Friday, October 31, 2008

Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era

by William J. Cooper Jr.

From the publisher:
With his masterpiece, Jefferson Davis, American, William J. Cooper, Jr., crafted a sweeping, definitive biography and established himself as the foremost scholar on the intriguing Confederate president. Cooper narrows his focus considerably in Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era, aiming his expert eye specifically on Davis's participation in and influence on events central to the American Civil War. In nine self-contained essays, he addresses how Davis reacted to and dealt with a variety of issues that were key to the coming of the war, the war itself, or in memorializing the war, sharply illuminating Davis's role during those turbulent years.

Cooper opens with an analysis of Davis as an antebellum politician, challenging the standard view of Davis as either a dogmatic priest of principle or an inept bureaucrat. Next, he looks closely at Davis's complex association with secession, which included, surprisingly, a profound devotion to the Union. Six studies explore Davis and the Confederate experience, with topics including states' rights, the politics of command and strategic decisions, Davis in the role of war leader, the war in the West, and the meaning of the war. The final essay compares and contrasts Davis's first inauguration in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861 with a little-known dedication of a monument to Confederate soldiers in the same city twenty-five years later. In 1886, Davis--an old man of seventy-eight and in poor health--had himself become a living monument, Cooper explains, and was an essential element in the formation of the Lost Cause ideology.

Cooper's succinct interpretations provide straightforward, compact, and deceptively deep new approaches to understanding Davis during the most critical time in his life. Certain to stimulate further thought and spark debate, Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era offers rare insight into one of American history's most complicated and provocative figures.

William J. Cooper, Jr., is the author of Jefferson Davis, American; The Conservative Regime: South Carolina, 1877-1890; The South and the Politics of Slavery, 1828-1856; and Liberty and Slavery: Southern Politics to 1860 and coauthor of The American South: A History. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and the Jefferson Davis Award, among other honors. A Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana State University, he lives in Baton Rouge.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

THOSE DAMNED BLACK HATS!: The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign

by Lance Herdegen

From the publisher:
The Iron Brigade--an all-Western outfit famously branded as The Iron Brigade of the West--served out their enlistments entirely in the Eastern Theater. Hardy men were these soldiers from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, who waged war beneath their unique black Hardee Hats on many fields, from Brawner's Farm during the Second Bull Run Campaign all the way to Appomattox. In between were memorable combats at South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, the Overland Campaign, and the grueling fighting around Petersburg. None of these battles compared with the "four long hours" of July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, where the Iron Brigade was all but wrecked.

Lance Herdegen's Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign is the first book-length account of their remarkable experiences in Pennsylvania during that fateful summer of 1863. Drawing upon a wealth of sources, including dozens of previously unpublished or unused accounts, Herdegen details for the first time the exploits of the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and 24th Michigan regiments during the entire campaign. On July 1, the Western troops stood line-to-line and often face-to-face with their Confederate adversaries, who later referred to them as "those damned Black Hats." With the help of other stalwart comrades, the Hoosiers, Badgers, and Wolverines shed copious amounts of blood to save the Army of the Potomac's defensive position west of town. Their heroics above Willoughby Run, along the Chambersburg Pike, and at the Railroad Cut helped define the opposing lines for the rest of the battle and, perhaps, won the battle that helped preserve the Union.

Herdegen's account is much more than a battle study. The story of the fighting at the "Bloody Railroad Cut" is well known, but the attack and defense of McPherson's Ridge, the final stand at Seminary Ridge, the occupation of Culp's Hill, and the final pursuit of the Confederate Army has never been explored in sufficient depth or with such story telling ability. Herdegen completes the journey of the Black Hats with an account of the reconciliation at the 50th Anniversary Reunion and the Iron Brigade's place in Civil War history.

"Where has the firmness of the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg been surpassed in history?" asked Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin. Indeed, it was a fair question. The brigade marched to Gettysburg with 1,883 men in ranks and by nightfall on July 1, only 671 men were still to be counted. It would fight on to the end of the Civil War, and do so without its all-Western makeup, but never again was it a major force in battle.

Some 150 years after the last member of the Iron Brigade laid down his life for his country, the complete story of what the Black Hats did at Gettysburg and how they remembered it is finally available.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

Where Men Only Dare to Go: Or the Story of a Boy Company, CSA

by Royall W. Figg

From the publisher:
First published in 1885 and long out of print, Where Men Only Dare to Go by Royall W. Figg remains a classic memoir of Confederate service.

This updated edition, with a new foreword by historian Robert K. Krick, brings Figg's captivating narrative back into print. Figg tells the story of Captain William W. Parker's Virginia battery, a significant Confederate unit that participated in every important engagement fought by the Army of Northern Virginia. Comprised mainly of young men, it became known as "Parker's Boy Battery." Figg joined the company at age twenty as a charter member at the battery's initial muster on March 14, 1862. He appears on each of the battery's fourteen bimonthly muster rolls from March 1862 to February 1865--an unusually devoted service record. His devotion is evident in the detailed accounting he provides of the battery's history, a vivid and engaging record of the experiences of a Confederate artillerist providing a rich blend of bravery, rascally behavior, and drollery.

J. Thompson Brown, the last commander of Parker's Virginia Battery, described Figg as "a fair representative of our Company, an intelligent fairly educated boy. . . . He was a truthful and Christian gentleman. . . . I believe what he says, as no man could doubt Royal W. Figg's statement." The reappearance of Where Men Only Dare to Go after so many years offers a new generation a chance to read the eyewitness report of this bright, observant young soldier who fought through the famous battles in the eastern theater.

Royall W. Figg was a member of Parker's Virginia Battery in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

The Fate of Texas: The Civil War in the Lone Star State

by Charles D. Grear

From the publisher:
In its examination of a state too often neglected by Civil War historians, The Fate of Texas presents Texas as a decidedly southern, yet in many ways unusual, state seriously committed to and deeply affected by the Confederate war effort in a multitude of ways. When the state joined the Confederacy and fought in the war, its fate was uncertain. The war touched every portion of the population and all aspects of life in Texas. Never before has a group of historians examined the impact of the war on so many facets of the state.

The eleven essays in this collection present cutting edge, original research by noted historians, who provide a new understanding of the role and reactions of Texas and Texans to the war. The book covers a wide range of topics, providing new perspectives, ranging from military, social, and cultural history to public history and historical memory. Some of the subjects explored include the lives of Texas women, slavery, veterans, and how the state dealt with confederate loss.

"A well conceived and highly important addition to Civil War literature. . . . [that] offers a complex, multi-dimensional, yet thoroughly accessible set of major contributions to the historiography of the Civil War." --T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags: The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction

by Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Gough

From the publisher:
After the Civil War, Congress required ten former Confederate states to rewrite their constitutions before they could be readmitted to the Union. An electorate composed of newly enfranchised former slaves, native Southern whites (minus significant numbers of disenfranchised former Confederate officials), and a small contingent of "carpetbaggers," or outside whites, sent delegates to ten constitutional conventions. Derogatorily labeled "black and tan" by their detractors, these assemblies wrote constitutions and submitted them to Congress and to the voters in their respective states for approval. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags offers a quantitative study of these decisive but little-understood assemblies--the first elected bodies in the United States to include a significant number of blacks.

Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Gough scoured manuscript census returns to determine the age, occupation, property holdings, literacy, and slaveholdings of 839 of the conventions' 1,018 delegates. Carefully analyzing convention voting records on certain issues--including race, suffrage, and government structure--they correlate delegates' voting patterns with their racial and socioeconomic status. Hume and Gough then assign a "Republican support score" to each delegate who voted often enough to count, establishing the degree to which each delegate adhered to the Republican leaders' program at his convention. Using these scores, they divide the delegates into three groups--radicals, swing voters, and conservatives--and incorporate their quantitative findings into the narrative histories of each convention, providing, for the first time, a detailed analysis of these long-overlooked assemblies.

Hume and Gough's comprehensive study offers an objective look at the accomplishments and shortcomings of the conventions and humanizes the delegates who have until now been understood largely as stereotypes. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags provides an essential reference guide for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Reconstruction era.

Richard L. Hume is a professor of history at Washington State University and coeditor of God Made Man, Man Made the Slave: The Autobiography of George Teamoh. Jerry B. Gough is an associate professor of history at Washington State University and coeditor of The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg, 1939-1946.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The 25Th North Carolina Infantry: History and Roster of a Mountain-bred Regiment in the Civil War

by Carroll C. Jones

From the publisher:
This historical account covers the 25th Regiment North Carolina infantry troops during the Civil War. Farmers and farmers' sons left their mountain homesteads to enlist with the regiment at Asheville in August 1861 in order to defend their homeland from a Yankee invasion. The book chronicles the unit's defensive activities in the Carolina coastal regions and the battlefield actions at Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Plymouth, and Petersburg. In addition, casualty and desertion statistics are included, along with a complete regimental roster and more than 125 photos, illustrations, and maps.

Engineering consultant Carroll C. Jones is a North Carolina native and Civil War enthusiast.

Andersonvilles Of The North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners

by James M. Gillispie

From the publisher:
Soon after the close of military operations in the American Civil War, another war began over how it would be remembered by future generations. The prisoner-of-war issue has figured prominently in Northern and Southern writing about the conflict. Northerners used tales of Andersonville to demonize the Confederacy, while Southerners vilified Northern prison policies to show the depths to which Yankees had sunk to attain victory.

Over the years the postwar Northern portrayal of Andersonville as fiendishly designed to kill prisoners in mass quantities has largely been dismissed. The "Lost Cause" characterization of Union prison policies as criminally negligent and inhumane, however, has shown remarkable durability. Northern officials have been portrayed as turning their military prisons into concentration camps where Southern prisoners were poorly fed, clothed, and sheltered, resulting in inexcusably high numbers of deaths.

Andersonvilles of the North, by James M. Gillispie, represents the first broad study to argue that the image of Union prison officials as negligent and cruel to Confederate prisoners is severely flawed. This study is not an attempt to "whitewash" Union prison policies or make light of Confederate prisoner mortality. But once the careful reader disregards unreliable postwar polemics, and focuses exclusively on the more reliable wartime records and documents from both Northern and Southern sources, then a much different, less negative, picture of Northern prison life emerges. While life in Northern prisons was difficult and potentially deadly, no evidence exists of a conspiracy to neglect or mistreat Southern captives. Confederate prisoners' suffering and death were due to a number of factors, but it would seem that Yankee apathy and malice were rarely among them.

In fact, likely the most significant single factor in Confederate (and all) prisoner mortality during the Civil War was the halting of the prisoner exchange cartel in the late spring of 1863. Though Northern officials have long been condemned for coldly calculating that doing so aided their war effort, the evidence convincingly suggests that the South's staunch refusal to exchange black Union prisoners was actually the key sticking point in negotiations to resume exchanges from mid-1863 to 1865.

Ultimately Gillispie concludes that Northern prisoner-of-war policies were far more humane and reasonable than generally depicted. His careful analysis will be welcomed by historians of the Civil War, the South, and of American history.

King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America

by Frank L. Owsley; revised by Harriet Chappell Owsley

From the publisher:
"[T]he most important contribution that has so far been made to the diplomatic history of the United States during this period. Owsley recognizes the significance of economic forces underlying politics and diplomacy with the result that he has extended the scope of his study beyond the documents and given a much more valid interpretation of the diplomatic history of this period" --Mississippi Valley Historical Review

The exhaustive, definitive study of Southern attempts to gain international support for the Confederacy by leveraging the cotton supply for European intervention during the Civil War. Using previously untapped sources from Britain and France, along with documents from the Confederacy's state department, Frank Owsley's King Cotton Diplomacy is the first archival-based study of Confederate diplomacy.

"On its initial publication King Cotton Diplomacy was hailed as a definitive study of Confederate foreign affairs. It was most highly acclaimed for its fresh interpretations of the reasons why England and France refused to grant recognition and aid to the Confederacy. Harriet Chappell Owsley presents a new and revised edition . . . and has in many places tightened and improved the literary style, but she has permitted the new volume to retain both the substance and the flavor of the earlier edition." --Mississippi Valley Historical Journal

"For the assistance given the Confederacy by British shipping interests, as well as for a definitive criticism of Confederate and Northern policy, consult King Cotton Diplomacy by Frank Lawrence Owsley."
--Time Magazine

Frank Lawrence Owsley (1890-1956) taught at Auburn, Birmingham-Southern, and then at Vanderbilt for 29 years before becoming the first incumbent of the Hugo Friedman Chair in Southern History at The University of Alabama in 1949. His other works include States Rights in the Confederacy and Plain Folk of the Old South.

From CWBN:
This is a revision of the 1931 classic.

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

by Michael J. Kline

From the publisher:
A True-Crime Thriller About the Original Attempt on President Lincoln's Life

In February 1861, Abraham Lincoln's private train steamed from Illinois to Washington, DC, where he would be inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States. In Baltimore, where Lincoln's train was scheduled to make a final stop before arriving at the capital, the renowned detective Allan Pinkerton had uncovered evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate the president-elect.

A border state with pro-Southern sympathies, Maryland was on the verge of leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln wanted desperately to restore a divided Union; eliminating him would tear the country irreparably apart. Long a site of civil unrest, Baltimore--the home of John Wilkes Booth (who may have been among the conspirators)--provided the perfect environment for a strike. Wearing a disguise, in the dead of night, and under armed guard, Lincoln did pass through Baltimore without incident, but at a steep price. Although Pinkerton was able to identify some of the conspirators, the case was never brought to trial. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat in full view in the balcony of Ford's Theater, another conspiracy succeeded.

One of the great mysteries of the Civil War and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been critically investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to sifting through primary sources in order to determine the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal investigation in which the author determines once and for all whether there was a true plot and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.

MICHAEL J. KLINE is a senior corporate attorney in Atlanta. He is the former editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce.

