front cover of Attack and Die
Attack and Die
Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage
Grady McWhiney
University of Alabama Press, 1984
Describes tactical theory in the 1850s and suggests how each related to Civil War tactics
Why did the Confederacy lose so many men? The authors contend that the Confederates bled themselves nearly to death in the first three years of the war by making costly attacks more often than the Federals. Offensive tactics, which had been used successfully by Americans in the Mexican War, were much less effective in the 1860s because an improved weapon—the rifle—had given increased strength to defenders. This book describes tactical theory in the 1850s and suggests how each related to Civil War tactics. It also considers the development of tactics in all three arms of the service during the Civil War.
In examining the Civil War the book separates Southern from Northern tactical practice and discusses Confederate military history in the context of Southern social history. Although the Southerners could have offset their numerical disadvantage by remaining on the defensive and forcing the Federals to attack, they failed to do so. The authors argue that the Southerners’ consistent favoring of offensive warfare was attributable, in large measure, to their Celtic heritage: they fought with the same courageous dash and reckless abandon that had characterized their Celtic forebears since ancient times. The Southerners of the Civil War generation were prisoners of their social and cultural history: they attacked courageously and were killed—on battlefields so totally defended by the Federals that “not even a chicken could get through.”

front cover of Battle
The Nature and Consequences of Civil War Combat
Edited by Kent Gramm
University of Alabama Press, 2008
A collection of essays that reveals the reality of war behind the pageantry of the American Civil War

“In our youth, our hearts were touched with fire,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes of his generation’s Civil War days. Through the ages, war stories have gleamed with romantic glory, and American memories of the cataclysmic Civil War inspire pageantry and poetry even today.

The essays in Battle form a corrective to such celebratory histories by examining the lethal realities of Civil War combat—Enlightenment science applied to the creation of weapons that maimed and killed, which far outpaced advances in diet, sanitation, and medical treatment. The book reveals that behind the drums and trumpets, sashes and swords, the armies of the Union and Confederacy alike were haunted by fear, pain, and death.

The collection includes an introduction and afterword by editor Kent Gramm, who also contributes an essay titled “Numbers” that reveals the war in statistics. Paul Fussell contributes a powerful essay titled “The Culture of War.” D. Scott Hartwig examines the face of battle at Gettysburg. Bruce A. Evans discusses medical technology in “Wounds, Death, and Medical Care in the Civil War.” Eric T. Dean challenges the meanings and consequences of combat in “The Awful Shock and Rage of Battle.” The collection is rounded out by Alan T. Nolan’s masterful review of the national consequences of battle and the resultant myth of the Confederacy’s Lost Cause.

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Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat
Volume 1
Grady McWhiney
University of Alabama Press, 1991
Born in 1817 in North Carolina, Bragg ranked high in the graduating class of 1837 at West Point. He served with distinction in both the Seminole War and the Mexican War. Just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Bragg was promoted to major general. In June 1862 Bragg was named Commander of the Army of Tennessee, the principal Confederate force in the West, and was described by Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin as “the greatest General.”
Yet less than two years later Bragg was the South’s most discredited commander. Much of this criticism was justified, for he had done as much as any Confederate general to lose the war. Under his direction the army fought four major campaigns before retreating from Kentucky through Tennessee to Georgia. The army’s failures were Bragg’s failures, and after his defeat at Chattanooga in November 1863 Bragg was relieved of field command. Instead of retirement to the obscurity most people believed he so richly deserved, Bragg received a remarkable promotion: he went to Richmond as President Davis’s military adviser.
McWhiney intended this work – first published in 1969 – to be the first of two volumes covering the life of the Confederacy’s most problematic general. This reprint edition is issued along with Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat, Volume II by Judith Lee Hallock. McWhiney’s work carries Bragg through the defeat at Murfreesboro in January 1863, and Hallock’s book continues through the staff appointment in Richmond and Bragg’s final days as a private citizen.

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Captives in Blue
The Civil War Prisons of the Confederacy
Roger Pickenpaugh
University of Alabama Press, 2013
A study of Union prisoners in Confederate prisons

In Captives in Blue, Roger Pickenpaugh examines the ways the Confederate army contended with the growing prison population, the variations in the policies and practices of different Confederate prison camps, the effects these policies and practices had on Union prisoners, and the logistics of prisoner exchanges. He explores conditions that arose from conscious government policy decisions and conditions that were the product of local officials or unique local situations. He also considers how Confederate prisons and policies dealt with African American Union soldiers. Black soldiers held captive in Confederate prisons faced uncertain fates; many former slaves were returned to their former owners, while others faced harsh treatment in the camps. Drawing on prisoner diaries, Pickenpaugh provides compelling first-person accounts of life in prison camps often overlooked by scholars in the field.

This study of Union captives in Confederate prisons is a companion to Roger Pickenpaugh’s earlier groundbreaking book Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union and extends his examination of Civil War prisoner-of-war facilities into the Confederacy.

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Changing Sides
Union Prisoners of War Who Joined the Confederate Army
Pat Garrow
University of Tennessee Press, 2020

Toward the end of the American Civil War, the Confederacy faced manpower shortages, and the Confederate Army, following practices the Union had already adopted, began to recruit soldiers from their prison ranks. They targeted foreign-born soldiers whom they thought might not have strong allegiances to the North. Key battalions included the Brooks Battalion, a unit composed entirely of Union soldiers who wished to join the Confederacy and were not formally recruited; Tucker’s Regiment and the 8th Battalion Confederate Infantry recruited mainly among Irish, German, and French immigrants.

