Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio

Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio

Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio

Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio

Synopsis

For years the Ewing family of Ohio has been lost in the historical shadow cast by their in-law, General William T. Sherman. In the era of the Civil War, it was the Ewing family who raised Sherman, got him into West Point, and provided him with the financial resources and political connections to succeed in war. The patriarch, Thomas Ewing, counseled presidents and clashed with radical abolitionists and southern secessionists leading to the Civil War. Three Ewing sons became Union generals, served with distinction at Antietam and Vicksburg, marched through Georgia, and fought guerrillas in Missouri. The Ewing family stood at the center of the Northern debate over emancipation, fought for the soul of the Republican Party, and waged total war against the South. In Civil War Dynasty, Kenneth J. Heineman brings to life this drama of political intrigue and military valor—warts and all. This work is a military, political, religious, and family history, told against the backdrop of disunion, war, violence, and grief.

Excerpt

Ellen Ewing Sherman had seen her share of death. At William Tecumseh Sherman’s encampment near Vicksburg, Mississippi, she had toured abandoned entrenchments laden with blood. It was during Ellen’s visit with her husband in the summer of 1863 that their son Willie had fallen sick. He died before Ellen could reach her parents in Lancaster, Ohio. That same fall, Ellen’s mother, Maria Boyle Ewing, entered the final stages of a terminal illness. Her father, Thomas Ewing, had already suffered a series of heart attacks since the beginning of the war.

If the deaths of Maria and Willie had shaken Ellen to her core—followed by the loss of another child while Sherman was marching through Georgia— her father’s decline was devastating. He had always been a source of calm in Ellen’s turbulent life. By sheer willpower Ewing had rallied so he could continue his law practice in Washington. He collapsed while presenting a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1869. Remarkably, Ewing was not yet counted out. Now, two years later, Ellen sat by her father’s bedside in Lancaster on a deathwatch. Her husband kept his distance, harboring mixed . . .

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