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IÓ2CIVIL WAR HISTORY everyone, to be sure. But for those who are attracted to its subject, there is much food for thought. Herman Hattaway University of Missouri-Kansas City Memoirs ofChaplain Life: Three Years with the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac. By William Corby, C.S.C. (1893). Edited by Lawrence Frederick Kohl. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1992. Pp. xxv, 412. $27.50.) The Confederacy's Fighting Chaplain, Father John B. Bannon. By Phillip Thomas Tucker. (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1992. Pp. xi, 254. $32.95) The Roman Catholic Church took no official stance on America's Civil War, but many individual Catholics, clergy, and laity were passionately committed to one side or the other. These books tell the stories of two Catholic chaplains —one an Irish immigrant and the other a son of Irish immigrants. Both had experienced the barbs of American Protestant prejudice against Catholics . Both demonstrated extraordinary courage during the war. Each was equally convinced that the cause he was serving was God's cause and that the war was a struggle between the forces of good and evil. The men, however, found themselves on opposing sides in the War Between the States. Memoirs of Chaplain Life was written by Father William Corby, the first edition appearing in 1893, thirty years after Corby resigned from the chaplaincy . William Lawrence Kohl, who has done a superb job in editing this present edition and placing it in historical context, reminds the reader that Corby "had no extensive diary or letter collection on which to base his reminiscences ," and thus "worked almost entirely from memory" (xxii). One can only speculate as to what thirty years of selected recollections did to actual events. The memoirs contain many fascinating observations by Corby. There is his great admiration for and defense of General George McClellan (48, 62, 85ff, 1 14); his meeting with President Lincoln in order to obtain a pardon for a soldier condemned to be executed (224); his vivid observations of the great sufferings that soldiers endured in the Civil War, not just in battle but in the more common experiences of temperature extremes, dust and insects, rain and mud, the lack of adequate food, the long marches, and illness; and his defiance of those "bigots who wantonly take every occasion to stir up animosity , quite unnecessarily, against Catholics" (66). Most of Corby's work during the war took place among the over 9,000 Catholic soldiers within the Army of the Potomac (31), most especially among the famed Irish Brigade, which was noted for its daring and the resulting great loss of life. book reviews163 In addition to his ministry during the war, Corby served two different terms as president ofthe University of Notre Dame. From 1866 to 1872, he was the school's third president, and in 1877 he began a second term. In 1910, a bronze statue of Father Corby was placed on the battlefield ofGettysburg, the only statue on that famed field to honor a chaplain. It commemorates that moment when Corby granted general absolution to the members of the Irish Brigade just before engaging in that fateful battle. A similar statue is located on the campus at Notre Dame. The Confederacy's Fighting Chaplain, Father John B. Bannon is the biography of one whom Confederate General Sterling Price wrote, "I have no hesitancy in saying that the greatest soldier I ever saw was Father Bannon" (1). Phillip Thomas Tucker has written an exciting biography, claiming that "no other religious personality of the Confederacy accomplished so much and received so little recognition as Father Bannon" (x). The reason for Bannon 's obscurity. Tucker declares, is "a historic anti-Southern, anti-Catholic, and anti-Western-Theater bias" (ix). In 1 861, Father Bannon left his church in St. Louis, where he was a leading civic and religious leader, to serve as chaplain of the First Missouri Confederate Brigade. It wasn't long before he received wide recognition for his acts of courage. A comrade observed that this chaplain was "everywhere in the midst of battle when the fire was heaviest and the bullets thickest" (44). His "presence on the front lines...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 162-164
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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