Though the scholarship on the Civil War is vast, Changing Sides represents the first entry to investigate Union POWs who fought for the Confederacy, filling a significant gap in the historiography of Civil War incarceration. To provide context, Patrick Garrow traces the history of the practice of recruiting troops from enemy POWs, noting the influence of the mostly immigrant San Patricios in the Mexican-American War. The author goes on to describe Confederate prisons, where conditions often provided ample incentive to change sides. Garrow’s original archival research in an array of archival records, along with his archaeological excavation of the Confederate guard camp at Florence, South Carolina, in 2006, provide a wealth of data on the lives of these POWs, not only as they experienced imprisonment and being “galvanized” to the other side, but also what happened to them after the war was over.


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The Confederacy's Fighting Chaplain
Father John B. Bannon
Phillip Thomas Tucker
University of Alabama Press, 1992
1993 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award, sponsored by Military Order of the Stars and Bars

The Confederacy’s Fighting Chaplain is the remarkable story of the Irishman who brought the Bible and his own resourcefulness and daring to both the battlefield and the diplomatic field—a story that has been largely ignored for more than 130 years. The biography of John B. Bannon also chronicles the forgotten Southerners—the Irish immigrants of the Confederacy—whose colorful and crucial role in the Civil War has been seriously neglected.
John B. Bannon was born in Ireland in 1829 and raised in peat-bog country. Educated at the Royal College of St. Patrick at Maynooth, he was ordained a priest in May 1853. Ireland was still suffering from the effects of the Potato Famine, which caused thousands of Irish to emigrate to the United States. In response to the need for Roman Catholic priests to minister to America’s immigrant population, Father Bannon was sent to the Archidiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, shortly after his ordination. Many of the Irish parishioners of St. Louis lived in a crowded corner of the city without money, assistance or land.
Father Bannon soon became a leading civic and religious figure in St. Louis. An impressive character, he was described as a “handsome man, over six feet in height, with splendid form and intellectual face, courteous manners, and of great personal magnetism, conversing entertainingly and with originality and great wit, in a manner all his own.”
By 1860, Missouri contained the second largest Irish population and the largest German population in the Southern and border states, and when the war reached Missouri, Father Bannon volunteered to serve on the battlefield by tending to the wounded and dying. During the war he served as chaplain-soldier in perhaps the finest combat unit on either side—the First Missouri Confederate Brigade. He impressed his fellow Confederates by attending the wounded at the front lines during battle, while most chaplains stayed to the rear. This tall, athletic man was a striking figure with his slouch had and butternut-colored uniform with a red cloth cross on the left shoulder. Various accounts praised the chaplain: A veteran wrote that the chaplain “was everywhere in the midst of battle when the fire was heaviest and the bullets thickest.” General Sterling Price wrote: “The greatest soldier I ever saw was Father Bannon. In the midst of the fray he would step in and take up a fallen soldier.”
After the fall of Vicksburg, where Bannon had worked under dangerous fire, he journeyed to Richmond and received recognition and special diplomatic duties from President Jefferson Davis. Bannon conceived a brilliant strategy to gain recognition for the Confederacy from Pope Pius IX and thus open the door for recognition from Britain and France. On a mission for Davis he acted as a secret agent in Ireland during an all-important clandestine effort to stop the flood of Irish immigrants pouring into the Union armies at a critical time—before the decisive campaigns of 1864. After the war he joined the Jesuit order in Ireland, where he served until his death in 1913.
The story of Father Bannon is indeed the story of the Missouri Irish Confederates, whose role in the conflict likewise has been neglected. Without doubt, Father Bannon stands out as an important religious-diplomatic personality of the Confederacy. Few men played such a distinguished and diverse role during the Civil War.


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Confederate Colonel Cherokee Chief
Life William Holland Thomas
E. Stanly Godbold, Jr.
University of Tennessee Press, 1990

front cover of Confederate Colonels
Confederate Colonels
A Biographical Register
Bruce S. Allardice
University of Missouri Press, 2008
Among field officers in the Confederate Army, colonels had the greatest life-or-death power over the average soldier. Usually regimental commanders who were charged with instructing their men in drill, many also led brigades or divisions, and the influence of an outstanding colonel could be recognized throughout the army.
While several books have dealt with the Confederacy’s generals, this is the first comprehensive study of its colonels. Bruce S. Allardice has undertaken exhaustive research to uncover a wealth of facts not previously available and to fill in many gaps in previous scholarship on the 1,583 men who achieved the rank of full colonel by the end of their careers—including both staff and line officers and members of all armies.
A biographical article on each man includes such data as date and place of birth, education, prewar occupation and military experience, service record, instances of being wounded or captured, postwar life and death, and available writings on the officer or manuscript collections of his papers. Throughout, Allardice follows Confederate law and surviving government records in determining an officer’s true rank, and he uses the regimental designations from the compiled service records in the National Archives as the most familiar to researchers. Appendixes list state army colonels, colonels who became generals, and colonels whose rank cannot be proved.
In his introduction, Allardice gives readers a clear understanding of the characteristics of a colonel in the Confederacy. He explains how one became a colonel—the mustering process, election of officers, reorganizing of regiments—and exposes the inadequacies of the officer-nominating process, questions of seniority, and problems of “rank inflation.” He highlights such notable figures as John S. Mosby, the “Grey Ghost,” and George Smith Patton, great-grandfather of WWII general George S. Patton, and also provides statistics on such matters as states of origin, age, and casualties.
This single-volume compendium sheds new light on these interesting and important military figures and features more standard information than can be found in similar references. Confederate Colonels belongs at the side of every Civil War historian or buff, whether as a research tool or as a touchstone for other readings.

