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2Ó2CIVIL WAR HISTORY Logan's letters, diary entries, and correspondence record events and feelings soon after they happened. As such, they are an invaluable piece in the puzzle that is the life of a Civil War soldier. Editors Thomas and Silverman have done an excellentjob with this book. They have skillfully placed letters with related diary entries and newspaper accounts and connected them with just enough narrative history to make readers aware of the context of Logan's writings. Photographs and clear battle maps also broaden the reader's understanding. A Gentleman and an Officer is not as handsome a work as the Logan book, but it is just as worthwhile. Griffin, another South Carolinian, served in Wade Hampton's Legion early in the war, then in the defenses around Charleston. He was in the Battle of Fair Oaks, May 3 i-June 1 , 1 862, and his simple account of the combat there reflects an officer's agony of losing his men. "My command was cut up terribly. ... I went into the fight with about 350 men and lost in killed and wounded and missing 154 men—All this was done within one hour and a half—This will give you an idea of the kind of fire to which we were exposed." An eighty-one page narrative of historical background is a bit cumbersome but adequately sets the stage for Griffin's letters. And the editors use extensive footnotes to give readers added information. Both "A Rising Star ofPromise" and "A Gentleman and an Officer" are valuable additions to the growing bibliography ofpublished primary Civil War documents . Readers who like their history straight from those who lived it will enjoy them. Researchers working on the ever-popular and ever-changing history of soldiers in the Civil War will appreciate the work the editors have put into these volumes. Steve Jones Southwestern Adventist University Campaigning with "Old Stonewall": Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen's Letters to His Wife. Edited by Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998. Pp. xi, 282. $34.95.) Anyone who has read Civil War soldiers' letters can think of at least a few characteristics of the more worthwhile or entertaining correspondence. At least one or two of the following criteria apply to the best collections of letters published to date: The author can be an astute observer and chronicler of soldier life, both its humorand hardship. He may present anecdotes and personal glimpses of famous officers. He can add details to our knowledge of battles and campaigns . It helps, too, if the author shows wit, charm, intellect, cynicism—any individual trait to distinguish or enliven both his perspective and his writing. Given the thousands of published Reb and Yank letters, it is meet for us to apply these criteria to a voluminous literature, if only to establish scholarly value or reading priority, as well as to soldiers' letters that are still being discovered and printed. By these standards, Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen 's Letters to His Wife offers modest satisfaction. BOOK REVIEWS263 "Ugie" Allen, a young, prosperous planter from west-central Georgia, volunteered for Confederate service in spring 1861 and was appointed second lieutenant in a company that became part of the 21st Georgia Infantry. Until his mortal wounding at Chancellorsville, Allen served in Virginia and wrote more than 130 letters home, mostly to his wife, Susie. Though capably edited by Randall Allen and Keith Bohannon, it must be said that the writings offer more than enough dull commentary on routine or personal matters. The author himself was aware of this, either because he lacked epistolary talent ("you know my facilities for writing are frequently very poor" [153-54]), or because he was often rushed ("who can write anything more than mere generalities when everything is in a figit" [134]), or because he just lacked vim ("too lazy to write, too lazy to even think, too lazy to do anything but eat and scratch" [170]). When Allen rises above these shortcomings, though, the result is truly noteworthy . In camp he writes of the prevalence of lice, shortage of shoes, and shocking manners at mess ("it is quite common to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 262-263
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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