Latin America in the Civil War Era: A working bibliography and research memo

This evolving list is the first of many steps of an intellectual process to comprehend the scope of relevant literature in this field. It is a very broad initial attempt to identify important books, essays, articles, memoirs, archival collections and other primary and secondary sources.

 

The U.S. Civil War sent economic, political and social shockwaves around the world. My great objective is to understand how they were felt primarily throughout Latin America, specifically throughout the republican and imperial governments, the intelligentsia, the diplomatic circles, the street-level multiracial societies, and the military commands.

I intend to illustrate these histories through biography whenever possible and through narrative history in general. I may be fashionably late to the transnational party, but I definitely intend to earn my place among its best scholars.

This evolving list is the first of many steps of an intellectual process to comprehend the scope of relevant literature in this field. It is a very broad initial attempt to identify important books, essays, articles, memoirs, archival collections and other primary and secondary sources.

A second, sharpened, edited version of this bibliography will follow in the coming months. The third step will be an annotated bibliography. That will then lead to a comprehensive review essay analyzing the evolution of the literature, the conversations and the debates. The essay will also identify potential avenues of future research and the challenges of traveling down those avenues. That essay will, in part, guide my future scholarly ambitions and plans.

I have a very long and very beautiful intellectual journey ahead of me. I certainly welcome corrections, comments and suggestions as this self-introductory process continues. You may reach me at this address: remembrance_@hotmail.com.

Working bibliography (by region)

Mexico

Aldis, Owen F. “Louis Napoleon and the Southern Confederacy.” North American Review 129 (October 1879): 342-362.

Bacha-Garza, Roseann, Christopher L. Miller and Russell K. Skowronek. The Civil War on the Rio Grande, 1846-1876. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2019.

Barker, Nancy N. “Monarchy in Mexico: Harebrained Scheme or Well-Considered Prospect?” The Journal of Modern History 48, no. 1 (March 1976): 51-68.

Brettle, Adrian Robert. “The Fortunes of War: Confederate Expansionist Ambitions During the American Civil War” (PhD Dissertation, University of Virginia, 2014).

Gonzalez-Quiroga, Miguel Angel. “Conflict and Cooperation in the Making of Texas-Mexico Border Society, 1840-1880” in Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories, pp. 33-58, edited by Benjamin H. Johnson and Andrew R. Graybill. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010.

Hanna, A.J. “The Role of Matthew Fontaine Maury in the Mexican Empire,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 55 (April 1947): 105-125.

Hanna, Kathryn Abbey. “The Roles of the South in the French Intervention in Mexico,” The Journal of Southern History 20, no. 1 (February 1954): 3-21.

—. Napoleon III and Mexico: American Triumph over Monarchy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971.

Hardy, William E. “South of the Border: Ulysses S. Grant and the French Intervention.” Civil War History 54, no. 1 (March 2008): 63-86.

Hart, John Mason. Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Miller, Robert Ryal. “Arms across the Border: United States Aid to Juarez during the French Intervention in Mexico,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s, 63, no. 6 (1973): 1-68.

Mora-Torres, Juan. The Making of the Mexican Border: The State, Capitalism, and Society and Nuevo Leon, 1848-1910. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

Ridley, Jasper. Maximilian and Juarez. London: Constable, 2001.

Rister, Carl Coke. “Carlota: A Confederate Colony in Mexico,” The Journal of Southern History 11 (February 1945): 33-50.

Rolle, Andrew F. The Lost Cause: The Confederate Exodus to Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.

Schoonover, Thomas. Dollars Over Dominion: The Triumph of Liberalism in Mexican-United States Relations, 1861-1867. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

—., ed., Mexican Lobby: Matias Romero in Washington 1861-1867. Lexington, Ky: University of Kentucky Press, 1986.

Truett, Samuel. Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Tyler, Ronnie C. Santiago Vidaurri and the Southern Confederacy. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1973.

Wahlstrom, Todd W. The Southern Exodus to Mexico: Migration across the Borderlands after the American Civil War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

General Imperial Spanish America

Bowen, Wayne S. Spain and the American Civil War. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011.

Kelly, Patrick J. “The Cat’s-Paw: Confederate Ambitions in Latin America” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Don H. Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

May, Robert E. Slavery, Race and Conquest in the Tropics: Lincoln, Douglass and the Future of Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Sanders, James E. The Vanguard of the Atlantic World: Creating Modernity, Nation, and Democracy in Nineteenth Century Latin America. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014.

General South America

Scott, Rebecca, et. al. The Abolition of Slavery and the Aftermath of Emancipation in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press, 1988.

General Spanish Caribbean

May, Robert E. The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.

Rugemer, Edward Bartlett. The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher. Empire and Antislavery: Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, 1833-1870. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999.

—. “From Aggression to Crisis: The Spanish Empire in the 1860s” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Don H. Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Cuba

Corwin, Arthur. Spain and the Abolition of Slavery in Cuba, 1817-1886. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967.

Scott, Rebecca. Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860-1899. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

—. Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba After Slavery. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

General U.S. Civil War

Beckert, Sven. “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War,” American Historical Review 109 (December 2004): 1405-1438.

Bonner, Robert E. “The Salt Water Civil War: Thalassological Approaches, Ocean-Centered Opportunities,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 6, no. 2 (June 2016): 243-267.

Crook, D.P. Diplomacy during the Civil War. New York: Wiley, 1975.

Davis, Jefferson. The Papers of Jefferson Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971 to present.

Davis, William C. “Confederate Exiles.” American History Illustrated 5, no. 3 (June 1970): 30-43.

Egerton, Douglas R. “Rethinking Atlantic Historiography in a Postcolonial Era: The Civil War in a Global Perspective,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 1, no. 1 (March 2011): 79-95.

Fleche, Andre. Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Grant, U.S. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. Edited by John Y. Simon. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967-1991.

—. The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. New York: C.L. Webster, 1886.

Grimsley, Mark, and Brooks D. Simpson, eds. The Collapse of the Confederacy. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.

