, and Southern; and Promised Land.

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The Union War
by Gary W. Gallagher
Harvard University Press
April 2011


Product Description
Even one hundred and fifty years later, we are haunted by the Civil War—by its division, its bloodshed, and perhaps, above all, by its origins. Today, many believe that the war was fought over slavery. This answer satisfies our contemporary sense of justice, but as Gary Gallagher shows in this brilliant revisionist history, it is an anachronistic judgment.

In a searing analysis of the Civil War North as revealed in contemporary letters, diaries, and documents, Gallagher demonstrates that what motivated the North to go to war and persist in an increasingly bloody effort was primarily preservation of the Union. Devotion to the Union bonded nineteenth-century Americans in the North and West against a slaveholding aristocracy in the South and a Europe that seemed destined for oligarchy. Northerners believed they were fighting to save the republic, and with it the world’s best hope for democracy.

Once we understand the centrality of union, we can in turn appreciate the force that made northern victory possible: the citizen-soldier. Gallagher reveals how the massive volunteer army of the North fought to confirm American exceptionalism by salvaging the Union. Contemporary concerns have distorted the reality of nineteenth-century Americans, who embraced emancipation primarily to punish secessionists and remove slavery as a future threat to union—goals that emerged in the process of war. As Gallagher recovers why and how the Civil War was fought, we gain a more honest understanding of why and how it was won.

About the Author
Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

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Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia:
A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee

by Joseph Glatthaar
University of North Carolina Press
June 2011


Product Description
In this sophisticated quantitative study, Joseph T. Glatthaar provides a comprehensive narrative and statistical analysis of many key aspects of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Serving as a companion to Glatthaar's General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse, this book presents Glatthaar's supporting data and major conclusions in extensive and extraordinary detail.
While gathering research materials for General Lee's Army, Glatthaar compiled quantitative data on the background and service of 600 randomly selected soldiers--150 artillerists, 150 cavalrymen, and 300 infantrymen--affording him fascinating insight into the prewar and wartime experience of Lee's troops. Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia presents the full details of this fresh, important primary research in a way that is useful to scholars and students and appeals to anyone with a serious interest in the Civil War. While confirming much of what is believed about the army, Glatthaar's evidence challenges some conventional thinking in significant ways, such as showing that nearly half of all Lee's soldiers lived in slaveholding households (a number higher than previously thought), and provides a broader and fuller portrait of the men who served under General Lee.


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Of Duty Well and Faithfully Done:
A History of the Regular Army in the Civil War

by Clayton R. Newell and Charles Shrader
University of Nebraska Press
July 2011


Product Description
On the eve of the Civil War, the Regular Army of the United States was small, dispersed, untrained for large-scale operations, and woefully unprepared to suppress the rebellion of the secessionist states. Although the Regular Army expanded significantly during the war, reaching nearly sixty-seven thousand men, it was necessary to form an enormous army of state volunteers that overshadowed the Regulars and bore most of the combat burden. Nevertheless, the Regular Army played several critically important roles, notably providing leaders and exemplars for the Volunteers and managing the administration and logistics of the entire Union Army. In this first comprehensive study of the Regular Army in the Civil War, Clayton R. Newell and Charles R. Shrader focus primarily on the organizational history of the Regular Army and how it changed as an institution during the war, to emerge afterward as a reorganized and permanently expanded force. The eminent, award-winning military historian Edward M. Coffman provides a foreword.

About the Author
Both Clayton R. Newell and Charles R. Shrader finished their military careers as the chief of the historical services division at the U.S. Army Center of Military History and are now independent scholars and historical consultants. Newell is the author or editor of several books, including Lee vs. McClellan: The First Campaign; Shrader has also written or edited a number of books, including The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1991–1994. Edward M. Coffman, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is the author of many works, including The Hilt of the Sword: The Career of Peyton C. March and The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I.

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Defeating Lee:
A History of the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac

by Lawrence A. Kreiser, Jr.
Indiana University Press
May 2011


Product Description
Fair Oaks, the Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Petersburg -- the list of significant battles fought by the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, is a long and distinguished one. This absorbing history of the Second Corps follows the unit's creation and rise to prominence, the battles that earned it a reputation for hard fighting, and the legacy its veterans sought to maintain in the years after the Civil War. More than an account of battles, Defeating Lee gets to the heart of what motivated these men, why they fought so hard, and how they sustained a spirited defense of cause and country long after the guns had fallen silent.

