Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Booknotes III (April '10)

New Additions:

1. A Society of Gentlemen: Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, 1845-1861 by Mark C. Hunter (Naval Institute Press, 2010).

A social history and statistical analysis of Naval Academy cadets and their education, leading up to the Civil War.

2. Twilight on the South Carolina Rice Fields: Letters of the Heyward Family, 1862-1871 edited by Margaret Belser Hollis and Allen H. Stokes (U. of S. Carolina Press, 2010).

A hefty volume of Heyward family letters spanning the Civil War and Reconstruction, Twilight provides insight into the rice economy of the Beaufort area. With one family member (Barney Heyward) serving as an engineer officer on the coast during the Civil War, there is some military context as well. Considering how quickly and easily the Union navy subjugated the region, it makes one wonder how the pro-secession coastal and sea island planters originally envisioned their war going.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting. As far as Planters go, one that I have looked at in detail, Plowden C.J, Weston, from the Georgetown area, was very anti secession and then dumped a sizeable amount of money into the defense of the area, buying cannon, etc. I think he realised how vulnerable the area was.

    Lee

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  2. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the comment. It's probably unfair to expect southern civilians to have too much prescience about their vulnerability to Union combined operations (esp. given the rapid advances in naval steam power and heavy cannon technology that occurred right before the war). I suppose that they, like the residents of other southern states, did not expect so much South Carolina manpower and material resources would be sent away to distant fronts, either.

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