Except for one raid, Ohio’s soil was not touched by Civil War battles. Ohio’s people, on the other hand, were extremely influential in the war’s outcome. From generals to privates, Ohio provided a steady stream of combatants and Ohio blood was shed from Bull Run to Appomattox.
Unlike many other collections, the focus in Leaving Home in Dark Blue is on the common individual. The collected sources uncover stories of men, women, and children from various walks of life and economic conditions who took part in military service or served on the home front. The individual entries cover the gamut from newspaper reports to diary entries, from personal letters to commencement programs, from poetry to short fiction pieces, many of which are published here for the first time.
Read about a sister in search of her lost brother; about James Garfield’s description of a battle and its result, a grieving mass of bleeding flesh; about a school class’s visit to a local Civil War hospital; and about life as a prisoner of war. The descriptions are at times direct and gruesome, but in other cases satirical and comical. Trace the emotions of Ohioans from enthusiasm at the start of the war, through the drudgery of the war, to joy when Lee surrenders.
Contextual introductions precede each document and extensive annotations supply key details to clarify the documents. A timeline denotes important events of the war. A must-read for Civil War historians, Civil War buffs, and those who want to get a better understanding of the Civil War era.