Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Hiking to History: A Guide to Off-Road New Mexico Historic Sites"

I heartily concur with author Robert Julyan that touring historical sites in a car can't hold a candle to actually walking the ground. Hiking to History: A Guide to Off-Road New Mexico Historic Sites (University of New Mexico Press, 2016) visits 23 places within the state's borders. According to the author, the sites are generally inaccessible by car anyway, but all are foot traffic friendly and open to the public. I added the volume to my review checklist hoping that there would be Civil War content and there is one hike (for the March 1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass) directly associated with the conflict.

The book is not a traditional guide in terms of having detailed directions, a carefully mapped out tour route, numbered stops, etc. Instead, it is more of a nature hike-o-logue [I made up that word]. Designed for both active and armchair readers, each chapter contains site background history and much of the text is informal first-person narrative describing the author's experience of walking the ground. The afterword invites readers to actively participate in the preservation of the state's historical heritage, and the final section recommends published resources.

For each chapter, general directions on how to reach the site are offered as are photographs and select GPS coordinates. There are two maps (a state-level overview and a battlefield drawing). At the end of some chapters, sidebars direct readers toward alternative sites to visit as well as suggested reading.

Julyan selected an interesting assortment of sites for the book, his choices representing all eras of New Mexico's past from pre-history up to modern times. Among them are a plane crash location, a bombing range, a Civil War battle, the site of the famous Tunstall Murder of "Billy the Kid" lore, Dog Canyon (used by local tribes as a refuge for generations), Jaramillo Creek (an important area of geological science investigation), a sacred religious site (El Cerro de Tome), a fossil dig, and much more.


CWBA reviews of UNMP titles:
* A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia
* From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps: A Civil War Soldier's Journals and Letters Home
* New Mexico Territory During the Civil War: Wallen and Evans Inspection Reports, 1862-1863
* Sibley's New Mexico Campaign (reprint)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Louisiana Quadrille becomes Pentadrille

At the conclusion of the third part of Donald Frazier and State House Press's thus far impressive "Louisiana Quadrille", Blood on the Bayou: Vicksburg, Port Hudson, and the Trans-Mississippi (2015), some readers questioned whether the author could possibly fit everything else into the fourth and final book in the series. Apparently, the author agreed with that assessment. The Fall/Winter Texas A&M Consortium catalog (of which State House Press is a member) provides official notice that the series scope has indeed now expanded to five books. If the Big 10 can have 14 member schools and the Big 12 can have 10 teams, then the "Louisiana Quadrille" can have five volumes.

The final two titles will be:

Volume 4: Storm on the Farthest Shore: The 1863 Campaigns for Texas.
Volume 5: Death at the Landing: The Contest for the Red River and the Collapse of Confederate Louisiana, March 1864-June 1865.

The catalog also mentions that the upcoming paperback version of Volume 1 Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas, January 1861 - January 1863 will be a "revised and updated" 2nd Edition. I asked the author about the changes and its appears that they will be largely presentational in nature. In addition to those alterations that go with the new paperback format, there are a couple new images and the typographical errors have been cleaned up. Content is pretty much the same. Frazier also mentioned that Volume 4 is very far along on the road to completion.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Booknotes: A Just and Holy Cause?

New Arrival:
A Just and Holy Cause?: The Civil War Letters of Marcus Bethune Ely and Martha Frances Ely edited by Linda S. McCardle (Mercer UP, 2016).

Marcus Ely was a lieutenant in Company H of the 54th Georgia infantry regiment, which was organized in May 1862. His later letters cover the Atlanta Campaign (and he appears to have been a hospital patient during the months leading up to the end of the war), but the major interest for me is the correspondence with his wife during the first two years of the war. During this time, his unit was stationed along the South Atlantic coast between Savannah and Georgia. Letter collections from soldiers of long service in that theater are relatively uncommon.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Phillips: "THE RIVERS RAN BACKWARD: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border"

[The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips (Oxford University Press, 2016). Hardcover, map, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:359/526. ISBN:978-0-19-9335879. $34.95]

It's no surprise that a number of current and upcoming books are comparative studies of nearby Civil War era communities located on opposite sides of the traditional border between North and South. Perhaps nowhere else in the United States were the identity of citizens and their views on politics, society, commerce, and race more resistant to easy generalities.

