H-CivWar is H-Net's network on scholarship, teaching, and outreach on the history of the American Civil War.

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I'm looking for a Civil War biography of a common man/woman for undergrads

I assign a short biography of Abraham Lincoln in my course that covers 1848-1877, and I would like to assign a short biography of a common man or woman who lived through the war (they don't have to have survived it). So no generals, leaders or other famous folks.

It needs to be less than 250 pages and a good book for undergrads. I want to use it as an example of social history v. great man history, but I want a biography

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Enrollment Act?

Great discussion. I think, too, that we need to make a distinction between drafted and pressed into service. My research on the Civil War on the lower Mississippi (Louisiana in particular) indicates a great deal of pushing liberated slaves into the ranks, willingly, unwillingly, or perhaps unwittingly. Research using original muster rolls and even the WPA slave narratives indicates the when officers had a need to fill the ranks (desertion rates were very high) they went shopping at local plantations. Need a farrier? There is one over on the Labadie place!

Re: Were African Americans drafted under the 1863 Militia Act?

To follow up on William Kurtz's reference to civil war data: I've found uadata.org to be a more reliable source than civilwardata.com. 16% of the black troops in the uadata "extended" sample are listed as drafted, whilst the majority (54%) in that sample are listed as substitutes. If we combine the "extended" and "original" samples then only 7% of all black troops were drafted and 24% were substitutes, the majority being volunteers.