In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Book Reviews105 sissippi was the place of decision. The loss of Vicksburg was a severe blow to the South, of course, but by no means the knockout. Mr. Bearss's prose, whUe in instances vigorous, drops often to cliché. "Crack" regiments and "hard riding" cavalry outfits abound. The author is guilty of "confusion reigned supreme." Not alone among writers about the Civil War, he resorts to the anachronistic procedure of applying World War II terms to Civil War situations. He makes frequent reference to "combat teams" and "army groups," and on occasion to Confederate "brass." This alerts the reader to an apprehension that a battle may be "finalized." If the trend continues die military historian is likely to have Alexander reprimanding his "G2" or Caesar "briefing" his Tenth Legion. Despite these few shortcomings—and what book does not possess some?— die volume must be rated a fine achievement. Every ardent buff wiU wish to read it, though aU will not concede its main argument. Glenn Tucker Flat Rock, North Carolina Fessenden of Maine: Civil War Senator. By Charles A. Jellison. (Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 1962. Pp. x, 294. $5.50.) For fifteen stirring years between 1854 and his death in 1869, WiUiam Pitt Fessenden represented the state of Maine in the Senate of the United States. During the Civd War he served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and briefly as Lincoln's secretary of the treasury, foUowing the resignation of Chase. After returning to the Senate, he chaired the Joint Committee on Reconstruction and then, to the horrified frustration of many of his colleagues, was one of the seven gallant Republicans who refused to vote for the impeachment of dieir President. Strangely enough Mr. Jellison's book is the first fuU lengdi biography of this Whig lawyer, turned Republican, although Francis Fessenden published a two volume memoir of his father in 1907. This is a well-organized book, based on impressive research and written with both sympathy and candor. Professor Jellison describes Fessenden's zeal in finding places for friends, constituents, and relatives as weU as his many statesmanlike contributions. There are passages in the book which wdl make the fingers of seasoned seminar masters itch for the blue pencil, but on occasion the author achieves a high degree of dramatic effect. The Fessenden personality was not a warm outflowing one and sometimes the comments in the Senator's letters home were viciously barbed. When sufficiendy roused he was a redoubtable orator who could give any of his coUeagues as good as they gave. Dr. Jellison asserts that in Fessenden, who was bom out of wedlock, die aloof reserve, the pride, and die petulance were "defence mechanisms" which emanated from "that indelible stain of bastardy streaked across his soul" (p. 51; see also p. 5). No doubt diis wdl cause some readers to wonder whether reserved, proud, petulant men are indeed aU bastards. In Dr. Jellison's opinion Fessenden was essentiaUy a moderate or con- 106CIVIL WA R HISTORY servative Republican. ". . . It would be wrong," he writes, "to consider him as having belonged to that growing group of Radicals widiin the Republican party who were by the spring of 1862 beating the drum loudly in favor of such drastic measures as general emancipation and confiscation of enemy property" (p. 144). In his Lincoln and the Radicals (1941, 1960), T. Harry WiUiams, however, quoted Fessenden in Radical context frequently and on page 209 specifically listed him as being among the Radicals just after Fredericksburg. Abraham Lincoln, who doubtless gave some thought to such matters, is supposed to have termed Fessenden, "a Radical without the petulent [sic] and vicious fretfulness of many radicals," when he appointed him to the Treasury. James G. Randall and Richard N. Current included diis judgment in Lincoln the President: Last Full Measure (1955), p. 185. Mr. Jellison presents some evidence in support of his position; other writers have referred to Fessenden as a moderate; certainly the Senator's position on impeachment was a conservative one. Yet Fessenden's career may have offered Mr. Jellison a greater opportunity to reveal the changes and the shadings of conservatism and radicalism in the Senate during the Civil War...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 105-106
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.