The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia (Nation Divided)

21 Civil War, 1863-65
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For the residents of surrounding Nansemond, Isle of Wight, and Southampton Counties, the Suffolk campaign followed an exhausting and deadly pattern. Already subjected to the demands of waves of soldiers, first Southern recruits and then Union occupation troops, the people of the region faced the severest tests the Civil War could impose upon human beings.

Reconstructing life for soldiers from the region on the battlefield and for civilians in the homes of southeastern Virginia, Wills provides a full depiction of what life was like for the ordinary person--black, white, soldier, citizen, Unionist, or secessionist--contending with domestic, economic, social, and military hardship in the contest of sectionalism and war.

Wills employs their individual experiences to illustrate the impact of the war on a human scale, on soldiers and their relatives, North and South. We witness battlefield horror and family despair, African Americans' embrace of freedom, and the persistence of Confederate nationalism among most whites in the region. Brian Steel Wills. A Lion Is in the Streets. A Deserted House. Two days later, Brig. Ulysses S. Grant responded by occupying Paducah and then Smithland.

Because the Confederates invaded first, they were branded the aggressor.

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Although Governor Magoffin called for both sides to leave Kentucky, the Unionist legislature only asked the Southerners to withdraw. All pretenses of neutrality were gone. After staking their initial claim, Union soldiers came down from Cincinnati to take control of northern Kentucky, while Confederates moved in through Tennessee to claim southern Kentucky, including the Cumberland Gap situated near the convergence of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

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With nearby railroads and access to ardently Unionist East Tennessee, the Gap was a strategically important site, but the ambitious Brig. Felix Zollicoffer, who seized the Gap, was discontent to remain there. Accordingly, he planned to extend his line further north and west into central Kentucky. As Zollicoffer and his men moved north along the Wilderness Road, they encountered a Union force sent to halt their progress. Despite his defeat, Zollicoffer did not abandon his goal.

History of Virginia

But instead of heading north, he turned his attention westward, and in November, encamped for the winter at Mill Springs, a strong position on the Cumberland River. By January, Union troops under Brig. George Crittenden. Fearing Union reinforcements, Crittenden attacked on January 19, After this loss, Confederate operations in the Western Theater went from bad to worse. Soon after the Confederate retreat, Union troops captured Forts Henry and Donelson, just south of the Kentucky border.

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These forts provided control of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and allowed Union troops to outflank Columbus, sending the remaining Confederate forces retreating from Kentucky. By summer, the Federals controlled all of Kentucky, most of Tennessee and northern Alabama.

Alabama in the American Civil War

Braxton Bragg and Maj. Kirby Smith commenced a grand offensive. Union Maj. Don Carlos Buell pursued him with a larger force. On October 8, the two armies crossed paths at Perryville when Bragg ordered a portion of his men to attack what he thought was a small Union force. Fearing the destruction of his army, Bragg ordered a full-scale retreat from Kentucky less than a week later.

One of the most famous raiders operating in Kentucky was Brig. John Hunt Morgan.

Though born in Alabama, Morgan spent most of his life in Kentucky. He had no formal military education but was immensely successful with hit-and-run strikes to disrupt the Union supply line, occupy Union troops away from the front and secure supplies for the Confederacy. In December , Morgan undertook his famous Christmas Raid.

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Granted permission to raid Louisville but not to cross the Ohio River, Morgan disregarded orders at great cost to his men. Morgan was captured in Ohio though he later escaped , and only a few hundred of his more than 2, men made it home. Many Kentuckians balked at freedom for blacks, and hatred often prevailed. For the first five months after the Confederate surrender, U.

Even after the military left, the state was a violent place through the s and beyond. Post-war Kentucky needed healing.

Causes of the Civil War

Families, communities and entire regions of the state had been ripped apart by the war, and more than simple animosity was prevalent throughout. Yet as the North and South healed their wounds and settled their differences, surely Kentucky would, as well. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Every purchase supports the mission. Skip to main content. Civil War. Kentucky Cat Fight. Library of Congress. Related History. Kentucky in the Civil War. Governor Beriah Magoffin.

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Confederate General Felix K. Braxton Bragg. Garry Adelman , American Battlefield Trust. Mary Bays Woodside serves as a consultant to History Associates.

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The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) [Brian Steel Wills] on *FREE* shipping . The War Hits Home. The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia. Brian Steel Wills. A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era · Civil War & Reconstruction.

The Orphan Brigade. Mill Springs Battlefield.