Spies, Prisons, Guerill

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Perfect Scout: A Soldier's Memoir of the Great March to the Sea and Campaign of the Carolinas (George W. Quimby)

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A rare and dramatic first-person account by a Union scout who served General William Tecumseh Sherman on his "march to the sea"

After his father-in-law passed away, Stephen Murphy found, among the voluminous papers left behind, an ancestral memoir. Murphy quickly became fascinated with the recollections of George W. Quimby (1842-1926), a Union soldier and scout for General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Before Quimby became a part of Sherman's March, he was held captive by Nathan Bedford Forrest's troops in western Tennessee. He joined Sherman's Army in Vicksburg, destroying railroads and bridges across Mississippi and Alabama on the way to Georgia. As the notorious march began, Quimby became a scout and no longer experienced war as his fellow soldiers did. Scouts moved ahead of the troops to anticipate opportunities and dangers. The rank and file were instructed to be seen and feared, while scouts were required to be invisible and stealthy. This memoir offers the rare perspective of a Union soldier who ventured into Confederate territory and sent intelligence to Sherman.

Written around 1901 in the wake of the Spanish American War, Quimby's memoir shows no desire to settle old scores. He's a natural storyteller, keeping his audience's attention with tales of drunken frolics and narrow escapes, providing a memoir that reads more like an adventure novel. He gives a new twist to the familiar stories of Sherman's March, reminding readers that while the Union soldiers faced few full-scale battles, the campaign was still quite dangerous.

More than a chronicle of day-to-day battles and marches, The Perfect Scout is more episodic and includes such additional elements as the story of how he met his wife and close encounters with the enemy. Offering a full picture of the war, Quimby writes not only about his adventures as one of Sherman's scouts, but also about the suffering of the civilians caught in the war. He provides personal insight into some of the war's historic events and paints a vivid picture of the devastation wreaked upon the South that includes destroyed crops and homes and a shattered economy. He also tells of the many acts of kindness he received from Southerners, including women and African Americans, who helped him and his fellow scouts by providing food, shelter, or information.

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Phantoms of the South Fork: Captain McNeill and His Rangers

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At 3 a.m. on February 21, 1865, a band of 65 Confederate horsemen slowly made its way down Greene Street in Cumberland, Maryland. Thinking the riders were disguised Union scouts, the few Union soldiers out that bitterly cold morning paid little attention to them. In the meantime, over 3,500 Yankee soldiers peacefully slept.

Within thirty minutes McNeill's Rangers had kidnapped Union generals George Crook and Benjamin Kelley from their hotels and spirited them out of town. Despite a determined effort by Union pursuers to intercept the kidnappers, the Rangers reached safety deep in the South Fork River Valley, over fifty miles away. Not long afterward, the generals were shipped to Richmond's Libby Prison. Southern general John B. Gordon later called the mission "one of the most thrilling incidents of the war."

In September 1862, John Hanson McNeill recruited a company of troopers for Col. John D. Imboden's 1st Virginia Partisan Rangers. In early 1863, Imboden took most of his men into the regular army, but McNeill and his son Jesse offered their men an opportunity to continue in independent service; seventeen soldiers joined them. In the coming months, other young hotspurs enlisted in McNeill's Rangers. Operating mostly in the Potomac Highlands of what is now eastern West Virginia, the Rangers bedeviled the Union troops guarding the B&O Railroad line. Favoring American Indian battle tactics, they ambushed patrols, attacked wagon trains, and heavily damaged railroad property and rolling stock.

Phantoms of the South Fork is the thrilling result of Steve French's carefully researched study of primary source material, including diaries, memoirs, letters, and period newspaper articles. Additionally, he traveled throughout West Virginia, western Maryland, southern Pennsylvania, and the Shenandoah Valley following the trail of Captain McNeill and his "Phantoms of the South Fork."

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Wild Rose The True Story of a Civil War Spy

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For sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the Civil War heroine Rose O'Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the surprising true story of a unique woman in history.

"I am a Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins," Rose once declared-and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family, Rose moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established herself as one of the capital's most charming and influential socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley Madison.

She married well, bore eight children and buried five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband Robert Greenhow to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring-and numerous-love affairs.

But with the outbreak of the Civil War, everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess, become Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, deadly accurate intelligence that Rose supplied to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard written in a fascinating code (the code duplicated in the background on the jacket of this book). Her message to Beauregard turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, and was a brilliant piece of spycraft that eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton and imprisonment with her young daughter.

Indomitable, Rose regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England and France.
Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the finest Civil War biographies.