Cover image for Intimate strategies of the Civil War : military commanders and their wives
Intimate strategies of the Civil War : military commanders and their wives
Bleser, Carol K. Rothrock.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 292 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : portraits ; 25 cm
The marriage of Varina Howell and Jefferson Davis : a portrait of the President and the First Lady of the Confederacy / Carol K. Bleser -- The Lee marriage / Emory M. Thomas -- "A sweet solace to my lonely heart" : "Stonewall" and Mary Anna Jackson and the Civil War / Sarah E. Gardner -- "Cupid does not readily give way to Mars" : the marriage of LaSalle Corbell and George E. Pickett / Lesley J. Gordon -- "All say they are under petticoat government" : Lizinka Campbell Brown and Richard S. Ewell / Peter S. Carmichael -- The marriage of Amelia Gayle and Josiah Gorgas / Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins -- A marriage tested by war : Ulysses and Julia Grant / John Y. Simon -- General and Mrs. William T. Sherman, a contentious union / John F. Marszalek -- The reconstruction of "home" : the Civil War and the marriage of Lawrence and Fannie Chamberlain / Jennifer Lund Smith -- The Civil War partnership of Elizabeth and George A. Custer / Shirley A. Leckie -- Permutations of a marriage : John Charles and Jessie Benton Frémont's Civil War alliance / Pamela Herr -- "A good wife, the best friend in the world" : the marriage of Elizabeth Blair and S. Phillips Lee / Virginia Jeans Laas.
Reading Level:
1400 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E467 .I58 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From Robert E. and Mary Lee to Ulysses S. and Julia Grant, Intimate Strategies of the Civil War examines the marriages of twelve prominent military commanders, highlighting the impact wives had on their famous husbands' careers. Carol K. Bleser and Lesley J. Gordon assemble an impressive array of leading scholars to explore the marriages of six Confederate and six Union commanders. Contributors reveal that, for many of these men, the matrimonial bond was the most important relationship in their lives, one that shaped(and was shaped by) their military experience. In some cases, the commanders' spouses proved relentless and skillful promoters of their husbands' careers. Jessie Fremont drew on all of her connections as the daughter of former Senator Thomas Hart Benton to aid her modestly talented husband John.Others bolstered their military spouses in less direct ways. For example, Ulysses S. Grant's relationship with Julia (a Southerner and former slave owner herself) kept him anchored in stormy times. Here, too, are tense and tempestuous pairings, such William Tecumseh Sherman and his wife Ellen--hisfoster sister before becoming his wife--and Jefferson Davis's fascinatingly complex bond with Varina, further complicated by the hostile rumors about the two in Richmond society. Throughout, these historians paint remarkably intimate portraits of their subjects, ranging from hints of sexual passion,to the wives' fierce protectiveness of their husbands' reputations, to the surprisingly frequent visits of spouses to the front lines and battlefields. Readers will see these famed men in a way that they perhaps never considered: not merely as famous leaders, but as lovers, husbands and fathers. Illuminating a frequently neglected but extremely significant side of military history, Intimate Strategies is a must-read for anyone seeking fresh perspective on some of the war's best known commanders and a landmark contribution to Civil War history.

Author Notes

Carol K. Bleser is Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at Clemson University and former president of the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Association of Women Historians. Her books include The Hammonds of Redcliffe, Tokens of Affection, Secretand Sacred, and In Joy and In Sorrow. Lesley J. Gordon is Associate Professor of History at the University of Akron, and is the author of General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and Their Wives, editors Carol K. Bleser (In Joy and in Sorrow) and Lesley J. Gordon (General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend) present essays on the domestic lives of six Union and six Confederate leaders, by an array of historians. Sarah Gardner looks at Mary Anna Jackson's self-appointed role as style counsel to the reluctant Stonewall; he begged her to stop sending him pants decorated with gold braiding, and shied away from her efforts to make the most of his wartime glory. John F. Marszalek examines the unharmonious relationship between General "Cump" Sherman and Ellen Boyle Sherman, beset by insurmountable, lifelong religious and lifestyle differences after the war. A limited audience of Civil War and pop culture scholars will appreciate this narrow but engaging collection. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Readers are not as likely to recognize the names of Varina Howell Davis and Julia Dent Grant as those of their husbands, Jefferson and Ulysses, but these wives of Civil War leaders also contributed to the war's outcome and to their husbands' careers. Long neglected in traditional military treatments of the conflict, the family life and very different wives of 12 of the Union's and Confederate's most significant leaders are the topic of this fascinating collection of essays. Editors Bleser (emerita, history, Clemson; In Joy and Sorrow: Women, Family, and Marriage in the Victorian South) and Gordon (history, Univ. of Akron; General George E. Pickett) are well qualified to compile and contribute to such a volume. Other respected historians, editors, and biographers provide well-written, thoroughly documented essays to this first volume to provide such an extensive examination of the Civil War commanders' wives. Highly recommended for any academic or public library. Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Editors' Introductionp. ix
Part 1 Confederate Marriagesp. 1
1 A Portrait of the President and the First Lady of the Confederacyp. 3
2 The Lee Marriagep. 32
3 Stonewall and Mary Anna Jackson and the Civil Warp. 49
4 The Marriage of Lasalle Corbell and George E. Pickettp. 69
5 Lizinka Campbell Brown and Richard S. Ewellp. 87
6 The Marriage of Amelia Gayle and Josiah Gorgasp. 104
Part 2 Union Marriagesp. 121
7 Ulysses and Julia Grantp. 123
8 General and Mrs. William T. Sherman, a Contentious Unionp. 138
9 The Civil War and the Marriage of Lawrence and Fannie Chamberlainp. 157
10 The Civil War Partnership of Elizabeth and George A. Custerp. 178
11 John Charles and Jessie Benton Fremont's Civil War Alliancep. 199
12 The Marriage of Elizabeth Blair and S. Phillips Leep. 225
Notesp. 243
Authors Biographiesp. 291