Hahn Steven. “What Sort of World Did the Civil War Make?” in The World the Civil War Made. Edited by Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Hubbard, Charles M. The Burden of Confederate Diplomacy. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998.

Hunt, Jeffrey William. The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Jones, Howard. Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

Kelly, Patrick J. “The North American Crisis of the 1860s,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 2, no. 3 (September 2012): 337-368.

—. “1848 and the Transnational Turn in Civil War History,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 4, no. 3 (September 2014): 431-443.

Kerby, Robert L. Kirby Smith’s Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South, 1863-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.

Lincoln, Abraham. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Edited by Roy P. Basler. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953-1955.

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Confederacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

McDaniel, W. Caleb, and Bethany L. Johnson. “New Approaches to Internationalizing the History of the Civil War Era: An Introduction,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 2, no. 2 (June 2012): 145-150.

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

May, Robert E., ed. The Union, the Confederacy, and the Atlantic Rim. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1995.

Owsley, Frank Lawrence. King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959.

Prior, David M. et. al. “Teaching the Civil War in Global Context: A Discussion,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 5, no. 1 (March 2015): 126-153.

Robinson, Michael. “William Henry Seward and the Onset of the Secession Crisis,” Civil War History 59, no. 1 (March 2013): 32-66.

Sexton, Jay. “The Civil War and U.S. World Power” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s. Edited by Don H. Doyle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017.

Townsend, Stephen A. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2006.

Tucker, Phillip Thomas. The Final Fury: Palmito Ranch, The Last Battle of the Civil War. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2001.

Tyrner-Tyrnauer, A.R. Lincoln and the Emperors. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1962.

U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

Zimmerman, Andrew. “From the Second American Revolution to the First International and Back Again: Marxism, the Popular Front, and the American Civil War” in The World the Civil War Made. Edited by Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

General works

Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books, 2014.

Bayly, C.A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2004: 165-166.

Beckert, Sven, “Merchants and Manufacturers in the Antebellum North” in Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy. Edited by Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

—. Empire of Cotton: A Global History. New York: Knopf, 2014

Bender, Thomas, ed. Rethinking American History in a Global Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

—. A Nation among Nations: America’s Place in World History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.

Bensel, Richard Franklin. Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Doyle, Don H. The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War. New York: Basic Books, 2015.

Eichhorn, Niels. “North Atlantic Trade in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: A Case for Peace during the American Civil War,” Civil War History 1, no. 2 (June 2015): 138-172.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Durham, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War. New York: Random House, 2010.

Geyer, Michael, and Charles Bright. “Global Violence and Nationalizing Wars in Eurasia and America: The Geo Politics of War in the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” Comparative Studies in History and Society, 38, no. 4, (October 1996): 619-657.

Greene, Jack P., and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Atlantic History: A Critical Reappraisal. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Guterl, Matthew. American Mediterranean: Southern Slaveholders in the Age of Emancipation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Hamalainen, Pekka. The Comanche Empire. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Johnson, Walter. Soul By Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

—. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013.

LaFeber, Walter. The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860-1898. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1963.

Roediger, David R. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. New York: Verso Books, 2007.

Rothman, Adam, “The Slave Power in the United States, 1783-1865” in Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy. Edited by Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.

Stoke, Donald. The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Garcia Marquez loved being a journalist / The way we remember George H.W. Bush / Loving midday naps / Why is an octopus smart? / The rhetoric that leads us to civil war

This week: Garcia Marquez loved being a journalist / The way we remember George H.W. Bush / Loving midday naps / Why is an octopus smart? / The rhetoric that leads us to civil war

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Want a Green New Deal? Here’s a better one.
The Washington Post | February 2019
“It relies both on smart government intervention — and on transforming the relentless power of the market from an obstacle to a centerpiece of the solution.”

2. Is History Being Too Kind to George H.W. Bush?
By David Greenberg | Politico Magazine | December 2018
“The 41st president put self-interest over principle time and time again.”
Also see: The Economy and ‘Read My Lips,’ Not Ross Perot, Cost President Bush His 1992 Re-Election
Also see: Don’t Overlook George H.W. Bush’s Domestic Legacy

3. A midday nap is American ingenuity at its best
By Carolyn Hax | The Washington Post | March 2019
“Keep up the naps, books and bubble baths, by all means … at your usual pace except for one day a week. With that one exception, dedicate your time to a cause that’s meaningful to you.”

4. Yes, the Octopus Is Smart as Heck. But Why?
By Carl Zimmer | The New York Times | November 2018
“It has eight arms, three hearts — and a plan. Scientists aren’t sure how the cephalopods got to be so intelligent.”

5. Gabriel García Márquez, The Art of Fiction No. 69
By Peter H. Stone | The Paris Review | Winter 1981
“I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions. Besides, I had to condition my thoughts and ideas to the interests of the newspaper. Now, after having worked as a novelist, and having achieved financial independence as a novelist, I can really choose the themes that interest me and correspond to my ideas.”

6. Battle Lines
By Gordon S. Wood | The New Republic | November 2018
“Recovering the profound divisions that led to the Civil War”

7. Roots of Spain’s Crisis: One Word Fought Over at Birth of Constitution
By Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | March 2019
“The final text spoke not of nations — but of regions and nationalities.”

8. The Missing Malcolm X
By Garrett Felber | Boston Review | November 2018
“Our understanding of Malcolm X is inextricably linked to his autobiography, but newly discovered materials force us to reexamine his legacy.”

9. The Kilogram Is Dead. Long Live the Kilogram!
By Xiao Zhi Lim | The New York Times | November 2018
“After a vote (and a century of research), the standard measure for mass is redefined, and the long reign of Le Grand K is ended.”

10. Sweden ranks third in gender equality. Here’s what growing up there is like.
Masuma Ahuja | Girlhood Around the World :: The Lily | November 2018
“In her diary entries, Miriam writes about looking at a new school in Stockholm, her mental health, and an all-consuming crush on a girl.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

This week: Caesar’s literature / A fashion show in 1968 / The genocide surprise / My Lai remembered / The history of natural disaster

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Trump’s Man in Moscow
By Amie Ferris-Rotman, Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer | Foreign Policy | March 2018
“Most of Washington is scared to meet with Russians. Jon Huntsman wants to meet as many as possible.”