Markedly widening this locally focused lens, The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border instead brings a vast geographical expanse under consideration. In the book, author Christopher Phillips asks readers to cast aside preconceived notions of a sharply defined sectionalized U.S. in the decades preceding the war and, in its place, think of a more plastic border not confined by geographical barriers and with a large population strongly influenced by a new western identity. In defining the sprawling "middle border" (or the "West") for the purposes of this study, Phillips is referring to "those states bordering the Ohio and Missouri Rivers west of the Appalachian Mountains and south and east of present-day Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan."

The Ohio River has often been used as a generally agreed upon shorthand for the geographical line separating North and South, free and slave, but this book argues that such a sharp division did not exist. Rather a Middle Border cultural consensus, one moderate on the slavery issue and hostile to both fire-eater and abolitionist extremes, existed over wide swaths of territory above and below the Mason-Dixon Line. In the decades prior to the Kansas troubles of the mid-1850s, citizens of the Middle Border eschewed northern and southern labels and instead proudly proclaimed themselves part of a new "West" section1, one that not only would guide the future of the country but would help hold it together against the forces of extremism. However, as the book demonstrates, this alternative identity could not maintain itself in the face of the national cataclysms of the last half of the nineteenth century. According to Phillips, antagonistic and mutually exclusive "North" and "South" labels reasserted themselves during the Kansas troubles, were solidified during the Civil War, and persisted throughout Reconstruction and far beyond.

Very early in the Civil War, Middle Border citizens found that the middle ground they cherished so much would no longer be respected by either side. Phillips shows that conciliatory Union military policy (interpreted by many to have been in force until mid-1862 in most theaters) often lasted mere days or weeks in the Middle Border. Whatever the orders from conservative commanding generals and the army's civilian leadership, lower ranking officers and the rank and file of Union regiments entering Missouri and Kentucky were demanding, and implementing, hard war from the very beginning. When Confederate forces were pushed out of both Missouri and Kentucky by early 1862, many Middle Border residents breathed a sigh of relief that perhaps military control would be relaxed but quite the opposite occurred. Flustered by pockets of local resistance, by the summer of 1862 Union authorities firmly established in the Middle Border what Phillips calls their "dominion system." It had six fundamental precepts, all of which worked toward the elimination of any middle stance on loyalty — (1) military districting, with a relatively free hand given to local commanders to interpret and implement federal directives using federal troops supported by home guards and militia, (2) use of Unconditional Unionists to provide intelligence on the loyalty status of neighbors and gather evidence for arrest, (3) creation of a provost marshal system with expansive policing powers, (4) establishment of loyalty through oaths and bonds, with severe penalties for refusal, (5) imposition of martial law and suspension of civil liberties, and (6) creation of a system of economic coercion through strict trade regulation. As Phillips and other scholars have discovered, the army found trade restrictions to be a particularly effective means of civilian control.

The Emancipation Proclamation comprised one of the deepest wedges driven into Middle Border society during the war, on both the home and military fronts. It is commonly recognized that emancipation caused hundreds of Union officers to resign and some number of soldiers in the ranks to desert, but the overall effect on the war effort has been generally deemed minimal. Phillips suggests the problem was more serious, citing among other examples the case of two southern Illinois regiments that were so riven by desertion and mutiny that they had to be disbanded entirely. Emancipation also alienated loyal home front opposition to the Lincoln administration from the soldiers in the field, who increasingly regarded civilian resistance toward freeing the slaves as treason against the government and a betrayal of the considerable sacrifices made by the men in the ranks. This is a common theme in the recent Civil War literature and is one that is substantially reinforced in the book.

