Thursday, February 10, 2022

Booknotes: Day by Day Through the Civil War in Georgia

New Arrival:
Day by Day Through the Civil War in Georgia by Michael K. Shaffer (Mercer UP, 2022).

From the description: "Until now, a daily account (1,630 days) of Georgia's social, political, economic, and military events during the Civil War did not exist. During the 160 years since the conflict's termination, many fine accounts of wartime Georgia have rolled off various presses. Each daily entry derives from a quill scrolling the parchment or a press imprinting type on the day the activity occurred."

Entries generally stick to a single event or topic, presumably judged by author Michael Shaffer to have been the most significant or interesting happening of the day. Nearly every entry includes some length of quoted text from a newspaper article, diary, letter, legislative resolution, government document, political speech, etc. The O.R. is heavily used as well along with a number of other published primary and secondary sources. All of the citations can be found at the bottom of the page in the footnote provided for each day. For reasons unexplained (or at least I didn't uncover more about it during my quick once over), the phases of the moon [quarter, full, new] are also marked on the applicable headings.

More from the description: "Many former reference books were too much North or too much South, but with this effort, Michael K. Shaffer strikes a balance between the combatants while remembering the struggles of enslaved persons, folks on the home front, and merchants and clergy attempting to maintain some sense of normalcy."

The volume contains around fifty pages of illustrations (including maps, paintings, photos, and drawings), all collected together in a gallery placed at the front of the book. Other supplements can be found in the appendix section. There you'll find the full texts of the state secession declaration, Alexander Stephens's "Cornerstone Speech," Georgia's constitution, and more. There's also a substantial index with an abundance of sub-headings for additional cross referencing.

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