Saturday, March 11, 2017

Booknotes: The Civil War Diary of Rev. James Sheeran, C.Ss.R.

New Arrival:
The Civil War Diary of Rev. James Sheeran, C.Ss.R.: Confederate Chaplain and Redemptorist edited by Patrick J. Hayes (The Catholic Univ of America Pr, 2016).

A native of Ireland, Rev. Sheeran was the chaplain of the 14th Louisiana during the Civil War. He "was one of only a few dozen Catholic chaplains commissioned for the Confederacy and one of only two who kept a journal." Sheeran's voluminous 1862-65 diary is "arguably the most unique narrative of the war written by a chaplain of any denomination and certainly is the most extensive." The diary has long been used as source material for Army of Northern Virginia studies, and Gary Gallagher's cover blurb describes the new edition as "by far the fullest and most accurate to date."

More from the book description: "The window given into the pastoral dimension of serving in America's bloodiest war is further enhanced by a running commentary on politics, race, religion, and charitable works throughout the South. He also supplies an insight into incarceration as a prisoner of war at Fort McHenry, Baltimore. Last, because Sheeran was a frequent name dropper, tracking the movements of key military personnel or other personages of the war is made considerably easier through Sheeran's references―all of which have been scrupulously documented in an easy-to-use index."

Having had a Catholic upbringing, I probably shouldn't have needed to look up which order was C.Ss.R and had members called Redemptorists. Since Sheeran was apparently a diehard Confederate, my first thought was that the publisher had come up with another word for Redeemer/Redemptionist.


  1. Actually I had to look up that order. But then I was educated by the C.S.C.'s in South Bend - who don't recognize the S.J.'s as being in the same religion. :)

    1. There are probably many obscure ones we don't know about. The kind that employ albino, self-flagellating hitmen against Holy Cross heretics.

    2. Well, I'd describe the Jebbies in more diplomatic terms than that :)


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