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364CIVIL WAR HISTORY their explosion. But if his treatment is less comprehensive than that of the fifth volume of Miller's Photographic History, Mr. Ripley's very personal blend of scholarship and eccentricities may well make his book a kind of classic. Cannon buffs will have to have it. What other readers will learn from it—half of the chapter on smoothbore ammunition is an expert essay on fuses—will depend on their particular interests. Theodore Ropp Duke University The South Reports the Civil War. By J. Cutler Andrews. (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1970. Pp. xiii, 611. $15.00.) Battlefield correspondents are now so integral a part of combat that no war is really complete without them. Yet a scant century ago, when the United States succumbed to civil war, how to report firsthand on military developments was for American newspapermen a problem as novel as it was perplexing. Most of the major newspapers ultimately sent reporters into the field to accompany the armies and report the facts. Meanwhile, the publishers back home used freely the editorial pages to voice opinions on the general course of the struggle and the specific actions of individuals. The southern press during the Civil War years suffered from a number of handicaps. A shortage of manpower, machinery, paper and ink was constant; all transportation and communication facilities went slowly from bad to worse; inflation sent printing costs spiraling beyond the prohibitive level. Nevertheless, a small group of dedicated journalistseditors and correspondents alike—labored to the end of the war to keep their readers as informed as circumstances would allow. This is the story of those newspapermen. It is a narrative so carefully researched and so meticulously chronicled that it would be no stretch of the term to call this volume the definitive history of the Confederate press. Dr. Andrews is hardly a novice to the field. In 1955 he completed his highly acclaimed study, The North Reports the Civil War. Shortly thereafter, he began a decade's work on this companion volume. The comparative paucity of research materials notwithstanding, the volume on Confederate newspapers fully holds its own in content and depth with the northern compilation. Andrews utilizes a chronological approach and bases his narrative on the framework of the war itself. He first describes the coming of hostilities and the state of journalism in the South at the time of Fort Sumter. Separate chapters treat the newspaper coverage given to First Manassas and Gettysburg. However—and much more enjoyable to read —the author devotes most of his book to the running battles between newspapermen and politicians and/or generals. Figures such as Jefferson Davis, Braxton Bragg and Joseph E. Johnston appear here in an book reviews365 understandably villainous light. In contrast, such caustic editors as John M. Daniel and Robert Barnwell Rhett, Jr., emerge as shining knights crusading gallantly for the truth. Of possibly greater interest to many readers is the wealth of information Andrews amassed on heretofore obscure reporters in the field. Indeed , in many respects the main actors in this drama of the Confederate press were such correspondents as George W. Bagby, William T. Thompson , Samuel C. Reid, Jr., Felix de Fontaine, Henry Timrod, Peter W. Alexander and William G. Shepardson. For example, Andrews reveals the previously unknown fact that Shepardson was the anonymous "Bohemian " of the Richmond Dispatch as well as the "Evelyn" of the Mobile Register. Included with the heavily documented text is a glossary of illustrations , an appendix on the identity of the correspondent "Shadow," a roster of ninety-five southern reporters, and a thirty-four-page bibliography that stands as a testimonial to excellent scholarship. Dr. Andrews' conclusion ably summarizes not only his own feelings but the achievements of his subject as well. The southern press, he states, "did its best to provide full news coverage of the military and political events of the war. ... It portrayed the heroism of a small band of patriots battling as their Revolutionary forefathers had done against overwhelming odds and performing knightly deeds of the kind of which Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart were authentic symbols. Although it reflected the fluctuating moods of Southern men and women, it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 364-365
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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