In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863
Our standard Civil War histories tell a reassuring story of the triumph, in an inevitable conflict, of the dynamic, free-labor North over the traditional, slave-based South, vindicating the freedom principles built into the nation's foundations.
But at the time, on the borderlands of Pennsylvania and Virginia, no one expected war, and no one knew how it would turn out. The one certainty was that any war between the states would be fought in their fields and streets.
Edward L. Ayers gives us a different Civil War, built on an intimate scale. He charts the descent into war in the Great Valley spanning Pennsylvania and Virginia. Connected by strong ties of every kind, including the tendrils of slavery, the people of this borderland sought alternatives to secession and war. When none remained, they took up war with startling intensity. As this book relays with a vivid immediacy, it came to their doorsteps in hunger, disease, and measureless death. Ayers's Civil War emerges from the lives of everyday people as well as those who helped shape history—John Brown and Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, Jackson, and Lee. His story ends with the valley ravaged, Lincoln's support fragmenting, and Confederate forces massing for a battle at Gettysburg.
What people are saying - Write a review
In the presence of mine enemies: war in the heart of America, 1859-1863User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Ayers (Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History, Univ. of Virgina; The Promise of the New South) covers the early Civil War histories of two border counties in the Great Valley spanning Pennsylvania and ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
5th Virginia abolitionists Abraham Lincoln Alansa Alexander H. H. Stuart American April artillery Augusta County Baldwin battle Baylor border Brigade camp captured cavalry Chambersburg Civil column Confederacy Confederate convention Cormany Dedrick Democrats Despite Diary of Joseph Dispatch Douglass election emancipation enemy enlisted entry dated Federal fight fire Fort Sumter Franklin County Fredericksburg Harpers Ferry hundred Ibid Jacob Hildebrand January Jed Hotchkiss Jedediah Hotchkiss John Imboden Joseph Waddell July Kersh Letter from Jedediah Manassas March Mary McClellan McClure military mountains nation negroes newspapers North Northern officers paper party Pennsylvania political President railroad Rebels Regiment reported Repository and Transcript Republicans Richmond Sara secession secessionists seemed September slaveholders slavery slaves Smiley soldiers South Southern Staunton Spectator Staunton Vindicator Stonewall Brigade Stonewall Jackson thousand told town troops Union army Unionists United University ofVirginia Valley Spirit victory vote voters wanted Washington Whigs wife wounded wrote Yankees young