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BOOK REVIEWS79 Meanwhile, Daniel Sickles went on to command a corps and lose a leg at Gettysburg. Military historians still debate whether his decision to move his troops forward almost lost the battle or saved it for the Union army. He lived until 1914, a controversial figure to the end. Brandt presents these developments in straightforward fashion. He has made good use of the trial record, other documents, and newspaper accounts. The focus is on narration rather than analysis, but in its modest way the book offers useful insights on the social and legal position of women in Victorian America. James F. Richardson University of Akron Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864: A History ofRegular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theater. By Timothy J. Reese. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 1990. Pp. 466. $45.00.) Among the many studies concerning military aspects of the Civil War, comparatively little has been written about the prewar army units that were engaged in combat. Most of the research has dealt with the Union armies or those parts of them made up of volunteers or conscripts. Timothy J. Reese sets out to rectify this with his book on those from the "old army" who went into battle. George Sykes graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1842. He remained in the service and was stationed in Texas at Fort Clark, about 125 miles west of San Antonio, when the crisis of secession began. While most of the regulars in Texas were compelled to surrender to Confederate forces, there were seven companies of infantry that escaped by marching to the Gulf Coast and taking steamboats to Northern ports. Among them was Captain George Sykes. The narrative from that point on is a straightfoward account of Sykes and his rise to command of a regular army division in the eastern theater of the war. It is a detailed but engrossing tale. The regular soldiers fought in every major engagement from First Bull Run to the Seige of Petersburg. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Sykes and his men suffered severe losses. In some respects they are the forgotten and unsung heroes of the day. Much of what Reese has to say covers familiar ground in the sense that these battles have been the focus of extensive review. What is fresh is to read of them with the regulars as the center of attention. Two chapters are particularly insightful: the first is on New York City in July 1863, when several regular infantry divisions—still reeling from the wounds of Gettysburg—are sent there to help quell the draft riots. 80CIVIL WAR HISTORY The other chapter is the epilogue. Here the author traces the fate until death of those regular army officers who survived the war. This is not primarily a biography of George Sykes even though he is a central part of the story. Instead it is the history of many officers and men who were on active duty before the war and who were absorbed into the forces commanded from McDowell to Meade. Without doubt this is a very scholarly book. Reese has delved deeply into the Official Records as well as documents housed in the National Archives. The bibliography is extensive. Citations include rare books from the 1860s all the way to the 1980s. The notes at the back of the book are interesting to read for their own content. Another worthwhile portion of this work is the tables, statistics, and maps. There are also photographs with annotations on those who play a part in the narrative. This study is undoubtedly a labor of love. The author is not an academic historian teaching at a college or university. This research and writing has been done away from his regular occupation. One drawback is that there is perhaps too much here. Had there been a bit more distillation the book would be more appealing to those with less than an obsession with the Civil War. The publisher—McFarland and Company—is to be commended for the printing and binding, which is of high quality. Located in North Carolina and publishing since 1979, the company specializes in scholarly books and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 79-80
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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