Confederate States of America

Military Education and the Emerging Middle Class in the Old South

By Jennifer R. Green

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"This book argues that military education was an important institution in the development of the southern middle class as a regional group and as part of the national middle class in the late antebellum years. It explores class formation, professionalization, and social mobility in the 1840s and 1850s, using this data to define the middle class on a national level, while also identifying regionally specific characteristics of the emerging southern middle class."

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The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat

By Gary W. Gallagher

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"If one is to believe contemporary historians, the South never had a chance. Many allege that the Confederacy lost the Civil War because of internal division or civilian disaffection; others point to flawed military strategy or ambivalence over slavery. But, argues distinguished historian Gary Gallagher, we should not ask why the Confederacy collapsed so soon but rather how it lasted so long. In The Confederate War he reexamines the Confederate experience through the actions and words of the people who lived it to show how the home front responded to the war, endured great hardships, and assembled armies that fought with tremendous spirit and determination.

"Gallagher's portrait highlights a powerful sense of Confederate patriotism and unity in the face of a determined adversary. Drawing on letters, diaries, and newspapers of the day, he shows that Southerners held not only an unflagging belief in their way of life, which sustained them to the bitter end, but also a widespread expectation of victory and a strong popular will closely attuned to military events.

"In fact, the army's 'offensive-defensive' strategy came remarkably close to triumph, claims Gallagher--in contrast to the many historians who believe that a more purely defensive strategy or a guerrilla resistance could have won the war for the South. To understand why the South lost, Gallagher says we need look no further than the war itself: after a long struggle that brought enormous loss of life and property, Southerners finally realized that they had been beaten on the battlefield."

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Mosby's Keydet Rangers

By Eric W. Buckland

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"Mosby's Keydet Rangers includes a large amount of previously unpublished material that gives the reader new insights into the young men who matriculated at VMI and rode with Colonel John Singleton Mosby. It is a comprehensive collection of short biographical sketches, personal letters, accounts of raids and incidents, anecdotes, newspaper articles, passages from books, memorials, and obituaries that brings the young Rangers to life and sheds new light on their operations during the war."

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Virginia at War: 1865

By William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr., editors

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"By January 1865, most of Virginia's schools were closed, many newspapers had ceased publication, businesses suffered, and food was scarce. Having endured major defeats on their home soil and the loss of much of the state's territory to the Union army, Virginia's Confederate soldiers began to desert at higher rates than at any other time in the war, returning home to provide their families with whatever assistance they could muster. It was a dark year for Virginia. Virginia at War, 1865 closely examines the end of the Civil War in the Old Dominion, delivering a striking depiction of a state ravaged by violence and destruction.

"In the final volume of the Virginia at War series, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. have once again assembled an impressive collection of essays covering topics that include land operations, women and families, wartime economy, music and entertainment, the demobilization of Lee's army, and the war's aftermath. The volume ends with the final installment of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire's popular and important Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War."

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Great Lives Lecture Series: J.E.B. Stuart

Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart

The University of Mary Washington's 2012 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, April 3, with a lecture on J.E.B. Stuart by Emory Thomas, author of Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart.

James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart was the most famous Confederate cavalryman of the Civil War — and one of its most dashing figures.  Born in Virginia and educated at West Point, he was a trusted associate of Robert E. Lee, leading the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry in important battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and the Wilderness –  as well as Gettysburg, where his actions proved controversial.  His death in Richmond in spring 1864 marked the decline of the superiority of the Confederate horse during the war. Emory M. Thomas is Regents Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Georgia, a long-time member of the history department faculty, and the author of eight books, including authoritative biographies of Lee and Stuart.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are free and open to the public.

For more about the life of J.E.B. Stuart check out these resources from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

By Amanda Foreman

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"Even before the first rumblings of secession shook the halls of Congress, British involvement in the coming schism was inevitable. Britain was dependent on the South for cotton, and in turn the Confederacy relied almost exclusively on Britain for guns, bullets, and ships. The Union sought to block any diplomacy between the two and consistently teetered on the brink of war with Britain. For four years the complex web of relationships between the countries led to defeats and victories both minute and history-making. In A World on Fire, Amanda Foreman examines the fraught relations from multiple angles while she introduces characters both humble and grand, bringing them to vivid life over the course of her sweeping and brilliant narrative."
A New York Times bestseller that is available in standard print format, as an eBook, and as an unabridged audio book.

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Virginians at War: The Civil War Experiences of Seven Young Confederates

By John G. Selby

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A different tack to Civil War studies--here John Shelby sketches particular instances of the conflict and marries those with first-hand accounts from seven young Confederates who were involved. Three women's and four men's lives are interwoven the events surrounding them, and they are followed even well into the war's aftermath.

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General Jo Shelby's March

By Anthony Arthur

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Some Confederate officers and soldiers refused to live in a conquered land. General Jo Shelby was one of those. He led his 300 men, the "Iron Brigade," on a twelve-hundred-mile march to Mexico where they supported the Emperor Maximilian in his fight against Juarez's rebels, hoping to eventually establish their own government there. Though doomed, his actions were historically notable--all the more so since in his later years, he returned to the United States, renounced slavery, became U.S. Marshall for western Missouri and became famous as a nineteenth-century progressive.

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A Southern Woman's Story: Life in Confederate Richmond

By Phoebe Yates Pember

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Phoebe Yates Pember penned the story of her time as chief matron at Chimorazo Hospital in Richmond shortly after the Civil War.

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Robert E. Lee: First Soldier of the Confederacy

By Earle Rice, Jr.

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Follows Lee's life from his difficult childhood to his rise at West Point, his military career prior to Civil War, his hard decision to join the Confederacy, and his last years.
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