Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book News: Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War

During the first half of the previous decade, the History Press's prolific Civil War Sesquicentennial series provided writers with a great forum for presenting concise, well-illustrated narratives covering a broad range of topics both well-known and obscure. Though the pace of Civil War releases has slowed since that time and the press has since joined forces with fellow Charleston, SC outfit Arcadia Publishing, their Civil War Series remains hard at work filling in some of the smaller yet still significant gaps in the book-length literature. A solid component of the ongoing series addresses neglected Civil War events that occurred along the coastlines and inland waterways of the South Atlantic. The next release from that category will be Frank Ofeldt's Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War.

Even though Amelia Island was connected by rail to the Florida interior, its deep-water port of Fernandina and its military guardian, Fort Clinch, were notable casualties of the widespread pullback of Confederate forces from the coast undertaken in the wake of a series of early-war military disasters that clearly demonstrated the Confederacy's inability to adequately defend its maritime borders against Union amphibious might. Ofeldt's book discusses this lesser-known part of Florida's Civil War history.

From the description: "Even though Fernandina was tucked away in the far southern reaches of the Confederacy, Fort Clinch had been abandoned to Federal forces by March 1862. It proved a boon to the Union war effort, and the island became a haven for runaway slaves, with many joining the Federal army. The military occupation of this vital seaport helped end the war, and the Reconstruction period that followed bore witness to Union and Confederate veterans working together to bring Fernandina into a golden era of prosperity."

According to his author bio, Ofeldt is currently serving as a park service specialist at Fort Clinch, where he's spent over two decades of a nearly thirty-year career with the Florida Park Service. Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War is set for an August 2020 release [Note: at the moment, the 'Look Inside' feature found at the link above erroneously takes you inside Ofeldt's earlier Fort Clinch book. Hopefully, that will get fixed soon.].

1 comment:

  1. Drew
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I really enjoy History Press's Civil War Sesquicentennial series and their more obscure CW titles. I have a lot of their books that just as you note fill those small yet significant gaps that would rarely merit a whole book length treatment. Curt Thomasco

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