Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New Bern and the Civil War

Overall, the Burnside Expedition to North Carolina in 1862 has received more than satisfactory literature coverage. However, considering how many smaller actions have received book-length treatments, it is a bit curious that the campaign's largest field battle by far, the March 14, 1862 Battle of New Bern, has not been accorded the same kind of standalone study. Even so, given how well the battle is covered by Richard Sauers in his classic campaign history "A Succession of Honorable Victories": The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina (Morningside, 1996) this omission ranks relatively low on the disappointment scale.

That said, New Bern and the Civil War by Jim White will be published next February as part of THP's prolific Civil War Series. The book description seems to indicate a strong focus on the two battles fought at New Bern, Burnside's victory referenced above as well as the failed Confederate attempt to retake the town in early February 1864 (Wiki summary). As far as I know, no book has been written about the second battle either.

In terms of writer background, White (according to his bio "a retired educator, principal and college professor") has authored books on Portsmouth Island and New Bern history, including Portsmouth Divided: The Civil War on Portsmouth Island (which I've never heard of before now but will try to seek out sometime). Beyond it representing one of the terra firma borders of Okracoke Inlet, I'm not sure if I've read much about Portsmouth Island in a Civil War context before, so that one might be interesting, too.


  1. For what it's worth, I just checked Amazon and Abebooks to see about availability of Sauers's volume. It seems to be entirely unavailable other than a used copy for sale on Amazon for over $,2700! Ted Savas - are you reading this? A possible SB candidate?

    1. Any announcement of a reprint will arrive a day after you badly overspend on a first edition.

    2. Too true - speaking from experience.

  2. That's funny. We are ready to announce the imminent release of Rick Sauer's three-volume guide to the National Tribune (a goldmine of overlooked CW articles and info) and have discussed his Burnside study. Problem of course is there are no files, and you have to destroy one of the books to create one.


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