Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Confederate Ships Afloat: From the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships

by Naval Historical Center

From the publisher:
This authoritative reference work is the ideal reading companion to help evaluate ships referred to in a battle accounts; its nearly 500 pages offers a sense of the size of the CSA's navy; and its encyclopedic entries on each vessel are interesting in and of themselves.

This is a hardcopy edition of the online-only publication found on the U.S. Navy's history website. (The Navy created it by abstracting CSA entries from its Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.) The website and this book supply an alphabetical look-up of CSS ship names followed by technical description and service history. Multiple entries show under a heading where different vessels bore the same name, helping readers to identify (for instance) which CSS Beauregard is referred to in an account of some naval action.

The editors have added more pictures of ships and two new ship entries to update the volume.

Leaders of the Civil War Era Set, 10-Volumes

by Facts On File

From the publisher:
From ex-slaves and abolitionists to heroic military leaders and presidents that changed the world, the new Leaders of the Civil War Era set presents a full picture of some of the important figures who lived during this tumultuous time in U.S. history. This update of Chelsea House's "Famous Figures of the Civil War Era" set includes engaging sidebars, colorful photographs, and a new chronology, time line, bibliography, and index, making this attractive set a key resource for students and general readers who want to know more about the people who shaped our country into what it is today.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

John Brown's War against Slavery

by Robert E. McGlone

From the publisher:
Drawing on both new and neglected evidence, this book reconstructs Old John Brown's aborted "war" to free the 3.8 million slaves in the American South before the Civil War. It critiques misleading sources that either exalt Brown's "heroism" and noble purpose or condemn his "monomania" and "lawlessness." McGlone explains the sources of Brown's obsession with slavery and his notorious crime at Pottawatomie Creek in "Bleeding Kansas" as well as how the Harper's Ferry raid figured into Brown's larger vision and why he was captured in the federal armory there.

John Brown's War Against Slavery chronicles how this aged American apostle of violence on behalf of the "downtrodden," this abolitionist "fanatic" and "terroriser" ultimately rescued his cause by going to the gallows with resolution and outward calm. By embracing martyrdom, John Brown helped to spread panic in the South and persuaded Northern sympathizers that failure can be noble and political violence "righteous."

From the critics:
"McGlone's prose can be dense, repetitive and larded with psychological analysis, but his careful research and nuanced, many-faceted analysis make this a valuable contribution to our understanding of Brown." - Publishers Weekly

"Robert McGlone, in his compelling new study of John Brown, has resituated a major figure in American history. John Brown's War on Slavery carefully dissects the ideals and motives of the controversial Brown. Rejecting conclusions that have polarized our national understandings, McGlone instead presents a nuanced interpretation of John Brown that is thoroughly exhaustive in terms of research, but at the same time, in that most difficult of achievements, immensely readable. McGlone is especially persuasive in his analysis of Brown's motivations and how his actions, most famously in Kansas and at Harpers Ferry, emerge from his mental life, his family's circumstances and his religious orientations." - Jean H Baker, Goucher College

"This biography of John Brown, based on strong empirical evidence from the primary sources, supported by strong theoretical underpinnings, and built on a sophisticated understandings of nineteenth century theology and culture, is a pleasure to read and the most complete story of John Brown that we have. McGlone seamlessly interweaves a narrative of the events and time of Brown with the problems of the interpretative literature on Brown." - Orville Vernon Burton, Coastal Carolina University, Author Age of Lincoln

"In this fascinating and nuanced book, Robert McGlone explores in great depth the volcanic life of the most troubling and important terrorist in American history. With meticulous research and always-thoughtful use of personality theory, McGlone challenges earlier, often glib assessments and unravels many of the mysteries of Brown's psyche. With considerable originality, he explores the deeply meaningful social and psychological patterns of Brown's extended family, from the experiences of Brown's grandparents to those of his children. McGlone's analysis of the Harpers Ferry raid is notable for its accuracy and complexity of meanings. His approach is both detached and compassionate: he seeks to understand what others have merely judged." - Michael Fellman, Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, Author of In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History

Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War

by Robert Tracy McKenzie

From the publisher:
At the start of the Civil War, Knoxville, Tennessee, with a population of just over 4,000, was considered a prosperous metropolis little reliant on slavery. Although the surrounding countryside was predominantly Unionist in sympathy, Knoxville itself was split down the middle, with Union and Confederate supporters even holding simultaneous political rallies at opposite ends of the town's main street.

