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Best Little Stories from the Blue and the Gray is a journalistic history of America's Civil War and the people who fought it. Drawn from the writings of soldiers, sailors, slaves, politicians, and ordinary citizens as much as from the accomplishments of military leaders, it records the war largely in terms of its human-interest aspects. In more than 100 vignettes, it gives voice to the common people - soldiers and civilians alike - not just military and political leaders, featuring stories about:
- The Confederacy's Patton brothers, whose heroics inspired their descendant, George S. Patton Jr., of World War II fame.
- A general who served faithfully and honorably under Stonewall Jackson even though as a cadet he had been expelled from VMI for talking back toProfessor Jackson.
- The true story behind the song, "Dixie," which was written in the North and was one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite songs.
- The Confederate veteran who erected a monument in New England to his former enemy, the soldiers of the Union army.
- The onetime Union drummer who apparently was the only Civil War veteran lost when theTitanic sank nearly five decades later.
- The Confederate veteran who wrote nearly 1,000 novels and novelettes after the Civil War and was buried at Jefferson Davis's postwar home in Mississippi.
- The Southern cemetery in which forty generals - all Union - are buried.
- An obscure Confederate general who is honored by a statue in Washington, D.C.
- How California won the Civil War for the Union...sort of...and how Texas gave the Confederacy a boost, even though Gov. Sam Houston did not intend to do so.
- The Union submarine that sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras while under tow to Charleston, South Caroline, not in battle.
- The final - but unsought - sentimental journey for Varina Howell Davis and her husband, Jefferson Davis, aboard a Mississippi River steamboat just days before his death.