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Daniel Smith Donelson
Soldier, Politician, Tennessean
Doug Spence
University of Tennessee Press, 2023

Daniel Smith Donelson was the grandson of two of early Middle Tennessee’s most famous founders—John Donelson and Daniel Smith—and nephew of Tennessee’s perhaps most famous soldier statesman, Andrew Jackson. And while Civil War historians are familiar with Donelson because he led a Confederate brigade, his namesake fort in Middle Tennessee, and his importance to the war effort as he transitioned into Confederate war administration, Donelson the significant son of Tennessee has eluded a full study, and no book-length biography has been published, until now.

Unfortunately, Daniel Smith Donelson left no body of papers, which leaves any biographers, as Richard Douglas Spence contends, to approach their subject through a “historical back door” via Donelson’s legendary uncle and his brother, Andrew Jackson Donelson, who enjoyed a significant political career in his own right. Spence’s biography begins with Donelson’s upbringing at the Hermitage after Donelson’s father died when he was three. From there Spence follows Donelson’s career as a planter, militiaman, state congressman, Civil War general, and finally an administrator overseeing the Confederate Department of East Tennessee. Fort Donelson was named in his honor, and his brigades fought at Cheat Mountain, Perryville, and Murfreesboro (Stones River). He was posthumously promoted to major general after dying of disease on April 17, 1863, at the age of sixty-one.

Spence’s approach reveals aspects of Donelson’s life and career that in many ways rival his Civil War record for importance, providing fresh perspectives on Jackson’s tumultuous presidency and the contentious nature of antebellum politics in Tennessee.


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Doctor To The Front
Confederate Surgeon Thomas Fanning Wood
Donald B. Koonce
University of Tennessee Press, 2000
"Filled with perceptive observations about military leaders, morale in the Confederacy, life in the Southern capital of Richmond, and a range of medical topics including the treatment of wounded, . . . Confederate surgeon Thomas Fanning Wood’s wartime letters and postwar reminiscences constitute a fine addition to the roster of published firsthand testimony about the Civil War."—Gary W. Gallagher

The Civil War was a tragic conflict that destroyed many lives, but for those trying to save lives the tragedy was often compounded. Military doctors labored through the smoke of battle where impossible conditions and fear of infection often forced them to resort to amputation, and most operations were performed without painkillers. Thomas Fanning Wood recorded his wartime experiences as a Confederate Army surgeon, and his recollections of those events allow us to hear a distinct voice of the Civil War.

As a young soldier recovering from fever at a Richmond hospital, Wood developed an interest in medicine that was encouraged by a doctor who steered him toward medical training. After only eight months of study he was made an assistant surgeon in the Third North Carolina Regiment. His narrative—drawn from his memoirs, letters from the front, and articles written for his hometown newspaper—presents a poignant and sometimes horrifying picture of what the Civil War physician had to face both under battlefield conditions and in urban hospitals.

Wood himself spent much of his time at the front, and his vivid narrative describes both a doctor’s daily activities and the campaigns he witnessed. He was present at many of the war’s major engagements: he was near Stonewall Jackson when the general fell at Chancellorsville, manned a field dressing station at the foot of Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg, and was one of the few survivors of the Union attack on the "mule shoe" at Spotsylvania when his entire division was wiped out. Wood’s account also lends new insight into Jubal Early’s 1864 campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley and against Washington.

With its observations of medical care and training not found in standard histories of the war—including a description of the examination required to become an assistant surgeon—Doctor to the Front offers a unique human perspective on the Civil War. With their additional descriptions of key figures and events, Wood’s recollections combine historical significance and human interest to show us another side of that terrible conflict.

The Author: Donald B. Koonce is the great-grandson of Thomas Fanning Wood and has served on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Historical Society and the Historic Greenville Foundation. He is president of the Koonce Group, Inc., an award-winning communications company whose productions include Daybreak at the Cowpens, a documentary for the National Park Service.

front cover of Frenchman, Chaplain, Rebel
Frenchman, Chaplain, Rebel
The Civil War Letters of Pere Louis-Hippoltye Gache, 10th Louisiana Infantry
Pere Louis-Hippolyte Gache, S.J.
University of Alabama Press, 2007

The American Civil War through the eyes of a French Jesuit chaplain.

"This book has a tantalizing quality, and it certainly is fresh literature for those who have watched the story of the Civil War unfold. . . . One cannot help but marvel at the research undertaken by Fr. Buckley. These letters of Fr. Gache cover such subjects as the duties of a chaplain, the lack of stimulating conversation in camp, whiskey as medication for diarrhea, the chaplain’s uniform, the oversupply of Catholic chaplains, descriptions of battles—Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg—chaplains as prisoners of war, the possibility of General Lee being chosen as the second president of the Confederacy, making candles for the alter and bleaching wax, procuring sacramental wine, conflicts with Protestant preachers, and the surrender of Richmond. Such subjects allow the personality and character of Hippolyte to stand out. . . . [The book] is interesting reading for all who love and admire the Jesuits. Its wealth of information makes it a must for others whose concern is the Confederate soldier and his God."

