The Civil War in Maryland was in many ways a microcosm of the events that afflicted the entire nation. As a border state, Maryland held conflicting loyalties between the Federal Union and the new Confederate States of America. Its role in the struggle reflected those divided allegiances as its men, following the dictates of either conscience or kinship, were compelled to choose sides.
Though many historians have discussed aspects of Maryland’s experience in the war, Kevin Conley Ruffner finally fills the gap in scholarship concerning the state’s white population. Approximately 60,000 Marylanders, both black and white, served in various branches of the Union military. While the state did not officially recruit troops for Confederate service, a substantial 25,000 of its white citizenry fought for the South.
Maryland’s Blue and Gray is a collective biography focusing on the 365 Maryland men who served as captains and lieutenants in the Virginia theater of operations, specifically in the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Exemplifying a segment of Maryland’s antebellum society, these soldiers provide a rare opportunity to investigate the backgrounds, military careers, and wartime experiences of a specific group who fought in the nation’s bloodiest and most contentious war. In his thorough analysis, Ruffner examines the effects of the conflict on the officer corps in terms of promotions, morale, and discipline, and on their relationships with the home front, subordinates, and commanders.
Ruffner offers gripping insight into the cultural affinities between the Union and Confederate Marylanders as well as into the nature of the divisiveness that resulted in deadly combat. A groundbreaking study,Maryland’s Blue and Gray utilizes both military and social history to plumb the motivations, ambitions, and experiences of men from a single state who served in both armies during the Civil War.
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