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BOOK REVIEWS79 Holt and his New Yorkers served in the Eastern theater and first saw action at Crampton's Gap. In the following year the 1 2 1 st suffered heavy losses in the battle of Salem Church. Only peripherally involved in the Gettysburg campaign , they later participated in the bloody battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania , and Cold Harbor. The necessity of combating Jubal Early that summer shifted his regiment back to Maryland, and they soon became a part of Sheridan 's drive to end Southern control over the Shenandoah Valley. Fearless of his own personal safety, he was committed to aiding the wounded. Captured in the aftermath of Salem Church, although released by the intervention ofLee, he "renewed my covenant to God that I would do all in my power to give relief, and solace the pillow ofdeath" (95). With his health deteriorating , Holt asked for a certificate of disability in early October 1 864. With its acceptance he returned to Newport. Suffering from tuberculosis, contracted during the war, he died four years later. As an articulate, highly comrnitted, intelligent, and sensitive observer, Holt filled his letters home with perspicacious insights into the state ofmedical practice and practitioners, the inevitable corruption and favoritism, poignant descriptions of the carnage of the battlefield, and the interstruggle of an antislavery man with racism. Despite a strong antipathy for the African American, not for reasons of color but because of class, he came to respect the black soldier . With the renewal of campaigning in May 1864, Holt, probably as a result ofthe increasing demands on his time, began keeping a diary. Fortunately those entries provide an excellent bridge between his letters in sustaining a sense of continuity and unity. His passion and candor are not only refreshing but extremely valuable in stripping away the romance of war by making its reality more vivid. Dr. Holt wanted "to preserve them to my wife and children" (xv), and for that we owe him a debt of gratitude. Anotherdebt is owedto the editors ofhis manuscript fortheirmeticulous care in its editing. Their frequent notations and commentaries between letters and diary entries not only help to sustain the unity of the book but, very importantly, place them into context with the background of events. A Surgeon's Civil War should be essential reading for everyone, scholar or buff. Dr. Holt's legacy makes for a moving, passionate, and thought-provoking book that adds a further dimension to understanding the human carnage and intensity ofthe Civil War. Richard R. Duncan Georgetown University The Education of the Southern Belle: Higher Education and Student Socialization in the Antebellum South By Christie Anne Farnham. (New York: New York University Press, 1994. Pp. 257. $35.00.) Scholars in the field of women's history have long deplored the sparsity of research regarding female higher education. Farnham's work effectively fills an important gap in the study of the lives ofAmerican women, particularly those 80CIVIL WAR HISTORY in the South. In doing so, Farnham contributes to the debunking of the "moonlight and magnolias" myth of the Southern belle, while at the same time addressing the legitimate factors by which a Southern belle might be defined. Farnham uses curricula data to reveal surprising assessments of Southern female educational institutions in comparison to their Northern counterparts. According to Farnham, education in the North was increasingly viewed as a method of equipping middle-class daughters to support themselves until their marriage, or in the event of widowhood. In the South, only the most prosperous families were able to afford education for females. This education, which included a curriculum comparable to that afforded men, was for the sole purpose of preparing the young women for their proper role in society as wives of wealthy, educated Southern gentlemen. Farnham argues that it is this different understanding ofthe meaning and purpose ofeducation and the educational experience itself that has clouded most earlier scholarly attempts at assessing female higher education in the South and that is responsible for Southern female educational institutions receiving less respect and consideration from scholars than comparable institutions in the North. In the South, curriculum at female institutions of higher learning was adjusted by incremental changes to...


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