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The Continuing War EDITED BY JAMES I. ROBERTSON, JR. Department of History, Emory University Atlanta, Georgia A native of Danville, Virginia, James I. Robertson, Jr., is currently writing afull-scale historyof the Stonewall Brigade, a sketch of which recently appeared in crvTL WAB msTOBY. In the following, his first contribution to the continuing WAB, of which he has now assumed the regular editorship. Mr. Robertson more than demonstrates his grasp of recent literature on the Civil War and his critical abuity to interpret it meaningfully for our readers . ninety-seven YEABS have elapsed since a christening of carnage guaranteed the future of our nation. Many of the battle-scarred terrains, once witnesses to American's bloodiest struggle, now are clothed in a quietness broken only by the sounds of Nature's family or the wanderings of a growing number of the interested—or the occasional but determined quest of an avid war student for some earth-yielding relic. Yet the serenity ofthe battlefields is misleading; the war lives on with vitality through many pens and presses. The discovery and publication of personal memoirs, the evaluation of campaigns and leaders in the light of modern scholarship, and the reissue of scarce and "classic" narratives, have been and are keeping us increasingly mindful of that ail-American test of union, the Civil War. Two commendable works open the fall season. Richard B. Harwell's The Union Reader begins with the fall of Fort Sumter and closes with the reinvestment of the Stars and Stripes over the crumbled debris of that onceproud stronghold. Like Mr. Harwell's well-received The Confederate Reader this Union counterpart is filled with excerpts from relatively unknown but contemporary works. It "is a work by many hands," writes its compiler. "In every case the writers were eyewitnesses to the most eventful days of American history. . . . The words of those who participated in our Civil War run with blood as well as with ink. In these words, hot from the heart, that the Americans of another day wrote for each other their day remains alive." Collectors of personal memoirs will find here the best cuts 338 Continuing War339 of several rare literary gems. Here is pictured war as only those who saw that war could present it Earl Schenck Miers has written a thoroughly intriguing work, The Great Rebellion, which Worldreleased earlythis month. This," Mr. Miers states, "is a book about the American people and what happened to them during one Christmas week, as a result of a tragic Thursday, and on a Palm Sunday ." Three of the war's most crucial seven-day periods have been recreated : Christmas week, 1860, which heralded the beginning of the Southern Confederacy; the balmy seven days of April, 1861, when Sumter felt the fury of Southern batteries; and the week of Palm Sunday, 1865, when Lee and Grant met at Wilmer McLean's farmhouse and restored Unity to her rightful place beside Freedom. Mr. Miers has sought to recount the struggle that raged in American minds by describing only one per cent of that four-year period. It is a remarkable achievement. Both above-mentioned authors have re-edited civilian accounts from within the Confederacy. Last month the University of Illinois Press released Fitzgerald Ross's Cities and Camps of the Confederates States, edited by Mr. Harwell. These reminiscences of a keen-sighted Englishman were originally published in installments in Blackwood's Magazine, and were issued in book form in 1865. J. B. Jones's A Rebel War Clerk's Diary was first published in 1866 and reprinted in 1935. Now Mr. Miers has prepared a new and comprehensively annotated edition of these daily entries by a gossipy Pennsylvanian who surveyed the struggle from a Richmond war office. Cemetery Ridge is again alive with action as new studies examine Lee's ill-fated Pennsylvania campaign. Fairfax Downey's The Guns at Gettysburg is a graphic account of the role played there by artillery. The campaign from the Southern standpoint is presented by Clifford Dowdey in Death of a Nation. Bruce Catton has edited a new edition of Frank Haskell 's eyewitness account, The Battle of Gettysburg. (At last report several new copies...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 338-342
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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