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Freeing Charles recounts the life and epic rescue of captured fugitive slave Charles Nalle of Culpeper, Virginia, who was forcibly liberated by Harriet Tubman and others in Troy, New York, on April 27, 1860. Scott Christianson follows Nalle from his enslavement by the Hansborough family in Virginia through his escape by the Underground Railroad and his experiences in the North on the eve of the Civil War. This engaging narrative represents the first in-depth historical study of this crucial incident, one of the fiercest anti-slavery riots after Harpers Ferry. Christianson also presents a richly detailed look at slavery culture in antebellum Virginia and probes the deepest political and psychological aspects of this epic tale. His account underscores fundamental questions about racial inequality, the rule of law, civil disobedience, and violent resistance to slavery in the antebellum North and South. As seen in New York Times and on C-Span’s Book TV.
Read more here.
It’s 1835 in Utica, New York, and newlywed Helen Galway discovers a secret: two people who have escaped enslavement are hiding in the shack behind her husband’s house. Suddenly, she is at the center of the era’s greatest moral dilemma: Should she be a “good wife” and report the fugitives? Or will she defy convention and come to their aid?
Within her home, Helen is haunted by the previous Mrs. Galway, recently deceased but still an oppressive presence. Her husband, injured by a drunken tumble off his horse, is assisted by a doctor of questionable ambitions who keeps a close eye on Helen. In charge of all things domestic is Maggie—formerly enslaved by the Galway family and freed when emancipation came to New York eight years earlier.
Abolitionists arriving in Utica to found the New York State Anti-Slavery Society are accused by the local papers of being traitors to the Constitution. Everyone faces dangerous choices as they navigate this intensely heated personal and political landscape. Read more here.
Union general John Reynolds was one of the most beloved and respected military leaders of the Civil War, yet beyond the battlefield, the captivating true story of his secret romance with Catherine “Kate” Mary Hewitt remains etched into his legacy. Clandestinely engaged before John marched off to war, the couple’s love remained a secret. Kate made a poignant “last promise,” a commitment to enter into a religious life if her beloved were to be killed. Tragically, Reynolds lost his life leading troops into action during the opening phases of the Battle of Gettysburg. Within days Kate was embraced by the Reynolds family and soon began to honor her promise of a religious life. Yet a few years later she seemed to disappear. Author Jeffrey J. Harding unveils new findings on Kate’s life before and after John’s death as he recounts Gettysburg’s saga of star-crossed love. Read more here.
"Theas Few Lines" is a rich account of the experience of an upstate New Yorker who left home to fight for the Union during the American Civil War. Alonzo D. Bump lived in the thriving small cotton mill town of Victory Mills, the home of the Saratoga Victory Manufacturing Company where he was employed as a weaver. With the desire to "go down to see the world," Alonzo left behind Mary, his wife, and his three-year-old daughter, Mattie. Private Bump's letters were largely written to Mary, though a small few were sent to his mother, sister, mother-in-law, and his two sisters-in-law. His letters reveal a deep love shared with Mary. For Alonzo, composing letters served as the primary instrument whereby he maintained his emotional ties with Mary and had a powerful therapeutic benefit for the married couple. Exchanging letters helped to mollify the geographic distance between Alonzo and Mary. He wrote about camp life, poor rations, disease, marching, combat, desertion, commanding officers, the enemy, military pay, sex, prostitution, pornography, and African Americans. The reader will come away with a deeper understanding of the common soldier's experience during the Civil War. Read more here. "
How did Civil War soldiers endure the brutal and unpredictable existence of army life during the conflict? This question is at the heart of Peter S. Carmichael's sweeping new study of men at war. Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind by individual soldiers from both the North and the South, Carmichael explores the totality of the Civil War experience--the marching, the fighting, the boredom, the idealism, the exhaustion, the punishments, and the frustrations of being away from families who often faced their own dire circumstances. Read more here.
The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. Read more or purchase here.
The Civil War was just days old when the first enslaved men, women, and children began fleeing their plantations to seek refuge inside the lines of the Union army as it moved deep into the heart of the Confederacy. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands more followed in a mass exodus from slavery that would destroy the system once and for all. Drawing on an extraordinary survey of slave refugee camps throughout the country, Embattled Freedom reveals as never before the everyday experiences of these refugees from slavery as they made their way through the vast landscape of army-supervised camps that emerged during the war. Read more or purchase here.
Just over a year after Robert E. Lee relinquished his sword, a band of Union and Confederate veterans dusted off their guns. But these former foes had no intention of reigniting the Civil War. Instead, they fought side by side to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history: to seize the British province of Canada and to hold it hostage until the independence of Ireland was secured. Read more here.
The bloodstains are gone, but the worn floorboards remain. The doctors, nurses, and patients who toiled and suffered and ached for home at the Army of the Potomac’s XI Corps hospital at the George Spangler Farm in Gettysburg have long since departed. Happily, though, their stories remain, and noted journalist and George Spangler Farm expert Ronald D. Kirkwood brings these people and their experiences to life in “Too Much for Human Endurance”: The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg. Read more here.
Barton Key, son of Francis Scott and US Attorney for Washington, lies dead in front of the White House. Congressman Daniel Sickles is the killer. The cause: a liaison with his wife, Teresa. A sensational trial, shocking defense, and surprise verdict riveted the nation in America's first major scandal. Read more here.
Founded in 1984, the Capital District Civil War Round Table is a non-profit, tax exempt educational organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Our purpose is to foster education, awareness and respect for America's historic heritage, with special focus on the Civil War period. We are dedicated to the preservation of Civil War sites nationwide, and we are a lifetime member of the Civil War Trust (CWT). Please help us continue our mission by making a donation.
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