Road to Appomattox

by Robert Hendrickson

From the publisher:
ROBERT HENDRICKSON is the author of more than forty books, including Sumter: The First Day of the Civil War. He has received Ford Foundation and McDowell Colony Fellowships, and his stories, poems, and articles have appeared widely in newspapers and literary quarterlies. He lives in Peconic, New York.

"An almost novelistically easy narrative, punctuated by well-done portraits of major players (Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Sherman, Sheridan, etc.). . . . Hendrickson betters much other popular history of the subject."—Booklist

"A lucid summary of this fateful period, featuring profiles of the leading players together with colorful anecdotes."—Kirkus Reviews

"Hendrickson’s account will appeal to general readers through his use of well-known first-person accounts to convey the human dimension of the fighting. . . . Specialists will appreciate Hendrickson’s argument that Grant’s pursuit of Lee and his army was the only way to defeat an opponent determined to keep the field at any price. "—Publishers Weekly

Early in 1864, after three long years of bloody and horrifying civil war, Ulysses S. Grant took command of all Union forces engaged against the Confederacy. Grim and ruthless in his determination, Grant set out to grind the enemy into submission with superior numbers, equipment, and firepower. It would take a year for Grant’s strategy to succeed—the final and most murderous year of an already savage struggle.

Lavishly supplemented with vintage photographs, drawings, contemporary documents, and maps, The Road to Appomattox offers rich and rewarding reading for history lovers, Civil War buffs, and anyone who enjoys a memorable story engagingly told.

"Definitely a page-turner that will appeal to the general reader and the Civil War enthusiast."—Library Journal

From CWBN:
This appears to be the hardcover reissue of a book originally appearing in the 1980s.

Prince John Magruder

by Paul D. Casdorph

From CWBN:
We have been unable to find a description of this title, eeither on Amazon, or B&N's website, or on the publisher's website. Additionally, we have found a conflicting publication date of October 2007.

Lee Moves North

by Michael A. Palmer

From the publisher:
For much of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia fought on the defensive, but it's during three specific invasions northward--Antietam, Gettysburg, and the lesser-known Bristoe Station--that both the genius and failings of General Lee come to light. Historian Michael Palmer offers a revisionist look at how Lee, who has been at times nearly universally revered, made serious mistakes when engaging in offensive operations. Regardless of whether the reader totally agrees with Palmer's thesis, the argument is well presented, and the sources cited and Palmer's writing could engender a lively debate. In a boldly revisionist look at the career, leadership capability, and decisive battles of the venerated General Robert E. Lee, prize-winning historian Michael Palmer delivers a riveting new perspective on one of the most compelling figures in United States history.

Lee Moves North "A revisionist look at Lee's career . detailed and interesting." --Orlando Sentinel

"Michael Palmer says that Robert E. Lee was a man of military genius'--but only when he was reacting to a Union attack. When he analyzes Lee on the offensive, Palmer labels him a woefully inadequate general. Powerfully written, this no-holds-barred criticism of Lee the general will shake long-held perceptions of historians and buffs. Like this book or not, it is must reading." --John F. Marszalek, Mississippi State University author of Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order

"A superb study--one that provides refreshingly new insight into the generalship of Robert E. Lee .a must for Civil War and military historians." --William N. Still Jr., coauthor of Why the South Lost

"A unique and careful analysis of Lee's generalship;an excellent and persuasive consideration of the Marble Man." --Alan T. Nolan, author of Lee Considered Reconsidering a Confederate Legend .

From CWBN:
This is the paperback release of a previously published hardcover.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War

by Robert Roper

From the publisher:
The Civil War is seen anew, and a great American family brought to life, in Robert Roper’s brilliant evocation of the Family Whitman.

Walt Whitman’s work as a nurse to the wounded soldiers of the Civil War had a profound effect on the way he saw the world. Much less well known is the extraordinary record of his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who led his men in twenty-one major battles—from Antietam to Fredericksburg, Vicksburg to the Wilderness—almost to die in a Confederate prison camp as the fighting ended. Drawing on the searing letters that Walt, George, their mother Louisa, and their other brothers, wrote to each other during the conflict, and on new evidence and new readings of the great poet, Now the Drum of War chronicles the experience of an archetypal American family—from rural Long Island to working-class Brooklyn—enduring its own long crisis alongside the anguish of the nation. Robert Roper has constructed a powerful narrative about America’s greatest crucible, and a compelling, braided story of our most original poet and one of our bravest soldiers.

Robert Roper has won awards for his fiction and nonfiction alike. His most recent book, Fatal Mountaineer, a biography of the American climber/philosopher, Willi Unsoeld, won the 2002 Boardman-Tasker Prize given by London’s Royal Geographical Society. His works of fiction include Royo County, On Spider Creek, Mexico Days, The Trespassers, and Cuervo Tales, which was a New York Times Notable Book in. He has won prizes or grants from the NEA, the Ingram-Merrill Foundation, the Joseph Henry Jackson Competition, and the British Alpine Club. His journalism appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, and others. He teaches at Johns Hopkins, and lives in Baltimore and California.

Yale's Confederates: A Biographical Dictionary

by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes

From the publisher:
Though deeply embedded in abolitionist New England, Yale University had a surprisingly large number of its students and alumni join the cause of the Confederacy. These men were a diverse lot, coming not just from the South but from other corners of the country. And even more surprisingly, years after the secessionist conflict, Yale honored the wartime service of these Confederate “prodigals” in famed Memorial Hall alongside their many classmates who fought on the other side.

Yale's Confederates brings together short biographies of over five hundred Yale students and graduates who served in the Confederate army and government. It reveals where these men came from and the consequences of the choices they made. Drawing upon rarely used source material, Hughes introduces new faces and fresh stories to the annals of Civil War history. Included here are inventors and doctors, poets and theologians, educators and politicians. These men were idealistic, well traveled, curious, brave, and for the most part, patriotic. Many became key leaders in the Confederacy; their ranks included generals, a secretary of state, even a postmaster. Some paid dearly for their choices, either dying on the battlefield or losing considerable wealth and prestige. But many built successful careers after the fighting was over. One former Confederate restored an abandoned school for young women; another wrote an economic history of the United States; still others became lawyers and influential leaders in their communities.

Yale's Confederates tells the fascinating stories of their days at Yale and of their decision to fight for a cause in which they deeply believed. It reveals, ultimately, how important their legacy is to the history of the university and to our country as a whole.

Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. is the author of more than twenty books on the American Civil War, including The Life and Wars of Gideon J. Pillow, The Pride of the Confederate Artillery: The Washington Artillery in the Army of Tennessee, and Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell, C.S.A: Forrest's Fighting Lieutenant.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Just and Righteous Cause: Benjamin H. Grierson's Civil War Memoir

by Bruce J. Dinges (Editor), Shirley A. Leckie (Editor)

From the publisher:
General Benjamin H. Grierson is most widely known as the brilliant cavalryman whose actions in the Civil War's Mississippi Valley campaign facilitated Ulysses S. Grant's capture of Vicksburg. There is, however, much more to this key Union officer than a successful raid into Confederate-held Mississippi. In A Just and Righteous Cause: Benjamin H. Grierson's Civil War Memoir, edited by Bruce J. Dinges and Shirley A. Leckie, Grierson tells his story in forceful, direct, and highly engaging prose.

