A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

RESEARCHING THE CIVIL WAR

or

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS ON THE WAR OF THE REBELLION

by

Barry J. Crompton

First published 1996, updated slightly 2010

 

INTRODUCTION

Over the past few years there has been a proliferation of interest into the Civil War; this is an attempt to put together somewhat of an overview for the new reader to see what is available; what can be found in which locations, and a guide if you wish to go further. There are magazines, bookshops, libraries and research centres which will be more than happy to help.

Civil War books get written, television and the cinema use the subject as a basis for many productions, and even Australian links to the war can be located without a great deal of trouble. For some people it's easy to get to a library and find what you want; for others it's a nightmare. This may ease the burden for some and give a few hints to the experienced researcher or collector.

 

At some stage we all need to find information and it's been my lot over the years to gradually have to seek out some pretty difficult choices so the purpose of this is to let some of our newer devotees into the mystic realm of research.

Most research is conducted along fairly straight paths and our usual links with the war is usually on the side of the military angle, and probably to find the history of a person or a regiment during the war. As a result, the habits that I've picked up in that respect will probably be the main avenue that this talk will take.

The Civil War has so far taken about 40,000 books to write its history and the publishing of new volumes shows no sign of slackening off. Whether you need to actually buy all of those titles or just some may be judged by the result of my efforts.

From the end of the war in 1865 to the beginning of the centennial in 1961, something like 20,000 titles were printed; another 20,000 titles have been released over the past 30 years and there still appears to be no shortage of either new text or new papers uncovered from various places.

There are at least several sources in Melbourne and I would hazard a guess and say that they also relate to other states in Australia - researchers in the U.S. fortunately have a much wider avenue to gather the same information but it can be found quite easily right at your fingertips.

Melbourne is blessed with excellent locations for Civil War text in the State Library in Swanston Street, Melbourne; plus the Melbourne, Monash and Latrobe Libraries, each of which have very wide ranges of titles although Latrobe University has the most depth.

Therefore you don't need to continually write to the U.S. for source information although you may eventually be forced to travel along that path if your research gets to the depth where even our learned institutions can't be of assistance.

The below thought and comment is therefore based on knowledge gained from either my own library or else readily available in one of the major libraries stated above.

Taken one step at a time, the most logical start for any researcher is to know where to look and what to look for. We'll take an example in that you've found the name of someone who served in a Civil War military unit and you want to know more about that person - which is the majority of starting information. You could begin by writing to the National Archives in the U.S. for information on that person but unless you know where the person was born or where he came from you have a very large job in front of you.

At the start of the war there were 35 states, most of those states have produced alphabetical rosters of the men who served, some as in Louisiana have produced excellent indexed rosters; some like Tennessee or Michigan have produced a basic listing of alphabetical surnames, christian name and initial; rank, company and regiment. Others like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts or Ohio have produced 2, 3 or 12 volumes of rosters, not indexed and as can be expected, they can be therefore a very long and time consuming task to find a name.

As 90 out of every 100 serving soldiers had the rank of Private, one would not expect each and every soldier of that rank to be highlighted by independent information, but the higher you go up the ladder the more information if available. The National Archives in Washington, D.C., will have service records available for each serving member as long as you can find a regimental or unit designation as the records are kept by regiment and then alphabetically. Above the rank of Private will be Corporals and Sergeants who again were in shorter supply but again it is only when you hit the rank of officer status such as Lieutenants that you can begin to start finding names a little easier.

Going up the scale, company Captains will theoretically have more information due to their positions and again Majors, Lieutenant-Colonels and Colonels will also have more options to be listed. By the time that you get to field commanders as in Generals, there are more avenues open and good brief biographies of each available at a finger's length away.

Ezra J. Warner has contributed greatly to the researcher's dream by putting out "Generals in Blue" and Generals in Gray" while Roger Long has contributed recently with another listing of "Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue". Joseph Crute has also assisted with "Confederate Staff Officers" and Robert Krick with "Lee's Colonels", a brief biographical listing of all field officers (Majors to Colonels) in the Army of Northern Virginia. Many of the leading generals have had numerous biographies, those of Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Lee, Jackson, Stuart and Mosby leading the race, but it is possible to find good biographical works on most important generals and more are being added each year. Douglas Southall Freeman's "Lee's Lieutenants" provides an in-depth look at the Army of Northern Virginia; a two volume history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee by Thomas Connolly is also recommended; on the Union side "Lincoln Finds A General" by T. Harry Williams in 8 volumes is also very useful, as is Bruce Catton's "The Army of the Potomac" in three volumes.

Once a regimental designation has been identified, we can start to look for regimental histories. Again we are well served with both the Union wonderfully represented by Frederick H. Dyer's "A Compendium of the Rebellion" and by a lesser amount Joseph Crute's "Units of the Confederate States Army". Terry Welcher has also started two volumes of the organization of the Union Army down to corps level so again it's getting easier to delve deeper and deeper. In 1992 Stewart Sifakis had also begun a Confederate companion piece to Dyer's efforts and these were completed by late 1994.

If the unit designation has been located then there is every good chance that a regimental history may have been compiled. If so, Charles Dornbusch has put together four volumes of Civil War Military Bibliography, ranging from publishing dates just after the war to the 1970's. A later bibliography, "Civil War Eyewitnesses" lists those new titles from the 1970's to the mid 1980's. A separate volume of Gettysburg books is also available, as are other bibliographies of subjects which cross-check what we need (including one for naval personnel, "American Civil War Navies: A Bibliography".

The most researched and best location for information on regiments if you can take the time is the 126 volumes of the Official Records of the Army, which fortunately has an excellent one volume index and again with time on your side you can find some great information. Other large volumes of reminiscences include the "Confederate Veteran" in 40 volumes, the Southern Historical Society Papers in 52 volumes and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States now being reprinted in around 40 volumes. Tom Broadfoot in North Carolina is to print an additional 50 volumes of Army official records between 1994 and 1995.

For the smaller collector, and somewhere good to start out, would be the four volumes of "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" while good descriptions of battles, famous people and lots of other goodies is the "Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War" by Patricia Faust. For statistics, another highly recommended book is "Regimental Losses in the Civil War" by Fox. Multi-volume works by such known authors as Shelby Foote, Bruce Catton and Allan Nevins can also locate general information written in an informative way. Douglas Southall Freeman's "Lee's Lieutenants" and Bruce Catton's "The Army of the Potomac" concentrate one level down again on a particular army as against the entire war and in these multi-volumes are perhaps the greatest research conducted to lead you onto regimental and unit histories.

As started earlier, you can begin with a general knowledge, work yourself down to generals and then the units under their command all of the way down to Company levels where memoirs and reminiscences on just about every known incident of the war can be found. Several states have provided good material, others are just working on their histories as is the case of North Carolina which will still take another 10 years to go before they are finished with their projected 19 volumes.

There are also now starting to find multi-volume sets of just campaigns conducted in a state or area - three volumes of North Carolina participation; three volumes of Florida and the bibliography of the battle in Gettysburg itself hold a complete book. Gettysburg has been the most-written about battle or campaign and the wealth of material is evidence of the public fascination on this topic.

Excellent authors such as Edward Stackpole who has written four volumes on eastern campaigns or James McDonough who has written five volumes on the western campaigns can also influence your research and can be handy bedside companions. Again it is stated that the wide array of books is only limited by what you can personally See. Although the original first hand accounts have more intimacy, the recent scholarly works by such authors as Richard Sommers in his "Richmond Redeemed" contain a greater variety of reference material and as such an overview of the subject matter not available to earlier scholars or participants.

