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82CIVIL WAR HISTORY chapters covering the general's brief war-end imprisonment and his subsequent years—until his death at the age of fifty-five in 1 872—as a successful planter. If Pfanz succeeds in rescuing Ewell from relative neglect (or at least superficial treatment), he fails to establish that Ewell was not substantially eccentric. To the contrary, Pfanz's exhaustive recitation of colorful but peculiar behavior unwittingly reinforces the very perception that Pfanz seeks to overturn. With respect to Pfanz's third objective, his desire to "rehabilitate" Ewell's reputation from criticism ofhis catastrophic inability to seize Gettysburg's Cemetery Hill and CuIp's Hill on July 1, 1863, the author's efforts seem much like the so-called Scotch verdict: not proven. Similarly, in muting Ewell's "stumble" at Gettysburg and in rendering a favorable overall career assessment, Pfanz deprives the reader of insight into how he weighs each component of Ewell's military performance in striking his net balance. For example, both Ewell and Pfanz cite the general's fierce September 1 864 defense ofRichmond as his greatest achievement, yet how does this accomplishment weigh against Ewell's role in the botched evacuation and inadvertent incineration of the same city seven months later, or—for that matter—against his ineffectiveness at Spotsyl-vania or Gettysburg? To this reader, Pfanz presents Ewell as a brave ("gallant") West Pointer vastly experienced in the tactical leadership of small frontier mounted units, but probably unsuited for the enormity of responsibilities beyond the brigade or division level due to his complex, long-standing medical problems—emotional as well as physical—indecisiveness, excessive caution, and communications difficulties . Perhaps unwittingly, Pfanz, also gives us a graphic example of the extent to which the Civil War was prosecuted on both sides by senior uniformed and civilian officers—many in extremely poor health—who were catapulted into vast, pressure-ridden responsibilities far beyond the scope of their immediate prior experience. Quite a story for Stonewall Jackson's successor. William P. MacKinnon Bloomfield Hills, Michigan A Meteor Shining Brightly: Essays on Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne. Edited by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn. Foreword by Wiley Sword. (Milledgeville, Georgia : Terrell House, 1997. Pp. ix, 310. $29.95.) For a quarter of a century Howell and Elizabeth Purdue's Pat Cleburne: Confederate General has been the definitive biography of that Irish-born warrior. Then, in 1997, two more works appeared—Craig L. Symonds's Stonewall of the West and the collection of essays reviewed here. Joslyn has arranged these essays chronologically to cover most of Cleburne's life. The first two entries, on Cleburne's early life in Ireland and in Helena, Arkansas, are solidly done and show a young man with a tremendous amount of ambition to fit in with his peers and to prosper. The next two entries cover the first two years of the war, although the latter chapter covers so much of the BOOK REVIEWS83 same ground as the former as to almost render it unnecessary. Patrick Cleburne rises from Arkansas enlisted man to captain, then colonel, and then major general by the end of 1862. The fifth essay is, perhaps, the weakest of all. It is a rather disjointed and rambling account of Cleburne's various staff officers, focusing on Capt. Irving Buck. Written by a descendant of Captain Buck, this chapter sheds more light on the captain than on his commander. Other chapters cover the defense of Ringgold Gap, the Battle of Pickett's Mill, the Tennessee Campaign of 1864, and Cleburne's final battle at Franklin. One of the most interesting entries is Mark Hull's "concerning the Emancipation of the Slaves." On January 2, 1 864, Cleburne presented his formal plan to emancipate all those slaves, and their families, who would fight for the Confederacy . He saw Confederate defeat as very likely and with it the end of slavery . So ifthe South were to lose its slaves, it would be better to at least gain the political independence for which it was fighting. Voluntarily ending slavery, he believed, would cause England, which had instituted emancipation in its possessions in the 1 830s, to openly side with the South. He further felt...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 82-83
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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