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.