Phillips also discusses the region's guerrilla conflict in the context of emancipation and black enlistment in the Union army. Emancipation led to an uptick of violence in already guerrilla infested states like Missouri and Kentucky, but army recruitment of both free blacks and the slaves of loyal masters set the Middle Border aflame. Support for emancipation became an ironclad test of loyalty and pro-Union slaveholders found themselves constantly harassed and pressured by military authorities and recruiting agents, regardless of official enlistment policy. When President Lincoln removed all recruitment restrictions in May 1864 and appointed hard line officers to oversee martial law in the Border States, an explosion of violence and retaliation occurred.

The sharp Middle Border divisions created by the Civil War extended well into the post-war period. It took most of a decade for the most draconian measures of the radical Drake Constitution to be overturned in Missouri, but politics in Kentucky quickly reverted to a favorable environment for formerly pro-slavery conservatives and ex-Confederates. Mob and paramilitary violence occurred throughout the region but was heightened within, and particularly endemic to, both ex-slave states. The book explores the powerful forces of Civil War commemoration that for decades created war narratives and memories (often inventing artificially exclusive ones) that reinforced divisions along North-South lines. According to Phillips, the resulting cultural schism proved to be a permanent break from the Middle Border's antebellum white consensus.

The bibliography of The Rivers Ran Backward is impressive. The book very effectively combines extensive original research with mastery of an immense and rapidly growing secondary literature. The vast reach of the author's manuscript research personalizes in a very potent manner the book's many macro-political discussions. For example, an early chapter discusses a free state entrepreneur's extensive use of slave labor in the Illinois salt industry. This vignette forcefully illustrates the plastic reach of slavery and reinforces the author's argument for the existence of a fluid Middle Border in the first half of the nineteenth century. Another chapter, this one examining Shaker colonies in Kentucky, offers a profound example of the war's politicization of religion and the inability of religion (even that of pacifist sects) to escape the war's demands for a binary system of loyalty with no middle ground permitted.

Keen readers will recognize that important parts of The Rivers Ran Backward draw upon previous books and articles written by Phillips and that this study integrates these wide ranging subjects and themes into a cohesive and much expanded new whole2. In many ways, The Rivers Ran Backward is a wonderfully deep distillation of a career's worth of scholarly investigation into the people, politics, society, and warfare of the western borderlands during the Civil War era. It is highly recommended.


Notes:
1 - Other historians have written about this idea of a West that would unite the country by diffusing conflicts between North and South and strengthen the country through its own vigorously expansive economic and cultural force. A particular fine example from the literature is Adam Arenson's The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War (Harvard, 2011).
2 - Over the past three years, Phillips has produced two related works, this one and The Civil War in the Border South (Praeger, 2013). The latter is a very useful introductory volume to many of the themes explored here and elsewhere throughout the author's professional career.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Booknotes: Northern Character

New Arrival:
Northern Character: College-Educated New Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era by Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai (Fordham UP, 2016).

The interchangeability of "northern" and "New England" is a bit of careless shorthand; but, anyway, from the description:
"The elite young men who inhabited northern antebellum states--the New Brahmins--developed their leadership class identity based on the term "character": an idealized internal standard of behavior consisting most importantly of educated, independent thought and selfless action. With its unique focus on Union honor, nationalism, and masculinity, Northern Character addresses the motivating factors of these young college-educated Yankees who rushed into the armed forces to take their place at the forefront of the Union's war.

This social and intellectual history tells the New Brahmins' story from the campus to the battlefield and, for the fortunate ones, home again. Northern Character examines how these good and moral "men of character" interacted with common soldiers and faced battle, reacted to seeing the South and real southerners
[hint: they viewed southern society a failure of "character"], and approached race, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Booknotes: Hell Itself

New Arrival:
Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864 by Chris Mackowski (Savas Beatie, 2016).

