Friday, December 11, 2009

The Mexican War Diary and Correspondence of George B. McClellan

by Thomas W. Cutrer

From the publisher:
In his standard reference work on the Civil War, Generals in Blue, Ezra Warner declared George B. McClellan (1826-1885) "one of the most controversial figures in American military history." In this revealing book, Thomas W. Cutrer provides the definitive edition of McClellan's detailed diary and letters from his service in the Mexican War (1846-1848), during which he began the rise that culminated in his being named general in chief of the Union forces and commander of the Army of the Potomac early in the Civil War.

McClellan graduated second in his class from West Point in 1846 and served as a second lieutenant in Company A of the prestigious Corps of Engineers, the only formation of combat engineers in the United States Army. The company participated in Major General Winfield Scott's invasion of Mexico, playing a prominent role in the siege of Vera Cruz and the battles of Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec and in the capture of Mexico City. Although only twenty-one years old at the war's end, McClellan earned brevet promotions to first lieutenant and then captain for his efforts.

McClellan's colorful diary and frequent letters to his socially and politically prominent Philadelphia family provide a wealth of military details of the campaign, insights into the character of his fellow engineers--including Robert E. Lee and P. G. T. Beauregard--and accounts of the friction that arose between the professional soldiers and the officers and men of the volunteer regiments that made up Scott's command. A courageous, indefatigable, and superbly intelligent young man, McClellan formed close personal loyalties in those years. His diaries also reveal a man contemptuous of those he perceived as less talented than he, quick to see conspiracies where none existed, and eager to place upon others the blame for his own shortcomings and to take credit for actions performed by others.

On the banks of the Rio Grande during his first weeks with the army, McClellan wrote in his diary: "I came down here with high hopes, with pleasing anticipations of distinction, of being in hard fought battles and acquiring a name and reputation as a stepping stone to a still greater eminence in some future and greater war." Carefully edited by Thomas W. Cutrer, these diary entries and letters do indeed trace McClellan's rapid development as a soldier and leader and put on full display the talent, ambition, and arrogance that characterized his career as general and politician.

Thomas W. Cutrer is professor of history and American studies at Arizona State University West in Phoenix. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of seven other books, including Brothers in Gray: The Civil War Letters of the Pierson Family, which he coedited with T. Michael Parrish.

From CWBN
The release date of this book is not known, although it falls within this month.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Becoming American Under Fire: Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship During the Civil War Era

by Christian G. Samito

From the publisher:
In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. Members of both groups also helped to redefine the legal meaning and political practices of American citizenship.

For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race. For Irish Americans, soldiering in the Civil War was part of a larger affirmation of republican government and it forged a bond between their American citizenship and their Irish nationalism. The wartime experiences of Irish Americans helped bring about recognition of their full citizenship through naturalization and also caused the United States to pressure Britain to abandon its centuries-old policy of refusing to recognize the naturalization of British subjects abroad.

As Samito makes clear, the experiences of African Americans and Irish Americans differed substantially-and at times both groups even found themselves violently opposed-but they had in common that they aspired to full citizenship and inclusion in the American polity. Both communities were key participants in the fight to expand the definition of citizenship that became enshrined in constitutional amendments and legislation that changed the nation.

From CWBN
The release date of this book is not known, although it falls within this month.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Battle of Okolona: Defending the Mississippi Prairie

by Brandon H. Beck

From the publisher:
In February 1864, General William Sooy Smith led a force of over seven thousand cavalry on a raid into the Mississippi Prairie, bringing fire and destruction to one of the very few breadbaskets remaining in the Confederacy. Smith's raid was part of General William T. Sherman's campaign to march across Mississippi from Vicksburg to destroy the railroad junction at Meridian. Both Smith and Sherman intended to burn everything in their path that could aid in the Southern war effort. It was a harbinger of things to come in Georgia, South Carolina and the Shenandoah Valley.

But neither reckoned with General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest's small Confederate cavalry force defeated Smith in a running battle that stretched from West Point to Okolona and beyond. Forrest's victory prevented Smith from joining Sherman and saved the Prairie from total destruction.

Join Civil War historian Brandon Beck as he narrates this exciting story, with all the realities and color of cavalry warfare in the Deep South. Also included is a brief guided tour of the extant sites, preserved for future generations by the Friends of the Battle of Okolona, Inc.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference

by Margaret E. Wagner, Gary W. Gallagher, and Paul Finkelman

From the publisher:
The authoritative, illustrated single-volume reference work on the Civil War, arranged thematically and sponsored by the country's national library.

"This work's highly credentialed editors and contributors were able to draw on the vast and rich Civil War resources of the Library of Congress" - Library Journal

"Anyone wanting to find information on books, people, monuments, battlefields, organizations, or reenactments will find a starting point here." - Booklist


From CWBN
This is a reprint edition.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Columbus, Georgia, 1865: The Last True Battle of the Civil War

Charles A. Misulia

From the publisher:
In this work, Charles A. Misulia, a lifelong student of the Civil War and expert on the Battle of Columbus, provides a comprehensive study of the Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865, conflict. The struggle occurred in the dark of night, extended over a mile and half through a series of forts and earthworks, and was finally decided in an encounter on a bridge a thousand feet in length.

Misulia presents the first complete account of this battle, examining and recounting in depth not only the composition and actions of the contending forces, which numbered some three thousand men on each side, but meticulously detailing the effect of the engagement on the city of Columbus and its environs. As such, this book fills in an important detail in the grand account of our cataclysmic national struggle and also adds a significant chapter to the history of an important regional city.

In addition, Misulia bravely takes on the long-vexing question of which encounter should be seen as the last 'battle' of the Civil War and argues persuasively that Columbus, Georgia, qualifies for this distinction on a number of counts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"For We Shall Meet Again..." Letters and Diaries of the Civil War

From the publisher:
This is a collection of correspondence and diary entries of the Civil War, written by soldiers, sweethearts, wives, brothers, and friends who may never have seen each other after they were written.

It is impossible to find a more reliable source of information on any historical period other than first-hand accounts. Countless hours can be spent hunched over tomes of data, strategic maps, theories, as well as lectures and essays on America's bloodiest conflict written by top contemporary historians, but in the end perhaps more can be learned from one letter written home from a 19 year old volunteer to his mother.

This diverse collection of letters and diary entries ranges from the upper echelon of field command and high society to the average undereducated field hand. We read the Confederate's famous own General T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson's letters to his friend Francis McFarland, as well as Private Newton Scott writing to his parents in Iowa. We get insights into everyday army life and camp conditions from the banal to the horrific. Most importantly we get pure emotion bled straight into the letters, often from soldiers directly after combat, recounting in great detail that which no human being should have to endure.

Diary entries which span the course of the war can show quite a change in heart and mind as the years drag by and hopes of a quick end to the war diminish month by month. Those surviving pieces of history we are lucky to still have, which are now housed in museums and private historical collections many times handed down through families. They give us a glimpse of the past, and an idea of the greater whole of an era stricken with grief and national tragedy. They take us as close as we can get to the reality of one of America's most fierce and tragic periods.

The Battle of Port Royal

by Michael D. Coker

From the publisher:
November 1861. The South was winning the Civil War. Fort Sumter had fallen to the Confederates. The Federal army was routed at Manassas. The blockade of Southern ports was a farce; commerce and weapons flowed almost as freely as before the war. There were stirrings of interest from foreign powers in recognizing the Confederacy and brokering a forced peace accord. The Federals needed to turn the tide. The largest fleet ever assembled by the United States set its sights on the South Carolina coast for this much-needed victory.

On November 7, 1861, this mighty weapon of war engaged two undermanned and outgunned forts in Hilton Head in a clash called the Battle of Port Royal. Join historian Michael Coker as he tells the story of this largely forgotten battle, a pivotal turning point in the war that defined our nation.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Confederacy's Secret Weapon: The Civil War Illustrations of Frank Vizetelly

by Douglas W. Bostick

From the publisher:
Sent to the United States as a war correspondent for the Illustrated London News, Frank Vizetelly quickly found himself in hot water with the Federal secretary of war when his depictions of Bull Run hit the papers. He was forbidden access to the Union army, so he took up with the Confederates instead, covering the Civil War from Charleston to the Mississippi and north to Virginia, becoming a favorite among the soldiers and even, at times, acting as a spy.