In the case of the public libraries it is still possible to find a wealth of material. In the State Library at Melbourne, there is a catalog of available historical societies throughout the U.S., arranged by state and then city. This will provide good contacts for work which requires geographical information; the U.S. also have produced an excellent set of materials of the Library of Congress National Union Catalog of Manuscripts in about 20 volumes which has been printed to access those manuscripts in collections within state, university and other public archives throughout the U.S. Again an alphabetical listing year by year as well as a brief description of the contents of each group of manuscripts makes the tool very valuable.

Although smaller in size at Melbourne and Monash Universities, both libraries can boast holdings of at least 500 books on the war let alone other secondary information such as microfilms of American period newspapers, English and Australian newspapers also to tell us what the foreign correspondents wrote of the war; and other bibliographical listings; magazines of both Civil War and general historical themes; and in the case of the Australian National Library in Canberra, microfilms of the Confederate Imprints, that is, copies of items published in the Confederacy, from newspapers, bibles, posters, novels, sermons, lectures, cartoons, and other areas of printing. The State Library of Victoria photographic collection includes a book of carte-de-visite photos taken around the time of the Civil War and has around 30-odd photos of prominent Civil War personalities.

As before stated, the Latrobe University Library does have an exceedingly good collection, strengthened by the 40 volumes of the Confederate Veteran magazine and a large cross-selection of both popular biographies and reminiscences. The books are arranged according to the usual Dewey Decimal filing system (U.S. history is around 973, Civil War is 973.7'3) although there are numerous other areas of Civil War related works such as naval, politics, the Australian connections, etc., so as they say, it is always wise to use the computer's search system rather than rely on your own ability.

Perhaps the most valuable part of the library has been the recent addition of the Civil War Regimental series on microfiche. This collection, based upon Charles Dornbusch's "Military Bibliography of the Civil War", contains almost very military title printed between the end of the war and the 1920's. Each regimental history, reminiscence, memoir, biography and state report is presented as well as an addition area of Civil War naval titles based upon the book "American Civil War Navies: A Bibliography" by Myron J. Smith. This should give Latrobe University Library a push to excel in its collection of Civil War research items.

All in all a visit to any library should be a rewarding experience and one that will put you in good stead for your next bout of research.

Once you have located an individual in a regiment or military organisation, to get his army papers from the National Archives, a request must be made. Write to the

Military Service Branch (NNMS)

National Archives and Records Service

National Archives

8th and Pennsylvania AVenue NW

Washington, D.C., 20408

U.S.A.

Request NATF Form 80 (a couple if you require for other purposes can be helpful), which is used to research information any veteran from the Revolution to the Spanish-American War. In about a month or two the form will arrive, an original with two copies underneath. On compiling the form, you can either ask for military records or pension records - Union soldiers were able to claim a pension if they had been disabled by the war; Confederate veterans on the other hand, could only claim a pension from their state.

Many state archives have large holdings; genealogical societies, libraries, Civil War museums and Round Tables will also have guidelines on what is available, each and every source can be a new and unexpected windfall, or else a lead to the next piece of buried treasure.

In regard to what is a good library, there will always be several options available, and one very important matter is the size of your wallet available for the purchases necessary to form a cross-selection of titles and useful research material. Fortunately a lot of the most important titles are being reprinted at various times and now it appears to be one of the best as far as having such accessible at your fingertips.

Several popular authors have made their names out of the Civil War; in the 1930's and '40's it was Douglas Southall Freeman with his award-winning "R.E. Lee" and then "Lee's Lieutenants". In the 1950's and 1960's Bruce Catton held sway with his three volumes of the Army of the Potomac and then the Centennial History of the Civil War published in the early 1960's. Following in their footsteps have been such luminaries as Wiley Sword, Bell I. Wiley, William C. Davis, James I. Robertson, and one which is only several years old and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History, "The Battle Cry of Freedom" by James M. McPherson.

A number of other authors are snapping at their heels and the incidence of Civil War journals and magazines allows a wide range of authors to produce sufficient stories to get their name across with ease. Civil War Times Illustrated sells 150,000 copies each issue and there's obviously a very big market open for the studious Civil War buff. Another half a dozen magazine also feed off the interest generated by the popularity of the television series "The Civil War" screened in 1991 and that has also livened up the debate on who's hot and who's not.

Large book publishers have also grown with the demand; Tom Broadfoot and Bob Younger of the Morningside Press are just two who have invested many thousands of pages into reprints, others such as Dave Zullo, Ed Archer and others continue to supply a growing market of eager book buyers who still prove that if you mention "Civil War" on the cover you can guarantee good sales.

As of January 1997 Civil War book dealers in America who are pleased to sell to Australian customers and most have detailed catalogs of offerings. The catalogs in some cases are free for the asking, in other cases may be only received on payment of a small subscription or to active buyers. Most shops also cater for international credit card sales. They can be contacted at the following:

Edgar G. Archer, Bohemian Brigade Bookshop, 7347 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37909, phone (615) 694 8227

Abraham Lincoln Bookshop, 357 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60610, phone (312) 944 3085

Bookworm & Silverfish, PO Box 639, Wytheville, Virginia, 24382, phone (703) 686 5813

Mike Brackin, PO Box 23 MO, Manchester, Connecticut, 06045, phone (203) 647 8620

Tom Broadfoot, Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1907 Buena Vista Circle, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28405, phone (919) 686 4359

McGowan Book Company, PO Box 16325, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27516, phone (919) 968 1121

Bob Younger, Morningside Bookshop. PO Box 1087, 260 Oak Street, Dayton, Ohio, 45401.

Len Rosa, War Between the States Memorabilia, PO Box 3965, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 17325, phone (717) 337 2853

Pauline Peterson, The Conflict, 213 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 17325, phone (717) 334 8003

Dave Zullo, Olde Soldier Books, 18779B North Frederick Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20879, phone (301) 963 2929.

Butternut & Blue. (Jim & Judy McLean). 3411 Northwind Road, Baltimore, Maryland, 21234, phone (410) 256 9220

The Carolina Trader, (Richard and Esther Shields). Box 769, Monroe, North Carolina, 28111, phone (704) 289 1604.

Three dealers in Melbourne have a pretty good range of Civil War Books between them and can be contacted for their ranges of titles:

Arthur Hyland, Hyland's Bookshop, 1st Floor, 238 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000. Phone (03) 9654 6883

Rory Sharpe, Military Bookroom, 1410 Malvern Road, Glen Iris, Vic., 3146, phone (03) 9820 1042

Napoleon's Military Bookshop, 309 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 3000, phone (03) 9602 2662.

BEST BOOKS

Civil War Times Illustrated in August 1981 (Volume 20, Number 5) published a list of "More than 100 Best Books on the Civil War" and although a few have now been overshadowed or surpassed, it makes interesting reading to see what was considered in 1981 to be the premier books available:

GENERAL REFERENCE WORKS

Billings, John D. Hardtack and Coffee

Boatner, Mark. The Civil War Dictionary

Dornbusch, Charles. Regimental Publications and Personal Narratives of the Civil War (a bibliography)

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion

Jones, Virgil Carrington. The Civil War at Sea

Krick, Robert K. Lee's Colonels

Long, E.B. The Civil War Day by Day

Moore, Frank Rebellion Record

National Historical Society (edited by William C. Davis). The Image of War

National Historical Society: The War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (reprint)

Southern Historical Society. Southern Historical Society Papers

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray

Wiley, Bell I. The Life of Billy Yank

Wiley, Bell I. The Life of Johnny Reb

BIOGRAPHY AND PERSONALITIES

Castel, Albert. General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West

Catton, Bruce. Grant Moves South

Catton, Bruce. Grant Takes Command

Catton, Bruce. U.S. Grant and the American Military Tradition.

