Charles F. Gunther is a Yankee ice peddlar who is trapped in the South at the outbreak of the war. Presented here are two years of diaries of Gunther's experiences working on the steamboat Rose Douglas, ferrying Confederate troops and supplies.
After the war, Gunther makes a fortune in the candy business across the street from Marshal Field's in Chicago, becomes a premier collector and preserver of Civil War artifacts and Lincoln memorabilia, endows the Chicago history Museum with its Civil War collection, and goes on to hold political office as an alderman and City Treasurer of Chicago.
In Two Years Before the Paddlewheel, readers can follow the day-by-day survival of an ordinary ice merchant turned Confederate steamboat purser during the Civil War. Gunther's day-by-day account as a civilian in military service illuminates the economic, military, social, and personal side of America's Civil War.
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Published by State House Press