Thursday, February 27, 2014

What to Do with Extra Research

While doing research for my book, St. Augustine and the Civil War, I came up with a good amount of information that didn't get included for whatever reason. I have been trying to figure out what to do with it and have decided to use some of it here.

One of the things my wife and I did was to document all known Confederate graves in St. John's County. Using a list from the Sons of Confederate Veterans we photographed all the known burials and recorded GPS coordinates. This information was not included in the book mostly due to space constraints. In addition, is that list something a book buyer is interested in spending money on. So the photos are now sitting on my hard drive and the coordinates sit in a folder. It's time to start doing something with them.

I am going to do some very basic research on these men and report the findings here. With few exceptions these men were privates. There are no high ranking officers (we're not going to include William Loring here). Chances are there is not going to be a large amount to be found about these men. It is also unlikely there will be photos of the men but we just never know. No matter what I can find they do deserve a level of recognition and I am going to try and do that.
If you have a Confederate relative buried in St. John's County please feel free to get in touch. I would love to see what information you have and if you are willing then share it with others.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review--A Quaker Officer in the Civil War

Carisio, Justin. A Quaker Officer in the Civil War: Henry Gawthrop of the 4th Delaware. Charleston: The History Press. 2013. 157 pages, 137 pages of text. Notes, bibliography, index, b/w photos. ISBN 9781609497514, $19.99.

Henry Gawthrop was a young man who despite his Quaker upbringing volunteered to fight in the Civil War, serving in the 4th Delaware Co. F. Members of the Quaker faith were torn between their religious views of pacifism and also their belief in abolition. Those who chose to fight risked being outcast from their church though this seems to have seldom happened.

Carisio relies heavily on the words of Henry Gawthrop. Gawthrop wrote many letters home and also a journal which he transcribed into a memoir many years after the war. As has been pointed out elsewhere there is a lack of material on the Fourth Delaware so this document written by an officer of the regiment is extremely valuable.

Gawthrop served as 1st LT in the brigade and was later  brevetted to the rank of Captain. and at one point during the war served as assistant inspector general for the 1st Brigade, 1st division, 4th corps.

Much of the early part of the war saw the 4th serving in guard duty around Washington D.C. By June 1864 the regiment had been moved and was located near Bethesda Church, near Richmond. It was here that they came under their first heavy fire of the war and suffered 40 killed and wounded. Just two weeks later they were again in battle this time suffering over 100 casualties including Lt. Gawthrop who suffered  a wound to his head that caused considerable blood loss and kept him from the regiment for nearly two months.

Overall Gawthrop was shot three times during the war with the fourth being the most critical. At Five Forks he was shot through the ankle which required the amputation of his foot. This wound would cause him problems through the rest of the war and ended his active participation.

This is a valuable piece of work in that it covers many aspects of the war. For much of their early enlistment the 4th was not active. This allows us to learn about the day to day life of soldiers. Why did they enlist, what training did they receive and others aspects are covered. The 4th went through a period of negativity as the promised bounties were not paid promptly. The 4th had to deal with contrabands while serving around Washington D. C. It was here that they attempted to educate the newly freed children. The men had concerns about what their fellow soldiers were doing to private citizens property. If southern homes and cities were burned and looted what would southern soldiers do to northern property. If you are looking for an in-depth look at the Quaker religion and the war this is probably not the book for you. Somewhat surprisingly there is little discussion of religion.

Well written and thoroughly illustrated the book includes many maps drawn by Lt. Gawthrop himself. I would have liked to have seen modern maps to compare with these soldier drawn ones but that is really just a small quibble. Strongly recommended for anybody interested in Delaware in the war and those interested in the Petersburg campaign. A good read for those interested in the Civil War.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book Review--The Beacon of Mosquito Inlet: A History of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

Taylor, Thomas W. The Beacon of Mosquito Inlet: A History of the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. Allandale: Self Published, 1993. Bibliography, b/w photos. 53 pages. ISBN 9781885853004.

