Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Confederate Rage, Yankee Wrath: No Quarter in the Civil War

by George S. Burkhardt

From the publisher:
This provocative new study proves the existence of a de facto Confederate policy of giving no quarter to captured black combatants during the Civil War—killing them instead of treating them as prisoners of war. Rather than looking at the massacres as a series of discrete and random events, this work examines each as part of a ruthless but standard practice.

Author George S. Burkhardt details a fascinating case that the Confederates followed a consistent pattern of murder against the black soldiers who served in Northern armies after Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. He shows subsequent retaliation by black soldiers and further escalation by the Confederates, including the execution of some captured white Federal soldiers, those proscribed as cavalry raiders, foragers, or house-burners, and even some captured in traditional battles.

Further disproving the notion of Confederates as victims who were merely trying to defend their homes, Burkhardt explores the motivations behind the soldiers’ actions and shows the Confederates’ rage at the sight of former slaves—still considered property, not men—fighting them as equals on the battlefield.

Burkhardt’s narrative approach recovers important dimensions of the war that until now have not been fully explored by historians, effectively describing the systemic pattern that pushed the conflict toward a black flag, take-no-prisoners struggle.

Confederate Rage, Yankee Wrath skillfully shows how memories of black massacres were buried as part of the reconciliation movement between North and South. Burkhardt offers a gripping narrative filled with graphic first-hand accounts that convey the brutality suffered by black soldiers at the hands of the Confederates and their own white comrades. He compels the reader to think deeply about how Americans have remembered or forgotten the grisly aspects of the Civil War.” — Peter S. Carmichael, author of The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion

“This book needed to be written. The atrocities that Burkhardt writes about happened, and happened with some frequency, but until now references to individual accounts in memoirs, letters, and official documents were scattered across the huge landscape of Civil War history.” — James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., author of The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War

George S. Burkhardt, a former news reporter and writer, was the editor, publisher, and owner of California’s smallest daily newspaper, the Corning Daily Observer. He has spent more than twenty years researching and writing about the atrocities that occurred during the Civil War.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Ultimate Sacrifice at the Battle of Kernstown: William Gray Murray, First Pennsylvania Colonel to Die in the American Civil War

by Roderick Rodgers Gainer

From reviewers:
[Ultimate Sacrifice at Kernstown] Vividly details not only the military actions on the battlefield, but offers readers an insightful look into the life of the Irish Colonel, including an excellent rendering of his experience in the War with Mexico and his personal life as well.Opens the door for the reader to catch a glimpse of the behind the scenes struggles of training and disciplining a raw Civil War regiment, as experienced by both officers and enlisted men. Gainer has expanded our knowledge of the lives and motivations of the men who fought at Kernstown. -- Scott C. Patchan, Board of Directors, Kernstown Battlefield Association

A revealing portrait of a patriot and long forgotten war-hero. At last, Colonel Murray has received the attention he so richly deserves. Mr. Gainer is to be commended for his effort, which is factually correct and well written. Recommended. --David L. Richards, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park, Historian, Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Widows by the Thousand: The Civil War Correspondence of Theophilus and Harriet Perry, 1862–1864

Edited by M. Jane Johansson

From the publisher:
This collection of letters written between Theophilus and Harriet Perry during the Civil War provides an intimate, firsthand account of the effect of the war on one young couple. Perry was an officer with the 28th Texas Cavalry, a unit that campaigned in Arkansas and Louisiana as part of the division known as “Walker’s Greyhounds.” His letters describe his service in a highly literate style that is unusual for Confederate accounts. He documents a number of important events, including his experiences as a detached officer in Arkansas in the winter of 1862–63, the attempt to relieve the siege of Vicksburg, mutiny in his regiment, and the Red River campaign, just before he was killed in the battle of Pleasant Hill.

Harriet’s writings allow the reader to witness the everyday life of an upper-class woman enduring home front deprivations, facing the hardships and fears of childbearing and childrearing alone, and coping with other challenges resulting from her husband’s absence.

