Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

Count me in for just about anything that William J. Cooper, Jr. is associated with. Along with John M. McCardell, Jr., Cooper co-edits In The Cause of Liberty: How the Civil War Redefined American  Ideals, which includes ten essays by an all-star cast of the field's top historians. I'm ready to start turning pages on this one right now.

I've had Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign by Peter Cozzens on my Amazon wish list for about ten years. Recently, when I came across a used copy in great condition at a nice low price, I jumped on it. I found many of Cozzens's previous works, especially those on the Stones River, Chickamauaga, and Chattanooga campaigns particularly impressive and I'm hoping this one will follow suit.

In the past few year's I've gained a much better understanding of the internal slave trade by reading biographies of slave traders and a number of excellent studies on the subject. I came across Broke by War: Letters of a Slave Trader, edited by Edmund L. Drago, while perusing the bibliography of another book I recently read. This collection of about 140 letters from slave trader A. J. McElveen to his boss, large Charleston, South Carolina trader Ziba B. Oakes, apparently gives significant information on the various aspects of the domestic slave trade. Being that I'm a primary source enthusiast, this should be a real eye-opening read.

I've tried to make a point of collecting the now many volumes on various Civil War campaigns edited by Gary Gallagher and published by the University of North Carolina press under the "Military Campaigns of the Civil War" series. He seems to always gather an excellent slate of historians to examine diverse aspects of these campaigns. Cold Harbor to the Crater: The End of the Overland Campaign  appears to be the transition point where Gallagher hands things off to his former student Caroline Janney, as Janney was solely credited with the latest release, Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia. I read this volume a few years ago, enjoyed it, and I'm happy to add it to my Petersburg studies library.

As much as we might want to think about them only as fighters, Civil War combatants were indeed human. They had intimate desires that were sometimes fed by images and literature made prevalent by print technologies emerging at that time. Judith Giesberg's Sex and the Civil War: Soldiers, Pornography, and the Making American Morality looks at these issues and how they influenced post-war views of sex, marriage, and morals.

I think that Huts and History: The Historical Archaeology of Military Encampment during the American Civil War is about the fourth book that I mined, and then purchased, from the thorough bibliography of Peter Carmichael's War for the Common Soldier: How Men Thought, Fought, and Survived in Civil War Armies. Editors David G. Orr, Matthew B. Reeves, and Clarence R. Geier provide essays that inform us through archaeological studies about how Civil War soldiers battled the elements, disease, and even boredom in their military encampments. Yet another one I can't wait to start into!

Kathy Simpson Smith's We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, looks at the roles and responsibilities of black, white, and Indian women in Virginia, and North and South Carolina, and how motherhood provided them with a certain level of household power and a strong sense of worth in a male dominated world.


  1. The Cozzens book is one I've been meaning to read. I can recommend "Stonewall In the Valley" by Robert Tanner for a very detailed account of the Valley campaign.

    I just finished reading "Silent Witness: The Civil War through Photography and its Photographers." This book discusses the progression of photographic technology during the war and the importance of the photographer in chronicling the events and people of the war. One can only imagine how much it meant to a young soldier going off to war to be able to send a photograph of himself to a loved one.
    The book is written by Ron Field, whom you may know as the Senior Editor of "Military Images" magazine.

    Just ordered "Wade Hampton - Confederate Warrior to Southern Redeemer" by Rob Andrew.

  2. Hi Paul, Thanks for sharing your recent readings and your recommendations, too.

    I've got Andrew's book on Hampton on my "to be read" shelf. I subscribe to Military Images and love it!