Journal of Southern History


front cover of I Acted from Principle
I Acted from Principle
The Civil War Diary of Dr. William M. McPheeters, Confederate Surgeon in the Trans-Mississippi
Cynthia DeHaven Pitcock
University of Arkansas Press, 2000
At the start of the Civil War, Dr. William McPheeters was a distinguished physician in St. Louis, conducting unprecedented public-health research, forging new medical standards, and organizing the state's first professional associations. But Missouri was a volatile border state. Under martial law, Union authorities kept close watch on known Confederate sympathizers. McPheeters was followed, arrested, threatened, and finally, in 1862, given an ultimatum: sign an oath of allegiance to the Union or go to federal prison. McPheeters "acted from principle" instead, fleeing by night to Confederate territory. He served as a surgeon under Gen. Sterling Price and his Missouri forces west of the Mississippi River, treating soldiers' diseases, malnutrition, and terrible battle wounds. From almost the moment of his departure, the doctor kept a diary. It was a pocket-size notebook which he made by folding sheets of pale blue writing paper in half and in which he wrote in miniature with his steel pen. It is the first known daily account by a Confederate medical officer in the Trans-Mississippi Department. It also tells his wife's story, which included harassment by Federal military officials, imprisonment in St. Louis, and banishment from Missouri with the couple's two small children. The journal appears here in its complete and original form, exactly as the doctor first wrote it, with the addition of the editors' full annotation and vivid introductions to each section.

front cover of John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory
John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory
Brian Craig Miller
University of Tennessee Press, 2010

“Previous biographers have poorly understood Hood within the culture of his times, but Miller’s study is a refreshing look at this important theme. Relying on the perspective of memory studies and the experience of amputees, he adds new dimensions to our understanding of Hood and the Civil War.”
—Earl J. Hess, author of In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat

“Miller is particularly strong on the cultivation of Hood’s legend as part of the Lost Cause narrative. . . . He has done nice work in areas previously neglected, offering the first new research on Hood to emerge in years.”
—David Coffey, author of John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta

Some Southern generals, like Lee and Jackson, have stood the test of time, celebrated in their place in history. And then there are generals like John Bell Hood, reviled and ridiculed by generations of Civil War historians as one of the inglorious architects of the Confederate disgrace in the Western Theater. The time has come to rethink this long-held notion, argues Brian Miller, in his comprehensive new biography, John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory, and to reassess John Bell Hood as a man, a myth, and a memory.

In this first biography of the general in more than twenty years, Miller offers a new, original perspective, directly challenging those historians who have pointed to Hood’s perceived personality flaws, his alleged abuse of painkillers, and other unsubstantiated claims as proof of his incompetence as a military leader. This book takes into account Hood’s entire life—as a student at West Point, his meteoric rise and fall as a soldier and Civil War commander, and his career as a successful postwar businessman. In many ways, Hood represents a typical southern man, consumed by personal and societal definitions of manhood that were threatened by amputation and preserved and reconstructed by Civil War memory. Miller consults an extensive variety of sources, explaining not only what Hood did but also the environment in which he lived and how it affected him.

What emerges is a more nuanced, balanced portrait, unfettered by the one-sided perceptions of previous historical narratives. It gives Hood the fair treatment he has been denied for far too long. By looking at Hood’s formative years, his wartime experiences, and his postwar struggles to preserve his good name, this book opens up a provocative new perspective on the life of this controversial figure.

Brian Craig Miller is an assistant professor of history at Emporia State University. He is the author of The American Memory: Americans and Their History in 1877.


front cover of Lee and His Generals
Lee and His Generals
Essays in Honor of T. Harry Williams
Lawrence L. Hewitt
University of Tennessee Press, 2012

A legendary professor at Louisiana State University, T. Harry Williams not only produced such acclaimed works as Lincoln and the Radicals, Lincoln and His Generals, and a biography of Huey Long that won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, but he also mentored generations of students who became distinguished historians in their own right. In this collection, ten of those former students, along with one author greatly inspired by Williams’s example, offer incisive essays that honor both Williams and his career-long dedication to sound, imaginative scholarship and broad historical inquiry.
    The opening and closing essays, fittingly enough, deal with Williams himself: a biographical sketch by Frank J. Wetta and a piece by Roger Spiller that place Williams in larger historical perspective among writers on Civil War generalship. The bulk of the book focuses on Robert E. Lee and a number of the commanders who served under him, starting with Charles Roland’s seminal article “The Generalship of Robert E. Lee,” the only one in the collection that has been previously published. Among the essays that follow Roland’s are contributions by Brian Holden Reid on the ebb and flow of Lee’s reputation, George C. Rable on Stonewall Jackson’s deep religious commitment, A. Wilson Greene on P. G. T. Beauregard’s role in the Petersburg Campaign, and William L. Richter on James Longstreet as postwar pariah.
    Together these gifted historians raise a host of penetrating and original questions about how we are to understand America’s defining conflict in our own time—just as T. Harry Williams did in his. And by encompassing such varied subjects as military history, religion, and historiography, Lee and His Generals demonstrates once more what a fertile field Civil War scholarship remains.

Lawrence Lee Hewitt is professor of history emeritus at Southeastern Louisiana University. Most recently, he and Arthur W. Bergeron, now deceased, coedited three volumes of essays under the collective title Confederate Generals in the Western Theater.

Thomas E. Schott served for many years as a historian for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command. He is the author of Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography, which won both the Society of American Historians Award and the Jefferson Davis Award.


