Josie, Jesse Underwood, Nancy Desher Baird discussed on History Unplugged Podcast


Jesse Underwood was a well educated outspoken member of a politically prominent family in bullying green Kentucky during the Civil War. She also left behind one of the few accounts of the Civil War written by southern woman sympathetic to the union. Her diary begins several months before the first shots were fired on fort Sumter in April 1861. The Philistines are upon us 20 year old Josie writes in her diary, leaving no question about the alarms she feels when confederate soldiers occupy her once peaceful town. Today I'm speaking to Nancy desher Baird, who published Josie's Civil War diary. It offers a firsthand account of a family that owned slaves and opposed Lincoln. Yet remained loyal to the union. Josie's father, Warner, played an important role in keeping Kentucky from seceding. Among the many highlights of the diary is Josie's record of me and the president in wartime Washington, which served to soften her opinion of him. She describes her fear of secession of war and the anguish of having relatives and friends fighting on both sides, noting that in the spring of 1861, many friendships and families were breaking up, quote, faster than the union. So in this episode, we talk about the life of Josie Underwood, and we also explore the fears and frustrations of living under occupation, which in this case was the strategically important Boeing green known as the Gibraltar of the confederacy during the war. But despite the wartime upheaval, Josie's life is also refreshingly normal at times as she recounts travel, parties, local gossip, and the search for her true print as she wrote. So what this episode does is look at the experiences of normal citizens during the war, and go beyond the typical military history explorations that people approach the Civil War with. We also see that a lot of times people pay in a very clear dichotomy of the Civil War that it was either northern abolitionists or a southern slave owner, but between these two extremes, there were many, many shades of gray, and people who didn't fit neatly into either one of those categories. And this is an example of one such person. So if you enjoyed this discussion with Nancy Barrett about Josie Underwood and her Civil War dire. Nancy, welcome to the show. Thank you. Glad to be here. Well, looking forward to talking about this because the more episodes I've done on the Civil War.

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