“This is a collection that offers much more than many others. . . . Harriet’s eulogy for her husband is quite moving and provides an emotional reading for a visit into the relationship of a Confederate officer and his wife that has rarely been available.” — Civil War News

“Not only have fewer collections of married couples of the Confederacy been published, but those of couples living in the westernmost regions of the Trans-Mississippi Theater are scarcer still. . . . Harriet’s frank discussion of sexuality and reproduction, topics mid-19th century female correspondents rarely address, are remarkable for this era.” — Civil War Book Review

M. Jane Johansson is an associate professor of history at Rogers State University. She is the author of Peculiar Honor: A History of the 28th Texas Calvary, 1862–1865 (University of Arkansas Press), winner of the Ottis Lock Award for the Best Book on East Texas History, and a coeditor of two volumes of The Papers of Will Rogers

Loyalty on the Frontier: Sketches of Union Men of the South-West with Incidents and Adventures in Rebellion on the Border

by A. W. Bishop, Edited by Kim Allen Scott

From the publisher:

First published in 1863, this book has the immediacy, passion, and intimacy of its wartime context. It tells the remarkable story of Albert Webb Bishop, a New York lawyer turned Union soldier, who in 1862 accepted a commission as lieutenant colonel in a regiment of Ozark mountaineers. While maintaining Union control of northwest Arkansas, he collected stories of the social coercion, political secession, and brutal terrorism that scarred the region.

His larger goal, however, was to popularize and inspire sympathy for the South’s Unionists and to chronicle the triumph of Unionism in a Confederate state. His account points to the complex and divisive nature of Confederate society and in doing so provides a perspective that has long been absent from discussions of the Civil War.

“Recounts sometimes harrowing, often fantastic tales. . . . As an essential document that is made even more valuable by Scott’s incisive editing, this is both a good read and a valuable resource.”
— Civil War Book Review

“This is the Civil War as a participant saw and lived it. . . . Highly recommended.” — The Civil War News

“Partisan, strident, and uncompromising, but remarkably non-vindictive, especially considering the truly vicious nature of the guerrilla conflict he experienced.” — William Garrett Piston, author of Lee’s Tarnished Lieutenant: James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History

“Everyone will applaud this reissue of Albert W. Bishop’s Loyalty on the Frontier. His writing is partisan, strident, and uncompromising, but remarkably non-vindictive, especially considering the truly vicious nature of the guerrilla conflict he experienced. Editor Kim Allen Scott provides an excellent introduction and copious notes. This is important reading not only for students of the war in the Trans-Mississippi, but also for those who wish to understand the human cost of a civil war.” — William Garrett Piston, co-author of Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It

Kim Allen Scott is Special Collections Librarian for The Libraries, Montana State University, Bozeman. He is the author of many articles on the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi and has supplemented his research through active participation in Civil War–battle reenactments.

Shelby's Expedition to Mexico: An Unwritten Leaf of the War

by John N. Edwards

Confederate general Joseph O. Shelby and his legendary Iron Brigade refused to acknowledge the end of the Civil War. Instead, they fought their way to Mexico in search of a place where they could continue to defy the U.S. government. These veteran Missouri cavalrymen clawed their way for fifteen hundred miles, fighting Juaristas, Indians, desperados, and disgruntled gringos. They disbanded only after they had offered their services to Emperor Maximilian and were turned down.

Shelby’s adjutant, journalist John N. Edwards, first published his story of the exploits of this superb mounted brigade and its quixotic final march in 1872. Conger Beasley provides a lively introduction that includes the first biographical sketch of the author. The 1969 movie The Undefeated starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson was based upon Shelby's expedition.

“The story of probably the most colorful and important adventure of ex-Confederates in postwar Mexico. . . . An expertly edited reprint of the history of a most unusual and enlightening chapter of the Civil War . . . it will be both enjoyed and valued by anyone interested in the war in the western states and territories.” — Civil War Book Review

“This is the romantic yet authentic tale of how brave men with brave hopes sought to redeem defeat in one war by victory in another war, only again to lose all save honor. A classic.” — Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864

". . . [R]ecords the acts and sufferings of a body of men as desperately brave and as wildly adventurous as any whom the world has known. . . . [This is] a story to dazzle the fancy and stir the blood with deeds of desperate valor, with hair-breadth escapes, with splendors of tropical scenery, and horrors of Mexican cruelty. . . . [The] author, after the manner of Victor Hugo, whose style he has taken for his model, has thrown some arabesques of a lively imagination around and among his historical figures." — September 1874, Southern Magazine, The Transactions of the Southern Historical Society

"Shelby's Expedition to Mexico is the romantic yet authentic tale of how brave men with brave hopes sought to redeem defeat in one war by victory in another war, only again to lose all save honor. A classic." — Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 (Kansas, 1995)

Conger Beasley Jr. is the author of a number of books, including Patagonia: Wild Land at the End of the Earth; Spanish Peaks; We Are a People in the World: The Lakota Sioux and the Massacre at Wounded Knee; and Sundancers and River Demons: Essays on Landscape and Ritual (University of Arkansas Press), winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Achievement.