His articles and sketches shaped the views of the English regarding the war, creating support for the Southern cause throughout Great Britain. Join Civil War historian Douglas W. Bostick as he relates the many engagements and battles covered by Vizetelly, including Charleston, Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, the March on Richmond and the early Mississippi campaigns, all accompanied by the artist's engravings and reported in his own lively words. Vizetelly's remarkable story has never been properly told until now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

James Bourland: Hangman or Hero?

by Evault Boswell

From the publisher:
Branded by historians as the "Hangman of Texas" because of his participation in the event known as the "Great Gainesville Hanging", James Bourland may have prevented northeast Texas from becoming a separate state, faithful to the Union. As Provost Marshall he uncovered a plot to overthrow the Confederate government by the "Peace Party" who planned to capture the arsenals at Sherman and Gainesville, Texas and with the aid of the Federal Army in Arkansas, invade Texas.

Forty men were hanged on the big elm in Gainesville and the rebellion was over. But Bourland also served his adopted state by fighting Indians who made raids on the citizens of northeast Texas. He also dealt with the "Brush Brigade" which consisted of men in Texas who were unhappy with the Confederate conscription act and hid out in the tangled thickets of northeast Texas to avoid fighting for either side.

He was accused of being harsh on his own men and allowing captured prisoners to be killed, but in the end, he was exonerated and given a Presidential pardon. He was called a good friend or a great hater. But was he a hangman or a hero?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

History of the 19th Army Corps of the Union Army During the American Civil War

Richard B. Irwin

From the publisher:
The Nineteenth Army Corps of the Union Army was comprised of the Federal troops allocated to the Department of the Gulf. It commenced active operations in 1863 first engaging the enemy at Fort Bisland and Irish Bend in Louisiana followed by the investment of Port Hudson. Thereafter it took part in Bank's Red River Expedition where it engaged at the Battles of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill. In 1864 the 1st and 2nd Divisions transferred to Virginia and thence to Maryland. The 19th also fought with distinction at Opequon, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek. Before the war was won it was engaged in further actions at Fort Blakely, Spanish Fort and Mobile. This is an essential unit history of an army corps during the American Civil War and provides much vital information for the student of the period.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington

by Benjamin Franklin Cooling III and Walton H. Owen II

From the publisher:
At the start of the Civil War, federal troops constructed a ring of defensive fortifications around Washington, D.C. The forts saw limited military action, but many historians credit their deterring presence with saving the U.S. capital from a Confederate takeover. If the city wasn't impregnable, it was pretty close. This helpful book provides a full description of these forts--many of which have since been destroyed by farmers and suburban development. Several remain, however, such as Ft. Foote, Ft. Stevens, Ft. Ward, and Ft. Marcy (which became semi-famous in 1993 as the place where former White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster shot himself). Civil War buffs won't want to miss visiting these lesser-known but significant sites--and they won't want to miss this book, either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tennessee's Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation

by Randy Bishop

From the publisher:
The battles depicted in this comprehensive book had in impact on the outcome of the Civil War. Through firsthand documents, maps, and more than 150 photographs, the historical significance of each site is emphasized. Details on the level of preservation of each battlefield, including Shiloh and Chattanooga, are included.

Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth

by Finis L. Bates

In this 1907 book, lawyer Finis L. Bates reveals that his client John St. Helen disclosed to Bates his true identity - claiming to be Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. History tells us that 26-year-old Booth was killed by Federal authorities at the Garrett Farm in Virginia shortly after the 1865 crime. Based on conversations with St. Helen and evidence he himself gathered, Bates contends that Booth escaped, took on new identities, and died by his own hand (under the alias David E. George) in 1903 at the age of 64. This is a fascinating read filled with compelling details.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Silent Runs the Creek: Two Bare-faced boys March to Sharpsburg at Antietam Creek to Face the Bloodiest Day's Battle in the Civil War (novel)

by Frank Garey and John Pajot

From the publisher:
In this novel, two young Confederate soldiers become friends as they march and fight their way through deadly battles to face that fateful day at Sharpsburg on Antietam Creek. Lang, a well-to-do physician's son, and Zeb, a poor mountain boy, despite different backgrounds, must depend on each other to try to survive and in the process become steadfast friends. Survival becomes their objective in this horrible and protracted Civil War. As ordinary foot-soldiers, Lang, Age 19 and Zeb, only 16, reveal their innermost thoughts and emotions as they trudge along dusty roads, muddy fields and battlefields strewn with the mortally wounded. Their emotions, no doubt, are the same as those three million other participants caught up in this bloody Civil War.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign

by William L. Shea

From the publisher:
On Sunday, December 7, 1862, two armies collided at an obscure Arkansas hamlet named Prairie Grove in a desperate battle that effectively ended Confederate offensive operations west of the Mississippi River. In Fields of Blood, historian William L. Shea offers a gripping narrative of the events surrounding Prairie Grove, one of the great unsung battles of the Civil War.

Shea provides a colorful account of a grueling campaign that lasted five months and covered hundreds of miles of rugged Ozark terrain. In a fascinating analysis of the personal, geographical, and strategic elements that led to the fateful clash in northwest Arkansas, he describes a campaign notable for rapid marching, bold movements, hard fighting, and the most remarkable raid of the Civil War. After months of intricate maneuvering punctuated by five battles in three states, armies led by Thomas C. Hindman and James G. Blunt met one last time at Prairie Grove. The costly daylong struggle was a tactical draw but a key strategic victory for the Union, as the Confederates never again seriously attempted to recover Missouri or threaten Kansas.

Historians have long ignored the complex campaign that ended in such spectacular fashion at Prairie Grove, but it is at last brought to life in these pages.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Record of service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865

From the publisher:
This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's large-scale digitization efforts. The Library seeks to preserve the intellectual content of items in a manner that facilitates and promotes a variety of uses.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

General Sherman's Christmas: Savannah, 1864

by Stanley Weintraub

From the publisher:
General Sherman's Christmas opens on Thanksgiving Day 1864. Sherman was relentlessly pushing his troops nearly three hundred miles across Georgia in his "March to the Sea," to reach Savannah just days before Christmas. His methodical encroachment of the city from all sides eventually convinced Confederate general W. J. Hardee, who had refused a demand for surrender of his troops, to slip away in darkness across an improvised causeway and escape to South Carolina. In freezing rain and through terrifying fog, equipment-burdened soldiers crossed a hastily built pontoon bridge spanning the mile-wide Savannah River.

Three days before Christmas, the mayor, Richard Arnold, surrendered the city, now populated mostly by women, children, and the slaves who had not fled. General Sherman then telegraphed to Abraham Lincoln, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton."

The fight for Savannah took place as its inhabitants were anxiously preparing for Christmas. Weintraub explores how Christmas was traditionally feted in the South and what remained of the holiday to celebrate during the waning last full year of the war. Illustrated with striking period prints, General Sherman's Christmas captures the voices of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict, as they neared the end of a long war.

From CWBN
The release date of this book is not known, although it falls within this month.

Missouri's War: The Civil War in Documents

by Silvana R. Siddali

From the publisher:

Civil War Missouri stood at the crossroads of America. As the most Southern-leaning state in the Middle West, Missouri faced a unique dilemma. The state formed the gateway between east and west, as well as one of the borders between the two contending armies. Moreover, because Missouri was the only slave state in the Great Interior, the conflicts that were tearing the nation apart were also starkly evident within the state.

Deep divisions between Southern and Union supporters, as well as guerrilla violence on the western border, created a terrible situation for civilians who lived through the attacks of bushwhackers and Jayhawkers.

