Curiosities of the Civil War: Strange Stories, Infamous Characters and Bizarre Events [NOOK Book]


Civil War buffs, be warned: Webb Garrison’s Curiosities of the Civil War may catch you off guard.

Packed with obscurities and bizarre anecdotes, it spills over with specifics you’ve likely never heard. Debated, reenacted, and analyzed, the Civil War has been the subject of countless books, films, and scholarly research—many of them quite repetitious. This nuanced perspective on the war provides a glimpse ...

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Curiosities of the Civil War: Strange Stories, Infamous Characters and Bizarre Events

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Civil War buffs, be warned: Webb Garrison’s Curiosities of the Civil War may catch you off guard.

Packed with obscurities and bizarre anecdotes, it spills over with specifics you’ve likely never heard. Debated, reenacted, and analyzed, the Civil War has been the subject of countless books, films, and scholarly research—many of them quite repetitious. This nuanced perspective on the war provides a glimpse beyond the bloody battles, casualties, and political conflict. You'll discover:

  • The first sitting president to be exposed to enemy fire
  • What badgers, pigeons, and bear cubs had in common during the war
  • Which of Stonewall Jackson’s limbs received its own proper burial
  • The turtle-shaped ship designed to douse its opponents with boiling water
  • Which Confederate general was responsible for introducing camels to the Southwest

This cache of peculiar characters and stories will deepen your understanding of the war and the people who engaged in it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595553607
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 513,586
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Webb Garrison, formerly associate dean of Emory University and president of McKendree College,wrote more than 55 books, including Civil War Curiosities and Civil War Triviaand Fact Book. Before his deathin 2000, Garrison lived in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Every Aspect of the War Produced Its Own Crop of Curiosities....................vii
Part One: Memorable Players In The Nation' S Greatest Drama....................1
1. Lincoln and Davis Started Out Less Than One Hundred Miles Apart....................3
2. Famous—Or Soon to Be....................12
3. Never Say Die....................24
Part Two: Supporting Members Of The Cast....................35
4. Many Wives Did More Than Knit Socks....................37
5. Clergymen "Fought Like Hell"....................48
6. The Role of Hostages in the Struggle for Supremacy....................59
7. Horses Kept the War Alive....................71
8. Civil War Critters....................86
Part Three: No Two Military Events Were Identical....................99
9. In the Heat of Battle....................101
10. Black Soldiers Fell Short of Equality....................110
11. Sights and Sounds of Combat....................123
12. "The War Is to Be Illuminated by Burning Cities and Villages"....................135
13. Outmoded Weapons Made "Sitting Ducks" of Many Users....................145
14. Strange New Weapons....................156
15. Officers Were of Many Varieties, But Only One Color....................169
16. Ships, Seas, and Rivers....................182
17. "Rally Round the Flag, Boys!"....................194
18. Analysis, Prediction, and Wishful Thinking....................207
19. Providence, Fate, or Chance?....................218
20. Time Doesn't Always Fly....................225
21. Of Life and Death....................233
Part Four: Eye Of The Beholder....................241
22. No One Called Lincoln Handsome....................243
23. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous....................253
24. War Makers as Appraised by Their Contemporaries....................264
Part Five: Beyond The Headlines....................277
25. Atrocity, War Fever, or Journalistic Hype?....................279
26. "Silent Battles" Defy Explanation....................287
27. Abolition of Slavery Not the Union Goal in 1861....................293
Part Six: The Unusual and Bizarre....................301
28. Banishment and Deportation....................303
29. Self-Inflicted Casualties....................313
30. Accidentally On Purpose....................328
31. Things That Couldn't Be Counted....................337
Part Seven: Things Change....................347
32. Down the Ringing Grooves of Change....................349
33. The Names Were Changed....................358
34. Their Mothers Wouldn't Have Known Them....................372
35. Naval Chaos....................387
Part Eight: Notorious and Nonesuch....................399
36. First Times....................401
37. Claims to Fame....................415
38. Distinctively Obscure....................421
39. One of a Kind....................436
Part Nine: The Money Trail....................449
40. Big Tickets to Small Change....................451
41. Payday Some Day....................471
42. For the Right Price....................487
43. Ransoms, Rewards, and Prizes....................499
44. The Golden Touch....................516
Selected Bibliography....................529
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First Chapter

Curiosities of the Civil War

Strange Stories, Infamous Characters, and Bizarre Events
By Webb Garrison

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Webb Garrison
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-359-1

Chapter One

Lincoln and Davis Started Out Less Than One Hundred Miles Apart

Abraham Lincoln liked to ask exceptionally tall men to stand with him, back to back, in order to compare measurements. He was rarely topped, because wearing a very tall silk hat, he measured almost seven feet from head to toe.

