confirm the truth of
The stories were never
verified, but they occurred often enough to arouse deep anger in the minds of people whose sons had died under Grant’s command.
without logical or meaningful connection
The news of the battle was confused at first,
incoherent, sometimes contradictory, but one thing was certain: here was a clash that roared with a violence and terror such as the country had never known.
conspicuous in position or importance
prominent in that battle were, true to the temper of the times, disgraced and dragged through the mud.
guilt as a confederate in a crime or offense
Rosecrans, McCook, and Crittenden, who in the bewildering mountain terrain had completely lost control of the men they were supposed to command, were now accused of everything from downright stupidity to traitorous
complicity with the enemy.
a feeling of extreme joy
After the hope and
jubilation that Vicksburg and Gettysburg had inspired in July, Chickamauga was a dreadful reversal for the North to suffer; for Nancy it was a name threatening her with “hard news” until the day John’s letter came.
a malevolent desire for revenge
But they did hold on, and as the war trailed drearily on,
vindictiveness toward the stubborn stand of the seceding states grew steadily more bitter in the North.
leniency and compassion shown toward offenders
This vindictiveness was urged on by men in high places who resented the President’s spirit of
clemency as violently as they resented the tenacity of the South.
a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
In December Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation of
amnesty, in which he promised pardon and full rights to any individual Confederate who would swear to protect the Constitution and the Union of the states, to abide by the government’s pronouncements against slavery.
bring back into original existence, function, or position
He promised, too, that a Confederate state could return to the Union whenever ten percent of its voters should
reestablish a loyal Union government within that state.
a low or downcast state
In the South the Confederate Congress cried out that if the Washington government called for restoration of the Union it was merely setting a cruel trap for the deluded; that it would be only a relationship between the conqueror and the conquered; that it would mean personal and public
degradation and ruin.
one who disparages or belittles the worth of something
His proclamation of amnesty was little better than treason, the President’s
detractors shouted, and many people began to consider it high patriotism to talk of the coming wholesale execution of rebels.
The author is not one of the President's detractors--this is suggested in the structure of the example sentence, where 1) the disparaging point is put in the perspective of the detractors within the novel and 2) the use of the phrase "high patriotism" mockingly echoes the more common phrase "high treason".
assign to a lower position
With this promotion another general fell to a lower place—General Halleck, who had never quite risen to his position, was finally
relegated to the list of those whose names had soared for a while and then fallen into near-obscurity.
abusive language used to express blame or censure
Jethro had been barely conscious of the excitement, anger, and vicious
invective that had accompanied the election of 1860; now he was fully conscious of emotions of even deeper violence in the talk of men in the community and in the papers that he read.
open disrespect for a person or thing
Thad Stevens, the aging floor leader in the House of Representatives, pushed his program of “no mercy to the South” and let his
contempt for the President spill out in every speech he made.
He gave his opponent no quarter, and the stubborn
tenacity with which he held on in the face of Lee’s punishment was something the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac had never seen in their idolized General McClellan.
separation into component parts
If the price of peace was the
dissolution of the Union, many people felt that compensation lay in stopping human slaughter.
a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
Today as I read General McClellan’s response to the Democratic Committee, so set to elect him as an
advocate of their peace platform, I thought that I must write to you and point out a quality of courage in this man that I wouldn’t have believed to be there.
a deliberately offensive act
The article quoted the general as saying that as far as he was concerned, the party’s platform meant that the North was not to offer peace on any terms short of the reestablishment of the Union, that to accept anything else would be an insult and an
affront to the thousands of soldiers who had died in battle.
"Insult" and "affront" can be interchangeable synonyms; to use both here seems like unnecessary repetition, but it serves to 1) emphasize the general's position and 2) give more power to the speech with shades of meaning (e.g. an insult is often seen as verbal while an affront can be more physical).
a hymn of praise
“Atlanta is ours and fairly won,” was Sherman’s message to Mr. Lincoln, and that, coupled with the news from Mobile, sent the North into
paeans of thanksgiving.
a superiority in numbers or amount
preponderance of the soldier vote was for Lincoln that year.
harmony of people's opinions or actions or characters
The news of that vote was heartwarming to the tired President; so, too, was the fact that all the Northern states except Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey were of one
accord with the soldier vote.
undamaged in any way
Out in the Midwest the railroads were
intact and carried the farmers’ grain and stock to market; trade was good, and prices high.
an act of shocking cruelty
The role of this state in bringing on the war served as a “just” excuse for
atrocities that no thoughtful man could excuse.
violent pangs of suffering
In Virginia more soldiers died each day in Grant’s army and in Lee’s because the South, even in its death
throes, would not admit defeat, and the tragedy of these deaths was even greater when the hopes of homecoming and peace were just within realization.
affect as in thought or feeling
But the hate that burns in old scars, and the thirst for revenge that has
distorted men until they should be in straitjackets rather than in high office—these are the things that may make peace a sorry thing...
In the same speech, Ross Milton says: “This is a land lying in destruction, physical and spiritual." In the example sentence, the use of the word "distorted" connects to the spiritual thirst for revenge that could make one go crazy. But the definition of "distort" as "twist and press out of shape" can also be applied to the earlier descriptions of old scars, twisted railroads, and burned cities--this could suggest that physical distortion leads to spiritual distortion.
the state of being liable to happen soon
Still, peace would mean a glorious sense of relief; in all his years Jethro had heard either the talk of war’s
imminence or its reality.
humorous or satirical mimicry
He has four years before him and the power of a mighty office; if he can control the bigots, if he can allow the defeated their dignity and a chance to rise out of their despair—if he can do this, then maybe peace will not be a
state of subjection to an owner or master
What will become of men and women who have known nothing but
servitude all the days of their lives?
a person using something or someone selfishly or unethically
They are without experience, without education; they’ll be pawns in the hands of
exploiters all over the nation.
loud and persistent outcry from many people
They had lifted the trapdoor in the roof of the jail, allowing the half-dozen delinquent citizens of the county to climb outside so their voices might add to the
The definition seems to suggest that the people are angry, but their clamor is actually in celebration of the news that the terms of peace had been signed. So happy are the people and so hopeful are they about the Union's reestablishment that they even let the criminals they had jailed join in the noisy celebration (which included a cannon booming and drunken singing).
the absence of mental stress or anxiety
But there was no longer any beauty in the world about him or any
serenity in his heart.
belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong
Little by little the story came through—details of the assassination, the attempted murder of the Secretary of State, the nation’s
wrath and woe.
a humble feeling
One accepted the good or the evil with
humility, for life was a mystery, and questions were not for the lowly.
impossible to rectify or amend
Abraham Lincoln had been senselessly slain by the hand of a madman, and Jethro Creighton, with all the people of his time, had suffered an
provide physical relief, as from pain
He had not embraced one of his brothers since the days of his very early childhood, but that morning he put his arms about Shadrach, and slowly the joy for the living
assuaged a little the grief for the dead.