The Dahlgren Affair

The Dahlgren Affair

Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
Demonstrates how a failed Yankee cavalry raid set off a campaign of terror waged by the Confederacy, which may have manufactured the incident to justify its action

Norton Pub
A compelling secret history of the Civil War. March 5, 1864, was the day the Civil War changed, to become 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 of Richmond. Their legacy was a new and terrible style of warfare. This book describes a daring cavalry raid that failed. The consequences included terrorism directed against civilians in the North in the form of guerrilla raids, bank robberies, arson, sabotage, and biological warfare. It also tells the story of desperate measures taken by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, both in danger of losing the war-one at the ballot box, the other on the battlefield. The primary actors in this intrigue include: Ulric Dahlgren, a 21-year-old, one-legged Yankee colonel, hero, and friend of the president who is accused of planning to assassinate Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. Thomas Hines, a 23-year-old classical scholar who organizes the campaign of terror from Maine to Minnesota as revenge for the alleged Union plan to murder Jefferson Davis. Elizabeth Van Lew, a well-bred, middle-aged Richmond woman who spied for the Union and was called by Grant the most effective Union operative of the war. This is the first full-length presentation and analysis of the link between Dahlgren's failed raid and the Confederate campaign of terror. The author offers a broad range of evidence that the Dahlgren papers were forged. The Confederacy was losing the Civil War, but Lincoln's opponent in the election of 1864, McClellan, would very likely negotiate a peace with the South. It was imperative, therefore, that the South weaken Lincoln's hold on the electorate, and if no opportunity arose, then one must be manufactured. This would be their last chance of survival.

& Taylor

The first full-length analysis of a little-studied aspect of the Civil War demonstrates how a failed Yankee cavalry raid set off a campaign of terror waged by the Confederacy, which may have manufactured the incident to justify its actions. 12,500 first printing.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393046625
Characteristics: 298 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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