The documents collected in Missouri's War reveal what factors motivated Missourians to remain loyal to the Union or to fight for the Confederacy, how they coped with their internal divisions and conflicts, and how they experienced the end of slavery in the state. Private letters, diary entries, song lyrics, official Union and Confederate army reports, newspaper editorials, and sermons illuminate the war within and across Missouri's borders.

Missouri's War also highlights the experience of free and enslaved African Americans before the war, as enlisted Union soldiers, and in their effort to gain rights after the end of the war. Although the collection focuses primarily on the war years, several documents highlight both the national sectional conflict that led to the outbreak of violence and the effort to reunite the conflicting forces in Missouri after the war.

Silvana R. Siddali is an assistant professor of history at Saint Louis University. She is the author of From Property to Person: Slavery the Confiscation Acts.

Slavery and the Supreme Court, 1825-1861

by Earl M. Maltz

From the publisher:
During America's turbulent antebellum era, the Supreme Court decided important cases--most famously Dred Scott--that spoke to sectional concerns and shaped the nation's response to the slavery question. Much scholarship has been devoted to individual cases and to the Taney Court, but this is the first comprehensive examination of the major slavery cases that came before the Court between 1825 and 1861.

Earl Maltz presents a detailed analysis of all eight cases and explains how each fit into the slavery politics of its time, beginning with The Antelope, heard by the John Marshall Court, and continuing with the seven other cases taken before the Roger Taney Court: The Amistad, Groves v. Slaughter, Prigg v. Pennsylvania, Strader v. Graham, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Ableman v. Booth, and Kentucky v. Denison.

Case by case, Maltz identifies the political and legal forces that shaped each of the judicial outcomes while clarifying the evolution of the Court's slavery-related jurisprudence. He reveals the beliefs of each justice about the morality of slavery and the judicial role in constitutional cases to show how their actions were determined by a complex interaction of political and doctrinal considerations. Thus he offers a more nuanced understanding of the antebellum federal judiciary, showing how the decision in Prigg hinged on views about federalism as well as attitudes toward human freedom, while the question of which slaves were freed in The Antelope depended more on complex fact-finding than on a condemnation of the slave trade. Maltz also challenges the view that the Taney Court simply mirrored Southern interests and argues that, despite Dred Scott, the overall record of the Court was not particularly proslavery.

Although the progression of the Court's decisions reflects a change in the tenor of the conflict over slavery, the aftermath of those decisions illustrates the limits of the Court's ability to change the dynamic that governed political struggles over such divisive issues. As the first accessible account of all of these cases, Slavery and the Supreme Court, 1825-1861 underscores the Court's limited capability to resolve the intractable political conflicts that sharply divided our nation during this period.

Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War

by Jacqueline Jones

From the publisher:
In this masterful portrait of life in Savannah before, during, and after the Civil War, prize-winning historian Jacqueline Jones transports readers to the balmy, raucous streets of that fabled Southern port city. Here is a subtle and rich social history that weaves together stories of the everyday lives of blacks and whites, rich and poor, men and women from all walks of life confronting the transformations that would alter their city forever. Deeply researched and vividly written, Saving Savannah is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the Civil War years.

The author of seven previous books, Jacqueline Jones teaches American history at the University of Texas–Austin. Among her numerous awards are the Taft Prize, the Brown Memorial Prize, the Spruill Prize, the Bancroft Prize (for Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow), and, in l999, a MacArthur Fellowship. Saving Savannah won the Georgia Historical Society’s 2009 Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award.

Devil's Dream: A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest

by Madison Smartt Bell

From the publisher:
From the author of All Souls’ Rising which The Washington Post called “A serious historical novel that reads like a dream,” comes a powerful new novel about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the most reviled, celebrated, and legendary, of Civil War generals.

With the same eloquence, dramatic energy, and grasp of history that marked his previous works, Madison Smartt Bell gives us a wholly new vantage point from which to view this complicated American figure. Considered a rogue by the upper ranks of the Confederate Army, who did not properly use his talents, Forrest was often relegated to small-scale operations.

In Devil's Dream, Bell brings to life an energetic, plainspoken man who does not tolerate weakness in himself or in those around him. We see Forrest on and off the battlefield, in less familiar but no less revealing moments of his life: courting the woman who would become his wife; battling a compulsion to gamble; overcoming his abhorrence of the army bureaucracy to rise to its highest ranks. We see him treating his slaves humanely even as he fights to ensure their continued enslavement, and in battle we see his knack for keeping his enemy unsettled, his instinct for the unexpected, and his relentless stamina.

As Devil's Dream moves back and forth in time, providing prismatic glimpses of Forrest, a vivid portrait comes into focus: a rough, fierce man with a life fill of contradictions.

"Brave, accomplished and utterly compelling, seamed with passages of haunting, lyrical beauty." –Kirkus

MADISON SMARTT BELL is the author of fourteen previous works of fiction, including Soldier’s Joy and Anything Goes. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up collecting bullets on the same fields where many of Forrest's battles were fought. He now lives in Baltimore.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Army Life: From a Soldier’s Journal

by A.O. Marshall

From the publisher:
In 1884, when Albert O. Marshall published Army Life, a memoir of his service as a private in the Thirty-Third Illinois Regiment, twenty years had passed since his 1864 discharge. Marshall left the journal untouched at publication, and today it is a journal that is rare in what it is not. This memoir is not a complete story of the Thirty-Third (known as the “Normal Regiment” because many of its soldiers were from Illinois State Normal University), nor is it a complete roster of regiment members, nor a list of killed and wounded.

Army Life is not, even, a purely military account written from an officer’s point of view. It is the story of a twenty-year-old private whose engaging writing belies his age but also allows his youth to shine through. Marshall tells of the battles he fought and the games he played, of his friends, fellow soldiers, and officers, and of the regiment’s activities in Missouri and Arkansas, at Vicksburg, and in Louisiana and on the Texas Gulf Coast. Enhanced with careful editing and thorough annotations, this journal Marshall carried faithfully to every mustering out is a rich and important Civil War memoir.

Albert O. Marshall was born in 1840 on a farm in Illinois. He served in the Thirty-Third Illinois Regiment for three years, after which he became a lawyer and was elected to a four-year term in the state senate and later to the county court as a circuit court judge.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For Honor, Glory, and Union: The Mexican and Civil War Letters of Brig. Gen. William Haines Lytle

by William Haines Lytle

From the publisher:
A pro-states' rights Democrat with strong family ties to Kentucky, William Lytle volunteered for service in the Mexican War in 1847. This collection of his letters details the ferocity of action on the Western front and offers a glimpse of the interaction between Union officers and civilians.

"A remarkable, engaging work of superb scholarship, and an invaluable contribution to the growing body of Civil War literature.-- The Midwest Book Review" -- The Midwest Book Review

"Carter's edition of the letters of General William Lytle helps us understand why many partisan Democrats who despised abolitionists and Republicans, supported states' rights, and respected southerners and the South, decided to fight and, in Lytle's case, die for what they believed to be their nation.-- Van Hall" -- Van Hall

"This is one book that should be on the shelf of every Civil War buff or scholar as a prime example of the so many promising young lives lost in the war.-- West Virginia History" -- West Virginia History


From CWBN
This is the first paperback edition of a previously published hardback.

History of the Civil War 1861-1865

by James F. Rhodes

From the publisher:
This landmark study of the most traumatic era in American history won a Pulitzer Prize in 1918 for its concise, clear-minded survey of the Civil War from political and economic perspectives. From "the great factor in the destruction of slavery"-the election of Abraham Lincoln as President in 1860-to the "twenty thousand men in Wall Street" who sang to celebrate the war's end four years later, Rhodes, a self-taught historian, lends a distinctive voice to his retelling of the war. All students of the upheaval and disorder of the period will appreciate this enduring and unusual perspective on it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 111th New York Volunteer Infantry: A Civil War History

by Martin W. Husk

From the publisher:
This regimental history follows the 111th New York Volunteer Infantry's service from muster through victory, with many first-hand accounts and primary sources. It provides details on the towns from which the regiment was organized and examines the men who served in its ranks. Battles in which the regiment fought, including Harper's Ferry, Gettysburg and Petersburg, are covered in detail, with close unit-level coverage as well as information on the overall strategy and the regiment's place in the greater conflict. An appendix covers in-depth the October 1864 capture of 83 111th soldiers by the Confederacy, following their imprisonment, ill-treatment, and eventual death or release.

