“Suppression of an Unholy Rebellion”: Wartime Mobilization on the Home Front

Earl F. Mulderink III

in New Bedford's Civil War

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823243341
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823243389 | DOI:

Series: The North's Civil War (FUP)

“Suppression of an Unholy Rebellion”: Wartime Mobilization on the Home Front

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This chapter examines the start of the Civil War and mobilization on the home front, in which whites and blacks in New Bedford quickly prepared for war. Despite earnest offers from the city's African Americans, the war would begin with only white soldiers allowed to fight for their country. The chapter offers an account of wartime patriotism and mobilization by looking at military recruitment, Home and Coast Defense, operations of the Provost Marshal General's office, and the maintenance of civic pride. Local, state, and federal records help to document New Bedford's involvement in and contributions to the national struggle. The city's experiences highlight the effective mobilization of resources and cooperation among an array of local, state, and federal officials who created new policies and bureaucracies. Still, the war provoked anxieties about inadequate coastal protection, fears over attacks by Confederate raiders, and worries about racially motivated riots in July 1863, similar to those of New York's infamous Draft Riots.

Keywords: Civil War; mobilization; New Bedford; African Americans; patriotism; military recruitment; civic pride; Coast Defense; Provost Marshal General; riots

Chapter.  9402 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Military History

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