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  • The American Civil War, Sam Watkins
    harvest It was the grand coronation of death Would that I could turn the page But I feel though I did so that page would still be there teeming with its scenes of horror and blood I can only tell of what I saw It was four o clock on that dark and dismal December day when the line of battle was formed and those devoted heroes were ordered forward to Strike for their altars and their fires For the green graves of their sires For God and their native land As they marched on down through an open field toward the rampart of blood and death the Federal batteries began to open and mow down and gather into the garner of death as brave and good and pure spirits as the world ever saw The twilight of evening had begun to gather as a percursor of the coming blackness of midnight darkness that was to envelop a scene so sickening and horrible that it is impossible for me to describe it Forward men is repeated all along the line A sheet of fire was poured into our very faces and for a moment we halted as if in despair as the terrible avalanche of shot and shell laid low those brave and gallant heroes whose bleeding wounds attested that the struggle would be desperate Forward men And the blood spurts in a perfect jet from the dead and wounded The earth is red with blood It runs in streams making little rivulets as it flows Occasionally there was a little lull in the storm of battle as the men were loading their guns and for a few moments it seemed as if night tried to cover the scene with her mantle The death angel shrieks and laughs and old Father Time is busy with his sickle as he gathers in the last harvest of death crying More more more while his rapacious maw is glutted with the slain But the skirmish line being deployed out extending a little wider than the battle did passing through a thicket of small locusts where Brown orderly sergeant of Company B was killed we advanced on toward the breastworks on and on I had made up my mind to die felt glorious We pressed forward until I heard the terrific roar of battle open on our right Cleburne s division was charging their works I passed on until I got to their works and got over on their the Yankees side But in fifty yards of where I was the scene was lit up by fires that seemed like hell itself It appeared to be but one line of streaming fire Our troops were upon one side of the breastworks and the Federals on the other I ran up on the line of works where our men were engaged Dead soldiers filled the entrenchments The firing was kept up until after midnight and gradually died out We passed the night where we were

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/watkins.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Clara Barton
    51 and in 1852 she established in Bordentown New Jersey a free school that soon became so large that the townsmen would no longer allow a woman to run it Rather than subordinate herself to a male principal Barton resigned She was then employed by the U S Patent Office in Washington D C from 1854 to 1857 and again in 1860 At the outbreak of the American Civil War Barton showed characteristic initiative in organizing facilities to recover soldiers lost baggage and in securing medicine and supplies for men wounded in the first battle of Bull Run She gained permission to pass through the battle lines to distribute supplies search for the missing and nurse the wounded Barton carried on this work through the remainder of the Civil War traveling with the army as far south as Charleston in 1863 In June 1864 she was formally appointed superintendent of nurses for the Army of the James In 1865 at the request of President Abraham Lincoln she set up a bureau of records to aid in the search for missing men While she was in Europe for a rest 1869 70 the Franco German War broke out and Barton again distributed relief supplies to war victims In Europe she became associated with the International Red Cross and after her return to the United States in 1873 she campaigned vigorously and successfully for that country to sign the Geneva Convention The agreement sought to allow for the treating of the sick and wounded in battle the proper identifying and burial of those killed in battle and the proper handling of prisoners of war In 1881 she organized the American Association of the Red Cross known from 1893 as the American National Red Cross and served as its president until 1904 She

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/clara_barton.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Belle Boyd
    and held for a month in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington Exchanged a month later she was in exile with relatives for a time but was again arrested in June 1863 while on a visit to Martinsburg On December 1 1863 she was released suffering from typhoid and was then sent to Europe to regain her health The blockade runner she attempted to return on was captured and she

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/belle_boyd.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Mary Chesnut
    the people rose and fell with each victory or defeat and of the momentous events that took place in Charleston Montgomery and Richmond But the Diary has an importance quite apart from the interest that lies in these pictures Mrs Chesnut was close to forty years of age when the war began and thus had lived through the most stirring scenes in the controversies that led to it In this Diary as perhaps nowhere else in the literature of the war will be found the Southern spirit of that time expressed in words which are not alone charming as literature but genuinely human in their spontaneousness their delightfully unconscious frankness Her words are the farthest possible removed from anything deliberate academic or purely intellectual They ring so true that they start echoes The most uncompromising Northern heart can scarcely fail to be moved by their abounding sincerity surcharged though it be with that old Southern fire which overwhelmed the army of McDowell at Bull Run In making more clear the unyielding tenacity of the South and the stern conditions in which the war was prosecuted the Diary has further importance At the beginning there was no Southern leader in so far as we can gather b March 31 1823 Pleasant Hill S C U S d Nov 22 1886 Camden S C Mary Chesnut is the author of A Diary from Dixie an insightful view of Southern life and leadership during the American Civil War Mary Miller was the daughter of a prominent South Carolina politician and grew up in an atmosphere of public service She attended private schools in Camden and Charleston In 1840 she married James Chesnut Jr who later served as a U S senator from South Carolina until he resigned to take an important role in