   Lighthouses have continued to hold the interest of a large number of Americans. Just look at the number of items available for sale with lighthouse images on them. The image doesn't even have to be a real lighthouse to make it sell.

In The Beacon of Mosquito Inlet, author Thomas W. Taylor gives a very brief introductory history to the tallest lighthouse in the state of Florida. Brevity is both a blessing and a curse.

The brevity of the book is a blessing in that it can be easily read in one sitting. For those looking for just a brief primer on the lighthouse this is perfect. There is not a large amount of detail to bog a reader down. There are some photos included with quality varying probably due to the original. I think this brevity is the goal of the book and if so it succeeds.

For those looking for more in-depth information however this is not going to satisfy. While the "killer inlet" legend is discussed there is more to be told and the stories included could have been told in more depth. The first lighthouse from the 1830s receives a brief discussion. The building of the current tower is covered but again there could have been more. I would have liked to know more about the keepers. There is a nice listing of keepers and assistant keepers that I found to be valuable but more information on these men would have been appreciated. The daily life and chores of keepers receive brief mention but a discussion of these chores and the isolated life that the keepers led early in the lighthouse's history should have been included. The lives of children receive mention but again the history of these youngsters would have put a lot of insight into what it was like to live the life of a keeper and family. A more technical covering of the types of lights should have been included. The electrification of the tower and the effects of it are only glanced at as is the importance of the tower during World War II. The story of the tower being reactivated seems to have needed a more in depth discussion.

For what it is this booklet covers the basics. I doubt many readers, including many who say they are interested in lighthouses, would be looking for too much more. There is however a segment of the market that would appreciate an updated and more in depth treatment of this Volusia County landmark. From what I have found this may be the only work on the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse around. As for availability it is a bit tough to find and does not appear on the website for the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. If you live in Volusia County check your local library or request it through inter-library loan.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Releases from Southern Illinois University Press

I recently received the Spring and Summer 2014 catalog from Southern Illinois University Press. As of this afternoon this catalog isn't available online yet but I am sure it will be shortly. I did notice a small handful of titles with interest.

Abraham Lincoln, Philosopher Statesman written by Joseph R. Fornieri. 
The political genius of Abraham Lincoln remains unequivocal. As a great leader, he saved the Union, presided over the end of slavery, and helped to pave the way for an interracial democracy. In his speeches and letters, he offered enduring wisdom about human equality, democracy, free labor, and free society. This rare combination of theory and practice in politics cemented Lincoln’s legacy as one of the most talented statesmen in American history. Providing an accessible framework for understanding Lincoln’s statesmanship, this thoughtful study examines Lincoln’s political intellect in terms of the traditional moral vision of statecraft as understood by the  political philosophers Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. The enduring wisdom and timeless teachings of these great thinkers, author Joseph R. Fornieri shows, can lead to a deeper appreciation of statesmanship and of its embodiment in Abraham Lincoln.

Statesmanship, Fornieri posits, is a moral greatness that stems from six virtues: wisdom, prudence, duty, magnanimity, rhetoric, and patriotism. Drawing on insights from history, politics, and philosophy, Fornieri tackles the question of how Lincoln evidenced each of these virtues. Through close textual analysis of Lincoln’s speeches and writings and careful consideration of relevant secondary literature, Fornieri reveals Lincoln to be a philosopher statesman in whom political thought and action were united. Lincoln’s character is best understood, he contends, in terms of Aquinas’s understanding of magnanimity or greatness of soul, the crowning virtue of statesmanship. True political greatness, as evidenced by Lincoln, involves both humility and sacrifice for the common good.

With the great philosophers and books of western civilization as his guide, Fornieri demonstrates the important contribution of normative political philosophy to an understanding of our sixteenth president. Informed by political theory that draws on the classics in revealing the timelessness of Lincoln’s example, his interdisciplinary study offers profound insights for anyone interested in the nature of leadership, statesmanship, political ethics, political history, and constitutional law.