Martin W. Husk is a project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He lives in Cary, North Carolina.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Battles Without Bullets: Civil War Re-enactment and American Culture

by Randal Allred

From the publisher:
Near the end of his life, Confederate soldier Berry Benson wrote a passage that many Civil War reenactors now consider the clearest evocation of what they do: "Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say: Did it now seem real? Was it not as in the old days?"

Here, through anecdotes, interviews with participants, and a keen analysis of his subject, Allred offers insight to this uniquely American phenomenon. Allred first puts the practices of "living history" (including "living museums" and medieval pageants) into their cultural and political contexts, and then moves on to discuss the history of reenacting itself. Further chapters consider reenacting as a hobby and as a cultural community. Allred addresses various questions about reenactment: Why the Civil War? Why this particular way of honoring it? Is this a form of historical catharsis? What are the stories being "told" on these battlefields? The resulting study is both penetrating and entertaining.

RANDAL ALLRED is Associate Professor of Literature and Humanities at Brigham Young University, Hawaii. He is the author of the chapter of "Living History and Battlefield Reenactments" for The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Orlando M. Poe: Civil War General and Great Lakes Engineer

by Paul Taylor

From the publisher:
This is the first biography of Sherman's chief engineer and the man whose post-Civil War engineering work changed Great Lakes navigation forever.

Orlando M. Poe chronicles the life of one of the most influential yet underrated and overlooked soldiers during the Civil War.

After joining the Union Army in 1861, Poe commanded the 2nd Michigan Infantry in the Peninsula Campaign and led brigades at Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. He was then sent west and became one of the Union heroes in the defense of Knoxville.

Poe served under several of the war's greatest generals, including George McClellan and William T. Sherman, who appointed him chief engineer to oversee the burning of Atlanta and Sherman's March to the Sea. Though technically only a captain in the regular army at the war's end, Poe was one of Sherman's most valued subordinates, and he was ultimately appointed brevet brigadier general for his bravery and service.

After the war, Poe supervised the design and construction of numerous Great Lakes lighthouses, all of which are still in service. He rejoined Sherman's staff in 1873 as engineer aide-de-camp and continued his role as trusted adviser until the general's retirement in 1884. Poe then returned to his adopted home in Detroit where he began planning his ultimate post-Civil War engineering achievement: the design and construction of what would become the largest shipping lock in the world at Sault St. Marie, Michigan.

Mining an extensive collection of Poe's unpublished personal papers that span his entire civil and military career, and illustrating the narrative with many previously unpublished photographs, Paul Taylor brings to life for the first time the story of one of the nineteenth century's most overlooked war heroes.

Paul Taylor is an insurance professional and author of four previous books on the Civil War: "Give My Love to All Our Folks": Civil War and Post-War Letters of Clinton DeWitt Staring and Charles E. Staring, Glory Was Not Their Companion: The Twenty-Sixth New York Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, He Hath Loosed the Fateful Lightning: The Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly) September 1, 1862, and Discovering the Civil War in Florida: A Reader and Guide.

Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederancy, 1863-1865

by Ethan Rafuse

From the publisher:
In this reexamination of the last two years of Robert E. Lee's storied military career, Ethan S. Rafuse offers an insightful account of Lee's ultimately unsuccessful struggle to defend the Confederacy against a relentless and determined foe.

Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy describes the great campaigns that shaped the course of this crucial period in American history, the challenges Lee faced in each battle, and the dramatic events that determined the war's outcome.

Burning Rails As We Pleased: The Civil War Letters of William Garrigues Bentley, 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

by William Garrigues Bentley

From the publisher:
William Garrigues Bentley chose to leave the safety of home and family at age 19 and fight for the Union. He enlisted in the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company G, in 1862 and served for three long years before being honorably discharged. His firsthand account details his day-to-day life as a soldier, the long marches around Kentucky, skirmishes with the Rebs, joining with Sherman's army in the Atlanta campaign then chasing Hood into Tennessee and fighting in the bloody battle at Franklin, and on to rejoin Sherman in the winter of 1865 for the final months of the Carolina campaign.

This book - compiled from a collection of 142 of Bentley's newly discovered letters and other documents - not only is an important historical record but also offers an insight into the political thoughts and feelings of the time. The book includes a complete roster of the 104th Ohio.

Barbara Bentley Smith is William Garrigues Bentley's great-granddaughter. She lives in North Carolina. Nina Bentley Baker is William Garrigues Bentley's great-granddaughter. She lives in North Carolina.

Confederate Sheet Music

by E. Lawrence Abel

From the publisher:
During the American Civil War, songs united and inspired people on both sides. The North had a well-established music publishing industry when the war broke out, but the South had no such industry.

The importance of music as an expression of the South's beliefs was obvious; as one music publisher said, 'The South must not only fight her own battles but sing her own songs and dance to music composed by her own children'.

Southern entrepreneurs quickly rose to the challenge. This reference book is distinguished by three major differences from previously published works. First, it lists sheet music that is no longer extant (and listed nowhere else). Second, it gives complete lyrics for all extant songs, a rich source for researchers. And third, a brief historical background has been provided for many of the songs.

Each entry provides as much of the following as possible (staying faithful to the typography of each title page): the title as published, names of all lyricists, composers and publishers; dates of publication; cities of publication; and, if applicable, the names of catalogs or magazines in which the song appeared. Music published in Southern cities under Federal occupation is excluded.

E. Lawrence Abel teaches at Wayne State University, where he has received the honor of "Distinguished Professor." He is also the author of more than forty other books and his articles have been published in various popular and scholarly magazines and journals.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Chickamauga Memorial: The Establishment of America's First Civil War National Military Park

by Timothy B Smith

From the publisher:
A Chickamauga Memorial tells the full and fascinating story of how the country’s first federally preserved national military park came into being and how it paved the way for all that came afterwards, including preservation efforts today.

As Timothy B. Smith explains, most battlefield preservation and commemoration efforts before 1890 were done on a private and state level, with veterans’ groups and states marking unit positions on battlefields, most notably at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. In 1890, however, the federal government became involved on a large scale, ushering in a wave of battlefield preservation that would continue through the decades that followed.

The brainchild of Henry Van Ness Boynton, a Union officer and veteran of the battle, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park served multiple purposes as a commemorative memorial to the soldiers who had fought there as well as a military reservation for maneuver and study. As the former, Chickamauga played a prominent role in the reconciliation of the North and South, bringing together veterans from both sides. As the latter, the park played host to numerous military units during the Spanish American War as well as World Wars I and II. Perhaps the most important aspect, Smith contends, was the creation of historical memory in both. This process involved not only the historiography of the battles, but also how the battlefields themselves would be remembered, interpreted, and celebrated.

Timothy B. Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is the author of This Great Battlefield of Shiloh, The Untold Story of Shiloh, and The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation.

Lincoln under Enemy Fire: The Complete Account of His Experiences during Early's Attack on Washington

by John Henry Cramer

From the publisher:
Originally published in 1948 but long unavailable, this intriguing book chronicles the strange events of midsummer 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln might well have succumbed to a Confederate bullet were it not for the fortuitously spoken words of a Union officer standing nearby.

The central story is fairly well known: In July, the Confederate Army contemplated an attack on Washington, D.C. The Union showed sufficient strength to discourage a full-blown Southern assault, but on July 11, skirmishes broke out near Fort Stevens, just a few miles from Washington. High government officials and the social elite from the area came to the fort to observe the battle. Among them was President Lincoln, along with his wife and at least two cabinet-level officers. During his visit, the president joined a few others on a walkway that ran along the top of one of Fort Stevens’s high defensive walls. Confederate sharpshooters opened fire on the group, and Lincoln was told to retreat to a safer location—in rather rude and emphatic terms, according to some accounts. Author John Henry Cramer frames Lincoln under Enemy Fire around two questions: Who told the president to get off the parapet, and what was said to persuade him to do so?

