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By Stephen V. Ash

A 12 months within the South is set 4 traditional humans in a rare time. They lived within the South in the course of 1865 -- a 12 months that observed struggle, disunion, and slavery crumple to peace, reconstruction, and emancipation. One was once a slave made up our minds to achieve freedom, one a widow fighting poverty and melancholy, one a guy of God and planter’s son grappling with non secular and worldly problems, and one a former accomplice soldier looking a brand new lifestyles. among January and December 1865 they witnessed, from very varied vantage issues, the demise of the previous South and the delivery of the recent South. Civil battle historian Stephen V. Ash reconstructs their day-by-day lives, their fears and hopes, and their frustrations and triumphs in brilliant aspect, telling a dramatic tale of genuine humans in a time of significant upheaval and supplying a clean point of view on a pivotal second in heritage.

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Determined to be as thrifty as possible, Cornelia did not depend wholly on the stores in town for these items. 30 Friends helped out the McDonalds with food, too. Colonel William Gilham, a professor at the military institute, sent over a quarter of smoked beef in December 1864 that lasted a good while. Other friends made sure the 38 W INTER McDonalds had a Christmas turkey. Mrs. ” Furthermore, as the wife, and now widow, of a soldier, Cornelia was eligible to buy bacon collected by the army impressment agent at the same low price that he paid the farmers for it.

The only girl, Nelly, was a sympathetic, sad-faced child whom Cornelia dubbed “my little shadow”; she was ten now, old enough to help with the smaller ones. Kenneth, an affectionate twelve-year-old, assisted her. The two oldest boys—Allan, fifteen, and Harry, almost seventeen—were nearing maturity, and Cornelia was relying on them more and more. 8 She and the children would need all the strength they could muster in order to survive and keep the family intact, for their financial situation was little short of desperate.

From the moment she arrived in Lexington in August 1863—an utter stranger, homeless, with one dollar in her purse—she had been blessed with acts of kindness. She was lucky in this regard, for in many Southern communities refugees were encountering hostility. 17 Perhaps it was not just luck in Cornelia’s case. Although she could be stubborn and sharp at times, she had a generous nature and an appealing way about her; and she made friends easily, at least among people of her own social class. In any event, a good number of Lexington folk took to her and went out of their way to help her.

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