Previous histories have focused on familiar commanders such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but Davis's canvas is much broader. From firebrand politicians like Robert Barnwell Rhett and William L. Yancey, who pushed for secession long before the public supported it; to Dr. Samuel Cartwright, who persuaded many Southerners of the natural inferiority of their slaves; to the women of Richmond, who rioted over bread shortages in 1863, Davis presents a rich new face of the Confederate nation. He recounts familiar stories of battles won and lost, but also little-known economic stories of a desperate government that socialized the salt industry, home-front stories of the rangers and marauders who preyed on their fellow Confederates, and an account of the steady breakdown of law, culminating in near anarchy in some states. Never has the Confederacy been so vividly brought to life as a full society, riven with political and economic conflicts beneath its more loudly publicized military battles.
Davis's astonishingly thorough primary research has ranged across the 800-odd newspapers that were in operation during the war, but also across the personal papers of over a hundred Southern leaders and ordinary citizens. He quotes from letters and diaries throughout the narrative, revealing the Confederacy through the words of the Confederates themselves. Like any society, especially in the early stages of nation-building and the devastating stages of warfare, the Confederacy was not one thing but many things to many people. One thing, however, was shared by all: the belief that the South offered a necessary evolution of American democracy. Look Away! offers a dramatic and definitive account of one of America's most searing episodes.
Yet, on a March day in 1862 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after a five-hour duel, the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) were to change the course of not only the Civil War but also naval warfare forever. Using letters, diaries, and memoirs of men who lived through the epic battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack and of those who witnessed it from afar, William C. Davis documents and analyzes this famous confrontation of the first two modern warships. The result is a full-scale history that is as exciting as a novel. Besides a thorough discussion of the designs of each ship, Davis portrays come of the men involved in the building and operation of America's first ironclads-John Ericsson, supreme egoist and engineering genius who designed the Monitor; John Brooke, designer of the Virginia; John Worden, the well-loved captain of the Monitor; Captain Franklin Buchanan of the Virginia; and a host of other men on both Union and Confederate sides whose contributions make this history as much a story of men as of ships and war.
At large during the most colorful period in New Orleans’ history, from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812, privateers Jean and Pierre Laffite made life hell for Spanish merchants on the Gulf. Pirates to the US Navy officers who chased them, heroes to the private citizens who shopped for contraband at their well-publicized auctions, the brothers became important members of a filibustering syndicate that included lawyers, bankers, merchants, and corrupt US officials. But this allegiance didn’t stop the Laffites from becoming paid Spanish spies, disappearing into the fog of history after selling out their own associates. William C. Davis uncovers the truth about two men who made their names synonymous with piracy and intrigue on the Gulf.
William C. Davis has written a gripping story of the rebel troops whose remarkable spirit and tenacity were heralded throughout the Confederacy. The First Kentucky Brigade was “baptized in fire and blood” at the Battle of Shiloh and went on to serve with great distinction at Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Chickamauga, and the fight for Atlanta. In this vivid narrative, the author captures the searing drama of each battle, as well as the unbearable drudgery of the months between. We see men of all backgrounds and ranks coming to grips with the war: some of them, renowned leaders such as John C. Breckinridge; others, young soldiers learning the horror of death for the first time. Drawing from a wealth of documents, memoirs, personal letters, and journals, Davis brings to life the fascinating history of the Civil War’s “Orphan Brigade.”
William C. Davis has written a compelling and complete account of this landmark conflict. The Battle at Bull Run (or Manassas) is notable for many reasons. It was a surprise victory for the Confederacy, a humiliating defeat for the Union, and the first ominous indication that a long and bloody war was inevitable. It marked the first strategic use of railroads in history, and the first time the horrors of the battle were photographed for the folks back home. It was also a training ground for some of America’s most colorful military figures: P.G.T. Beauregard, Joe Johnston, Irvin McDowell and “Stonewall” Jackson. Drawing from a wealth of material—old letters, journals, memoirs and military records—Davis brings to life a vivid and vital chapter in American history.
So wrote Private Joe Hass to Abraham Lincoln, February 20, 1864. Like an extraordinary number of his fellow Union soldiers, he loved Lincoln as a father. Lincoln inspired feelings unlike those instilled by any previous commander-in-chief in America. In Lincoln's Men, William C. Davis draws on thousands of unpublished letters and diaries to tell the hidden story of how a new and untested president could become "Father Abraham" throughout both the army and the North as a whole.
How did the Army of the Potomac, yearning for the grandeur of McClellan, turn instead to the comfort of Old Abe, and how was this change of loyalty crucial to final victory? How did Lincoln inspire the faith and courage of so many shattered men, wandering the inferno of Shiloh or entrenched in the siege of Vicksburg? Why did soldiers visiting Washington feel free to stroll into the White House and sit down to relax, as if it were their own home?
