Author(s): Margaret Leech
1860: The American capital is sprawling, fractured, squalid, colored by patriotism and treason, and deeply divided along the political lines that will soon embroil the nation in bloody conflict. Chaotic and corrupt, the young city is populated by bellicose Congressmen, Confederate conspirators, eager regiments, and enterprising prostitutes. Soldiers of a volunteer army swing from the dome of the Capitol, assassins stalk the avenues, and Abraham Lincoln struggles to justify his presidency as the Union heads to war.Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 focuses on the everyday politics, gossip, and preoccupations of Washington during the Civil War. Forgoing the battlefields, Leech looks at extravagant dinner parties, saloon backrooms, makeshift barracks, and White House halls to illustrate the social and political undercurrents of these pivotal years. From the stench of corpse-littered streets to the plunging lace on Mary Lincoln's evening gowns, Washington and its familiar figures-among them Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, William Seward, Rose Greenhow and Walt Whitman -are illuminated in intimate and unforgiving detail.
It remains widely recognized as both an impressive feat of scholarship and an uncommonly engrossing work of history.
Margaret Leech (1893-1974) was an American historian, novelist and dramatist. She twice received the Pulitzer Prize in history, for Reveille in Washington (1952) and In the Days of McKinley (1960); with the former she became the first woman to receive a Pulitzer in that category. James McPherson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. His other bestselling books include For Cause and Comrades, Drawn with the Sword, What They Fought For; Gettysburg; and Fields of Fury. A professor at Princeton University, he lives in Princeton, New Jersey.