Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Confederate Home Front: Montgomery during the Civil War

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Confederate Home Front: Montgomery during the Civil War

Article excerpt

Confederate Home Front: Montgomery During the Civil War. By William Warren Rogers Jr. (Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, c. 1999. Pp. xiv, 209. $29.95, ISBN 0-8173-0962-4.)

Historians, it seems, cannot leave the Confederacy alone. Despite the fact that the rebel nation had only nine million inhabitants and survived a mere four years, the amount of scholarship on it is enormous. Many who have explored this inexhaustibly intriguing topic have taken a broad, thematic approach. Others have come at the Confederacy from the opposite direction: they seek to understand the Civil War South by putting a little slice of it under the microscope--a person, a regiment, or a community. William Warren Rogers Jr. has taken the latter path. His subject is Montgomery, Alabama, a small (8,800 residents in 1860) but important city in the heart of the deep South. Rogers examines every aspect of Montgomery's Civil War experience that he can find documented in the wide array of primary sources he has consulted. He discusses, in particular, the city's role as the first capital of the Confederacy, its municipal administration, its involvement in the Confederate war, and its inhabitants, male and female, black and white, and soldier and civilian.

Two factors stand out in Rogers's account as crucial determinants of the city's wartime experience. The first was the government's decision in May 1861 to forsake Montgomery and to make Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate nation's capital. Although Montgomery hummed with activity over the next four years, it was a sleepy village compared to what it would have become had Jefferson Davis and company remained. …

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