Civil War (Fandex Family Field Guides)

Civil War (Fandex Family Field Guides)

by Fred W. Kiger


Bringing the world of the Civil War to your fingertips, Fandex presents a field guide to the battles, generals, causes and outcomes of America's national tragedy.

Who shaped and inspired the mighty Army of the Potomac? Where was Lee headed when his army unexpectedly collided with Union cavalry just west of Gettysburg? What news turned the 1864



Bringing the world of the Civil War to your fingertips, Fandex presents a field guide to the battles, generals, causes and outcomes of America's national tragedy.

Who shaped and inspired the mighty Army of the Potomac? Where was Lee headed when his army unexpectedly collided with Union cavalry just west of Gettysburg? What news turned the 1864 election and carried Lincoln into his second term? Documented with a compelling selection of on-the-spot photographs, full-color prints, paintings and historical artifacts. Civil War finally lets you get it straight.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Bruce Adelson
This imaginative guide recounts the history of the Civil War. However, unlike books, this title consists of colorful cards bound together at the base. When opened, they resemble a fan. Young readers will find creatively arrayed material about various topics, including prisons and prisoners, African Americans and the war, and the conflict's most famous battles as well as personalities, such as Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses Grant. Even the most informed young Civil War experts will likely find new information here. For example, famous photographer Matthew Brady suffered from failing vision; his famous photographs were actually taken by his assistants, such as Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan, and were erroneously labeled "Photograph by Brady." The highly usable format and easily accessible information make this work a valuable and noteworthy addition to the Civil War field. These attributes will also undoubtedly make this title a favorite among young readers for research projects and leisure reading. Part of the "Fandex Family Field Guides" series.

Product Details

Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Fandex Family Field Guides Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 10.69(h) x 0.81(d)
IG1110L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


The news spread like wildfire. Robert E. Lee had just surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. The mood across the North was one of jubilation, yet President Lincoln anticipated future battles in Congress over what to do with the defeated Southern states. As a pleasant diversion, he planned an evening at the theater, and kept a tragic date with destiny.

In December 1863 Abraham Lincoln had announced his "10% Plan," embracing his philosophy that the Southern states had never seceded since secession was unconstitutional. Simply stated, the plan mandated than when 10% of the population of a state that had voted in the 1860 election took an oath of allegiance, that state could organize a legitimate government and be readmitted to Congress. Restoration, not reconstruction, was emphasized.

Lincoln's political adversaries, the so-called "Radical" Republicans, maintained that the Southern states had committed "political suicide" and advocated a policy of revenge toward the South once fighting ended. Their view was embodied in the 1864 Wade-Davis Bill, which Lincoln pocket-vetoed, thereby drawing a clear political battle line.

On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln took a break from the political jousting. He and Mrs. Lincoln attended the 1,000th presentation of the comedy Our American Cousin. Around 10:00 p.m., John Wilkes Booth slipped into the presidential box and changed the course of history. His bullet entered behind the president's left ear and lodged behind his right eye. The wound was mortal. Shortly after 7:22 a.m., April 15, the Preserver of the Union was no more.

Although most Southerners did not realize it, they had just lost their greatest ally for a forgiving peace. Rumors abounded that Booth had been sent by the confederate government. The cry for vengeance was immediate. Although the rumor could not be verified, it was just the item for the "Radical" Republicans to wield in their own interest.

Andrew Johnson, a native Southerner who had been loyal to the Union, became the 17th President. His moderate views on reconstruction meant a short honeymoon with Congress, and his efforts were vilified so greatly that he became the first and only president to be impeached. On March 2, 1867, the "Radical" Republicans reigned supreme with the passage of the First Reconstruction Act, dividing all the former Confederate states except Tennessee into five military districts. Many Southern leaders lashed out at this reduction of their states to "colonial" status. Caught in the middle were millions of white farmers and emancipated blacks.

The War Between the States entered a second phase - one played out by vindictive politicians on both sides. They widely sowed the seeds of bitterness that continue to reinforce the old adage that though the War is over, the wounds still bleed.

(From The Picture-Takers) "The camera is the eye of history."-Mathew B. Brady

Photography was only 22 years old when Mathew Brady secured a pass from President Lincoln to cover the Civil War. Seeking to capture the struggle through this new medium, he took his large, bulky camera and portable darkroom to First Manassas in July 1861 and by war's end had produced more than 3,500 pictures of battlefields and soldiers engaged in the day-to-day routine of camp life.

Born in Warren County, New York, Brady spent his early years experimenting with the new art form and went on to open a portrait gallery in New York City, where he attracted most of the well-known people of his day (including Abraham Lincoln, who said of the photographer, "Brady and the Cooper Institute made me President of the United States"). When the war broke out, he hired a group of talented assistants and began to accompany Union armies in order to record every possible moment of victory and defeat.

Two cameras were used: one, a large single-plate camera equipped to handle an 8-by-10-inch negative; the other, a stereo camera that produced a double image on a smaller glass plate. The lenses of these cameras were far too slow to capture any movement at all. Both used the wet-plate process, which was tedious and required delicate timing. Brady's vision was so impaired that most of the "plates" bearing the famous inscription "Photograph by Brady" were actually taken by assistants like Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan under Brady's supervision. Eventually, Gardner and O'Sullivan would start their own photographic ventures.

Although photographers followed the armies to make personal "likenesses," Union officials began to realize the military potential of photography. Photographers were hired to copy maps and to take pictures of terrain and enemy installations. Soldiers were quick to spot photographers because of their ponderous and curious-looking portable darkrooms, dubbed "what-is-it" wagons.

Brady encountered great difficulty and personal risk in documenting the war. The federal government had warned him at the outset that it would bear none of his costs, and by 1865 his entire fortune of $100,000 was exhausted. Now the war-weary government showed little interest in his work. Finally, after an impassioned plea by future president James A. Garfield, the government bought a portion of his photographs for $27,840. Garfield had estimated their worth at $150,000.

Today, Mathew Brady's herculean effort is appreciated for its volume and stark realism. His haunting images serve as the pictoral basis for any visual history of the Civil War, and to them we owe our comprehension of-indeed, our compassion for-all those who were swept up in America's defining hour.

Excerpted from Fandex Family Field Guides: Civil War. Copyright (c) 1998 by Workman Publishing. Reprinted by permission by Workman Publishing.

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