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Realizing that secondary documentation of Pittsburgh's home-front during the Civil War was almost non-existent, Mr. Fox took on the daunting task of uncovering primary material and wrote a book to fill this gap in Pittsburgh history. PITTSBURGH DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: 1860-1865 is the first book of its kind to explore this turbulent period in our history as it directly affected the Pittsburgh area. Far from being a backwater town, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County contributed not only 25,000 troops, but a massive outpouring of military equipment and munitions for small arms and field cannons, 60% of the Union's siege, seacoast and naval cannons, iron-clad ships, in addition to forging thousands of tons of iron under government contracts. The chapters in this collection reveal previously unrecorded facets concerning Pittsburgh's role during the conflict. In the four years of hostilities, Pennsylvania and the Federal Government established nine military camps in Allegheny County, the largest complex occupying large segments of the present University of Pittsburgh Oakland campus. Over 100 area companies and small businesses would procure U.S. Government contracts, several awarded to the Allegheny Arsenal and Fort Pitt Foundry. The foundry alone cast some of the largest cannons ever manufactured in this country along with over 2,000 pieces of heavy artillery, all tested in two now-forgotten Allegheny County proving grounds. Equally captivating is the little-known story of the 118 Confederate prisoners of war housed at Western Penitentiary in Allegheny City, presently the North Side, for over nine months in 1863-64. West Penn Hospital would become our first Veterans Hospital in 1862, long before the Aspinwall VAMC, when it cared for thousands of Union troops and several Confederate prisoners of war, during and after the war. Another intriguing tale involves the eight unclaimed Confederate soldiers who have laid at rest in Lawrenceville's Allegheny Cemetery for over 135 years, and several other Confederates still missing in unmarked area graves. Although Pittsburgh never came under enemy attack during the war, a threatened Confederate invasion in the summer of 1863 resulted in one of the largest public works projects ever attempted in the city. For two weeks in June-July 1863, over 10,000 men labored on a massive system of 37 fortification sites built along the hilltops of the city, some of which survived into the 20th century. PITTSBURGH DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: 1860-1865 is also the first book to identify site specific information for over 100 Pittsburgh and Allegheny County sites associated with this period. Several of the photographs and plans have never been published in histories of Pittsburgh and will provide an indispensable volume for Civil War buffs, regional historians, archeologists, and anyone with an interest in 19th century Pittsburgh. (See a summary write-up by Arthur B. Fox in the PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE, Vol. 25, No. 2. Also reviews in the Winter 2003 edition of CIVIL WAR BOOK REVIEW; the January 2003 edition of AMERICA'S CIVIL WAR; the September 2002 edition of THE ARSENAL; and the Fall 2007 issue of BLUE & GRAY MAGAZINE.
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Arthur B. Fox is a professor of United States history and geography, as well as Pittsburgh history. His many publishing credits include over 50 newspaper and magazine/journal articles pertaining to military history.
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