When the Yankees Came

Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865

By Stephen V. Ash

328 pp., 6 x 9, 16 illus., 5 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4795-4
    Published: August 1999
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6013-7
    Published: November 2000
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7002-5
    Published: November 2000

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Southerners whose communities were invaded by the Union army during the Civil War endured a profoundly painful ordeal. For most, the coming of the Yankees was a nightmare become real; for some, it was the answer to a prayer. But as Stephen Ash argues, for all, invasion and occupation were essential parts of the experience of defeat that helped shape the southern postwar mentality.

When the Yankees Came is the first comprehensive study of the occupied South, bringing to light a wealth of new information about the southern home front. Among the intriguing topics Ash explores are guerrilla warfare and other forms of civilian resistance; the evolution of Union occupation policy from leniency to repression; the impact of occupation on families, churches, and local government; and conflicts between southern aristocrats and poor whites. In analyzing these topics, Ash examines events from the perspective not only of southerners but also of the northern invaders, and he shows how the experiences of southerners differed according to their distance from a garrisoned town.

About the Author

Stephen V. Ash is associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and managing editor of the Journal of East Tennessee History. His books include Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 1860-1870: War and Peace in the Upper South.
For more information about Stephen V. Ash, visit the Author Page.


"An impressively researched and gracefully written study, one of great interest to all students of the Civil War."--Reviews in American History

"A basic, thoughtful, synthesizing study . . . essential reading for Civil War specialists."--Journal of American History

“Ash’s scholarship is impeccable, as he has refreshingly applied to the war years recent southern historiography on race and gender relations, on notions of honor, and on community structure. . . . This is a very good book that combines extraordinary detail with close analysis of the experiences and the meanings of the encounters between Yankee soldiers and Confederate civilians during the Civil War.”--Journal of Southern History

"One of Ash's greatest accomplishments is in providing the first broad overview of the occupation experience throughout the South."--Journal of Southwest Georgia History

"This excellent study is a must buy for anyone interested in social history or the Civil War."--History

"Should have an immediate and profound impact on our understanding of the Civil War and how it affected the Confederate homefront. . . . A valuable and enlightening discussion that adds much to our understanding of the occupied South. Even when historians have addressed the Confederate homefront, they seldom focus on the lives and circumstances of Southerners who remained loyal to the Union. Ash does much to fill that void."--Civil War History