Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln's War
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A master Civil War historian re-creates the final year of our nation’s greatest crisis.
With Tarnished Victory William Marvel concludes his sweeping four-part series—this final volume beginning with the Virginia and Atlanta campaigns in May 1864 and closing with the final surrender of Confederate forces in June 1865. In the course of that year the war grows ever more deadly, the home front is stripped to fill the armies, and the economy is crippled by debt and inflation, while the stubborn survival of the Confederacy seriously undermines support for Lincoln’s war.
In the end, it seems that Lincoln’s early critics, who played such a pivotal role at the start of the series, are proven correct. Victory did require massive bloodshed and complete conquest of the South. It also required decades of occupation to cement the achievements of 1865, and the failure of Lincoln’s political heirs to carry through with that occupation squandered the most commendable of those achievements, ultimately making it a tarnished victory. Marvel, called the “Civil War’s master historical detective” by Stephen Sears, has unearthed provocative details and rich stories long buried beneath a century of accumulated distortion and misinterpretation to create revisionist history at its best.
command over all Confederate armies early in February, although he also retained direct control of the Army of Northern Virginia, and Jefferson Davis used Lee’s new authority to evade the unpleasant task of personally reinstating Joe Johnston to head the Confederacy’s other main army. Not only did Davis and Johnston not get along personally (any better than Davis and Beauregard did), but restoring Johnston to command amounted to an acknowledgment that Davis had erred in replacing him with Hood
and to “Dear Frederic,” June 28, 1864, LC. 12. Chauncey Hill to Sarah Hill, June 17, 1864, MNHS. 13. OR, 24(3):460, 470, and Series 2, 6:78–79, 279–80, 601. 14. OR, Series 2, 6: 471–73, 594–600. 15. John Hatch to E. A. Hitchcock, May 12, 1864, CL; OR, Series 2, 7:606–7. 16. OR, Series 2, 8:991–94. Roger Pickenpaugh’s Captives in Gray provides the only study of Union military prisons overall. 17. OR, Series 2, 7:424–25, 467, 488–89, 8:997–98, and Series 3, 4:188; Allen Dauchey to Mary
BL; A. Welsh to “Friend William,” August 22, 1864, Bonner Papers, CCHS; Zerah Monks to “My Dear Sister,” August 25, 1864, WRHS; William Boston Diary, August 19, 1864, BL; John Irwin to “Dear Mother,” August 22, 1864, BL; Zerah Monks to “My dear Hattie,” August 27, 1864, WRHS; Sumner, Comstock Diary, 286. 61. OR, 42(1):429–32, 851, 42(2):451; Nevins, Wainwright Journals, 453–55; Andrew Linscott to “Dear Mary,” August 24, 1864, MHS; Zerah Monks to “My Dear Sister,” August 25, 1864, WRHS; Scott,
1864, UNH; Joseph Cross to “Dear Wife & Children,” September 23, October 23, and November 30, 1862, and January 18, 1865, and to “Dear Wife & Son,” July 26, 1864, AAS; Thomas Covert to “My Dear Wife,” July 8–11 and 17, 1864, WRHS; Samuel McCrea to Samuel Hanway, August 2, 1864, KSHS. 51. John Owen to “My Dear Mother,” July 4, 1864, MHS; Rufus Kinsley to “Dear Brother,” December 11, 1864, VTHS; Towne, Wood Letters, 191–92, 197, 198–99; George Stearns to “Dear Mother,” July 25 and August 22, 1864,
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