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By Stephen V. Ash

A 12 months within the South is ready 4 usual humans in a rare time. They lived within the South in the course of 1865 -- a yr that observed conflict, disunion, and slavery collapse to peace, reconstruction, and emancipation. One used to be a slave decided to achieve freedom, one a widow struggling with poverty and depression, one a guy of God and planter’s son grappling with religious and worldly issues, and one a former accomplice soldier looking a brand new lifestyles. among January and December 1865 they witnessed, from very various vantage issues, the dying of the previous South and the delivery of the recent South. Civil conflict historian Stephen V. Ash reconstructs their day-by-day lives, their fears and hopes, and their frustrations and triumphs in vibrant aspect, telling a dramatic tale of actual humans in a time of serious upheaval and providing a clean standpoint on a pivotal second in heritage.

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Brooks turned it over to Lou, who, after finishing his morning duties at headquarters, set out to peddle the plugs among the black laborers at the works. Within an hour he had sold every plug at five dollars apiece, for a profit of eighty dollars. Later, as Lou was serving the noon meal in the headquarters’ dining room, Brooks asked him how he had done with the tobacco. “I did very well,” Lou replied. ” Brooks questioned him a little more, then drew out pencil and paper and did some figuring. His own salary was a meager $150 a month in rapidly depreciating Confederate money.

Her first months there had been miserable. She had grown up with her mother and six brothers and sisters in Kentucky, but in 1855 her master had decided to sell the whole family. He hired two agents to take the eight blacks to Memphis, where they were put on the auction block in the prominent slave-trading establishment of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Matilda’s mother and five of her siblings were all sold to different buyers and taken away. 23 Torn from her family, Matilda was inconsolable for a time.

She herself, who had suffered so much already, might have to endure worse. 48 These worries were compounded by the constant strain of providing for her family. She was managing, with Susan’s help, to put together three meals a day for the children, but just barely. Skimpy portions of coarse food were pretty much the rule at the McDonalds’ dining table all through the winter. Cornelia herself was not getting enough to eat: many days she had nothing but bread and coffee. This was not just a matter of self-denial.

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