Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Booknotes: Confederate Courage on Other Fields

New Arrival:
Confederate Courage on Other Fields: Overlooked Episodes of Leadership, Cruelty, Character, and Kindness by Mark J. Crawford (Savas Beatie, 2017).

With everyone else apparently on vacation, SB is still releasing a steady stream of titles in July. Alas, I have mixed feelings about their latest, a reissue of Mark Crawford's Confederate Courage on Other Fields (originally published in 2000 by McFarland).

After a quick glance through the “An Eye for an Eye" section, it appears that the new edition is not backtracking from its endorsement of the mythical massacre of civilians at Pulliam's Spring/Farm (a.k.a. the "Christmas Massacre" or "Wilson Massacre") in 1863. A bloody fight did occur, but numerous reliable scholars of the Civil War in SE Missouri (people I respect like Bryce Suderow, Jim McGhee, Lou Wehmer, Kirby Ross, Ray Burson, and Bruce Nichols) have investigated the massacre claims, and none have uncovered a single shred of credible evidence that women and children were killed on that day. The late Jerry Ponder was the primary force behind the myth. For years he peddled a transcription of an alleged smoking gun document, the T. L. Wright paper (the original of which has never been produced), and built up quite a local following from the use of it even though the item's provenance is laughable. Anyway, I've had my say about that, and the nonsensical portion of the Pulliam's Spring section is just a tiny part of Crawford's book. 

Here's a rundown of the volume's contents from the description:

"“Rebel Resort of the Dead” introduces readers to General Hospital Number One in Kittrell Springs, North Carolina, where hospital chaplain Rev. M. M. Marshall did his best to tend to the religious needs of severely wounded men. Marshall’s recently discovered recollections are threaded throughout this moving narrative and include many of the last words of dying soldiers.

“I’ll Live Yet to Dance on That Foot!” offers the letters of Charles Blacknall, a wealthy plantation owner-turned-Confederate officer who penned candid letters back home that reveal not only an educated and passionate man, but one who is slowly being consumed by war.

The astonishing tale of a personal conflict between a Union major and a Confederate colonel unfolds in “An Eye for an Eye.” The quarrel, which quickly became deeply personal, resulted in a series of vicious retaliatory killings, guerrilla warfare, the eventual intervention of president Abraham Lincoln―and the murder of one of the officers.

The story of the Battle of Dinwiddie Courthouse, a bitter battle during the closing days of the war in Virginia, is told through many first-person accounts in “The South’s ‘Sunset Charge.’” In this fight, the prelude to the better-known battle of Five Forks, Federal troops put up a stout fight, despite being heavily outnumbered, with the help of their deadly repeating carbines.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Drew

    This is a reprint (we were not the original publisher) and we are happy to bring it back out again. We used the original files, so other than very minor changes, none were possible.


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