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The Life and Wars of Gideon J. Pillow
Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr.
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

One of nineteenth-century America’s most controversial military figures, Gideon Johnson Pillow gained notoriety early in the Civil War for turning an apparent Confederate victory at Fort Donelson into an ignominious defeat. Dismissed by contemporaries and historians alike as a political general with dangerous aspirations, his famous failures have overshadowed the tremendous energy, rare talent, and great organizational skills that also marked his career. In this exhaustive biography, Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. and Roy P. Stonesifer Jr. look beyond conventional historical interpretations to provide a full and nuanced portrait of this provocative and maligned man.

While noting his arrogance, ambition, and very public mistakes, Hughes and Stonesifer give Pillow his due as a gifted attorney, first-rate farmer, innovator, and man of considerable political influence. One of Tennessee’s wealthiest planters, Pillow promoted scientific methods to improve the soil, preached crop diversification to reduce the South’s dependence on cotton, and endorsed railroad construction as a means to develop the southern economy. He helped secure the 1844 Democratic nomination for his friend and fellow Tennessean James K. Polk and was rewarded after Polk’s victory with an appointment as brigadier general. While his role in the Mexican War earned him a reputation for recklessness and self-promotion, his organization of what would become the Army of Tennessee put him at the forefront of the Confederate war effort. After the disaster at Donelson, he spent the rest of the war directing Confederate conscription in the West and leading Rebel cavalry forces—a role of continuing service which, the authors show, has been insufficiently acknowledged.

Updated with a new foreword by noted Civil War scholar Timothy D. Johnson, The Life and Wars of Gideon J. Pillow portrays a colorful, enigmatic general who moved just outside the world of greatness he longed to enter.

Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. is the author or editor of twenty books relating to the American Civil War, including Refugitta of Richmond; Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell, C.S.A.: Forrest’s Fighting Lieutenant; and Yale’s Confederates. The late Roy P. Stonesifer Jr. was a professor of history at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.


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M. Jeff Thompson
Missouri's Swamp Fox of the Confederacy
Doris Land Mueller
University of Missouri Press, 2007

In the treacherous swamps of southeast Missouri, a different kind of Civil War was waged.

Meriwether Jeff Thompson was one of the most intriguing but least-known Missouri participants in the Civil War. He and his troops traveled fast and light to harass Union forces, materializing out of the countryside to surprise the enemy and evading the traps set for them by Northern commanders. Early in the war, Union General Ulysses S. Grant gave Thompson the name “Swamp Fox” for his exploits in the Bootheel region. This book now tells his story—an adventure that will be appreciated by readers of all ages. Doris Mueller has produced a meticulously researched account of Thompson’s life, from his Virginia boyhood and early successes to his wartime exploits and postwar life. When the war began, Thompson left his adopted city of St. Joseph—where he had served as mayor—to fight for the Confederacy. He was elected brigadier general in the First Military District of Southeast Missouri and led poorly equipped and loosely trained men in skirmishes and raids, often using guerrilla tactics. He was captured in August 1863. After being released twelve months later in a prisoner exchange, he joined Sterling Price’s ill-fated raid into Missouri. After the war, he was one of the first Southern leaders to seek reinstatement as a U.S. citizen and worked to allay hostilities among fellow Southerners.

Thompson was also known as the “Poet Laureate of the Marshes,” and Mueller includes numerous excerpts from his writings about his experiences. Her account not only provides a wealth of little-known biographical details about this important Missourian but also offers insight into the state’s unique experiences during that bloody era, personalizing events through the life of this brave soldier.

Scorned by the Northern press for impudence, but beloved as a leader by his men, Thompson was courageous in battle, often to the point of recklessness, making him a constant thorn in the side of Union forces; after the war he was an oft-maligned model for reconciliation. Doris Mueller’s recounting of his life is an action-adventure story that will delight readers as it attests to his important role in Missouri’s heritage.


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No Band of Brothers
Problems of the Rebel High Command
Steven E. Woodworth
University of Missouri Press, 1999

The Civil War was barely over before Southerners and other students of the war began to examine the Confederate high command in search of an explanation for the South's failure. Although years of research failed to show that the South's defeat was due to a single, overriding cause, the actions of the Southern leaders during the war were certainly among the reasons the South lost the war.

In No Band of Brothers, Steven Woodworth explores, through a series of essays, various facets of the way the Confederacy waged its unsuccessful war for secession. He examines Jefferson Davis and some of his more important generals, including Pierre G. T. Beauregard, Leonidas Polk, Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson; the Confederacy's strategic plans; and the South's success in making competent officers out of men with very little military preparation.

Woodworth particularly looks at the personalities and personal relationships that affected the course and outcome of the war. What made a good general? What could make an otherwise able man a failure as a general? What role did personal friendships or animosities play in the Confederacy's top command assignments and decisions? How successful was the Confederacy in making competent generals out of its civilian leaders? In what ways did Jefferson Davis succeed or fail in maximizing the chances for the success of his cause?

In analyzing the Confederate leadership, Woodworth reveals some weaknesses, many strengths, and much new information. No Band of Brothers will be an important addition to Civil War scholarship and will be welcomed by professional historians, amateur historians, students, and the general reader alike.


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Obstinate Heroism
The Confederate Surrenders after Appomattox
Steven Ramold
University of North Texas Press, 2020

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The Perfect Lion
The Life and Death of Confederate Artillerist John Pelham
Jerry H. Maxwell
University of Alabama Press, 2011
The South has made much of J. E. B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson, but no individual has had a greater elevation to divine status than John Pelham, remembered as the “Gallant Pelham.” An Alabama native, Pelham left West Point for service in the Confederacy and distinguished himself as an artillery commander in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Lee is reported to have said of him, “It is glorious to see such courage in one so young!” Blond, blue-eyed, and handsome, Pelham’s modest demeanor charmed his contemporaries, and he was famously attractive to women. He was killed in action at the battle of Kelly’s Ford in March of 1863, at twenty-four years of age, and reportedly three young women of his acquaintance donned mourning at the loss of the South’s “beau ideal.” Maxwell’s work provides the first deeply researched biography of Pelham, perhaps Alabama’s most notable Civil War figure, and explains his enduring attraction.

