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Washington in the Civil War
Ernest B. Furgurson
An illuminating history of how the Civil War transformed the nation’s capital from a provincial city to one of the most important cultural and social centers in America.
Before 1861, Washington was a sleepy city of 60,000, poorer cousin to New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. But with the outbreak of war, it became the center of union mobilization, and tens of thousands of Americans descended upon it. Ernest Furguron relates the story of the making of a metropolis through the men and women who brought Washington to life. He writes about William H. Seward, who fancied himself Abraham Lincoln’s prime minister; Walt Whitman, who nursed the wounded; detective Allan Pinkerton, who tracked down spies and deserters; Elizabeth Keckley, an ex-slave who became a dressmaker for both Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Jefferson Davis; the architect Thomas Walter, racing to finish the Capitol dome before the war’s end.
And at the center of it all, Lincoln himself, running a country and fighting a war, awash in the dramas of his personal life—until his final drama became the entire nation’s.
A fascinating portrait of the life of our capital city at one of its most vital moments, and an invaluable addition to our understanding of the growth of our nation.
Ernest B. Furgurson spent more than 30 years as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, serving in Moscow and Vietnam, and as Washington columnist and bureau chief. He has written three other books on the Civil War. He is a native of Virginia, and now makes his home in Washington, D.C.