2. Caesar Bloody Caesar
By Josephine Quinn | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“When Julius Caesar was thirty-one years old in 69 BCE, so the story goes, and serving as a junior Roman magistrate in Spain, he once stood lamenting before a statue of Alexander the Great because he had achieved so little at an age by which Alexander had already conquered the world.”

3. The Conversation Favourites
By BBC World Service | March 2018
“Meet the women who have inspired us”

4. The 1968 Fashion Show, the History Lesson Melania Missed
By Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell | Politico Magazine | March 2018
“It was supposed to showcase America First fashion. But not long afterward, manufacturing moved to China, and eventually, the Trumps moved into the White House.”

5. The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
By Nahal Toosi | Politico Magazine | March/April 2018
“The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, primarily in the country’s Rakhine state, and have long faced severe discrimination from the Buddhist majority, which views them as illegal migrants. But this latest wave of violence is the worst in modern memory.”

6. 50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military
By Tran Van Minh and Grant Peck | Associated Press | March 2018
“The American soldiers of Charlie Company, sent on what they were told was a mission to confront a crack outfit of their Vietcong enemies, met no resistance, but over three to four hours killed 504 unarmed civilians, mostly women, children and elderly men, in My Lai and a neighboring community.”
Also see, from American Experience: “My Lai,” a documentary film

7. Disasters Have Histories
By Chad H. Parker, Andy Horowitz and Liz Skilton | Process :: The Journal of American History/The American Historian | March 2018
“To many observers, disasters can seem like they erupt out of nowhere, in a catastrophic instant, but as historians, it’s our job to place them in time and space. So when I approach events like the recent storms, I start by asking: who was in danger? When did they arrive there? Why? Almost by definition, seeing disasters as products of history makes them seem less random and less inevitable.”

8. Today’s Eerie Echoes of the Civil War
By Manisha Sinha | The New York Review of Books | March 2018
“Even before what historians call the political crisis of the 1850s, the rise of an interracial abolition movement had encountered mob violence in the streets and gag rules in Congress. From then on, abolitionism in the United States was tied to civil liberties and the fate of American democracy itself. By the eve of the war, in 1861, most people in the northern free states felt that the democratic institutions of the country were being subverted.”

9. The Daring Diplomat Who Proved One Person Can Thwart an Empire
By Emily Ludolph | Narratively | March 2018
“A whistleblower puts his life on the line to defy Soviet aggression. Sixty years later, this forgotten story of subterfuge, smears and suspicious death has never felt more timely.”

10. Does anyone have the right to sex?
By Amia Srinivasan | London Review of Books | March 2018
“Desire can take us by surprise, leading us somewhere we hadn’t imagined we would ever go, or towards someone we never thought we would lust after, or love. In the very best cases, the cases that perhaps ground our best hope, desire can cut against what politics has chosen for us, and choose for itself.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo / The last days of John Kelly? / Remembering the 2017 Oscar disaster / Hitler’s, Mao’s and Stalin’s death tolls / Inside the U.S. embassy in Havana

This week: Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo / The last days of John Kelly? / Remembering the 2017 Oscar disaster / Hitler’s, Mao’s and Stalin’s death tolls / Inside the U.S. embassy in Havana

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Emerging from ‘the House of Gaslight’ in the Age of #MeToo
By Monica Lewinsky | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“On the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, which introduced her to the world, the author reflects on the changing nature of trauma, the de-evolution of the media, and the extraordinary hope now provided by the #MeToo movement.”

2. ‘The Newsroom Feels Embarrassed’: Backfires and Explosions at The New York Times as a Possible Future Chief Re-Invents the Paper’s Opinion Pages
By Joe Pompeo | Hive :: Vanity Fair | February 2018
“A yoga-pants refusenik, a climate-science skeptic, and a tech writer with a neo-Nazi pal, among other offenders, have put James Bennet in the crosshairs.”
Also, from the Washington Post: ‘Criticize our work privately’: NYT editorial page chief sends a 1,500-word treatise to colleagues

3. How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?
By Matt Flegenheimer | The New York Times | February 2018
“Last year, Democrats and Republicans alike agreed that if anyone could bring order to the Trump administration, it was the retired four-star Marine general. Were they wrong?”

4. “They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco
By Scott Feinberg | Hollywood Reporter | February 2018
“One year after the craziest, most improbable and downright embarrassing moment in Academy Awards history, 29 key players open up (many for the first time) about the onstage chaos, backstage bickering and who’s really to blame for Envelopegate and the two minutes and 23 seconds that ‘La La Land’ beat ‘Moonlight.'”
Also, from the Hollywood Reporter: They’re Back: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway to Present Oscars Best Picture

5. Personal Connections with the Civil War West
By Maria Angela Diaz | Muster :: Journal of the Civil War Era | February 2018
“While listening to the papers of my own panel, walking around the book exhibit, and attending several of the other panels, it got me thinking about being a Mexican-American woman, a historian of the Civil War era, and how I’ve related to, or at times not been able to relate to, the field that I’ve chosen to study.”

6. How showing vulnerability helps build a stronger team
By Daniel Coyle | Ideas :: TED.com | February 2018
“If you’d like trust to develop in your office, group or team — and who wouldn’t? — the key is sharing your weaknesses”

7. When Government Drew the Color Line
By Jason DeParle | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones. Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart. They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out. From New Dealers to county sheriffs, government agencies at every level helped impose segregation — not de facto but de jure.”

8. The Instagram matchmaking queer women via old school personal ads
By Biju Belinky | Dazed Digital | February 2018
“Spoiler alert: it’s led to cross-country love affairs”

9. The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy
By Tim Golden and Sebastian Rotella | ProPubilica | February 2018
“More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case.”

10. Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?
By Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books | February 2018
“[T]he Hitler and Stalin numbers invite questions that Mao’s higher ones do not. Should we let Hitler, especially, off the hook for combatant deaths in World War II? It’s probably fair to say that without Hitler, there wouldn’t have been a European war.”