With this new edition, Cramer’s findings become available once again, complete with a new introduction by noted Lincoln scholar Charles Hubbard. Lincoln Under Enemy Fire, at its heart, is a book about Abraham Lincoln, and validates some assumptions about Lincoln that have developed since Cramer wrote the book. Much of Cramer’s attention is directed toward the various accounts—including eyewitness discrepancies and written communication—and this meticulous work shows a brilliant mind at work getting to the bottom of a historical mystery of the first order.

John Henry Cramer was professor of history at Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University). He was also the author of Lincoln in Ohio. He died in 1948.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The American Civil War: A Military History

by John Keegan

From the publisher:
For the past half century, John Keegan, the greatest military historian of our time, has been returning to the scenes of America’s most bloody and wrenching war to ponder its lingering conundrums: the continuation of fighting for four years between such vastly mismatched sides; the dogged persistence of ill-trained, ill-equipped, and often malnourished combatants; the effective absence of decisive battles among some two to three hundred known to us by name. Now Keegan examines these and other puzzles with a peerless understanding of warfare, uncovering dimensions of the conflict that have eluded earlier historiography.

While offering original and perceptive insights into psychology, ideology, demographics, and economics, Keegan reveals the war’s hidden shape—a consequence of leadership, the evolution of strategic logic, and, above all, geography, the Rosetta Stone of his legendary decipherments of all great battles. The American topography, Keegan argues, presented a battle space of complexity and challenges virtually unmatched before or since. Out of a succession of mythic but chaotic engagements, he weaves an irresistible narrative illuminated with comparisons to the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and other conflicts.

The American Civil War is sure to be hailed as a definitive account of its eternally fascinating subject.

John Keegan was for many years senior lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and has been a fellow at Princeton University and a visiting professor of history at Vassar College. He is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed The Face of Battle and The Second World War. He is the defense editor of The Daily Telegraph (London). He lives in Wiltshire, England.

Atlas of the Civil War: A Complete Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle

by Stephen Hyslop (Author), Neil Kagan (Editor)

From the publisher:
In this one-of-a-kind atlas, scores of archival maps and dozens of newly created maps trace the battles, political turmoil, and great themes of America’s most violent and pivotal clash of arms. From the Antebellum South to Fort Sumter, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the fitful peace of Reconstruction, National Geographic’s Atlas of the Civil War displays eye-opening maps—and a gripping, self-contained story—on every spread.

Eighty-five rare period maps, many seen here for the first time, offer the cartographic history of a land at war with itself: from 19th-century campaign maps surveying whole regions and strategies to vintage battlefield charts used by Union and Confederate generals alike, along with commercial maps produced for a news-hungry public, and comprehensive Theater of War maps. In 35 innovative views created especially for this book, the key moments of major battles are pinpointed by National Geographic’s award-winning cartographers using satellite data to render the terrain with astonishing detail.

In addition, more than 320 documentary photographs, battlefield sketches, paintings, and artifacts bear eyewitness testimony to the war, history’s first to be widely captured on film.

Neil Kagan has contributed to numerous innovative illustrated books including the award-winning Voices of the Civil War and the best-selling Concise History of the World.

Stephen G. Hyslop has written several books on American and global history including Eyewitness to the Civil War.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photographic Views of Sherman's March

by George N. Barnard

From the publisher:
These haunting images of battlefields and ruined mansions reflect one of the Civil War's most devastating military campaigns.

Originally published in a now-rare collector's edition in 1866, this complete portfolio of works by the only photographer known to have accompanied Sherman on his march to the sea features 68 historic photographs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth

by Joan Waugh

From the publisher:
At the time of his death, Ulysses S. Grant was the most famous person in America, considered by most citizens to be equal in stature to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Yet today his monuments are rarely visited, his military reputation is overshadowed by that of Robert E. Lee, and his presidency is permanently mired at the bottom of historical rankings.

In an insightful blend of biography and cultural history, Joan Waugh traces Grant's shifting national and international reputation, illuminating the role of memory in our understanding of American history. She captures a sense of what led nineteenth-century Americans to overlook Grant's obvious faults and hold him up as a critically important symbol of national reconciliation and unity. Waugh further shows that Grant's reputation and place in public memory closely parallel the rise and fall of the northern version of the Civil War story — in which the United States was the clear, morally superior victor and Grant was the emblem of that victory. After the failure of Reconstruction, the dominant Union myths about the war gave way to a southern version that emphasized a more sentimental remembrance of the honor and courage of both sides and ennobled the "Lost Cause." By the 1920s, Grant's reputation had plummeted.

Most Americans today are unaware of how revered Grant was in his lifetime. Joan Waugh uncovers the reasons behind the rise and fall of his renown, underscoring as well the fluctuating memory of the Civil War itself.

Lincoln’s Proclamation: Emancipation Reconsidered (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War

by William Blair and Karen Younger (Editors)

From the publisher:
Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is popularly regarded as a heroic act by a great American president. Widely remembered as the document that ended slavery, the proclamation in fact freed slaves only in the rebellious South (and not in the Border States, where slavery remained legal) and, effectively, only in the parts of the South occupied by the Union. Questions persist regarding Lincoln’s moral conviction and the extent to which the proclamation truly represented a radical stance on the issue of freedom.

The eight essays in this volume enrich our understanding of the proclamation by considering not only aspects of the president’s decision making, but also events beyond Washington. The proclamation provides a launching point for new insights on the consequences and legacies of freedom, the engagement of black Americans in their liberation, and the issues of citizenship and rights that were not decided by Lincoln’s document. Together the essays portray emancipation as a product of many hands, best understood when considering all the various actors, the place, and the time.

West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace

Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh

From the publisher:
Most Civil War generals were graduates of West Point, and many of them helped transform the U.S. Army from what was little better than an armed mob that performed poorly during the War of 1812 into the competent fighting force that won the Mexican War. Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh offers an insightful and original portrait of the American army from 1814 to the end of the Civil War.

Hsieh demonstrates how the "old army" transformed itself into a professional military force after 1814, and, more important, how "old army" methods profoundly shaped the conduct of the Civil War. The dominance of both armies by West Point-trained generals prevented either side from gaining a marked superiority in military competence. Moreover, the long, grinding war, with heavy casualties on both sides, had unforeseen political implications--for instance, the war's great length strengthened the hand of the abolitionists, which would not have been the case if the North had won a quick and decisive victory.

The first book to show how the antebellum U.S. Army, and especially West Point graduates, affected the course of the Civil War, this volume makes a unique contribution to the history of America's greatest cataclysm.

Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865

by Myron J. Smith

From the publisher:
Once the Union Army gained control of the upper rivers of the Mississippi Valley during the first half of 1862, slow and heavy ironclads proved ineffective in patrolling the waters. Hastily outfitted steamboats were covered with thin armor and pressed into duty. These 'tinclads' fought Confederate forces attacking from the riverbanks, provided convoy for merchant steamers, enforced revenue measures, and offered tow, dispatch, and other fleet support services. This history documents the service records and duties of these little-known vessels of the Union fleet.

Prolific author Myron J. Smith, Jr., is the library director and a professor of history at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee.

From CWBN
This is the first paperback edition of a previously published hardback.

Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the Union Army

by Steven Ramold

From the publisher:
This title provides an in-depth examination of internal conflict and discipline in the Union Army.

During antebellum wars the Regular army preserved the peace, suppressed the Indians, and bore the brunt of the fighting. The Civil War, however, brought an influx of volunteers that overwhelmed the number of army Regulars, forcing a clash between traditional military discipline and the expectations of citizens.

Baring the Iron Hand provides an extraordinarily in-depth examination of this internal conflict and the issue of discipline in the Union Army.

