No Cause of Offence: A Virginia Family of Union Loyalists Confronts the Civil War

Lewis F. Fisher. Maverick (www.maverickpub.com), $24.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-893271-61-6
Texas-based Fisher (Saving San Antonio: The Precarious Preservation of a Heritage) brings his journalistic training to this even-handed look at a past generation of his own family in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, who remained Union supporters despite threats and pressure from neighbors and the Confederate government. Fisher focuses on Samuel H. Lewis and his sons Charles (the author's grandfather) and John, a delegate to Virginia's secession convention who refused to sign the Ordinance of Secession and then took over the local iron works, hiring other Unionists to save them from the draft. Buffeted by both armies, the Union supporters had to walk a narrow line to survive. The Lewises owned slaves, and John was not above taking Confederate money for the iron he produced. The author provides excellent context for the suffering of the Lewis family and their determination to stand by their principles and remain in their ancestral homes. Fisher takes the story through the end of the war and the failure of Reconstruction, though both John and Charles went on to successful careers in politics. Using family papers, newspaper accounts, and government documents, Fisher creates an absorbing tale of one unusual family, showing a side of the Civil War rarely mentioned in histories. 2 maps. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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