The Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County and the Historical Society of Baltimore County are pleased to co-host a talk by Charles Mitchell, “Maryland Voices of the Civil War: Understanding the Civilian Experience.”
The Civil War deeply divided families, friends and communities. Both sides fought to define the conflict on their own terms: Lincoln and his supporters struggled to preserve the Union and end slavery, while the Confederacy waged a battle for the primacy of local liberty or the states’ rights. But the war had its own peculiar effects on the four border slave states that remained loyal to the Union. No state better exemplified the vital role of the border state than Maryland. Through the lens of the civilian experience, this talk will examine the animating themes of Maryland’s Civil War story, such as the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the fate of civil liberties in time of war, the impact of military operations and the role that slaves themselves played in helping win their own freedom and bring an end to the “peculiar institution” a full six months before the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.
Charles Mitchell’s book, “Maryland Voices of the Civil War” (Johns Hopkins University Press), the product of 12 years of research, draws on more than a thousand letters, diaries, and period newspapers–many previously unpublished–to portray the passions of a wide variety of people: merchants, slaves, soldiers, politicians, freemen, women, clergy, slave owners, civic leaders and children who were caught in the emotional vise of war.
“Maryland Voices of the Civil War” is a winner of the Founders Award from the Museum of the Confederacy, for outstanding scholarship of the Confederate era. His other book, “Travels Through American History in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide for All Ages,” won a Gold Award in the guidebook category from the Society of American Travel Writers in 2016. Mitchell has published widely on Civil War-era politics and slavery in Maryland.