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A detailed account of the history of the 90th Illinois Infantry Regiment, known as the "Chicago Irish Regiment", the only Irish regiment in Major General William Tecumseh Sherman's XV Army Corps, and its pivotal role in the Western Theater of the Civil War. It gives a glimpse into the trials and triumphs of ethnic soldiers during the war.
On the eve of the American Civil War 1.6 million Irish-born people were living in the United States. The majority had emigrated to the major industrialized cities of the North; New York alone was home to more than 200,000 Irish, one in four of the total population. The research for this book has its origins in the pension records of the Civil War, which included birth and baptismal certs, medical records, and letters and private correspondence between family members. The treasure trove of material made available by the widows and dependent files comes, however, at a cost. In every instance, the file only exists due to the death of a soldier or sailor. From that as its starting point, colored by sadness, the author has crafted the stories of 35 Irish families whose lives were emblematic of the nature of the Irish emigrant experience.
As mid–19th century America erupted in violence with the invasion of Mexico and the outbreak of the Civil War, Irish immigrants joined the fray in large numbers, on both sides. They sometimes were disruptive elements. In Mexico, a body of Irish artillerymen defected to the other side. During the Civil War, Patrick Cleburne stirred controversy in the Confederacy when he proposed enlisting slaves in exchange for their freedom. The New York draft riots, a violent insurrection by a predominantly Irish mob, raged for three days before Federal troops restored order. Despite turmoil and contention, the Irish soldiers who fought in the Union army contributed significantly to the preservation of the United States. This collection of essays examines the involvement of Irish men and women in America’s conflicts from 1840 to 1865.
Lincoln’ s reelection in 1864 was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation had officially gone into effect on January 1, 1863, and the proposed Thirteenth Amendment had become a campaign issue. Lincoln and Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment captures these historic times, profiling the individuals, events, and enactments that led to slavery’ s abolition. Fifteen leading Lincoln scholars contribute to this collection, covering slavery from its roots in 1619 Jamestown, through the adoption of the Constitution, to Abraham Lincoln’ s presidency. This comprehensive volume, edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, presents Abraham Lincoln’ s response to the issue of slavery as politician, president, writer, orator, and commander-in-chief. Topics include the history of slavery in North America, the Supreme Court’ s Dred Scott decision, the evolution of Lincoln’ s view of presidential powers, the influence of religion on Lincoln, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation. This collection effectively explores slavery as a Constitutional issue, both from the viewpoint of the original intent of the nation’ s founders as they failed to deal with slavery, and as a study of the Constitutional authority of the commander-in-chief as Lincoln interpreted it. Addressed are the timing of Lincoln’ s decision for emancipation and its effect on the public, the military, and the slaves themselves. Other topics covered include the role of the U.S. Colored Troops, the election campaign of 1864, and the legislative debate over the Thirteenth Amendment. The volume concludes with a heavily illustrated essay on the role that iconography played in forming and informing public opinion about emancipation and the amendments that officially granted freedom and civil rights to African Americans. Lincoln and Freedom provides a comprehensive political history of slavery in America and offers a rare look at how Lincoln’ s views, statements, and actions played a vital role in the story of emancipation.
The Civil War has historically been viewed somewhat simplistically as a battle between the North and the South. Southern historians have broadened this viewpoint by revealing the “many Souths” that made up the Confederacy, but the “North” has remained largely undifferentiated as a geopolitical term. In this welcome collection, seven Civil War scholars offer a unique regional perspective on the Civil War by examining how a specific group of Northerners—Midwesterners, known as Westerners and Middle Westerners during the 1860s—experienced the war on the home front. Much of the intensifying political and ideological turmoil of the 1850s played out in the Midwest and instilled in its people a powerful sense of connection to this important drama. The 1850 federal Fugitive Slave Law and highly visible efforts to recapture former bondsmen and women who had escaped; underground railroad “stations” and supporters throughout the region; publication of Ohioan Harriet Beecher Stowe’s widely-influential and best-selling Uncle Tom’s Cabin; the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854; the murderous abolitionist John Brown, who gained notoriety and hero status attacking proslavery advocates in Kansas; the emergence of the Republican Party and Illinoisan Abraham Lincoln—all placed the Midwest at the center of the rising sectional tensions. From the exploitation of Confederate prisoners in Ohio to wartime college enrollment in Michigan, these essays reveal how Midwestern men, women, families, and communities became engaged in myriad war-related activities and support. Agriculture figures prominently in the collection, with several scholars examining the agricultural power of the region and the impact of the war on farming, farm families, and farm women. Contributors also consider student debates and reactions to questions of patriotism, the effect of the war on military families’ relationships, issues of women’s loyalty and deference to male authority, as well as the treatment of political dissent and dissenters. Bringing together an assortment of home front topics from a variety of fresh perspectives, this collection offers a view of the Civil War that is unabashedly Midwestern.
This intimate collection of family photographs provides a rare glimpse into the personal life of one of the greatest figures in American history, Abraham Lincoln. This expanded edition provides both new pictures and new introductory materials by renowned Lincoln scholars Mark E. Neely Jr. and Harold Holzer.

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