Chambers, Lenoir. Stonewall Jackson

Connelly, Thomas L. The Marble Man (Robert E. Lee's Image in history)

Davis, Burke. Jeb Stuart: The Last Cavalier

Davis, William C. Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol

Donald, David. Lincoln Reconsidered.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee's Lieutenants.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. R.E. Lee (a 3-volume biography)

Hassler, Warren. George B. McClellan: Shield of the Union

Henderson, G.F.R. Stonewall Jackson

Henry, Robert Selph. "First With the Most" Forrest

Hesseltine, W.B. Lincoln and the War Governors

Jones, Virgil Carrington. Ranger Mosby

Lewis, Lloyd. Captain Sam Grant

Lewis, Lloyd. Sherman: Fighting Prophet

Liddell-Hart, B.H. Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American

McDonald, Archie P. Make Me a Map of the Valley (The life of Jedediah Hotchkiss)

Oates, Stephen. With Malice Towards None: Abraham Lincoln

Randall, James G. Lincoln the President

Roland, Charles. Albert Sidney Johnston

Sandburg, Carl. Lincoln: The War Years.

Thomason, John W., Jr. Jeb Stuart

Vandiver, Frank. Mighty Stonewall

Williams, K.P. Lincoln Finds A General

Williams, T. Harry. Lincoln and His Generals.

Williams, T. Harry. P.G.T. Beauregard, Napoleon in Gray

Wyeth, John A. Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest

Wyeth, John A. That Devil Forrest

 

HISTORY OF THE ARMIES AND MEN

Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac Trilogy: A Stillness at Appomattox, Glory Road, Mr. Lincoln's Army

Connelly, Thomas L. The Army of Tennessee in two volumes: Army of the Heartland, Autumn of Glory

Cornish, Dudley T. The Sable Arm: Negro Troops in the Union Army

Duke, Basil. A History of Morgan's Cavalry

Horn, Stanley. The Army of Tennessee

Nolan, Alan. The Iron Brigade

Pullen, John. The 20th Maine

Robertson, James I., Jr. The Stonewall Brigade

Van Horne, Thomas B. History of the Army of the Cumberland

Wise, Jennings C. The Long Arm of Lee

AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, MEMOIRS AND PERSONAL WORKS

Alexander, Edward P. Military Memoirs of a Confederate

Basler, Roy. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln

Brooks, Noah. Washington in Lincoln's Time

Carter, R.G. Four Brothers in Blue

Chamberlain, Joshua L. The Passing of the Armies.

Chesnut, Mary Boykin. Diary From Dixie

Cooke, John Esten. Wearing of the Gray

Crook, George. General George Crook: His Autobiography

Douglas, Henry Kyd. I Rode With Stonewall

Duke, Basil. Reminiscences.

Early, Jubal. Autobiographical Sketch

Gibbon, John. Personal Recollections of the Civil War.

Gordon, John B. Reminiscences of the Civil War.

Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

Johnston, Joseph E. Narrative of Military Operations

Jones, John B. A Rebel War Clerk's Diary

Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox

McClellan, George B. McClellan's Own Story

McClellan, Henry B. I Rode With JEB Stuart

McDonald, Cornelia. A Diary With Reminiscences of the War and Refugee Life

Porter, Horace. Campaigning With Grant

Quaife, M.M. From the Cannon's Mouth: The Civil War Letters of General Alpheus S. Williams

Russell, William Henry. My Diary North and South

Sheridan, Philip Henry. Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan

Sherman, William T. Personal Memoirs of William T. Sherman

Taylor, Richard. Destruction and Reconstruction

Wainwright, Charles S. A Diary of Battle

Welles, Gideon. The Diary of Gideon Welles

GENERAL HISTORIES OF THE WAR

Catton, Bruce. The Centennial History of the Civil War: The Coming Fury, Terrible Swift Sword, Never Call Retreat

Catton, Bruce. This Hallowed Ground

Donald, David, and Hirst D. Milhollen, Milton Kaplen, Hulen Stuart. Divided We Fought

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative (3 volumes)

Johnson, Robert Underwood & Clarence Clough Buel (editors). Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

Nevins, Allan. The War For The Union (4 volumes)

Randall, James G. and David Donald. The Civil War and Reconstruction

HISTORIES OF THE CONFEDERACY

Davis, Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government

Eaton, Clement. History of the Southern Confederacy

Kean, R.G.H. Inside the Confederate Government

Thomas, Emory. The Confederate Nation

Thomas, Emory. The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience

Vandiver, Frank. Their Tattered Flags

LITERATURE AND FICTION

Benet, Stephen Vincent. John Brown's Body

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage

Dowdey, Clifford. Bugles Blow No More

Fowler, Robert H. Jim Mundy

Freeman, Douglas Southall. The South to Posterity

Kantor, MacKinlay. Andersonville

Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels

Slotkin, Richard. The Crater

Wilson, Edmund. Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the Civil War.

BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS

Bigelow, John. The Campaign of Chancellorsville

Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign

Crawford, Samuel. Genesis of the Civil War

Davis, Burke. To Appomattox

Davis, William C. Battle at Bull Run

Dowdey, Clifford. Seven Days: The Emergence of Lee

Frassanito, William A. Gettysburg, A Journey in Time

Hoke, Jacob. The Great Invasion

Johnson, Ludwell. Red River Campaign

Jones, Archer. Confederate Strategy from Shiloh to Vicksburg

Murfin, James. The Gleam of Bayonets: The Antietam Campaign

Nye, Wilbur. Here Come The Rebels

Tanner, Robert G. Stonewall in the Valley

Tucker, Glenn. Chickamauga

ESOTERIC STUDIES

Andrews, J. Cutler. The South Reports the Civil War

Black, Robert C. Railroads of the Confederacy

Bulloch, James D. The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe

Hesseltine, William. Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology

Leech, Margaret. Reveille in Washington

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy

Massey, Mary E. Bonnet Brigades

Moore, Albert. Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy

Myers, Robert. Children of Pride

Owsley, Frank. King Cotton Diplomacy

Potter, D. The Impending Crisis

Quarles, Benjamin. The Negro's Civil War

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of the Confederate States Navy

Not having read all of the above volumes, I can't make a categorical decision on them in total, however, a few views of my own thoughts on some of them plus additional reading matter either overlooked or published since that date of which I think may have long lasting consequences. Many publishers now have reprint versions of the old pressings and in paperbound form are much cheaper in purchase price than to scour for secondhand copies. However the bindings in such paperbacks may not have long term lasting value so the choice is up to the buyer.

Putting John Billings' volume of "Hardtack and Coffee" as a general reference work seems an odd choice. Billings was a member of a Massachusetts regiment and although the book has a fine insight into camp life, I'd put it more into the series of personal works of reminiscences and memoirs. Boatner's "Civil War Dictionary" has since been overshadowed by Patricia Faust's "Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War" which offers a much greater range of subjects as well as monographs written by the experts in each case - all in one large volume. The General Reference Works have since been added by the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies; the 40 volumes of Confederate Veteran magazine and the 60-odd volumes currently being reprinted of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Added to this is the new reference work on "Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue" by Roger D. Hunt & Jack R. Brown plus a further work is "More Generals in Gray" by Bruce S. Allardice. Joseph Crute's "Units of the Confederate Army" could have been included but is hopefully to be overshadowed by Stewart Sifakis' series on Confederate Compendia which will run to about ten volumes. One other reference work I would have liked included was "Regimental Losses of the Civil War" by William F. Fox. The two volumes of soldier life by Bell I. Wiley have had exceptional usage since their first publishings in the 1940's; they have been joined by that of James I. Robertson, Jr., who wrote "Soldiers Blue and Gray" and carries a reputation to follow the career of Bell Wiley.

