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Virginia at War, 1862

Virginia at War, 1862

William C. Davis
James I. Robertson
Series: Virginia at War
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Virginia at War, 1862
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-7284-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr.
  4. Land Operations in Virginia in 1862
    (pp. 1-16)
    John S. Salmon

    During the Virginia campaigns of 1862, two men made their military reputations: Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Three other men saw theirs demolished: George B. McClellan, John Pope, and Ambrose E. Burnside. McClellan had the distinction of rising phoenixlike from the ashes of the Peninsula Campaign only to fall from favor following his almost accidental victory on Antietam Creek in Maryland. Pope became the victim of his own bluster as well as of the successful melding of Confederate generalship at Manassas Junction. Burnside’s fortunes declined after the debacle at Fredericksburg, and then he finished himself off with...

  5. Virginia’s Industry and the Conduct of War in 1862
    (pp. 17-36)
    Harold S. Wilson

    In the second year of the war Confederate troops in Virginia endured both the enemy at the front and the inefficiency of the Confederate War Department at the rear. Sometimes there were more supplies to be obtained from the enemy on the battlefield than from the Confederacy’s rear depots.¹ Battlefield literati wrote that planters took better care of common slaves than the Confederate government did its soldiers. Deliveries of military supplies were sporadic; but there were both peaks and valleys. Confederate bureau chiefs in the War Department, Abraham C. Myers in the Quartermaster’s Bureau, Josiah Gorgas in Ordnance, and Lucius...

  6. Virginia’s Civilians at War in 1862
    (pp. 37-54)
    John G. Selby

    When the new year of 1862 dawned, Virginians could look forward with a mixture of relief and trepidation. The enormous state had lost 24,000 square miles in October 1861, when forty-eight counties in the northwestern sector seceded from the state, coming under Federal protection. Given that the sentiment in most of those counties was decidedly Unionist, there was little sense of loss in Confederate Virginia. Two battles had been fought on Virginia’s soil, Manassas in July and Ball’s Bluff in October 1861, both ending in Confederate victories. Virginia’s armies were in winter quarters now, resting and training in anticipation of...

  7. The Trials of Military Occupation
    (pp. 55-70)
    Thomas P. Lowry

    The process of going to war involves three beliefs. The first is that some external enemy is intolerable in his philosophies, policies, and actions. Whether the perceived enemy is a Bolshevik, a capitalist, an unbeliever, or an abolitionist, the process is the same. The second belief is that this enemy can be easily overcome, because he is evil, or undeserving, or of weak moral fiber, the corollary being that the person proposing war possesses some special quality, whether it be élan, or Bushido, or manifest destiny, or having been chosen by God.

    The third essential belief on the road to...

  8. Richmond, the Confederate Hospital City
    (pp. 71-92)
    David J. Coles

    In July 1862 the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, was still recovering from the Peninsula Campaign, which saw a massive Union army under Maj. Gen. George McClellan approach to within a few miles of the city before being pushed back down the peninsula to Harrison’s Landing. A reporter for theCharleston (S.C.) Mercuryhad returned by train to the capital after a one-month holiday. “One feels the dread of infection as he gets nearer and nearer this war-scarred city,” he related. “Soldiers crowd the cars—dirty convalescents from the country hospitals—sick trains pass him on the way; he catches...

  9. Virginians See Their War
    (pp. 93-122)
    Harold Holzer

    On September 13, 1862, more than a year after the Confederate government established itself in Richmond, Virginia, the capital city finally welcomed its first illustrated newspaper, theSouthern Illustrated News.At last, after nearly fourteen months of war, civilian readers would finally enjoy access to something Northern audiences had long taken for granted: regularly published pictures of the battles and leaders of their cause.

    Until the war began, Virginians, too, had surely subscribed to non-Southern pictorial sheets likeHarper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,and even theLondon Illustrated News.But these picture-rich periodicals became unavailable to readers in the...

  10. Virginia’s Troubled Interior
    (pp. 123-138)
    Brian Steel Wills

    The year 1862 opened inauspiciously for Union and Confederate forces facing each other in the far reaches of southwestern Virginia. During the previous year of conflict, little of a military nature had occurred in the region compared to the action that took place in the northwestern and central portions of the state. Area citizens had little direct exposure to the war that raged around them, although the existence of gaps through the mountainous terrain, the proximity of the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, and the ambitions of commanders in the region portended an alteration in that state of affairs.

    There were...

  11. Lee Rebuilds His Army
    (pp. 139-154)
    Dennis E. Frye

    No battle had stressed Robert E. Lee more than Antietam. Sixteen of Lee’s brigades had not arrived when Gen. George B. McClellan attacked astride the Hagerstown Pike at dawn on September 17. Three of the Confederate commander’s nine divisions were still en route from nearby Harpers Ferry. Lee faced a foe more than double his strength when the fighting commenced north of Sharpsburg. Quickly the disparate numbers exacted their toll.

    Lee’s left buckled as farmer Miller’s cornfield converted into a Confederate killing field. Lee’s center collapsed after a three-hour defense at the Bloody Lane. Lee’s right recoiled following a stubborn...

  12. Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War, January–July 1862
    (pp. 155-228)
    Judith Brockenbrough McGuire

    Refugee life in the second year of the Civil War was laborious for Judith Brockenbrough McGuire, her feeble minister-husband, and her two stepdaughters. For eight months after abandoning their Alexandria home, the McGuires had made temporary residences with friends and neighbors in the Clarke County and Winchester areas. They departed Winchester on Christmas Eve, 1861. By stage and rail the husband, wife, and two daughters made their way to the Brockenbrough estate, “Westwood,” just north of Richmond in Hanover County.

    That stay lasted two weeks before the family moved to Richmond, the crowded center of the Confederate government. Judith McGuire...

  13. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 229-234)
  14. Index
    (pp. 235-244)