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312CIVIL WAR HISTORY goals, and the role of Democratic members. Tap's interpretation takes a page from the Williams and Trefousse theses, but with a twist. LikeWilliams, Tap sees the committee's major failure in its attempts to wrest control of military appointments and policy from Lincoln. The dominant members openly disgusted West Point-trained generals, often linking their penchant for extensive preparation before combat with southern sympathies. In military appointments, the committee seemed to believe that antislavery credentials were more important than military training. Tap shows how the committee's interference into strictly military matters frustrated generals and shattered fragile Northem unity, ultimately harming the war effort. But following Trefousse, Tap portrays members of the committee as patriotic, sincere reformers, who had the best interests ofthe nation in mind. The committee was successful in investigating and exposing Southern war crimes, political corruption, and financial waste. Its reports on the Fort Pillow Massacre and prisoner exchanges bolstered northem perseverance, Tap maintains, while the exposure of financial corruption in military purchasing encouraged good government. Ultimately, Tap concludes, the committee's reputation falls because members deluded themselves that they were experts in areas where in actuality they were ignorant and because most of their investigations—often clearly partisan —led to no practical results. Marion B. Lucas Western Kentucky University Ashes ofGlory: Richmondat War. By Emest B. Furgurson. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. Pp. xi, 419. $30.00.) For anyone interested in the eastern theater of the Civil War, Richmond is an almost ubiquitous subject—its importance as a military objective, as an industrial , transportation, and political center, even as an emotional core, make it an essential topic. But while wartime Richmond is the focus of a good number of excellent and well-known memoirs and diaries, detailed histories of the city are few—and with good reason. The subject is immense, especially as it encompasses and interweaves so many overlapping aspects of urban, local, state, and Confederate military, political, and social history. Facing all that, few writers have adequately balanced the nuances of the Confederate capital's day-to-day existence, especially its multiple populations and varied casts of honorable and not-so-honorable characters. Nor have many authors effectively captured the depths of tension and hardship and the heights of elation and success that so frequently affected its population. For many years a novel—Clifford Dowdey's Bugles Blow No More, published in 1936—provided one of the most accessible and detailed glimpses of daily life in the Confederate capital. It was not until 1946 that Alfred Hoyt Bill's The Beleaguered City: Richmond, 1861-1865 at last presented a basic, introductory history, followed twenty-five years later by book reviews313 Emory M. Thomas's far-more-complex The Confederate State ofRichmond: A Biography ofthe Capital. And now, after yet another twenty-five years, may be added Emest Furgurson's Ashes ofGlory. Furgurson is especially adept in getting at what Richmond was really like—providing a remarkably broad range of perspectives, including the view from outside. In 1862, for example, with Richmond's steeples visible in the distance, a Union soldier commented that the city appeared to be "just an ordinary little cobble-stone, bubbly, tobacco-saturated municipality; as full of humps as a caravan of camels" (141). From inside, however, the view was considerably different. Journalist George W. Bagby, commenting on "the horrors of a political Capital," wrote that "the number of dram shops, lager beer houses, billiard rooms, faro banks, oyster cellars, etc., etc., is literally innumerable and appalling" (99). Worse, Bagby later added, the city after major battles was heavy with "the odor of suppurating wounds" (153). And then—to add to all the mayhem and overcrowding brought on by the wounded, hospital workers, soldiers on leave, industrial laborers both slave and free, government clerks, and zealous businessmen—there were the politicians. During a debate, Georgia senator Ben Hill threw an inkstand atWilliam Yancey ofAlabama, cutting his cheek and spattering blood and ink. Alabama congressman E. S. Dargan attacked a colleague, Henry Foote, with a bowie knife. In still another melee, Foote ripped off his shirt to get atThomas B. Hanly ofArkansas. Life on the streets presented...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 312-314
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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