Ramold tells the story of the volunteers, who, unaccustomed to such military necessities as obeying officers, accepting punishment, and suppressing individuality, rebelled at the traditional disicpline expected by the standing army. Unwilling to fully surrender their perceived rights as American citizens, soldiers both openly and covertly defied the rules. They challenged the right of their officers to lead them and established their own policies on military offenses, proper conduct, and battlefield behavior. Citizen soldiers also denied the army the right to punish them for offenses like desertion, insubordination, and mutiny that had no counterpart in civilian life.

Ramold demonstrates that the clash between Regulars and volunteers caused a reinterpretation of the traditional expectations of discipline. The officers of the Regular army had to contend with independent-minded soldiers who resisted the spit-and-polish discipline that made the army so efficient but also alienated the volunteers' sense of individuality and manhood.

Unable to prosecute the vast number of soldiers who committed offenses, professional officers reached a form of populist accommodation with their volunteer soldiers. Unable to eradicate or prevent certain offenses, the army tried simply to manage them or to just ignore them. Instead of applying traditionally harsh punishments for specific crimes as they had done in the antebellum period, the army instead mollified its men by extending amnesty, modifying sentences, and granting liberal leniency to many soldiers who otherwise deserved the harshest of penalities.

Ramold's fascinating look into the lives of these misbehaving soldiers will interest both Civil War historians and enthusiasts.

STEVEN J. RAMOLD is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Army.

Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents

by Richard F. Nation and Stephen E. Towne (Editors)

From the publisher:
Indiana’s War is a primary source collection featuring the writings of Indiana’s citizens during the Civil War era. Using private letters, official records, newspaper articles, and other original sources, the volume presents the varied experiences of Indiana’s participants in the war both on the battlefield and on the home front.

Starting in the 1850s, the documents show the sharp political divisions over issues such as slavery, race, and secession in Indiana, divisions that boiled over into extraordinary strife and violence in the state during the rebellion. This conflict touched all levels and members of society, including men, women, and children, whites and African Americans, native-born citizens and immigrants, farmers and city and town dwellers.

Collecting the writings of Indiana’s peoples on a wide range of issues, chapters focus on the politics of race prior to the war, the secession crisis, war fever in 1861, the experiences of soldiers at the front, home-front hardships, political conflict between partisan foes and civil and military authorities, reactions to the Emancipation Proclamation, and antiwar dissent, violence, and conspiracy. Indiana’s War is an excellent accompanying primary source text for undergraduate and graduate courses on the American Civil War. It documents the experiences of Indiana’s citizens, from the African American soldier to the antiwar dissenter, from the prewar politician to the postwar veteran, from the battle-scarred soldier to the impoverished soldier’s wife, all showing the harsh realities of the war.

Richard F. Nation is an associate professor of history at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of At Home in the Hoosier Hills: Agriculture, Politics, and Religion in Southern Indiana, 1810–1870.

Stephen E. Towne is an associate university archivist at Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis. He is the editor of A Fierce, Wild Joy: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Edward J. Wood, 48th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863

by Scott Mingus

From the publisher:
Previous works on Confederate brigadier general Harry T. Hays's First Louisiana Brigade--better known as the "Louisiana Tigers"--have tended to focus on just one day of the Tigers' service--their role in attacking East Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863--and have touched only lightly on the brigade's role at the Second Battle of Winchester, an important prelude to Gettysburg. In this commanding study, Scott L. Mingus, Sr., offers the first significant detailed exploration of the Louisiana Tigers during the entirety of the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign.

Mingus begins by providing a sweeping history of the Louisiana Tigers; their predecessors, Wheat's Tigers; the organizational structure and leadership of the brigade in 1863; and the personnel that made up its ranks. Covering the Tigers' movements and battle actions in depth, he then turns to the brigade's march into the Shenandoah Valley and the Tigers' key role in defeating the Federal army at the Second Battle of Winchester.

Combining soldiers' reminiscences with contemporary civilian accounts, Mingus breaks new ground by detailing the Tigers' march into Pennsylvania, their first trip to Gettysburg in the week before the battle, their two-day occupation of York, Pennsylvania--the largest northern town to fall to the Confederate army--and their march back to Gettysburg. He offers the first full-scale discussion of the Tigers' interaction with the local population during their invasion of Pennsylvania and includes detailed accounts of the citizens' reactions to the Tigers--many not published since appearing in local newspapers over a century ago.

Mingus explores the Tigers' actions on the first two days of the Battle of Gettysburg and meticulously recounts their famed assault on East Cemetery Hill, one of the pivotal moments of the battle. He closes with the Tigers' withdrawal from Gettysburg and their retreat into Virginia. Appendices include an order of battle for East Cemetery Hill, a recap of the weather during the entire Gettysburg Campaign, a day-by-day chronology of the Tigers' movements and campsites, and the text of the official reports from General Hays for Second Winchester and Gettysburg. Comprehensive and engaging, Mingus's exhaustive work constitutes the definitive account of General Hays's remarkable brigade during the critical summer of 1863.

Scott L. Mingus, Sr., has written numerous books on the Civil War, including the two volume Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign, its companion volume Gettysburg Glimpses: True Stories from the Battlefield; and Flames beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition, June 1863. He lives in York, Pennsylvania.

John Brown's Trial

Brian McGinty

From the publisher:
Mixing idealism with violence, abolitionist John Brown cut a wide swath across the United States before winding up in Virginia, where he led an attack on the U.S. armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Supported by a “provisional army” of 21 men, Brown hoped to rouse the slaves in Virginia to rebellion. But he was quickly captured and, after a short but stormy trial, hanged on December 2, 1859.

Brian McGinty provides the first comprehensive account of the trial, which raised important questions about jurisdiction, judicial fairness, and the nature of treason under the American constitutional system. After the jury returned its guilty verdict, an appeal was quickly disposed of, and the governor of Virginia refused to grant clemency. Brown met his death not as an enemy of the American people but as an enemy of Southern slaveholders.

Historians have long credited the Harpers Ferry raid with rousing the country to a fever pitch of sectionalism and accelerating the onset of the Civil War. McGinty sees Brown’s trial, rather than his raid, as the real turning point in the struggle between North and South. If Brown had been killed in Harpers Ferry (as he nearly was), or condemned to death in a summary court-martial, his raid would have had little effect. Because he survived to stand trial before a Virginia judge and jury, and argue the case against slavery with an eloquence that reverberated around the world, he became a symbol of the struggle to abolish slavery and a martyr to the cause of freedom.

There have been many books about John Brown, but none provides as comprehensive an account of the famous trial as does McGinty's. His well-written narrative is compelling and lucid. I especially appreciated his analysis of whether Brown received a fair trial. Here is another winner from the author of Lincoln and the Court. --Frank J. Williams, former Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and founding chair of The Lincoln Forum

First Vermont Cavalry in the Civil War: A History

by Joseph D. Collea

From the publisher:
The First Vermont Cavalry participated in 75 major Civil War engagements from 1862 through 1865. As the state's only mounted regiment, riding Vermont-bred Morgan horses, the cavalry unit battled some of the most notable Confederate cavalry commanders, mostly in Virginia. This history explores the battles and leaders of the unit, including generals George Custer and Philip Sheridan.

Joseph D. Collea, Jr., is the principal of Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vermont, and has been an educator for 40 years. A Fulbright Scholar, he studied at the American University in Cairo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia, and the Making of Reconstruction

by Mark Wahlgren Summers

From the publisher:
Reconstruction policy after the Civil War, notes Mark Wahlgren Summers, was shaped not simply by politics, principles, and prejudices. Also at work were fears--often unreasonable fears of renewed civil war and a widespread sense that four years of war had thrown the normal constitutional process so dangerously out of kilter that the republic itself remained in peril.

To understand Reconstruction, Summers contends, one must understand that the purpose of the North's war was--first and foremost--to save the Union with its republican institutions intact. During Reconstruction there were always fears in the mix--that the Civil War had settled nothing, that the Union was still in peril, and that its enemies and the enemies of republican government were more resilient and cunning than normal mortals. Many factors shaped the reintegration of the former Confederate states and the North's commitment to Reconstruction, Summers agrees, but the fears of war reigniting, plots against liberty, and a president prepared to father a coup d'├ętat ranked higher among them than historians have recognized.