Amerikan Rambler: Stonewall Jackson’s Arm

From June 2012: “Jackson had just helped Robert E. Lee win one of his greatest victories against a northern army that outnumbered the Rebels 2:1. Yet, it was a dearly bought victory.”

Stonewall Jackson was wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 by his own troops while scouting a mission in the dark. Anxious Confederate pickets thought he was a Yankee and opened fire on him and those riding with him.

via Stonewall Jackson’s Arm — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Amerikan Rambler: Did 620,000 Men Die in the Civil War?

From Dec. 2011: “For generations, historians have assumed that the Civil War took 620,000 American lives (360,000 Union; 260,000 Confederate).”

Although I never doubted that the Civil War cost this country more than a half-million lives, I have always wondered where the 620,000 figure came from. Casualties are often difficult to pinpoint, especially on the Confederate side, and especially later in the war.

via Did 620,000 Men Die in the Civil War? — Amerikan Rambler: Everybody Has a Story

Loreta’s Civil War: Neither starved nor beaten

Under the shadow of tragedy, Velazquez prepares to re-enter the Civil War with grim determination to fulfill her original dream of glory.

KS43

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart will share edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Part 32: Under the shadow of tragedy, Velazquez prepares to re-enter the Civil War with grim determination to fulfill her original dream of glory.

******

Our honeymoon was a very brief one. In about a week [my husband Capt. De Caulp] thought himself well enough to report for duty, and he insisted upon going, notwithstanding my entreaties for him to remain until his health was more robust. Had he been really fit to endure the exposure and toil of campaigning, I would never have offered to stay him by a word, for my patriotism, although perhaps not of so fiery a nature, was as intense now as it was when I besought my first husband to permit me to accompany him to the field, and I considered it the duty of every man, who was at all able to take a hand in the great work of resisting the advance of the enemy, to do so. But Capt. De Caulp, I knew, was far from being the strongman he once was, and I feared the consequences should he persist in carrying out his resolve.

Ho did persist, however, in spite of all I could say, and so, when I found that further argument would be useless, I prepared his baggage and bade him a sorrowful adieu. … Before reaching his command, Capt. De Caulp was taken sick again, and before I obtained any information of his condition, he had died in a Federal hospital in Chattanooga. This was a terrible blow to me, for I tenderly loved my husband, and was greatly beloved by him. Our short married life was a very happy one, and its sudden ending brought to nought all the pleasant plans I had formed for the future and left me nothing to do but to launch once more on a life of adventure and to devote my energies to the advancement of the Confederate cause.

Capt. De Caulp was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was of French descent, and his mother was a Der- byshire woman. He was very highly educated, having studied in England and France with the intention of becoming a physician. His fondness for roaming, however, induced him to abandon his design, and in 1857 he and his brother came to this country and traveled over the greater part of it until 1859. In the last-named year he joined the United States Army, but on the breaking out of the war he came South and offered his services to the Confederacy. From first to last he fought nobly for the cause which he espoused, and he died in the firm belief that the Southern states would ultimately gain their independence.

Few more honorable or truer or braver men than Capt. De Caulp have ever lived. He was tall in stature, with a very imposing presence. His hair was auburn, and he had a large, full, dark, hazel eye. He was a very powerful man but as gentle as a child and exceedingly affable in his disposition and remarkably prepossessing in his manners. At the time of his death he was about twenty-nine years of age. I made an endeavor to procure his body for the purpose of sending it to his relatives in Scotland, in accordance with his last request, but, owing to the exigencies of the military situation — the Federals being in possession of Chattanooga — I was unable to do so.

Capt. De Caulp’s brother was also in the Southern army and also held the rank of captain. He died in Nashville just after the close of the war, leaving a wife, who died in New York.

When under the influence of the grief caused by the sudden death of my second husband, within so brief a period after our marriage, I felt impelled to devote myself anew to the task of advancing the cause of the Confederacy by all the means in my power, the circumstances were all materially different from what they were when, the first time I was made a widow, I started for Virginia, full of the idea of taking part in whatever fighting was to be done. It was no longer possible for me to figure as successfully in the character of a soldier as I had done. My secret was now known to a great many persons, and its discovery had already caused me such annoyance that I hesitated about assuming my uniform again, especially as I believed that, as a woman, I could perform very efficient service if I were only afforded proper opportunity. …

On reviewing the whole subject in my mind, I became more than ever convinced that the secret service rather than the army would afford me the best field for the exercise of my talent, although I almost more than half made up my mind to enter the army again and try my luck, as I had originally done, disguised as an officer. …

I finally concluded that the best thing for me to do was to go to Richmond, and if nothing else availed, to make a personal appeal to [Confederate President Jefferson] Davis, feeling assured that when he heard my story he would appreciate the motives which animated me and would use his influence to have me assigned to such duty as I was best qualified to perform in a satisfactory manner. This resolve having once been made, I prepared, without more delay, to visit the capital of the Confederacy, leaving behind me Atlanta, with its mingled memories of pleasure and pain.

The military situation at this time — the autumn of 1863 — was of painful interest, and the fate of the Confederacy seemed to hang trembling in the balance. In Virginia, [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee was defending Richmond with all his old success and was holding one immense army in check so effectively that the prospect of ever entering the Confederate capital as conquerors must have seemed to the enemy more remote than ever. In the West and South, however, the Confederates had lost much, and the question now with them was whether they would be able to hold what they had until the Federals were tired out and exhausted, or until England and France, wearied of the prolonged contest, consented to aid in terminating it by recognizing the Confederacy and perhaps by armed intervention.

It was known that there were [dissentions in] the North, and that there was a strong anti-war party, which it was expected would, ere long, make its power felt as it had never done before, and if the South could hold out for a season longer, would insist upon a peace being concluded upon almost any terms. Great expectations were also built upon foreign intervention, which every one felt had been delayed longer than there was any just reason for, but which it was thought could not but take place shortly. Every little while exciting rumors were set afloat, no one knew how or by whom, that either France or England had recognized the Confederacy, and many bitter disappointments were caused when their falsity was proved. The people, however, hoped on, getting poorer and poorer every day, and eagerly watching the progress of the campaign around Chattanooga.

