From the Author
Today, an unprecedented number of people are interested in the American Civil War, fueling the creation of movies, documentaries, history books, and novels about the "War Between the States." Movies like Gettysburg and Glory gained instant followings; Ken Burns' PBS documentary The Civil War is considered by many to be one of the best documentaries ever made; and novels about the Civil War, such as The Killer Angels, Gods and Generals,and Cold Mountain, are regularly on the best seller lists. Indeed, since the Civil War ended in 1865, more non-fiction books and novels have been written about it than about any other war involving the United States.
This fascination with the Civil War has persisted for more than 130 years and is not likely to fade any time soon. One reason for this fervent interest is the proximity of the war's events to the everyday lives of so many modern Americans.
Everyday Life During the Civil War is intended to be a broad-based introduction to the day-to-day conditions, attitudes, and events of the period. For some, this book may be the only tool they need to research the Civil War, or one of just a few, while for others it will serve as one resource among many and a guide toward finding others.
While the war was fought from 1861 to 1865, it is a bit contrived to imagine that this period existed in a vacuum. Thus, the years 1859 to 1877 are also covered to some extent, from John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, through the end of Reconstruction.
Resources provided in this book include an overview of the North and South before, during, and after the war; descriptions of life during the war, including what people ate, what they wore, the sort of work they did, how they entertained themselves, and where they got their information; an overview of the opposing armies and the soldiers who fought in them; a timeline that describes the major events and battles of the war and its aftermath in chronological order; examples of songs and poems composed during the Civil War; resources readers can use to do further research into specific aspects of the Civil War; and an overview of Civil War reenactors and living historian.
Depending on the historical depths the reader seeks, additional information may be needed. For example, the timeline covers all the major battles of the war, but only briefly. Thus, readers who seek information about specific military actions, such as battles or campaigns, should read more in-depth descriptions of them in history books or memoirs. In any case, this book is intended to be a useful tool in the hands of anyone interested in one of the most interesting aspects of American history.