The Fight for the Old North State: The Civil War in North Carolina, January-May 1864

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https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2746-2.html

The Fight for the Old North State: The Civil War in North Carolina, January-May 1864 (Univ. Press of Kansas, 2019)

by Hampton Newsome

In this fascinating new book, Hampton Newsome makes a valuable contribution to Civil War literature, offering a compelling account of Confederate efforts in early 1864 to turn the tide of war in eastern North Carolina. Though these efforts produced decidedly mixed results, the same cannot be said of Newsome’s. Well-researched, informative, and unfailingly interesting, this superb study merits the attention of anyone interested in the course and conduct of these operations, their strategic and operational effects, and the challenges leaders on both sides faced as they pursued victory in the Old North State in 1864.
—Ethan S. Rafuse, author of Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865 and coeditor of Guide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign

On a cold day in early January 1864, Robert E. Lee wrote to Confederate president Jefferson Davis “The time is at hand when, if an attempt can be made to capture the enemy’s forces at New Berne, it should be done.” Over the next few months, Lee’s dispatch would precipitate a momentous series of events as the Confederates, threatened by a supply crisis and an emerging peace movement, sought to seize Federal bases in eastern North Carolina. This book tells the story of these operations—the late war Confederate resurgence in the Old North State.

Using rail lines to rapidly consolidate their forces, the Confederates would attack the main Federal position at New Bern in February, raid the northeastern counties in March, hit the Union garrisons at Plymouth and Washington in late April, and conclude with another attempt at New Bern in early May. The expeditions would involve joint-service operations, as the Confederates looked to support their attacks with powerful, homegrown ironclad gunboats. These offensives in early 1864 would witness the failures and successes of southern commanders including George Pickett, James Cooke, and a young, aggressive North Carolinian named Robert Hoke. Likewise they would challenge the leadership of Union army and naval officers such as Benjamin Butler, John Peck, and Charles Flusser. Newsome does not neglect the broader context, revealing how these military events related to a contested gubernatorial election; the social transformations in the state brought on by the war; the execution of Union prisoners at Kinston; and the activities of North Carolina Unionists.

Lee’s January proposal triggered one of the last successful Confederate offensives. The Fight for the Old North State captures the full scope, as well as the dramatic details of this struggle for North Carolina.
 
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Pat Young

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View attachment 301966

https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2746-2.html

The Fight for the Old North State: The Civil War in North Carolina, January-May 1864 (Univ. Press of Kansas Press, 2019)

by Hampton Newsome

In this fascinating new book, Hampton Newsome makes a valuable contribution to Civil War literature, offering a compelling account of Confederate efforts in early 1864 to turn the tide of war in eastern North Carolina. Though these efforts produced decidedly mixed results, the same cannot be said of Newsome’s. Well-researched, informative, and unfailingly interesting, this superb study merits the attention of anyone interested in the course and conduct of these operations, their strategic and operational effects, and the challenges leaders on both sides faced as they pursued victory in the Old North State in 1864.
—Ethan S. Rafuse, author of Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865 and coeditor of Guide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign

On a cold day in early January 1864, Robert E. Lee wrote to Confederate president Jefferson Davis “The time is at hand when, if an attempt can be made to capture the enemy’s forces at New Berne, it should be done.” Over the next few months, Lee’s dispatch would precipitate a momentous series of events as the Confederates, threatened by a supply crisis and an emerging peace movement, sought to seize Federal bases in eastern North Carolina. This book tells the story of these operations—the late war Confederate resurgence in the Old North State.

Using rail lines to rapidly consolidate their forces, the Confederates would attack the main Federal position at New Bern in February, raid the northeastern counties in March, hit the Union garrisons at Plymouth and Washington in late April, and conclude with another attempt at New Bern in early May. The expeditions would involve joint-service operations, as the Confederates looked to support their attacks with powerful, homegrown ironclad gunboats. These offensives in early 1864 would witness the failures and successes of southern commanders including George Pickett, James Cooke, and a young, aggressive North Carolinian named Robert Hoke. Likewise they would challenge the leadership of Union army and naval officers such as Benjamin Butler, John Peck, and Charles Flusser. Newsome does not neglect the broader context, revealing how these military events related to a contested gubernatorial election; the social transformations in the state brought on by the war; the execution of Union prisoners at Kinston; and the activities of North Carolina Unionists.

