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By Stephen V. Ash

A 12 months within the South is set 4 traditional humans in a rare time. They lived within the South in the course of 1865 -- a yr that observed struggle, disunion, and slavery collapse to peace, reconstruction, and emancipation. One was once a slave made up our minds to realize freedom, one a widow fighting poverty and depression, one a guy of God and planter’s son grappling with non secular and worldly issues, and one a former accomplice soldier looking a brand new existence. among January and December 1865 they witnessed, from very diversified vantage issues, the loss of life of the outdated South and the start of the hot South. Civil battle historian Stephen V. Ash reconstructs their day-by-day lives, their fears and hopes, and their frustrations and triumphs in brilliant element, telling a dramatic tale of actual humans in a time of significant upheaval and supplying a clean viewpoint on a pivotal second in heritage.

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Extra resources for A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865

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17 Perhaps it was not just luck in Cornelia’s case. Although she could be stubborn and sharp at times, she had a generous nature and an appealing way about her; and she made friends easily, at least among people of her own social class. In any event, a good number of Lexington folk took to her and went out of their way to help her. Reverend William McElwee and his wife, Anne, were among the first. Cornelia showed up at their doorstep soon after her arrival in town, having heard they might have some spare rooms in their home to rent.

She chafed under the rule of the “dirty Yankees” who occupied Winchester while she lived there, and she refused to take the Union oath of allegiance they demanded. Even when the war began to turn against the Confederacy in the summer of 1863, Cornelia did not despond. ”47 CORNELIA MCDONALD 43 Her belief that the cause was righteous never wavered, but by 1865 she was distraught with doubt about ultimate victory. Cold logic told her that the Confederacy must soon collapse. ” And yet she knew that if the war continued, more suffering would be demanded of the Confederate people.

45 Yet hope endured among the Confederate faithful. While Robert E. Lee’s army was still intact, the war was not lost. Trust in Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia remained strong even as trust in the rebel government dwindled. ”46 Cornelia herself was, by 1865, undergoing a crisis of patriotic faith. Although she had opposed secession—unlike her husband, who became a rabid secessionist after Lincoln’s election in 1860—she ardently embraced the Confederate cause once the war began. She would never forget the thrill she experienced the first time she saw a Confederate flag carried by marching troops.

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