Several more biographies have also been written in the past ten years and just about every major figure of the Civil War has been covered by one author or another. William C. Davis' "Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour"; "A.P. Hill" by James I. Robertson, Jr.; the two volumes of Braxton Bragg by Grady McWhiney and Judith Hallock; "Lee Considered" by Alan Nolan; Richard McMurry's "John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence" as well as biographies of John Hunt Morgan, John S. Mosby, James Longstreet, Joseph E. Johnston, J.E.B. Stuart, Earl Van Dorn, Joseph Wheeler, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Richard S. Ewell. On the Union side of the biographical fence, the biography of U.S. Grant by William S. McFeely was well received; "Winfield S. Hancock" by David M. Jordan; "George B. McClellan" by Stephen W. Sears; "Education in Violence: George H. Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland" by Francis McKinney and biographies of Benjamin F. Butler, Gideon Welles, William S. Rosecrans, George G. Meade, James Schofield, John Sedgwick and other notables could be included. Half a dozen biographies of Benjamin "Beast" Butler have ranged from supportive to anti-Beast and all styles in between. William T. Sherman had had two modern biographies written, both which give an indication of more depth to come.

Although Bruce Catton still holds a place of honour in the histories of armies with his work on the Army of the Potomac, Thomas Connelly's two volumes of the Arty of Tennessee have been a guiding light for other authors to follow. Larry Daniels is another author who has concentrated on the war in the west. Regimental histories over the past few years have increasingly taken the centre stage, particularly the research behind such books as "Mother, May You Never See The Sights That I have Seen" by Warren Wilkerson on the 57th Massachusetts Infantry have provided a good example. The list is long of either regimental reminiscences found and published; reprints, or new regimental histories written over the past decade. Another reprint which proved very popular was "The Army of the Potomac" by William Swinton.

Autobiographies released in this same period have been headed by Edward Porter Alexander's "Fighting for the Confederacy" edited by Gary Gallagher, which was a previously unpublished manuscript found in the late 1980's. Although this type of manuscript will not be seen again for another ten years, it still proves that such recollections can still be obtained.

General Histories of the War continue to be written with varying degrees of usefulness. The recent television series by Ken Burns proved that interest is still high and sales of the trilogy by Shelby Foote soared during the subsequent months (and in fact even years by now). James McPherson wrote "The Battle Cry of Freedom", a single volume on the Civil War which topped the best seller sales in America and was awarded a Pulitzer prize. "Battles & Leaders" stills commands great respect and the four volumes of reminiscences by the leaders has become an institution. Similarly, a twenty-eight volume set published by Time-Life enjoyed good sales in the mid 1980's however this was probably aimed at someone a little less than the dedicated Civil War student who is trying to obtain the best 100 books of this calibre.

Histories of the Confederacy continue to be written with varying degrees of style, substance and satisfaction. Frank Vandiver's "Their Tattered Flags" made very enjoyable reading with a good emphasis on the problems behind governing such a wide circle of states. In recent years there has also been increased interest in the political events, biographies of state governors and members of the cabinet including one on Judah P. Benjamin by Eli Evans.

Literature and Fiction has also had a wide range of subject matter released over the years, I'm surprised that "Gone With The Wind" by Margaret Mitchell was not included in the list of background material. Although the sequel "Scarlett" did not bring similar results, the sales of the original volume probably had more to do with the popularity of the Civil War from its original publishing in 1937 than any other single moment. Novels continue to be written, including "Confederates" by Thomas Kenneally and the recent "The Shenandoah Affair" by Paul Williams but few attain the ranks of required reading. That level was reached by Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" and "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane are yet to be bettered. One odd inclusion of my own making which almost goes into a category of fantasy is "The Guns of the South" by Harry Turtledove based on solid research but given a premise that the South won the Civil War with the aid of modern 20th century weapons.

Battles and Campaigns is another section which has seen a great deal of interest following such good examples as that by Edwin Coddington on Gettysburg. Richard D. Sommers wrote "Richmond Redeemed: The Siege At Petersburg" based on the events during September 1864 into a significant volume and used primary source material to prove that there is still a great deal of unused manuscripts available. Since his effort, this has been increased with Stephen Sears "Landscape Turned Red" on the Antietam Campaign, "Return to Bull Run" by John Hennessy on the Second Manassas Campaign and similar works. Peter Cozzens has written two good books on Chickamauga and Stones River; James Lee McDonough has half a dozen titles on the Western Theatre and the trans-Mississippi Department is well looked after by "Kirby Smith's Confederacy" by Robert L. Kerby. Ken Hafendorfer explored the previously little-written about battle of Perryville in Kentucky and Edwin C. Bearss continues to have great stores of information on the Vicksburg campaign in Mississippi but there are continuing holes in research for other battles - only a little recently has been written of note on Texas, the far west ("Glory, Glory, Glorieta: The Gettysburg of the West" by Robert Scott), and even Pea Ridge in Arkansas ("Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West" by William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess) has received scant attention apart from those mentioned. A recent trend to look at battles through the eyes of participants such as "Seeing the Elephant: Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh" by Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves and the excellent "Echoes of Battle: The Atlanta Campaign - An Illustrated Collection of Narratives" by Larry M. Strayer and Richard A. Baumgartner points the way towards success in this area. They have used a multitude of original recollections, reminiscences, diaries and letters to make the Atlanta campaign as intimate as possible.

Another new avenue seems to be publishing tour guides which allows the modern visitor to approach the battles via automobile access on roadways and freeways. The difference between the 19th century maps and modern highway interpretation does help the unknown traveller to identify where Civil War sites are nearby.

 

A NEW LISTING

Gary Gallagher in the February 1995 edition of the Civil War Society's magazine produced a list of 100 essential titles on military campaigns and personalities. This list was further developed in the February 1996 edition with another 100 books grouped under The Union; the Confederacy; nonmilitary autobiographies, memoirs, diaries and letters; nonmilitary biographies; Abraham Lincoln, the common soldier; women, emancipation and black participation (including military service); the navies; the war in photographs and art; and foreign affairs and foreign observers. Two titles added between February 1995 and February 1996 were "Leeís Adjutant: The Wartime Letters of Colonel Walter Herron Taylor, 1862-1865" edited by R. Lockwood Tower and "Longstreetís Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree" edited by Thomas W. Cutrer.

I. Reference Works

Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary.

Davis, William C. [Editor] The Confederate General. 6 volumes

Dornbusch, Charles E. Military Bibliography of the Civil War. 4 volumes.

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion.

Faust, Patricia L. [Editor] Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War.

Jones, J. William, and others, [Editors] The Southern Historical Society Papers. 52 volumes.

Krick, Robert K. Lee's Colonels: A Biographical Register of the Field Officers of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Long, E.B. The Civil War Day by Day.

U.S. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 127 volumes.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders.

II. General Military Works

Catton, Bruce. The Army of the Potomac (Trilogy): Mr Lincoln's Army, Glory Road, and A Stillness at Appomattox.

Connelly, Thomas L. Army of the Heartland: The Army of Tennessee, 1861-1862.

Connelly, Thomas L. Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command. 3 volumes.

Hattaway, Herman, and Jones, Archer. How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War.

Johnson, Robert Underwood & Clarence Clough Buel [Eds]. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. 4 vols.

McClure, A.K. [Editor]. The Annals of the War, Written by Leading Participants North and South.

McMurry, Richard M. Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History.

McWhiney, Grady, and Jamieson, Perry D. Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage.

Starr, Stephen Z. The Union Cavalry in the Civil War. 3 volumes.

Williams, Kenneth P. Lincoln Finds a General. A Military Study of the Civil War.

Wise, Jennings C. The Long Arm of Lee, or The History of the Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia, with a Brief Account of the Confederate Bureau of Ordnance. 2 volumes.

