Cover image for Secret Yankees : the Union circle in Confederate Atlanta
Secret Yankees : the Union circle in Confederate Atlanta
Dyer, Thomas G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore, MD : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 383 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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F294.A857 D94 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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During the American Civil War, a small group of Unionists found themselves trapped in the largest Southern city between Richmond and New Orleans. Atlanta was a Confederate bastion. The military ruled, and it brooked little dissent. But, as this work demonstrates, the Confederate military hadn't reckoned on Cyrena Stone.

Author Notes

Thomas G. Dyer is the University Professor of Higher Education and History at the University of Georgia

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Civil War can be described as the kudzu vine of American historiography: books about it will grow anywhere, in vast numbers. A new subject well covered is far less common, though, which makes this book noteworthy. Dyer documents one of the more successful groups of Union sympathizers in the allegedly solid South. It was led by Vermonter Cyrena Stone, who had moved to Atlanta in 1854. Despite the city's being virtually under military government, she and her pro-Union cohorts risked their lives to assist the escape of Union prisoners, to protect slaves, and to provide intelligence to Sherman's advancing armies. Dyer is a sufficiently good writer to make the narrative hold even nonscholars' interest, especially since it corrects the portrait of Confederate Atlanta in Gone with the Windan aspect that may garner it more attention than the ruck of Civil War books. It is a literate, sound, and original addition to the literature that likely will appeal to a larger than usual band of readers. --Roland Green

Library Journal Review

In 1979, Dyer (history, Univ. of Georgia) discovered a little-known diary by Cyrena Bailey Stone, the Vermont-born wife of a northern businessman and Unionist, who painstakingly recorded events in Civil War Atlanta. Stone's diary, which covers the period from January to July 1864 and is presented verbatim in the book's appendix, depicts a different Atlanta than the one memorialized in Gone with the Wind, one not as unified behind the Confederacy. The book treats not only the precarious existence of the handful of Unionists in Atlanta but also the complexities of Unionism and loyalty as well as how these issues affected Atlantans from all socioeconomic backgrounds and political persuasions. Dyer captures the intricacies of multiple loyalties in the midst of seemingly unified secessionist sentiment. Skillfully written and carefully researched, this book is intended for both scholars and a general audience. Highly recommended.√ĄCharles C. Hay, Eastern Kentucky Univ. Archives, Richmond (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Dyer ably traces the activities, risks, and accomplishments of a small group of active Union sympathizers in Atlanta, Georgia. He illustrates how white and black Unionists alike worked to pass along military intelligence to General Sherman's advancing Union army, aided Northern soldiers held as prisoners of war, and assisted black freedmen and slaves. He concentrates particularly on the efforts of Cyrena Stone, a transplanted Vermonter whose Unionist contribution was brought to light only recently with the discovery of her 1864 diary. Dyer does a fine job not only of summarizing Stone's and other Unionists' work but also of examining the very nature and meaning of loyalty under the stress of civil war. His research is thorough, and he writes effectively for both general readers and Civil War scholars. The book is carefully documented with 43 pages of notes, most of which refer to diaries, newspapers, and other primary sources. There are ten pages of photographs and illustrations. A 12-page appendix traces the keen detective work Dyer did to identify Cyrena Stone as the secret author of "Miss Abby's Diary," and another 46-page appendix reproduces the diary for use by students and scholars. Highly recommended for libraries with extensive Civil War collections. R. Detweiler California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 The World of Cyrena and Amherst Stonep. 8
2 Loyalty under Fire: Unionists and the Secession Crisisp. 26
3 "The Knell of All Our Bright Hopes"p. 53
4 The Limits of Loyaltyp. 75
5 "A Perfect Reign of Terror"p. 97
6 Amherst Stone's Missionp. 115
7 Exit and Espionagep. 135
8 "The Red Waves of War"p. 155
9 "Like the Frozen Snake": Unionists during Battle and Occupationp. 179
10 The Loyalty of Reconstruction, the Reconstruction of Loyalty, 1865p. 213
11 Claims of Loyaltyp. 237
Postscriptp. 262
Appendix A In Search of Miss Abbyp. 271
Appendix B Miss Abby's Diaryp. 283
Notesp. 329
Indexp. 373