Mackowski is a former Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park historian so he undoubtedly knows the Wilderness history and battlefield well. The latest volume from the Emerging Civil War series, Hell Itself tells the story of the battle from beginning to end using a series of tour stops. The narrative is supported by numerous photographs and drawings, as well as 11 detailed maps. As we've come to expect, the ECW collaborative appendix section is populated with interesting vignettes and mini-studies. They discuss federal cavalry during the battle, Burnside's poor performance, the high command of the Army of the Potomac, Longstreet's wounding, the battlefield's flora and fauna, and the Civilian Conservation Corps's relationship with the park. There's also an order of battle.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bockmiller: "WASHINGTON COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR"

[Washington County in the Civil War by Stephen R. Bockmiller (Arcadia Publishing, 2016). Softcover, photos, illustrations. 127 pp. ISBN:978-1-4671-3476-7. $21.99]

Washington County in the Civil War, authored by Stephen R. Bockmiller, is a new volume from Arcadia Publishing's popular Images of America series of local photographic histories. As is the long standing custom, narrative history does not accompany the photo collection, but rather the Washington County, Maryland story immediately before, during, and after the Civil War is told through a variety of images and their captions. Photographs of persons, buildings, and landscapes predominate, but there are also numerous reproductions of sketches, woodcuts, document images, archival maps, and the like.

In keeping with the consistent Images of America look and feel, Washington County in the Civil War is printed on heavy, high-gloss paper stock, the kind that makes for better image reproduction. It's apparent that a great deal of thought and effort went into Bockmiller's selection of images. They are sourced from both public and private collections (author and Antietam enthusiast Stephen Recker must have quite a personal archive). It would have been easy to fill the book with Antietam (by far the most famous Washington County wartime event) photographs and the CDVs of famous officers that fought at that battle and other places nearby. There is some of that, but the author largely went in a different direction. Of the entire body of photos and illustrations in the volume, there is a substantial percentage that will be unfamiliar even to those that regularly read about Civil War events that occurred in the county.

A pair of chapters bookend the Civil War coverage. The first of these covers persons and places prominent during the antebellum period and the second post-war commemoration in the county, including reunions, parades, and monument dedications. Large numbers of photographs are grouped by theme. Thus there are collections of images related to John Brown's Raid (to include sites, like the Kennedy Farm, and persons related to Harpers Ferry Raid preparations on the Maryland side), Antietam, the retreat from Gettysburg, and the ransoming of Hagerstown during the 1864 Confederate invasion. There is some geographical neglect. The town of Hancock and the rest of the far western sliver of the county does not get the attention that the middle and eastern sections receive. It also would have been helpful if author and publisher had been able to squeeze a county map into the volume so that readers of all backgrounds might readily locate the many sites mentioned.

Washington County in the Civil War should garner the local appeal that its series is designed to foster, but the book's selection of fresh images should also interest a wider audience of Civil War photography enthusiasts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Booknotes: The Press and Slavery in America, 1791-1859

New Arrival:
The Press and Slavery in America, 1791-1859: The Melancholy Effect of Popular Excitement by Brian Gabrial (Univ of S Carolina Pr, 2016).

Slave revolts were a surefire way to bring the institution into public discourse in pre-Civil War America. In The Press and Slavery in America, author Brian Gabrial "closely reads the mainstream press during the antebellum years, identifying shifts in public opinion about slavery and changes in popular constructions of slaves and other black Americans, a group voiceless and nearly invisible in the nation’s major newspapers. He reveals how political intransigence rooted in racism and economics set the country on a perilous trajectory toward rebellion and self-destruction."
"This volume examines news accounts of five major slave rebellions or conspiracies: Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 Virginia slave conspiracy; the 1811 Louisiana slave revolt; Denmark Vesey’s 1822 slave conspiracy in Charleston, South Carolina; Nat Turner’s 1831 Southampton County, Virginia, slave revolt; and John Brown’s 1859 Harper’s Ferry raid. Gabrial situates these stories within a historical and contextual framework that juxtaposes the transformation of the press into a powerful mass media with the growing political divide over slavery, illustrating how two American cultures, both asserting claims to founding America, devolved into enemies over slavery."
I wonder if Gabrial considered expanding his date range through 1860 to include the infamous slave conspiracy panic of 1860 in Texas. Even though that particular insurrection alarm turned out to be baseless, the event and media storm that accompanied it did much to radicalize the state's population right before the divided national elections that fall, stoking fears of abolitionist plots (sourced both internally and externally) and promoting secessionist sentiment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Booknotes: Extreme Civil War