Following Tennessee's secession, Knoxville soon became famous (or infamous) as a stronghold of stalwart Unionism, thanks to the efforts of a small cadre who persisted in openly denouncing the Confederacy. Throughout the course of the Civil War, Knoxville endured military occupation for all but three days, hosting Confederate troops during the first half of the conflict and Union forces throughout the remainder, with the transition punctuated by an extended siege and bloody battle during which nearly forty thousand soldiers fought over the town.

In Lincolnites and Rebels, Robert Tracy McKenzie tells the story of Civil War Knoxville-a perpetually occupied, bitterly divided Southern town where neighbor fought against neighbor. Mining a treasure-trove of manuscript collections and civil and military records, McKenzie reveals the complex ways in which allegiance altered the daily routine of a town gripped in a civil war within the Civil War and explores the agonizing personal decisions that war made inescapable. Following the course of events leading up to the war, occupation by Confederate and then Union soldiers, and the troubled peace that followed the war, Lincolnites and Rebels details in microcosm the conflict and paints a complex portrait of a border state, neither whollyNorth nor South.

Robert Tracy McKenzie is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington. He is the author of One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee, which received awards from the American Historical Association's Pacific Coast Branch and the Agricultural History Society.

Finalist, Jefferson Davis Award, Museum of the Confederacy

From the critics:
"Robert Tracy McKenzie's excellent study of wartime Knoxville reinforces that recent scholarship with exhaustive research and interpretive verve.... Lincolnites and Rebels deserves to find an audience among all scholars of the war, not just those who look to the mountains."--Kenneth W. Noe, Civil War History

"Lincolnites and Rebels is based on a vast array of original source material, and it is well organized and well written. Knoxville's Civil War story is full of economic and sociopolitical twists and turns and interesting, opinioned characters. McKenzie does an outstanding job of bringing all facets of this narrative together."--Ben Wynne, The North Carolina Historical Review

"This thoughtful work unquestionably reaches important new conclusions."--John Cimprich, American Historical Review

"An unusually well written, solid, scholarly study, filled with colorful vignettes.... Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"Tracy McKenzie has brilliantly illuminated the complex issues of loyalty and dissent in the Civil War South. This book is essential reading for anyone who seeks a richer understanding not only of the Civil War but also of the moral crisis faced by people of any time or place who find themselves living under enemy rule." -- Stephen V. Ash, University of Tennessee

"An important addition to our understanding of the Civil War in the Appalachian South.... It appears unlikely to this reviewer that this study will be superseded." -- Gordon McKinney, Civil War Book Review

"Tracy McKenzie's compelling story of neighbor against neighbor in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the Civil War goes right to the heart of questions about allegiance. In this strategic southern city--a commercial center in a major food producing region, a railroad center with connections to both the eastern and western theaters of war--the white residents were split almost 50/50 between the Union and the Confederacy. A vivid portrait of human anguish and conflict, a civil war inside a civil war." -- Vernon Burton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"No other community in the Confederate South was perceived to be as much of a Unionist stronghold as was Knoxville, Tennessee. Yet it defies such easy categorization, as Tracy McKenzie demonstrates in this richly detailed portrait of an Appalachian populace that remained sharply divided throughout the Civil War and beyond. He not only provides an insightful case study of antebellum and wartime loyalties and the range of forces that shaped them; he also tells a very human story of people at war, and infuses it with an often palpable sense of drama and even suspense." -- John C. Inscoe, University of Georgia

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysbu

by James A. Hessler

From the publisher:
Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg, by licensed battlefield guide James Hessler, is the most deeply-researched, full-length biography to appear on this remarkable American icon. And it is long overdue.

No individual who fought at Gettysburg was more controversial, both personally and professionally, than Major General Daniel E. Sickles. By 1863, Sickles was notorious as a disgraced former Congressman who murdered his wife's lover on the streets of Washington and used America's first temporary insanity defense to escape justice. With his political career in ruins, Sickles used his connections with President Lincoln to obtain a prominent command in the Army of the Potomac's Third Corps-despite having no military experience. At Gettysburg, he openly disobeyed orders in one of the most controversial decisions in military history.

No single action dictated the battlefield strategies of George Meade and Robert E. Lee more than Sickles' unauthorized advance to the Peach Orchard, and the mythic defense of Little Round Top might have occurred quite differently were it not for General Sickles. Fighting heroically, Sickles lost his leg on the field and thereafter worked to remove General Meade from command of the army. Sickles spent the remainder of his checkered life declaring himself the true hero of Gettysburg.

Although he nearly lost the battle, Sickles was one of the earliest guardians of the battlefield when he returned to Congress, created Gettysburg National Military Park, and helped preserve the field for future generations. But Dan Sickles was never far from scandal. He was eventually removed from the New York Monument Commission and nearly went to jail for misappropriation of funds.

