When the Yankees came : conflict and chaos in the occupied South, 1861-1865

by Stephen V. Ash

Hardcover, 1995




Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1995.


Southerners whose communities were invaded by the Union army during the Civil War endured a profoundly painful ordeal. For most, the coming of the Yankees was a nightmare become real; for some, it was the answer to a prayer. But for all, Stephen Ash argues, invasion and occupation were essential parts of the experience of defeat that helped shape the Southern postwar mentality. When the Yankees Came is the first comprehensive study of the occupied South, bringing to light a wealth of new information about the Southern home front. Examining events from a dual perspective to show how occupation affected the invading forces as well as the indigenous population, Ash concludes that as Federal war aims evolved, the occupation gradually became more repressive. But increased brutality on the part of the Northern army resulted in more determined resistance from white Southerners - a situation that parallels the experience of many other conquering forces. Finally, Ash shows that conflicts between Confederate citizens and Yankee invaders were not the only ones that marked the experience of the occupied South. Internal clashes pitted Southerners against one another along lines of class, race, and politics: plain folk vs. aristocrats, slaves vs. owners, and unionists vs. secessionists.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Big_Bang_Gorilla
This little masterpiece takes the unpromising subject of military government and spins it into pure gold. There is a certain amount of 'big picture' narrative, but the heart of the book is the author's fine way with the quotidian detail which makes his anecdotes so compelling. Many fascinating characters emerge; civilians (and soldiers) struggling to get home, a clerk trading passes through the lines for sex. A fine read and an even better source for a understudied aspect of the war.… (more)



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