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Drawing on diaries and letters of both the famous and ordinary, this book presents a collection of personal narratives on the Civil War, from the early failures of Union commanders to the assassination of President Lincoln at Ford's Theater. For four years American families on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line were forced to endure the violence and hardship of the Civil War. This is the story of these families, expertly crafted from their own words. Revealing the innermost thoughts of both famous citizens and men and women forgotten by history, this book explores life on the battlefield and the home front, capturing the astonishing perseverance of the men and women caught up in this most brutal of conflicts, the American Civil War. -- From publisher's website.