Headed for a visit with Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, Lincoln stopped at Aquia Creek, Virginia, to review troops. Almost as soon as he entered the encampment, the Federal commander in chief spotted a lanky member of the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Regiment. Gesturing, the president let Mahlon Shaaber know that he wanted a word with him. "Turn around, young fellow," he is alleged to have said, "and put your back against mine while I take off my hat." As soon as their heads touched, Lincoln knew he had met a man considerably taller than he.

Carefully measured, the seventeen-year-old from Pennsylvania proved to top the six-foot, four-inch president by two and one-half inches. Together, the two men, who towered above most of those who surrounded them, gleefully measured others who considered themselves exceptionally tall. They found Brig. Robert A. Cameron to be six feet, one inch in height. To lincoln's suprise, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin, who was present for the review, topped Cameron by a full inch.

As a memento, Lincoln jotted down a memorandum listing the names and heights of "six-footers" on hand for the spur-of-the-moment ceremony that Shaaber never forgot.

* * *

As president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis frequently had occasion to sign orders that meant certain death for numerous soldiers. Yet intimates described the former U.S. secretary of war as being "exceptionally tenderhearted." Once when Davis was lying on a sick bed, a member of the family started reading to his son, Willie. Unable to endure the horror of the centuries-old story, Davis demanded that the reading of "Babes in the Woods" come to a halt.

* * *

Elida Rumsey, considered too old to serve as a nurse in the hospitals of Washington, became the talk of the capital because of her skill and patience in singing to the sick and wounded. When she accepted John Fowle's proposal, the upcoming wedding of a couple past the usual age of marriage was widely discussed.

Learning of the impending plans, Abraham Lincoln declared that no ordinary ceremony was good enough for Elida. Upon the initiative of the president, the wartime ceremony was held on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1863—before a joint session of Congress.

* * *

A furious fight among Democrats split the party three ways in 1860. Seasoned observers commented in advance of the Republican National Convention in Chicago that any man who won the nomination was sure to go to the White House.

Lincoln, who was not present at the convention, was the surprise victor over "Mr. Republican," William H. Seward of New York. On the heels of Lincoln's nomination, adviser's urged him to make no speeches and give no interviews. "Don't budge from Springfield," they insisted.

The President-elect followed this recommendation so faithfully that he did not meet Hannibal Hamlin until after the veteran congressional leader from Maine had been elected to serve as his vice-president.

* * *

Jefferson Davis, prominent among Democrats expected to have a chance at nomination for the presidency in 1860, had some staunch admirers in the North. One of them was Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts, destined soon to receive from Lincoln the first commission as a major general of volunteer troops entering Federal service.

Senator Davis, who placed a high value on the support of Butler, was not disappointed in him. During fifty-seven ballots, the man from Massachusetts voted in favor of pitting Davis against any presidential candidate that Republicans might choose.

* * *

Franklin D. Roosevelt is widely remembered for trying to enlarge, or "pack" the U.S. Supreme Court with justices considered likely to espouse his causes. Far less familiar to the general public is the fact that Roosevelt was not the first to attempt this strategy.

During months in which it seemed that Union military force might not be enough "to quell the rebellion," Washington was agog with talk about legal tests of matters in which Lincoln was deeply involved. Settlement of "prize cases" concerning the disposition of captured ships taken by Federal vessels was a central issue of the period.

Attorneys for owners of the ships Amy Warwick, Brilliante, Crenshaw, and Hiawatha were expected to argue that the president had pronounced a blockade without authority, because war had not been declared. Had this reasoning prevailed, the legality of the conflict itself would have been at issue.

Scheduled to be heard in March 1862, the case was deferred until Lincoln's close friend, David Davis, and two others recently named to the high court by him could take part in deliberations. Seizing an opportunity from the delay, Lincoln broke precedent by nominating and securing the confirmation of a tenth member of the judicial body.