A Just and Righteous Cause paints a vivid picture of Grierson's prewar and Civil War career, touching on his antislavery views, Republican Party principles, and military strategy and tactics. His story begins with his parents' immigration to the United States and follows his childhood, youth, and career as a musician; the early years of his arriage; his business failures prior to becoming a cavalry officer in an Illinois regiment; his experiences in battle; and his Reconstruction appointment. Grierson also provides intimate accounts of his relationships with such prominent politicians and Union leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Richard Yates, Andrew Johnson, William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, John C. Frémont, and Benjamin Prentiss.

Because Grierson wrote the memoir mainly with his family as the intended audience, he manages to avoid the self-promotion that plagues many of his contemporaries' chronicles. His reliance on military records and correspondence, along with family letters, lends an immediacy rarely found in military memoirs. His reminiscences also add fuel to a reemerging debate on soldiers' motivations for enlisting—in Grierson's case, patriotism and ideology—and shed new light on the Western theater of the Civil War, which has seen a recent surge in interest among Civil War enthusiasts.

A non-West Point officer, Grierson owed his developing career to his independent studies of the military and his connections to political figures in his home state of Illinois and later to important Union leaders. Dinges and Leckie provide a helpful introduction, which gives background on the memoir and places Grierson's career into historical context. Aided by fourteen photos and two maps, as well as the editors' superb annotations, A Just and Righteous Cause is a valuable addition to Civil War history.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861

by Harold Holzer

From the publisher:
One of our most eminent Lincoln scholars, winner of a Lincoln Prize for his Lincoln at Cooper Union, examines the four months between Lincoln's election and inauguration, when the president-elect made the most important decision of his coming presidency -- there would be no compromise on slavery or secession of the slaveholding states, even at the cost of civil war.

Abraham Lincoln first demonstrated his determination and leadership in the Great Secession Winter -- the four months between his election in November 1860 and his inauguration in March 1861 -- when he rejected compromises urged on him by Republicans and Democrats, Northerners and Southerners, that might have preserved the Union a little longer but would have enshrined slavery for generations. Though Lincoln has been criticized by many historians for failing to appreciate the severity of the secession crisis that greeted his victory, Harold Holzer shows that the president elect waged a shrewd and complex campaign to prevent the expansion of slavery while vainly trying to limit secession to a few Deep South states.

During this most dangerous White House transition in American history, the country had two presidents: one powerless (the president-elect, possessing no constitutional authority), the other paralyzed (the incumbent who refused to act). Through limited, brilliantly timed and crafted public statements, determined private letters, tough political pressure, and personal persuasion, Lincoln guaranteed the integrity of the American political process of majority rule, sounded the death knell of slavery, and transformed not only his own image but that of the presidency, even while making inevitablethe war that would be necessary to make these achievements permanent.

Lincoln President-Elect is the first book to concentrate on Lincoln's public stance and private agony during these months and on the momentous consequences when he first demonstrated his determination and leadership. Holzer recasts Lincoln from an isolated prairie politician yet to establish his greatness, to a skillful shaper of men and opinion and an immovable friend of freedom at a decisive moment when allegiance to the founding credo "all men are created equal" might well have been sacrificed.

Harold Holzer has authored, coauthored, and edited twenty-two books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, including The Lincoln Image, Lincoln Seen and Heard, Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President, Lincoln as I Knew Him, and Lincoln on Democracy. Holzer, who is vice president for communications and marketing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, lives in Rye, New York. Visit his website at

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bitter Freedom: William Stone's Record of Service in the Freedmen's Bureau

by Suzanne Stone Johnson and Robert Allison Johnson (editors)

From the publisher:
Bitter Freedom is an insightful evaluation of the pivotal role of the Freedmen's Bureau during Reconstruction in war-torn South Carolina as written by a young bureau agent eager to do his part in rebuilding a divided nation. In early 1866 Major William Stone of the 19th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers, having survived four major Civil War battles and three combat wounds, arrived in South Carolina to assume his duties in the newly formed Freedmen's Bureau. Spanning nearly three years of this service, his recently discovered first-person narrative chronicles his insightful observations on the postwar South and his experiences in carrying out the bureau's efforts in voter registration, education, land reform, civil rights enforcement, and mediation of racial disputes. Stone was diligent in his duties and detailed in his writings, the result of which is a compelling recollection of turbulent race relations in small towns of the upstate surrounding Anderson and along the Savannah River near Aiken.

That Stone was the son of a prominent New England abolitionist minister is apparent in his critical commentary on slave culture and in his perceptions of its negative impact on the morality of whites and blacks alike. Likewise his boyhood experiences on a small farm color his assessment of what he viewed as the wastefulness of Southern agricultural methods. Stone's background, combat experiences, and earnest inclination toward public service make for a fascinating vantage point in his vivid descriptions of the poverty, political corruption, racial hatreds, explosive violence, and corrosive animosity toward all things Yankee he witnessed in the defeated South. Yet he was so moved by the possibilities for progress he saw in South Carolina that, after his Freedmen's Bureau service ended, he went on to establish a successful law practice in Charleston and was eventually appointed as the state's attorney general.

Edited by his descendants, Stone's recollections remind modern readers of the harsh circumstances and bitter emotions of South Carolinians immediately following the Civil War and of the efforts of some to mend social and economic wounds. The record of service is augmented with an introduction by historian Lou Falkner Williams that sets the writings in the broader context of Reconstruction history.

The great-granddaughter of William Stone, Suzanne Stone Johnson is a retired schoolteacher and coeditor of her community newspaper in Leesville, South Carolina. She earned her B.S. degree from Tufts University, certification as an occupational therapist from the Boston School of Occupational Therapy, and an M.Ed. degree from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Robert Allison Johnson is the author of This Violent Land, a historical novel based on the life of William Stone. He is a retired insurance professional with a B.A. degree in history from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Western New England College.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State

by Bruce S. Allardice (Editor), Lawrence Lee Hewitt (Editor)

From the publisher:
Perhaps more than any other citizens of the nation, Kentuckians held conflicted loyalties during the American Civil War. As a border state, Kentucky was largely pro-slavery but had an economy tied as much to the North as to the South. State government officials tried to keep Kentucky neutral, hoping to play a lead role in compromise efforts between the Union and the Confederacy, but that stance failed to satisfy supporters of both sides, all of whom considered the state’s backing crucial to victory. President Abraham Lincoln is reported to have once remarked, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”

Kentucky did side with Lincoln, officially aligning itself with the Union in 1861. But the conflicted loyalties of Kentucky’s citizens continued to impact the state’s role in the Civil War. When forced to choose between North and South, Kentuckians made the choice as individuals. Many men opted to fight for the Confederate army, where a great number of them rose to high ranks.

With Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State, editors Bruce S. Allardice and Lawrence Lee Hewitt present a volume that examines the lives of these gray-clad warriors. Some of the Kentuckians to serve as Confederate generals are well recognized in state history, such as John Hunt Morgan, John Bell Hood, and Albert Sidney Johnston. However, as the Civil War slips further and further into the past, many other Confederate leaders from the Commonwealth have been forgotten.

Kentuckians in Gray contains full biographies of thirty-nine Confederate generals. Its principal subjects are native Kentuckians or commanders of brigades of Kentucky troops, such as Morgan. The first complete reference source of its type on Kentucky Civil War history, the book contains the most definitive biographies of these generals ever assembled, as well as short biographical sketches on every field officer to serve in a Kentucky unit.

This comprehensive collection recognizes Kentucky’s pivotal role in the War between the States, imparting the histories of men who fought “brother against brother” more than any other set of military leaders. Kentuckians in Gray is an invaluable resource for researchers and enthusiasts of Kentucky history and the American Civil War.

Gustavus Vasa Fox of the Union Navy: A Biography

by Ari Hoogenboom

From the publisher:
This magisterial biography recounts the life and career of one of the U.S. Navy's most influential officers, Gustavus Vasa Fox. Ari Hoogenboom's examination of Fox's incredible life and distinguished career creates a vivid portrait of the man most responsible for the U.S. Navy's stellar performance in the Civil War.

Fox's naval service began in 1838 when he went to sea as a midshipman. He sailed in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Africa, in the Gulf of Mexico, and with the East India Squadron in the Pacific. By participating in the Coast Survey and by navigating the lower Mississippi River in the 1850s, as captain of a steamer that ran from New York to Havana to New Orleans and back, Fox gained valuable experience that would serve him well in the Civil War.

During the war, Fox was instrumental in mounting the blockade of the southern coast, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande. After the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia, Fox championed ironclad technology despite having to contend with an officer corps wedded to wooden ships. In planning and coordinating expeditions, Fox deserves much of the credit for the navy's successes at Hatteras, Port Royal, New Orleans, Mobile Bay, and Fort Fisher.

Initially neither proslavery nor antislavery, Fox was passionately committed to the preservation of the Union and, as black sailors made a crucial contribution toward that end, became an advocate of freedom and voting rights for African Americans. A skilled administrator who understood both the demands of politicians and the needs of line officers, he was able to communicate effectively with each group. Fox developed a close and collegial working relationship with Abraham Lincoln and was related by marriage to the postmaster general. Along with officers like Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and coordinator of military railroads Herman Haupt, Fox played a critical but underappreciated role in the Union victory.

"At last, we have a full length and skillfully rendered portrait of Gus Fox, who acted as the de facto Chief of Naval Operations during the Civil War. This is must reading for anyone interested in the naval aspects of the Civil War." -- Craig L. Symonds, author of Lincoln and His Admirals

Lincoln and His Admirals

by Craig L. Symonds

From the publisher:
Abraham Lincoln began his presidency admitting that he knew "little about ships," but he quickly came to preside over the largest national armada to that time, not eclipsed until World War I. Written by prize-winning historian Craig L. Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals unveils an aspect of Lincoln's presidency unexamined by historians until now, revealing how he managed the men who ran the naval side of the Civil War, and how the activities of the Union Navy ultimately affected the course of history.

Beginning with a gripping account of the attempt to re-supply Fort Sumter--a comedy of errors that shows all too clearly the fledgling president's inexperience--Symonds traces Lincoln's steady growth as a wartime commander-in-chief. Absent a Secretary of Defense, he would eventually become de facto commander of joint operations along the coast and on the rivers. That involved dealing with the men who ran the Navy: the loyal but often cranky Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, the quiet and reliable David G. Farragut, the flamboyant and unpredictable Charles Wilkes, the ambitious ordnance expert John Dahlgren, the well-connected Samuel Phillips Lee, and the self-promoting and gregarious David Dixon Porter. Lincoln was remarkably patient; he often postponed critical decisions until the momentum of events made the consequences of those decisions evident. But Symonds also shows that Lincoln could act decisively. Disappointed by the lethargy of his senior naval officers on the scene, he stepped in and personally directed an amphibious assault on the Virginia coast, a successful operation that led to the capture of Norfolk. The man who knew "little about ships" had transformed himself into one of the greatest naval strategists of his age.

A unique and riveting portrait of Lincoln and the admirals under his command, this book offers an illuminating account of Lincoln and the nation at war. In the bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth, it offers a memorable portrait of a side of his presidency often overlooked by historians.

"We know a great deal about Lincoln and his generals, but until now very little about Lincoln and his admirals. With a compelling portrait of personalities and a sharp analysis of strategy, Craig Symonds offers a gripping narrative that finally gives the Union navy--and its commander-in- chief--the credit they deserve for the important part they played in winning the Civil War." --James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

"This is an epic story-the quintessential, mal-de-mer-prone landlubber morphing into the admiral-in-chief of the mightiest armada on the planet. Spinning the yarn with resourceful scholarship and narrative verve, peerless naval historian Craig Symonds succeeds in creating an entirely new portrait of Lincoln: not only as healer of the land, but conqueror of the sea."--Harold Holzer, Co-Chairman, U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

"Craig L. Symonds has filled a gap by giving us a superb account of Abraham Lincoln's relationship with the navy and the people who ran it. Beautifully written, the narrative is also lively and informative. He eloquently describes how Lincoln's judicious temperament complemented his irascible 'Neptune,' Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles along with the calumny, envy, personal conflicts, and thirst for promotion that permeated the deep sea and riverine forces. This is the most complete and edifying story of Mr. Lincoln and his 'webbed-feet.'"--Frank Williams, Chief Justice, Rhode Island State Supreme Court and Lincoln Scholar

Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends

by Ferenc Morton Szasz

From the publisher:
Today the images of Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln are recognized worldwide, yet few are aware of the connection between the two. In Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends, author Ferenc Morton Szasz reveals how famed Scots poet Robert Burns—and Scotland in general—influenced the life and thought of one of the most beloved and important U.S. presidents and how the legends of the two men became intertwined after their deaths. This is the first extensive work to link the influence, philosophy, and artistry of these two larger-than-life figures.

Lacking a major national poet of their own in the early nineteenth century, Americans in the fledgling frontier country ardently adopted the poignant verses and songs of Scotland’s Robert Burns. Lincoln, too, was fascinated by Scotland’s favorite son and enthusiastically quoted the Scottish bard from his teenage years to the end of his life. Szasz explores the ways in which Burns’s portrayal of the foibles of human nature, his scorn for religious hypocrisy, his plea for nonjudgmental tolerance, and his commitment to social equality helped shape Lincoln’s own philosophy of life. The volume also traces how Burns’s lyrics helped Lincoln develop his own powerful sense of oratorical rhythm, from his casual anecdotal stories to his major state addresses.

Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns connects the poor-farm-boy upbringings, the quasi-deistic religious views, the shared senses of destiny, the extraordinary gifts for words, and the quests for social equality of two respected and beloved world figures. This book is enhanced by twelve illustrations and two appendixes, which include Burns poems Lincoln particularly admired and Lincoln writings especially admired in Scotland.

The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War

by Edward Bartlett Rugemer

From the publisher:
While many historians look to internal conflict alone to explain the onset of the American Civil War, in The Problem of Emancipation, Edward Bartlett Rugemer places the origins of the war in a transatlantic context. Addressing a huge gap in the historiography of the antebellum United States, he explores the impact of Britain's abolition of slavery in 1834 on the coming of the war and reveals the strong influence of Britain's old Atlantic empire on the United States' politics. He demonstrates how American slaveholders and abolitionists alike borrowed from the antislavery movement developing on the transatlantic stage to fashion contradictory portrayals of abolition that became central to the arguments for and against American slavery.

In this ground-breaking study, Rugemer examines how southern and northern American newspapers covered three slave rebellions that preceded British abolition--and how American public opinion shifted radically as a result. For example, American slaveholders learned from the Haitian Revolution and a series of West Indian slave rebellions that abolitionist agitation led to insurrection. When American slaves began reacting to antislavery rhetoric, slaveholders feared the Caribbean pattern of agitation and revolt had spread to the United States. In 1822 after the fierce debates over Missouri, several Charleston slaves conspired to seize their city, and in 1831 Nat Turner led a bloody revolt shortly after William Lloyd Garrison published his radical abolitionist newspaper, the Liberator. Turning fear into action, American slaveholders seized and burned the publications that abolitionists sent southward in the mail, and in the North, the partisans of slavery mobbed abolitionist meetings and silenced the discussion of slavery in Congress.

Abolitionists, by contrast, took inspiration from the developments abroad. Leaders such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Maria Child, and William Ellery Channing used the West Indian emancipation to help advance their position, and members of John Tyler's presidential administration pushed for the annexation of Texas. Believing that the British achieved emancipation by mobilizing the British people with a robust public relations campaign, many African Americans, often joined by white allies, staged annual celebrations of the First of August, the day the Parliament enacted abolition. The celebrations grew and spread throughout the North, facilitating the emergence of an antislavery constituency that bolstered the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Richly researched and skillfully argued, The Problem of Emancipation explores a long-neglected aspect of American slavery and the history of the Atlantic World and bridges a gap in our understanding of the American Civil War.

Edward Bartlett Rugemer is an assistant professor of history and African American studies at Yale University.

The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt's Flight from the Gallows

by Andrew C. A. Jampoler

From the publisher:
Despite all that has been written about the April 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the story of John Surratt--the only conspirator who got away--remains untold and largely unknown.

The capture and shooting of John Wilkes Booth twelve days after he shot Lincoln is a well-known and well-covered story. The fate of the eight other accomplices of Booth has also been widely written about. Four, including Surratt's mother, Mary, were convicted and hanged, and four were jailed. John Surratt alone managed to evade capture for twenty months and escape punishment once he was put on trial. In this tale of adventure and mystery, Andrew Jampoler tells what happened to that last conspirator, who after Booth's death became the most wanted man in America.

As the first full-length treatment of Surratt's escape, capture, and trial, the book provides fascinating details about his flight from New York, where he was on a Confederate spy mission scouting the huge Union prisoner of war camp in Elmira, through eastern Canada to a hideout in Liverpool, England, and on to France and the Papal States. His twenty-month flight, including nearly one year of enlisted service in the Papal Zouaves (the pope's army), is a remarkable adventure through mid-century Europe and locations unknown to most Americans of the time. Despite an uncontrollable tendency to babble to strangers about who he really was and what he had done, Surratt, frequently sheltered by sympathetic Roman Catholic priests, managed to stay at large during a flight that took him across three continents and over the Atlantic Ocean and half the Mediterranean Sea. Finally caught in Alexandria, Egypt, he was returned to Washington to stand trial in 1867.

Jampoler brings Surratt to life as he traces the wily young man's remarkable journey and the bitter legal proceedings against him that bizarrely led to his freedom. After his trial, Surratt lived out his life peacefully in Baltimore, marrying a relative of Francis Scott Key and dying at the age of seventy-two. The book's cast of characters includes a menagerie of the nineteenth century's most colorful personalities.

ANDREW C.A. JAMPOLER is also the author of the award-winning book Adak as well as Sailors in the Holy Land. After retiring from the U.S. Navy, he became a sales and marketing executive in the international aerospace industry. Now a resident of Loudoun County, VA, he has been writing full time for a decade.

The Papers of Jefferson Davis: June 1865-December 1870

by Suzanne Scott Gibbs (Author), Brady L. Hutchison (Author), Elizabeth Henson Smith (Author), Lynda Lasswell Crist (Editor), William J., Jr. Cooper (Introduction)

From the publisher:
"Being powerless to direct the current, I can only wait to see whither it runs," wrote Jefferson Davis to his wife, Varina, on October 11, 1865, five months after the victorious United States Army took him prisoner.

Indeed, in the tumultuous years immediately after the Civil War, Davis found himself more acted upon than active, a dramatic change from his previous twenty years of public service to the United States as a major political figure and then to the Confederacy as its president and commander in chief.

Volume 12 of The Papers of Jefferson Davis follows the former president of the Confederacy as he and his family fight to find their place in the world after the Civil War. A federal prisoner, incarcerated in a "living tomb" at Fort Monroe while the government decided whether, where, and by whom he should be tried for treason, Davis was initially allowed to correspond only with his wife and counsel. Released from prison after two hard years, he was not free from legal proceedings until 1869. Stateless, homeless, and without means to support himself and his young family, Davis lived in Canada and then Europe, searching for a new career in a congenial atmosphere. Finally, in November 1869, he settled in Memphis as president of a life insurance company and, for the first time in four years, had the means to build a new life.

Throughout this difficult period, Varina Howell Davis demonstrated strength and courage, especially when her husband was in prison. She fought tirelessly for his release and to ensure their children's education and safety. Their letters clearly demonstrate the Davises' love and their dependence on each other. They both worried over the fate of the South and of family members and friends who had suffered during the war.

Though disfranchised, Davis remained careful but not totally silent on the subject of politics. Even while in prison, he wrote without regret of his decision to follow Mississippi out of the Union and of his unswerving belief in the constitutionality of state rights and secession. Likewise, he praised all who supported the Confederacy with their blood and who, like himself, had lost everything.

Lynda Lasswell Crist has been editor of The Papers of Jefferson Davis since 1979. Suzanne Scott Gibbs has been assistant editor since 2006. Brady L. Hutchison and Elizabeth Henson Smith were assistant editors for the Jefferson Davis Project from 2004 to 2006 and 2003 to 2004, respectively.