Lee’s January proposal triggered one of the last successful Confederate offensives. The Fight for the Old North State captures the full scope, as well as the dramatic details of this struggle for North Carolina.
Congrats.
 

unionblue

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View attachment 301966

https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2746-2.html

The Fight for the Old North State: The Civil War in North Carolina, January-May 1864 (Univ. Press of Kansas Press, 2019)

by Hampton Newsome

In this fascinating new book, Hampton Newsome makes a valuable contribution to Civil War literature, offering a compelling account of Confederate efforts in early 1864 to turn the tide of war in eastern North Carolina. Though these efforts produced decidedly mixed results, the same cannot be said of Newsome’s. Well-researched, informative, and unfailingly interesting, this superb study merits the attention of anyone interested in the course and conduct of these operations, their strategic and operational effects, and the challenges leaders on both sides faced as they pursued victory in the Old North State in 1864.
—Ethan S. Rafuse, author of Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865 and coeditor of Guide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign

On a cold day in early January 1864, Robert E. Lee wrote to Confederate president Jefferson Davis “The time is at hand when, if an attempt can be made to capture the enemy’s forces at New Berne, it should be done.” Over the next few months, Lee’s dispatch would precipitate a momentous series of events as the Confederates, threatened by a supply crisis and an emerging peace movement, sought to seize Federal bases in eastern North Carolina. This book tells the story of these operations—the late war Confederate resurgence in the Old North State.

Using rail lines to rapidly consolidate their forces, the Confederates would attack the main Federal position at New Bern in February, raid the northeastern counties in March, hit the Union garrisons at Plymouth and Washington in late April, and conclude with another attempt at New Bern in early May. The expeditions would involve joint-service operations, as the Confederates looked to support their attacks with powerful, homegrown ironclad gunboats. These offensives in early 1864 would witness the failures and successes of southern commanders including George Pickett, James Cooke, and a young, aggressive North Carolinian named Robert Hoke. Likewise they would challenge the leadership of Union army and naval officers such as Benjamin Butler, John Peck, and Charles Flusser. Newsome does not neglect the broader context, revealing how these military events related to a contested gubernatorial election; the social transformations in the state brought on by the war; the execution of Union prisoners at Kinston; and the activities of North Carolina Unionists.

Lee’s January proposal triggered one of the last successful Confederate offensives. The Fight for the Old North State captures the full scope, as well as the dramatic details of this struggle for North Carolina.
@Hampton Newsome ,

Wow! What an accomplishment!

Good luck and I hope it earns you recognition and some well-deserved cash!

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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The first review of the The Fight for the Old North State is out - a highly favorable, thorough, and thoughtful appraisal from Drew Wagenhoffer over at Civil War Books and Authors. Full review is here: https://cwba.blogspot.com/2019/06/review-fight-for-old-north-state-civil.html

Review Excerpts
"Readers appreciative of the high-level research and narrative interpretation skills displayed in Newsome's earlier military study Richmond Must Fall will find the same qualities here . . . In a narrative that details battlefield events and analyzes their military, political, and social contexts in equal measure, The Fight for the Old North State is an excellent history of an understudied late-war offensive that was a rare (though qualified) Confederate success. While racial and political violence were certainly not new to 1864, Newsome's account of the campaign also usefully portrays it as a clear, early demonstration that the coming year's increasingly frequent confrontations between the most volatile combinations of battlefield combatants would be characterized by rising levels of lethal violence. Highly recommended." - Civil War Books and Authors

unnamed.jpg
 
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Thanks. There are seven chapters on Plymouth in the book. In my research and writing, I found the battle fascinating - a successful combined operation aided by a home-made ironclad built upriver in a corn field against a well-established, fortified position. In the end, the bulk of the Union garrison was captured en masse and many of the men ended up at Andersonville.

Various elements of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery were involved in nearly every engagement covered in the book - including (in addition to Plymouth) the large attack on New Bern and the seizure of the Newport Barracks in Feb. 1864. The latter action generated Russell Conwell's "Johnnie Ring" story - I found some interesting statements about his trial.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the book.
 
