Copperhead Gore

Copperhead Gore

Benjamin Wood's Fort Lafayette and Civil War America
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/10/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-11190-6
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Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin has often been cited for its galvanizing effect on anti-slavery opposition in the years before the American Civil War. Southern sympathizers in the North (known as Copperheads) never came close to producing anything that matched its influence. One of the more interesting attempts was Fort Lafayette; or, Love and Secession (1862). The novel—which features liberal doses of love and lust, intrigue and violence, loyalty and death—is by no means great literature. It does, however, lay claim to being the only pacifist novel of the Civil War. Wood hoped to persuade his readers of the moral wrong, the folly, and the dangers to republican government of the war in which the country was engaged. The novel underscores the deep connections between Americans on both sides of the sectional conflict, the pain of their severance, and the suffering brought about by war.

For this reissue, Menahem Blondheim has provided a detailed introduction to the novel, the politics of the era, and Wood’s life and career. Two of Wood’s Congressional speeches are also included.

Author Bio

Benjamin Wood (1820–1900) was a Kentucky-born politician and newspaperman. During the war, Wood edited what was then a leading anti-war newspaper, the New York Daily News, and also served in Congress, making several memorable anti-war speeches. Wood’s journalistic and political wartime careers were dedicated to mobilizing Northerners to the cause of peace.

Menahem Blondheim is a member of the departments of American Studies and Communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and serves as the director of the University’s Smart Family Institute of Communications.


“. . .a stimulating, well—done book.”
 — Indiana

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Table of Contents



Fort Lafayette; or, Love and Secession by Benjamin Wood

Appendix 1. Speech 1: The Congressional Globe, May 16, 1862, "State of the Union," Benjamin Wood
Appendix 2. Speech 2: Restoration of Peace: On the proposition for a general convention to devise measures for the restoration of peace to our country, House of Representatives, February 27, 1863, Benjamin Wood