Newspaper coverage of cavalry raiders during the American Civil War

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University of Alabama Libraries

During the American Civil War, military actions took place across a vast distance, from southern Pennsylvania to the future state of New Mexico. While a majority of the war was fought in the Eastern Theater, essentially the region east of the Appalachian Mountains, the Western Theater, roughly stretching from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River, saw plenty of action as well. Unlike the Eastern Theater, which saw large armies of infantry repeatedly clash against each other, the Western Theater was more suited to long range cavalry operations. Between 1863 and 1865, several bodies of Union forces pushed into Alabama, doing their part to hinder the Confederate war effort in that state. At the same time, Confederate cavalry raiders were harassing northern troops in Mississippi and Tennessee, hampering their plans to end the rebellion. Southern cavalry forces even pushed into the North, bringing the war to the American Midwest. This research will not only attempt to tell the stories of the men who led these raids and who are oft overlooked in the war’s historical narrative, but also fairly closely examine how newspapers of the time wrote about their campaigns, including the many different sets of facts received, unconfirmed rumors and discrepancies being widely reported, and the inability, many times, to see these raids in the larger picture of the war.

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Journalism, History