Saturday, August 1, 2020

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

The Petersburg Campaign section of my library seems to constantly grow. New studies have been coming out regularly over the last decade or so that give us new angles to think about and cover subjects previously under examined.  Adding to the expanding body of scholarship on Petersburg is Sean Michael Chick's The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864, which was published in 2015. I borrowed this book to read about three years ago, and found it helpful in better understanding both army's movements during those initial four day of fighting, so I am happy to add a copy of it to my personal library.

At our book club at work we last read Civil War Places: Seeing the Conflict through the Eyes of Its Leading Historians. It was an excellent choice for discussion. We all enjoyed it so much that we decided to next read the similarly structured Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War, which is also edited by J. Matthew Gallmand and Gary W. Gallagher. Instead of the field's top historians choosing a personally special place, as in the Civil War Places book, they choose a period photograph to write about in Lens of War. I can't wait to start turning the pages on this one.

The Hampton Roads area of Virginia has so much significant African American history. It is where not only the first Africans arrived in British North America in 1619, it also where the Civil War seeds of emancipation were sown with Gen. Benjamin Butler's refusal to return three refugee former enslaved men to their owner. "Freedom's Fortress," aka Fort Monroe, played an important part in the United States Colored Troop story, too. These historical topics and many others get well deserved attention in Cassandra Newby-Alexander's An African American History of the Civil War in Hampton Roads

A book that has been on my "wishlist" for quite a while is Richard M. Reid's Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina's Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era. However due to its high price, I've had to put it on hold, hoping I would come across a good used copy. But recently I learned that the University of North Carolina Press was offering a steep discount sale, so I snatched up a copy. Several of the African American regiments that fought at the Battle of New Market Heights had North Carolina origins, so it relevance to my research is clear. The book coves the experiences of the 35th, 36th, and 37th US Colored Infantry regiments, and the 14th Heavy Artillery. All came from the Old North State and ended up making a name for themselves during the conflict. 

I've always been interested in Civil War military intelligence and how it was conducted. Who doesn't like espionage and intrigue? With the recent publication of Major General George H. Sharpe and the Creation of American Military Intelligence in the Civil War by Peter G. Tsouras, we can now get a fuller understanding and appreciation of the Bureau of Military Information and the man who created and headed it. The information he provided to the Union helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Federal forces and ultimately secure victory.

Happy reading! 

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