Davis removes layers of mythmaking to recapture the moods and feelings of an army facing one of history's bloodiest conflicts. Tracing the popular fate of decisions to invoke conscription, to fire McClellan, and to free the slaves, Lincoln's Men casts a new light on our most famous president -- the light, that is, of the peculiar mass medium that was the Union Army. A motley band of talkers and letter writers, the soldiers spread news of Lincoln's appearances like wildfire, chortling at his ungainly posture in the saddle, rushing up to shake his hand and talk to him. The volunteers knew they could approach "Old Abe," "Honest Abe," "Uncle Abe," and "Father Abraham," and they cheered him thunderously. "The men could not be restrained from so honoring him," said Private Rice Bull. "He really was the ideal of the Army."
The story of the making of Father Abraham is the story of America's second revolution, its rebirth. As one Union soldier and journalist put it, "Washington taught the world to know us, Lincoln taught us to know ourselves. The first won for us our independence, the last wrought out our manhood and self-respect."
This newly corrected edition of a classic in its field serves as a comprehensive review of both experiments and theories of detonation ― focusing on the steady (i.e. time-independent), fully developed detonation wave, rather than on the initiation or failure of detonation. After an introductory chapter the authors explore the "simple theory," including the Zeldovich–von Newmann–Doering model, and experimental tests of the simple theory. The chapters that follow cover flow in a reactive medium, steady detonation, the nonsteady solution, and the structure of the detonation front. The authors have succeeded in making the detailed, difficult theoretical work more accessible by working out a number of simple cases for illustration.
The original edition of this book influenced many other scientists to pursue theories and experiments in detonation physics. This new, corrected edition will be welcomed by physicists, chemists, engineers, and anyone interested in understanding the phenomenon of detonation.
This volume presents accounts of five Confederate victories (Fort Sumter, First Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, and Franklin), five Union victories (New Orleans, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Nashville), and three stalemates (Monitor v. Virginia, Antietam, and Charleston). Also included are chapters on solder life, the steadfast Iron Brigade, and the first volunteer African-American combat troops recruited in the North-the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry. From the first shot in Charleston Harbor to the one-day decimation of the Southern army on the outskirts of Nashville, these pages are colored with the wide range of expectation and disappointment that frustrated the country during four years of war.
After a decade of being out-of-print, Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol returns as the quintessential biography of one of Kentucky's great moderates. Historian William C. Davis sheds light on Breckinridge's life throughout three key periods, spanning his career as a celebrated statesman, heroic soldier, and proponent of the reconciliation.
A true Kentucky hero, "Old Breck's" bravery in battle, dedication to the pursuit of truth, and unique ability to win the loyalty of others rank him alongside Henry Clay and Simon Kenton. Drawing from a remarkable collection of sources, including previously unknown documents and letters, as well as the papers of his associates and extensive aid from the Breckinridge family, Davis presents the legacy of a man often overlooked.
Civil War Journal: The Legacies is the third volume of a three-volume treatment of the Civil War developed from the popular History Channel series Civil War Journal. Drawing on personal letters, diaries, and newspaper reports, these volumes focus on seldom-told stories of people, places, and events that bring to life the heroic intensity of the Civil War. They portray the human side of the conflict that is frequently overlooked in recounting troop movements and engagements.
Virginia at War, 1865 closely examines the end of the Civil War in the Old Dominion, delivering a striking depiction of a state ravaged by violence and destruction. In the final volume of the Virginia at War series, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. have once again assembled an impressive collection of essays covering topics that include land operations, women and families, wartime economy, music and entertainment, the demobilization of Lee's army, and the war's aftermath. The volume ends with the final installment of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire's popular and important Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War. Like the previous four volumes in the series, Virginia at War, 1865 provides valuable insights into the devastating effects of the war on citizens across the state.
Thomas Reid (1710-96) was one of the most daring and original thinkers of the eighteenth century. His work became the cornerstone of the Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and was highly influential in nineteenth-century America; it also anticipated the thinking of such twentieth-century figures as Moore and Wittgenstein. Now, after a long period of neglect, his philosophy is again the subject of increasing attention across the world. For Reid, knowing about ethics is a matter of having 'good evidence' supplied by a sense-like moral faculty. William Davis's book shows how such a view can be both consistent and plausible in the twenty-first century.
Thomas Reid's Ethics begins by characterizing the state of moral epistemology at the time when Reid was writing. It goes on to recount Reid's central claims about the moral sense, and describes the various problems that confront those who would explain and defend his views. Davis lays the foundation for resolving these difficulties by detailing an epistemological conception of evidence which parallels the legal conception of evidence used by the Scottish courts of Reid's day. He then shows how Reid's claims about evidence and self-evidence are best understood in light of this legal model. The book concludes by responding to recent worries about 'moral sense' theories, and offers a final assessment of the success of Reid's ethical project.
The book will be of substantial interest not only to Reid scholars and historians of philosophy, but also to specialists and students in contemporary ethics.