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From Conciliation to Conquest, From Conciliation to Conquest, 0817315268, 0-8173-1526-8, 978-0-8173-1526-9, 9780817315269, , , From Conciliation to Conquest, 0817381708, 0-8173-8170-8, 978-0-8173-8170-7, 9780817381707, , , From Conciliation to Conquest, 0817357858, 0-8173-5785-8, 978-0-8173-5785-6, 9780817357856,

From Conciliation to Conquest
The Sack of Athens and the Court-Martial of Colonel John B. Turchin
George C. Bradley and Richard L. Dahlen

Trade Cloth
2006. 312 pp.
12 illustrations, 2 maps
Price:  $49.95 s
E Book
2009. 312 pp.
12 Illus., 2 maps
Price:  $34.95 d

In the summer of 1862, the U.S. Army court martialed Colonel John B. Turchin, a Russian-born Union officer, for offenses committed by his troops in Athens, Alabama, including looting, safe cracking, the vandalization of homes, and the rape of young black woman. The pillage of Athens violated a government policy of conciliation; it was hoped that if Southern civilians were treated gently as citizens of the United States, they would soon return their allegiance to the federal government.
By examining the volunteers who made up Turchin’s force, the colonel's trial, his subsequent promotion, the policy debate surrounding the incident and the public reaction to the outcome, the authors further illuminate one of the most provocative questions in Civil War studies: how did the policy set forth by President Lincoln evolve from one of conciliation to one far more modern in nature, placing the burden of war on the civilian population of the South?

George C. Bradley received his JD from Albany Law School in 1973. He has published articles and book reviews on Civil War history in numerous periodicals and lectured widely to Civil War round tables and other civic organizations. The late Richard L. Dahlen received his LLB from Yale Law School in 1968.

“On May 12, 1862, the men of Col. John B. Turchin’s brigade occupied the town of Athens, Alabama. According to legend, Turchin, whose men had been fired at by civilians a few days before, told his men he would shut his eyes for an hour. His military experience dictated that his men would then loot and sack the town as a lesson to the enemy. In this definitive study of the incident Bradley and Dahlen demolish some long-standing myths and examine the details of what actually happened and why. This is an excellent book that deserves a wide audience… the authors have done their research well and handled the controversy with complete understanding of both details and the wider picture.” —Blue & Gray Magazine

 “Provocative, conceptually sound and well written, From Conciliation to Conquest is a fine piece of historical work that touches on many subjects, from wartime civilian and military relationships and the quality of the volunteers that Turchin led. This book does an outstanding job of examining a small incident and showing how it offers large lessons on the nature of the Civil War and the evolution of military policy in that conflict.” —Journal of American History


 “The authors’ identification of Turchin’s crime as a turning point in wartime policy is quite instructive. Bradley and Dahlen able examine the legalistic challenges involved in pacifying a conquered people. From Conciliation to Conquest is a well-written, thoroughly researched study of an exciting event. The authors’ coverage of the court-martial provides excellent insight into military jurisprudence, and their findings enhance the debate on the subject of total war.” —Military History of the West

"As the authors of this readable military/legal study show, after Athens [Alabama], such behavior by Union troops became the new norm, in the belief that it would speed the terrible war to conclusion." —Mobile Bay magazine


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