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/mary_chesnut.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Dorothea Dix
    years working for improved treatment of mentally ill patients and for better prison conditions A week after the attack on Fort Sumter Dix at age 59 volunteered her services to the Union and received the appointment in June 1861 placing her in charge of all women nurses working in army hospitals Serving in that position without pay through the entire war Dix quickly molded her vaguely defined duties She convinced skeptical military officials unaccustomed to female nurses that women could perform the work acceptably and then recruited women Battling the prevailing stereo types and accepting many of the common prejudices herself Dix sought to ensure that her ranks not be inundated with flighty and marriage minded young women by only accepting applicants who were plain looking and older than 30 In addition Dix authorized a dress code of modest black or brown skirts and forbade hoops or jewelry Even with these strict and arbitrary requirements relaxed somewhat as the war persisted a total of over 3 000 women served as Union army nurses Called Dragon Dix by some the superintendent was stern and brusque clashing frequently with the military bureaucracy and occasionally ignoring administrative details Yet army nursing care was

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/dorothea_dix_1802.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Elizabeth Van Lew
    fell she used her reputation for innocuous idiosyncrasy as a shield behind which her shrewd and resourceful mind devised schemes to abet the Union cause from within Richmond Her first target was the Confederate Libby Prison which imprisoned Union captives Pretending to make a merely humanitarian gesture Van Lew brought baskets of food medicine and books to the prisoners What she brought out would have shocked the guards she learned to charm and deceive Not only did Van Lew help some prisoners escape she also gleaned valuable information from various sources inside the prison Newly arrived Union prisoners secretly recounted the strength and dispositions of Confederate troops they had seen on their way from the front to Richmond Of even more use was information carelessly conveyed to the harmless Crazy Bet by Confederate guards and by the prison s Confederate commandant Lieutenant David H Todd Mary Todd Lincoln s half brother She even managed to penetrate the home of President Jefferson Davis by convincing one of her former servants to secure a position in the Davis household staff At first Van Lew simply mailed the information she retrieved in letters posted to Federal authorities As her work continued her methods grew more sophisticated She devised a code involving words and letters that prisoners would underline in the books she lent them Van Lew also sent her household servants though she had freed the family s slaves many of them chose to stay with her northward carrying baskets of farm produce Each basket held some eggs one of which contained encoded messages in place of its natural contents She sent her information directly to Benjamin Butler as well as to Grant through an elaborate courier system It was so fast and effective that General Grant often received flowers still fresh from

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/elizabeth_van_lew_1818.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe
    she married Calvin Ellis Stowe a clergyman and seminary professor who encouraged her literary activity and was himself an eminent biblical scholar She wrote continually and in 1843 published The Mayflower or Sketches of Scenes and Characters Among the Descendants of the Pilgrims Stowe lived for 18 years in Cincinnati separated only by the Ohio River from a slave holding community she came in contact with fugitive slaves and learned about life in the South from friends and from her own visits there In 1850 her husband became professor at Bowdoin College and the family moved to Brunswick Maine There Harriet Stowe began to write a long tale of slavery based on her reading of abolitionist literature and on her personal observations in Ohio and Kentucky Her tale was published serially 1851 52 in the National Era an antislavery paper of Washington D C in 1852 it appeared in book form as Uncle Tom s Cabin or Life Among the Lowly The book was an immediate sensation and was taken up eagerly by abolitionists while along with its author it was vehemently denounced in the South where reading or possessing the book became an extremely dangerous enterprise With sales of 300 000 in the first year the book exerted an influence equaled by few other novels in history helping to solidify both pro and antislavery sentiment The book was translated widely and several times dramatized the first time in 1852 without Stowe s permission where it played to capacity audiences Stowe was enthusiastically received on a visit to England in 1853 and there she formed friendships with many leading literary figures In that same year she published A Key to Uncle Tom s Cabin a compilation of documents and testimonies in support of disputed details of her indictment of slavery

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/harriet_beecher_stowe.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The American Civil War, Sojourner Truth 1797(?)-l883
    barn by her master one afternoon for absolutely no reason and tied up by the wrists Then he tore the shirt from her back and whipped her with a bundle of sticks until her back bled In a voice contemporaries described as rich and deep she described how she refused to give him the satisfaction of screaming by clenching her fists so hard her fingernails drew blood from her palms She also spoke of the living conditions many slaves were forced to endure crowded together into cabins with no privacy overworked fed scraps in many cases and clothed in threadbare hand me downs Her audiences must have felt the shame as Truth recalled the auction block upon which men and women alike were frequently forced to strip and stand before potential buyers who would search their bodies for marks of the whip or of wrist or leg irons the presence of which would indicate the slave had been frequently punished The slaves would be forced to endure impersonal and degrading inspections of their teeth muscles and other body parts depending on what the buyer was looking for in the purchase Truth was self educated and much of her speaking bore the stamp of a deep love of and acquaintance with Scripture When explaining to Harriet Beecher Stowe how she came to change her name Truth said she felt God had called her to travel up and down the land showing the people their sins and being a sign unto them She also possessed a quick wit coupled with an ability to think fast and turn the unkind words of others against them Facing a heckler once who told her he did not care for her anti slavery talk anymore than he would for the bite of a flea Truth retorted

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/sojourner_truth_1797.htm (2016-02-11)
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