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By Stephen E. In a fascinating and in-depth look at antiwar subversion in the Midwest, he painstakingly illustrates how the government, specifically the U. Army, monitored treasonous activities and prevented outbreaks of violence aimed at subverting the Union war effort and sowing political dissent against the Lincoln administration. The book is dense with detail and evidence but generally accessibly written. The endnotes are a veritable treasure trove of citations and thoughtful reflection on the often fascinating and previously obscure sources.

Surveillance and Spies in the Civil War makes a significant contribution to home-front, political, and military historiography and is therefore a valuable source for both nineteenth-century historians and students in graduate-level courses. Surveillance and Spies in the Civil War represents pathbreaking research on the rise of U.

Women on the Southern Home Front During the Civil War

Army intelligence operations in the Midwest during the American Civil War and counters long-standing assumptions about Northern politics and society. At the beginning of the rebellion, state governors in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois cooperated with federal law enforcement officials in various attempts—all failed—to investigate reports of secret groups and individuals who opposed the Union war effort.

Starting in , army commanders took it upon themselves to initiate investigations of antiwar sentiment in those states. By , several of them had established intelligence operations staffed by hired civilian detectives and by soldiers detailed from their units to chase down deserters and draft dodgers, to maintain surveillance on suspected persons and groups, and to investigate organized resistance to the draft.

By , these spies had infiltrated secret organizations that, sometimes in collaboration with Confederate rebels, aimed to subvert the war effort.

Put Your Feet on the Ground of History | Perspectives on History | AHA

Stephen E. Towne is the first to thoroughly explore the role and impact of Union spies against Confederate plots in the North. This new analysis invites historians to delve more deeply into the fabric of the Northern wartime experience and reinterpret the period based on broader archival evidence. In what ways did prison life and the treatment of POWs evolve over the course of the war, and why? ZOMBEK: Union and Confederate officials had to figure out how to handle the wartime prisoner crisis as the war progressed and the number of captives increased, since the United States was largely immune from military crises throughout the 19 th century, with the exceptions of the War of and the Mexican War.


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In each instance, military officials improvised and used existing structures, such as hulks, existing jails, and penitentiaries, to address the POW crisis. The size and capacity of the military prisons varied, and the total number of prisoners held ranged. Lonnie Speer recorded total Confederate and Union military prisons.

Of the known population totals, Speer listed one Confederate and eight Union prisons holding under inmates; twenty-two Confederate and twenty-five Union prisons holding from to prisoners; six Confederate and five Union prisons holding 1,, inmates; one Confederate and three Union prisons holding from 2,, captives; three Confederate and three Union prisons holding from 3,, prisoners; and three Confederate and one Union prison s holding from 4,, inmates. The number of military prisons holding over 5, prisoners was nominal, and extremely large prisons that held over 10, were few.

All statistics from this and the preceding paragraph from Speer, Portals to Hell , But the Lieber code also stated that all POWs were liable to the infliction of retaliatory measures Art. The breakdown of prisoner exchanges under the Dix-Hill Cartel in the summer of is often attributed to General Ulysses S.

The Cartel, authorized in July , called for equal exchanges of captured soldiers, with the remaining men to be paroled under pledge not to take up arms against the enemy until formally exchanged.

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Once the Lieber Code was issued in April , the US government demanded that black soldiers be treated equally. President Lincoln consequently suspended the Dix-Hill Cartel on July 30, General Order , only to be resumed if the Confederates agreed to afford white and black soldiers equal treatment, which they refused.

They perhaps, however, failed to realize that this labor relegated black inmates to a position that was akin to slavery.

Many Union deserters found themselves sentenced to the D. Penitentiary prior to its closure in September Some prisons, like those in St. Louis, primarily held Union deserters, Southern sympathizers, and political prisoners but, according to the Lieber Code, prisoners of war were defined broadly and included public enemies, soldiers, and citizens ranging from sutlers, to editors, to journalists, and contractors Art.

But, how did so many soldiers, North and South, survive Civil War prison life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? What new sources—and resources—are being used to uncover, document, and interpret the experiences of Civil War POWs and prison workers? On the other hand, prisoners who fell into despair often, in a way, predicted and sometimes seemed to even hasten their own death. Prisoners also clung to relationships with their loved ones at home to survive. Through written correspondence, prisoners either were satisfied with hearing from home and the normal daily routines, or urged family members to use social or political connections to attempt to hasten their release from captivity.

Some succeeded, but others, by continuously directing family members regarding who to contact and how to plea for release, kept their minds and their idle time occupied, which aided survival regardless of the outcome.

Interdisciplinary Studies of the Civil War Era: Recent Trends and Future Prospects

The most common way that POWs withstood captivity was to place their hope in God and seek out religious instruction. Prisoners clung to and read and re-read their Bibles. They also often shared scriptural passages that were filled with hope with their family members in letters.