Lincoln's Campaign Biographies written by Thomas A. Horrocks. 
During the 1860 and 1864 presidential campaigns, Abraham Lincoln was the subject of over twenty campaign biographies. In this innovative study, Thomas A. Horrocks examines the role that these publications played in shaping an image of Lincoln that would resonate with voters and explores the vision of Lincoln that the biographies crafted, the changes in this vision over the course of four years, and the impact of these works on the outcome of the elections.

Horrocks investigates Lincoln’s campaign biographies within the context of the critical relationship between print and politics in nineteenth-century America and compares the works about Lincoln with other presidential campaign biographies of the era. Horrocks shows that more than most politicians of his day, Lincoln deeply appreciated and understood the influence and the power of the printed word.

The 1860 campaign biographies introduced to America “Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter,” a trustworthy, rugged candidate who appealed to rural Americans. When Lincoln ran for reelection in 1864, the second round of campaign biographies complemented this earlier portrait of Lincoln with a new, paternal figure, “Father Abraham,” more appropriate for Americans enduring a bloody civil war.  Closing with a consideration of the influence of these publications on Lincoln’s election and reelection, Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies provides a new perspective for those seeking a better understanding of the sixteenth president and two of the most critical elections in American history.

Lincoln and Religion written by Ferenc and Margaret Szasz.
Abraham Lincoln’s faith has commanded more broad-based attention than that of any other American president. Although he never joined a denomination, Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Spiritualists, Jews, and even atheists claim the sixteenth president as one of their own. In this concise volume, Ferenc Morton Szasz and Margaret Connell Szasz offer both an accessible survey of the development of Lincoln’s religious views and an informative launch pad for further academic inquiry. A singular key to Lincoln’s personality, especially during the presidential years, rests with his evolving faith perspective.

After surveying Lincoln’s early childhood as a Hard-Shell Baptist in Kentucky and Indiana, the authors chronicle his move from skepticism to participation in Episcopal circles during his years in Springfield, and, finally, after the death of son Eddie, to Presbyterianism. They explore Lincoln’s relationship with the nation’s faiths as president, the impact of his son Willie’s death, his adaptation of Puritan covenant theory to a nation at war, the role of prayer during his presidency, and changes in his faith as reflected in the Emancipation Proclamation and his state papers and addresses. Finally, they evaluate Lincoln’s legacy as the central figure of America’s civil religion, an image sharpened by his prominent position in American currency.

A closing essay by Richard W. Etulain traces the historiographical currents in the literature on Lincoln and religion, and the volume concludes with a compilation of Lincoln’s own words about religion.

In assessing the enigma of Lincoln’s Christianity, the authors argue that despite his lack of church membership, Lincoln lived his life through a Christian ethical framework. His years as president, dominated by the Civil War and personal loss, led Lincoln to move into a world beholden to Providence.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

St. Augustine and the Civil War is Now a Reality

Many of you know that I have written a book, St. Augustine and the Civil War, that is being published by The History Press. Well, the wait is over. I received my shipment of books today and I couldn't be happier.

The book finished at 172 pages including end notes, bibliography, and index. The book is fully illustrated with b/w photos. There is a terrific map by master cartographer Steven Stanley, who is famous for creating maps for the Civil War Trust.

The book is available through Amazon both in print and for Kindle, at Barnes and Noble in both print and Nook, Books a Million, and no doubt other online outlets. In Florida, the History Press is working to get the book into as many locations as possible. I also have copies of the book available for purchase. Please use the Paypal button on the right hand side of the screen or click on the tab at the top for more information.

Please consider clicking the link above and "liking" my Facebook page for the book. Here you will be able to keep up with any events associated with the book and also I will be posting information and photos relevant to the story.

Thanks to everybody for your support and I hope you enjoy the book!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Spring 2014 LSU Press Catalog

The Spring 2014 LSU Press catalog can be downloaded here. There are several interesting looking titles included.

Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) The Union army's overwhelming vote for Abraham Lincoln's reelection in 1864 has led many Civil War scholars to conclude that the soldiers supported the Republican Party and its effort to abolish slavery. In Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln Jonathan W. White challenges this reigning paradigm in Civil War historiography, arguing instead that the soldier vote in the presidential election of 1864 is not a reliable index of the army's ideological motivation or political sentiment. Although 78 percent of the soldiers' votes were cast for Lincoln, White contends that this was not wholly due to a political or social conversion to the Republican Party. Rather, he argues, historians have ignored mitigating factors such as voter turnout, intimidation at the polls, and how soldiers voted in nonpresidential elections in 1864. While recognizing that many soldiers changed their views on slavery and emancipation during the war, White suggests that a considera-ble number still rejected the Republican platform, and that many who voted for Lincoln disagreed with his views on slavery. He likewise ex-plains that many northerners considered a vote for the Democratic ticket as treasonous and an admission of defeat. Using previously untapped court-martial records from the National Archives, as well as manuscript collections from across the country, White convincingly revises many commonly held assumptions about the Civil War era and provides a deeper understanding of the Union Army.

Gateway to the Confederacy: New Perspectives on the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns, 1862-1863   A collection of ten new essays from some of our finest Civil War historians working today, Gateway to the Confederacy offers a reexamination of the campaigns fought to gain possession of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Each essay addresses how Americans have misconstrued the legacy of these struggles and why scholars feel it necessary to reconsider one of the most critical turning points of the American Civil War.
The first academic analysis that delineates all three Civil War campaigns fought from 1862 to 1863 for control of Chattanooga—the transportation hub of the Confederacy and gateway to the Deep South—this book deals not only with military operations but also with the campaigns’ origins and consequences. The essays also explore the far-reaching social and political implications of the battles and bring into sharp focus their impact on postwar literature and commemoration. Several chapters revise the traditional portraits of both famous and controversial figures including Ambrose Bierce and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Others investigate some of the more salient moments of these campaigns such as the circumstances that allowed for the Confederate breakthrough assault at Chickamauga. 
Gateway to the Confederacy reassesses these pivotal battles, long in need of reappraisal, and breaks new ground as each scholar reshapes a particular aspect of this momentous part of the Civil War.
Russell S. Bonds
Stephen Cushman
Caroline E. Janney 
Evan C. Jones 
David A. Powell 
Gerald J. Prokopowicz 
William Glenn Robertson 
Wiley Sword 
Craig L. Symonds

Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) Winner of the The Jules and Frances Landry Award
While most Americans count Abraham Lincoln among the most beloved and admired former presidents, a dedicated minority has long viewed him as not only the worst president in the country’s history but also as a criminal who defied the Constitution and advanced federal power and the idea of racial equality. In Loathing Lincoln, historian John McKee Barr surveys the broad array of criticisms about Abraham Lincoln that emerged when he stepped onto the national stage, expanded during the Civil War, and continued to evolve after his death and into the present. 
The first panoramic study of Lincoln’s critics, Barr’s work offers both an analysis of Lincoln in historical memory and an examination of how his critics—on both the right and left—have frequently reflected the anxiety and discontent Americans felt about their lives. From northern abolitionists upset about the slow pace of emancipation, to Confederates who condemned him as a “black Republican” and despot, to Americans who blamed him for the civil rights movement, to, more recently, libertarians who accuse him of trampling the Constitution and creating the modern welfare state, Lincoln’s detractors have always been a vocal minority, but not one without influence.
By meticulously exploring the most significant arguments against Lincoln, Barr traces the rise of the president’s most strident critics and links most of them to a distinct right-wing or neo-Confederate political agenda. According to Barr, their hostility to a more egalitarian America and opposition to any use of federal power to bring about such goals led them to portray Lincoln as an imperialistic president who grossly overstepped the bounds of his office. In contrast, liberals criticized him for not doing enough to bring about emancipation or ensure lasting racial equality. Lincoln’s conservative and libertarian foes, however, constituted the vast majority of his detractors. More recently, Lincoln’s most vociferous critics have adamantly opposed Barack Obama and his policies, many of them referencing Lincoln in their attacks on the current president. In examining these individuals and groups, Barr’s study provides a deeper understanding of American political life and the nation itself.