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322CIVIL WAR HISTORY Minor criticisms aside, Cotham has produced a solidly researched, readable volume. Scholars interested in Texas history and/or the history of the Civil War should examine the Battle on the Bay. James Smallwood Oklahoma State University One Day ofthe Civil War: America in Conflict, By Robert L. Willet Jr. (Washington , D.C: Brassey's, 1997. Pp. xxiv, 317. $24.95.) In his preface to One Day of the Civil War, Robert L. Willett, a retired banker and contributor to Civil War Times, Illustrated, notes that while a great quantity of works devoted to the study of the American Civil War's major battles has been published, such battles consumed only about 120 of the struggle's 1,458 days. "What of the other 1 ,338 days?" Willett queries. What was the Civil War usually like for the people who lived it?" Answering that question is Willett's ann. Indeed, "By focusing on the experiences of soldiers, sailors, and noncombatants on a single day at the virtual midpoint—April 10, 1863—I hope to provide a typical cross section ofthe war." At thisWillett succeeds, for ifPublisher 's Weekly's claim that this book is "consistently engrossing" goes well over the top, it is nevertheless noteworthy that Willett has accomplished what not many can; namely, he has taken some of the tedium that pervaded most of the Civil War and made it readable—and sometimes even interesting. One Day ofthe Civil War is divided into three parts. The first of these, "The Day in theWest," is further split into chapters entitled "The Capitals" (a view of Washington, D.C, and Richmond, Virginia), "Mr. Lincoln's Army," "General Lee's Army," "Longstreet's Independent Command," and "Where it all Began," a look at Charleston, South Carolina. Part two is concerned with the West and takes up, among other things, incursions between natives and United States military personnel, tensions surrounding Mormon settlements, sundry "train raids," and a "fight" at Franklin, Tennessee. This meeting at Franklin, Willett observes, was the "closest the opposing forces came to a full-scale battle on April 10 [1863]." The book's third part is titled "The Day at Sea," and is made up of one chapter, "The Navies." As is fitting for a work such as this, Willett quotes primary sources frequently— his bibliography is impressive—and often at some length. Thus, for example, we read from the diary of one Maine private who served in an honor guard when Abraham Lincoln inspected theArmy of the Potomac (April 8-10) speculations as to why the president wept as he passed the troops. "[Perhaps] he was thinking [about] how many had fallen, or how many will soon fall. It might be neither," recalled the private. "But this I do know: under that homely exterior is as tender a heart as ever throbbed, one that is moved toward the side of the poor and downtrodden." book reviews323 Because this book is in large measure concerned with the mundane, it would almost certainly not be well received by undergraduates coming to the Civil War afresh and ready for battle. It is, however, likely to be enjoyed by confinned Civil War enthusiasts of all stripes. It would be going too far to say with one this book's dust jacket promoters that Willett is "a first-class storyteller"; but he certainly is a capable storyteller—and, in a time when it almost takes an act of the will to wade through much that passes for historical writing, that is no small thing. Preston Jones Sonoma State University Tarnished Angels: The Courts-martial ofFifty Union Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels. ByThomas P. Lowry, with a foreword byWilliam C. Davis. (Mechanicsburg , Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1997. Pp. xviv, 272. $24.95.) Since 1994, Thomas P. and BeverlyA. Lowry have been preparing a computerized index of the 100,000 Union soldiers of all ranks court-martialed during the Civil War. Some 24,000 records had been indexed by March 1997, and at that point the project aspired to completion by June 1998. The courts-martial of the first fifty colonels and lieutenant colonels from those 24,000 are the focus of Thomas Lowry's study...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 322-323
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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