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Campaign of Giants--The Battle for PetersburgVolume 1: From the Crossing of the James to the Crater$
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A. Wilson Greene

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638577

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638577.001.0001

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The Most Disagreeable Human Habitation Left upon This Sin-Stricken Earth

The Most Disagreeable Human Habitation Left upon This Sin-Stricken Earth

Life in Petersburg, Summer 1864

(p.304) Eight The Most Disagreeable Human Habitation Left upon This Sin-Stricken Earth
Campaign of Giants--The Battle for Petersburg

A. Wilson Greene

University of North Carolina Press

After a brief analysis of the Wilson-Kautz Raid, this chapter describes the impact of the first six weeks of the Petersburg Campaign on the city’s residents. Relentless Federal artillery bombardment forced many citizens out of their homes, wreaking havoc on the town’s built environment. Shortages at the markets created hardship as did runaway inflation that impoverished all but the wealthiest citizens. The presence of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers, many of whom occupied the city’s several military hospitals, presented both problems and opportunities for civilians. Crime increased, much of it perpetrated by the troops, but the residents managed to maintain an active social life wherein young Confederate officers courted Petersburg’s eligible belles. Despite these hardships, most Petersburg residents remained steadfast supporters of the Confederate war effort, demonstrating remarkable resilience in the face of immense challenges experienced by few Southerners during the war.

Keywords:   Wilson-Kautz Raid, Runaway slaves, Bombardment of Petersburg, John H. Claiborne, Charles Campbell, Civilian refugees, Shortages and inflation, Crime, Urban slavery, Wartime social life

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