First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis's Civil War

by Joan E. Cashin

From the publisher:
When Jefferson Davis became president of the Confederacy, his wife, Varina Howell Davis, reluctantly became the First Lady. For this highly intelligent, acutely observant woman, loyalty did not come easily: she spent long years struggling to reconcile her societal duties to her personal beliefs. Raised in Mississippi but educated in Philadelphia, and a long-time resident of Washington, D.C., Mrs. Davis never felt at ease in Richmond. During the war she nursed Union prisoners and secretly corresponded with friends in the North. Though she publicly supported the South, her term as First Lady was plagued by rumors of her disaffection.

After the war, Varina Davis endured financial woes and the loss of several children, but following her husband's death in 1889, she moved to New York and began a career in journalism. Here she advocated reconciliation between the North and South and became friends with Julia Grant, the widow of Ulysses S. Grant. She shocked many by declaring in a newspaper that it was God's will that the North won the war.

A century after Varina Davis's death in 1906, Joan E. Cashin has written a masterly work, the first definitive biography of this truly modern, but deeply conflicted, woman. Pro-slavery but also pro-Union, Varina Davis was inhibited by her role as Confederate First Lady and unable to reveal her true convictions. In this pathbreaking book, Cashin offers a splendid portrait of a fascinating woman who struggled with the constraints of her time and place.

Confederate Phoenix: Rebel Children and Their Families in South Carolina

by Edmund L. Drago

From the publisher:
In this innovative book, Edmund L. Drago tells the first full story of white children and their families in the most militant Southern state where the Civil War erupted.

Drawing on a rich array of sources, many of them formerly untapped, Drago shows how the War transformed the domestic world of the white South. Households were devastated by disease, death, and deprivation. Young people took up arms like adults, often with tragic results. In their play, boys at the Charleston Depot killed more civilians in South Carolina than Sherman's troops did. Thousands of fathers and brothers died in battle; many returned home with grave physical and psychological wounds. Widows and orphans often had to fend for themselves.

From the first volley at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor to the end of Reconstruction, Drago explores the extraordinary impact of war and defeat on the South Carolina home front. He covers a broad spectrum from the effect of "boy soldiers" on the ideals of childhood and child rearing to changes in education, marriage customs, and community as well as family life. He surveys the children's literature of the era, and explores the changing dimensions of Confederate patriarchal society. By studying the implications of the War and its legacy on cultural memory, Drago unveils the conflicting perspectives of South Carolina children-white and black--today.

Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State

by Bruce S. Allardice and Lawrence Lee Hewitt, editors

From the publisher:
Kentuckians in Gray is a comprehensive collection of biographical sketches of key Confederate military personnel from the Bluegrass state. In addition to providing short profiles of lesser-known colonels, lieutenant colonels, and majors, the book vividly details significant players including Tyree H. Bell, Abraham Buford, Thomas James Churchill, and Richard Taylor. This work will be a standard reference for historians and Civil War buffs of the Bluegrass for years to come.

"Such a source on Kentucky's Confederate colonels, lieutenant colonels, and majors has never been published--until now."--James A. Ramage, Regents Professor of History, Northern Kentucky University, and author of Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World

by Eric Foner, editor

From the publisher:
Our best historians offer fresh insights on Abraham Lincoln and his time to mark the upcoming bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.

In 1876 the abolitionist Frederick Douglass observed, "No man can say anything that is new of Abraham Lincoln." Undeterred, the contributors to Our Lincoln believe it is possible even now, especially if the starting point is the interaction between the life and the times.

Several of these original essays focus on Lincoln's leadership as president and commander in chief. James M. McPherson examines Lincoln's deft navigation of the crosscurrents of politics and wartime strategy. Sean Wilentz assesses Lincoln's evolving position in the context of party politics. On slavery and race, Eric Foner writes of Lincoln and the movement to colonize emancipated slaves outside the United States. James Oakes considers Lincoln's views on race and citizenship. There are also brilliant essays on Lincoln's literary style, religious beliefs, and family life. The Lincoln who emerges is a man of his time, yet able to transcend and transform it—a reasonable measure of greatness.

Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. His many award-winning books focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. He lives in New York City.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Gettysburg Companion: A Guide to the Most Famous Battle of the Civil War

by Mark Adkin

From the publisher:
There have been many books about Gettysburg, but never one to rival this in scale or authority. Based on extensive research, The Gettysburg Companion describes the battle in detail, drawing on firsthand accounts of participants on all sides in order to give the reader a vivid sense of what it was like to experience the carnage at Gettysburg in early July 1863. The many full-color maps--all specially commissioned for the book--and the numerous photographs, charts, and diagrams make this book a feast for the eyes and a collector's dream. 500 color illustrations, 9 x 12

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War

by Jacqueline Jones

From the publisher:
A panoramic portrait of the city of Savannah before, during, and after the Civil War—a poignant story of the African American freedom struggle in this prosperous southern riverport, set against a backdrop of military conflict and political turmoil. Jacqueline Jones, prizewinning author of the groundbreaking Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow, has written a masterpiece of time and place, transporting readers to the boisterous streets of this fascinating city.

Drawing on military records, diaries, letters, newspapers, and memoirs, Jones brings Savannah to life in all its diversity, weaving together the stories of individual men and women, bankers and dockworkers, planters and field hands, enslaved laborers and free people of color. The book captures in vivid detail the determination of former slaves to integrate themselves into the nation’s body politic and to control their own families, workplaces, churches, and schools. She explains how white elites, forestalling democracy and equality, created novel political and economic strategies to maintain their stranglehold on the machinery of power, and often found unexpected allies in northern missionaries and military officials.

Jones brilliantly describes life in the Georgia lowcountry—what it was like to be a slave toiling in the disease-ridden rice swamps; the strivings of black entrepreneurs, slaves and free blacks alike; and the bizarre intricacies of the slave-master relationship. Here are the stories of Thomas Simms, an enslaved brickmason who escapes to Boston only to be captured by white authorities; Charles Jones Jr., the scion of a prominent planter family, who remains convinced that Savannahis invincible even as the city’s defenses fall one after the other in the winter of 1861; his mother, Mary Jones, whose journal records her horror as the only world she knows vanishes before her; Nancy Johnson, an enslaved woman who loses her family’s stores of food and precious household belongings to rampaging Union troops; Aaron A. Bradley, a fugitive slave turned attorney and provocateur who defies whites in the courtroom, on the streets, and in the rice fields; and the Reverend Tunis G. Campbell, who travels from the North to establish self-sufficient black colonies on the Georgia coast.

Deeply researched and beautifully written, Saving Savannah is a powerful account of slavery’s long reach and the way the war transformed this southern city forever.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction

by Paul D. Escott, editor

From the publisher:
Although North Carolina was a "home front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction.

With contributions by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State. In nine essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today.

Contributors include David Brown, Judkin Browning, Laura F. Edwards, Paul D. Escott, John C. Inscoe, Chandra Manning, Barton A. Myers, Steven E. Nash, Paul Yandle, and Karin Zipf. The editor is Paul D. Escott.

