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J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 0 73 killed in Kentucky in the Confederate military service, Ryan abandoned his parish in Peoria, Illinois, in October 1863. Resurfacing in Nashville on May 15, 1864, he later served at churches in Tennessee, where he completed his soon-to-be famous poetic anthem to the Lost Cause, “The Conquered Banner.” This poem was first published in a Catholic newspaper in New York City on June 24, 1865. Fifteen months later, a Nashville paper published his other famous poem, “The Sword of Robert Lee.” While Ryan composed other verses for the Confederacy and his religious faith, these two poems composed at the war’s end immortalized him as the poet laureate of the Lost Cause. In his last two decades as an editor and writer the opinionated Ryan frequently clashed with his superiors. Georgia’s bishop fired him as editor of the Banner of the South in 1870, and Louisiana’s archbishop removed him from the New Orleans Catholic paper five years later. After 1875, he became more of a religious poet, public dramatist, and fund raiser for the church and its charities. While technically a priest for the Mobile diocese , Ryan actually spent little time in postwar Alabama. He maintained, however, his association with the Lost Cause, especially through his close friendship with Jefferson Davis. While in New Orleans, Ryan received former Confederate General James B. Longstreet into the Catholic Church in 1877. Never in good health, Ryan died in a Benedictine monastery in Louisville, Kentucky, on Holy Thursday, April 22, 1886. Beagle and Giemza uncover much regarding Ryan. They explore the priest’s relationship with his most “insightful reader and critic,” Sister Mary Dominic O’Brien, a Dominican nun in New Orleans (p. 182). The authors mention others who influenced Ryan, while also providing some literary analysis of his poetry. Augmented with various illustrations, the book’s detail gives it a life-and-times feel. The authors expend a great deal of effort either correcting or arguing with previous accounts of Ryan. Nevertheless, Beagle and Giemza are to be commended for producing this readable and thorough account of the poet of the Lost Cause. JAMES M. WOODS Georgia Southern University Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812. By Mike Bunn and Clay Williams. Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2008. 191 pp. $22.99. ISBN 978-1-59629-371-7. Bunn and Williams clearly state the purpose of their work is to provide a source book for the period of the Creek War and to raise awareness T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 74 of the need for preservation of sites associated with the conflict. In recognizing the scholars who preceded them and claiming no attempt to break new ground, they accomplished their goals and produced a work for the general reader. The authors spent untold numbers of hours crisscrossing the literary and literal landscape of the conflicts. One outcome of their labors is an impressive bibliographic essay that lists works of all levels of validity and merit, many of which will benefit the reader who wishes to delve more deeply into the history of the era. The second outcome of the authors’ searches is photographs of and notes about the sites associated with the wars. In organizing timelines and geographic parameters the authors included peoples and places from a large, six-state area. They follow narratives about a period or campaign with photographic essays, and the book includes a chapter of biographies. In all, the organization may be helpful for quick reference, but at the expense of some redundancy. Although Bunn and Williams provide a good general history, the book is marred by a few factual errors. The most disturbing of the errors is the frequent misuse of the concept of the Tensaw region, which was in fact three regions with distinct traits and personalities. Tensaw was east of the Tensaw River and along the Alabama River whereas the Forks lay between the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers with a concentration of settlement in the western half of present...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 73-75
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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