Stephen J. Field, formerly chief justice of the California Supreme Court, had to cross the continent in order to assume his new position. He failed to reach Washington in time to participate in the debate about the prize cases, however. To the surprise of no one who remembered that four justices already on the bench had been chosen by the man from Illinois, the legality of the war he launched was confirmed by a vote of five to four. Seated after that decision was reached, Field "packed the court" as its tenth member.

* * *

On one of his numerous trips to visit military commanders and troops in the field, Lincoln told intimates that it might be expedient to go part of the way aboard the USS Malvern. In March 1865, it became certain that the warship would have the honor of conveying the commander in chief. Hence the chief carpenter of the vessel hastily put men to work to lengthen a bunk for the man who was more than a foot taller than most seamen of the day.

* * *

Seizure of Confederate passengers on the British mail packet Trent by the commander of the USS San Jacinto on November 8, 1861, was by far the most explosive international event of the war. England immediately announced plans to send a contingent of troops to Canada, and rumblings from the island kingdom sounded like threats of war against the United States.

During this dire emergency, Lincoln prepared his first annual message to Congress. James M. Mason and John Slidell, the Confederate commissioners to Britain who were taken from the Trent, were already occupying an improvised cell in Boston's Fort Warren. Dated December 3, 1861, the formal report of the president to lawmakers runs to at least seventeen printed pages in most editions of his works. Strangely, the lengthy document includes not a single word about the Trent affair, which was then the talk of Washington, London, and Europe.

* * *

West Point graduate Jefferson Davis, though enamored with a daughter of his commander, Col. Zachary Taylor, was not regarded as a suitable mate for Sarah. Ignoring potential consequences of the colonel's wrath, the couple eloped and Davis soon resigned his commission in order to become a Mississippi planter. To his lasting sorrow, his bride survived only three months after the wedding.

A dozen years later he met youthful Varina Howell and married her within a year. On their honeymoon, the future Confederate president took Varina for a solemn visit to Sarah's grave.

* * *

U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis was open minded concerning changes in the military establishment. His decision to lengthen the term of study at West Point from four years to five years was soon canceled. Yet two of his innovations were remembered long after he left the service of the United States.

Two years after having joined the cabinet of President Franklin Pierce, he brought camels to the Southwest. Animals accustomed to desert life, he said, were likely to expand the usefulness of military units whose members were accustomed to riding horses. Shortly afterward, he introduced to the U.S. Army the newfangled rifle, which he considered superior to the time-honored musket.

Camels remained in action a few years, but were not replaced when they died. Rifles, still not in wide use at the time the Civil War broke out, eventually made muskets obsolete and contributed significantly to the defeat of Confederate forces.

* * *

The first battle of Bull Run clearly demonstrated that 75,000 ninety-day volunteers could not put down what Lincoln insisted on calling an "insurrection." Hence when Congress assembled for a special July 1861 session, the president asked Congress for 400,000 troops and $400 million.

Lawmakers enthusiastically voted to make $500 million available and James S. Gibbons published a song with a promise: "We Are Coming, Father Abraham, Four Hundred Thousand Strong." Issued in about twenty different versions, the patriotic melody sold two million copies. Yet fewer than 100,000 men who heard its stirring words volunteered to serve in U.S. military forces. Union ranks were largely filled with men who joined up for the sake of a bounty and with substitutes whose services had been purchased by draftees.

* * *

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1847, Jefferson Davis soon learned that his West Point education placed him in a minority. When he took his seat among the nation's senior lawmakers, he found that ten percent of his colleagues were graduates of a single institution: tiny Transylvania College in Lexington Kentucky.

* * *

Established during the Civil War as a reward for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield exhibited by noncommissioned officers and privates, the Congressional Medal of Honor soon became one of the nation's most coveted military awards. About one thousand medals were conferred during the war years, with many of them going to men who carried flags under fire or who captured Confederate flags.

Upon the death of Lincoln, War Department officials departed from tradition and awarded a few medals for service that could have been performed by civilians. These went, not to men who displayed gallantry under fire, but to first sergeants who escorted the body of the assassinated president to Springfield, Illinois.

