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  • Silent Cavalry

  • How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta—and Then Got Written Out of History
  • By: Howell Raines
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 19 hrs and 58 mins

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Silent Cavalry

By: Howell Raines
Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
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Publisher's Summary

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reveals the little-known story of the Union soldiers from Alabama who played a decisive role in the Civil War, and how they were scrubbed from the history books.

“It is my sincere hope that this compelling and submerged history is integrated into our understanding of our nation, and allows us to embrace new heroes of the past.”—Imani Perry, professor, Harvard University, and National Book Award-winning author of South to America

We all know how the Civil War was won: Courageous Yankees triumphed over the South. But is there more to the story?

As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Howell Raines shows, it was not only soldiers from northern states who helped General William Tecumseh Sherman burn Atlanta to the ground but also an unsung regiment of 2,066 Alabamian yeoman farmers—including at least one member of Raines’s own family.

Called the First Alabama Cavalry, U.S.A., this regiment of mountain Unionists, which included sixteen formerly enslaved Black men, was the point of the spear that Sherman drove through the heart of the Confederacy. The famed general hailed their skills and courage. So why don’t we know anything about them?

Silent Cavalry is part epic American history, part family saga, and part scholarly detective story. Drawing on the lore of his native Alabama and investigative skills honed by six decades in journalism, Raines brings to light a conspiracy that sought to undermine the accomplishments of these renegade southerners—a key component of the Lost Cause effort to restore glory to white southerners after the war, even at the cost of the truth.

In this important new contribution to our understanding of the Civil War and its legacy, Raines tells the thrilling tale of the formation of the First Alabama while exposing the tangled web of how its wartime accomplishments were silenced, implicating everyone from a former Confederate general to a gaggle of Lost Cause historians in the Ivy League and a sanctimonious former keeper of the Alabama state archives. By reversing the erasure of the First Alabama, Silent Cavalry is a testament to the immense power of historians to destroy as well as to redeem.

©2023 Howell Raines (P)2023 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“Howell Raines is a legendary writer, editor, and social critic. With Silent Cavalry he has yet again revealed that the history of the U.S. South is one of far greater complexity and depth than what is commonly ascribed to it, from both outside and inside the region. It is my sincere hope that this compelling and submerged history is integrated into our understanding of our nation, and allows us to embrace new heroes of the past.”—Imani Perry, professor, Harvard University, and National Book Award-winning author of South to America

“Following breadcrumbs from family lore, Howell Raines has uncovered the remarkable story of white men from Alabama’s hill country who fought for the Union and, equally important, the century-long effort by Confederate sympathizers to erase them from history. . . . An invaluable addition to revisionist—as in, actual—history.”—Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-author of The Southernization of America

Silent Cavalry marks another chapter in Raines’s storied career of giving voice to the voiceless, highlighting the men and women who, without proper credit, did their part to make America a better, more equitable place.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

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