Paul D. Escott is Reynolds Professor of American History and former dean at Wake Forest University. He is author or editor of thirteen books, including Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives and Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900 (both from the University of North Carolina Press).

Civil War Battlefields Then and Now

by James Campi

From the publisher:
As a defining event in the history of the United States, the Civil War has no equal. Civil War Battlefields Then and Now looks at the battlegrounds where it all took place, covering the broad sweep of events from the Southern capture of Fort Sumter to the Battles of Gettysburg and Appomattox. Historical illustrations and archival photographs of these sacred locations are compared with specially commissioned photographs of the battlefields as they are today, accompanied by descriptive and interesting text.

From CWBN:
This is the paperback release of a previously published hardcover.

Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register

by Bruce S. Allardice

From the publisher:
This first comprehensive study of the Confederacy s colonels contains biographical articles on each of the 1,583 men who achieved the rank of full colonel by the end of their careers including both staff and line officers and members of all armies. Appendixes list state army colonels, colonels who became generals, and colonels whose rank cannot be proven. Allardice also explains how one became a colonel and exposes the inadequacies of the officer-nominating process, questions of seniority, and problems of rank inflation.

Bruce S. Allardice is an Adjunct Professor at South Suburban College and Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois and the author of More Generals in Gray and coauthor of Texas burial Sites of Civil War Notables. He lives in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The Black Citizen-Soldiers of Kansas, 1864-1901

by Roger D. Cunningham

From the publisher:
Many Americans know the story of the United States Colored Troops, who broke racial barriers in Civil War combat, and of the Buffalo Soldiers, who served in the West after that conflict, but African Americans also served in segregated militia units in twenty-three states. This book tells the story of that experience in Kansas. In addition to black regulars, hundreds of other black militiamen and volunteers from Kansas provided military service from the Civil War until the dawn of the twentieth century. More than a military history, this account records the quest of black men, many of them former slaves, for inclusion in American society. Many came from the bottom of the socioeconomic order and found that as militiamen they could gain respect.

Roger D. Cunningham is a retired U.S. Army Officer who lives in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The Road to Disunion: Volume II: Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861

by William W Freehling

From the publisher:
Here is history in the grand manner, a powerful narrative peopled with dozens of memorable portraits, telling this important story with skill and relish. Freehling highlights all the key moments on the road to war, including the violence in Bleeding Kansas, Preston Brooks's beating of Charles Sumner in the Senate chambers, the Dred Scott Decision, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, and much more.

As Freehling shows, the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked a political crisis, but at first most Southerners took a cautious approach, willing to wait and see what Lincoln would do--especially, whether he would take any antagonistic measures against the South. But at this moment, the extreme fringe in the South took charge, first in South Carolina and Mississippi, but then throughout the lower South, sounding the drum roll for secession.

Indeed, The Road to Disunion is the first book to fully document how this decided minority of Southern hotspurs took hold of the secessionist issue and, aided by a series of fortuitous events, drove the South out of the Union. Freehling provides compelling profiles of the leaders of this movement--many of them members of the South Carolina elite. Throughout the narrative, he evokes a world of fascinating characters and places as he captures the drama of one of America's most important--and least understood--stories. The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning Secessionists at Bay, which was hailed as "the most important history of the Old South ever published," this volume concludes a major contribution to our understanding of the Civil War. A compelling, vivid portrait of the final years of the antebellum South, The Road to Disunion will stand as an important history of its subject.

"This sure-to-be-lasting work--studded with pen portraits and consistently astute in its appraisal of the subtle cultural and geographic variations in the region--adds crucial layers to scholarship on the origins of America's bloodiest conflict." -- The Atlantic Monthly

"Splendid, painstaking account...and so a work of history reaches into the past to illuminate the present. It is light we need, and we owe Freehling a debt for shedding it." -- Washington Post

"A masterful, dramatic, breathtakingly detailed narrative." -- The Baltimore Sun

Thomas Ewing Jr.: Frontier Lawyer and Civil War General

by Ronald D. Smith

From the publisher:
The Ewings influenced the course of the Midwest for more than fifty years. Patriarch Thomas Ewing raised four major players in the nation s history including William Tecumseh Cump Sherman, taken in as a nine-year-old. Smith shows that Tom Jr. had a remarkable career of his own. He came to national prominence in the fight over the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution, was instrumental in starting up the Union Pacific Railroad, and became the first chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. Ewing obtained a commission in the Civil War and issued the dramatic General Order No. 11 that expelled residents from sections of western Missouri. Then this confidant of Abraham Lincoln s went on to courageously defend three of the assassination conspirators and lobbied the key vote to block the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

Ronald D. Smith is an attorney in Larned, Kansas.

The Rebel and the Rose: James Semple, Julia Gardiner Tyler, and the Lost Confederate Gold

by Wesley Millett and Gerald White

From the publisher:
In April 1865 the Civil War was over for most Americans. More than 600,000 soldiers, North and South, had died from wounds or disease. At Petersburg, Virginia, the Union army overwhelmed the Confederate lines, forcing Confederate President Jefferson Davis to flee Richmond, the Southern capital. Accompanying him, first by train and later on horseback are most of the officials of his administration, an escort of cavalry, various hangers-on, and all that remains of the treasury.

One of these traveling with Davis was a navy paymaster, James A. Semple. First, the group stopped at Danville, Virginia, but was forced to retreat farther following Lee's surrender. With the defeat of the last significant Confederate army in the East, the Confederate government dissolved. Davis, however, felt obliged to carry on the struggle by going west. In Washington, Georgia, a small town untouched by the war, Semple was entrusted with the Confederate treasury: $86,000 in coins and bullion, the equivalent of about $2 million today. The gold was secured in the false bottom of a carriage, and Semple and another man, Edward M. Tidball, disappeared with it into the night.

In The Rebel and the Rose, Wesley Millett and Gerald White reveal for the first time what happened to the gold (as well as some 160,000 Mexican silver dollars, which, if found today, would be valued at up to $16 million). Yet Millett and White offer more than an accounting of the missing treasury. In Semple, they find a man on the run, seeking to evade capture in the devastated South that now swarmed with Federal troops. His odyssey took him from the swamps of Georgia to the Staten Island home of Julia Gardiner Tyler, where he eventually took refuge. Once known as the "Rose of Long Island" for an advertisement that included her image and still captivating in her forties, Julia was the widow of former president John Tyler and the stepmother of Semple's estranged wife.

In detail, Millett and White document the symbiotic bond that developed between the Rebel and the Rose, as well as Semple's growing passion for Julia. At the same time, Semple was a man on a mission. He worked with other expatriate Confederates, often traveling to Canada, toward the goal of precipitating a crisis between the United States and Great Britain. Through it all, Semple is the threat that binds events together. And the Confederate gold plays a part in all that follows.
Wesley Millett has been a researcher and writer for more than twenty-five years. His articles appear regularly in more than a dozen national and international publications.

Gerald White is a retired air force colonel and instructor at the Army War College. Before his retirement, he held senior leadership positions in air force intelligence. He is the author of several books on recent U.S. military operations.