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BOOK REVIEWS179 Bloody Angle, fought hand to hand at Fort Stedman, and led Lee's last offensive at Appomattox. "For all their vices, weaknesses, and failings, Lee's Louisiana Tigers emerged from the Civil War with one of the most respected military records of any southern fighting unit." For theirheroics on the battlefield the Tigers paid a heavy price. They suffered a 23 percent mortality rate. Approximately 2,000 of them were killed or wounded in combat. Another 1,300 died from other causes. All units suffered extensive losses. This is an excellent work, thoroughly researched, and well written. Mr. Jones does a masterful job of retaining a constant focus on his major thesis—the role of the Louisiana infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia —while at the same time giving the reader a clear, concise picture of the setting for his story. Furthermore, Lee's Tigers is the first comprehensive study of all the Louisiana units operating under General Lee. "The wild looting Tigers . . . made not a pious crew, but they fought." A civilian who knew the Louisianians only by reputation wrote the above which happens to summarize perfectly the volume under review. John G. Barrett Lexington, Virginia Major Butler's Legacy: Five Generations of a Shveholding Family. By Malcolm Bell, Jr. (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1987. Pp. xxiv, 673. $29.95.) This is a truly remarkable book, exciting, rapid paced, detailed, containing a wealth of information, and covering a century-and-a-half of American history. Nearly half of the book focuses on the fortune-hunting, Irish-born Major Pierce Butler, an officer in King George Ill's Twentyninth Regiment of Foot prior to the American Revolution, who married South Carolina's Mary Middleton, heiress to a substantial fortune, and later became a Patriot, Georgia slaveowner, member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and United States Senator from South Carolina . Subsequent members of the Butler family are also examined. Among them are what might approximate as nearly as possible an American aristocracy—Thomas Butler, Pierce's surviving and largely disinherited son who married Eliza de Mallevault, the daughter of a French noblewoman; Pierce Butler, a grandson who lived in Philadelphia (as did Major Butler), married the famous English actress Frances Anne Kemble, and became one of the wealthiest slaveowners in America before selling 436 of his Georgia blacks in 1859 for $300,205 to pay off gambling debts and stock market losses; and Owen Wister, the son of Pierce Butler's great-granddaughter, who became a friend of Theodore Roosevelt and a prominent novelist. 180CIVIL WAR HISTORY As with the Children of Pride's Charles C. Jones, the fortuitous circumstance of the Butlers being separated from one another, and the propensity of Major Butler, and subsequent generations, to write hundreds of letters have left a rich legacy for historical inquiry. But unlike Jones, Butler and succeeding generations (except briefly after the Civil War) were absentee plantation owners. Demanding as they did weekly reports on conditions at the three Butler rice, cotton, and sugar plantations in Mcintosh and Glynn counties, Georgia (near Darien on the Sea Island coast), and communicating often with various plantation managers, including Roswell King, Sr. and Jr., the Butlers also left detailed pictures of the internal workings of plantation slavery over a period of more than two generations. Despite admonitions to themanagers not to be unduly harsh, the brutal and oppressive nature of human bondage (including branding slaves with PB above their right breasts) becomes evident as the author explores the activities of plantation life. In his feeling for place and time—whether Butler's Island in Georgia during the War of 1812 (when Major Butler lost 138 slaves to the British, slaves who went mostly to Nova Scotia), Charleston and Savannah on the eve of the Civil War, or Philadelphia and London during various periods of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—the author is matched by few historians. In his unravelling of various wills and estate documents, he displays a talent in the best tradition of the legal profession; and in his attempts to understand the experiences of blacks, he demonstrates sympathy and sensitivity. Unfortunately, with regard to thelatter, the author...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 179-180
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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