Summary

In this landmark narrative history of Chicago during the Civil War, Theodore J. Karamanski examines the people and events that formed this critical period in the city's history. Using diaries, letters, and newspapers that survived the Great Fire of 1871, he shows how Chicagoans' opinions evolved from a romantic and patriotic view of the war to recognition of the conflict's brutality. Located a safe distance behind the battle lines and accessible to the armies via rail and waterways, the city's economy grew feverishly while increasing population strained Chicago's social fabric. From the great Republican convention of 1860 in the "Wigwam," to the dismal life of Confederate prisoners in Camp Douglas on the South Side of Chicago, Rally 'Round the Flag paints a vivid picture of the Midwest city vigorously involved in the national conflict.