Hessler's book is a balanced and entertaining account of Sickles' colorful life. Civil War enthusiasts who want to understand General Sickles' scandalous life, Gettysburg's battlefield strategies, the in-fighting within the Army of the Potomac, and the development of today's National Park will find Sickles at Gettysburg a must-read.

About the Author: James A. Hessler works in the financial services industry and is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has taught Sickles and Gettysburg-related courses for Harrisburg Area Community College and the Gettysburg Foundation. In addition to writing articles for publication, Hessler speaks regularly at Civil War Round Tables. A native of Buffalo, NY, he resides in Gettysburg with his wife and children.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Civil War on the River Lines of Virginia, 1862-1864: Decision on the Rappahannock and the Rapidan Rivers

by David Trask

From the publisher:
In The Civil War on the River Lines of Virginia, 1862-1864, Trask argues that the bloody engagements on the river lines were the most important battles of the Civil War in the East, far surpassing even the dramatic contests at Antietam and Gettysburg in significance.

During the Civil War, the Union and the Confederacy fought for possession of the land between Culpeper Court House and Fredericksburg in east-central Virginia from December 1862 to May 1864, waging four great battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. The Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers flowed through the area. It was the only defensible stronghold between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, the capitals of the belligerent nations. Its loss would doom the Southern cause in Virginia. When the army of General Ulysses S. Grant finally evicted General Robert E. Lee's troops from the river lines, he soon marched to the James River and lay siege to Petersburg and Richmond. Eventually, Grant achieved the final victory of the union in the eastern theater of war. This book is the first to analyze and evaluate all of the struggles on the river lines in one book.

Author David F. Trask holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University (1958). He taught history at several colleges and universities, including Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), and SUNY at Stony Brook. He served as the Director of the Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State (1976-1981) and the Chief Historian of the United States Army Center of Military History (1981-1988). He is the author or editor of five works on World War I, The War with Spain in 1898 (1981), the leading study of the subject; Victory Without Peace: American Foreign Relations in the Twentieth Century (1968); a co-compiler of two major bibliographies; co-author of a textbook on American foreign relations; and author of numerous articles and essays. He was a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (1976-1981) and the president of the Society for History in the federal government (1981-1982).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The State of Jones

by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer

From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Sally Jenkins and distinguished Harvard professor John Stauffer mine a nearly forgotten piece of Civil War history and strike gold in this surprising account of the only Southern county to secede from the Confederacy.

The State of Jones is a true story about the South during the Civil War—the real South. Not the South that has been mythologized in novels and movies, but an authentic, hardscrabble place where poor men were forced to fight a rich man’s war for slavery and cotton. In Jones County, Mississippi, a farmer named Newton Knight led his neighbors, white and black alike, in an insurrection against the Confederacy at the height of the Civil War. Knight’s life story mirrors the little-known story of class struggle in the South—and it shatters the image of the Confederacy as a unified front against the Union.

This riveting investigative account takes us inside the battle of Corinth, where thousands lost their lives over less than a quarter mile of land, and to the dreadful siege of Vicksburg, presenting a gritty picture of a war in which generals sacrificed thousands through their arrogance and ignorance.

Off the battlefield, the Newton Knight story is rich in drama as well. He was a man with two loves: his wife, who was forced to flee her home simply to survive, and an ex-slave named Rachel, who, in effect, became his second wife. It was Rachel who cared for Knight during the war when he was hunted by the Confederates, and, later, when members of the Knight clan sought revenge for the disgrace he had brought upon the family name.

Working hand in hand with John Stauffer,distinguished chair and professor of the History of American Civilization at Harvard University, Sally Jenkins has made the leap from preeminent sportswriter to a historical writer endowed with the accuracy, drive, and passion of Doris Kearns Goodwin. The result is Civil War history at its finest.

Slavery's Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification

by David Waldstreicher

From the publisher:
Taking on decades of received wisdom, David Waldstreicher has written the first book to recognize slavery’s place at the heart of the U.S. Constitution. Famously, the Constitution never mentions slavery. And yet, of its eighty-four clauses, six were directly concerned with slaves and the interests of their owners. Five other clauses had implications for slavery that were considered and debated by the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the citizens of the states during ratification. This “peculiar institution” was not a moral blind spot for America’s otherwise enlightened framers, nor was it the expression of a mere economic interest. Slavery was as important to the making of the Constitution as the Constitution was to the survival of slavery.

