THIS HALLOWED GROUND The Story of the Union Side of the Civil War
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First published in 1955, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bruce Catton's classic account of the Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle in one brilliant volume. Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a "modern Iliad." Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and admired general Civil War books: a perfect introduction to readers beginning their exploration of the conflict, as well as a thrilling analysis and reimagining of its events for experienced students of the war.
held Resaca, McPherson felt there were too many of them to push out of the way easily, and although Sherman, when he learned that his advance guard had reached the edge of the town, hammered the table and exulted, “I’ve got Joe Johnston dead!” things did not work out as he had planned. McPherson’s men were delayed, Johnston got the rest of his army down there on the double, and after a couple of days of fighting, the flanking advance was resumed.3 Sherman was not duplicating Grant’s program in
to see if it could be broken. It could not. The firing died down, and Lee sent a courier with a white flag through the lines carrying a letter to U. S. Grant. 3. Telegram in Cipher Until this Palm Sunday of 1865 the word Appomattox had no meaning. It was a harsh name left over from Indian days, it belonged to a river and to a country town, and it had no overtones. But after this day it would be one of the haunted possessions of the American people, a great and unique word that would
who sat at the little table in the parlor at Appomattox and waited for the other man to start writing out the terms of surrender. The other man was wholly representative too. Behind him there was a new society, not dreamed of by the founding fathers: a society with the lid taken off, western man standing up to assert that what lay back of a person mattered nothing in comparison to what lay ahead of him. It was the land of the mudsills, the temporarily dispossessed, the people who had nothing to
it was, a solid block of a thing, holding the national flag in the light between Charleston and the sunrise, and the indifference of the North was only apparent. For beneath everything else, North and West, there ran a profound, unvoiced, almost subconscious conviction that the nation was going to go on growing — in size, in power, in everything a man could think of — and in that belief there was a might and a fury that would take form instantly at the moment of shock. If just one of these
held back in the camp, the 5th Kansas found it necessary to bury one of its own men. Going to the cemetery, the Kansans found the open grave dug by the Wisconsin men; they buried their own man in it, put in earth, and went back to camp. When the Wisconsin funeral procession got to the spot and saw what had happened, the men instantly and unanimously accused the Kansans. In all the army, they declared, only the Jayhawkers would be capable of stealing a grave!9 Armies are strange human societies —