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African Americans and the Union Navy
One of the lesser known stories of the Civil War is the role played by escaped slaves in the Union blockade along the Atlantic coast. From the beginning of the war, many African American refugees sought avenues of escape to the North. Due to their sheer numbers, those who reached Union forces presented a problem for the military. The problem was partially resolved by the First Confiscation Act of 1861, which permitted the seizure of property used in support of the South’s war effort, including slaves. Eventually regarded as contraband of war, the runaways became known as contrabands. In Bluejackets and Contrabands, Barbara Brooks Tomblin examines the relationship between the Union Navy and the contrabands. The navy established colonies for the former slaves and, in return, some contrabands served as crewmen on navy ships and gunboats and as river pilots, spies, and guides. Tomblin presents a rare picture of the contrabands and casts light on the vital contributions of African Americans to the Union Navy and the Union cause.
Planning for War in Central Europe, 1948-1968
While scholarship abounds on the diplomatic and security aspects of the Cold War, very little attention has been paid to military planning at the operational level. In Blueprints for Battle, experts from Russia, the United States, and Europe address this dearth by closely examining the military planning of NATO and Warsaw Pact member nations from the end of World War II to the beginning of d?tente. Informed by material from recently opened archives, this collection investigates the perceptions and actions of the rival coalitions, exploring the challenges presented by nuclear technology, examining how military commanders' perceptions changed from the 1950s to the 1960s, and discussing logistical coordination among allied states. The result is a detailed study that offers much-needed new perspectives on the military aspects of the early Cold War.
A Memoir of World War II
" Winner of the Best Aeronautical Book Award from the Reserve Officers Association of the United States "The sky was full of dying airplanes" as American Liberator bombers struggled to return to North Africa after their daring low-level raid on the oil refineries of Ploesti. They lost 446 airmen and 53 planes, but Philip Ardery's plane came home. This pilot was to take part in many more raids on Hitler's Europe, including air cover for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. This vivid firsthand account, available now for the first time in paper, records one man's experience of World War II air warfare. Throughout, Ardery testifies to the horror of world war as he describes his fear, his longing for home, and his grief for fallen comrades. Bomber Pilot is a moving contribution to American history.
This manuscript is an outgrowth of a presentation Gruber made to the Society of the Cincinnati (as part of the Society’s George Rogers Clark Lecture series) in 2002. It is a hybrid reference book and monograph. The work consists of a substantial introduction, a bibliography of books the officers preferred, a bibliography of books on war that do not appear in any of the inventories (termed books not taken), a set of biographies of the 42 officers on which the study rests, and various appendixes and tables that back up the earlier material.
The Forgotten Campaign
" The 1943 invasion of Bougainville, largest and northernmost of the Solomon Islands, and the naval battles during the campaign for the island, contributed heavily to the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific War. Here Harry Gailey presents the definitive account of the long and bitter fighting that took place on that now all-but-forgotten island. A maze of swamps, rivers, and rugged hills overgrown with jungle, Bougainville afforded the Allies a strategic site for airbases from which to attack the Japanese bastion of Rabaul. By February of 1944 the Japanese air strength at Rabaul had indeed been wiped out and their other forces there had been isolated and rendered ineffective. The early stages of the campaign were unique in the degree of cooperation among Allied forces. The overall commander, American Admiral Halsey, marshaled land, air, and naval contingents representing the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Unlike the other island campaigns in the Pacific, the fighting on Bougainville was a protracted struggle lasting nearly two years. Although the initial plan was simply to seize enough area for three airbases and leave the rest in Japanese hands, the Australian commanders, who took over in November 1944, decided to occupy the entire island. The consequence was a series of hard-fought battles that were still going on when Japan's surrender finally brought them to an end. For the Americans, a notable aspect of the campaign was the first use of black troops. Although most of these troops did well, the poor performance of one black company was greatly exaggerated in reports and in the media, which led to black soldiers in the Pacific theater begin relegated to non-combat roles for the remainder of the war. Gailey brings again to life this long struggle for an island in the far Pacific and the story of the tens of thousands of men who fought and died there.
