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270CIVIL war history The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865. By E. B. Long with Barbara Long. (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971. Pp. xiii, 1135. $17.50.) This volume is what its title implies. Beginning, in fact, with December 24, I860, and continuing through May 6, 1865, it lists and briefly describes the major military and political events, and many military events not so major, that occurred on each consecutive day of the Civil War, giving the day of the week as well as the date. Coverage of scattered days when there were important occurrences associated with the war, but not of every consecutive day, actually begins with November 6, I860, the day of Lincoln's election, and continues through August 20, 1866, the day on which Andrew Johnson proclaimed insurrection at an end in Texas and thus throughout the United States. In the introduction, E. B. Long says: "I realize the drawbacks of this method, but I hope this volume will at least partially fulfill a need." This reviewer must confess that he has not discovered a need fulfilled by this volume that could not have been met better by a Civil War encyclopedia arranged in conventional encyclopedic fashion by alphabetical headings, or indeed met by various existing volumes. It does not offer enough new illumination to the scholar to require this large volume that one can now find exactly what was happening in every theater of the war on the same date as the event that might first have attracted one's attention; anyway, if the scholar needed to know, other histories and the Official Records usually could have told him. Although Long describes the principal battles in some detail, his method often leaves him with too little space to offer more than the bare bones of an event. Under February 18, 1861, for example, he simply says that "At San Antonio, Tex., Bvt. Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs surrendered U.S. military posts in the Department of Texas to the state," without indicating that about one-fourth of the Regular Army and property in proportion were involved or suggesting the dislocations thus produced in the army. Sometimes the effort at compression leads Long into saying the merely obvious; no one will learn much by being told that on December 16, 1862, the Army of the Potomac was "still disheartened after Fredericksburg." On other occasions the effort to compress produces interpretative comments too sweeping to mean much, such as the claim at the beginning of 1863 that "A whole new way of life had evolved from the war," presumably for the whole United States. To have demonstrated the truth of such an assertion. Long would have had to deal with Civil War history from a much wider perspective than his almost exclusively military and occasionally political one. Most often , Long finds no space for interpretation at all; the volume is full of uncnlightening paragraphs such as the following one for October 16, 1863: Although things were quiet in Virginia, skirmishes erupted at Grand Coteau, La.; Fort Brooke, FIa.; near Island No. 10 in Ten- BOOK REVIEWS271 nessee; at Treadwell's near Clinton and Vernon Cross Roads, Miss.; and at Pungo Landing, N.C. Shelby's cavalry in Missouri fought at Johnstown, Deer Creek, and near and at Humansville. A few reviews have suggested that it is engrossing to read Long's book straight through, but given passages like the last, the attempt is not recommended here. Apart from these limitations implicit in the method or otherwise selfimposed , it must be said that Long has done his job well. Bruce Catton , whose researcher he was for The Centennial History of the Civil War, writes in the foreword that "It is no exaggeration whatever to say that this man knows more facts about the Civil War than any other man who ever lived." Catton may be right; in this vast collection of facts, scarcely a mistake has slipped through—though Long kills off poor old Black Kettle of the Cheyennes in the Sand Creek massacre of November 29, 1864, which might of course have been more merciful than his actual death four years later in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 270-271
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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