The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861-1865

Overview

"This account of the politics and economics of the giant military supply project in the North reconstructs an important but little known part of Civil War history. Drawing on new and extensive research in army and business archives, Mark R. Wilson offers a fresh view of the wartime North and the ways in which its economy worked when the Lincoln administration, with unprecedented military effort, moved to suppress the rebellion." Students of the American Civil War will welcome this fresh study of military-industrial production and procurement on
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Overview

"This account of the politics and economics of the giant military supply project in the North reconstructs an important but little known part of Civil War history. Drawing on new and extensive research in army and business archives, Mark R. Wilson offers a fresh view of the wartime North and the ways in which its economy worked when the Lincoln administration, with unprecedented military effort, moved to suppress the rebellion." Students of the American Civil War will welcome this fresh study of military-industrial production and procurement on the home front - long an obscure topic.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the Early Republic - Samuel Watson

As Wilson observes, historians 'have tended to search for the roots of American bureaucracy in virtually every field except the military'. Wilson has struck a powerful blow against this exceptionalism, and the larger exceptionalism of the state of courts and parties thesis... Wilson presents compelling evidence that they should not be ignored.

Civil War Monitor - Brooks D. Simpson

Readers will find Wilson's deeply researched account well worth the investment as a study of wartime political economy. It explores areas hitherto mostly neglected and rarely explored: readers will profit from learning how Union authorities procured the material means used to save the Union.

NYMAS Review

A good book for anyone interested in logistics, as well as the more serious student of the Civil War.

Midwest Book Review

A 'must' for any serious student of Civil War history who would go beyond the usual statistics and battle events.

Civil War Book Review

Wilson says something new and vital about the war by illustrating the role of war and the military in American business and politics. Nothing like it has ever been published.

Civil War Monitor
Readers will find Wilson's deeply researched account well worth the investment as a study of wartime political economy. It explores areas hitherto mostly neglected and rarely explored: readers will profit from learning how Union authorities procured the material means used to save the Union.

— Brooks D. Simpson

Civil War News - Ethan S. Rafuse

A superlative and welcome addition to Civil War scholarship... clear, informative and consistently insightful.

Journal of Military History - Robert G. Angevine

Anyone interested in the antebellum army, the Civil War, or the role of the military in the American political economy will find this book worthwhile.

North & South - C. Wyatt Evans

This clearly written and detailed study of the northern procurement effort represents a fresh take on the 'sinews of war'.

Public Choice - Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

The first systematic and comprehensive study, based on original archival research into both military and business records, devoted exclusively to the Union's economic mobilization.

Journal of American History - Lenette S. Taylor

A much-needed analysis of Union production and procurement issues.

EH.Net - Roger Ranson

Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay the author is to say that after I finished reading his book I felt compelled to re-write the lectures in my Civil War course that I devote to mobilization.

Blue and Gray Magazine - Rick Sauers

One of the most important Civil War books to appear in quite some time.

New England Quarterly - Robert M. Sandow

A concise, well-argued work of scholarship. It enlivens a potentially stolid subject in a manner that engages nonspecialists.

American Historical Review - Harold S. Wilson

An excellent contribution to the general understanding of Union military institutions.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History - Philip Scranton

Wilson's research and core analyses are solid. For reconstituting the complexity, the tensions, and the institutional innovations of massive war supply in a horse-and-wagon economy, Wilson deserves a hearty round of thanks from historians and political scientists.

on Point - Joseph-James Ahren

The book goes beyond a simple Civil War history and adds to the understanding of American business history, as well as the war's legacy to the Gilded Age... valuable to anyone examining nineteenth century business history or the links between the military and industry. Wilson's well written narrative and thorough research makes for compelling reading, and is a welcome addition to Civil War scholarship.

Journal of Southern History - Mary A. DeCredico

Wilson makes a compelling case.

Historian - Ben Wynne

Wilson provides an excellent treatment of the constantly evolving financial and manufacturing infrastructure that supported United States armies during the Civil War.

Civil War History - James L. Huston

An excellent study of military supply on the home front during the war.

Technology and Culture - Steven G. Collins

An outstanding contribution to our understanding of the military's role in society, politics, and the economy during the nineteenth century.

Enterprise and Society - Ann N. Greene

A compelling account of the political economy of Northern mobilization.

Journal of Economic History - John Majewski

A fascinating account of how the North marshaled its economic might to win the Civil War.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mark R. Wilson is an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The rise and fall of a federal supply system 5
Ch. 2 The formation of a national bureaucracy 34
Ch. 3 The making of a mixed military economy 72
Ch. 4 The trouble with contracting 107
Ch. 5 The middleman on trial 148
Ch. 6 The unacknowledged militarization of America 191
App. A Note on the value of a dollar during the Civil War era 227
App. B Leading northern military contractors in selected industries 231
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