The Mississippi River was now entirely in the hands of the Federals, and not only were the Trans-Mississippi states … lost to the Confederacy. … [Confederate Gen. Braxton] Bragg had been compelled to fall back with most of his forces to Chattanooga and had been expelled from that place, which was now in the hands of the Federals. All efforts on the part of the Federals to advance beyond Chattanooga, however, had utterly failed, and the opinion … was gaining ground that they had been caught in a trap and would in a short time be incapable of either advancing or retreating.

While I was in the hospital, Bragg gained his great victory at Chickamauga, and great hopes were excited that he would be able to follow it up with effect, and succeed in destroying the army of [Union Maj. Gen. William S.] Rosecrans. Had he succeeded in doing this, the war would have had a different ending, and the independence of the South would have been secured. It was felt by everybody that the pinch of the fight was approaching, and that in the neighborhood of Chattanooga, rather than in that of Richmond, would the decisive battle of the war be fought, and, it was hoped, won for the Confederacy. …

Much as we had lost, the situation was not an altogether discouraging one for the Confederacy. Richmond was apparently more secure than it had been two years and a half before, and nearly all the honors of the war in that vicinity had been carried off by the Confederates. Lee was making himself a name as one of the greatest generals of the age, while the Federals, although they changed the commanders of their army continually, were making no headway against him and were in constant fear of an invasion of their own territory. In the South, Bragg had just achieved a great victory over Rosecrans and had him now penned up in Chattanooga, from which it was next to impossible for him to escape in either direction. …

Well, matters did not turn out as it was expected they would. Bragg’s victory at Chickamauga was a fruitless one … and the army of Rosecrans was neither starved nor beaten into subjection. On the contrary, Rosecrans was superseded, and [Union Maj. Gen. U.S.] Grant was put in his place to follow up the victories he had won at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Vicksburg, and the army was so greatly reinforced that it was enabled to press forward and menace Atlanta and finally to capture it. …

With only the most indefinite plans for the future, and little suspecting what exciting and perilous adventures fate yet had in store for me, I proceeded, on my arrival in Richmond, to call on [Confederate Gen. John H.] Winder, and took measures to procure an interview with President Davis. From Gen. Winder I did not obtain much satisfaction, and Mr. Davis, while he was very kind to me, did not give me a great deal of encouragement. I represented to President Davis that I had been working hard for the Confederacy, both as a soldier and a spy, and that I had braved death on more than one desperately fought battlefield while acting as an independent, and that now I thought I was deserving of some official recognition. Moreover, I had lost my husband through his devotion to the cause, and, both for his sake and for my own, I desired that the government would give me such a position in the secret service corps or elsewhere as would enable me to carry on with the best effect the work that he and I had begun.

Mr. Davis was opposed to permitting me to serve in the army as an officer, attired in male costume, while he had no duties to which he could properly assign me as a woman. I left his presence, not ungratified by the kindness of his manner towards me and the sympathy which he expressed for my bereavement, but nonetheless much disappointed at the non-success of my interview with him.

Failing to obtain any satisfaction from Mr. Davis, I returned to Gen. Winder but got comparatively little encouragement from him. He finally, however, consented to give me a letter of recommendation to the commanding officer of the forces in the South and West, and transportation. This was not exactly what I wanted, but it was better than nothing. … Having obtained this important document I started off, and, for the last time, made a grand tour of the entire Southern Confederacy. Stopping from point to point, I gathered all the information I could, and thoroughly posted myself with regard to the situation — military, civil, and political — and endeavored to find a place where I could commence active operations with the best chance of achieving something of importance. …

On arriving at Mobile, I took up my quarters at the Battle House with the intention of taking a good rest … of arranging some definite plan of action for the future. I was resolved now to make a bold stroke of some kind … trusting that my usual good luck would accompany me in any enterprise I might undertake. …

In Mobile I met quite a number of officers whom I had met on the various battlefields where I had figured and received the kindest and best attentions from them all. This was most gratifying to me, and the flattering commendations that were bestowed upon me served to mitigate in a great degree the disappointment I felt on account of the non-recognition of the value of my services in other quarters.

I may as well say here, that in mentioning the disappointments I have felt at different times at not being able to obtain exactly the kind of official recognition I desired, I do not wish to appear as complaining. That I did feel disappointed is true, but reflection told me that if any one was to blame, it was myself. By entering the army as an independent, I secured a freedom of action and opportunities for participating in a great variety of adventures that I otherwise would not have had, but I also cut myself off from opportunities of regular promotion. When I resolved to start out as an independent, I was animated by a variety of motives, not the least of which was that I believed I would be able to maintain my disguise to better advantage and would have better opportunities for escaping any unpleasant consequences in case of detection than if I attached myself regularly to a command. I was right in this, and am now convinced that, on the whole, the course I pursued was the wisest one.

Not having been attached to a regular command, at least for any great length of time, it was impossible for me, however, to secure that standing with those who were best able to reward my services that was necessary, while the full value of my services could only be made known by my taking a number of people into my confidence, and this I had great objections to doing. As matters turned out, the peculiar experiences through which I passed, during the first two years of the war, were of the utmost value to me in a great many ways in the prosecution of the very important work in which I subsequently engaged. …

Book gems of 2016, Part 5

This week … a brief look at some of the best works on slavery and the U.S. Civil War era

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Summer is upon us, and the season of leisure is the perfect time for new stories, characters, ideas, and adventures. Throughout the next few weeks, Stillness of Heart continues its occasional series of critical recommendations, from Civil War battle histories to memoirs, and from intellectual histories to photobooks almost as beautiful as the natural world they celebrate.

Read Part 1 of this 2016 series here and subsequent essays in this series here.

