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BOOK REVIEWS87 and documentation are full. Some will commend the publisher for employing photographed typescript (rather than hot or cold type) in order to hold down the book's cost. On the other hand, if this book were double its present cost, it still would be both a bargain and a tribute to the subject as well as the author's definitive treatment. Three Years with Company K likewise begins in earnest with the 1862 engagement at Manassas. Yet unlike the other two volumes under review, this is a personal narrative by one who was there. Austin Stearns was twenty-four and a bootmaker when he enlisted in the 13th Massachusetts Infantry. For a year he and his regiment marked time along the Potomac River. Then fighting began in earnest for the Bay Staters. Stearns received slight wounds at Antietam and Gettysburg, then accepted discharge in 1864 with the rank of sergeant. His memoir is more a chronicle of life in the 13th Massachusetts than it is a personal recollection. He delighted in recounting individual escapades and anecdotes. Stearns also refused to gloss over shortcomings. While his account is not as barbed or as sprightly as that of Lt. Henry Blake of the same regiment, neither is it as fabricated or as prejudiced. Forty-three of Steam's pensketches of army life are included and give the narrative a singular appearance. The reminiscences on which Stearns labored with affection would have benefitted from better editorial preparation. Only minimal use was made of Charles E. Davis' superb history of the 13th Massachusetts. Obvious figures were footnotes; unknown persons too often remain unknown. The index literally leaves much to be desired. Of course, Stearns is not to blame for such shortcomings , and it is to his credit that his war memoirs stand tall on their own. If nothing else, they underscore the human element, insights and understanding that come from going into the ranks via unit studies. James I. Robertson, Jr. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Yankee Blitzkrieg: Wibon's Raid Through Alabama and Georgia. By James Pickett Jones. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976. Pp. xiv, 256. $12.00.) In early 1865 the most important and least damaged area under Confederate control was a rectangle stretching from central Mississippi to central Georgia. Its northern boundary was the Tennessee River; its southern a line from Macon, Georgia, through Colum- 88CIVIL WAR HISTORY bus to Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, and Meridian, Mississippi. Federal officials were concerned lest Confederate President Jefferson Davis retreat to this citadel and make a last stand for Southern independence. Such a fear seemed more a possibility then than it does now. The heartland of the Confederacy could furnish sufficient food and Columbus and Selma were manufacturing centers that could provide matériel for a last struggle. Into this heartland rode 13,480 Union cavalrymen—the largest mounted force assembled during the war. Commanded by Major General James H. Wilson, the column moved into central Alabama on March 22, and a month later occupied Macon, Georgia. Behind Wilson lay a 525-mile trail of desolation. The industrial facilities of Selma, Montgomery, and Columbus had been destroyed. Wilson 's horsemen had won six battles, taken 6,820 prisoners, and killed or wounded over 1,000 Confederates. In addition 288 pieces of artillery, almost 100,000 stand of small arms, five steamboats, 35 locomotives, and 565 railway cars had been captured or destroyed ; scores of smaller industrial establishments and one navy yard had been demolished; miles of railroad track and enormous quantities of supplies had been ruined. The ability of the heartland to support a final Rebel stand went up in the smoke from the fires set by Wilson's men. On May 10, the raiders capped their performance by capturing Davis as he fled through South Georgia. Wilson's raid has received little attention from historians because it was contemporaneous with more publicized events (Lee's surrender , Lincoln's assassination) and because no newspaper correspondent accompanied the column. Edward Longacre devoted a chapter to it in Mounted Raids of the Civil War (1975), and now James Pickett Jones has produced a book-length study based on extensive use of Southern...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 87-89
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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