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reviews


Books that are of particular, immediate relevance to the Washington Artillery of New Orleans include:
Civil War Campaigns and Engagements of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans by Powell A. Casey;
The Civil War Memoir of Philip Dangerfield Stephenson, edited by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. ;
Echoes of Glory: Arms & Equipment of the Confederacy, published by Time / Life Books;
A Manual for Volunteers & Militia -1861 Edition by William Gilham;
In Camp and Battle with the Washington Artillery by William M. Owen;
Mounted Artillery Drill Manual by R.S. Andrews; and
A Soldier's Story of the War, Including the Marches and Battles of the Washington Artillery by Napier Bartlett.


Books

The After-Life, Mourning Rituals, and the Mid-Victorians by Karen Rae Mehaffey.

Among the Camps by Thomas Nelson Page, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. An excellent children's book with moving stories from the War for Southern Independence, this is a sequel to Page's Two Little Confederates. (cel)

Army of Tennessee by Stanley Horn.

Artillerist's Manual by John Gibbon, ca 1860, reprinted by Benchmark Publishing Company. A highly technical work, it gives thorough coverage of all matters concerning artillery through 1860.

The Artillerists Manual and British Soldier's Compendium by Major R.A. Griffiths, Royal Artillery, 11th edition, ca 1873

Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War
by Warren Ripley

Artillery of the CSA Land Service: 12-Pounder Breech-Loading Whitworth Rifle.

Artillery For the Land Service of the US: 12-Pounder Model 1857 Napoleon.

Artillery: 12-Pounder Mountain Howitzer On A Second Model Prairie Carriage, 1861 - 1890: Preliminary Sketches and Photographs.

The Battle of Atlanta by Jacob Cox.

The Battle of Franklin by Jacob Cox.

Battles and Sketches: The Army of Tennessee by B.L. Ridley.

The Boys' War by Jim Murphy. A fascinating concept - dealing with the War from the vantage point of boys' participation - went awry somewhere early on in the research process, apparently. It seemed as if there was not enough documentary evidence to go much beyond presenting a few statistics, precious few diary / journal / letter excerpts, and some photographs, so Murphy was reduced to sweeping generalizations and vagaries about boys in the War. The photographs are sometimes of boys (which he defined as being 16 years old or younger), but far too often are not. He often refers to 'young faces' when characterizing photographs, which leads one to believe that he is trying desperately for a 'leaner', as we say in the sport of horseshoes. You may glean as much by a fast skim as you will by a thorough read of this work. Its chief merit may well lie in directing the reader to other works, such as Private Elisha Stockwell, Jr. Sees the Civil War and A Wisconsin Boy in Dixie: The Selected Letters of James K. Newton. (cel)

Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia by Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.  This is a fairly interesting work. It has the appearance of thorough documentation. Much like Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, it seems to have much in the way of statistics and facts to "pad it out" - but clearly, the issue is one so highly charged emotionally and so thoroughly disputed, especially by those who have never investigated it for themselves, that it indeed needs a world of statistics and documentation to support the assertions and conclusions made within its pages.  The agenda of the author appears to promote a politically correct black vantage point, and when he preaches, it is tiresome. The repeated use of "Afro-" this and "Afro-" that is also wearisome when plain language would do, and by the end of the third chapter it is difficult to refrain from rolling one's eyes whenever those hyphenated terms approach.  On the other hand, it appears to be an honest effort to present the fact that there were not only black Yankees in the War, but truly convinced black Virginia Confederates, including a number who were part of the Confederate Army.  An ambitious, aggressive work, Jordan does a creditable job overall. Much of the anecdotal content of the book is fascinating. There were many passages where it was necessary to put the book down and recall the author's biases, but it also often gave cause to reflect upon some of the author's assertions. (cel)

Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat by Grady McWhiney.