This week … a brief look at some of the best works on slavery and the U.S. Civil War era

Emily West’s Enslaved Women in America: From Colonial Times to Emancipation (Rowman & Littlefield, 168 pp., $35) offers a stunning symphony of long-lost voices struggling to survive, caring for and protecting their children, and fighting to keep their communities intact. Few if any other scholars have studied slave women as deeply and broadly as West, and hopefully her work will become required reading in history and women’s studies courses throughout a nation and society that still owes them so much.

Patrick H. Breen’s The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt (Oxford University Press, 304 pp., $23.96) recounts the fascinating story of the 1831 slave rebellion in Southhampton County, Virginia. He then analyzes whites’ reaction to the rebellion, which in some ways is even more complicated and unexpected. As mobs exacted brutal vengeance on the slave populations — guilty or not — slaveowners found themselves protecting their slaves from their own white neighbors. Breen examines the manufactured narratives the slaveholders provided to the lynch mobs and deepens our understanding of the precarious stability of the antebellum slaveholding societies.

Mark K. Christ’s Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State (University of Oklahoma Press, 336 pp., $19.95) offers a fascinating analysis of the campaigns for control of the strategically valuable Arkansas River Valley, which were (and still are) overshadowed by U.S. Grant’s brilliant Vicksburg operations unfolding at the same time. His work challenges scholars, students, and enthusiasts to look beyond traditional war histories and theaters and envision a far more complicated war and wartime era.

For a personal account of how the Civil War ripped apart Arkansas communities, spend some time with Torn by War: The Civil War Journal of Mary Adelia Byers, edited by Samuel R. Phillips (University of Oklahoma Press, 248 pp., $19.95). Union military forces occupied her hometown of Batesville. She witnessed unprecedented suffering. The war overturned her understanding of her place in her state and in her nation. Byers takes her place alongside Southern diarists like Mary Chesnut and Kate Stone as an important witness to the wrenching changes the war brought to the South.

Another fascinating primary source is Vicki Adams Tongate’s Another Year Finds Me in Texas: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Pier Stevens (University of Texas Press, 367 pp., $29.95). Stevens, from Ohio, found herself trapped in Texas when the war broke out. Fortunately, she channeled her concerns, observations, sense of humor, and wide-ranging interests into a diary, which is an incredible encapsulation of wartime Texas from an outsider’s perspective. It’s a Unionist memoir with an extra twist, touching on gender identities, social changes, and even political loyalties, specifically when, like Stone, Stevens grew fond of Texans.

Lone Star Unionism, Dissent, and Resistance: Other Sides of Civil War Tejas, edited by Jesus F. de la Teja (University of Oklahoma Press, 296 pp., $29.95), brings the necessary complexity to the story of Texas in the Civil War, shattering the assumption that the Confederate state was filled with Confederate loyalists. The essay anthology explores how Unionist Texans, slaves, German immigrants, Tejanos, women, and political leaders waged their own wars of independence or resistance throughout its societies and communities during and after the war.

John W. Robinson’s Los Angeles in Civil War Days, 1860-1865 (University of Oklahoma Press, 204 pp., $19.95) paints a portrait of a place starkly different from what we know today. The small California town stood in the long shadow of San Francisco, and war brought economic and social strife to the area. Robinson explores how it became a microcosm of the struggle between pro-Union and pro-secessionist forces, a battleground between different races and cultures fighting for dominance, and the site of sickness, drought, and riots.

Stephen D. Engle’s Gathering to Save a Nation: Lincoln and the Union’s War Governors (University of North Carolina Press, 624 pp., $49.95) highlights a rarely-explored perspective of the Civil War. Governors of the loyal states gathered troops for the Union armies, marshaled public support for the war effort, and calculated political support for the Lincoln administration. Engle’s work is part biography anthology, part political analysis, and part homefront history. Engle enriches all three aspects of Civil War literature and highlights relationships that were far more crucial to Union victory than historians previously understood.

Louise L. Stevenson’s Lincoln in the Atlantic World (Cambridge University Press, 283 pp., $79.99) is a valuable addition to the growing scholarship on the Civil War in a global context. Personally, it is one of the literature’s most exciting, challenging, and fascinating conversations. Stevenson considers the African and European influences on Lincoln’s growth into a “global republican,” a champion of democratic republics in a predatory world of empires and kingdoms, and the supreme warrior in that global struggle who faced the challenge of civil war and saved the future of democracy.

Laura F. Edwards’s A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights (Cambridge University Press, 226 pp., $64) reminds us that the Civil War’s greatest effect was on American law and on the redefinition of citizenship, with all the rights that came with it. But Edwards is also careful to remind us that initial improvements did not lead to ultimate success or justice. The incredible accomplishments of the war and the Reconstruction Era required sustained commitment from subsequent generations for the benefits of those triumphs to take hold. Her history is a cautionary tale for modern citizens who not only take for granted today’s freedoms but also forget how brittle those rights can be when not actively sustained and protected.

Life and Limb: Perspectives on the American Civil War, edited by David Seed, Stephen C. Kenny, and Chris Williams (Oxford University Press, 240 pp., $29.95), offers vital insight into medicine in the Civil War, one of the era’s saddest subjects. For the men and women who participated as doctors, nurses, and caretakers, the war’s truest victories were found in their patients’ and loved ones’ survival and recovery. The essays explore the evolution of medical knowledge, the way writers coped with their experiences, the way the war shaped fiction, and accounts from the patients themselves. Nothing should be more important than to highlight the primal and complete suffering any war of any era unleashes on the human experience.

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Book gems of 2016
An occasional series
Jan. 3: Antiquity, Civil War, World War II, and space
June 22: Presidents and the political world
June 29: Texas and Texas history
July 6: Latin America
July 13: Slavery and the Civil War era
July 20: World War I and II, science, culture, and literature

Loreta’s Civil War: The sensations of a soldier

Velazquez describes the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, condemns the instances of cowardice she witnessed, and recounts the horrors that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

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Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart will share edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Part 12: Velazquez describes the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, condemns the instances of cowardice she witnessed, and recounts the horrors that stayed with her for the rest of her life.

