Beneath the Starry Flag: New Jersey's Civil War Experience

Overview

Few events in American history can match the triumph and tragedy of the Civil War. Many books have been written about the War between the States, but until now, none has chronicled—in their own words—the many important roles played by people from New Jersey.

Beneath the Starry Flag
is a collection of richly detailed eyewitness accounts by New Jerseyans who lived during the Civil War. Drawing from letters, journals, regimental histories, and ...

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Overview

Few events in American history can match the triumph and tragedy of the Civil War. Many books have been written about the War between the States, but until now, none has chronicled—in their own words—the many important roles played by people from New Jersey.

Beneath the Starry Flag
is a collection of richly detailed eyewitness accounts by New Jerseyans who lived during the Civil War. Drawing from letters, journals, regimental histories, and newspaper accounts, Alan A. Siegel places the reader in the midst of these desperate times. The book depicts the war years chronologically, from the tense days when one state, then another seceded from the Union, through battles lost and won, to the victory at Appomattox and Lincoln’s funeral procession across New Jersey.

Readers will learn of the remarkable valor of New Jersey soldiers such as John Beech, a Trenton potter who won a Medal of Honor for bravery at Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle. They will learn too of the sacrifices made by civilians, such as Cornelia Hancock of Salem County, who ministered to soldiers wounded on battlefields from Gettysburg to Petersburg. Siegel also tells of other people and institutions who played very different roles in the war, including Somerset County’s Daniel Cory, who said he would shoot the president if he could, the state’s leading Copperhead newspapers, which denounced the draft and discouraged enlistments, and the State Legislature, which at one point called for a truce and negotiations to end the conflict.

Siegel allows them all, enlisted men and officers, politicians and plain citizens, patriots and conspirators, to speak in their own words in often moving firsthand accounts. Their motives, emotions, and deeds are chronicled in this collection of stories, some which have been out of print for many years, others that have not been heard since they were first written more than a century ago.

[Beneath the Starry Flag
is an invaluable addition to what we know about this remarkable time in American history, perfect for the general reader or Civil War historian.]  

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Editorial Reviews

Rutgers Magazine

In all, some 80,000 New Jersey men fought in the Union army and navy and another 3,000 black Jerseyans fought in the United States Colored troops. The war took its toll: 6,400 New Jersey men died, and countless others were wounded. For the first time in one volume, Siegel brings together moving local accounts of an era that defined this country.
Choice
Praise for Beneath the Starry FlagTrue to its subtitle, this is a remarkably coherent and smooth-flowing history of New Jersey's Civil War soldiers and civilians. It is composed of passages—some lengthy and others only a few lines—from primary sources, including newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, and reminiscences, woven together with chapter introductions and connecting text. . . . Some truly first-rate primary material is compiled between these covers. All of the excerpts are valuable, and some are truly outstanding, such as John S. Knox's account of the Lincoln assassination. Such high-quality material lifts the work above the level of local history and makes it a worthwhile book for all students of the Civil War. All levels and collections.
Down Jersey Magazine

A must-read for history studentsùboth young and old, as well as those interested in Jerseyana.
Civil War Book Review

Siegel offers the reader an insight into the personal and political controversies surrounding that defining moment in our nationÆs history. . . . Though some of the accounts make for fascinating reading, I would have preferred a more in depth study since the subject has been largely ignored in the past.
Trenton Times

This is a good, fast read aimed at a popular audience, but as the title suggests, there is a large amount of freightùtoo much for such a slender vessel. It is an assortment of military, political and social material from letters, diaries, and mainly newspapers, glued together with brief introductions. . . . SiegelÆs scattershot will not bag game big enough to stimulate RutgersÆ appetite for more Civil War publishing.
author of Remember You Are Jerseymen: A Military History of New Jersey�s Troops - Joseph G. Bilbyco

Beneath the Starry Flag brings a unique and valuable approach to New Jersey Civil War studies. SiegelÆs splendid selection of newspaper articles, letters, and other first-person accounts provides readers a front-row seat as the state and its people struggle through four years of war. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in Jerseyana, the Civil War, or both.
Choice