Cannoneers in Grey by Larry J. Daniel, published by University of Alabama Press, 1984. This work deals with the artillery companies of the Army of Tennessee (among which the Washington Artillery - 5th Company was numbered) and the problems encountered by the artillery during the War Between the States.

Cannons: An Introduction to Civil War Artillery by Dean S. Thomas.

Charted Designs: Berlin Work by Orr.

Christ in the Camp by Rev. J. William Jones, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840.  This is an important work documenting the revival of religion within the Confederate Armies during the War, and gives the reenactor a better understanding of the true character of the men reenactors seek to portray. (cel)

Civil War Campaigns And Engagements of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans by Powell A. Casey.  Casey's work is a work which has much technical merit, although no literary scholarship. What it does provide is a well-documented look at the Washington Artillery. It seems to leave open as many questions as it answers, but it may well be that the questions this book leaves open cannot be answered by better scholarship. This book must be read carefully for it is difficult at times to follow the strict timeline of events, but it is a most valuable work with reference to the 5th Company - Washington Artillery. (cel)

The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull by Rice C. Bull.  Written by a Federal soldier who entered the War at the age of 20, it contains references to 5th Company - Washington Artillery ("...the famous Washington Light Artillery of New Orleans....their officers were mounted and handsomely equipped...their men were more uniformly clothed than any other Confederate troops we saw...from what I saw, the discipline of this battery was excellent...".  After he was taken captive by the Washington Artillery, he said, "Not one word was said that would wound our feelings...").

Civil War Etiquette: Martine's Handbook and Vulgarisms In Conversation by Shep.

Civil War Gentlemen: 1860's Apparel Arts and Uniforms by Shep.

Civil War Ladies: Fashions and Needle Arts of the Early 1860's by Shep.

The Civil War Memoir of Philip Dangerfield Stephenson, edited by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. For a look inside the life of 5th Company - Washington Artillery, this work is without equal. Written by a man who came from Missouri and joined 5th Company, he served through the end of the War, returning to Missouri at the sad conclusion of the War. Upon returning home to a town that was strongly pro-Union, Stephenson found himself (and his brother, also a Confederate soldier) unable to find work in the unforgiving atmosphere of post-War Missouri. Being unemployable because of his interest in the Southern cause, Stephenson wrote of his days with 5th Company, injecting understandable vitriol and invective into the work. He also relates something of the ostracism felt by his family even in the church in which they held membership. Later Stephenson would enter the ministry, and later in life began the task of editing out the vitriol and invective of his memoir without destroying the flavor of a clear, plain, and honest telling of his life in the War Between the States as a member of 5th Company. His memoir is not tainted or spoiled with lavish Victorian sentimentality, but is well-written and candid without being gory or embarrassing. This is highly recommended reading. (rkc)

Civil War Wordbook: Sayings, Phrases, and Expletives by Darryl Lyman.

Company "Aytch", Or, A Side Show In The Big Show by Sam R. Watkins.

Compendium of the Confederate Armies (10 Volumes).

A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Dyer.

Complete Guide to Practical Cutting by A. Minister.

The Confederate Trilogy for Young Readers by Mary L. Williamson, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840.  Containing biographies of General Robert E. Lee, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, and General J.E.B. Stuart, this is a fine work to use to introduce the heroes of the South to children, men worthy of emulation. A five-year-old girl in Richmond, Virginia not long after the War's end showed the reverence with which at least one of the South's great men was held when she said, "Mama, I can never remember; was General Lee in the Old Testament or the New Testament?". (cel)

A Constitutional View of the War Between the States by Alexander H. Stephens, published in two volumes by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Stephens presents a view of the constitutionality of secession with a focus upon centralism.

Customs of the Service by August Kurtz.

A Diary From Dixie by Mary B. Chestnut.

The Decisive Battle of Nashville by Stanley Horn.

