Sister States, Enemy States
Kent T. Dollar, Larry Whiteaker and W. Calvin Dickinson, eds.
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Buy *Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee* by Kent T. Dollar, Larry Whiteaker and W. Calvin Dickinson online

Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee
Kent T. Dollar, Larry Whiteaker and W. Calvin Dickinson, editors
University Press of Kentucky
402 pages
April 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Instead of covering battles, the essays in this collection on the Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee address various issues that affected these states: slavery; family feuds that lasted beyond the war; politics; racism; the recruitment of African Americans for the Union Army; women; and religion, among other topics. Unionists were able to keep Kentucky in the Union while those in Tennessee, specifically the eastern half of the state, were outnumbered by secessionists. Sister States, Enemy States provides information on both sides of the war, and no one was immune from its effect in these states.

Some people used the Civil War as an excuse to kill and torment neighbors who they thought had done them wrong. Revenge killings continued even after the war was over, and some new family feuds erupted during it. One essay describes Andrew Johnson as military governor of Tennessee ruling his home state with the aid of Unionist Tennesseans from Eastern Tennessee. Another tells the story of an Eastern Tennessean minister, William Brownlow, who became governor of the state during Reconstruction.

Among the essays on African Americans during this time in these two states is one about the recruiting camp called Camp Nelson, set up in Kentucky to accept blacks into the Union Army. The army was not prepared for the families who came with these recruits and dealt with them in a severe manner; some died of starvation and from the cold weather. Members of these families feared returning to their masters, for they would be punished because of their husbands or relatives joining the Union Army. A shantytown rose up near the recruiting camp with unhealthy conditions. Union commanders showed stupidity in not properly planning for or working to remedy this problem. Racism was a factor.

Maps and endnotes conclude each chapter. There are an index and some black-and-white illustrations from the era. Many of the essayists are college history professors and authors of books and articles on the Civil War. Sister States, Enemy States is recommended to those interested in the Civil War, Tennessee and Kentucky history.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., 2009

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