III. Campaigns and Battles.

Bearss, Edwin C. The Vicksburg Campaign. 3 volumes.

Bigelow, John, Jr. The Campaign of Chancellorsville.

Castel, Albert. Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864.

Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command.

Cooling, Benjamin F. Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland.

Cozzens, Peter. The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga.

Cozzens, Peter. This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga.

Glatthaar, Joseph T. The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns.

Hennessy, John J. Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas.

Johnson, Ludwell H. Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War.

Krick, Robert K. Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain.

Matter, William D. If It Takes All Summer: The Battle of Spotsylvania.

Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg - Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill.

Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg - The Second Day.

Rhea, Gordon C. The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864.

Sears, Stephen W. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam.

Shea, William L., and Hess, Earl J. Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West.

Sommers, Richard J. Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg.

 

IV. Biographies.

Catton, Bruce. Grant Moves South.

Catton, Bruce. Grant Takes Command.

Davis, William C. Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. R.E. Lee: A Biography. 4 volumes.

Henderson, G.F.R. Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War. 2 volumes.

Lewis, Lloyd. Captain Sam Grant.

Lewis, Lloyd. Sherman: Fighting Prophet.

McMurry, Richard M. John Bell Hood and the Confederate War for Independence.

Marszaleck, John F. Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order.

Marvel, William. Burnside.

Parrish, T. Michael. Richard Taylor: Soldier Prince of Dixie.

Ramage, James A. Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan.

Robertson, James I., Jr. General A.P. Hill: The Story of a Confederate Warrior.

Roland, Charles P. Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics.

Sears, Stephen W. George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon.

Thomas, Emory M. Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart.

Trulock, Alice Rains. In the Hands of Providence: Joshua L. Chamberlain and the American Civil War.

Vandiver, Frank E. Mighty Stonewall.

Vandiver, Frank E. Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and Confederate Ordnance.

Weigley, Russell F. Quartermaster General of the Union Army: A Biography of M.C. Meigs.

Williams, T. Harry. Hayes of the Twenty-third: The Civil War Volunteer Officer.

V. Autobiographies, Memoirs, Diaries, and Letters.

Abbott, Henry Livermore. Fallen Leaves: The Civil War Letters of Major Henry Livermore Abbott. Edited by Robert Garth Scott.

Alexander, Edward Porter. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander. Edited by Gary W. Gallagher.

Alexander, Edward Porter. Military Memoirs of a Confederate: A Critical Narrative.

[Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant]. The Military Operations of General Beauregard in the War Between the States 1861-1865, Including a Brief Personal Sketch and a Narrative of His Services in the War with Mexico, 1846-8. Compiled by Alfred Roman.

Bull, Rice C. Soldiering: The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull. Edited by K. Jack Bauer.

Carter, Robert Goldthwaite. Four Brothers in Blue: Or Sunshine and Shadows of the War of the Rebellion: A Story of the Great Civil War from Bull Run to Appomattox.

Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence. The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based Upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps.

De Forest, John William. A Volunteer's Adventures: A Union Captain's Record of the Civil War. Edited by James H. Croushore.

Early, Jubal A. Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early, C.S.A.: Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War between the States.

Evans, Clement Anselm. Intrepid Warrior: Clement Anselm Evans, Confederate General from Georgia - Life, Letters, and Diaries of the War Years. Edited by Robert Grier Stephens.

Fisk, Wilbur. Hard Marching Every Day: The Civil War Letters of Private Wilbur Fisk, 1861-1865. Edited by Emil and Ruth Rosenblatt.

Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. 2 volumes.

Haydon, Charles B. For Country, Cause & Leader: The Civil War Journal of Charles B. Haydon. Edited by Stephen W. Sears.

Hood, John Bell. Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States Armies.

Hotchkiss, Jedediah. Make Me a Map of the Valley: The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer. Edited by Archie P. McDonald.

Johnston, Joseph Eggleston. Narrative of Military Operations Directed During the Late War Between the States.

Lane, Mills. "Dear Mother: Don't grieve about me. If I get killed, I'll only be dead." Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War.

Lee, Robert E. Lee's Dispatches: Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A. to Jefferson Davis and the War Department of the Confederate States of America, 1862-1865. Edited by Douglas Southall Freeman and Grady McWhiney.

Lee, Robert E. The Wartime Papers of R.E. Lee. Edited by Clifford Dowdey and Louis H. Manarin.

Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America.

McAllister, Robert. The Civil War Letters of General Robert McAllister. Edited by James I. Robertson, Jr.

McClellan, George B. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865. Edited by Stephen W. Sears.

Manigault, Arthur Middleton. A Carolinian Goes to War: The Civil War Narrative of Arthur Middleton Manigault, Brigadier General, C.S.A. Edited by R. Lockwood Tower.

Meade, George. The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade. Edited by George Meade. 2 volumes.

Pender, William Dorsey. The General to His Lady: The Civil War Letters of William Dorsey Pender to Fanny Pender. Edited by William Woods Hassler.

Petty, Elijah P. Journey to Pleasant Hill: The Civil War Letters of Captain Elijah P. Petty, Walker's Texas Division, C.S.A. Edited by Norman D. Brown.

Porter, Horace. Campaigning with Grant.

Pryor, Shepherd Green. A Post of Honor: The Pryor Letters, 1861-1863: Letters from Capt. S.G. Pryor, Twelfth Georgia Regiment and his Wife, Penelope Tyson Pryor. Edited by Charles R. Adams, Jr.

Shaw, Robert Gould. Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Robert Gould Shaw. Edited by Russell Duncan.

Sheridan, Philip Henry. Personal Memoirs of Phil Henry Sheridan, General, United States Army. 2 volumes.

Sherman, William Tecumseh. Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. 2 volumes.

Sorrel, Gilbert Moxley. Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer.

Stuart, James Ewell Brown. The Letters of Major General James E.B. Stuart. Edited by Adele H. Mitchell.

Taylor, Richard. Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences in the Late War.

Taylor, Walter H. General Lee: His Campaigns in Virginia 1861-1865, with Personal Reminiscences.

Wainwright, Charles S. A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1861-1865. Edited by Allan Nevins.

Weld, Stephen Minot. War Letters and Diaries of Stephen Minot Weld, 1861-1865.

Williams, Alpheus S. From the Cannon's Mouth: The Civil War Letters of General Alpheus S. Williams. Edited by Milo M. Quaife.

VI. Civil War Fiction

Benet, Stephen Vincent. John Brownís Body.

Bierce, Ambrose. Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.

Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage.

Melville, Herman. Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With The Wind.

Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels.

Slotkin, Michael. The Crater.

Thomason, John W., Jr. Lone Star Preacher: Being a Chronicle of the Acts of Praxiteles Swan, M.E. Church South, Sometime Captain, 5th Texas Regiment Confederate States Provisional Army.

Turtledove, Harry. The Guns of the South: A Novel of the Civil War.

Wicker, Tom. Unto This Hour.

VII. General Works

Boritt, Gabor S. [editor]. Why the Confederacy Lost.

Catton, Bruce. The Centennial History of the Civil War.

Donald, David [editor]. Why the North Won the Civil War.

Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative. 3 volumes.

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.

Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union. 4 volumes.

 

VIII. The Union

Bernstein, Iver. The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War.

Curry, Leonard P. Blueprint for Modern America: Nonmilitary Legislation of the First Civil War Congress.

Frederickson, George M. The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union.

Geary, James W. We Need Men: The Union Draft in the Civil War.

Hammond, Bray. Sovereignty and an Empty Purse: Banks and Politics in the Civil War.

Hess, Earl J. Liberty, Virtue, and Progress: Northerners and Their War for the Union.

Klement, Frank L. The Copperheads of the Middle West.

Montgomery, David. Beyond Equality: Labor and the Radical Republicans.

