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Book Reviews159 battle scenes, which too often provide (referring again to Mr. Keast's review) "shots of serene battlefields empty of men, and pictures of these batdefields with men in the motionless attitudes of death. Too much of the war seems posed, and although we know the technical reasons for this, we miss the motion and commotion of battle." This missing dimension, the visual dynamics of war, is well supplied in Fletcher Pratt's Civü War in Pictures, assembled "from the drawing boards of newspaper artists who recorded the conflict" for Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, among other ouüets. MosÜy anonymous, this corps of artists captured, in pen-and-ink sketches, the immediacy of the conflict, the deployments of battìe, the frontal assaults, as well as more quiescent panoramic or limited scenes, with an authenticity of which the infant camera was then incapable of reproducing. The actual sensations of the war are thus more vibrandy communicated than by the photographic resources of that era — resources which have since, of course, attained the technical perfection which has given us unforgettable photographic records of the first and second World Wars. Therefore, for the student or collector who desires this visual immediacy, another sizable chunk of his $27.50 budget (36)4%, no less) will be profitably invested in the late Mr. Pratt's superb collection. (As to the remaining 3634%, I leave the budgetary reader to the recommendation of Mr. Keast's unadorned statement thai Divided We Fought "should be a part of even the most modest Civil War library.") Without detriment to Mr. Pratt's volume, which speaks for itself in terms of narrative and sketches, it should be noted that Mr. Horan's work is the more bibliographically complete, with source notes on the Brady-Handy photographs, a list of reference works, a pictorial bibliography of Brady pictures appearing in Harper's and Leslie's from 1860 to 1865, a picture index of this volume, and an index of the narrative portion. All such useful adjuncts are missing from Civil War in Pictures, but I do not resent their lack. In writing this review, my only regret is that Fletcher Pratt did not live to see these few words of praise. He well deserved them, and much more. Charles T. Miller Allenspark, Colorado. Guns on the Western Waters: The Story of River Gunboats in the Civü War. By H. Allen Gosnell. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 1949. Pp. 273. $6.50) with a series of new books published or about to be published concerning naval activities on the western waters during the Civil War, this book of a few years ago merits reappraisal. It is a very readable work, and the author knows his naval history. Thus, when he opens his account with "The Gunboats and How They Fought," the reader can expect a concise and clear account of how these unique river crafts were used and just how effective they were. As Mr. Gosnell explains it, the very nature of a river restricted the 160CIVIL war history type of warfare in which gunboats could engage. Instead of the customary "engagements on parallel courses" so normal on the open seas, the struggle on the rivers was frequently between gunboats and forts or guns and ram. As he points out, "the fighting is likely to be over before two opponents can draw abreast of one another in narrow waters." Each of the succeeding chapters is devoted to engagements and incidents along the inland waterways during the Civil War. From the story of "Pope's Run" at the Head of Passes to the account of the Red River expedition, the book is packed with the excitement and grim adventure of gunboat action. At the point where the Mississippi River branches off, called the Head of Passes, the Union had a collection of four vessels under Captain John Pope. They were the Richmond, a powerful sloop-of-war, the Water Witch, a sidewheel gunboat, and the Preble and Vincennes, also sloops-of-war. The Water Witch seemed to be the only suitable craft for the work ahead. On the night of October 11, 1861, the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 159-161
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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