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342CIVIL WAR HISTORY Parrish does, however, capture the color and the detail ofa strange vessel operating alone in western waters. We marvel at the gallant crew while wondering if the Arkansas was merely a shadow archer releasing but a single fierce arrow against a horde invading. Were its actions finally only sound and fury ofa people desperate for victory? Could a little better Confederate planningfor her ironclad have changed the course ofthe Civil War in the west? Parrish struggles with these possibilities but finally his is the story of a gallant ship and a heroic captain and crew in a desperate action against odds too much for mortal men. Robert Hartje Saluda, N.C. The Bermuda Hundred Campaign. By Herbert M. Schiller. (Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1988. Pp. 375. $29.95.) One of Ulysses S. Grant's subsidiary operations against the military forces of the Confederacy in the spring of 1864 entailed the advance of the Army ofthe James up the south side ofthat river with the mission ofinvesting and capturing the Confederate capital city of Richmond. The resulting series of military operations, which became known as the Bermuda Hundred Campaign , has not until recently been addressed and presented to students of the war. Drawing from an extensive number ofmanuscripts and published sources, Dr. Herbert M. Schiller has provided an excellent detailed study and explanation of this crucial campaign which occurred in the area between the strategically located cities of Richmond and Petersburg. The author claims that, from the Federals' point of view, the campaign was a series of lost opportunities which he highlights as they occur in the chronology. Much ofthe blame for Federal failure can be attributed to the command set-up within the Army of the James. That army was commanded by Major General Benjamin F. Butler and consisted of the Tenth and Eighteenth Army Corps commanded respectively by Major Generals Quincy A. Gillmore and William F. Smith. None ofthese three commanders could get along professionally or otherwise with either ofthe other two. Smith believed that he and not Butler should command the army. Throughout the campaign Butler surreptitiously attempted to have Gillmore replaced. After a few reprimands from Butler the two corps commanders declined to offer any advice or suggestions to the army commander even though they were military professionals and he was not. Dr. Schiller explains that the Federal landing at Bermuda Hundred totally surprised the Confederates. However, this advantage was wasted because, instead of moving on Richmond as his orders dictated, Butler instead vacillated forseven days with weak probes in the direction ofPetersburg . Had he moved as ordered, Butler and his troops should have been BOOK REVIEWS343 able to occupy the capital city with little difficulty within three days following the landing. By the time he decided to move toward his true objective, Butler found that the Confederates, through herculean efforts, had managed to assemble a force strong enough to frustrate the efforts of the Yankeees—which they accomplished at the Battle of Drewery's Bluff on May 16. How the Confederates reacted to the sudden appearance of a Union army only fifteen miles south oftheir seat ofgovernment is one ofthe more interesting aspects of the narrative. The roles played by the leading government officials and soldiers—President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War James H. Seddon, Adjutant General Samuel Cooper, Braxton Bragg, Pierre Gustave T. Beauregard, and George E. Pickett, among others—are clearly explained. Pickett, in particular, performed a vital function at Petersburg during the days immediately following the Federal landings, although his exertions appear to have nearly caused him a nervous breakdown . Dr. Schiller's descriptions of the tactical movements and operations of the opposing forces throughout the campaign are clear and detailed. Twenty-two maps assist the reader to more easily understand these operations . In addition, sixty-two illustrations are provided. Butler's mission was subsidiary to those of Meade and Sherman. The author argues convincingly, however, that had the Army ofthe James been properly led and successfully accomplished its mission, the length of the war could have been considerably shortened, perhaps by as much as one year. William D. Matter Harrisburg, Pennsylvania An Irishman in Dixie: Thomas Conolly's Diary...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 342-343
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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