As the Civil War entered its first full calendar year for the Old Dominion, Virginians began to experience the full ramifications of the conflict. Their expectations for the coming year did not prepare them for what was about to happen; in 1862 the war became earnest and real, and the state became then and thereafter the major battleground of the war in the East. Virginia emerged from the year 1861 in much the same state of uncertainty and confusion as the rest of the Confederacy. While the North was known to be rebuilding its army, no one could be sure if the northern people and government were willing to continue the war. The landscape and the people of Virginia were a part of the battlefield. Virginia at War, 1862 demonstrates how no aspect of life in the Commonwealth escaped the war's impact. The collection of essays examines topics as diverse as daily civilian life and the effects of military occupation, the massive influx of tens of thousands of wounded and sick into Richmond, and the wartime expansion of Virginia's industrial base, the largest in the Confederacy. Out on the field, Robert E. Lee's army was devastated by the Battle of Antietam, and Lee strove to rebuild the army with recruits from the interior of the state. Many Virginians, however, were far behind the front lines. A growing illustrated press brought the war into the homes of civilians and allowed them to see what was happening in their state and in the larger war beyond their borders. To round out this volume, indefatigable Richmond diarist Judith McGuire continues her day-by-day reflections on life during wartime. The second in a five-volume series examining each year of the war, Virginia at War, 1862 illuminates the happenings on both homefront and battlefield in the state that served as the crucible of America's greatest internal conflict.
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