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IHS Press

Rebel Bulldog: The Story of One Family, Two States and the Civil War

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Rebel Bulldog tells the story of Preston Davidson, a Northerner who fought for the Confederacy, and his family who lived in Indiana and Virginia. It is a story that examines antebellum religion, education, reform, and politics, and how they affected the identity of not just one young man, but of a nation caught up in a civil war. Furthermore, it discusses how a native-born Hoosier reached the decision to fight for the South, while detailing a unique war experience and the postwar life of a proud Rebel who returned to the North, after the guns fell silent, and tried to remake his life in a very different state and nation than the ones he had left in 1860.

Preston served for the duration of the conflict, rising from the rank of private to lieutenant, surviving multiple wounding, the deaths of friends and family members, and the accusation (which helped lead to his eventual court martial) that despite his service, he was not really loyal to the South. After the war, he returned to Indianapolis, where he re-encountered the family he had left behind (including Dorman, who served briefly in the midst of John Hunt Morgan s raid) and sought to make sense of the new America, one without slavery, that was rising out of the ashes of war.

Hardcover. 271 pages. 2017, Indiana Historical Society Press. By Jason Lantzer.