By tracing slavery from before the revolution, through the Constitution’s framing, and into the public debate that followed, Waldstreicher rigorously shows that slavery was not only actively discussed behind the closed and locked doors of the Constitutional Convention, but that it was also deftly woven into the Constitution itself. For one thing, slavery was central to the American economy, and since the document set the stage for a national economy, the Constitution could not avoid having implications for slavery. Even more, since the government defined sovereignty over individuals, as well as property in them, discussion of sovereignty led directly to debate over slavery’s place in the new republic.

Finding meaning in silences that have long been ignored, Slavery’s Constitution is a vital and sorely needed contribution to the conversation about the origins, impact, and meaning of our nation’s founding document.

David Waldstreicher is a professor of history at Temple University and is the author of Runaway America (H&W, 2004) and In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reminiscences of South Carolina Confederate Cavalry

by Edwin Calhoun and Charles Crosland

This short volume is a combination of two 1910 books authored by different men: Some Reminiscences of a Confederate Soldier by Edwin Calhoun and Reminiscences of the Sixties by Charles Crosland. The publisher's description adds only a little more information: "A volume combining the first reprints of wartime reflections by two cavalry officers from Abbeville and Bennettsville respectively," and "Reproduced from the first editions in the South Carolina Library, University of South Carolina."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pillars of Power: Steps Toward Secession

by Jim Lair

From the publisher:
"Pillars of Power: Steps Toward Secession is the first of four volumes that represent the first in-depth, complete look at the American Civil War as it was fought in the State of Arkansas. Each volume will become a welcomed addition to the historical information available regarding the most important event in the history of the state and country.

Jim Lair's interest and experience in researching and writing Arkansas history shows in these volumes on his ruling passion, the Civil War. Years in the making, Lair's narrative version of the Civil War events in Arkansas unfolds on a giant canvas that places local events in their national context. Anyone who shares Lair's interest in that era in Arkansas will find much to appreciate about his saga." -- Ray Granade,
Director of Library Services, Ouachita Baptist University

Monday, June 15, 2009

Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occupation, and the American Civil War

by Leeann Whites and Alecia P. Long (Editors)

From the publisher:
In the spring of 1861, tens of thousands of young men formed military companies and offered to fight for their country. Near the end of the Civil War, nearly half of the adult male population of the North and a staggering 90 percent of eligible white males in the South had joined the military. With their husbands, sons, and fathers away, legions of women took on additional duties formerly handled by males, and many also faced the ordeal of having homes occupied by enemy troops. With occupation, the home front and the battlefield merged to create an unanticipated second front where civilians--mainly women--resisted what they perceived as illegitimate domination. In Occupied Women, twelve distinguished historians consider how women's reactions to occupation affected both the strategies of military leaders and ultimately the outcome of the Civil War.

Alecia P. Long, Lisa Tendrich Frank, E. Susan Barber, and Charles F. Ritter explore occupation as an incubator of military policies that reflected occupied women's activism. Margaret Creighton, Kristen L. Streater, LeeAnn Whites, and Cita Cook examine locations where citizens both enforced and evaded these military policies. Leslie A. Schwalm, Victoria E. Bynum, and Joan E. Cashin look at the occupation in light of complex and overlapping race, class, and cultural differences. An epilogue by Judith Giesberg concludes the volume. Some essays reinterpret famous encounters between military men and occupied women, such as those surrounding General Butler's infamous "Woman Order" and Sherman's March to the Sea. Others explore new areas such as the development of military policy with regard to sexual justice. Throughout, the contributors examine the common experiences of occupied women and address the unique situations Union, Confederate, and freed women all faced.

Civil War historians have depicted Confederate women as rendered inert by occupying armies, but these essays demonstrate that women came together to form a strong, localized resistance to military invasion. Guerrilla activity, for example, occurred with the support and active participation of women on the home front. Women ran the domestic supply line of food, shelter, and information that proved critical to guerrilla tactics.

By broadening the discussion of the Civil War to include what LeeAnn Whites calls the "relational field of battle," this pioneering collection helps reconfigure the location of conflict and the chronology of the American Civil War.

LeeAnn Whites is a professor of history at the University of Missouri. She is the author of The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender and Gender Matters: Civil War, Reconstruction and the Making of the New South and coeditor of Women in Missouri History: In Search of Power and Influence.

Alecia P. Long is an assistant professor of history at Louisiana State University. She is the author of The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920, winner of the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book in southern women's history in 2005.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Upton's Regulars: The 121st New York Infantry in the Civil War

by Salvatore G., Jr. Cilella

From the publisher:
From Cooperstown and its surrounding region, upstate New Yorkers responded to President Lincoln's call to service by volunteering in droves to defend an imperiled Union. Drawn from the farms and towns of Otsego and Herkimer counties, the 121st New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment served with the Sixth Corps in the Army of the Potomac throughout the Civil War. In the first comprehensive history of the regiment in nearly ninety years, Salvatore Cilella chronicles the epic story of this heroic "band of brothers."