* * *

Jefferson Davis never forgot that at the Democratic National Convention of 1860 at Charleston, perhaps his most devoted follower was Benjamin F. Butler. But late in 1862, the Confederate president found himself facing a dilemma. For months, Butler's name had been anathema in Richmond because of his unconventional and sometimes outrageous actions as military commander of occupied New Orleans.

Reports of financial misdeeds forced Lincoln to remove Butler from command at about the same time new stories of atrocities committed by him reached Confederates. Davis reacted by branding his one-time devotee a felon and an outlaw, not subject to the laws of civilized nations in the event of capture.

* * *

Positive proof is lacking, but many documents suggest that the strangest action taken by President Jefferson Davis came late in 1864. With the downfall of the Confederacy now seen nearly everywhere as inevitable, Davis sent Duncan Kenner to England and France on a special mission.

Much evidence indicates that Kenner was authorized to promise that slavery would be abolished in the Confederacy in exchange for diplomatic recognition by the two most powerful nations on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. If such an overture were actually made, it came too late; Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his men were about to crush the Army of Northern Virginia.

* * *

Within weeks of taking the oath of office as president of the United States, Lincoln received a gesture of courtesy from abroad. Having taken the helm of the world's largest and most powerful democracy, wrote Gaetano Belluri, it was only fitting that Lincoln be made an honorary citizen of San Marino, the world's smallest democracy.

* * *

Having gone aboard the tugboat Lioness for a short voyage of inspection in May 1862, Lincoln became the first sitting president to be exposed to enemy fire. "Having appeared out of nowhere," a party of cavalrymen in gray began firing at persons on the tugboat, in addition to members of a landing party that preceded it.

Lt. Frederick A. Rowe of the Ninety-ninth New York Regiment observed the entire incident and was surprised to see that Lincoln appeared to be unconcerned about his personal danger. Because men of Rowe's command insistently urged the president to seek a sheltered spot, he reluctantly "stepped behind the wheel-house while bullets whizzed across the deck" of the unarmed Federal vessel.

* * *

With Richmond located only about one hundred miles from Washington, presidents Lincoln and Davis spent the war years approximately as far from one another as during their earliest years in Kentucky.

Commissioned to paint an official presidential portrait, artist John Robertson made a nuisance of himself in the White House of the Confederacy. His portrait of Jefferson Davis, completed and hung in 1863 evoked a few bursts of ardent praise along with many highly critical evaluations. Most who labeled the work of art as inferior in quality did so "because it makes our President look too much like Lincoln."

* * *

Two civilians who had many other things in common shared with one another a refusal to yield to handicaps that would have put many men on the shelf.

Jefferson Davis lost the sight of one eye during the Mexican War and was subject to neuralgia so severe that during bouts of it he was all but blind. His agonizing stomach pains suggest that he had peptic ulcers. As though these handicaps were not enough, during severe attacks of head-splitting pain he sometimes was unable to use his right arm.

* * *

Some present-day medical specialists who have studied his photographs believe that Abraham Lincoln was a victim of Marfan syndrome. This hereditary condition leads to elongation of bones and abnormalities of the eyes and the cardiovascular system.

Moods brought on by Marfan syndrome would account for an otherwise puzzling incident. Departing from Springfield at age fifty-two, Lincoln told his fellow townspeople that he had grown old among them.

Everyone who knew the wartime president was aware that he was subject to severe mood swings, with periods of depression that lasted for two or three days. As if this mental-emotional handicap were not enough, as a boy he had received a kick from a mule that caused him to remain unconscious for many hours. Comments preserved by persons who observed him closely suggest that he suffered from petit mal, a type of epilepsy, as a result of this boyhood injury.

Chapter Two

Famous—Or Soon to Be

Kentucky-born Christopher Carson, better known as Kit, won early fame in the West. As guide to John Charles Frémont's expedition of 1842, 1843, and 1845, he made his name a household word.

Had he wanted a brigadiership, it would have almost certainly been Kit's for the asking. Instead of seeking command, at age fifty-two he became lieutenant colonel of the First New Mexico Cavalry. Carson led eight companies in the February 21, 1862, battle of Valverde, where his leadership was so significant that he reluctantly accepted a brevet, or honorary promotion, as a reward.

