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.
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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
List of Illustrations
List of Maps
GREEN PASTURES AND STILL WATERS Fall 1859 TO Fall 1860
PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS Winter 1860 To Summer 1861
THE SHADOW OF DEATH Summer 1861 TO Summer 1862
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5th Virginia abolitionists Abraham Lincoln Alansa Alexander H. H. Stuart American artillery Augusta County Baldwin battle Baylor border Brigade called camp captured cavalry Chambersburg Civil column Confederacy Constitution convention Democrats Despite diary Douglas Douglass election emancipation enemy enlisted enslaved farms Federal fight fire forces Fort Sumter fought Franklin County Fredericksburg friends George Baylor Harman Harpers Ferry heard hundred Jed Hotchkiss John Brown John Imboden Joseph Waddell killed knew letter lived Manassas marched McClellan McClure military mountains nation negroes newspapers Northern officers ofVirginia paper party Pennsylvania political President proclamation railroad Rebels regiment reported Republicans Richmond seceded secession secessionists seemed side slaveholders slavery slaves soldiers soon Southern Staunton Spectator Staunton Vindicator Stonewall Brigade Stonewall Jackson Stuart Sumter things thought thousand told town troops Union army Unionists United Valley Spirit victory vote voters wagon wanted Washington weeks Whigs wounded wrote Yankees young