- An unsigned review of Union Portraits, by Gamaliel Bradford
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
- View Citation
- Additional Information
[ 523 An unsigned review of Union Portraits, by Gamaliel Bradford New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1916. Pp. xx + 330.1 The New Statesman, 9 (21 Apr 1917) 69 In this volume there are nine portraits of Union leaders in the American Civil War–Sherman, McClellan, Hooker, Meade, Thomas, the generals; Stanton, Seward, Sumner, the Cabinet Ministers; and Bowles, the journalist .2 Mr. Bradford has chosen his material with admirable discretion; the portraits are short, and bring out the important traits most skillfully. In sparing purely biographical or historical matter, the author attains a most effective economy, but thereby supposes some familiarity on the part of his reader with the general period. Those two rejected heroes, McClellan and Hooker, receive a slight rehabilitation at his hands, but in the main he treats his models without mercy.3 They accordingly become more interesting. It is made strikingly evident that these men were not stern, self-controlled Puritans; several were men of most passionate, ungovernable disposition, unashamed in rages and tears; several were men in whom were mixed greatness and vanity, devotion and pusillanimity; and the whole group, in their energy and their mixture of motives, are not unworthy of comparison with figures of the French Revolution. One regrets the omission of certain figures–of Phil Sheridan, of Franz Sigel,4 of some of the antebellum abolitionists–or rather one hopes for their inclusion in a later volume. The writing is good, except for a few personal appeals to the reader (“Hooker did mean things and made false statements . So have you” .), which will jar upon the English ear. Notes 1. The American biographer Gamaliel Bradford (1863-1932) had developed his method of “psychography,” the isolation of his subjects’ essential traits at key moments in their lives, in writing Lee the American (1912), Confederate Portraits (1914), and Portraits of Women (1916). TSE sent this review to J. C. Squire, literary editor of the NS, on 29 Mar. 2. Union Generals of the Civil War (1861-65): William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-91); George Brinton McClellan (1826-85); Joseph Hooker (1814-79); George Gordon Meade (181572 ); George Henry Thomas (1816-70); Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet ministers: Edwin McMasters 1917: Journalism 524 ] Stanton (1814-69), Secretary of War; William Henry Seward (1801-72), Secretary of State; Charles Sumner (1811-74), chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate’s leading opponent of slavery; and journalist Samuel Bowles (1826-78), editor of the Springfield Republican (Massachusetts), which supported the antislavery agenda during the war. 3. Lincoln removed McClellan as general-in-chief of the Union Army for his battlefield failures and accepted the resignation of Hooker following his defeat by Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Lincoln then appointed Meade for the Gettysburg campaign. 4. General Philip H. Sheridan (1831-88) led the Cavalry Corp of the Army of the Potomac, defeated Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley, and was instrumental in forcing the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. The German military officer Franz Sigel (1824-1902) had fled Germany as minister of war after the failed Revolution of 1848 against Prussia.AfterimmigratingtoSt.Louis,hebecameanabolitionistandwascommissionedbrigadier generalatthebeginningofthewar,servingintheBattleofPeaRidgeandtheSecondBattleofBull Run before he was defeated at the Battle of New Market and resigned his commission. ...