I finished reading "Juniuis and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy" by Peter Carlson.
One of the great things about this book is the careful list of sources by the author, including two books, one by Junius Browne, and one by Albert Richardson, both published shortly after the close of the Civil War in 1865.
Albert Richardson wrote "The Secret Service, The Field, The Dungeon, and the Escape" describing in exquisite detail his travels through the South in the months before the fall of Ft Sumpter, his capture by the Rebels after floating past the guns at Vicksburg, to his escape from Confederate Salisbury Prison and a 400 mile trek though the mountains of South and North Carolina in the dead of Winter on foot. Upon his return to Union lines he sent a telegram to his employer, the New York Tribune saying " Out of the jaws of Death, out of the mouth of Hell!" He did have a way with words!!
One of the really great things I enjoy about Amazon.com is the ability to find out of print books quickly, easily, and often very inexpensively. One never knows if one is to find a real gem, or a tedious, dry volume , but the hunt is always fun. I enjoy books that expand my vocabulary, and from a quick perusal, Richardson and Browne both promise to do exactly that.
Richardson is a superb author, literate, soft spoken, with great memory for conversations held with southern citizens throughout the South before and after the outbreak of the war. He includes a great deal of very specific scenes and currents. He comments often about how the southern citizens "are so certain that the Yankees are all cowards, and will not stand against the Confederate forces". Richardson wrote, in response, a quote from a poem by John Dryden - "Beware the fury of a patient man!"
As an historic side note, the Union Army was slow to get itself together, early on, as an efficient fighting force, but several years of war taught it very well, such that by the end of the war, the Union Army was a superb miltary force, perhaps the best in the world.
It is remarkable how many people in the southern states were against Secession, but were over ruled and overshouted by their more engaged, slave holding plantation owning fellow citizens. Most of the southern states never put Secession to a public vote - Richardson suggests if they had, they might well have not passed! Much discussion centered around the border states, that were states permitting slavery, but not cotton growing states. Kentucky and Tennesse sent troops to both the Union and Confederate forces. The mountains of North Carolina and West Virginia were a hotbed of skirmishes between North and South leaning citizenery.
Junius Browne wrote "Four Years in Secessia: Within and Beyond Union Lines" , published just two weeks after the assassination of President Lincoln. I will have to finish Albert Richardson's book first, but Browne has a wry sense of humor that draws me in too..
I continue to enjoy reading books about the Civil War by folks who were actually there, lived with it, and recorded it with their own eyes.
Be aware, both books were written in 1865, and the language used is not language that is gentle on delicate modern ears. The quotes from the citizens carry commen, back then, racist phrases that are no longer acceptable in society today.
Nonetheless, they are cracking good books, if one has an interest in that terrible time, with lots of very specfic detail omitted from most modern text books.
I have ordered "The Crooked Path to Abolition"
Albert D. Richardson wrote a book after the Civil War entitled "Beyond the Mississippi: From the Great River to the Great Ocean: life and adventure on the prairies, mountains, and Pacific coast" where he travelled with Schulyer Colfax who became US Grant's Vice President.
Richardson wrote a biography on US Grant that is highly regarded, but not availble on a Kindle. I have ordered a copy of the book, published in 1885, mostly becasue I have found Albert Richardson such a great author, almost a century and half after his death.
One other story about Albert Richardson, his life was full, entertaining and very short. He was shot on November 25, 1869 at age 36 by an alcoholic, angry ex-husband. He died on December 2nd 1869, also his wedding day. What, you say?? Read the book to find out the whole story.
The story was reported widely at the time and is covered in a book entitiled "Lost Love:The True Story of Passion, Murder, and Justice in Old New York" written by George Cooper in 1994.
Thank you so much @paulag for the clue to so much great reading. Really a great series of books I found from your suggestion of Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy.