Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Booknotes: A South Carolina Upcountry Saga

New Arrival:
A South Carolina Upcountry Saga: The Civil War Letters of Barham Bobo Foster and His Family, 1860–1863 edited by A. Gibert Kennedy (USC Press, 2019).

In A South Carolina Upcountry Saga: The Civil War Letters of Barham Bobo Foster and His Family, 1860-1863, editor A. Gibert Kennedy uses "dozens of public and privately owned letters" to tell the wartime story of his great-great-grandfather's Spartanburg District family.

From the description: "Barham Bobo Foster was a gentleman planter from the Piedmont who signed the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession and served as a lieutenant colonel in the Third South Carolina Volunteers alongside his two sons. Kennedy's primary sources are letters written by Foster and his sons, but he also references correspondence involving Foster's daughters and his wife, Mary Ann."

Lt. Col. B.B. Foster's Confederate service ended early due to ill health, but both sons Capt. Lewis Perrin Foster and Cpl. James Anthony Foster were killed in action. "Tony" died in the attack on Maryland Heights in 1862 and his officer brother was mortally wounded a short time later defending Marye's Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Their "letters describe experiences on the battlefields of Virginia (the Bull Run, Peninsula, Maryland, and Fredericksburg campaigns) and South Carolina, vividly detailing camp life, movements, and battles along with stories of bravery, loss, and sacrifice."

In the end, "The Civil War cost Foster his health, all that he owned, and his two sons, though he was able to rebuild with the help of his wife and three daughters. Supplementing the correspondence with maps, illustrations, and genealogical information, Kennedy shows the full arc of the Foster family's struggle and endurance in the Civil War era." Kennedy also contributes a general introduction, footnotes, and additional supporting text throughout.

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