In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS77 Soldier and Scholar: Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve and the Civil War. Edited by WardW. BriggsJr. (Charlottesville: UniversityPressof Virginia, 1998. Pp. 448. $47.50) Reminiscing on the formative influences of his childhood, the scholar Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve observed of himself and his family, "We were incredibly narrow. Charleston was at the center." As his writings show plainly, Gildersleeve's intellectual horizons were much broader. He was quite simply the greatest classicist of his era. A graduate of Princeton, Gildersleeve studied the classics in Germany from 1850 to 1853. On his return to South Carolina he tutored and was a freelance writer. He joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1856, remaining on it until 1876. During the Civil War he continued to teach but served on the military staff of the Army of Northern Virginia in the summers of 1 86 1 , 1 863, and 1 864. He also wrote sixty-three editorials for the Richmond Examiner from 1 863 to 1864. In 1 876 Gildersleeve joined the faculty at the newly created Johns Hopkins University; there he established the nation's first seminarium and its first classical quarterly, the American Journal ofPhilology , which he edited until 19 19. Ward W. Briggs Jr., distinguished professor of classics and humanities at the University of South Carolina, has combined Gildersleeve's autobiographical essays, editorials, and post-Civil War reflections on the cause of the South into a revealing exposition ofa student, a Confederate partisan, and a mature scholar. The first section, Gildersleeve's autobiographical writings, recounts the ambitions and development of a classical scholar. In the second section, Ward reprints Gildersleeve's editorials, in which the South Carolinian observes and analyzes the course of the war at home and in the field. Ward concludes the collection with a series of Gildersleeve's essays that reflect on the meaning of the cause and culture of the Old South. Throughout, Ward provides numerous detailed, revelatory footnotes thatcontextualize Gildersleeve's writings and make clear cryptic historical references. The heart of Gildersleeve's writings and this edited collection are the editorials . Throughout, history provides Gildersleeve with more than just classical metaphors and illustrations; it functions as an interpretive paradigm by which he makes sense of the causes of the war, the conflicting cultures of the North and South, the Confederate government and its officials, and the essence of individual battles. The irony is that Gildersleeve's editorials are insensitive or oblivious to the larger forces that gave shape to the sectional conflict and the war itself. Rather, they are filled with personal invective and demonization. He directs his anger at the agents of government (in particular Jefferson Davis and Christopher Memminger, secretary of the treasury), Southern speculators, and Jews. The editorials of 1863 are particularly bitter and accusatory. In another ironic turn, Gildersleeve became increasingly bright and optimistic as the damage inflicted on the South and its armies increased in 1864. Gildersleeve's postwar analysis of the cause of the Old South, which focuses exclusively on states rights, is similarly simplistic. None of this is to deny the power of his intellect 78CIVIL WAR HISTORY or the passion of his convictions. Ward, an eminent scholar in his own right, has done well by and justice to Gildersleeve, who was, by his own account, "a Charlestonian first, Carolinian next, and then a southerner." Michael A. Morrison Purdue University North with Lee and Jackson: The Lost Story ofGettysburg. By James A. Kegel. (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1996. Pp. xii, 459. $34.95.) Lee Moves North: Robert E. Lee on the Offensivefrom Antietam to Gettysburg to Bristoe Station. By Michael A. Palmer. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998. Pp. xiii, 189. $24.95.) Historians have spilled more ink writing about the Confederate invasions of Maryland in 1862 and Pennsylvania in 1863 than they have about any other Civil War campaigns. In the face of a veritable Gettysburg Industry—magazines and organizations dedicated solely to the study of the campaign—it is futile to suggest that it is time to stop the spillage. The least we can ask, however , is that new studies offer something new. Before us are two studies of the Confederate invasions claiming to be "revisionist...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 77-78
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.