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book reviews87 the Tyler cabinet (1841-1843) is sure and deft. Although Legaré's political influence was not broad, O'Brien suggests that his early death may have prevented his shaping American jurisprudence to reflect abalance between the principles embodied in common and civil law traditions. O'Brien gives us a sympathetic but never adulatory portrait of Legaré the man, psychologicallyburdened by physical deformity, but devoted to his family and engaged in society. Although he interprets personal matters, such as Legaré's relations with women, O'Brien is always respectful—perhaps more distant than is currently fashionable, but surely not to a fault. O'Brien's tone sometimes echoes Legaré's own ironic temper, but irony does not trivialize the human dignity of his subject , even in the almost macabre account of Legaré's death. Too much of southern intellectual history rests on misconceptions, southerners' ideas filtered through more modern values. A Character of Hugh Legaré suggests how muchwe have misconstrued the mind of the old South and how important O'Brien's contributions to a new interpretation will become. J ohanna N icol S hields The University of Alabama in Huntsville The Fiery Trail: A Union Officer's Account of Sherman's Last Campaign . Edited by Richard Harwell and Philip N. Racine; Foreword by William S. McFeely. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986. Pp. xliv, 238. $22.50.) The story of Sherman's relentless march to the sea and through the Carolinas has received considerable attention from both participants and historians. The accounts of General Henry Hitchcock and of Sherman himself, published soon after the war, rank with the best literature on the campaign. Now, thanks to the efforts of Richard Harwell and Philip Racine and also the University of Tennessee Press, another first-rate chronicle of the march is available in printed form. Thomas W. Osborn, chief of artillery in General Oliver Otis Howard's army, meticulously maintained a journal as he marched with Sherman in 1864-1865. As Osborn reported near the end of the campaign, "I made it a practice every evening before retiring, to minute down the incidents of the day, what information we have received, the substance of our speculations , the enemy's doings, and what his movements indicated" (p. 207) . Many of his observations about the march proved amazingly accurate. Most of the book is derived from Osborn's journal, which the editors found in the Bowdoin College Library. The account has been supplemented by letters housed in the Colgate University Library. Osborn was especially intrigued with the work of Sherman's foragers, or "bummers," who committed most of the depredations in the line of the army's march. He usually reported their activities in a matter-of-fact 88CIVIL WAR HISTORY way and without condemnation. Although he indicated that the depredations would demoralize southerners, his main justification for the pillage was the need to sustain the large Federal army, which was far from its supply lines. Osborn emphasized that the march was no lark for the men, especially in the swamplands of lower Georgia and South Carolina. Confederate resistance to Sherman's campaign was also greater than has been generally assumed, though only one major battle—Bentonville— was fought by the armies. Civil War students will be especially interested in Osborn's graphic description of the famous Columbia fire that occurred when Sherman's forces occupied the South Carolina capital. Osborn, in agreement with other Federal accounts, claimed that the inferno began when retreating Confederates piled cotton in the main streets of Columbia and set it on fire. Osbom wrote that he would never forget "the scene of pillaging, the suffering and terror of the citizens, the arresting of and shootingnegroes, and our frantic and drunken soldiers" as the fire engulfed the city (p. 131). His account ends with a description of the grand review of the victorious armies in Washington on May 23-24, 1865, "a sight certainly not to be seen again while we live" (p. 220). In a fine introduction, the editors not only review Osborn's career but also evaluate the importance of the campaign and Sherman's accomplishments . A careful reader will quibble with only a few...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 87-88
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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