Praise for Beneath the Starry FlagTrue to its subtitle, this is a remarkably coherent and smooth-flowing history of New JerseyÆs Civil War soldiers and civilians. It is composed of passagesùsome lengthy and others only a few linesùfrom primary sources, including newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, and reminiscences, woven together with chapter introductions and connecting text. . . . Some truly first-rate primary material is compiled between these covers. All of the excerpts are valuable, and some are truly outstanding, such as John S. KnoxÆs account of the Lincoln assassination. Such high-quality material lifts the work above the level of local history and makes it a worthwhile book for all students of the Civil War. All levels and collections.
Rutgers Magazine

In all, some 80,000 New Jersey men fought in the Union army and navy and another 3,000 black Jerseyans fought in the United States Colored troops. The war took its toll: 6,400 New Jersey men died, and countless others were wounded. For the first time in one volume, Siegel brings together moving local accounts of an era that defined this country.

Choice

Praise for Beneath the Starry FlagTrue to its subtitle, this is a remarkably coherent and smooth-flowing history of New JerseyÆs Civil War soldiers and civilians. It is composed of passagesùsome lengthy and others only a few linesùfrom primary sources, including newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, and reminiscences, woven together with chapter introductions and connecting text. . . . Some truly first-rate primary material is compiled between these covers. All of the excerpts are valuable, and some are truly outstanding, such as John S. KnoxÆs account of the Lincoln assassination. Such high-quality material lifts the work above the level of local history and makes it a worthwhile book for all students of the Civil War. All levels and collections.

Down Jersey Magazine

A must-read for history studentsùboth young and old, as well as those interested in Jerseyana.

Civil War Book Review

Siegel offers the reader an insight into the personal and political controversies surrounding that defining moment in our nationÆs history. . . . Though some of the accounts make for fascinating reading, I would have preferred a more in depth study since the subject has been largely ignored in the past.

Trenton Times

This is a good, fast read aimed at a popular audience, but as the title suggests, there is a large amount of freightùtoo much for such a slender vessel. It is an assortment of military, political and social material from letters, diaries, and mainly newspapers, glued together with brief introductions. . . . SiegelÆs scattershot will not bag game big enough to stimulate RutgersÆ appetite for more Civil War publishing.

Booknews
A collection of eyewitness accounts by residents of New Jersey who fought in or lived through the Civil War. Selections depict the war years chronologically, from the days when states seceded from the Union up to Lincoln's funeral procession across New Jersey. Sources include letters, journals, and newspaper articles. Siegel is an attorney who has written several books on history and the Civil War. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813529431
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


7/1/13-out of print, make ebook
Alan A. Siegel is an attorney who enjoys writing history. He is the author of several books, including Smile: A Picture History of Olympic Park, 1887-1965 (Rutgers University Press), and For the Glory of the Union: Myth, Reality, and the Media in Civil War New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 A Carnival of Patriotism - 1861 3
2 Rally, Boys! Rally! - 1862 54
3 We Will Give Them Hell Yet - 1863 87
4 It Was a Godforsaken Place - The Home Front 120
5 Go in, Jersies, We Will Follow You! - 1864 143
6 Exhausted, Starved, Emaciated, Dying - Imprisonment and Escape 186
7 Boys, Your Work Is Done - 1865 214
Notes 237
Selected References 245
Index 247
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2004

    The Civil War History

    I'm a junior at Kean University, History/Education major and recently had to pick a book for my History of New Jersey class to read and this is the book I picked for my book report. I strongly recommend this book to anybody that is interested in the Civil War. The first person accounts take you right to the battlefield. It is a book of great heroism that NJ portrayed through out the Civil War as well as history. It not only includes what goes on the battlefield but also what goes on behind the scenes at home. It is an amazing book and very well writte. I know that one day I will use this book in my classroom. It is probably one of the best books written on the Civil War and New Jersey involvement in it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    A Front Row Seat to the Civil War

    Beneath the Starry Flag brings a unique and valuable approach to New Jersey Civil War studies. Siegel's splendid selection of newspaper articles, letters and other first-person accounts provides readers a front-row seat as the state and its people struggle through four years of war. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in Jerseyana, the Civil War, or both.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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