Both a dramatic narrative of the events of Reconstruction and a groundbreaking new look at what drove these events, A Dangerous Stir is also a valuable look at the role of fear in the politics of the time--and in politics in general.

"There is perhaps no scholar more capable than Mark Summers to write with authority about the political culture of Reconstruction. With insight, skill, and wit, he recovers and explores a persistent but neglected theme in the writings of the era. In the process, he sheds new and valuable light on such traditional problems in Reconstruction historiography as the curious reaction of Southerners during the summer and fall of 1865, the behavior of President Andrew Johnson, and the increasing radicalization of Republican Reconstruction policies. This is an important book that was waiting to be written." — Mitchell Snay, author of Fenians, Freedmen, and Southern Whites: Race and Nationality in the Era of Reconstruction

History of Company B, Twenty-first Regiment (Infantry) South Carolina Volunteers, Confederate States Provisional Army

by Henry Kershaw Dubose

From the publisher:
A Confederate Army officer’s account of the 21st South Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company B’s involvement in the defense of Charleston, S.C., and in the Battle of Cold Harbor and the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia (both 1864).

Includes muster roll and portraits of officers. First printed 1909.

Reproduced from the first edition in the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Until Antietam: The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army

by Jack C. Mason

From the publisher:
This is an in-depth look at a daring and beloved Civil War leader.

While researching this book, author Jack C. Mason made the kind of discovery that historians dream of. He found more than one hundred unpublished, in fact unknown, letters from Union major general Israel B. Richardson to his family, written from his time as a West Point cadet until the day before his fatal wounding at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history. Using these freshly uncovered primary sources as well as extensive research in secondary materials, Mason has written the first-ever biography of Israel Bush Richardson.

Richardson's letters span more than twenty years of service in the U.S. Army. He served on the front lines of the Seminole War chasing Indians through the swamps of Florida; fought in every important battle of the Mexican-American War, during which he distinguished himself by capturing a Mexican artillery piece and turning it against the enemy at the Battle of Cerro Gordo; guarded dangerous outposts in southwest New Mexico; and raised a regiment at the start of the Civil War that would become the 2nd Michigan. During the Civil War, Richardson fought at the first Bull Run campaign, patrolled the area south of Washington, D.C., and led his division in the Peninsula Campaign. He rose quickly through the ranks of the Union Army over the first year of the war, as he was admired for his common sense, motivating leadership, and straightforward approach to combat. Mason traces Richardson's growth as a soldier, through his experiences and the guidance of his superiors, and then as a leader whose style reflected the actions of the former commanders he respected. Though he was a disciplinarian, Richardson took a relaxed attitude toward military rules, earning him the affection of his men. Unfortunately, his military career was cut short just as high-ranking officials began to recognize his aggressive leadership.

He was mortally wounded while leading his men at Antietam and died on November 4, 1862. "Until Antietam" brings to life a talented and fearless Civil War infantry leader. Richardson's story, placed within the context of nineteenth-century warfare, exemplifies how one soldier's life influenced his commanders, his men, and the army as a whole.

Jack C. Mason is a Department of Army civilian and a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. He serves as an instructor for the Command and General Staff College and has published several articles in Army magazine.

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

From the publisher:
This is a reproduction of the original edition including imperfections.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Civil War in Spotsylvania County (VA): Confederate Campfires at the Crossroads

by Michael Aubrecht

From the publisher:
From 1861 to 1865, hundreds of thousands of troops from both sides of the Civil War marched through, battled and camped in the woods and fields of Spotsylvania County, earning it the nickname 'Crossroads of the Civil War.' When not engaged with the enemy or drilling, a different kind of battle occupied soldiers boredom, hunger, disease, homesickness, harsh winters and spirits both broken and swigged.

In this book, focusing specifically on the local Confederate encampments, renowned author and historian Michael Aubrecht draws from published memoirs, diaries, letters and testimonials from those who were there to give a fascinating new look into the day-to-day experiences of camp life in the Confederate army. So huddle around the fire and discover the days when the only meal was a scrap of hardtack, temptation was mighty and a new game they called 'baseball' passed the time when not playing poker or waging a snowball war on fellow compatriots.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat Volume II

by Judith Lee Hallock

From the publisher:
In summer 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg was commander of the Army of Tennessee, still reeling from its defeat in January at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Failing to establish a strong defensive position at either Tullahoma or Chattanooga, Bragg saw the heartland of the South gradually slip away from him. Victory at Chickamauga Creek in September – Bragg’s last military success – was followed by disaster at Missionary Ridge and, shortly thereafter, his removal from army command.

Within three months, however, President Jefferson Davis had restored Bragg to active military involvement, naming him military adviser for the Confederacy. Here, finally, Bragg’s skills as an administrator and organizer bore fruit – as did his penchant for provoking quarrels and disunity within the military establishment.

Reassigned to field command in late 1864, Bragg concluded his army service with defeats at Wilmington and Bentonville, North Carolina.

The prevailing view of Bragg’s is a false one. Rather, he was a valuable asset to the Confederacy, a talented organizer whose gifts were misused by the nation he served.

For the first time, Bragg’s tenure in Richmond is examined carefully and evaluated. Contrary to the common view that Bragg was nothing more than a sycophant to President Davis, this study shows that he and Davis often disagreed on policy. Much of Bragg’s present reputation among civil war scholars is based upon how contemporaries viewed him. Despite Bragg’s determined devotion to the Confederacy, his frailties have shaped the literature to such an extent that his real accomplishments have been distorted or ignored.

In this study the author has tried, as General Joseph E. Johnston once advised, to “have a little charity for Bragg.”

Judith Lee Hallock draws a balanced picture of Bragg and of his important role in the Confederacy beginning in 1863. Her volume continues and completes the biography of Bragg published in Volume I by Grady McWhiney in 1969. Along with the military details, the author provides a full accounting of Bragg’s fractious relationships with other members of the military, a critical factor in this period for the entire Confederate command. This sympathetic biography of Bragg gives valuable insight into the workings of the Confederacy in the last two years of its struggle for independence.

Judith Lee Hallock is a teacher in Centrereach, New York.

From the critics:
“Hallock has undertaken the difficult task of explaining a complex, sick, cantankerous, and unpopular Confederate general who failed as a field commander yet became military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. Her biography is especially satisfying because, without being overly sympathetic or critical, she makes Bragg not into a hero but into an understandable person. She is neither too hard nor too easy on him, but she gives Bragg his due. . . .She depicts him with warts and all and thereby achieves what every biographer hopes to accomplish – a good understanding of her subject.” – Grady McWhiney, Texas Christian University

“It is well-written, judicious, and based on sound and wide-ranging research. Wisely, she has not written a polemic in excuse, nor does she allege competencies beyond Bragg’s scope. Rather, she acknowledges his inadequacies, agrees with most poor assessments, and yet portrays his flawed character sympathetically – a real achievement!” – Frank E. Vandiver, Texas A & M University

From CWBN
This is the first paperback edition of a previously published hardback.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865

by Barton A. Myers

From the publisher:
On December 18, 1863, just north of Elizabeth City in rural northeastern North Carolina, a large group of white Union officers and black enlisted troops under the command of Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild executed a local citizen for his involvement in an irregular resistance to Union army incursions along the coast.

Daniel Bright, by conflicting accounts either a Confederate soldier home on leave or a deserter and guerrilla fighter guilty of plundering farms and harassing local Unionists, was hanged inside an unfinished postal building. The initial fall was not mortal, and according to one Union soldier's account, Bright suffered a slow death by "strangulation, his heart not ceasing to beat for twenty minutes."

Until now, Civil War scholars considered Bright and the Union incursion that culminated in his gruesome death as only a historical footnote. In Executing Daniel Bright, Barton A. Myers uses these events as a window into the wider experience of local guerrilla conflict in North Carolina's Great Dismal Swamp region and as a representation of a larger pattern of retaliatory executions and murders meant to coerce appropriate political loyalty and military conduct on the Confederate homefront. Race, political loyalties, power, and guerrilla violence all shaped the life of Daniel Bright and the home he died defending, and Myers shows how the interplay of these four dynamics created a world where irregular military activity could thrive.

