The Civil War: The Third Year Told By Those Who Lived It
148 pieces (eleven published for the first time) by more than ninety participants
“This book conveys experiences of the American Civil War with intense immediacy. . . . The Civil War does the Library of America proud.”—TLS [Times Literary Supplement]
E-book edition: The Civil War: The Third Year is available for the Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Books.
After 150 years the Civil War still holds a central place in American history and self-understanding. It is our greatest national drama, at once heroic, tragic, and epic—our Iliad, but also our Bible, a story of sin and judgment, suffering and despair, death and resurrection in a “new birth of freedom.” The Civil War: The Third Year brings together letters, diary entries, speeches, newspaper and magazine articles, presidential messages, and poems to provide an incomparable literary portrait of a nation at war with itself, illuminating the military and political events that brought the Union closer to victory and slavery closer to destruction.
This third volume of a highly acclaimed four-volume series begins with the Army of the Potomac’s dismal “Mud March” in January 1863 and ends with Ulysses S. Grant’s appointment as Union general-in-chief in March 1864. It collects 149 pieces by more than eighty participants and observers, among them Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, William T. Sherman, Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Mary Chesnut, Clement Vallandigham, Henry Adams, Charlotte Forten, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, as well as Union officers Robert Gould Shaw, Charles B. Haydon, and Henry Livermore Abbott; Confederate diarists Catherine Edmondston, Kate Stone, and Judith McGuire; and Alabama soldier Samuel Pickens, Iowa housewife Catharine Peirce, and Kentucky preacher George Richard Browder.
The selections include vivid and haunting firsthand accounts of some of the war’s most famous battles—Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Fort Wagner, Chickamauga, Chattanooga—as well as the merciless guerrilla war in Missouri and Kansas; the Richmond bread riot and the New York draft riots; and the controversies surrounding the use of black soldiers and the curtailment of civil liberties in wartime.
The Civil War: The Third Year includes an introduction, headnotes, a chronology of events, biographical and explanatory endnotes, full-color endpaper maps, and an index. A fourth volume will gather writings from the final year of the conflict.
Brooks D. Simpson, editor, is Foundation Professor of History at Arizona State University. He is the author of Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861–1868 and Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822–1865, and the co-editor of Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860–1865.
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