Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln's War
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.
ridden with him from Arkansas. A number of garrison towns on the river promised to supply them, and the first one he came to was Glasgow, on thefar side of the river. At dawn of October 15 one of Fagan’s brigades swam the river and attacked the town directly while Shelby opened on it with artillery from the right bank, but before they surrendered the defenders set fire to the town hall, where the rifles had been stored. The rebels did gather in somewhat fewer than a thousand prisoners and their
States.” Any citizen who moved from the district where he was enrolled, or left the United States altogether, in order to avoid the draft would suffer the same consequences. The president had issued another call for three hundred thousand men on December 19, and the approaching deadline for that levy had turned many a young man’s mind to thoughts of travel, which served as the poor man’s only form of draft insurance. John Giffen, a young Ohioan with a master’s degree, moved to Harrietsville,
into a major industrial center for the Confederacy, with foundries for shot, shell, machinery, railroad car wheels, and a new rolling mill, besides a powder mill and a niter works. Long’s division reined up outside the city on the afternoon of April 2, finding Forrest’s men stretched thin to fill the five miles of complex, intimidating fieldworks that encircled the place. Forrest had mobilized all the Alabama militia he could find to join his troopers in the trenches, putting muskets in the hands
playing the “Faust Quickstep” and the “Ypsilanti Quickstep,” and when they reached the president’s reviewing stand they planned to launch into the “Door Latch Quickstep.” They marched so briskly in the mounting morning heat to catch up with the cavalry—at nearly a double-quick, between selections—that the final notes of the “Ypsilanti” had just faded away when they came upon the bunting-shaded bleachers. The bandmasters somehow confused their signals, inviting a dissonant clash instead of the
particular); Gillette (xii, 363) is especially critical of Grant; while Brooks Simpson (Let Us Have Peace, 263) concluded that it was Grant’s “tragedy” that he “reluctantly accepted the perpetuation of racial injustice as the price of sectional reconciliation.” 23. New York Times, August 1, 2, 6, and 8, 1870; New York Herald, December 12, 1872. 24. New York Tribune, April 29, 1874, and May 31, 1875; New York Times, May 31, 1875; Boston Daily Advertiser, June 2, 1875; Eggleston, A Rebel’s