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Discovering the Civil War

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'Discovering the Civil War' peels back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation, and opinion to reveal a Civil War that is little-known. Featuring over 250 letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments and proclamations from the incomparable holdings of the National Archives, it takes a fresh look at the Civil War through little-known stories, seldom-seen documents, and unusual perspectives. Grouped into themes such as "Spies and Conspiracies," "Prisoners and Casualties," "Global War," and "Raising Armies," this new book looks beyond the battlefield to the experiences of ordinary people - be they the names of men listed in the "substitute book" who were paid to replace draftees, or firsthand accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg at the Gettysburg veterans 75th anniversary reunion in 1938. Famous documents, such as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, are juxtaposed with innovative wartime patents, including a multipurpose device that could serve as a tent, knapsack, or blanket, and a message in Chinese script asking for Confederate ships to be barred from Chinese ports - proving that the Civil War became a truly international struggle. Hide synopsis

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