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A well-educated, outspoken member of a politically prominent family in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Josie Underwood (1840–1923) left behind one of the few intimate accounts of the Civil War written by a southern woman sympathetic to the Union. This portrayal of the early years of the war begins several months before the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861. Offering a unique perspective on the tensions between the Union and the Confederacy, Josie reveals that Kentucky was a hotbed of political and military action, particularly in her hometown of Bowling Green, known as the Gibraltar of the Confederacy. Located along important rail and water routes that were vital for shipping supplies in and out of the Confederacy, the city linked the upper South's trade and population centers and was strategically critical to both armies. Capturing the fright and frustration she and her family experienced when Bowling Green served as the Confederate army's headquarters in the fall of 1861, Josie tells of soldiers who trampled fields, pilfered crops, burned fences, cut down trees, stole food, and invaded homes and businesses. In early 1862, her outspoken Unionist father, Warner Underwood, was ordered to evacuate the family's Mount Air estate, which was later destroyed by occupying forces. Wartime hardships also strained relationships among Josie's family, neighbors, and friends, whose passionate beliefs about Lincoln, slavery, and Kentucky's secession divided them. Published for the first time, this book interweaves firsthand descriptions of the political unrest of the day with detailed accounts of an active social life filled with travel, parties, and suitors.
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
978-0-8131-7325-2 (pdf version)
978-0-8131-3887-9 (epub version)
Bowling Green, Civil War, Union, Confederacy, Kentucky, Warner Underwood, Wartime hardships
United States History
Underwood, Josie and Baird, Nancy Disher, "Josie Underwood's Civil War Diary" (2009). United States History. 189.