Publisher description for The nature of sacrifice : a biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. / Carol Bundy.


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How a Boston aesthete became a warrior hero who symbolized the lost promise of New England.

Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., led a brief, intense life: born in 1835, he died in 1864 at Cedar Creek, mortally wounded before the crucial Union victory there. In this remarkable work, Carol Bundy draws on a wealth of family papers and public archives for her vivid portrayal of a privileged young Yankee who became a battle-hardened soldier and revered officer.

The Nature of Sacrifice offers a lively history of the abolitionist, transcendentalist Boston into which Lowell was born. The unexpected bankruptcy of his father shadowed his family's fortune, and before he was out of Harvard, the son determined to redeem the family name. After a bout with tuberculosis and a recuperative stay in Europe, Lowell turned to business in Iowa and Maryland, but everything changed with the Civil War.

Lowell's career as a rising Union cavalry officer was shadowed by the battlefield deaths of his brother, cousins, and many friends. What were they dying for, and was the sacrifice worth it? Bundy masterfully demonstrates how Lowell was transformed as he served on McClellan's staff, helped to form the fabled 54th Regiment of black volunteers, fought Colonel Mosby's guerrillas, and implemented Grant's ruthless strategy in Virginia. A new concept of self-sacrifice emerged from the horrors of war, and Lowell, who championed this principle in life, became in death his generation's symbol of American idealism in action.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Lowell, Charles Russell, 1835-1864, Generals United States Biography, United States, Army Biography, United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Campaigns