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book reviews85 saluting, drilling, and spit-and-polish discipline were not exactly the norm in Sherman's army. For instance, there was a hungry member of the Seventeenth Ohio who, in the midst ofan assault preparation, interrupted the colonel's instructions with a request: "Colonel, I want to charge by way ofthat turnip patch." Experience, mutual respect, and indeed, a camaraderie between officers and men contributed to a sense of self-reliance and self-confidence that made Sherman's army one of the very best that the United States has ever put in the field. Glatthaar quotes heavily from his sources, believing that "to strip the ideas from the manner in which an individual presented them would be, in many cases, an injustice to both the soldiers and the reader." The author probes many facets ofthe character of Sherman's troops. Why they fought, whether for the Union, abolition, or adventure; their attitudes toward, and relations with Southerners, black and white; the daily life in camp and on the march, foraging and pillaging—all diese are reflected in the words of numerous soldiers. The reviewer might question whether some generalizations are warranted from the evidence presented. Occasionally die author seems to accept accounts uncritically, particularly comments of soldiers about their experiences with and attitudes toward blacks. There is no new interpretation here of Sherman or his total-war concept. But overall, this book is a good one. It is interesting and makes a contribution to Civil War historiography , especially in bringing out that Sherman's army was different from the Army of the Potomac, and in developing the story of the common soldier in the Western Theater ofthe war through his own words. James Lee McDonough Nashville, Tennessee Stephen Dodson Ramseur, Lee's Gallant General. By Gary W Gallagher. (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Pp. 232. $19.95.) Douglas Southall Freeman, who conferred sainthood on so many of Lee's lieutenants, found few soldiers more worthy of his admiration than Stephen D. Ramseur (1837-64). Fearless and clear-headed in battle, able to fire and inspire his troops, with an eye for terrain and a sure grasp of tactics at the brigade and divisional level, Ramseur displayed the highest qualities of Confederate leadership. With the support of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, A. E Hill, Jubal Early, and other superiors, he advanced steadily in rank and responsibility, becoming the youngest West Pointer to attain a CSA major generalship. From earliest days, "Dod" Ramseur embodied the social and political ideals ofhis homeland. Scion ofan upper middle-class family from Lincolnton , North Carolina, he grew up fair of face, erect in bearing, sure in the saddle, true of aim, sharp of intellect, and devout of faith. As a youth he 86CIVIL war history dreamed ofmartial glory, and he sought to make the dream reality through a Military Academy education. Long in advance of his June 1860 graduation , he came to view the secession crisis as a morality play. Southerners were defenders of the faith, upholders ofthose principles upon which the nation had been founded. Yankees were infidels or heretics, and abolitionists agents of Satan. Eager for the Apocalypse, he did not wait for the shelling ofFort Sumter before resigning his U.S. Army commission. In brief order he rose from lieutenant of Confederate artillery to colonel of the Forty-ninth North Carolina Infantry. His aptitude as administrator, drillmaster, and tactician brought him brigade command late in 1862 and a division under Early in May 1864. On virtually every field tiiat drew die Army of Northern Virginia—especially Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania—he won plaudits for his gallant bearing and adroit leadership , while his desire to seek the forefront of action brought him three wounds. His few less-than-satisfactory performances could be attributed to the flawed strategy ofhis superiors or to his inexperience in a new grade or position. As a warrior, Ramseur cuts an impressive path through this book, but rarely does he come to life as a human being. To a large extent the author attempts to characterize him through his prewar and wartime correspondence with relatives and friends and with Ellen Richmond Ramseur, whom he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 85-86
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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