Led for much of the war by the legendary Emory Upton, the 121st deployed nearly 1,900 men into battle, from over 1,000 at call-up to the 330 who were finally mustered out of its war-depleted unit. Its soldiers participated in 25 major engagements, from Antietam to Sailor's Creek, won six Medals of Honor, took several battle flags, led the charge at Spotsylvania, and captured Custis Lee at Sailor's Creek. Cilella now tells their story, viewing the war through upstate New Yorkers' eyes not only to depict three grueling years of fighting but also to reveal their distinctive attitudes regarding slavery, war goals, politics, and the families they left behind.

Cilella mines the letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches of more than 120 soldiers and officers to weave a compelling narrative that traces the 121st from enlistment through the horrors of battle and back to civilian life. Their words vividly recount the experience of combat, but also rail against Washington bureaucrats and commanding generals. Many were upset with those who suggested that Emancipation was the war's primary cause, declaring their fight to be for the Union rather than freed slaves, but they also scorned any Northerners who sympathized with the South.

Cilella also features compelling portraits of the regiment's three commanders: original recruiter Richard Franchot; West Pointer Upton, by whose name the 121st came to be known; and Otsego County native Egbert Olcott. Readers will especially gain new insights into the charismatic Upton, who took command at the age of 23, was a fearless leader on the field of battle, and became one of the army's most admired regimental leaders, clearly marking him out for future accomplishments.

As dire as the war became, especially in the summer of 1864, Upton's Regulars repeatedly told their families they would do it all again and would sooner die in battle than shirk their responsibility to the Union. This regimental history stands as a testament to that dedication--and as an unvarnished look at the harsh realities of war.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.

"Cilella provides a remarkably full account of the 121st's soldiers and their circumstances as they enlist, train, march off, and experience three years of the Civil War. His research on their experiences and attitudes is impressive, even amazing. Well written, informative, and analytical, it's everything an excellent regimental history should be. I strongly recommend it." -- Steven Woodworth, author of Nothing But Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865

"Cilella wonderfully captures the experience of the common man in the Civil War as represented by those who were part of the campaigns of New York's 121st Infantry." -- D. Stephen Elliott, President and CEO, New York State Historical Association and The Farmers' Museum"

Like a Meteor Burning Brightly: The Short but Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren

by Eric J. Wittenberg

From the publisher:
The only biography on Ulric Dahlgren, a brilliant, ambitious young man who became the youngest full colonel in the United States Army at the age of 21 yet died before his 22nd birthday, this account chronicles his full life story.

Offering evidence of Dahlgren’s ties to Abraham Lincoln, this extensively researched record addresses the theory that Lincoln authorized the kidnapping and assassination of the entire Confederate cabinet, including President Jefferson Davis.

Looking at the notorious Dahlgren Affair within the context of the Dahlgren’s entire life, this examination provides insight into a unique individual’s past as well as an unclear incidence in American history.

Eric J. Wittenberg is an attorney and a Civil War historian who has contributed to America's Civil War, Blue & Gray, and North & South. He is the coauthor of One Continuous Fight and Plenty of Blame to Go Around and the author of Glory Enough for All, Protecting the Flank, and The Union Cavalry Comes of Age. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball's Bluff, June-October 1861

by Bradley M. Gottfried

From the publisher:
Bradley M. Gottfried's The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball's Bluff, June - October 1861 is the eagerly awaited companion volume to his bestselling The Maps of Gettysburg (2007, two editions, four printings), part of the ongoing Savas Beatie Atlas Series.

The Maps of First Bull Run breaks down the entire operation (and related actions) into numerous map sets or "action-sections" enriched with more than fifty full-color original full-page maps. These cartographic originals bore down to the regimental and battery level and include the march to and from the battlefield and virtually every significant event in between. At least two-and as many as seventeen-maps accompany each "action-section." Keyed to each piece of cartography is a full facing page of detailed text describing the units, personalities, movements, and combat (including quotes from eyewitnesses) depicted on the accompanying map, all of which make the story of First Bull Run come alive.

This original presentation makes it easy for readers to quickly locate a map and text on virtually any portion of the campaign. Readers will maneuver with Confederate and Union armies in the Shenandoah Valley, march with General McDowell's Federals to the plains of Manassas, and fight blow-by-blow through the battle up to its stunning climax on Henry House Hill and the final retreat from the battlefield all the way to Washington. The smaller but important Battle of Ball's Bluff is also covered in the same fashion, as is the skirmish at Lewinsville. Serious students will appreciate the extensive and authoritative endnotes, bibliography, and complete orders of battle. They will also want to bring the book along on their trips to the battlefields.