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It might be supposed that one battle would have been enough for me, and that after having seen, as at Bull Run, the carnage incident to a desperate conflict between thousands of infuriated combatants, I should have been glad to have abandoned a soldier’s career, and to have devoted myself to the service of the Confederacy in some other capacity than that of a fighter. Indeed, it so turned out, that the most efficient services I did perform in behalf of the cause which I espoused, were other than those of a strictly military character, although quite as important as any rendered by the bravest fighters when standing face to face to the enemy. But it was, in a measure, due to necessity rather than to original choice, that I undertook work of a different kind from that which I had in my mind when first donning my uniform. We are all of us, more or less, the creatures of circumstances; and when I saw that the fact of my being a woman would enable me to play another role from that which I had at first intended, I did not hesitate, but readily accepted what Fate had to offer.

The Battle of Bull Run, however, only quickened my ardor to participate in another affair of a similar kind, and the months of enforced inaction, which succeeded that battle, had the effect of making me long, with exceeding eagerness, to experience again the excitement which thrilled me on the sultry July day, when the army of the Confederacy won its first great victory. The sensations which, on the battlefield, overcome a soldier who knows nothing of fear can only be compared to those of a gambler who is playing for enormous stakes. The more noble origin of the emotions experienced in the one case over those excited by the other does not prevent them from being essentially similar, although the gambler, who is staking his all on the turn of a card, can know little or nothing of the glorious excitement of the soldier engaged in a deadly conflict with an enemy, and feeling that its issue depends upon his putting forth his utmost exertions, and that determined valor can alone secure him the victory.

The sensations of a soldier in the thick of a fight baffle description; and, as his hopes rise or sink with the ebb and flow of the battle, as he sees comrades falling about him dead and wounded, hears the sharp hiss of the bullets, the shrieking of the shells, the yells of the soldiers on each side as they smite each other, there is a positive enjoyment in the deadly perils of the occasion that nothing can equal.

At Bull Run, it so happened that I was placed where the fight was hottest, where the enemy made his most determined attacks, where the soldiers of the South made their most desperate resistance, and where, for hours, the fate of the battle trembled in the balance. When at length victory crowned our banners, the enemy fled from the field, and we saw no more of them, and desperate as was the fight, it was, notwithstanding the great number of killed and wounded, unattended with the peculiar horrors, the mere thought of which is calculated to send a shudder through the strongest nerves.

The second battle in which I participated — that at Ball’s Bluff — was accompanied by every circumstance of horror; and although in the excitement of the moment, when every faculty of mind and body was at extreme tension, and I was only inspired with an intense eagerness to do my whole duty for my cause, I did not fully realize the enormities of such a slaughter as was involved in the defeat of the Federals at that place, I have never been able to think of it without a shudder, notwithstanding that I have fought on more than one bloody field since. Such scenes, however, are inseparable from warfare, and those who take up arms must steel themselves against them. …

[T]here was a tolerably open piece of ground, cut up somewhat by ridges and hollows, and surrounded by a thick growth of woods. This timber for a while concealed the combatants from each other, and it was impossible for us to tell what force we were contending with. The woods seemed to be alive with combatants, and it was thought that the enemy was strongly fortified. Notwithstanding the uncertainties with regard to the number of our opponents, we attacked with spirit, and for a time the fight was bravely carried on by both armies. The enemy certainly fought exceedingly well, especially considering the precariousness of their position, although, of course, we did not know at the time the attack was made that our foes were in such a desperate predicament. …

I thought the struggle at Bull Run a desperate one, but that battle at its fiercest did not begin to equal this; and when finally we did succeed in routing the enemy, I experienced a sense of satisfaction and relief that was overwhelming. For three weary hours the fighting continued without intermission; and although for a long while the result was dubious, at length, as the chilly October day was about closing, the enemy having lost a great number of men and officers … and being hemmed in on three sides, were driven in confusion into the river.

Shortly after the fight commenced, I took charge of a company which had lost all its officers, and I do not think that either my men or myself failed to do our full duty. Perhaps, if I had been compelled to maneuver my command in the open field, I might not have done it as skillfully as some others would, although I believe that I could have played the part of a captain quite as well as a good many of them who held regular commissions as commanders of companies, and a good deal better than some others who aspired to be officers before learning the first rudiments of their business, and without having the pluck to conduct themselves before the enemy in a manner at all correspondent to their braggart style of behavior when not smelling gunpowder under compulsion. In this battle, however, fighting as we were for the most part in the woods, there was little or no maneuvering to be done, and my main duties were to keep the men together, and to set them an example. This latter I certainly did.

After the battle was over, the first lieutenant of the company which I was commanding came in and relieved me, stating that he had been taken prisoner, but had succeeded in making his escape in the confusion incident to the Federal defeat. I did not say anything, but had my very serious doubts as to the story which he told being the exact truth. He had a very sheepish look, as if he was ashamed of himself for playing a sneaking, cowardly trick; and I shall always believe that when the firing commenced, he found an opportunity to slink away to the rear for the purpose of getting out of the reach of danger.

I have seen a good many officers like this one, who were brave enough when strutting about in the streets of cities and villages, showing themselves off in their uniforms to the women, or when airing their authority in camp, by bullying the soldiers under them, but who were the most arrant cowards under fire, and who ought to have been court-martialed and shot, instead of being permitted to disgrace their uniforms, and to demoralize their men, by their dastardly behavior when in the face of the enemy. My colored boy Bob was a better soldier than some of the white men who thought themselves immensely his superiors; and having possessed himself of a gun, he fought as well as he knew how, like the rest of us. When the enemy gave way, I could hear Bob yelling vociferously; and I confess that I was proud of the darkey’s pluck and enthusiasm. …

