A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865 by Stephen V. Ash

By Stephen V. Ash

A 12 months within the South is set 4 usual humans in a rare time. They lived within the South in the course of 1865 -- a 12 months that observed battle, disunion, and slavery fall down to peace, reconstruction, and emancipation. One used to be a slave decided to achieve freedom, one a widow fighting poverty and depression, one a guy of God and planter’s son grappling with religious and worldly issues, and one a former accomplice soldier looking a brand new lifestyles. among January and December 1865 they witnessed, from very varied vantage issues, the demise of the previous South and the start of the hot South. Civil struggle historian Stephen V. Ash reconstructs their day-by-day lives, their fears and hopes, and their frustrations and triumphs in vibrant element, telling a dramatic tale of genuine humans in a time of significant upheaval and providing a clean viewpoint on a pivotal second in background.

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13 As one after another of the Confederacy’s food-growing regions fell to the Northern invaders, the upper valley was increasingly called on to help feed the rest of the rebel population. Army impressment agents scoured the region, taking what they needed from the farmers and paying them in Confederate money at government-set prices far below market value. 14 These levies created agricultural scarcity in Rockbridge County, which had never known it before the war. The skyrocketing food prices that resulted brought great distress, especially among the county’s poorest families.

Still, they would remember this as a good time in their lives. The question was how long this happy interlude was going to last. Reports of a possible Yankee advance against Mobile had reached Clarke County in December 1864. One of the few major cities of the Confederacy still unconquered, Mobile was defended by 10,000 Southern troops, 300 cannons, and five gunboats. But no one knew how big a force the North might throw against the city. 26 Lou Hughes probably knew that Woolsey and Brooks had a contingency plan for such an emergency.

Furthermore, during her flight from Winchester in 1863 she had sold her good jewelry and most of her fine clothes. 9 From that point on, the family had been heavily dependent on Angus’s salary. As a Confederate colonel, he made $210 per month. During the halfyear that he was posted in Lexington he was also entitled to a “commutation of quarters” allowance of $175 per month because he made his office in his home. The allowance had dried up when he was captured in June 1864, but Cornelia had continued to receive his monthly pay while he was a prisoner of war.

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