Perfect for the easy chair or for walking hallowed ground, The Maps of First Bull Run is a seminal work that, like his earlier Gettysburg study, belongs on the bookshelf of every serious and casual student of the Civil War.

Bradley M. Gottfried, Ph.D., is the President of the College of Southern Maryland. An avid Civil War historian, Dr. Gottfried is the author of five books, including Brigades of Gettysburg: The Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg (2002) and The Maps of Gettysburg (2007). He is currently working with co-editor Theodore P. Savas on a Gettysburg Campaign encyclopedia.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia: The Civil War Album of Laura Ratcliffe

by Charles V. Mauro

From the publisher:
As the Civil War raged, Confederate brigadier general J.E.B. Stuart entrusted a secret album to Laura Ratcliffe, a young girl in Fairfax County, 'as a token of his high appreciation of her patriotism, admiration of her virtues, and pledge of his lasting esteem.' A devoted Southerner, Laura provided a safe haven for Rebel forces, along with intelligence gathered from passing Union soldiers. Ratcliffe's book contains four poems and forty undated signatures: twenty-six of Confederate officers and soldiers and fourteen of loyal Confederate civilians.

In A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia, Charles V. Mauro uncovers the mystery behind this album, identifying who the soldiers were and when they could have signed its pages. The result is a fascinating look at the covert lives and relationships of civilians and soldiers during the war, kept hidden until now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War

by Daniel E. Sutherland

From the publisher:
The American Civil War is famous for epic battles involving massive armies outfitted in blue and gray uniforms, details that characterize conventional warfare. A Savage Conflict is the first work to treat guerrilla warfare as critical to understanding the course and outcome of the Civil War. Daniel Sutherland argues that irregular warfare took a large toll on the Confederate war effort by weakening support for state and national governments and diminishing the trust citizens had in their officials to protect them.

Sutherland points out that early in the war Confederate military and political leaders embraced guerrilla tactics. They knew that "partizan" fighters had helped to win the American Revolution. As the war dragged on and defense of the remote spaces of the Confederate territory became more tenuous, guerrilla activity spiraled out of state control. It was adopted by parties who had interests other than Confederate victory, including southern Unionists, violent bands of deserters and draft dodgers, and criminals who saw the war as an opportunity for plunder. Sutherland considers not only the implications such activity had for military strategy but also its effects on people and their attitudes toward the war. Once vital to southern hopes for victory, the guerrilla combatants proved a significant factor in the Confederacy's final collapse.

Daniel E. Sutherland is professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He is author or editor of thirteen books, including Guerrillas, Unionists, and Violence on the Confederate Home Front.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Civil War In The East 1861-1865: A Strategic Assessment

by Brooks D. Simpson

From the publisher:
For all the literature about Civil War military operations and leadership, precious little has been written about strategy, particularly in what has become known as the eastern theater. Yet, it is in this theater that the interaction of geography and logistics, politics and public opinion, battle front and home front, and the conduct of military operations and civil-military relations, can be highlighted in sharp relief.

With a fresh perspective, Brooks Simpson offers an integrated interpretation of military operations and shows how politics, public perception, geography, and logistics shaped the course of military operations in the East. Brooks details how the eastern theater was a theater of decision (and indecision) because people believed that it was: the presence of the capitals raised the stakes of victory and defeat. At a time when people viewed war in terms of decisive battles, the anticipation of victory followed by disappointment and persistent strategic stalemate.

At a time when the telling and retelling of the military narrative approaches Norse saga, Brooks avers that it is essential to question conventional wisdom, especially when it is questionable wisdom, without giving way to pure contrarianism.

BROOKS SIMPSON is Professor of History at Arizona State University and the author of six books on the Civil War, including Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861-1868; America's Civil War; and The Political Education of Henry Adams.

Spies in the Civil War

by Tim McNeese (Author), Heather Lehr Wagner (Editor)

From the publisher:
The stories of the men and women who served as spies in the Civil War offer a fascinating glimpse into the strong passions that divided a nation. Many were otherwise 'ordinary' Americans who had received no special training in intelligence gathering, but simply listened and watched what was going on around them and then passed that information on to those who needed it. Spies such as Allan Pinkerton, Elizabeth Van Lew, Belle Boyd, and Rose O'Neal Greenhow vividly illustrate the differing motivations and backgrounds of those who became involved in espionage. In this title, additional critical information came from former slaves, nurses, and men and women who found themselves in hostile territory when the war began. Spies in the Civil War delves into these stories of courage in the midst of conflict, adding to the rich history of the Civil War.