Paludan, Philip S. "A Peopleís Contest": The Union and Civil War, 1861-1865.

Silbey, Joel H. A Respectable Minority: The Democratic Party in the Civil War Era, 1860-1868.

IX. The Confederacy

Ash, Stephen V. When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865.

Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr. Why the South Lost the Civil War.

Black, Robert C. Railroads of the Confederacy.

Escott, Paul D. After Secession: Jefferson Davis and the Failure of Confederate Nationalism.

Goff, Richard D. Confederate Supply.

Marvel, William. Andersonville: The Last Depot.

Massey, Mary Elizabeth. Refugee Life in the Confederacy.

Rable, George C. The Confederate Republic: A Revolution Against Politics.

Tatum, Georgia Lee. Disloyalty in the Confederacy.

Thomas, Emory M. The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865.

Wiley, Bell I. The Road to Appomattox.

X. Nonmilitary Autobiographies, Memoirs, Diaries, and Letters

Brown, Benjamin French. Witness to the Young Republic: A Yankeeís Journal, 1828-1870. Edited by Donald B. Cole and John J. McDonough.

Chase, Salmon P. The Salmon P. Chase Papers. Edited by John Niven. 2 volumes to date (volume 1 includes all of Chaseís Civil War journal).

Davis, Jefferson. The Papers of Jefferson Davis. Edited by Lynda M. Crist and others. 8 volumes to date.

Davis, Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. 2 volumes.

Jones, John B. A Rebel War Clerkís Diary at the Confederate States Capital. 2 volumes.

Myers, Robert Manson, editor. The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War.

Ruffin, Edmund. The Diary of Edmund Ruffin. Edited by William K. Scarborough. 3 volumes.

Stephens, Alexander H. A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States: Its Causes, Character, and Results. 2 volumes.

Strong, George Templeton. The Diary of George Templeton Strong. Edited by Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas. 4 volumes.

Sumner, Charles. The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner. Edited by Beverly Wilson Palmer. 2 volumes.

Welles, Gideon. The Diary of Gideon Welles. Edited by Howard K. Beale. 3 volumes.

Whitman, Walt. Walt Whitmanís Civil War. Edited by Walter Lowenfels.

XI. Nonmilitary biographies.

Davis, William C. Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour.

Donald, David. Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and Charles Sumner and the Union.

Klement, Frank L. The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham and the Civil War.

Niven, John. Gideon Welles: Lincolnís Secretary of the Navy.

Niven, John. Salmon P. Chase: A Biography.

Parks, Joseph H. Joseph E. Brown of Georgia.

Schott, Thomas F. Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography.

Thomas, Benjamin P. and Harold M. Hyman. Stanton: The Life and Times of Lincolnís Secretary of War.

Van Deusen, Glyndon G. William Henry Seward.

XII. Abraham Lincoln

Donald, David. Lincoln.

Hanchett, William. The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies.

Lincoln, Abraham. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Edited by Roy P. Basler. 11 volumes.

McPherson, James M. Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution.

Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties.

Paludan, Philip Shaw. The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

XIII. The Common Soldier.

Linderman, Gerald F. Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War.

McPherson, James M. What They Fought For, 1861-1865.

Mitchell, Reid. Civil War Soldiers: Their Expectations and Their Experiences.

Robertson, James I., Jr. Soldiers Blue and Gray.

Wiley, Bell I. The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy and The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union.

XIV. Women and the War.

Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography.

Chesnut, Mary Boykin. Mary Chesnutís Civil War. Edited by C. Vann Woodward.

Clinton, Catherine, and Nina Silber, editors. Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War.

Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux. "Journal of a Secesh lady": The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, 1860-1866. Edited by Beth Gilbert Crabtree and James W. Patton.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War.

Lee, Elizabeth Blair. Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee. Edited by Virginia Jeans Laas.

Livermore, Mary A. My Story of the War.

Massey, Mary Elizabeth. Bonnet Brigades.

Morgan, Sarah. The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan. Edited by Charles East.

Oates, Stephen B. A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War.

Rable, George C. Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism.

XV. Black Participation in the War.

Berlin, Ira, and others, editors. Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867. 4 volumes to date.

Blight, David W. Frederick Douglassí Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee.

Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm: Negro Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865.

Cox, LaWanda. Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study in Presidential Leadership.

Durden, Robert F. The Gray and the Black: The Confederate Debate on Emancipation.

Foner, Eric. Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy.

Glatthaar, Joseph T. Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers.

Litwack, Leon F. Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery.

McPherson, James M. The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Mohr, Clarence L. On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia.

Rose, Willie Lee. Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment.

XVI. The Navies.

Browning, Robert M., Jr. From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War.

Davis, William C. Duel between the First Ironclads.

Fox, Gustavus Vasa. Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865. Edited by Robert Means Thompson and Richard Wainwright. 2 volumes.

Jones, Virgil Carrington. The Civil War at Sea. 3 volumes.

Scharf, J. Thomas. History of the Confederate States Navy from Its Organization to the Surrender of Its Last Vessel.

Semmes, Raphael. Memoirs of Service Afloat, During the War Between the States.

Still, William N., Jr. Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Ironclads.

U.S. Navy Department. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies. 31 volumes.

XVII. The War in Photographs and Art.

Davis, William C., editor. The Image of War, 1861-1865. 6 volumes.

Holzer, Harold, and Mark E. Neely, Jr. Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: The Civil War in Art.

Miller, Francis Trevelyan. The Photographic History of the Civil War. 10 volumes.

Editors of Time-Life Books. The Civil War. 28 volumes.

 

XVIII. Foreign Affairs and Foreign Observers.

Case, Lynn M., and Warren F. Spencer. The United States and France: Civil War Diplomacy.

Fremantle, A.J.L. Three Months in the Confederate States, April-June 1863.

Jenkins, Biran. Britain & the War for the Union. 2 volumes.

Jones, Howard. Union in Peril: The Crisis Over British Intervention in the Civil War.

Owsley, Frank L. King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America.

Ross, FitzGerald. Cities and Camps of the Confederate States. Edited by Richard B. Harwell.

Russell, William Howard. William Howard Russellís Civil War: Private Diary and Letters, 1861-1862. Edited by Martin Crawford.

 

 

 

CIVIL WAR MAGAZINES

Every so often the question is asked about what Civil War magazines are available and although this is not supposed to be a complete listing of what can be bought, below are a cross-section of journals currently being published (as of March 1996) and what arrive here every so often. Several are available through better newsagencies in major cities across Australia but work out cheaper in the long term if you subscribe direct to the publishers. Also prior to sending off cheques, just make sure that the subscription rate hasn't increased, some will take international credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) which is an easier option for payment.

Military Images is published six times a year, generally 32 pages and mostly regarding photographic details of uniformed soldiers, primarily Civil War, as well as memoirs of CW soldiers, regimental histories, etc. Subscriptions are US$28 per year for six issues, surface mail, or US$40 for air mail. Contact the Editor and Publisher Harry Roach, Military Images, RR 1 Box 99A, Lesoine Drive, Henryville, Pennsylvania, 18332. Credit card facilities not available.

The Gettysburg Magazine: Historical Articles of Lasting Interest is published by Bob Younger twice a year and as the title states, is devoted to the battle of Gettysburg. Usually around 120-130 pages with articles written by both the well-known experts as well as first-time authors, it's well put-together. As the Morningside Press won't send to Australia, issues have been organised through Dave Zullo at the Olde Soldier Books, Gaithersburg, Maryland, at US$5 each or through other dealers within the limit of availability of copies. So far thirteen editions have been compiled and the level of competence has been mentioned before as of high standard.

