Sunday, January 4, 2015

More Civil War North Carolina studies

In an earlier post [here], I remarked upon the mini-avalanche of North Carolina titles that a single publisher had planned for 2015. South Carolina's The History Press also has something in store for Civil War readers interested in their neighbor just to the north.

The Civil War furnishes several examples of high ranking professional soldiers holding substantial state and Confederate commands early in the war only to disappear abruptly from the history books. Arkansas West Pointer N. Bart Pearce immediately comes to mind but another is North Carolina's Richard Caswell Gatlin. Also a USMA graduate, the older Gatlin was promoted to CSA brigadier general in August 1861 and placed in charge of the coastal defenses of North Carolina just in time to witness the arrival of the first wave of overpowering Union land and naval forces that would eventually seize control of the region. Naturally, Gatlin was blamed for the loss of eastern North Carolina but historians have been kinder, citing the scarcity of resources available. I've long sought a book length study reevaluating Gatlin's command tenure and with James Gaddis's Richard Gatlin and the Confederate Defense of Eastern North Carolina set for a March release the very thing is just over the horizon.

Also scheduled that month is The History of Fort Ocracoke in Pamlico Sound by Robert Smith. Built by the Confederates on Beacon Island to act as guardian of Ocracoke Inlet, it was abandoned upon the loss of Hatteras Island and razed by Union forces soon after. If the quality of Smith's book is anything like series mate The Civil War on Hatteras it will be worth reading.

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