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BOOK REVIEWS283 battle fronts. At least one soldier from this county seems to have been in every engagement, major or minor, during the years 1861-1865. Some were killed, others wounded, and many saw the inside of Confederate prison camps. All the activity on the home front is given in detail. He does not neglect even the unsavory activities such as bounty jumping and desertion . It is an effective format that certainly was microcosmic for every county North or South during the war. This book has gone through three editions and this reviewer hopes that there are more to come. If so, some errors should be corrected. On p. 14 Confederate Gen. James J. Archer is mentioned and eight lines later he becomes "Arthur." On p. 15, the word "thousands" is misspelled. On p. 75 a soldier given up for dead returns home in 1862 after the battle of Gettysburg. But these defects are minor. What appears to be a regional account of the war turns out to be all embracing and universal which is the test of any good book. James Barnett Cincinnati, Ohio Court-Martial. By John F. Marszalek, Jr. (New York: Charles Scribner 's Sons. 1972. Pp. xvi, 320. $8.95.) John Marszalek's Court-Martial is the story of Johnson C. Whittaker's experience as a black cadet at the United States Military Academy. The book focuses on the aftermath of a night attack that Whittaker suffered during his senior year. His explanation of how and why the attack occurred was disputed by his fellow cadets and, after a brief investigation, the Academy charged him with having faked the incident . A court of inquiry and a formal court-martial followed and both confirmed the Academy's original findings. Marszalek recreates the setting in which these happenings took place and carefully follows Whittaker through the long months of controversy and litigation. A professor of history at Mississippi State University, Marszalek sensitively portrays Whittaker's ordeal as "one man's battle against discrimination and injustice" (p. xi). In a less convincing fashion, he also interprets Whittaker's difficulties as a micro-history of the black experience in America. Shortly after Whittaker's arrival in 1876, white cadets joined in systematically ostracizing him. Other Negro cadets before Whittaker, such as Henry O. Flipper, had received the same treatment. Officially the Academy barred racial discrimination. At the same time, hazing and social ostracism were tolerated as acceptable means of censuring any cadet who failed to measure up to traditional military standards. General John M. Schofield, West Point superintendent during Whittaker 's years there, defended such practices and asserted that, as ap- 284CIVIL WAR HISTORY plied to black cadets, they revealed no racial prejudice. From the beginning , Whittaker resented this imposed isolation, but he concentrated on his studies and progressed steadily through the curriculum. He was close to graduating when, on the night of April 5, 1880, he was awakened in his room by three masked men and severely roughed up. The assailants also cut his hair, sliced an ear and left him bound up on the floor. The next morning, Whittaker was found still dazed, his hands and feet tightly strapped together. Almost immediately, both cadets and Academy officials expressed skepticism that anyone from their ranks could be responsible. An investigation launched by the school quickly concluded that Whittaker himself had concocted the attack, mutilating himself in the process, to embarrass the Academy for having been ostracized. At Whittaker's request, a court of inquiry convened. The conducting of the court's business became a nationally publicized event and an emotional issue between supporters and opponents of the old Radical Republican civil rights program. Whittaker found himself a pawn in a larger contest between reactionary and liberal civil libertarians who interpreted his situation in terms of their own partisan or social biases. The court of inquiry found Whittaker culpable of having committed self-mutilation. His supporters protested this decision so vigorously that President Rutherford B. Hayes ordered a formal court-martial to settle the episode. In early 1881, Whittaker and his lawyer, abolitionist Daniel H. Chamberlain, entered a plea of not guilty as the formal proceedings began. Whittaker was well...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 283-285
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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