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The Won Cause:
Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic

by Barbara Gannon
University of North Carolina Press
March 2011


Product Description
In the years after the Civil War, black and white Union soldiers who survived the horrific struggle joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)--the Union army's largest veterans' organization. In this thoroughly researched and groundbreaking study, Barbara Gannon chronicles black and white veterans' efforts to create and sustain the nation's first interracial organization.
According to the conventional view, the freedoms and interests of African American veterans were not defended by white Union veterans after the war, despite the shared tradition of sacrifice among both black and white soldiers. In The Won Cause, however, Gannon challenges this scholarship, arguing that although black veterans still suffered under the contemporary racial mores, the GAR honored its black members in many instances and ascribed them a greater equality than previous studies have shown. Using evidence of integrated posts and veterans' thoughts on their comradeship and the cause, Gannon reveals that white veterans embraced black veterans because their membership in the GAR demonstrated that their wartime suffering created a transcendent bond--comradeship--that overcame even the most pernicious social barrier--race-based separation. By upholding a more inclusive memory of a war fought for liberty as well as union, the GAR's "Won Cause" challenged the Lost Cause version of Civil War memory.

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Sing Not War:
The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America

by James Marten
University of North Carolina Press
May 2011


Product Description
After the Civil War, white Confederate and Union army veterans reentered--or struggled to reenter--the lives and communities they had left behind. In Sing Not War, James Marten explores how the nineteenth century's "Greatest Generation" attempted to blend back into society and how their experiences were treated by non-veterans.
Many soldiers, Marten reveals, had a much harder time reintegrating into their communities and returning to their civilian lives than has been previously understood. Although Civil War veterans were generally well taken care of during the Gilded Age, Marten argues that veterans lost control of their legacies, becoming best remembered as others wanted to remember them--for their service in the war and their post-war political activities. Marten finds that while southern veterans were venerated for their service to the Confederacy, Union veterans often encountered resentment and even outright hostility as they aged and made greater demands on the public purse. Drawing on letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, newspapers, and other sources, Sing Not War illustrates that during the Gilded Age "veteran" conjured up several conflicting images and invoked contradicting reactions. Deeply researched and vividly narrated, Marten's book counters the romanticized vision of the lives of Civil War veterans, bringing forth new information about how white veterans were treated and how they lived out their lives.

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Shifting Loyalties:
The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina

by Judkin Browning
University of North Carolina Press
February 2011


Product Description
In the spring of 1862, Union forces marched into neighboring Carteret and Craven Counties in southeastern North Carolina, marking the beginning of an occupation that would continue for the rest of the war. Focusing on a wartime community with divided allegiances, Judkin Browning offers new insights into the effects of war on southerners and the nature of civil-military relations under long-term occupation, especially coastal residents' negotiations with their occupiers and each other as they forged new social, cultural, and political identities.
Unlike citizens in the core areas of the Confederacy, many white residents in eastern North Carolina had a strong streak of prewar Unionism and appeared to welcome the Union soldiers when they first arrived. By 1865, however, many of these residents would alter their allegiance, developing a strong sense of southern nationalism. African Americans in the region, on the other hand, utilized the presence of Union soldiers to empower themselves, as they gained their freedom in the face of white hostility. Browning's study ultimately tells the story of Americans trying to define their roles, with varying degrees of success and failure, in a reconfigured country.

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Sister States, Enemy States:
The Civil War in Kentucky and
Tennessee
Edited by Kevin Dollar, Larry Whiteaker, and W. Calvin Dollar
University Press of Kentucky
January 2011


Product Description
The fifteenth and sixteenth states to join the United States of America, Kentucky and Tennessee were cut from a common cloth -- the rich region of the Ohio River Valley. Abounding with mountainous regions and fertile farmlands, these two slaveholding states were as closely tied to one another, both culturally and economically, as they were to the rest of the South. Yet when the Civil War erupted, Tennessee chose to secede while Kentucky remained part of the Union. The residents of Kentucky and Tennessee felt the full impact of the fighting as warring armies crossed back and forth across their borders. Due to Kentucky's strategic location, both the Union and the Confederacy sought to control it throughout the war, while Tennessee was second only to Virginia in the number of battles fought on its soil. Additionally, loyalties in each state were closely divided between the Union and the Confederacy, making wartime governance -- and personal relationships -- complex. In Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee, editors Kent T. Dollar, Larry H. Whiteaker, and W. Calvin Dickinson explore how the war affected these two crucial states, and how they helped change the course of the war. Essays by prominent Civil War historians, including Benjamin Franklin Cooling, Marion Lucas, Tracy McKenzie, and Kenneth Noe, add new depth to aspects of the war not addressed elsewhere. The collection opens by recounting each state's debate over secession, detailing the divided loyalties in each as well as the overt conflict that simmered in East Tennessee. The editors also spotlight the war's overlooked participants, including common soldiers, women, refugees, African American soldiers, and guerrilla combatants. The book concludes by analyzing the difficulties these states experienced in putting the war behind them. The stories of Kentucky and Tennessee are a vital part of the larger narrative of the Civil War. Sister States, Enemy States offers fresh insights into the struggle that left a lasting mark on Kentuckians and Tennesseans, just as it left its mark on the nation.


Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 1860 & The Reasons For South Carolina's Secession

South Carolina Ordinance of Secession
Passed December 20, 1860
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This date marks an important one in commemorating and reflecting upon the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. 150 years ago today, South Carolina declared it was no longer a part of the United States, a declaration made just six weeks after the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln as the nation's Sixteenth President. Sitting President James Buchanan believed secession was illegal and unconstitutional, but also believed that same Constitution prohibited him from taking any action to bring the state back under the fold of the Union. Six more states followed South Carolina's lead even before Lincoln took the Oath of Office, on March 4, 1861. No president had thus inherited a more difficult task.

The secession of South Carolina was the culmination of decades' long sectional strife and tension, at the root of which was slavery. I have no patience for those who deny slavery as the principal cause of secession, since one need only examine all the national debates and tensions in the years leading up to South Carolina's departure from the Union. From the debate in the Philadelphia's Carpenter's Hall in the Summer of 1787 over the three-fifth clause, to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the annexation of Texas, the Mexican War & Wilmot Proviso, the admission of California into statehood in 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Bleeding Kansas, the Ostend Manifesto, Dred Scott, John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry, and finally the presidential election of 1860, it is clear the nation faced serious challenges in its first eighty years. And those challenges and all the national crises listed above had one thing in common. . .at the root of them all was the issue of slavery and its expansion. Neither do I have patience for those who claim slavery was a dying instituion; quite the contrary: in the 1840, there was just over two million enslaved persons in the United States; twenty years later, there was four million.

Considering all that transpired before the secession of South Carolina and claiming it had nothing to do with slavery is just plain wrong and essentially ignores the first eighty years of America's history.
Now, this is not to be confused over why a particular soldier--whether North or South--fought. Motivations behind an individual's enlistment should not be lumped into a discussion of why a state decided to leave the United States.

While the secession of South Carolina was the culmination of decades' long tensions over the issue of slavery and its expansion into new lands and territories, it was also the spark that lit the powder keg of the Civil War, a devastating war and one of the most tragic episodes in American history. For this reason, today we should by no means celebrate the secession of South Carolina. We should simply reflect upon what it meant to a nation and its peoples.

As the old saying goes, don't take my word for it. . .Four days after South Carolina adopted its Ordinance of Secession, it then explained why in its Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, which read in part:

The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions.
[Slavery] The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions
[Slavery]; and have denied the rights of property [Slaves] established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property [Slaves] of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party
[Lincoln's Republican Party] has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.
This sectional combination for the submersion of the
Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
The guaranties of the
Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.
We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.
December 24, 1860

The bold-print and thoughts in brackets in the above are mine, but it cannot be stated any more clearly. The leaders of the South Carolina secession movement made it known the reasons for secession and it had everything to do with slavery.

And for this reason as well, this is not a day to celebrate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Civil War Faces: A Treasure Trove of Civil War Portraits






Recently and just in time for the kick-off of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Linljenquist Family very generously donated their collection of nearly 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs to the Library of Congress. This great gesture allows us to gain a better understanding of those who served in the Civil War. Numbers, statistics, and casualty figures alone only go so far; seeing the faces of these Union and Confederate soldiers makes the war real.




I urge you to follow the link below and peruse this amazing collection. Most of the soldiers in the photographs are not identified, so it is interesting to think about who these men were and what was their wartime fate. What compelled these soldiers to serve? From where did they come? What sustained them through the monotony of camp life and horrors of combat? How were these soldiers, their families, their communities all impacted by the war? All interesting thoughts to consider when viewing these photographs. Thanks to the Linljenquist Family for making these available.




Civil War Faces


Friday, December 10, 2010

Update On The South Mountain Book. . .


I am pleased to report that on December 3, I submitted the completed first-draft manuscript of my South Mountain book to the History Press for publication as part of its Civil War Sesquicentennial Series. Yesterday it went through the copyedit and received its ISBN. If things continue to roll along, then look for it to "hit the shelves" sometime in the spring of 2011.