New Arrival:
Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier by Matthew M. Stith (LSU Press, 2016).

In both its regular and irregular aspects, the Civil War along the isolated nexus between Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory is often described as being especially brutal for combatant and non-combatant alike. Stith's Extreme Civil War focuses on this area of the Trans-Mississippi, examining "the physical and cultural frontiers that challenged Confederate and Union forces alike." Emphasizing the uniqueness (on many levels) of the war in this border region, "Stith shows how white Confederate and Union civilians faced forces of warfare and the bleak environmental realities east of the Great Plains while barely coexisting with a number of other ethnicities and races, including Native Americans and African Americans. In addition to the brutal fighting and lack of basic infrastructure, the inherent mistrust among these communities intensified the suffering of all citizens on America's frontier."

Monday, May 16, 2016

Jeffrey, ed.: "TWO CIVIL WARS: The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex"

[Two Civil Wars: The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex edited by Katherine Bentley Jeffrey (Louisiana State University Press, 2016). Hardcover, 2 maps, photos, appendices, footnotes, bibliography, index. 296 pp. ISBN:978-0-8071-6224-8. $38]

Two Civil Wars is the product of the chance discovery of an intriguing double journal containing the writings of Baton Rouge Catholic schoolgirl Celeste Repp and USS Essex Quarter Gunner William L. Park (a bizarre pairing, for sure). Independent scholar Katherine Bentley Jeffrey was approached by the owners (indirect ancestors of Park) of this unusual artifact, and the fortuitous event was the beginning of twenty-five years of historical investigation.

The 1859-1861 journal of Celeste Repp comprises only a fraction of the book's total content but the meticulousness of Jeffrey's detective work really shines through in her generous volume of supporting material. The journal itself is basically just a few French language exercises (also translated into English in the book), three poems, a very brief letter to a favorite instructor (Father Hubert), and an even shorter single journal entry regarding a visit to the Louisiana State Fair. Little of Repp's background, personality, and character can be uncovered in such brief fragments of her writing, but Jeffrey's deeply researched introduction provides much in the way of Repp family history and connections, as well as informative biographical sketches of both the aforementioned Father Hubert and Matilda Victor, the latter the proprietor of Repp's Catholic school (St. Mary's). These sections offer interesting, and often striking, glimpses into formal Catholic education in the Deep South [its institutions not always accepted by Protestant neighbors (at one point, Fr. Hubert was even shot in the arm by an unknown assailant)], as well as French and German immigrant experiences and culture in Louisiana. Jeffrey's notes are well researched, often fascinatingly discursive and expansively detailed, offering much in the way of biographical sketches of persons, and also historical background material regarding places and events, mentioned in the journal.

Jeffrey also presents to the reader reasonable conjectures regarding two of the combined journal's oddities. The first, just how the journal of a Louisiana schoolgirl wound up in the hands of a sailor aboard the ironclad Essex, can be imagined from contemplating the common fate of personal belongings of civilians located all across the occupied South. The St. Mary's school building was used as a Union hospital after Baton Rouge was captured. Park himself was not a patient there, but he had shipmates who were, and it isn't difficult to imagine that one of them pilfered a mostly blank journal book, one that eventually wound up in the hands of a shipboard acquaintance seeking a way to preserve his own war story on paper. The second question pertains to the time discrepancy in Park's journal (his entries begin at dates far preceding a time when he could possibly have acquired the writing book), but that could be simply explained by the copying of previously written material into a new journal (a not uncommon practice among Civil War diarists). According to Jeffrey, how much later this was done (during or after the war) is impossible to tell.