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A Prussian Observes the American Civil War
The Military Studies of Justus Scheibert
Edited & Translated by Frederic Trautmann
University of Missouri Press, 2001

Prussia, like much of nineteenth-century Germany, was governed by the belief that knowledge, and thus understanding, was best derived from direct observation and communicated through documentation. Justus Scheibert, an officer in the Royal Prussian Engineers, was therefore sent to the United States for seven months to observe the Civil War and report the effects of artillery on fortifications. His interests, however, surpassed that limited assignment, and his observations, as well as the writings translated in this work, went on to include tactics, strategy, logistics, intelligence, combined operations, and the medical service.

Scheibert, an expert on warfare, had access to the Confederate high command, including such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, J. E. B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson. He brought to the war not only the fresh perspective of a foreigner, but also the insightful eye of a career military officer and a skillful author and correspondent. Although he was personally sympathetic to the South, Scheibert researched both sides of the conflict in order to write unbiased, informed commentary for his fellow Prussian officers. His firsthand account of many aspects of the Civil War included a theoretical discussion of every branch of service and the Confederate high command, illustrated with his personal observations.

Sheibert's narrative portrays soldiers, weaponry, and battles, including the first, and one of the few, studies of combined operations in the Civil War. Trautmann combines two of Scheibert's publications, The Civil War in the North American States: A Military Study for the German Officer (1874) and Combined Operations by Army and Navy: A Study Illustrated by the War on the Mississippi, 1861-1863 (ca. 1887), which for decades influenced German military writing. Trautmann's translations evince the grace and achieve the readability of Scheibert's intricate and complex works.

A Prussian Observes the American Civil War makes an important addition to Civil War studies and will appeal greatly to professional historians and those interested in, and dedicated to, Civil War and military studies.


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Pulpits of the Lost Cause
The Faith and Politics of Former Confederate Chaplains during Reconstruction
Steve Longenecker
University of Alabama Press, 2023
A comparison of the faith and politics of former Confederate chaplains with intriguing insights about the evolution of their postwar beliefs and the Lost Cause
Pulpits of the Lost Cause: The Faith and Politics of Former Confederate Chaplains during Reconstruction is the first in-depth study of former chaplains that juxtaposes their religion and politics, thereby revealing important insights about the Lost Cause movement. Steve Longenecker demonstrates that while some former chaplains vigorously defended the Lost Cause and were predictably conservative in the pulpit, embracing orthodoxy and resisting religious innovation, others were unexpectedly progressive and advocated on behalf of evolution, theological liberalism, and modern biblical criticism.

Former Confederate chaplains embodied both the distinctive white, Southern, regional identity and the variation within it. Most were theologically conservative and Lost Cause racists. But as with the larger South, variation abounded. The Lost Cause, which Longenecker interprets as a broad popular movement with numerous versions, meant different things to different chaplains. It ranged from diehard-ism to tempered sectional forgiveness to full reconciliation to a harmless once-a-year Decoration Day ritual.

This volume probes the careers of ten former chaplains, including their childhoods, wartime experiences, Lost Cause personas, and theologies, making use of manuscripts and published sermons as well as newspapers, diaries, memoirs, denominational periodicals, letters, and the books they themselves produced. In theology, many former chaplains were predictably conservative, while others were unexpectedly broad-minded and advocated evolution, theological liberalism, and modern Biblical criticism. One former chaplain became a social-climbing Harvard progressive. Another wrote innovative, liberal theology read by European scholars. Yet another espoused racial equality, at least in theory if not full practice. Additionally, former chaplains often exhibited the fundamental human trait of compartmentalization, most notably by extolling the past as they celebrated the Lost Cause while simultaneously looking to the future as religious progressives or New South boosters. The stereotypical preacher of the Lost Cause—a gray-clad Bible thumper—existed sufficiently to create the image but hardly enough to be universally accurate.

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The Rebel Yell
A Cultural History
Craig A. Warren
University of Alabama Press, 2014
The first comprehensive history of the fabled Confederate battle cry from its origins and myths through its use in American popular culture

No aspect of Civil War military lore has received less scholarly attention than the battle cry of the Southern soldier. In The Rebel Yell, Craig A. Warren brings together soldiers' memoirs, little-known articles, and recordings to create a fascinating and exhaustive exploration of the facts and myths about the “Southern screech.”
Through close readings of numerous accounts, Warren demonstrates that the Rebel yell was not a single, unchanging call, but rather it varied from place to place, evolved over time, and expressed nuanced shades of emotion. A multifunctional act, the flexible Rebel yell was immediately recognizable to friends and foes but acquired new forms and purposes as the epic struggle wore on. A Confederate regiment might deliver the yell in harrowing unison to taunt Union troops across the empty spaces of a battlefield. At other times, individual soldiers would call out solo or in call-and-response fashion to communicate with or secure the perimeters of their camps.
The Rebel yell could embody unity and valor, but could also become the voice of racism and hatred. Perhaps most surprising, The Rebel Yell reveals that from Reconstruction through the first half of the twentieth century, the Rebel yell—even more than the Confederate battle flag—served as the most prominent and potent symbol of white Southern defiance of Federal authority. With regard to the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Warren shows that the yell has served the needs of people the world over: soldiers and civilians, politicians and musicians, re-enactors and humorists, artists and businessmen. Warren dismantles popular assumptions about the Rebel yell as well as the notion that the yell was ever “lost to history.”
Both scholarly and accessible, The Rebel Yell contributes to our knowledge of Civil War history and public memory. It shows the centrality of voice and sound to any reckoning of Southern culture.

