Fire Within: A Civil War Narrative from Wisconsin

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Kent State University Press, 1997 - History - 294 pages
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Fire Within explores what Walt Whitman called the "interior history" of the Civil War - the war waged and witnessed by common people. Through diaries, letters, and newspaper articles, Kerry Trask weaves together personal viewpoints and wartime events to reflect the passions of the times and describes the conflicts encountered by the men who went to war and the people who remained at home. This colorful, often moving account reveals the experience of James Anderson, a young Scottish immigrant who enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin Volunteers soon after President Lincoln issued his first call. Leaving his home of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, he, like many other young men, set off with expectations of high adventure. Anderson's rendering of the war is further enriched by Rosa Kellner's splendid journal. From the Williams House Hotel, this teenage Bohemian innkeeper was a spectator and participant in the community. Her writings offer essential insights into wartime life on the homefront. For soldiers and civilians this "real war" was often difficult and painful. What they wrote in their letters and diaries offers a look at the conflict from a small-town perspective and reveals the true nature of war. An engaging work, Fire Within will appeal to the general reading public as well as to Civil War scholars and specialists.

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Page 11 - American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character.
Page v - WHAT of the faith and fire within us Men who march away...
Page 3 - What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

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