A Defense of Virginia and the South by Dr. R.L. Dabney, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Prominent theologian and biographer of Stonewall Jackson, this work uses the past to deal with the future and foundations of politics. Contains text of interest for those who would consider the institution of slavery, as Dabney authoritatively details the Biblical case. Dabney methodically demonstrates from the Bible that slavery is not inherently wicked, as was claimed by the Abolitionists, and that the "peculiar institution" in America was to be traced, not to the South, but to New England slave-trading. An interesting comparison is made by Dabney between the standard of living of Northern factory workers and that of Southern plantation slaves that is most revealing. Chapter titles include 'The African Slave Trade,' 'Legal Status of Slavery,' and 'The History of Emancipation.' (cel)

The Diary of Miss Emma Holmes, 1861 - 1866 edited by John F. Marszalek.

Echoes of Glory: Arms & Equipment of the Confederacy, published by Time / Life Books.

Etiquette for Every Occasion by Joy Melcher.

Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America by Richard Carwardine, published by Yale Press. Richly researched with 116 pages of notes and a 21-page bibliography, the chilling account of the struggle between Christianity and fanatical abolitionists demonstrates the evident inevitability of conflict that could only be settled by force of arms.

Facts the Historians Leave Out - A Confederate Primer by John S. Tilley, published by Bill Coats, Ltd., 1406 Grandview Drive, Nashville, TN 37215.  An interesting series of vignettes dealing with many underlying issues and events which led to the War and occurred during the War, it has three major flaws: sources are not cited and referenced, it is not well written and consequently becomes confusing at some points in the text, and it is just too short. Redeeming all of its flaws is the fact that it generally sets the record straight.

Fashions and Costumes From Godey's Ladies' Book by Stella Blum.

Fields of Glory: A History and Tour Guide of the Atlanta Campaign by Jim Miles.

Flags of the Confederacy by Devereaux D. Cannon.

Flags of the Union by Devereaux D. Cannon.

Gallant Pelham by Charles G. Milham.

General Lee by Fitzhugh Lee.

Grape and Canister: History of the Artillery of the Army of the Potomac by L. Vanloan Naisawald.

The Great Revival in the Southern Armies by Rev. W.W.Bennett, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Consider this as a companion piece to Christ in the Camp, for it presents an eye-witness account of the spiritual awakening which took place in the Confederate armies. (cel)

Guide To Louisiana Confederate Military Units by A.W. Bergeron, Jr.

Handbook On Practical Cutting On The Centerpoint System by Louis Devere.

Hardee's Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics by Hardee, ca 1862. The book includes the School of the Soldier and the School of the Company with the appropriate drills for each. A valuable reference work in learning the proper marching commands and rifle drills.

Heroines of Dixie, Parts One and Two

A Historical Sketch of the Organization, Administration, Material, and Tactics of the Artillery, United States Army
by William E. Birkehimer, published by Greenwood Press, New York, New York 1968. Originally published in 1884, this is an account of the evolution of field artillery from the Revolutionary War to the 1880's.

In Camp and Battle with the Washington Artillery by William M. Owen, published by Butternut Press, 12137 Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. A fascinating account of the life of the Washington Artillery under the Army of Northern Virginia during the War Between the States by an officer of the Washington Artillery who saw it all. This provides a very personal and stirring look at life among the men of the Washington Artillery. Mentions of 5th Company are minimal. (cel)

Instructions for Field Artillery by The U.S. Ordnance Department, ca 1863. Extensive descriptions are given of the manual of the piece, battery maneuvers, and topics related to horses and other materials.

The Ladies' Handbook of Fancy and Ornamental Work: Civil War Era by Florence Hartley.

The Ladies' Self-Instructor in Millinery and Mantua Making, Embroidery, and Applique by Shep.

The Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant General T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson by Dr. R.L. Dabney, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Written by one of the most brilliant Presbyterian theologians of that century, Dabney served under Jackson and has arguably the greatest breadth of intimate knowledge of Jackson both as a military leader and a private person. Well written by a man who clearly loved his subject and served the same God. This is Sprinkle Publications' best-selling title, and understandably so. (cel)

The Life and Letters of General Robert E. Lee by Dr. James William Jones, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Jones served General Lee as chaplain both during and after the War, and reveals the Christian character of the man many believe to be the finest man the South ever produced. "Robert E. Lee is the greatest soldier now living, and if he ever gets the opportunity, he will prove himself the greatest captain in history." - Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, U.S. Army, 1861.  "His very name might be audacity!" - Col. John Ives, C.S. Army.  "If you will only fast from your sins you may eat what you please." - Robert E. Lee (cel)

The Life and Letters of Stonewall Jackson by Mary Anna Jackson, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. The biography of the great man by his widow, this provides insight into the domestic life of one of the greatest generals of history. Reading this book will give you a heightened respect for Jackson, and will also serve to destroy any false impression you may have developed of him as a result of being exposed to the works of slanderers like Ken Burns in his "The Civil War" series on PBS. (cel)

The Man Behind the Guns: A Biography of General Henry J. Hunt, Commander of Artillery, Army of the Potomac by Edward G. Longacre.

A Manual for Volunteers & Militia - 1861 Edition by William Gilham.  An excellent work used by both sides during the War, and to which there are documented references made to its use by the Washington Artillery during the War, this is available for approximately $50 where it is still available, although a photocopied version for Confederate service may also be available for approximately $35 (from some members of 5th Company).  This is an important period work.

The Manual of Light Artillery: Drilling With the Mountain Howitzer edited by Jacques Noel Jacobsen, Jr.

Mary Boykin Chestnut by Elizabeth Muhlenfeld.

McGuffey's New First Eclectic Reader by William H. McGuffey.  The 1857 or 1863 editions are both fine works, and are the means by which many of our forebears learned to read and appreciate literature. You may find the entire series of McGuffey's Readers to be challenging to an adult, particularly the last volume or two in the series. (cel)

Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton by Pendleton, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. More than the valuable narrative of the life of the Army of Northern Virginia, this is the record of a God-fearing man who was rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, father of Alexander H. "Sandie" Pendleton (who served on Jackson's staff), and served as Chief of Artillery for General Robert E. Lee. When read with the biographies of men like Lee and Jackson, and coupled with an understanding of how pervasive the influence of Reformed theology and religion was within the Confederate armies through men of whom Dr. Dabney and Rev. Jones are the best examples, this book will help lay the foundation for comprehending the true import and impact of religion in the South. That understanding will ultimately be soberly offset by an understanding of the general dearth of that positive influence within the armies of the North. (cel)

The Memorial Volume of Jefferson Davis by Rev. J. William Jones, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. This is a review of the life and career of the only President of the Confederate States of America in the words of many of his contemporaries.

Military Dictionary by Henry L. Scott; reprint of the 1861 / 1864 editions.

The More Complete Cannoneer by M.C. Switlick, published in 1990 by Museum & Collector Specialties Company, 38 E. Elm Avenue, Monroe, Michigan 48161. This is a relatively thorough treatment of the basic elements of the cannon and its necessary equipment in a brief and generally easily read form. (cel)

Mounted Artillery Drill Manual by R.S. Andrews.

Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Could Not Go Home by William C. Davis.

Outpost by Mahan, ca 1861. A fundamental work on advanced guards, outposts, and the like.

P.G.T. Beauregard, Napoleon In Grey
by T.H. Williams.

Paths to Victory: A History and Study Guide Tour to the Stone's River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville Campaigns by Jim Miles.

Port Hudson: Confederate Bastion on the Mississippi by Lawrence Hewitt.

Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee by Captain Robert E. Lee.

The Real Lincoln by Charles L.C. Minor, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. Minor helps to enhance the readers' understanding of Lincoln and his times, a valuable perspective.

