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BOOK REVIEWSI7I a tad greasy" (102) when runoff washed over refuse from the cookhouse the Confederates had located upstream. Another distracting literary device is Marvel's practice of making transitions by telling what was happening at the same time elsewhere, which reaches a bizarre extreme when he informs his readers that on the day the prison ceased to function (among other happenings ), Yeats's mother was forty days from giving birth while Kipling's did not yet know she had conceived! Far more effective is Marvel's careful analytical examination of the oftreprinted photographs ofAndersonville by A. J. Riddle, which are included together with some fresh portraits of the various principals and photos of postwar scenes. There is an excellent map of the stockade and its vicinity and a useful index. The book's inevitable climax is the trial of Wirz, which Marvel characterizes as a "shameless charade" (246) ending in the execution of the unfortunate man, whom he depicts as a scapegoat, "to appease the public hysteria" (247). Marvel's overly abbreviated account of the trial gives some conception of the bias of the court against Wirz and of its willingness to entertain often perjured testimony, but it gives no conception of the extent to which the prosecution was influenced by a hope to generate a case against Wirz's superiors. Perhaps this omission is related to the book's lack of attention to the issue of the responsibility of higher Confederate officials for the conditions for which Marvel absolves Wirz. Despite this and other criticisms, the conclusion of this review is positive. The book is substantially researched and interestingly written. While students would do well also to consult Futch's history, this is clearly the best single volume on Andersonville. Frank L. Byrne Kent State University Medical Histories of Confederate Generals. By Jack D. Welsh. (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. Pp. 320. $35.00.) Years of arduous research tracking down elusive information on famous and obscure Confederate generals has produced an extremely important reference book—a worthy companion volume to the classic Generals in Gray. Jack Welsh, a retired medical school professor, has written medical-biographical sketches of all 425 Confederate generals. Aside from basic biographical information, the entries describe illnesses, wounds, medical treatments, and causes of death. By including extensive antebellum and postwar material along with wartime medical profiles, Welsh has produced a work that will be of enormous use to biographers and military historians. Although the author wisely refuses to speculate on the impact of medical problems on military performance, he has compiled the raw materials for reassessments of generals, campaigns, and command structure. Surely Braxton Bragg's chronic health 172CIVIL WAR HISTORY problems, for example, contributed both to his sour disposition and ineffective leadership. Even the most casual reader will easily find many examples of how medical information is critical to understanding the course of the war. Although Confederate medical records are frustratingly fragmentary, Welsh has mined not only the standard published sources but a host of manuscripts, medical journals, death certificates, cemetery records, and family documents. The length of the entries are proportional to the information uncovered rather than to the general's importance, but there is a gold mine of new—or at least neglected—material on both legendary commanders and obscure brigadiers. Several generals, notably P. G. T. Beauregard and Sterling Price, entered Confederate service unhealthy and remained sickly for much ofthe war. Welsh astutely observes, however, that because general officers had traveled more widely than enlisted men before the war, they suffered relatively little from the childhood diseases that killed so many privates fresh from the farm. Even so, there is more than enough affliction and death recorded in these entries. Henry Watkins Allen, to cite but one example, had severe health problems before, during, and after the war. For most readers the fascination with this volume will come from the details. Welsh has been able to document not only mortal wounds but minor injuries and even bouts of camp diarrhea. Lewis Henry Little suffered from multiple flea bites and a painful boil on his posterior. Several generals sought solace in alcohol, though Welsh surprisingly ignores the chronic drunkenness of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 171-173
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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