In terms of both length and historiographical value, the 1861-64 journal of William L. Park easily surpasses Repp's. Civil War rank and file fighting men liked to write about very different things. Many surviving journals and letters dwell primarily upon family and friends, homesickness, the weather, surrounding nature, or camp life in the field (or on the water) with their comrades, but others (a much rarer group) are composed in the main of keen observations of military events. Park's naval chronicle definitely occupies a place in this latter category. In addition to numerous ship vs. shore and ship vs. ship engagements, he also writes about minesweeping and counter-guerrilla actions. The regularity by which Park notes the Essex picking up freedom-seeking escaped slaves for interrogation attests to their intelligence value to the fleet. All of this extremely dedicated 'shop talk' is lightened, however, with the occasional personal anecdote told with an appealing dry wit.

In his journal, Park recounts his shipboard experience of many of the most important campaigns fought along the western theater's inland waterways. In addition to the Essex, he also briefly served on the crew of the Pittsburg. Park was witness to the fall of Island No. 10, the captures of forts Henry and Donelson, and the destruction of the CSS Arkansas, but the most extensive event coverage in his journal relates to the long naval phase of the Port Hudson campaign. The Essex frequently bombarded the Confederate fortress in support of the land siege operation. As at Vicksburg, naval gunners were to establish siege batteries on land at Port Hudson, but the Confederates surrendered before Park himself made it ashore. After the siege ended, the Essex patrolled the Mississippi through the rest of the year. Its involvement in the doomed Red River Campaign early the following year was limited to picketing the lower Red. This was fortunate for Park personally but not so much for today's readers and historians, who would have greatly benefited from his dispassionate and keen observational abilities. The entries end in July 1864 with Park's mustering out of the service. Clearly meriting publication, this naval journal is a great primary resource for those studying the gunboat war fought along the lower Mississippi.

As before with her handling of the writings of Celeste Repp, Jeffrey's expansive primary and secondary source research in this section adds greatly to the value of the Park journal. The book's bibliography is more impressive than most original monographs, and one can recognize the editor's skilled source selection and interpretation in the explanatory footnotes. One of Jeffrey's most useful finds was another unpublished Essex journal (James Henneberry's), its helpful complementary nature to Park's writing well borne out in the notes. Union 'Brown Water Navy' crewman diaries and journals are rare, and Park's (also apparently the first Essex journal to be published) should occupy a prominent new place in this group.

The afterword explores the post-war lives of the book's main 'characters' — Repp, Victor, Hubert, and Park — with the same attention to detail. In the appendix section, other documents (ex. speeches, reports, correspondence) incorporated by Park into his journal are reproduced in full, and Jeffrey also includes a brief comparative study of the Park 'abstract journal' and later 'amplified memoir'.

For all of the reasons mentioned above, Two Civil Wars is highly recommended reading, drawing in individuals with interests seemingly as divergent as the Deep South Catholic experience in the antebellum period and Civil War ironclad warfare along the main waterways and byways of the lower Mississippi River Valley. If a yearly book award for Civil War manuscript editing exists, Katherine Bentley Jeffrey richly deserves to be on its short list of candidates.


More CWBA reviews of LSUP titles:

* Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South
* Citizen-officers: The Union and Confederate Volunteer Junior Officer Corps in the American Civil War
* Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness
* The Enigmatic South: Toward Civil War and Its Legacies
* Corps Commanders in Blue: Union Major Generals in the Civil War
* Gateway to the Confederacy: New Perspectives on the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns, 1862-1863
* Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln
* Greyhound Commander: Confederate General John G. Walker's History of the Civil War West of the Mississippi
* Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War
* Milliken's Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory
* Battle of Stones River: The Forgotten Conflict Between the Confederate Army of Tennessee and the Union Army of the Cumberland
* Granbury's Texas Brigade: Diehard Western Confederates
* The Last Battle of the Civil War: United States Versus Lee, 1861-1883
* Confederate Guerrilla: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia
* Lincoln and Citizens' Rights in Civil War Missouri: Balancing Freedom and Security
* War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914
* Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator
* Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community 1861-1865
* Mosquito Soldiers: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and the Course of the American Civil War
* Homegrown Yankees: Tennessee's Union Cavalry in the Civil War
* John Bankhead Magruder: A Military Reappraisal
* A Wisconsin Yankee in the Confederate Bayou Country: The Civil War Reminiscences of a Union General
* Bleeding Borders: Race, Gender, and Violence in Pre-Civil War Kansas
* Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era
* Where Men Only Dare to Go Or the Story of a Boy Company, C.S.A.
* Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks
* Walker’s Texas Division, C.S.A.: Greyhounds of the Trans-Mississippi
* The Confederate Cherokees: John Drew's Regiment of Mounted Rifles
* A Crisis In Confederate Command: Edmund Kirby Smith, Richard Taylor, And The Army Of The Trans-Mississippi
* The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Arkansas military atlas

Attention map lovers. There's another book project in the works that I wanted to mention. The several posts at the link provided here for Arkansas in the Civil War: A Military Atlas by Randy Puckett and Ron Kelley will give you an idea of what it entails. The authors meticulously digitized Confederate engineer Richard Venable's massive (and beautiful) map of the entire state, breaking it down into sections for publication in book form. The release date is June 10 and I'll have more information when the review copy arrives.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Booknotes: Hiking to History

New Arrival:
Hiking to History: A Guide to Off-Road New Mexico Historic Sites by Robert Julyan (Univ of New Mexico Pr, 2016).

"Written for both outdoor enthusiasts and vicarious travelers, Hiking to History describes the historical significance behind these publically accessible sites and includes GPS coordinates to enable readers to find each place. Ranging from the state’s principal Civil War battlefield at Glorieta to the dirt road where a broken wagon wheel led two young artists to settle in Taos in 1898, the scenes provide an up-close experience of the state’s remarkable past." Of the 23 sites examined in the book, one (Glorieta Pass) is directly Civil War-related.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Booknotes: The Rivers Ran Backward

New Arrival:
The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips (Oxford Univ Pr, 2016).

Historian Christopher Phillips knows the Civil War-era western border states as well as anyone. His new book The Rivers Ran Backward looks at the so-called "Middle Border" — the slaveholding states of Kentucky and Missouri and the free states of Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio — and finds an area with vigorous growth during the decades preceding the war and with much more overlapping political ideology and identity than popularly believed. Less caught up in radicalized sectionalism than other regions, Middle Border residents instead thought of themselves as part of the American West, a people hoping to bridge the differences between North and South and lead a united nation to an ever more prosperous future. The book "sheds light on the fluid political cultures of the "Middle Border" states during the Civil War era. Far from forming a fixed and static boundary between the North and South, the border states experienced fierce internal conflicts over their political and social loyalties. White supremacy and widespread support for the existence of slavery pervaded the "free" states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, which had much closer economic and cultural ties to the South, while those in Kentucky and Missouri held little identification with the South except over slavery. Ultimately, the pervasive violence of the Civil War and the cultural politics that raged in its aftermath proved to be the strongest determining factor in shaping these states' regional identities, leaving an indelible imprint on the way in which Americans think of themselves and others in the nation."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Battlefield Atlas of Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864

The U.S. Army's Combat Studies Institute press recently published Charles D. Collins Jr.'s Battlefield Atlas of Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864. Its 75 maps are pretty impressive at first glance. There's certainly nothing else like it in existence, and it's free to download as a .PDF from the page linked above. Thanks to Jim McGhee for notifying me about this and passing along the rumor that it might also be released in print form sometime this summer. I would definitely pick up a copy of that.