Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ferguson: "Southerners at Rest: Confederate Dead at Hollywood Cemetery"

[Southerners at Rest: Confederate Dead at Hollywood Cemetery by Chris L. Ferguson (Angle Valley Press*, 2008). 8.5 x 11 Hardcover, map, table, photo gallery, notes, select bibliography. Pp. 336. ISBN: 978-0-9711950-4-2 $34.95]

Not being too familiar with the available literature dealing with Civil War cemeteries, I'll happily defer to Robert E.L. Krick's introduction for the best assessment of the significance of the publication of Chris Ferguson's Southerners at Rest. According to Krick, the author has compiled the most complete and accurate list of Hollywood Cemetery interments to date (almost doubling the number available from earlier research). Incredibly, Ferguson's examination of the first published compilation, a register assembled by the Ladies Hollywood Memorial Association in 1869, uncovered an error of some kind in nearly every entry. He clearly had his work cut out for him on this project, poring through service records, city hospital ledgers, and the genealogical archives of the LDS church and other entities.

The author's new corrected and expanded interment list is presented to the reader in a helpful and visually pleasing tabular format. The following information is provided for each alphabetically listed burial entry: name, company/regiment, dates of birth & death, grave section & burial plot designation, and a short comment. The list is also annotated.

Ferguson's study is presented in an attractive, user friendly format. A cemetery map is included, along with over 100 photographs, many published for the first time. The table itself, employing alternate shaded entries laterally, was crafted to be visually ergonomic. In terms of ease of use, durability, and style, Southerners at Rest is a first-class publication. The only desirable feature missing is a chapter length narrative history of Hollywood Cemetery to go along with Krick's brief foreword and the author's preface. While its omission does not detract from the value of the book, such background information would have helped new readers better understand the significance of Hollywood.

An authoritative compilation, it is clear that Southerners at Rest will be a valuable addition to institutional reference libraries and personal collections alike. Researchers, historians, genealogists, and curious descendants all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ferguson for his meticulous efforts.

* * * * * * * * *
* - The proprietor of Angle Valley Press, John J. Fox III, was interviewed here in 2006 (see Parts One and Two). Mr Fox also authored the award winning regimental history Red Clay to Richmond: Trail of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment C.S.A..

Mr. Ferguson is also the author of Hollywood Cemetery, Her Forgotten Soldiers: Confederate Field Officers at Rest (2001).

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