Friday, October 13, 2017

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

The ties between the Civil War and the Reconstruction eras and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-60s are indisputable, and fascinating . Curious to learn more about the attempts to restrict integration in nearby Prince Edward County led me to purchase this book. For a time, the county's schools closed their doors rather than allow African American students to attend. This looks to be an educational and inspiring story of the perseverance of the black community in effort to achieve an equal learning opportunity for their children. 

Sgt. Marion Hill Fitzpatrick of the 45th Georgia Infantry was mortally wounded on April 2, 1865, during the Union VI Corps breakthrough, not a couple of stone throws away from where I live. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Fitzpatrick's descendant and one of the co-editors of this collection of letters when he came to visit the Park for a custom tour. In appreciation, he kindly gifted me a copy. I am sure reading these "Letters to Amanda" will better inform me of yet another common soldier's experience.    

Dr. Stephen Rockenbach of nearby Virginia State University presented a talk on September 16 at the Park on his recently published book. This work examines and compares the experiences of the Ohio River Valley border region communities of Frankfort, Kentucky, and Corydon, Indiana. Having lived in Frankfort for six years I am sure to find many familiar names and issues. While there I developed a fondness of border region scholarship and this book promises to add to that growing field.

I have not posted much the last few weeks or so due to much of my time being consumed with research for a special tour of the New Market Heights battlefield that I will be giving on October 20. I've tried to read as much as I could find on the fight (both primary and secondary sources) which brought distinction to fourteen African American Medal of Honor recipients. This book covers the 5th USCT, which was part of Col. Alonzo Draper's brigade and who made the second and ultimately successful charge of the Confederate earthworks at New Market Heights. Raised in Ohio and made up largely of free men of color, the 5th served in the XVIII Corps and then XXV Corps.

In Tennessee, William G. Brownlow is either hated or loved. In Unionist East Tennessee he brazenly criticized the state and national Confederate governments and often found favor with his fellow natives of the hills. In Middle and West Tennessee, not so much. Brownlow went on to become governor of the state during the early Reconstruction years and then served as a U.S. Senator from the Volunteer State. His hatred toward secessionist for breaking up the Union knew few limits. I've not read much of Brownlow's own writings, so this should be an excellent opportunity to look into the mind of this Southern Unionist. 

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