* * *

Frank Leslie, who was born in England in 1821, came to the United States at age twenty-seven. After working for Gleason's Pictorial and Illustrated News, in 1854 he launched Frank Leslie's Ladies Gazette of Paris, London, and New York Fashions. One year later he began putting out his own illustrated weekly newspaper, only moderately successful at first. But circulation increased dramatically when it began giving the North a battle-by-battle view of the Civil War.


Excerpted from Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison Copyright © 2011 by Webb Garrison. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Recommend especially for War Buffs

    Okay, so Curiosities of the Civil War is definitely a cool-beans book for the Civil War buff in your life. I am NOT a Civil War buff... and I still found it interesting. The stories about Abe Lincoln's impromptu "how tall are you" competitions and the numerous stories of women who secretly participated in the war grabbed my attention the most. I don't know if I would have picked it up had I not been reviewing it for Book Sneeze (see disclosure below), but I am glad I did!

    The book is full of short snippets and longer summaries of interesting and somewhat strange war stories. I was afraid it was going to be a long diatribe written from one side of the war or another. However, this didn't seem to be written with any agenda OTHER than to share the stories that have otherwise fallen through the cracks of history.

    Garrison has changed my attitude toward investigating this era of history. His style of writing easily kept my attention. Even though a few of the stories weren't as much of a "curiosity" as I'd hoped, I can definitely see this as a great resource. I recommend this to anyone and everyone looking for a deeper look into this very important part of US history.

    (Per the law, I have to inform the general public that I received this for free as part of the Book Sneeze review program.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    A pretty good book

    Curiosities of the Civil War By: Webb Garrison
    Summary: This book discribes many civil war facts. But not just any facts strange bizzare and unheard of things that you never would have even guessed, kind of facts. Instead of taking another look at the standard civil war battle grounds, documents, and artifacts this book takes a look into the nooks and crannys of queer and unusual things that seem realistic and out of this world at the same time.
    Reaction: This book is great for even the seasoned history buff. There are a lot of things that one could learn about famous charecters from that time period. I suggest reading this book in segments. I read it a little bit at a time. Like a couple short storys every day. It keeps things interesting without overwhelming you by the sheer size of this book. After all it is a slightly lenghthy 560 pages. This book was strange and facinating I myself not being a big historian still found time to enjoy it. Once again, I not being a huge history buff myself, probably did not enjoy this book as much as another might, especialy if they love history. The print in this book was remarkably small making it slightly difficult to read, I did still appreciate Curiosities of the Cival War. Thank you!!

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Information Book

    Curiosities of the Civil War by Webb Garrison has a ton of information about you guess it the Civil War. It has been is the 150th years since the civil war and this is an outstanding read to get to know the most significant event that has defined and shaped this nation.

    This book is divided into 9 different sections. This gives you the latitude to read the book in any order you want. My favorite sections were the "The Unusual and Bizarre" and "Notorious and Nonesuch".

    This book will take you awhile to read but that is not bad. With all the information and wide range of topics this will truly enlighten you on the civil war.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:


    Normally I review children's books on my website, but this one I have to make an exception for. It is a wonderful book that really captures the mood of one of our countries defining moments.

    Most history books define the North as the good guys and the South as the bad, but, as this book shows, it was a lot more complex than that. There were good men on both sides as well as bad, and sometimes it is the motivations of people that get lost in history. That is what makes this book so strong, it gives you a real perspective as to why Lincoln, Sherman, Forrest, Grant, Lee, Davis, and even some longer forgotten names felt the need to do what they had to do.

    To me, this is real history, not just names and dates. While we are all happy that slavery ended, it is fascinating to find out that there was more to the war than that. Neat heroic moments are captured here, along with "The Money Trail". This is usually the best place to find out what was really going on. I was fascinated that the economic situation that they were going through was so similar to what we are going through today. They had worthless unbacked greenback currency that was destroying their economy as well. Thank God they went back to the gold and silver after the war or this country would never have recovered. It is still possible to do the same today if we can get real heroes back in office.

    Over all, I think this will be a fun read for adults, a real eye opener. And it would make a great home-school history book.

    Reviewed by
    Mick McArt, Author
    Tales of Wordishure

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Not bad, but not great.

