The Confederate Dirty War

Arson, Bombings, Assassination and Plots for Chemical and Germ Attacks on the Union


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SKU: 9780786419739 Categories: , ,

About the Book

They echo modern headlines—a shadowy underground organization orchestrating plans to bring down the government; bands of saboteurs slipping in from Canada to attempt coordinated acts of destruction; plans to poison water supplies and spread deadly diseases among the urban populace—but these and similar incidents were part of a Confederate strategy to wreak “terror and consternation” upon the North during the Civil War. Elements within the Confederacy, acting officially or otherwise, developed—and attempted—numerous plans to inflict terror and death upon the Union populace and bring down the government using a variety of unconventional means. These efforts are an overlooked and important aspect of the Confederate strategy during the Civil War.
This is a history of Confederate efforts to terrorize, demoralize and defeat the North by attacking civilians and the government, using means outside the bounds of conventional warfare. It covers arsonists, “destructionists,” engineers of chemical and biological weapons, bands of mobile operatives, and a variety of other singular individuals and those who opposed them. Chapters cover prominent events in the campaign, from the efforts of the Sons of Liberty—an underground society allied against the Union and brought down by one heroic spy—to attempts to destroy the White House and “decapitate” the government. Illustrations, photographs and relative documents are included, as is an appendix following the career of Confederate bomber W.S. Duepree, killed while setting one of his own mines. Notes, a bibliography and an index are included.

About the Author(s)

Independent Civil War scholar Jane Singer’s writing has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine and the Washington Times. Her research has been covered in the Chicago Sun Times. Presently, she is a consulting historian with Engel Brothers Media in New York City. She lives in Venice, California.

Bibliographic Details

Jane Singer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 184
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1973-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1109-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

One: The War in Context      3

Two: In the Absence of Rules      15

Three: “When you go to fight the devil…”      26

Four: Fire in the Night      51

Five: Out of Canada      76

Six: “Terror and Consternation”      98

Seven: Aimed at the President’s House      118

Eight: “Again a part of the United States”      141

Appendix A: Coda      145

Appendix B: Arc of a Bomber: The Life and Death of William Stephen Deupree      146

Chapter Notes      153

Bibliography      165

Index      169

Book Reviews & Awards

“a new perspective…rich…extensively cites other valuable Civil War references…a somber reflection”—Military Review; “excellent”—The Journal of Southern History; “well written…well researched”—Terrorism & Political Violence; “an encyclopedic study…credible historical stud[y] on terrorism”—Georgia Historical Quarterly.