North South Trader's Civil War is also a bi-monthly glossy magazine for the relic hunter, arms collector and memorabilia collector which features articles on battlefield finds, weapons, uniforms and accoutrements, plus the occasional regimental story. Again pretty good value and at US$30 per year for six copies, it comes in quite handy. Credit card facilities are available, contact "North South Trader's Civil War", 256 E. Main Street, Orange, Virginia, 22960.

Civil War Times Illustrated is the "grandfather" of the modern-day journals, dating back to the late 1950's and still adventuresome in a lot of ways. Although for a lot of years it was published 10 times year it has recently been reduced to 6 issues but increased in size and now gets around 70 to 100 pages per issue. It's bright, colourful and occasionally even has items of historical interest although it is really aimed at the general reader, it still manages a wide cross-section of interest. Subscriptions are US$26 per year, send money to PO Box 1863, Mount Morris, Illinois, 61054-9947.

Blue & Gray Magazine has now been in existence for ten years and has gone from strength to strength. Its major article each month is The General's Tour which usually concentrates on some area or battlefield and carries over forty-odd pages of maps, diagrams, photos and histories. Together with supplementary information and other articles of current usefulness, it has gained a pretty good audience. Published by two brothers, David and Robin Roth, it is available for US$25 for six bi-monthly issues. Write to PO Box 28685, Columbus, Ohio, 43228. Credit card facilities are available.

America's Civil War Magazine. Yet another magazine, glossy and pictorial, it has modelled itself on some of the format of CWTI with articles about personalities, battles, fighting units and other matters to ensure that the reader again gets a good cross-section of news. The articles are not of major depth but have been well researched and written; available six times a year from America's Civil War, 602 S. King Street, Suite 300, Leesburg, Virginia, 22075 and subscription address PO Box 383, Mount Morris, Illinois, 61054-7947, price is US$22.95 for overseas subscriptions, by cheque only. The same company also publishes a number of other military magazines ("Military History", etc.) which carry occasional Civil War articles.

The Magazine of the Civil War Society, simply titled "Civil War" has also been going for eleven years, firstly as an adjunct to Virginia Country magazine and a part of the subscription entitles the member for the bi-monthly journal. Although not as glossy as some of the others, it still carries a wide cross-section of articles, mainly pro-Confederate although over the years it has attempted to be more unaligned. In 1993-94 there was a temporary problem in publishing but that has since been organised under a new leader, Chris Curran, as Publisher and Society president and editor-in-chief Garrison Ellis. There are articles of historical interest and an excellent column of up-to-date news on preservation, museums, tours, and other new attractions. Subscriptions at US$19.97 are for the magazine alone in the U.S.; membership to the society as such is US$39 per year, and the price of overseas subs is not mentioned but credit cards can be used and enquiries should be directed to Outlook Inc., P.O. Box 770, Berryville, Virginia, 22611.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy magazine has been published each month for the past fifty five years (at least) and their magazine has received a renaissance over the past few years; together with the Sons of Confederate Veterans who publish Confederate Veteran magazine they have continued a long stream of quality products. The Veteran comes out bi-monthly and under new editor Jim Vogler over the last five years has gained a lot of credibility. Dues are US$25.00 and can be directed to editor-in-chief James N. Vogler, Jr., P.O. Box 710287, Houston, Texas, 77271-0287. The Veteran carries both historical articles, others on the Confederate soldiers and extracts from books. Although the UDC magazine does have a lot of space on the activities of the chapters, they always attempt to have historical items in each issue.

The tabloid with a difference is "The Civil War News" which has now been going for 18 years. It is published 10 times per year as a newspaper-style attempt with book reviews, battlefield preservation, re-enactment and living history, plus general Civil War history. Subs are US$35 for airmail to Australia, contact the editor, Peter Jorgensen, at Cutter & Locke, Inc., P.O. Box C, 4 Water Street, Arlington, Massachusetts, 02174.

Through to the textbook style we have a limited number starting with "Civil War History" which has been around since the 1950's and now published by the Kent State University Press in Ohio, at four times per year. Each issue contains three to four historical items, footnoted and generally by a distinguished professor or formally trained Civil War author - subs are US$21.00 per year for four issues, available through Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, 44242.

Along similar lines, two lawyers in San Jose, California, have started the publication os "Civil War Regiments" and now "Campaign Chronicles". The former is published four times per year, around three to four articles in each edition and one major article for a Union and a Confederate unit per edition. Subs are US$33.00. The other magazine, Campaign Chronicles has so far only produced two editions on the battle of Atlanta and one on the Richmond Peninsula however other articles are planned. The premier edition was over 120 pages, and again subs are $10 for each issue, roughly twice a year, write to 1475 South Bascom Avenue, Suite 204, Campbell, California, 95008. Civil War Regiments will take Mastercard/Visa however Campaign Chronicles want cheques.

Another magazine of the same dimension is "Journal of Confederate History" published under the able editorship of J.H. Segars, Journal of Confederate History, PO Box 347163, Atlanta, Georgia, 30334. Subs are US$48 for four issues and publication dates have been varied but again the scholarly approach has received wide acclaim. Approximately every year at least one journal makes an appearance but these are well worth the wait.

There are many other publications of varying interest - the journal for the Confederate Stamp Alliance, Civil War Round Table Associates, the Surratt Courier, Lincoln Lore and Lincoln Herald, which goes to prove that there are sufficient buyers for any and all mediums available. Newsletters and tabloids on re-enacting, living history and fire-arm pursuits are also available from many organisations. The circle of Civil War preservation has meant a number of small organisations producing newsletters with the main ones of "The Civil War Trust" and "Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites" promoting their effects effectively. Jerry L. Russell, founding editor of "Civil War Round Table Associates" headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, is also a leader at the organisation of plans for battlefield preservation.

Apart from the glossy and professional magazines, there are also a number of other worthwhile newsletters, brochures, tabloids and various information sheets. The Confederate Historical Society in England and the Civil War Round Table of the United Kingdom both have very interesting newsletters, the former also a quarterly journal. The Confederate Historical Association of Belgium has a quality journal and numerous state publications and private societies are available for similar good work.

 

DOES THE WORLD NEED ANOTHER CIVIL WAR BOOK

by Barry J. Crompton

The purpose of this essay is to show you how the amazing range of Civil War books has come about. It was estimated that about 20,000 titles had bene printed to the 1950ís, the centennial of the Civil War in the 1960ís doubled that annd I would say that the last ten years have seen another huge swell in Civil War publishing efforts - this last one is probably due to the efforts of Ken Burnsí television documentary series which caught the public by storm.

Iíll explain the reasons why various periods have had either lean or bursting publishing efforts and why certain decades have proved more popular than others. Iíll also explain what to look for when you collect Civil War books and just what may be available at your finger tips.

Even during the war itself there was a market for Civil War information; the death of Elmer Ellsworth in the first months of the war led to the publication of a book on "The Life of James W. Jackson, the Alexandria hero, the slayer of Ellsworth" printed in Richmond by West & Johnston in 1862. Other books on the life of Stonewall jackson began to appear in 1863 and various testimonials were quick to appear as the war dragged on. Virginias such as John Esten Cooke were highly regarded at this time, Cookeís biography of Stonewall Jackson was a best-seller in his day.

Immediately after the war there was also a public request for photographic volumes so such items as Gardnerís Photographic Sketchbook were issued. Matthew Brady published selections of his photographs, as did Timothy OíSullivan and the war was brought into the homes of those who did not witness the graphic brutality of war.

