Book Review: Virginia at War, 1865


by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson, Jr, editors

Lexington: University Pres of Kentucky, 2012. Pp. x, 237. Notes, biblio., index. $40.00. ISBN:0813134684

Virginia at War, 1865 is the final volume in a series which noted Civil War historians Davis and Robertson, began in 2004 with Virginia at War, 1861, followed by Virginia at War, 1862(2007), Virginia at War, 1863(2008), and Virginia at War, 1864(2009)

As with the earlier volumes, the editors have collected essays by specialists on different aspects of the Civil War as it involved Virginia during the course of a single year, in this case the final one of the war.  The primary focus is not military operations, which are treated succinctly in the opening essay.  This is followed by essays on the Home Front, the war economy, popular culture, the collapse and flight of the Confederate government, demobilization of Confederate forces, African-American Freedmen, and an overview of the devastated condition of the state as it emerged from the war.  As with each of the earlier volumes, the concluding chapter consists of excerpts from the diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire, the daughter of a Virginia Supreme Court justice and mother of two Confederate soldiers, who in the final weeks of the war joined a flood of refugees. 

Virginia at War, 1865 will prove rewarding reading for anyone interested in the Civil War, and with the earlier volumes provides invaluable insights into the life of a Confederate state at war.

Virginia at War, 1865 is available from.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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