    I have always been a fan of interesting war facts. I wouldn't call myself a war enthusiast, but I do find them interesting. That's why I thought that Webb Garrison's Curiosities of the Civil War would be an interesting read. After reading the book, I have decided that I will always have a mixed opinion about it.

    I had assumed, from the title, that this book would have bizarre and interesting facts that would make me say, "Wow!" But that was not the impression I took away from Curiosities of the Civil War. Some of the facts weren't incredible or amazing-they were just bland and somewhat interesting. I assume that a true war buff would find all of these facts and stories interesting. They might recognize names that most normal people like me wouldn't, and be able to identify better with the stories. There was only one section with the truly "bizarre" and "strange" facts I was looking for.

    However, the format of this book is extremely pleasing. It could be a great reference book, because it's so easy to flip to specific section and topic you want. It's simple to glance over a few topics while drinking your coffee and not feel so engrossed that you can't put it down and continue with your daily routine. For some, that is exactly what they want in a book. For others, they may want for a more captivating read, considering the topic.

    All in all, I think the quality of this book truly depends on who is reading it. A fanatic for the stories of wars would find this book incredibly interesting, I believe, and enjoy it immensely. However, a normal, everyday person would probably find this to be a fairly bland read, with names they've never heard of and facts that don't really seem relevant. I, myself, found it to be a mediocre read. It was nothing like what I was expecting considering the title. Not bad, but not good. It was just "okay."

    **DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Okay, first things first. I had no idea about the Civil War before i read this book. From the title I imagined it would be interesting stories about the war. I was correct, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Curiosities of the Civil War. The book is full of human interest stories about the Civil War.

    This books offers a look into the Civil War with unknown facts. As the title details, "Curiosities of the Civil War", is definitely filled with Strange Stories and Bizzarre Events. Not only that, but you will find out about people in history who you may not have known, had anything to do with the Civil War.

    I highly recommend this book to any and all U.S. History Buffs. You will be amazed at what you will learn.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Learn quirky facts and perk your interests with impressing Civil War unheard-ofs, a treat for the mind.

    This book has a wide variety of interesting facts and is not a book one can read in a short time. I found it to be written more like a dictionary even a reference book, where you can go to it again and again when a certain interest arises. A great book for that scholar who loves war history and a great help for history research papers students. Curiosities of the Civil War is an immense read and will keep your interest page after page. I learned many things I did not know from just reading the first couple of chapters. Especially quirky things like how President Lincoln liked to have any man close to his height stand behind him for comparison and the names of his family members. Sometimes the book is easy to digest other times it can turn difficult especially if you are unfamiliar with a particular historic figure. I found this book so intriguing I know I will be returning to read it for years to come. I would totally recommend this book to those who think they know it all when it comes to the Civil War era or the curious who would love to read about those unheard of aspects of the Civil War.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 27, 2011

    Different but every enjoying.

    I got this book and learned something different. I didn't know much about the civil war and now I know things that most people wouldn't know. If you want to know more about the Civil War than the normal stuff you can learn about this is a great book.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Curiosities of the Civil War - What you can only imagine

    As the title details, "Curiosities of the Civil War", is definitely filled with Strange Stories and Bizarre Events. Not only that, but you will find out about people in history who you may not have known, had anything to do with the Civil War. Webb Garrison has taken pain staking steps to research and compile all the little and unknown facts about the Civil War that even the most avid Civil War Buff will find interesting and compelling.

    Here are just a couple of the interesting facts that you will find in this book. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was thoroughly involved with the Civil War, as he survived such battles as Balls Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, before beginning his practice as an attorney. Another person is Louisa May Alcott, author of "Little Women", spent her time tending to the wounded as a nurse. She went about her work without any recognition. And then there were the Camels, which were introduced into the Civil War in the Southwest, by a Confederate General. These facts along with many more can be found on the pages of "Curiosities of the Civil War."

    As a reader you will be caught off guard in many cases by the variety of facts that you may not find anywhere else. This practical book will be a welcome addition to any Civil War Buff's Library. I highly recommend this book to any and all U.S. History Buffs. You will be amazed at what you will learn.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book! Check it out!

    Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was the first sitting president exposed to open fire? Or that John Wilkes Booth often rode his one-eyed steed around town? One can find these facts and MANY more are in this interesting book by Webb Garrison. It is chock full of random facts, from dead-horse barricades to hostage situations.. 526 pages overflowing with interesting info. One of the most interesting things in the book was that some Clergyman were the FIERCEST fighters, and rarely were they shot.

    I LOVED this book. Us homeschooled folk thrive on random facts, so this book was like manna from heaven! I loved the effort Webb took to make sure that EVERY fact was short enough to read aloud to people. This for me is important, because I tend to love reading random facts to my family! "Hey mom, did you know that a lot of the wives of soldiers followed the soldiers around rather then stay at their homes?" and then I read her the article :) I don't think there was anything I disliked about the book, however I was concerned a tad bit about the paper. Actually, I wasn't, but I thought I'd mention it. If you rub the books cover or its pages on the outside of the book {like the border, the place that gives you paper-cuts} it kind of wore off, not tear, but kind of "ruffled" the edges. I thought it looked really rustic-y, and I liked it a lot! Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading random facts, and DEFINITELY if you are a history buff.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Lots of fun, intriguing facts

    Curiosities of the Civil War is full of fun and interesting facts, many of which I had never heard. For instance, in December 1863, a list of all Mississippi River steam boats destroyed since the beginning of the War was published. Nearly 200 vessels were on that list! This book definitely has a place in my permanent library, and I highly recommend gifting this book to other Civil War history buffs. It's a fun read, not full of stuffy writing, and even those who don't really do history, but still enjoy reading military books may enjoy it as well. Please note I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Fantastic Book

    When I first began Curiosities of the Civil War, I was amazed at how such a big book could be filled with just little paragraphs. When I started flipping through the pages, I realized that that each chapter talked about a different subject. Like one chapter talked about how horses affected the war and another chapter talked about how much money both the Union and the Confederacy spent.

    What I didn't know when I got this book, was that this book wasn't just like any other Civil War book, most of the things that are mentioned in this book, you would never find in a history book. Most of the things that I've read, I never even knew that they had happened!

    For my ninth grade history I'm doing an in depth study of the Civil War, so I've had to read several Civil War encyclopedias. Even though I was quite bored with them, I can't really remember any details in those books that are in Curiosities of the Civil War. Unlike the encyclopedias, I actually enjoyed this book. I was amazed at how many cool details there were! There was one thing in the book that really stood out to me; it was about how when the war broke out the northern factories stopped giving the south shoes as well as other supplies. I learned that the South had the plantations and the North had the factories, so they both depended on each other. Most all of the factories stopped shipping regular supplies to the South when the war began, so there was many a Confederate soldier that went without shoes in the middle of the war.

    This book, I think, can really give someone the chance to find out what really happened in the Civil War. Not just how it began and all of the stuff that they might have learned in school, but to really see the war in a whole new perspective. This book talks about so many people that the history books forgot about, people that played such important roles in the Civil War.

    Thank you so much!

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    {Curiosities of the Civil War} - what I thought

    Curiosities of the Civil War
    Strange Stories, Infamous Characters and Bizarre Events
    By Webb Garrison

    What I thought:

    An excellent "coffee table" type book. Well organized and chuck full of fascinating facts. (After all, did you know that Gen. Lee had a hen follow him around for weeks, sleeping under his bed and laying him an egg every morning?)

    Unlike the other books which I have read on the subject of the war between the states, which focus on major battles, political facts, and well known figures, this one focuses mainly on everyday lives of the everyday people, as well as a few lesser known stories and fact about the better know things.

    Some of the facts within came as no surprise, and others I had heard from other sources before, but many others were quite unexpected, and they were also intriguing to learn about.

    I also appreciated the large variety of facts. From animals to money, and from bizarre clothing to firsthand descriptions of Lincoln & others, this book was not at all monotonous.

    The only thing that I was really disappointed in at all was the fact that I wished there were pictures in the book -I had sort of expected them, but even that was not really a turnoff to me.

    My rating - 7 out of 10 stars

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    Great Book

    I am a big history buff and I love to read anything do with US history. I have read a lot about wars and I really like to read up on WWII. But I have never really read or studied much about the Civil War. It is amazing to me that I have stood in the Charleston Harbor in South Carolina look out at Fort Sumter and I never really studied the Civil War.
    I loved this new book by Webb Garrison titled Curiosities of the Civil War. It is full of interesting facts about the war ones that I never heard of before and I sure ones that you would not study in school. It is a good read because you can flip through it and pick up reading right there or you can just read cover to cover. However you like to read it I am sure you will love it and find it just as interesting as I did.
    This has been on of my Top 5 books by Thomas Nelson and I thank them for my free book of this book.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Curiosities of the Civil War

    What a fantastic book for anyone who is looking to find out little known facts of the civil war. I am a history buff, and while some of the things I read in this book I actually knew about, there was far more that I had never heard of. The great thing about this book is the ability to be able to pick it up and flip to a page and read something random and then put it down. This book is broken down into nine sections and has a total of 44 chapters that are filled with little known historical facts. The book is wrapped up with a conclusion at the end. I think this book would be perfect for anyone looking to learn more than just the obvious facts about the civil war. Whether your a history buff or just like to read interesting tidbits of information about the Civil War then I recommend you read this book. I was provided a copy of this book from Thomas Neslon in exchange for an honest review

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    Great Book of Tidbits

    I received a copy of CURIOSITIES OF THE CIVIL WAR: STRANGE STORIES, INFAMOLUS CHARACTERS, AND BIZARRE EVENTS by Webb Garrison from Thomas Nelson. The book has been reprinted as a combination of two Webb Garrison texts, CIVIL WAR CURIOSITIES and MORE CIVIL WAR CURIOSITIES, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. I was sad to read on the back flap of the book that Webb Garrison passed away in 2000.

    The book does include strange stories - such as what medical ailments inflicted whom; infamous characters - women joining their husbands on the battlefield; bizarre events - discovering secret messages. I enjoyed reading through the facts. I am the type of person who sprouts random tidbits at odd moments, so this is great fuel. My mom also looked at the book. Her opinion varied. She thought the tidbits were ridiculous and random. I am definitely going to keep this book in case I need to do research. I will also keep it on my coffee table for guests to browse. Each little tidbit is only one page to half a page in length, so it makes for a quick, intellectual read. The book is also broken into parts, in case you want to read for a longer amount of time, but still want a designated stopping point.

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Interesting Read

    I really enjoy History, and for that reason, I was excited to read Curiosities of the Civil War; Strange Stories, Infamous Characters, and Bizarre Events by Webb Garrison. The book tells of different events that happened during the Civil War and unknown stories about some of the most famous people of the time.

    Although this is not a book you can read straight is more of a "coffee table" book.I really enjoyed it. The book was broken down into sections detailing Memorable Players in the Nations' Greatest Drama, Supporting Members of the Cast, No Two Military Events were Identiacal, Eye of the Beholder, The Unusual and Bizarre, Things Change, Notorious and Nonesuch, and The Money Trail.

    My favorite Chapter within the book told about the acts women during the time of the Civil War and was entitled Many Wives Did More Than Knit Socks. I liked learning of the bravery of the women during this time, as they were even found following their husbands into battle and crossing enemy lines when they were unable to determine the fate of their husbands after battle.

    Overall, as a fan of historical events, I really enjoyed this book. The facts were a nice length, as they did not take chapters to read about just one individual, rather each chapter contained numerous examples of facts that were unknown to me before reading this book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2011

    Curiosities of the Civil War

    Hey, guys! Got another new book from Book Sneeze, and I tell you what, I'm really excited about this one! Before we get started, though, let me just tell you guys that, due to some long, legal law thing, I don't have to give the books that I receive a positive review. So, anyway, let me tell you about this book. It's called "Curiosities of the Civil War" by Webb Garrison. Both my dad and I are big history buffs. I enjoy the more cultural side of things, while he enjoys the battles and generals and all the "manly" stuff?. When I saw this book, I admit that I got it more for my dad than anyone else. I'm glad that I got it, though- I learned a few things about the Civil War that I didn't know, which is always a fun thing for me. I was honestly kind of worried that it would be one of those "conspiracy theory" books, and a few parts were kinda sketchy, but it was a really cool book all together. Besides, now that I have this book, I won't have to worry about my dad's birthday present?! Anyway, I hope that you all have a good week! Bye!:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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