In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

book reviews251 Readers interested in military movements and Indian warfare during the Civil War will find this book rewarding. Others may feel that the introduction promises more than the book delivers. Eugene H. Berwanger Colorado State University Black Troops, White Commanders and Freedmen during the Civil War. By Howard Westwood. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992. Pp. 189. $19.95.) This book includes nine previously published journal articles and a chapter that the author recently prepared. Except for the latter, which does not fit the book's theme, Westwood provides insight into the military emancipation of blacks in South Carolina, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Valley and their subsequent recruitment by Union commanders such as Rufus Saxton, Benjamin F. Butler, David Hunter, Ulysses S. Grant, and Charles E. Phelps. Westwood gives high marks to Butler, Saxton, and Grant who, without specific policy guidance from President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, adopted what he views as consistent and pragmatic courses of action in recruiting and organizing slaves freed by the military. Because these commanders felt that it was necessary to draw on local black manpower to deal with enemy guerrillas, internal security, and civil unrest, they accelerated their efforts in 1862-63 and placed thousands under arms. Butler and Saxton resourcefully utilized the 1862 Second Confiscation and Militia acts both to free and recruit slaves. Saxton obtained the first official War Department authorization to arm blacks in South Carolina because he insisted that it was necessary for their self-defense. However, Butler deferred to Lincoln's reluctance to arm fugitive slaves and, in Louisiana, initially recruited only free blacks who previously had served the Confederacy. Westwood concedes that although the factors of racial control and the army's labor needs were considerations, Grant and Lorenzo Thomas were resolute in recruiting black troops for garrison and combat duty in the Vicksburg campaign. He is less positive about Lincoln because of the president's lack of enthusiasm toward arming blacks before the Emancipation Proclamation and his vacillation afterwards on the issue of unequal pay for black soldiers. However, Westwood believes that during the rest of the war Lincoln acted decisively in the recruitment of this new manpower source and supported the employment of blacks as combat troops. As Union soldiers, blacks waged a slow and painful struggle to gain recognition and status. In some instances these men faced mutiny charges whenever they protested unequal pay and, in the case of the unfortunate 252civil war history Sgt. William Walker, death by firing squad. However, Walker's martyrdom , the heroic exploits of the irrepressible William Smalls, who captured a Confederate steamer, and the muted demonstrations of Rhode Island's Company A pricked the moral consciousness of Union officials and politicians and led to partial reform of the unequal pay issue. Still, racial alienation prevented rapid or comprehensive solutions to discriminatory practices, and black soldiers continued to believe that Confederates were not their only foes. Black soldiers who were prisoners of war at Charleston lived with more serious threats of reenslavement or execution while Confederate authorities debated their fate. Black civilians who followed Sherman's army and received wartime land titles appeared to have been far more fortunate. However, because of Andrew Johnson these freedmen ultimately lost their land after the war. Westwood has a few disconcerting "probablys" and "likelys," but overall these impressively researched and crisply written articles offer some revisionist interpretation of Civil War black troops and military emancipation and fulfill the promises that John Y. Simon makes in the introduction. Marvin R. Cain University of Missouri-Rolla The Battle of Belmont: Grant Strikes South. By Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991. Pp. xvii, 310. $24.95.) In The Battle of Belmont: Grant Strikes South, Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr., provides a thoughtful, detailed, and enlightening account of one of the earliest battles for control of the Mississippi River valley. As the book's subtitle suggests, the conflict that occurred on November 7, 1861, in southeastern Missouri is primarily remembered as the occasion of Ulysses S. Grant's first true test of combat. Hughes, however, focuses strongly on the subordinate commanders and the common soldiers, North and...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 251-252
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.