Shiloh, Bloody April by Wiley Sword.

Shiloh - In Hell Before Night by James Lee McDonough. The battle fought at "Place of Peace" (from the Hebrew "Shiloh") has provided arguably more grist for the speculation-mill than any other battle of the War. The seemingly helter-skelter battle of Shiloh probably should have been the definitive Confederate victory in which the Northern invader was driven out, many assert, and yet it was not. Why was Grant absent when his army was attacked, and why did Grant and Sherman apparently ignore evidence of a Confederate advance? Why did Lew Wallace's division fail to get into the fray on the first day of the battle? Why did Hardee delay until he received written orders which echoed the verbal orders he was given to leave Corinth? What took the Confederates so long in reaching the battlefield from Corinth? Did the Confederates really have the clear and evident opportunity to decisively win the battle as it appears in retrospect? Did Johnston and Beauregard work at cross-purposes constantly, as it seems? Was Beauregard the primary culprit who cost the Confederacy this vital victory because he chose to override the orders of is superior? Did Johnston lack the backbone to control a strong-willed Beauregard as he should have? McDonough does not answer all of these questions, but accomplishes an equally valuable task: he gathers together some answers and many clues to answering these and many other questions about the battle. (cel)

Soldiering In The Army of Tennessee by Larry J. Daniel.

A Soldier's Story of the War, Including the Marches and Battles of the Washington Artillery by Napier Bartlett. Now out of print, a photocopied reprint may be available through Christian Becker of 5th Company - Washington Artillery.

A Southern Woman's Story: Life In Confederate Richmond by Phoebe Y. Pember.

The South Was Right by J.R. and W.D. Kennedy.

Tennessee's Forgotten Warriors: Frank Cheatham and His Confederate Division by Christopher Losson.

The Ties to the Past: Gettysburg Diaries of Salome Myers Stewart, 1854 - 1922 edited by Sarah Sites Rogers.

Touched By Fire by William C. Davis. This book contains photographs of the original Washington Artillery of New Orleans.

Treatise of the Tactical Use of the Three Arms: Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry by Francis Lippitt.

Two Little Confederates by Thomas Nelson Page, published by Sprinkle Publications, PO Box 1094, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, phone (540) 434-8840. A fine children's book with moving stories from the War for Southern Independence. It has as a sequel Among the Camps by the same author. (cel)

Vicksburg 1863 by A. Hankinson.

The Victorian Woman's Cookbook by Joy Melcher.

When The World Ended: Diary of Emma Leconte by Emma LeConte.

Who Wore What: Women's Wear, 1861-1865 by Juanita Leisch.

With The Light Guns by W.E. Woodruff. Memoirs of 11 Confederate batteries from Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, focusing primarily on Woodruff's Battery from Arkansas.

Within The Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.

Women In The Civil War by Mary E. Massey.

 

Periodicals

America's Civil War - Published six times a year, this is an interesting publication which handles a variety of article topics and generally illustrated with a nice mix of period photographs and modern prints. Their address is 602 S. King Street, Suite 300, Leesburg, VA 22075; phone number (703) 771-9400.

The Artilleryman - This is published by the same company which publishes The Civil War News. Their address is PO Box C, 4 Walter Street, Arlington, MA 02174, phone number (800) 222-1861. Published quarterly, this periodical tends to be fairly technical and deals with the particulars of artillery pieces in fine detail.

Blue and Gray Magazine - Published six times a year, this little magazine does a noteworthy job of offering some generally well-written articles on historical areas of interest, balances between civilian and military topics. Their address is PO Box 28685, Columbus, OH 43228; phone number (614) 870-7881.