Prisoners of war began to write their of experiences and as the complexities of life in the prisoner of war camps accelerated, the stories of their capture and incarceration began to multiply and take on their own lives. Tales of a beast of a dog owned by Henry Wirz of the infamous Andersonville prison started out quite routinely but as each prisoner extolled the barbarities of his imprisonment, the dog grew and grew with every telling. Eventually the tales of its exploits brought forth a wonderment of amazing acts by the "hound from hell". There is excellent reading in the book "Civil War Prisons: A Study in War Psychology" by William B. Hesseltine, who writes that during the years 1862-1866 fifty-four books and articles were published giving the experiences of prisoners in the South. Twenty-eight of these came off the press in the years 1865 and 1866. During the next five years twenty books and articles saw the light of day, the first flash of publication being over. The next five years produced an average of but one book a year. In the years 1871, 1873, 1875, and 1877 no books were published. Twelve books and articles were published from 1878 to 1881 and nineteen in the following five year period. From 1887 to 1891 there came a resurgence of prison literature and thirty-nine books and articles were published, followed by thirty-two in the ten years from 1892 to 1901. It continued with fifty-one books and articles being published in the first decade of the twentieth century with another twenty-seven between 1912 and 1921.

If that wasnít sufficient, the generals began to tell their stories and as each general officer explained why certain retreats were required, the apportionment of blame was then carried to the other officers for their inefficiency as well as their inability to use tactics and proper military care. As both north and south debated the reasons why battles were won or lost, most often it was more of a battle between officers of the same side as to where the blame coud be placed. D.H. Hillís failure to carry out Antietam was due to the Lost Order; Benjamin Butler in his autobiography refuted those who schemed against him; Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan and most of the general officers wrote their stories (if still alive) and made fortunes in the case of Grant. Lee having died in 1870 could not count on the old soldiers reading his memoirs so the act of creating a myth fell into the hands of Jubal Early, the newsly installed president of the Southern Historical Society. When that organisation began to place the blame of Gettysburg onto the head of James Longstreet, the 1880ís brought forth a period of letter writing that would take decades to subside.

Similarly, the beginning of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; the Grand Army of the Republic; the Society of the Army of the Cumberland and many other similar patriotic organisations also gave their stories; the Confederates not to be outdone began to publish the Confederate Veteran magazine in Nashville beginning in 1891; another organisation was the Bivouac published in kentucky for several short years in answer to the Virginia bias of the Southern Historical Society.

An interesting area of research was created in the 1890ís by the fact that the veterans were coming into the age where they would no longer be able to work and needed to qualify for government aid. By the 1890ís the Federal Government had enacted legislation that enabled those who could not earn their own income to apply for a pension and the U.S. Pension Office was inundated by requests. As such, itís interesting to see that State Governments at this time published many of the adjutant generalís rosters that are important to the locating of men.

The 1890ís also saw a strange fascination in the Civil War by the British Army and the Staff College at Sandridge was led by an English Army officer, Colonel Henderson, who firstly took a look at Thomas J. Jackson and turned out a brilliant two volume biography which became the yardstick for decades. Hendersonís research was conducted from afar and yet other British officers continued to write essays particularly on the 1864 Virginia campaigns as a means to look at warfare through the ages.

By the turn of the century there was a phase of quietness as the country turned towards the Spanish American War and the invasion of Cuba; World War One then took precedence and by the 1920ís there was not the same feeling for the old soldiers; when Adelbert Ames died in the 1930ís as the last general officer, the Civil War soldier was almost becoming a thing of the past. Yet the 1930ís brought another famous era, Douglas Southall Freeman wrote the highly prized four volume biography of Robert E. Lee and followed that up with Leeís Lieutenants. Shortly afterwards the Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Carl Sandburg for his six volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, the Prairie Years and the War Years. Bruce Catton came about in the 1950ís and was in the peak of his prime by the time that the centennial hit in the early 1960ís.

As publishers realised that there was money to be made from Civil War books again, those authors such as Bell Irvin Wiley and a young James I. Robertson came to the fore. Wiley wrote about the common soldier of the war and used a large amount of manuscript information, previously undiscovered and languishing in libraries, archives and museums. All of a sudden the common soldier became the focus and the story changed from the generals to those in the ranks. Company Aytch by Sam Watkins became the yardstick and a generation of historians grew up with the thread of new horizons to conquer.

By the 1970ís there was the beginning of the revisionist movement; this led to the biographies of Robert E. Lee by Thomas Lawrence Connelly, "The Marble Man" and "Lee Considered" by Alan Nolan, the stage was set for large sections of theory, thought and history to be altered. This had only come about by the ability of authors to question why the old histories had been written and in whose interests they had been published - the effects have been a quieter understanding of the conflict as can see from 125 years later.

Those modern authors who have again climbed to such great heights include Gary Gallagher; William Frassanito; Richard McMurry, Bob Krick, Frank Vandiver and many other names too numerous to mention. Suffice to say, take care of what you read; for what we see today may be different to what the next generation takes for granted.

 

 

 

HOW TO RESEARCH THE CIVIL WAR:

AN EASY GUIDE TO RESOURCE MATERIALS

by BARRY CROMPTON

 

Introduction:

Most of our work concerns finding information and then linking it with what we already know. The purpose of this article is to both inform the reader as to what is available as well as to also go through the easiest way of how to find it in the shortest possible time.

 

Books

You need not have to maintain a well-stocked library of Civil War reference books as Melbourne (and no doubt this will apply to the rest of Australia as well as overseas) has an excellent source of printed matter readily at hand. The three Melbourne universities have very wide ranges of books and even the Victorian State Library in Swanston Street, Melbourne, has quite a few books on the Civil War on a variety of subjects.

For the sake of convention let's look at the usual way of going about finding information.

Our research is usually on a number of limited subjects - people, units or battles.

Battles are usually amongst the easiest to research as they appear in most major text books of the Civil War. There are the single volume works, such as those by Bruce Catton, James M. McPherson and a host of others; there are multi-volume works such as again by Bruce Catton (his centennial history printed in the 1960's was considered a classic until superseded by Shelby Foote's trilogy in the 1980's) and older multi-volumes by Rhodes, Allan Nevin's "The War for the Union" in eight volumes and others give a great depth of information on the popular battles, people, reasons and discussions of war.

Further levels of battles and campaigns are also well documented in the excellent series "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" printed by Century magazine in the 1880's and reprinted in the 1950's and again in the 1980's. This four volume work has articles by most of the leading generals still alive at the time of the request for them to write their comments on battles which they had been involved in. These four volumes have become the staple for primary investigation and are then followed by the very useful series of "Southern Historical Society Papers", "Confederate Military History", "Confederate Veteran" magazine and soon to be republished "Papers of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States" which was along with the Grand Army of the Republic the chief form of Union military and naval history. Copies of the SHSP and CV magazines are in Latrobe University Library and CMH are quite easily available in the others, by the end of 1992 the MOLLUS papers should also be available at Latrobe University Library.

To research the next level down of regimental involvement in campaigns and battles, the above four sets can be used, however to know if your regiment was in a campaign you may need to consult Frederick H. Dyer's "Compendium of the Rebellion" reprinted in three volumes around 1950 and again a classic of research information. However you may not know what regiment you want, so again you could consult a very handy reference tool, Charles Dornbusch's "Military Bibliography of the Civil War" (or for naval matters consult the "Naval Bibliography of the Civil War"). Dornbusch has managed to just about list every major title of military status from the end of the Civil War until the 1970's in four volumes. Further bibliography of magazine essays can also be found for first-hand experiences in "Eye-witnesses of the Civil War" of articles printed between the 1950's and 1980's.

A handy guide to what is available and limited through judicial listings by category is another tool "Civil War Books" by James I. Robertson, etc., which again has a very good range of material although a lot of these won't be available easily in public libraries in Australia and therefore better for our American compatriots to use in lend-library situations.

In the case of people, if they're famous we can find them by looking up biographies, if they are not that famous or well-known we are forced then delve into the next level of information.