Thursday, January 22, 2009

Booknotes III (January 09)

Other acquisitions or review copies received this month:

Unwritten Chapters of the Civil War West of the River
series edited by Michael Banasik (The Camp Pope Bookshop):

Missouri Brothers in Gray: The Reminiscences and Letters of William J. Bull and John P. Bull (Vol. I - 1998).

Reluctant Cannoneer: The Diary of Robert T. McMahan of the Twenty-Fifth Independent Ohio Light Artillery (Vol. II - 2000).

Serving With Honor: The Diary of Captain Eathan Allen Pinnell of the Eighth Missouri Infantry (Confederate) (Vol. III - 1999).

Missouri in 1861: The Civil War Letters of Franc B. Wilkie, Newspaper Correspondent (Vol. IV - 2000).

There are detailed descriptions of these books at the link above, but all are remarkable for their meticulous editing by Banasik. The notes alone make them worthwhile, and each volume is full of useful extras and supplemental materials like unit rosters, orders of battle, casualty lists, biographies, and more. I've been told the Pinnell diary is one of the best in existence from a T-M soldier, so I'll start with that one.

The Battle of Chapman's Fort, May 26, 1864 by Warren Ripley (Ashepoo Plantation, 1978). This is a very brief account of a late war Union attempt to break the Charleston & Savannah RR. To get at it, the army planned a dual advance up the Ashepoo and Edisto rivers. The former wing was turned back by a battery at Ft. Chapman. Ripley's is a serviceable account (notes indicate a dearth of source material beyond the O.R., but some very nice color maps) of this bungled operation.

Louisville & the Civil War: A History & Guide by Bryan Bush (The History Press, 2008). I am surprised more isn't written about Louisville and its role in the war. The standard work is still the unimpressive City of Conflict: Louisville in the Civil War, 1861-1865 by Robert Emmett McDowell (Louisville CWRT, 1962).


  1. The "Unwritten Chapters" series is the best little known civil war series in print. What a shame.

  2. Jim,
    I agree. They are easily as good as any university press produced book of the same type. I do my best to spread the word.


Blogger ID not required to comment, but please SIGN YOUR POST with your name. Otherwise, your comment may be rejected. Also, outside promotions are not allowed in the comments section.