Camp Chase Gazette - Published ten times a year (December and February are the months they skip), Camp Chase Gazette calls itself "The Voice of Civil War Reenacting".  They commonly publish a large number of letters to the editor in a column called 'Camp Gossip', and have several regular contributors of articles. Of great value to the re-enacting community at large are the announcements of upcoming events published in every issue, and the advertisements will help keep you aware of the variety of sutlers and their goods. Many of their articles seem to be well-researched, and some are humorous (about half of which actually intended to be humorous). Their address is PO Box 707, Marietta, OH 45750; phone orders (614) 373-1865.

The Christian Banner - Published four times a year, there is no established subscription rate, but donations are badly needed; it would not be inappropriate to contribute $20 or more annually to this publication. Through their organization which is a full-time ministry for Ron Farleigh and his wife, they offer this periodical with articles of especial interest to Christian re-enactors, as well as reprints of period tracts which have been hand-glued or hand-sewn as were the originals; the fact that the tracts are reprints bound in the same fashion as the originals allows protection for the purpose of public distribution on Federal and State properties. In addition, Alan Farleigh is a full-time evangelist and available to speak to churches and other organizations. Their address is RMJC, Inc., PO Box 684, Appomatox, VA 24522; phone number (804) 352-0493.

The Citizens' Companion - Published six times a year, The Citizens' Companion calls itself "The Voice of Civilian Reenacting".  Their section of letters to the editor tends to be quite a lot smaller than that of Camp Chase Gazette, and they also publish upcoming events.  It is published by the same folks who publish Camp Chase Gazette, and is available at the same address and phone number.

Civil War Times Illustrated - Published six times a year, this periodical does an admirable job of offering a large number of articles on disparate subjects relating to the War Between the States with some extraordinary illustrations. Their address is PO Box 8200, Harrisburg, PA 17105; phone number (717) 657-9555.

The Civil War News - Published ten times a year, The Civil War News offers an extensive treatment of many preservation issues and contemporary controversies concerning heritage and re-enacting, in addition to other types of articles of interest to re-enactors and collectors. For subscription information, their address is PO Box C, 4 Walter Street, Arlington, MA 02174; phone number (800) 222-1861.

The Confederate Underground - Published at least twice a year (primarily dependent on when the writers / editors can afford to publish), this publication is a poor, cheap knock-off of far better publications. Its articles appear to be loosely taken from articles found elsewhere and re-written, although the re-writes are feeble at best. This is nothing more than a paper promoting a racist agenda, and doing an abysmal job of it. (cel)

Confederate Veteran - Published six times a year, this magazine deals with many issues current within and of interest to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the Military Order of the Stars and Bars (MOSB), as well as providing some reprints of articles from the original Confederate Veteran magazine. Many issues concerning memorials to Confederate veterans, battlefield preservation, and the right to fly the Confederate colors are addressed by this publication. It also offers well-researched articles concerning Confederate veterans. Their address is PO Box 710287, Houston, TX 77271.

Godey's Lady's Book - 18 reprinted issues originally published between 1853 and 1864 are available. A collection of the illustrated women's magazine, the issues include fiction, poetry, fashion, facts, recipes, projects, and literary notices. This is an interesting work, although it can scarcely be considered as an absolutely authoritative source on fashions as they are depicted within its pages any more than Vogue or GQ reflect clothing typical of our period. The styles shown within the pages of Godey's are closer to an ideal than a reality, but they are also the fashions that were often copied and modified for use in the real world.

North South Trader's Civil War - Published six times a year, this magazine does a thorough job of covering artifact recovery and collection, as well as covering the trade shows which deal with same. Their address is 256 E. Main Street, PO Drawer 631, Orange, VA 22960; phone number (703) 672-4845.

Scientific American - 6 reprint issues originally published in 1855. Topics of particular interest would include articles on dyes, tooth decay, nutritious wheat, the Paris Exposition, the London Fair, polygraphs, pottery, spiritualism, preserving fruit, the American Institute Fair, reapers, electricity, and explosives.

