In 1863 Confederate forces under Lieutenant General James Longstreet, while scouring Southside Virginia for badly needed supplies, threatened the Union garrison in Suffolk. For the residents of surrounding Nansemond, Isle of Wight, and Southampton Counties, the Suffolk campaign followed an exhausting and deadly pattern. Already subjected to the demands of waves of soldiers, first Southern recruits and then Union occupation troops, the people of the region faced the severest tests the Civil War could impose upon human beings.
In The War Hits Home, Brian Steel Wills tells the story of these real people in the crucible of war. Reconstructing life for soldiers from the region on the battlefield and for civilians in the homes of southeastern Virginia, Wills provides a full depiction of what life was like for the ordinary person--black, white, soldier, citizen, Unionist, or secessionist--contending with domestic, economic, social, and military hardship in the contest of sectionalism and war. Wills employs their individual experiences to illustrate the impact of the war on a human scale, on soldiers and their relatives, North and South. We witness battlefield horror and family despair, African Americans' embrace of freedom, and the persistence of Confederate nationalism among most whites in the region.
Taken as a whole, The War Hits Home is a sweeping but extraordinarily detailed canvas of a fractured American South.
The definitive study of the conflict in southeast Virginia, and one of the finest Confederate regional studies to have reached print.