People at War: Civilians and Soldiers in America's Civil War, 1854-1877

Overview

Claiming more than 600,000 lives, the American Civil War had a devastating impact on countless numbers of common soldiers and civilians, even as it brought freedom to millions. This book shows how average Americans coped with despair as well as hope during this vast upheaval.
A People at War brings to life the full humanity of the war's participants, from women behind their plows to their husbands in army camps; from refugees from slavery to their former masters; from Mayflower ...

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A People at War: Civilians and Soldiers in America's Civil War

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Overview

Claiming more than 600,000 lives, the American Civil War had a devastating impact on countless numbers of common soldiers and civilians, even as it brought freedom to millions. This book shows how average Americans coped with despair as well as hope during this vast upheaval.
A People at War brings to life the full humanity of the war's participants, from women behind their plows to their husbands in army camps; from refugees from slavery to their former masters; from Mayflower descendants to freshly recruited Irish sailors. We discover how people confronted their own feelings about the war itself, and how they coped with emotional challenges (uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, guilt, betrayal, grief) as well as physical ones (displacement, poverty, illness, disfigurement). The book explores the violence beyond the battlefield, illuminating the sharp-edged conflicts of neighbor against neighbor, whether in guerilla warfare or urban riots. The authors travel as far west as China and as far east as Europe, taking us inside soldiers' tents, prisoner-of-war camps, plantations, tenements, churches, Indian reservations, and even the cargo holds of ships. They stress the war years, but also cast an eye at the tumultuous decades that preceded and followed the battlefield confrontations.
An engrossing account of ordinary people caught up in life-shattering circumstances, A People at War captures how the Civil War rocked the lives of rich and poor, black and white, parents and children—and how all these Americans pushed generals and presidents to make the conflict a people's war.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615573448
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/16/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Nelson is Associate Professor of History at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of Iron Confederacies: Southern Railways, Klan Violence, and Reconstruction and Steel Drivin' Man: The Untold Story of John Henry and the Birth of an American Legend. Carol Sheriff is Associate Professor of History at the College of William and Mary. She is the author of The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: A People at War     VIII
From Compromise to Chaos: 1854-1861
The Road to Bleeding Kansas     3
From Wigwam to War     38
The Changing Faces of War: 1861-1863
Friends and Foes: Early Recruits and Freedom's Cause, 1861-1862     61
Union Occupation and Guerrilla Warfare     85
Facing Death     105
Political, Military, and Diplomatic Remedies: 1862-1865
Two Governments Go to War: Southern Democracy and Northern Republicanism     129
Redefining the Rules of War: The Lieber Code     148
Diplomacy in the Shadows: Cannons, Sailors, and Spies     162
The War Hits Home: 1861-1865
We Need Men: Union Struggles over Manpower and Emancipation, 1863-1865     187
The Male World of the Camp: Domesticity and Discipline     214
"Cair, Anxiety, & Tryals": Life in the Wartime Union     231
War's Miseries: The Confederate Home Front     260
Rebuilding the Nation: 1865-1877
A Region Reconstructed and Unreconstructed: The Postwar South     295
A Nation Stitched Together: Westward Expansion and the Peace Treaty of 1877     315
Acknowledgments     333
Political Chronology     337
Military Chronology     343
Suggestions for Further Reading     349
Index     358
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