Carolyn B. Leonard
Don’t Hurry Me Down to Hades:
The Civil War in the Words of Those Who Lived It
Hardcover– October 22, 2013
by Susannah Ural (Author)
First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Osprey Publishing
Review by Carolyn B. Leonard
The author is a professor in the history department at the University of Southern Mississippi so she might have a slight prejudice toward the Confederate side of the conflict. Still it seemed balanced, even to this Yankee descendant, although I learned things about the South I hadn’t known before.
The free soilers were the Northern political party attacked slavery. However, the election of republican president Abraham Lincoln threatened the power of the party that protected the interests of slave holders.
Within days of the election, states began gathering and voting to secede. South Carolina was first. Texas was the 7th state in seven weeks to secede. Over the next several weeks, one by one VA, NC, TENN, and ARK voted to leave the union. The slave states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri remained, but support was weak. Varina Davis from the North was accused of being a dis-unionist.
Soldiers life was mostly marching and misery, The battle the North called Bull Run, the South called Manasses, a southern victory.
At the Battle of Shiloh, Mary Todd Lincoln’s 3 brothers and 2 brothers-in-law were in the ranks. Her brother Sam was missing and later found mortally wounded, reportedly buried in a ditch beside the road, He had been in the Confederate army only four weeks.
Lincoln proposed the DC emancipation act 16 Apr 1862 freeing 3000 African-Americans and compensating loyal slave owners up to $300 each, and $100 per former slave who emigrated to the North. The cost would be more than one Million Dollars in 1862; the suggestion was tabled.
The battle of Antitam Creek started in Miller’s cornfield and continued for 3 days leaving thousands of fine young men from both sides dead on the field. At home they read the casualty reports, fingers down the columns of 1, 2, 3 pages calling out names for neighbors who could not read for themselves.
I especially enjoyed the stories about U.S. Grant and his family on pages 140-144. Her use of words like “stumbled,” and the “peculiar institution” of slavery, kept me turning pages.
Christmas 862 the terrible war was far from over. Suffering filled American homes both North and South. March 1862 desertions from the Federal army topped 125,ooo men.
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