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Random Thoughts on History Blog Looks at The Fight for the Old North State

Some great comments on The Fight for the Old North State from Tim Talbott at the Random Thoughts on History blog. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Tim's site - so was happy to send him a copy. He reads a lot of interesting titles and prepares thoughtful write-ups about them. Tim and I have chatted about the Petersburg Campaign over email and the phone in the past about potential book projects. You can read his full post about my book at http://randomthoughtsonhistory.blogspot.com/2019/07/just-finished-reading-fight-for-old.html but here is a excerpt below:

"Meticulously researched, vividly told and interpreted, The Fight for the Old North State not only helped fill a void in my own knowledge, it will certainly become the go to source for the greater Civil War community to understand these particular actions. In addition to a nice set of maps, the book also contains a number of photographs that help the reader with some of the campaign's lesser known figures. Do yourself a favor and add The Fight for the Old North State to your library. I highly recommend it." - Tim Talbott at the Random Thoughts on History
 
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Is this part of a series on NC in the war, or a standalone work?
It is a standalone work covering the Confederate offensive in North Carolina during the first half of 1864 - the New Bern offensive, the Kinston Hangings, operations of ironclad Albemarle, the Battle of Plymouth, etc.
 

Paul Yancey

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Random Thoughts on History Blog Looks at The Fight for the Old North State

Some great comments on The Fight for the Old North State from Tim Talbott at the Random Thoughts on History blog. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Tim's site - so was happy to send him a copy. He reads a lot of interesting titles and prepares thoughtful write-ups about them. Tim and I have chatted about the Petersburg Campaign over email and the phone in the past about potential book projects. You can read his full post about my book at http://randomthoughtsonhistory.blogspot.com/2019/07/just-finished-reading-fight-for-old.html but here is a excerpt below:

"Meticulously researched, vividly told and interpreted, The Fight for the Old North State not only helped fill a void in my own knowledge, it will certainly become the go to source for the greater Civil War community to understand these particular actions. In addition to a nice set of maps, the book also contains a number of photographs that help the reader with some of the campaign's lesser known figures. Do yourself a favor and add The Fight for the Old North State to your library. I highly recommend it." - Tim Talbott at the Random Thoughts on History
I agree that Tim Talbott's blog is very informative and I highly recommend. His book reviews are very insightful and there are several books that Tim has recommended that I intend to read. I look forward to reading "The Fight for the Old North State".
 
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I agree that Tim Talbott's blog is very informative and I highly recommend. His book reviews are very insightful and there are several books that Tim has recommended that I intend to read. I look forward to reading "The Fight for the Old North State".
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
 
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Some more feedback on The Fight for the Old North State - this time from Andrew Duppstadt's Civil War Navy blog (full text courtesy of Mr. Duppstadt):

"Finally, I was able to finish Hampton Newsome's The Fight for the Old North State and oh my, what a terrific book! There is nothing to dislike about this book. It is the most comprehensive thing written on North Carolina during the first half of 1864. Well-researched, well-written, balanced, and well-illustrated, if this book doesn't win some awards, people simply aren't paying attention. The Conclusion alone is the best summary of the topic one could hope to read. It includes the most detailed coverage of the Battle of Plymouth that you will find anywhere. Newsome's understanding of what was going on in North Carolina during this time is second to none and I encourage ANYONE interested in the Civil War, or even simply North Carolina history, to read this book. It will ultimately give you a better understanding of the time." - Andrew Duppstadt, Civil War Navy, the History Profession, and Other Historical Musings blog

I've also put a post on my blog about it.
 

jackt62

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This seems like a useful addition about a theater of the war that does not usually get much attention. I will certainly add this book to my reading list.
 
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This seems like a useful addition about a theater of the war that does not usually get much attention. I will certainly add this book to my reading list.
Thanks. When I began this project, I was drawn in by the interesting military operations in N.C. during the first half of '64. These battles, all initiated by a plan drawn up by Lee, involved well-known leaders and units (e.g., Pickett, Butler, Hoke, Beauregard, Ransom, etc.) and featured some unusual events - a naval victory by a homegrown rebel ironclad, a successful infantry assault against fortifications, a Confederate attempt to capture a Union train and ride into a fortified city, the nighttime seizure of a large gunboat by marines in rowboats, etc.). But this campaign also involved interesting political, social, and logistical issues - a peace movement in NC that threatened Confederate control there, a Confederate deserter crisis, the execution of former rebels soldiers found in Union units, African-American emancipation and recruitment, the ANV's supply crisis in Virginia, etc.

I hope people enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed working on it.
 


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