Myers opens with an analysis of antebellum slavery, race relations, slavery debates, and the role of the environment in shaping the antebellum economy of northeastern North Carolina. He then details the emergence of a rift between Unionist and Confederate factions in the area in 1861, the events in 1862 that led to the formation of local guerrilla bands, and General Wild's 1863 military operation in Pasquotank, Camden, and Currituck counties. He explores the local, state, regional, and Confederate Congress's responses to the events of the Wild raid and specifically to Daniel Bright's hanging, revealing the role of racism in shaping those responses. Finally, Myers outlines the outcome of efforts to negotiate neutrality and the state of local loyalties by mid-1864.

Revising North Carolina's popular Civil War mythology, Myers concludes that guerrilla violence such as Bright's execution occurred not only in the highlands or Piedmont region of the state's homefront; rather, local irregular wars stretched from one corner of the state to the other. He explains how violence reshaped this community and profoundly affected the ways loyalties shifted and manifested themselves during the war. Above all, Myers contends, Bright's execution provides a tangible illustration of the collapse of social order on the southern homefront that ultimately led to the downfall of the Confederacy.

Microhistory at its finest, Executing Daniel Bright adds a thought-provoking chapter to the ever-expanding history of how Americans have coped with guerrilla war.

Barton A. Myers is a postdoctoral fellow in military history at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

From CWBN
The release date of this book is not known, although it falls within this month.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We Were the Ninth: A History of the Ninth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry April 17, 1861 to June 7, 1864: Civil War Sesquicentennial Edition

by Constantin Grebner (author) and Frederic Trautmann (translator)

From the publisher:
We Were The Ninth is a translation, carefully edited and thoroughly annotated, of an important Civil War regiment. The Ninth Ohio - composed of Ohio Germans mostly from Cincinnati - saw action at Rich Mountain and Carnifex Ferry in West Virginia, Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Hoover's Gap, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Chickamauga. The Ninth began the War amid misgivings (Would a German speaking regiment in the Union Army cause chaos?) and ended its active service among the honored units. It continued as an active German-speaking veterans' organization.

Constantin Grebner published this significant history, in German, in 1897 and noted that it 'is intended as neither a history of the war nor a definitive account of battles. Rather, it is restricted to a straightforward, veracious report of what happened to The Ninth, and to recounting as accurately as possible The Ninth's experiences as a wartime regiment'. Frederic Trautmann's English translation is faithful to Grebner's original text, preserving its integrity while maintaining its energy, precision, and grace.

From CWBN
The release date of this book is not known, although it falls within this month.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920

by Charles Reagan Wilson

From the publisher:
Charles Reagan Wilson documents, for the first time, that for over half a century there existed not one, but two civil religions in the United States, the second not dedicated to honoring the American nation. Extensively researched in primary sources, Baptized in Blood is a significant and well-written study of the South's civil religion, one of two public faiths in America. In his comparison, Wilson finds the Lost Cause offered defeated Southerners a sense of meaning and purpose and special identity as a precarious but distinct culture. Southerners may have abandoned their dream of a separate political nation after Appomattox, but they preserved their cultural identity by blending Christian rhetoric and symbols with the rhetoric and imagery of Confederate tradition.

"Civil religion" has been defined as the religious dimension of a people that enables them to understand a historical experience in transcendent terms. In this light, Wilson explores the role of religion in postbellum southern culture and argues that the profound dislocations of Confederate defeat caused southerners to think in religious terms about the meaning of their unique and tragic experience. The defeat in a war deemed by some as religious in nature threw into question the South's relationship to God; it was interpreted in part as a God-given trial, whereby suffering and pain would lead Southerners to greater virtue and strength and even prepare them for future crusades. From this reflection upon history emerged the civil religion of the Lost Cause. While recent work in southern religious history has focused on the Old South period, Wilson's timely study adds to our developing understanding of the South after the Civil War.

The Lost Cause movement was an organized effort to preserve the memory of the Confederacy. Historians have examined its political, literary, and social aspects, but Wilson uses the concepts of anthropology, sociology, and historiography to unveil the Lost Cause as an authentic expression of religion. The Lost Cause was celebrated and perpetuated with its own rituals, mythology, and theology; as key celebrants of the religion of the Lost Cause, Southern ministers forged it into a religious movement closely related to their own churches. In examining the role of civil religion in the cult of the military, in the New South ideology, and in the spirit of the Lost Cause colleges, as well as in other aspects, Wilson demonstrates effectively how the religion of the Lost Cause became the institutional embodiment of the South's tragic experience.

From the critics:
"Destined to be the definitive essay on the relation between religion and southern regional patriotism." --Journal of Southern History

"If the South cannot escape its history, perhaps it is because it does not want to. Wilson's magnificent book on the religion of the Lost Cause drives that point home forcefully. . . . He skillfully weaves together the strands of thought that produced the Lost Cause and shows that evangelical ministers had a large hand in the process." --Theology Today

"This interesting and valuable study breaks new ground in Reconstruction and New South history. . . . What makes this volume significant is both the demonstrated usefulness of the theory of civil religion in the hands of a historian and the fresh substantive contribution to the history of the South's tragic experience." --American Historical Review

Entrepot: Government Imports into the Confederate States

by C. L. Webster III

From the publisher:
Examining for the first time the history of civil war blockade running, this unrivalled compilation reveals the arms, equipment, and clothing brought into the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Detailed and comprehensive, this survey offers month-by-month, cargo-by-cargo descriptions of goods received at multiple locations across the United States. From Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington to Matamoros, Galveston, and Mobile, this reference lists all distribution—the Belgian-made woolen cloth and English rifles that arrived in the farthest reaches of the Trans-Mississippi and the receipt of thousands of British knapsacks, blankets, and cartridge boxes in the winter camps of the struggling Army of Tennessee. A unique depiction of a perilous trade, this record sheds a dramatic light on the surprising pervasiveness of imported war material as well as the effectiveness and sophistication of the Confederate supply system.

C. L. Webster III is a historian specializing in the American Civil War and a practicing lawyer. He lives in Houston, Texas.

Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War

by James M. Schmidt

From the publisher:
From du Pont’s gunpowder and Borden’s condensed milk to Procter & Gamble’s soap and Brooks Brothers’ uniforms, this history investigates how today’s familiar brand names served a vital role for the Union during the Civil War. Rarely told stories from the companies who supplied soldiers and sailors with food, clothing, weapons, and medicine recount tales of political intrigue, family and friends torn apart, and paths crossed with Abraham Lincoln. Not only do these accounts mirror the war itself, they also show that life during conflict can often be as intriguing and dangerous for a company of employees as it is a company of soldiers.

"Lincoln's Labels tells how some businesses still operating contributed to, and were affected by, the Civil War. It does this quite well . . . But Lincoln's Labels is also about one of the many ways which we—Americans of the early 21st century—are linked inextricably to the great national epic . . . A good read for anyone, scholar, 'buff,' or ordinary citizen." —Al Nofi, author, A Civil War Treasury, from the foreword

Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine

by Guy R. Hasegawa and James M. Schmidt (editors)

From the publisher:
Correcting the pervading myths of Civil War medicine perpetuated by Hollywood dramatizations, this exploration covers how the sick and wounded were treated on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Through detailed research, these essays show there were actually too few amputations, contrary to popular belief; there were many advances made in the understanding and treatment of diseases and wounds to the nervous system, and new surgical techniques were used to treat battlefield injuries once thought to be certainly fatal.

These topics and more are treated by experts in their respective fields, including medical education, science, invention, neuroscience, and mental health.

James Schmidt is a scientist with more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and the author of more than 50 articles on American history and Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War. Guy Hasegawa is the senior editor of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, a published expert on Confederate pharmacy and other aspects of Civil War medicine, and a board member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Society of Civil War Surgeons.