Homegrown Yankees: Tennessee's Union Cavalry in the Civil War

by James Alex Baggett

From the publisher:
Of all the states in the Confederacy, Tennessee was the most sectionally divided. East Tennesseans opposed secession at the ballot box in1861, petitioned unsuccessfully for separate statehood, resisted the Confederate government, enlisted in Union militias, elected U.S. congressmen, and fled as refugees into Kentucky. These refugees formed Tennessee's first Union cavalry regiments during early 1862, followed shortly thereafter by others organized in Union-occupied Middle and West Tennessee. In Homegrown Yankees, the first book-length study of Union cavalry from a Confederate state, James Alex Baggett tells the remarkable story of Tennessee's loyal mounted regiments.

Fourteen mounted regiments that fought primarily within the boundaries of the state and eight local units made up Tennessee's Union cavalry. Young, nonslaveholding farmers who opposed secession, the Confederacy, and the war--from isolated villages east of Knoxville, the Cumberland Mountains, or the Tennessee River counties in the west-- filled the ranks. Most Tennesseans denounced these local bluecoats as renegades, turncoats, and Tories; accused them of betraying their people, their section, and their race; and held them in greater contempt than soldiers from the North.

Though these homegrown Yankees participated in many battles--including those in Stones River, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, East Tennessee, Nashville, and Atlanta campaigns--their story provides rare insights into what occurred between the battles. For them, military action primarily meant almost endless skirmishing with partisans, guerrillas, and bushwackers, as well as with the Rebel raiders of John Hunt Morgan, Joseph Wheeler, and Nathan Bedford Forrest, who frequently recruited and supplied themselves from behind enemy lines. They scouted and foraged the countryside, guarded outposts and railroads, acted as couriers, supported the flanks of infantry, and raided the enemy. On occasion, especially during the Nashville campaign, they provided rapid pursuit of Confederate forces. They also helped protect fellow unionists from an aggressive pro-Confederate insurgency after 1862.

Baggett vividly describes the deprivation, sickness, and loneliness of cavalrymen living on the war's periphery and traces how circumstances beyond their control--such as terrain, transport, equipage, weaponry, public sentiment, and military policy--impacted their lives. He also explores their well-earned reputation for plundering-- misdeeds motivated by revenge, resentment, a lack of discipline, and the hard war policy of the Union army.

In the never-before-told story of these cavalrymen, Homegrown Yankees offers new insights into an unexplored facet of southern Unionism and provides an exciting new perspective on the Civil War in Tennessee.

The Complete Gettysburg Guide

by J. David Petruzzi (author) and Steven Stanley (maps)

From the publisher:
Some two million people visit the battlefield at Gettysburg each year. It is one of the most popular historical destinations in the United States. Most visitors tour the field by following the National Park Service's suggested auto tour. The standard tour, however, skips crucial monuments, markers, battle actions, town sites, hospital locations, and other hidden historical gems that should be experienced by everyone. These serious oversights are fully rectified in The Complete Gettysburg Guide, penned by noted Gettysburg historian J. David Petruzzi and illustrated with the lavish, full-color photography and maps (70) of Civil War cartographer Steven Stanley.

Complete, detailed, and up-to-date, The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest includes:

- Detailed driving and walking tours of the entire battlefield (including obscure sites that even veteran visitors miss or never hear about);
- A tour of every identified field hospital site for both armies;
- Tours of the National Cemetery and the town's Evergreen Cemetery;
- A tour of the town of Gettysburg, including sites of historical interest before and after the battle;
- Outlying battlefields including the June 26, 1863 skirmish site, East Cavalry Field, South Cavalry Field, Hunterstown, Hanover, and Fairfield;
- And a special tour of the various rock carvings on the battlefield, many of which were created by returning veterans and pre-date most of the monuments.

Every student of Gettysburg, novice and expert alike, will want to learn from, enjoy, and treasure The Complete Gettysburg Guide. No visitor to Gettysburg will want to be without it.

About the Authors: J. David Petruzzi is widely recognized as one of the country's leading Gettysburg experts. In addition to his numerous articles for a wide variety of publications, he is the author (with Eric Wittenberg) of bestsellers Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg (Savas Beatie, 2006) and (with Wittenberg and Michael Nugent) One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 (Savas Beatie, 2008). Petruzzi is also a popular speaker on the Civil War Roundtable circuit and regularly conducts tours of Civil War battlefields.

Steven Stanley lives in Gettysburg and is a graphic artist specializing in historical map design and battlefield photography. His maps, considered among the best in historical cartography, have been a longtime staple of the Civil War Preservation Trust and have helped raised millions of dollars for the Trust through their preservation appeals and interpretation projects. Steve's maps have appeared in a wide variety of publications.

