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The Dahlgren Affair : Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War - Duane Schultz

The Dahlgren Affair

Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War

Paperback Published: 1st November 1999
ISBN: 9780393319866
Number Of Pages: 298

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March 5, 1864, was the day on which the Civil War changed to what the Richmond Examiner called "a war of extermination, of indiscriminate slaughter and plunder." It changed because of a few sheets of paper found on a muddy trail outside Richmond. Their legacy was a new and terrible style of warfare. In a daring but failed cavalry raid to free thousands of Union prisoners, the Union commander-twenty-one-year-old Ulric Dahlgren-was killed; on his body were found orders purportedly instructing his men to find and execute Jefferson Davis and the rest of the Confederate cabinet. There was an immediate outpouring of horrified, indignant rage throughout the South, and after the Union disclaimed any knowledge of the papers or the order they contained, Jefferson Davis authorized the use of terrorism against civilians in the North in the form of guerrilla raids, bank robberies, arson, and sabotage. This compelling narrative is the first full-length analysis of the link between Dahlgren's failed raid and the Confederate campaign of terror. "[A] wonderfully vivid portrait of Confederate attempts to stir up rebellion in the North during the war's waning days. . . . Schultz handles all of this melodramatic material with vigor and clarity, a first-rate addition to the bulging shelves of Civil War Studies."-Kirkus Reviews

Schultz, the author of a series of well-received works of narrative history (Quantrill's War, 1996; Over the Earth I Come, 1992, etc.) concerned with America in the turbulent 19th century, adds another with this wonderfully vivid portrait of Confederate attempts to stir up rebellion in the North during the war's waning days - efforts that even included a chilling but unsuccessful attempt at germ warfare. In 1864, during a daring raid by Union cavalry to free prisoners held in the Confederate capital of Richmond, a dashing young Union colonel is shot down. The Confederates publicize papers they claim to have found on his body indicating that he planned to track down and assassinate Jefferson Davis. using the papers (which, Schultz convincingly argues, were very likely forged by Confederate operatives) as an excuse, Davis orders a campaign unleashed on the North to foment rebellion among the increasingly vocal groups of Copperheads - Democrats violently opposed to the continuation of the war. Agents were sent North to enlist locals to attack Federal posts, assault prisons where Confederate soldiers were being held, sink ships, and spread chaos. Thanks to bad luck, Union spies, and a lack of resolve on the part of the Copperheads, the plans largely failed. Schultz handles all of this melodramatic material with vigor and clarity, a first-rate addition to the bulging shelves of Civil War Studies. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780393319866
ISBN-10: 0393319865
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 298
Published: 1st November 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.38