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Virginia at War, 1861 Hardcover – November 11, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Virginia at War
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; n Book of the Month Club edition (November 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813123720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813123721
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


""Goes beyond traditional military history, offering fresh perspective on the initial changes that confronted the state's civilian population.... Lucid, insightful, and well-researched."" -- North Carolina Historical Review

""This fine work belongs on the bookshelves of every knowledgeable student of the war, right next to the first volume in this excellent series."" -- The Free Lance-Star

""This book is highly recommended to those interested in various aspects of Virginia in the Civil War during 1861."" --

""Unquestionably a valuable contribution to Civil War scholarship. More than a background story, Virginia at War, 1861, is the compelling story of a people at war."" -- James M. Prichard, On Point

""This collection of essays surveys a myriad of aspects of how the Civil War in Virginia affected its inhabitants."" -- History Wire

"Her diary entries close this enlightening examination of the effects of total war on a society." -- Roanoke Public Library Foundation

"This book covers some interesting areas of lesser-known history of life in Virginia during the Civil War." -- Curled

"[The essays] connect common threads that reveal a state in turmoil, simultaneously undergoing important social changes that would extend far beyond the war.... challenge the privileged position of battle accounts, suggesting that am much more complicated and seminal experience took place." -- LSU Libraries' Special Collections

"As in previous volumes in this series, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr. have brought together what is definitely an interesting group of essays." -- Blue & Gray Magazine

""[This is] a collection of strong essays that confirm established wisdom about the Old Dominion's wartime experience and [provide] a composite view of the challenges the state faced as it entered the conflict's final year."-- Civil War History" --

""William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, staples of Civil War publications, created a series of anthologies to examine Virginia in every year of the conflict. Their latest volume covers the events and aspects of the Old Dominion in 1863, the defining year--militarily and socially--of the war. The contributors, a blend of established authors and young historians, examine many aspects of the war with the focus clearly on social aspects of the home front." -- Louisiana History" --

""A well-rounded volume that will interest anyone wanting to know more about Virginia, both at home and at the front, during the war's final year."-- Virginia Magazine of History and Biography" --

"Robertson's accompanying notes once more give context to the entries, making them more accessible to scholars and lay readers alike. Virginia at War has something for everyone, and students of the American Civil War shoud find time to digest not only this volume, but also the other books in the series. -- The Journal of American History" -- Jason M. Frawley, The Journal of American History

"The insight into the minds of Virginians in 1865 is invaluable, as are the rest of this book's contents." -- The Historian

About the Author

William C. Davis, director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including, most recently, The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf. He was also chief consultant for The History Channel's Civil War Journal and is professor of history at Virginia Tech. James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at Virginia Tech, is the author or editor of more than two dozen books, including the award winning Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend. He was chief historical consultant for the movie Gods and Generals.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Colonel Moran on October 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book of essays is the first of five planned books discussing Virginia during each of the years of the Civil War. The essays are written by well-known historians and cover an interesting range of topics. Particularly intriguing was the essay about the decision to relocate the Confederate capital from Montgomery to Richmond. The motion just barely passed. The location of the two capitals had considerable effect on the strategy of the war and one wonders what things would have been like if the capital had remained in Alabama. The essays are brief and well-written. This is a volume for serious students of the subject but is an interesting concept for a series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Brandau on January 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Step back in time to national Virginia, formerly one of a union of nations, forced to side with those bent on dissolution and compelled to mount a defense against imminent invasion.

The scholarship for which Davis and Robertson are noted is joined by that of other established authorities, in particular John Coski [The Confederate Battle Flag] and Ervin Jordan [Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia]. Coski's essay on the Virginia Navy is unique and information rich. Jordan's essay on black perspectives is essential to understanding period society.

This native Virginian, whose fifth grade class in Richmond still stood to sing Dixie before a portrait of General Lee in 1960, now appreciates the Commonwealth's pro-Union sentiments and leadership evident in Robertson's essay on secession.

The edited selection from the diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire compliments the work.

The idea for the series is brilliant. I look forward to the remaining volumes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the first in a series covering Virginia during each year of the war. The format of each book is a series of essays by noted scholars. Each essay covers an aspect of the topic. Each essay is fully footnoted, intelligent and readable. While the essayists' are scholars, they are authors too. They know how to write something that is scholarly and readable. While not "lite" reading, this is not a long slog through a dusty tome either.
1861 is a political year for Virginia. Secession, becoming the capital of the Confederacy and secession of the western counties are political events. Four excellent essays look into the cause and effect of these events. Attitudes and status of Virginia's Afro-American population is the subject of a thought provoking essay by Ervin L. Jordan Jr. Craig L. Symonds, Joseph T. Glatthaar and Michael Mahone cover land operations, soldiers and the Shenandoah Valley. John M. Coski reminds us the Confederacy had a Navy. Lastly, we see the price families paid in the "Diary of a Southern Refugee Judith Brockenbrough McGuire". James I. Robertson Jr. has identified the initials and blank spaces used by the author. This fills in much of the story and increases readability. Judith Brockenbrough McGuire and her husband were some of the first refugees in Virginia; they would not be the last. This series will follow them through the war giving us a very human perspective.
This overview of the war in Virginia, year by year, with some of our best scholars and authors is well worth reading.
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By frances b frazier on September 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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