A classic story of a young man’s journey to adulthood, The Boy of Battle Ford covers Blackman’s years growing up in early post-settlement Illinois, where he gave in to temptations such as drinking, gambling, and the lure of prostitutes before joining the army, finding God and becoming a preacher. Blackman, who notes that he is determined to “write facts” in this book, peppers his story with the sordid details of the sinful times of his life as well as with discussions of faith and of struggling to understand his God and his beliefs.
The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham
Johnnie Wickersham was fourteen when he ran away from his Missouri home to fight for the Confederacy. Fifty years after the war, he wrote his memoir at the request of family and friends and distributed it privately in 1915. Boy Soldier of the Confederacy: The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham offers not only a rare look into the Civil War through the eyes of a child but also a coming-of-age story.
Edited by Kathleen Gorman, the volume presents a new introduction and annotations that explain how the war was glorified over time, the harsh realities suppressed in the nation’s collective memory. Gorman describes a man who nostalgically remembers the boy he once was. She maintains that the older Wickersham who put pen to paper decades later likely glorified and embellished the experience, accepting a polished interpretation of his own past.
Wickersham recounts that during his first skirmish he was "wild with the ecstasy of it all" and notes that he was "too young to appreciate the danger." The memoir traces his participation in an October 1861 Confederate charge against Springfield, Missouri; his fight at the battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862; his stay at a plantation he calls Fairyland; and the battle of Corinth.
The volume details Wickersham’s assignment as an orderly for General Sterling Price, his capture at Vicksburg in 1863, his parole, and later his service with General John Bell Hood for the 1864 fighting around Atlanta. Wickersham also describes the Confederate surrender in New Orleans, the reconciliation of the North and the South, and his own return and reunification with his family.
While Gorman’s incisive introduction and annotations allow readers to consider how memories can be affected by the passage of time, Wickersham’s boy-turned-soldier tale offers readers an engaging narrative, detailing the perceptions of a child on the cusp of adulthood during a turbulent period in our nation’s history.
From the Journals of a U.S. Marine Intelligence Officer
As an intelligence officer during the Vietnam War, Fred L. Edwards, Jr., was instructed to visit every major ground unit in the country to search for intelligence sources—long range patrols, boats, electronic surveillance, and agent operations. “Edwards found time to keep a journal, an extremely well-written, sharply observed report of his adventures. Along with contemporary postscripts and a helpful historical chronology, that journal is a significant improvement on most Vietnam memoirs. It is the record of a Marine’s on-the-job education.”—Proceedings
Confederate Commander in the Shenandoah
" John D. Imboden is an important but often overlooked figure in Civil War history. With only limited militia training, the Virginia lawyer and politician rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate Army and commanded the Shenandoah Valley District, which had been created for Stonewall Jackson. Imboden organized and led the Staunton Artillery in the capture of the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. He participated in the First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas and organized a cavalry command that fought alongside Stonewall Jackson in his Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The Jones/Imboden Raid into West Virginia cut the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and ravaged the Kanawha Valley petroleum fields. Imboden covered the Confederate withdrawal from Gettysburg and later led cavalry accompanying Jubal Early in his operations against Philip Sheridan in Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Imboden completed his war service in command of Confederate prisons in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Spencer C. Tucker fully examines the life of this Confederate cavalry commander, including analysis of Imboden’s own post-war writing, and explores overlooked facets of his life, such as his involvement in the Confederate prison system, his later efforts to restore the economic life of his home state of Virginia by developing its natural resources, and his founding of the city of Damascus, which he hoped to make into a new iron and steel center. Spencer C. Tucker, John Biggs Professor of Military History at the Virginia Military Institute, is the author of Vietnam and the author or editor of several other books on military and naval history. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.