Wednesday, November 9, 2005

BOWM - "Embattled Shrine"

My 'Best of White Mane' publishing series continues with David F. Riggs' fine book Embattled Shrine: Jamestown in the Civil War. I realize most people, including the unfortunate lone Amazon reviewer, would likely place this book in the 'who cares' category, but Peninsula Campaign enthusiasts (like me) and those interested in the Civil War on the Peninsula in general should find it of great interest. The amount of research material (especially the impressive array of manuscript sources) amassed by the author for such a relatively obscure project is to the highest degree commendable. Riggs, curator of the Jamestown museum collection at the national historical park there, is clearly an authority on the subject and meticulously traces the military development of Jamestown Island during the Civil War.

Although detailed, the text was rather short, running at around 100 pages. For me, the real value of the book was in the appendices (these actually make up about half the book). They include:
  • a Jamestown Civil War chronology
  • a list of Confederate commanders
  • a comprehensive list of Confederate military units stationed at Jamestown (including their armaments and dates served)
  • a table of Confederate strength at Jamestown by date
  • an index of Confederate artillery on the island by location, date, and gun type (very nice)
  • a survey of earthworks, including detailed schematic drawings of the various forts, redoubts, lunettes, redans, and batteries located at Jamestown
  • and a list of Union units stationed at Jamestown
If this kind of information is interesting or useful to you you should get this book. Really, used and new copies of this book are practically being given away (see Amazon above) so there is no excuse not to pick it up if you are even remotely interested in the subject matter.

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