At the point where I stood the Potomac River was very wide, and it presented a sight such as I prayed that I might never behold again. The enemy were literally driven down the bluff and into the river, and crowds of them were floundering in the water and grappling with death. This horrible spectacle made me shudder; for, although they were my foes, they were human beings, and my heart must have been hard, indeed, could it not have felt for their sufferings. I was willing to fight them to death’s door in the open field, and to ask no favors, taking the same chances for life as they had; but I had no heart for their ruthless slaughter. The woman in me revolted at the fiendish delight which some of our soldiers displayed at the sight of the terrible agony endured by those who had, but a short time before, been contesting the field with them so valiantly, and I could scarcely refrain from making some decisive effort to put a stop to the carnage, and to relieve my suffering foes. For the first time since putting on my uniform I was thrown off my guard, and should certainly have done something to betray my secret had I not fortunately restrained myself in time. Such scenes as these, however, are inseparable from warfare, and they must be endured by those who adopt a soldier’s career. The pitiable spectacles which followed our brilliant victory at Ball’s Bluff, however, had the effect of satisfying my appetite for fighting for a time; and after it was all over, I was by no means as anxious for another battle, as I had been after the victory at Bull Run. …

Loreta’s Civil War: Hard-drinking and blaspheming patriots

Velazquez follows her husband into a bar to learn what men are like when civilizing women are absent. He hopes to dissuade her from life among Confederate soldiers. But the experience makes her more determined than ever to join him the army and share his dangers and triumphs.

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Throughout 2016 and 2017, Stillness of Heart will share edited excerpts from the extraordinary memoir of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who chronicled her adventures throughout the Civil War — either as herself, as a Confederate spy, or in disguise as Confederate Lt. Harry T. Buford. She fought and led men in terrible battles, fell in love, bore and lost children, and traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, ultimately fulfilling her childhood dream of a rich and adventurous life.

You can read the entire 1876 memoir online here. Learn more about Velazquez (and the incredible documentary film Maria Agui Carter made about her) here.

Part 5: Velazquez follows her husband into a bar to learn what men are like when civilizing women are absent. He hopes to dissuade her from life among Confederate soldiers. But the experience makes her more determined than ever to join him the army and share his dangers and triumphs.

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Braiding my hair very close, I put on a man’s wig and a false mustache, and by tucking my pantaloons in my boots, as I had seen men do frequently, and otherwise arranging the garments, which were somewhat large for me, I managed to transform myself into a very presentable man. As I surveyed myself in the mirror I was immensely pleased with the figure I cut, and fancied that I made quite as good looking a man as my husband. My toilet once completed, it was not long before we were in the street, I doing my best to walk with a masculine gait, and to behave as if I had been accustomed to wear pantaloons all my life. I confess, that when it actually came to the point of appearing in public in this sort of attire, my heart began to fail me a little; but I was bent on going through with the thing, and so, plucking up courage, I strode along by the side of my husband with as unconcerned an air as it was possible for me to put on.

Presently we crossed over to a bar-room, which we found nearly filled with men smoking and drinking, and doing some pretty tall talking about the war, and the style in which the Yankees were going to be wiped out. … I was too frightened and bewildered by the novelty of my situation to pay very close attention to all I saw and heard, but it flashed upon me that some of these loud-talking, hard-drinking, and blaspheming patriots were not so valiant, after all, as they professed to be. My after experiences fully confirmed my first impressions, that the biggest talkers are not always the best fighters, and that a good many men will say things over a glass of whiskey in a bar-room, who won’t do a tenth part of what they say if they are once placed within smelling distance of gunpowder.

I had scarcely time to take a good look at the room and its occupants, when my husband caught sight of a couple of men who had belonged to his regiment, and who were very particular friends of mine. I was dreadfully afraid they would recognize me, but there was no escaping from them, as they came up so soon as they saw us, and I was introduced as a young fellow who was on a visit to Memphis to see the sights and to pick up war news.

My husband treated, he and his two comrades taking something strong, while I, in accordance with the instructions given me before starting out, called for a glass of cider, only a part of which I imbibed. After a little conversation, my husband whispered to me to call for the next treat. I was getting to be somewhat disgusted with the whole business, but was bound not to break down; so, stepping up to the bar, I invited the party, with as masculine a manner as I could put on, to drink with me. This time I took a glass of sarsaparilla, and when all had their drinks poured out, raising my tumbler, I cried out, “Gentlemen, here’s to the success of our young Confederacy.”

As I said this, my heart was almost ready to jump out of my throat. The men, however, gave a rousing cheer, and one of them yelled out, “We drink that toast every time, young fellow.” He then put his hand into his pocket, as if about to get his money to pay for the drinks, but I prevented him, saying, “Excuse me, sir, this is my treat,” and laid a twenty dollar gold piece on the counter. Each of us then took a cigar, I watching to see how they managed theirs before daring to put mine in my mouth. After I had gotten a light, I was not able to take more than three or four whiffs, for my head began to swim, and I knew if I kept on I should soon be deathly sick. As it was, I did not feel at all comfortable, but thought I could bear up, and said nothing for fear of being laughed at.

I was very glad to get out of the bar-room, and into the fresh air again; so, bidding our friends good night, we started off, I throwing my cigar away at the first opportunity I had of doing so without being observed. Eager to hear my husband’s opinion, I asked him if he did not think I played my part pretty well. He replied, “Oh, yes,” but I could see that he was very much dissatisfied with the whole performance. Before returning to the hotel we made a general tour of the city, visiting all the principal gambling-houses and saloons, my husband evidently hoping I should be so shocked with what I saw and heard that I should be ready to give up my wild scheme without farther talk about it.

When we were once more in our room he locked the door, and, throwing himself on the lounge, said, “Well, don’t you feel pretty much disgusted?”

To please him I said, “Yes,” adding, however, “but then I can stand anything to be with you, and to serve the sunny South.”

“Now, Loreta,” said he, “I have done this tonight for the purpose of showing you what men are like, and how they behave themselves when they are out of the sight and hearing of decent women, whom they are forced to respect. What you have seen and heard, however, is nothing to what you will be compelled to see and hear in camp, where men are entirely deprived of female society, and are under the most demoralizing influences. The language that will constantly greet your ears, and the sights that will meet your eye in camp, where thousands of men are congregated, are simply indescribable; and it is out of all reason that you should even think of associating in the manner you propose with soldiers engaged in warfare. …”

I pretended to be satisfied with his arguments, but was, nevertheless, resolved more firmly than ever, so soon as he took his departure, to put my plans into execution. …