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Record of the Organizations Engaged in the Campaign, Siege, and Defense of Vicksburg
John S. Kountz
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

    Large numbers of Civil War veterans remembered and reminisced about their war experiences, but only a relative few dedicated the rest of their lives to the task of commemorating their long-ago deeds. John S. Kountz was one of this latter group. Kountz joined the Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry in September 1861 as a fifteen-year-old drummer boy and later, under General William T. Sherman, endured the long siege at Vicksburg before helping to win control of the city in July 1863. In 1899 the War Department appointed Kountz as the official historian at the newly designated Vicksburg National Military Park. As part of his duties, he produced two major works, an organizational chronicle of the armies that fought at Vicksburg and an unpublished narrative of the campaign and siege. This welcome volume presents both of these extremely rare documents together for the first time, providing a valuable resource for a new generation of scholars and enthusiasts.
    Record of the Organizations Engaged in the Campaign, Siege, and Defense of Vicksburg was published in a limited edition by the Government Printing Office in 1901 and offered visitors and historians a detailed examination of the various commands that fought at Vicksburg. The record has long been an essential but hard-to-find source for historians. Kountz’s impressive 116-page campaign overview is rarer still. Because of turnover at the park and Kountz’s death in 1909, the manuscript never saw publication and has, until now, lain buried in the archives at Vicksburg. Offering an unbiased account of both sides of the battle, it delves into the minds of the commanders, examines their decision-making processes, and articulates several opinions that have sparked debate ever since.
    With a new introduction by noted historian Timothy B. Smith, this significant work makes widely available an important history by a participant in the action and opens a fascinating window into the history of Civil War scholarship.


front cover of Rise and Fall of the Confederacy
Rise and Fall of the Confederacy
The Memoir of Senator Williamson S. Oldham, CSA
Edited & Intro by Clayton E. Jewett
University of Missouri Press, 2006
Williamson S. Oldham was a shrewd and candid observer of the Civil War scene. Representing the always contrary and suspicious Texans in the Confederate Senate, he was a major opponent of President Jefferson Davis and spoke out vehemently against conscription—which he considered an abusive violation of individual rights—and against military interference in the cotton trade.
Oldham’s memoir provides a firsthand look at the Civil War from the perspective of a government insider. In it, he sheds light on such topics as military strategy, foreign relations, taxes, and conflicts between state officials and the Confederate government. Perhaps more important, his travels between Texas and Richmond—both during and after the war—allowed him to observe the many changes taking place in the South, and he made note of both the general sentiment of citizens and the effect of political and military measures on the country.
Throughout the memoir, Oldham consistently stresses the centrality of politics to a society and the necessity of legislating for the will of the people even in times of war. In assessing the Confederacy’s defeat, he points not to military causes but to Congress’s giving in to the will of the president and military leaders rather than ruling for and representing the people.
Clayton E. Jewett has edited and annotated Oldham’s memoir to produce the only fully edited publication of this important document, significantly expanded here over any version previously published. His introduction helps clarify Oldham’s position on many of the topics he discusses, making the memoir accessible to scholar and Civil War buff alike, while his annotations reflect his deep knowledge of the intrigue of wartime political life in both Texas and Richmond.
Oldham’s memoir offers important new insight into not only political leadership and conflicts in a young nation but also the question of why the South lost the Civil War, dispelling many myths about the defeat and bolstering interpretations of the Confederacy’s decline that point more to political than to military causes. Rise and Fall of the Confederacy is one of the major political and social documents of the Confederacy and will be a boon to all scholars of the Civil War era.

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Routes of War
The World of Movement in the Confederate South
Yael A. Sternhell
Harvard University Press, 2012

The Civil War thrust millions of men and women-rich and poor, soldiers and civilians, enslaved and free-onto the roads of the South. During four years of war, Southerners lived on the move. In the hands of Yael A. Sternhell, movement becomes a radically new means to perceive the full trajectory of the Confederacy's rise, struggle, and ultimate defeat.

By focusing not only on the battlefield and the home front but also on the roads and woods that connected the two, this pioneering book investigates the many roles of bodies in motion. We watch battalions of young men as they march to the front, galvanizing small towns along the way, creating the Confederate nation in the process. We follow deserters straggling home and refugees fleeing enemy occupation, both hoping to escape the burdens of war. And in a landscape turned upside down, we see slaves running toward freedom, whether hundreds of miles away or just beyond the plantation's gate.

Based on a vast array of documents, from slave testimonies to the papers of Confederate bureaucrats to the private letters of travelers from all walks of life, Sternhell unearths the hidden connections between physical movements and their symbolic meanings, individual bodies and entire armies, the reinvention of a social order and the remaking of private lives. Movement, as means of liberation and as vehicle of subjugation, lay at the heart of the human condition in the wartime South.