Audio Resources

Banjos, Bones, and Boatmen - By Joe Ayers & Tuckahoe Music. Most of the songs on this tape pre-date 1860, and include 'The Virginia Reel', 'The River Jordan', 'Money Music', and many more. There are some who are technically superior to Joe Ayers, but few who can match or exceed the 'feel' of the music he plays and sings. If you could step back in time to the theaters of old, you just know you would see Joe Ayers on stage playing these songs.

Ballads and Songs of the Civil War - By Wayne Erbsen.

Battlefields & Campfires (Volume I) - By The 97th Regimental String Band. Selections include 'Battle Cry of Freedom', 'Minstrel Boy', 'Tom Dula', 'Goober Peas', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Kingdom Coming', 'Rose of Alabama', 'Lincoln & Liberty', and more. They play and sing well technically. At times, their sound allows you to envision the soldiers hearing these songs around the campfire, but at other times you see the Kingston Trio in black-and-white. Their unevenness is an enigma. (cel)

Bob Flesher's Old-Time Clawhammer Banjo - By Bob Flesher. Twelve clawhammer instrumental songs played on three different open-back banjos. Bob Flesher's music has the sound of true "folk" music: music written by real people and sung by real people for real people. Where Joe Ayers' renditions may sound more like the professional, polished versions of the period, Bob Flesher puts you in mind of the front porch musicians who gather together of an evening and punctuate the laughter and chatter with songs that lead to an impromptu play-party. (cel)

The Bonnie Blue Flag - By The 2nd South Carolina String Band.  Selections include the title song, 'Jine the Cavalry', 'Ring De Banjo', 'Soldier's Joy', 'Rose of Alabama', 'Camptown Races', 'Goober Peas', 'Cumberland Gap', 'Georgia', 'Sweet Betsy from Pike', 'Lorena', 'Lincoln and Liberty', 'The Vacant Chair', and 'Richmond is a Hard RoadTo Travel'.

Bonnie Blue Flag - By Music Virginia, all played on period instruments.  Selections include 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Merry Men', 'The Southern Cross', and more.

The Blue and Gray - By Ron Davis, who is sometimes referred to as the 'one-man band'. Selections include 'Dixie', Lorena'', and more. 'We are told that the music is done instrumentally in the southern style of the period.

Boys for Mexico - By Vaughn and Starbuck. Selections include 'Roll, Alabama, Roll', 'Minstrel Boy', 'Ring De Banjo', and more.

The Bright, Sunny South - By Jim Taylor. A collection of music with vocals.

Bruce & Emmett - Selections from The Drummers' and Fifers' Guide (originally published in 1862) by George B. Bruce and Daniel D. Emmett. Played on original period rope tensioned drums and wooden fifes, melodies include the complete 'Reveille' and many quicksteps and various drum beats.

Chantey Irish (Volume III) - By The 97th Regimental String Band. Selections include 'Wild Rover', 'Jug of Punch', 'Cockles and Mussels', 'Rising of the Moon', 'Rosin the Beau', 'Jolly Grog', and others. Their strengths lie in their technical skills.

The Civil War (Original Soundtrack) - From the series The Civil War by Ken Burns, the soundtrack is quite moving and masterfully done. 'It includes a wide range of songs, some instrumental only and others with lyrics, and there are several brief readings, too.  Some songs are performed by a brass band, some by a few stringed instruments, and everything in between; all of which gives a flavor of the period that is broad and strong.  Selections include 'Ashokan Farewell', 'Battle Cry of Freedom', 'We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder', 'Dixie', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Cheer, Boys, Cheer', 'Angel Band', 'Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier', 'Lorena', 'Parade', 'Hail Columbia', 'Kingdom Coming', 'Battle Hymn of the Republic', 'All Quiet Along the Potomac', 'Flag of Columbia', 'Weeping Sad and Lonely', 'Yankee Doodle', 'Palmyra Schottische', 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home', and 'Marching Through Georgia'. (cel)

The Civil War Banjo - By Bob Flesher. