by Keith Poulter
Letters to the Editor
Do You Know?
Al Nofi’s Knapsack
by Al Nofi
Al Nofi’s Knapsack is a regular column in North & South that features vignettes and other reminiscences of the late War Between the States. In this issue, some of Nofi’s topics include President Lincoln’s speech to some 90-day volunteers in 1864, Scientific American and the Civil War, and the very short career of the Confederate raider Petrel.
The Ten Greatest Successes of the Civil War
by Steven H. Newton, Keith Poulter, Gerald J. Prokopowicz, John Y. Simon, Craig L. Symonds, and Steven E. Woodworth
As usual in this format, N&S allows the historians to choose what they believe are the ten greatest successes of the war. This is followed by discussions on what the others see as valid achievements or ones to be discounted. The Emancipation Proclamation seemed to be a runaway winner, especially as far as non-military events go. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign, Jackson’s Valley Campaign, Chancellorsville, and the March to the Sea were most often mentioned as military successes. I also found it interesting as a fan of military history that some of the panelists seemed to discount the military side of things. It was a WAR, after all.
The “Dump Lincoln” Movements of 1864
by Mark Grimsley
Blogger and historian Mark Grimsley covers the three prominent “Dump Lincoln” movements of 1864, including the candidacies of Salmon P. Chase and John Fremont. He concludes that only Grant could have rivaled Lincoln after the fall of Atlanta made Lincoln successful again in popular sentiment.
A Tragedy of Errors
by Terrence J. Winschel
Terrence Winschel covers the disastrously unsuccessful command relationship among Jefferson Davis, Joseph Johnston, and John C. Pemberton during the Vicksburg Campaign. He laments Davis’ policy of trying to defend all points of the Confederacy, Johnston’s hatred of Davis and reluctance to come to Pemberton’s aid, and Pemberton’s lack of qualification for a field command and failure to escape from Vicksburg before it was too late.
Civil War Round Tables
“Christmas Gif,” Empty Chairs, and Confederate Defeat
by Robert E. May
Professor May believes that the Southern Christmas tradition of bestowing gifts and time off to slaves was a major factor in keeping the slaves as “content” as possible in their role. He argues that the disintegration of this practice during the war was a major factor in fomenting discontent among the slaves and caused them to run away or hinder the Southern war effort. I personally did not buy the argument as very convincing, but I recommend that you read it for yourself.
The War Between The Names
by John M. Coski
Apparently John Coski, like myself, belongs to the “Common Sense” Party. He looks to the writing and speeches of the men who participated in the war DURING THE WAR and concludes that the term Civil War was used quite often by both sides. “War Between the States”, on the other hand, was used only once. Coski points out that the most often used term was simply “the war”. However, the United Daughters of the Confederacy led a concerted effort in the postwar years to make “War Between the States” the official term for the war, even though many Confederate veterans preferred “Civil War” themselves. They largely succeeded in the South, but the rest of the country still used Civil War as the most common term.
by James A. Davis
Civil War musicians are usually looked upon favorably in the popular history of the war. They served to buoy flagging spirits and demoralize the enemy. James Davis discusses the negative ways in which musicians were viewed, both by rivals and by the people they were trying to entertain.
Books reviewed in this issue:
1. Spartan Band: Burnett’s 13th Texas Cavalry in the Civil War by Thomas Reid
2. The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-1865 by Robert R. Mackey
3. Yankee Autumn in Acadiana: A Narrative of the Great Texas Overland Expedition Through Southwest Louisiana, October-December 1863 by David C. Edmonds
4. The 25 Best Civil War Sites: The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Battlefields, Monuments, and Museums by Clint Johnson
5. “Out of the Mouth of Hell”: Civil War Prisons and Escapes by Frances H. Casstevens
6. And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864 by Mark Grimsley
7. The American Civil War Through British Eyes: Dispatches from British Diplomats, Vols. 2 & 3 Edited by James J. Barnes and Patience P. Barnes