In 1860, Ohio was among the most influential states in the nation. As the third-most-populous state and the largest in the middle west, it embraced those elements that were in concert-but also at odds-in American society during the Civil War era. Ohio's War uses documents from that vibrant and tumultuous time to reveal how Ohio's soldiers and civilians experienced the CiviIn 1860, Ohio was among the most influential states in the nation. As the third-most-populous state and the largest in the middle west, it embraced those elements that were in concert-but also at odds-in American society during the Civil War era. Ohio's War uses documents from that vibrant and tumultuous time to reveal how Ohio's soldiers and civilians experienced the Civil War. It examines Ohio's role in the sectional crises of the 1850s, its contribution to the Union war effort, and the war's impact on the state itself. In doing so, it provides insights into the war's meaning for northern society. Ohio's War introduces some of those soldiers who left their farms, shops, and forges to fight for the Union. It documents the stories of Ohio's women, who sustained households, organized relief efforts, and supported political candidates. It conveys the struggles and successes of free blacks and former slaves who claimed freedom in Ohio and the distinct wartime experiences of its immigrants. It also includes the voices of Ohioans who differed over emancipation, freedom of speech, the writ of habeas corpus, the draft, and the war's legacy for American society. From Ohio's large cities to its farms and hamlets, as the documents in this volume show, the war changed minds and altered lives but left some beliefs and values untouched. Ohio's War is a documentary history not only of the people of one state, but also of a region and a nation during the pivotal epoch of American history....
|Title||:||Ohio’s War: The Civil War in Documents|
|Number of Pages||:||264 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Ohio’s War: The Civil War in Documents Reviews
Ohio played a vitally important role in the Union cause during the American Civil War. Over 300,000 Ohio soldiers wore Union blue, and Ohio-born generals like Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman were among the key architects of Union victory. In Ohio’s War: The Civil War in Documents, Christine Dee provides a helpful home-front documentary history of how a major Midwestern state and its people experienced the Civil War era.Dee, a professor of history at Fitchburg State College, brings together a helpful array of primary-source documents. Readers who are interested in the battlefront experiences of Ohio’s Union soldiers will find plenty of that sort of content in Ohio’s War, as with the letters that physician William Parker Johnson of the 18th Ohio Infantry Regiment wrote home to his wife Julia in Athens. “Park” Johnson experienced a paradoxical mix of emotions: missing the family at home, while at the same time feeling invigorated by the camaraderie and adventure of soldiering. From Tullahoma, Tennessee, “Park” wrote to Julia on July 29 that “I get the blues sometimes most awfully and I assure you that you and the children never seemed so dear to me as now” (p. 100). A month later, by contrast, “Park” was writing from Nashville that “So far as the mere labor is concerned I believe I would rather occupy my present position than return to my old practice over the Athens County hills” (p. 101), and reporting excitedly the regiment’s recent success in a skirmish with Confederate troops.But while 300,000 Ohioans put on blue uniforms and served in the Union Army, there were two million other Ohioans who remained at home; and Ohio’s War puts appropriate emphasis on their wartime experiences as well. The political divisions of Ohio reflected the divisions of the nation as large. In southern Ohio particularly, there were a number of people whose businesses, in one way or another, benefited from the proximity of slaveholding Kentucky; and some white Ohioans with Southern heritage or family ties sympathized more or less openly with the Confederacy, as when Hugh Anderson of St. Clairsville in Belmont County lamented that “this state is hopelessly gone for black republicanism – but I do believe that 1/3 of its inhabitants are with the south in their feelings and sympathies” (p. 48). Anderson’s wife meanwhile assured a relative in Alabama that “I believe I could mould bullets and make sand bags equal to any of the Southern Ladies my heart is with the South” (p. 51). Perhaps we should not be surprised at such frank expressions of pro-Confederate sentiment on the part of some Ohioans; after all, Clement Vallandigham, the notorious “Copperhead” leader of anti-war and anti-abolition Democrats, was himself an Ohioan.At the same time, the African-American population of Ohio fought hard to make sure that that terrible war would result in the abolition of slavery, and in freedom for all Americans. Milton M. Holland of the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the state’s first African-American regiment, wrote proudly to his Athens County home in January 1864 regarding the meritorious service that his regiment was performing in the area around Norfolk, Virginia. Along with reporting a victory over Confederate guerrillas in the unit’s first military engagement, Holland described how “During that raid, thousands of slaves belonging to rebel masters were liberated. You are aware that the colored man makes no distinction in regard to persons, so I may say all belonging to slaveholders were liberated” (p. 169). At a time when some Northern whites were still seeking to differentiate between “loyal” and “disloyal” slaveholders, Holland saw – with a moral clarity that many of his time, and of later times, might have envied – that the war was about slavery, and would not truly end until slavery was utterly destroyed.I purchased Ohio’s War at the Book Loft, a wonderful independent bookstore in Columbus’s German Village, and I have carried my copy of the book with me while visiting various Civil War sites of Ohio – something that is not at all like Civil War tourism in the South, where most of the war was fought, and where battlefields sometimes seem to be around every corner. At Johnson’s Island – once a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate officers, and a site where the bitterly cold Lake Erie winters were no doubt particularly unpleasant for prisoners from Deep South states like Alabama and Louisiana – I looked across the lake from Johnson’s Island and saw the roller coasters of the Cedar Point amusement park: truly, a strange meeting place of the present and the past. One can also visit Buffington’s Island on the Ohio River, where the ill-fated cavalry raiders of Confederate general John Hunt Morgan lost their last chance of escape, and nearby Salineville (the northernmost point ever reached by an organized unit of uniformed Confederate soldiers), where Morgan surrendered to the Union. The Civil War sites of Ohio are a quiet, unobtrusive part of the landscape of the Buckeye State, but are all the more evocative for that very reason.On a recent visit with family in the Ohio River Valley, we dined in a pleasant riverfront restaurant in Pomeroy, and later drove through the town’s modest downtown with its 19th-century architecture. I imagined young men signing up at the local recruiting station, going off to Camp Chase in Columbus to train, and then marching off to the front. Some of them would die on battlefields like Shiloh or Chickamauga; others would perish amidst the horrific conditions of Confederate prison camps like Andersonville. The lucky ones would return alive to the Buckeye State – but many of them would return grievously wounded, physically or psychologically or both. Those returning soldiers would find that in postwar Ohio, the political divisions that had haunted the state in antebellum times were still very much a feature of Ohio life. Well-illustrated, and furnished with a timeline and a set of discussion questions, Ohio’s War: The Civil War in Documents captures Ohio’s Civil War experience in all its complexity.
This book was a tough read, mainly for its subject rather than production value or anything. I chose this book as research for a novella I'm working on; I needed to know what the homefront in Ohio was like during the Civil War. This book, a collection of speeches, articles, and letters to and from the battlefield, did just that. This book, better than any other I've found, focuses on how conflicted Ohio happened to be, despite having volunteered the most soldiers to the Union Army of any Union state. We read about fathers against Lincoln, and sons for Lincoln. We read about men who went to war supporting the Union, but not Lincoln. We read about mothers asking their sons and husbands to be safe, and then read in the footnote the recipient died before the letter got there. We read about the Great Debate of slavery, and how and why Ohioans should or shouldn't care.By the end of the book, I felt quite anxious, actually. The book begins about a decade before the war, setting up politics and the like, and ends a decade after the war, where we read speeches that show how the American memory is already rewriting history to seem more grand, more noble in motivation, than the actual war was in living it.All in all, a great resource that I've marked and annotated thoroughly.