The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide: More than 400 Sites from Antietam to Zagonyi's Charge

by Michael Weeks

From the publisher:
The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide is the definitive guidebook for Civil War tourists, from the novice historian to the die-hard Civil War buff. The book outlines ten suggested itineraries for short road trips that cover every major battle of the war that will enable a traveler to experience this definitive period of American history. For those who can’t resist trying to see it all, the book contains complete information on and reviews of almost 450 historical sites across the United States related to the Civil War, including all 384 of the principal battlefields listed by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission, as well as lodging and other travel information.

The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide will enable the historical traveler of any level to experience the Civil War like no other book has done.

Michael Weeks is an amateur historian with a passion for the road. He has driven tens of thousands of miles across America in order to experience first-hand the amazing stories and experiences that U.S. history has to offer. Michael lives in the South Loop area of Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Charlotte, and works as an occupational health and safety consultant. He is a graduate of Purdue University. Ironically, as the author of a road trip book, Michael does not own a car.

Sam Richards's Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front

by Samuel Pearce Richards (Author), Wendy Hamand Venet (Editor)

From the publisher:
This previously unpublished diary is the best surviving firsthand account of life in Civil War-era Atlanta.

Bookseller Samuel Pearce Richards (1824-1910) kept a diary for sixty-seven years. This volume excerpts the diary from October 1860, just before the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, through August 1865, when the Richards family returned to Atlanta after being forced out by Sherman's troops and spending a period of exile in New York City.

The Richardses were among the last Confederate loyalists to leave Atlanta. Sam's recollections of the Union bombardment, the evacuation of the city, the looting of his store, and the influx of Yankee forces are riveting.

Sam was a Unionist until 1860, when his sentiments shifted in favor of the Confederacy. However, as he wrote in early 1862, he had "no ambition to acquire military renown and glory." Likewise, Sam chafed at financial setbacks caused by the war and at Confederate policies that seemed to limit his freedom. Such conflicted attitudes come through even as Sam writes about civic celebrations, benefit concerts, and the chaotic optimism of life in a strategically critical rebel stronghold. He also reflects with soberness on hospitals filled with wounded soldiers, the threat of epidemics, inflation, and food shortages. A man of deep faith who liked to attend churches all over town, Sam often comments on Atlanta's religious life and grounds his defense of slavery and secession in the Bible. Sam owned and rented slaves, and his diary is a window into race relations at a time when the end of slavery was no longer unthinkable.

Perhaps most important, the diary conveys the tenor of Sam's family life. Both Sam and his wife, Sallie, came from families divided politically and geographically by war. They feared for their children's health and mourned for relatives wounded and killed in battle. The figures in Sam Richards's Civil War Diary emerge as real people; the intimate experience of the Civil War home front is conveyed with great power.

Pursuit: The Chase, Capture, Persecution & Surprising Release of Jefferson

by Clint Johnson

From the publisher:
"A Spellbinding Tale Of The Last Days Of The Confederacy." —David J. Eicher, author of The Longest Night

In the only book to tell the definitive story of Confederate President Jefferson Davis's chase, capture, imprisonment, and release, journalist and Civil War writer Clint Johnson paints a riveting portrait of one of American history's most complex and enduring figures.

Fascinated by the American Civil War since the fourth grade, Clint Johnson has written eight books on the subject, including the acclaimed Civil War Blunders. Originally from Florida, he counts Confederate soldiers from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama among his ancestors. He is active as a Civil War reenactor and has portrayed soldiers from both the South and the Union. In researching Pursuit, he spent months studying letters, diaries, and the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. A graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in journalism, he lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, Barbara.

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

Slavery, Resistance, Freedom

by Gabor S. Boritt and Scott Hancock (Editors)

From the publisher:
This extraordinary collection of essays by some of America's top historians focuses on how African Americans resisted slavery and responded to freedom. Ira Berlin sets the stage by stressing the relationship between how we understand slavery and how we discuss race today. The remaining essays offer a richly textured examination of black struggles for freedom. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger recount actual cases of runaway slaves, their motivations for escape and the strains this widespread phenomenon put on white slave-owners. Edward L. Ayers, William G. Thomas III, and Anne Sarah Rubin draw upon their remarkable Valley of the Shadow website to describe the wartime experiences of African Americans living on both borders of the Mason-Dixon line. And Eric Foner gives us a new look at how black leaders performed during the Reconstruction, revealing that they represented, for a time, the fulfillment of the American ideal that all people could aspire to political office.