Maryland Voices of the Civil War

Overview

The most contentious event in our nation’s history, the Civil War deeply divided families, friends, and communities. Both sides fought to define the conflict on their own terms—Lincoln and his supporters struggled to preserve the Union and end slavery, while the Confederacy waged a battle for the primacy of local liberty or "states' rights." But the war had its own peculiar effects on the four border slave states that remained loyal to the Union. Internal disputes and shifting allegiances injected uncertainty, ...

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Overview

The most contentious event in our nation’s history, the Civil War deeply divided families, friends, and communities. Both sides fought to define the conflict on their own terms—Lincoln and his supporters struggled to preserve the Union and end slavery, while the Confederacy waged a battle for the primacy of local liberty or "states' rights." But the war had its own peculiar effects on the four border slave states that remained loyal to the Union. Internal disputes and shifting allegiances injected uncertainty, apprehension, and violence into the everyday lives of their citizens.

No state better exemplified the vital role of a border state than Maryland—where the passage of time has not dampened debates over issues such as the alleged right of secession and executive power versus civil liberties in wartime. In Maryland Voices of the Civil War, Charles W. Mitchell draws upon hundreds of letters, diaries, and period newspapers—many previously unpublished—to portray the passions of a wide variety of people—merchants, slaves, soldiers, politicians, freedmen, women, clergy, slave owners, civic leaders, and children—caught in the emotional vise of war. Mitchell tells the compelling story of how Maryland African Americans escaped from slavery and fought for the Union and their freedom alongside white soldiers and he reinforces the provocative notion that Maryland’s Southern sympathies—while genuine—never seriously threatened to bring about a Confederate Maryland.

Maryland Voices of the Civil War illuminates the human complexities of the Civil War era and the political realignment that enabled Marylanders to abolish slavery in their state before the end of the war.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
During the War Between the States, four slave states remained officially loyal to the Union. Not surprisingly, these states found themselves in several senses on the firing line of this four-year struggle. Regimental units from Maryland fought on both sides of the conflict. Charles Mitchell's anthology draws upon hundreds of primary sources to render this tumultuous period in the history of the Old Line State. The letters, diaries, and period newspaper accounts present the Civil War as Marylanders of every description experienced it. Maryland Voices of the Civil War doesn't muffle the strong pro-Confederate sentiments of southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, but Mitchell utilizes his sources to make a convincing case that secession was never a serious possibility for the state.
Maryland Historical Magazine
Both fascinating and illuminating... Maryland Voices of the Civil War belongs not only in libraries and schools, but also on the bookshelves of everyone interested in this state or that era.

— William Evitts

Choice

The voices of Maryland flow freely off the pages of this work... This is not just a book for Maryland. It is a work that belongs in all academic institutions' Civil War collections. Highly recommended.

City Paper
Unlike other Civil War books, Voices focuses on the civilians that left behind written documentation about their experiences.

— Anny Hoge

Baltimore Examiner
Mitchell's remarkable new book lets us listen and understand how the great war was fought to save the union, this state and our national soul.

— Michael Olesker

Urbanite
A generously illustrated history of Maryland during the Civil War using documents from the time... Mitchell records gore for purpose and with meaning.
Baltimore Magazine
Using excerpts from personal correspondence, journals, and newspapers from that period, Mitchell frames the issues (states' rights, slavery, secession) and the state's role in the conflict in both political and personal terms. There's plenty of bravado from the warriors, but Mitchell also does an excellent job including the voices of people who are simply snagged by the war... giving it more diversity and range.

— John Lewis

Civil War News
A model of this genre... highly recommended for its masterful presentation of primary sources... Maryland Voices of the Civil War deserves to be in the library of anyone interested in mid-19th century American history.

— Michael Russert

Historian
A handsomely designed book, the author tells the story of the divisions that kept Marylanders in contention with one another during the Civil War.

— Glenn W. LaFantasie

Federation of Genealogical Societies
This book would be of special interest to those interested in African American history or genealogy; anyone seeking data on those border states which were so deeply conflicted by the war; and those whose forebears were resident in Maryland in the years immediately preceding, during and after the Civil War. It is well-written, and would add detail to any research conducted on the period.

— Rev. Dr. David McDonald

Baltimore Examiner - Michael Olesker
Mitchell's remarkable new book lets us listen and understand how the great war was fought to save the union, this state and our national soul.
Baltimore Magazine - John Lewis
Using excerpts from personal correspondence, journals, and newspapers from that period, Mitchell frames the issues (states' rights, slavery, secession) and the state's role in the conflict in both political and personal terms. There's plenty of bravado from the warriors, but Mitchell also does an excellent job including the voices of people who are simply snagged by the war... giving it more diversity and range.
Maryland Historical Magazine - William Evitts
Both fascinating and illuminating... Maryland Voices of the Civil War belongs not only in libraries and schools, but also on the bookshelves of everyone interested in this state or that era.
City Paper - Anny Hoge
Unlike other Civil War books, Voices focuses on the civilians that left behind written documentation about their experiences.
Civil War News - Michael Russert
A model of this genre... highly recommended for its masterful presentation of primary sources... Maryland Voices of the Civil War deserves to be in the library of anyone interested in mid-19th century American history.
Historian - Glenn W. LaFantasie
A handsomely designed book, the author tells the story of the divisions that kept Marylanders in contention with one another during the Civil War.
Federation of Genealogical Societies - Rev. Dr. David McDonald
This book would be of special interest to those interested in African American history or genealogy; anyone seeking data on those border states which were so deeply conflicted by the war; and those whose forebears were resident in Maryland in the years immediately preceding, during and after the Civil War. It is well-written, and would add detail to any research conducted on the period.
Choice
The voices of Maryland flow freely off the pages of this work... This is not just a book for Maryland. It is a work that belongs in all academic institutions' Civil War collections. Highly recommended.
Baltimore Examiner
Mitchell's remarkable new book lets us listen and understand how the great war was fought to save the union, this state and our national soul.
—Michael Olesker
Baltimore Magazine
Using excerpts from personal correspondence, journals, and newspapers from that period, Mitchell frames the issues (states' rights, slavery, secession) and the state's role in the conflict in both political and personal terms. There's plenty of bravado from the warriors, but Mitchell also does an excellent job including the voices of people who are simply snagged by the war . . . giving it more diversity and range.
—John Lewis
Urbanite
A generously illustrated history of Maryland during the Civil War using documents from the time. . . Mitchell records gore for purpose and with meaning.
Maryland Historical Magazine
Both fascinating and illuminating . . . Maryland Voices of the Civil War belongs not only in libraries and schools, but also on the bookshelves of everyone interested in this state or that era.
—William Evitts
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801886218
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/25/2007
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 568
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles W. Mitchell, a Marylander by birth and by choice, is a writer descended from a congressman, a pirate, and two Confederate officers who appear in the pages of this book. The ancestors of his wife, Betsy, include eleven Union soldiers, Pennsylvanians all. Charley and Betsy, and their two children, Abbie and Alec, live in Lutherville, Maryland.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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