By Stephen V. Ash
A 12 months within the South is ready 4 usual humans in a rare time. They lived within the South in the course of 1865 -- a yr that observed battle, 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 depression, one a guy of God and planter’s son grappling with religious and worldly issues, and one a former accomplice soldier looking a brand new lifestyles. among January and December 1865 they witnessed, from very assorted vantage issues, the dying of the previous South and the start 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 bright element, telling a dramatic tale of genuine humans in a time of significant upheaval and delivering a clean standpoint on a pivotal second in historical past.
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Additional resources for A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865
His sudden passing had shocked his family and slaves but resulted in no immediate changes for Lou and Matilda. 4 There were many slaves at the works in early 1865, perhaps 200 or more. Their muscle and sweat and skills powered an extensive manufacturing operation. It was a scene of almost constant activity, for there were all sorts of tasks to be done and the Confederacy’s salt famine generated a sense of urgency. Slave men did most of the heavy labor—boring wells, tending pumps and furnaces, chopping and hauling wood, making bricks, building levees, sacking and weighing and loading the salt.
Considering the general primitiveness of industry in the Old South, it was an extraordinary facility—large, technologically sophisticated, efficient. The production process began at the wells that were bored in the mucky ﬂats to a depth of a hundred feet or so and lined with cypress wood. Steam-powered pumps, mounted on tall scaffolds erected over the wells, sucked the brine to the surface and spewed it into wooden troughs that carried it to the furnaces. There were at least four furnaces at the state works, great brick contrivances thirty or forty feet long, with towering chimneys.
32 The cook, a black woman named Susan, was very dependable and much loved by the children. She would often join the boys in singing patriotic songs, her deep voice complementing the boys’ higher voices. She was something of an anomaly, however. When the war began, she had been a slave, the property of a family in Charles Town in northern Virginia, but she was eventually liberated by the Union army. For reasons of her own, she went south to rebel territory after her owners lost control of her, rather than stay within the Yankee lines.