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Seeing the Elephant
Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves
University of Illinois Press, 1989
One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, the two-day engagement near Shiloh, Tennessee, in April 1862 left more than 23,000 casualties. Fighting alongside seasoned veterans were more than 160 newly recruited regiments and other soldiers who had yet to encounter serious action. In the phrase of the time, these men came to Shiloh to “see the elephant.”
Drawing on the letters, diaries, and other reminiscences of these raw recruits on both sides of the conflict, “Seeing the Elephant” gives a vivid and valuable primary account of the terrible struggle.
From the wide range of voices included in this volume emerges a nuanced picture of the psychology and motivations of the novice soldiers and the ways in which their attitudes toward the war were affected by their experiences at Shiloh.

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Simple Story Of A Soldier
Life And Service in the 2d Mississippi Infantry
Samuel W. Hankins
University of Alabama Press, 2004
The camp, battle, and prison experiences of a common soldier

This fast-paced memoir was written in 1905 by 61-year-old Samuel W. Hankins while he was living in the Soldiers Home in Gulfport, Mississippi. It vividly details his years as a Confederate rifleman from the spring of 1861, when at a mere sixteen years of age he volunteered for the 2d Mississippi Infantry, through the end of the war in 1865, when he was just twenty years old and maimed for life.
The 2d Mississippi was part of the Army of Northern Virginia and as such saw action at Bull Run/Manassas, Seven Pines and the Peninsular Campaign, and Gettysburg. Besides being hospitalized with measles, suffering severely frostbitten feet, and being wounded by a minié ball at Railroad Cut, Hankins was captured by Federal forces and sent to a prisoner of war camp on David’s Island, New York. Later, he was transferred to a South Carolina hospital, returned home on furlough, joined a cavalry unit that fought at Atlanta. He was stationed in Selma, Alabama, when the war ended.
The strength of Hankins’s text lies in his straightforward narrative style virtually free of Lost Cause sentiment. Both Union and Confederate veterans could relate to his stories because so many of them had faced similar challenges during the war. Full of valuable information on a common soldier’s experience, the memoir still conjures the sights, sounds, and smells of warfare.

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Small Arms at Gettysburg
Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America's Greatest Battle
Joseph G. Bilby
Westholme Publishing, 2023

The Effect of Soldiers’ Weapons on the Turning Point of the Civil War
The three-day battle of Gettysburg has probably been the subject of more books and articles than any other comparable event. Surprisingly, until this work, no one has analyzed the firearms and other individual soldier’s weapons used at Gettysburg in any great detail. The battle was a watershed, with military weapons technologies representing the past, present, and future—sabers, smoothbores, rifles, and breechloaders—in action alongside each other, providing a unique opportunity to compare performance and use, as well as determining how particular weapons and their deployment affected the outcome and course of the battle.
Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America’s Greatest Battle covers all of the individual soldier’s weapons—muskets, rifle-muskets, carbines, repeaters, sharpshooter arms, revolvers, and swords—providing a detailed examination of their history and development, technology, capabilities, and use on the field at Gettysburg. Here we learn that the smoothbore musket, although beloved by some who carried it, sang its swan song, the rifle-musket began to come into its own, and the repeating rifle, although tactically mishandled, gave a glimpse of future promise. This is the story of the weapons and men who carried them into battle during three days in July 1863.


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Tarnished Cavalier
Major General Earl Van Dorn
Arthur B. Carter
University of Tennessee Press, 1999
“Arthur Carter brings new perspective to Confederate knight-errant Earl Van Dorn, who might have been famous rather than infamous had he lived. . . . Carter suggests how Van Dorn the cavalryman could have joined mounted leaders Forrest, Morgan, and Wheeler as raiders-superb and mainstay of Confederate success in the West. Except for one costly peccadillo, Van Dorn would have been one of the South’s rising rather than falling stars.”—Benjamin Franklin Cooling, Author of Fort Donelson’s Legacy

Dashing, bold, and fearless in command, Major General Earl Van Dorn was a soldier whose star shone brightly during the early days of the Confederacy. A veteran of the Mexican War and Indian campaigns, he is remembered for suffering devastating defeats while leading armies at Pea Ridge and Corinth and then redeeming himself as a cavalry commander at Holly Springs and Thompson Station. Yet he was perhaps best known for his reputation as a womanizer killed by an irate husband at the height of his career.

Arthur B. Carter’s biography of Van Dorn, the first in three decades, draws on previously unpublished sources regarding the general’s affair with Martha Goodbread—which resulted in three children—and his liaison with Jessica Peters, which resulted in his death. This new material, unknown to previous biographers, includes the revelation that the true circumstances of Van Dorn's death were kept secret by friends and comrades in order to protect his family. Carter reveals that the general was probably mortally wounded on the Peters plantation but was carried back to his Spring Hill headquarters. He reconstructs the details of Van Dorn's murder in a brisk narrative that draws on accounts of Van Dorn's confidantes, capturing both the danger and passion of those events.

The Tarnished Cavalier is more than a story of scandal. Carter sheds new light on Confederate conduct of the war in the western theater during 1861 and 1862, revisits the pivotal battles of Pea Ridge and Corinth—both of which are important to understanding the loss of the upper South—and introduces new perspectives on the defense of Vicksburg and the Middle Tennessee operations of early 1863.

Carter’s narrative juxtaposes Van Dorn's flamboyance with his failings as a commander: although he was a soldier with heroic aspirations, he was also impulsive, reckless, and unable to delegate authority. Perhaps more telling, it shows how Van Dorn’s character flaws extended to his personal life, cutting short a promising career.

The Author: Arthur B. Carter, a retired U.S. Army officer and educator, lives in Mobile, Alabama.

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