Sunday, September 30, 2007

Appalachian Ohio and the Civil War, 1862-1863

by Susan G. Hall

From the publisher:
The antebellum culture of Harrison County (birthplace of George Armstrong Custer) and the surrounding five-county area of Appalachian east Ohio was an outspoken, democratic society—and a way station of the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves.

With the coming of the War Between the States, this community faced momentous change and bitter divisions. Its politicians stumped for and against the conflict; its farmboys, carpenters, scholars and ministers marched off to Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, and Tennessee, there to become hardened soldiers laying destruction about them, even as a powerful Copperhead peace movement grew at home. The area was menaced by John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate Cavalry.

This narrative history of the crucial year of this area’s real involvement in the war, from summer to summer, provides a portrait of the area’s Scotch-Irish, followed by German and English, traditions and culture, and the ways in which the war affected everyone, young women left without husbands and whole families plagued by far-away diseases brought home. Letters and diaries from the soldiers and those who loved them provide insight into their thoughts and feelings, as well as their reactions to the very different cultures (women in white dresses had not been seen before) they experienced. Also included are illustrations and maps that display both the Harrison County area and the battlefields where many of her sons saw combat.

From the critics:
This narrative history of the first year of the war provides a portrait of the Harrison county area's traditions and culture, highlighting the ways in which the war affected the residents of the area. Letters and diary entries from soldiers and their loved ones reflect their attitudes toward and reactions to the changes around them and the conflicting cultures in the area. Also included are maps of both Harrison county and the relevant battlefields in other parts of the country. - Booknews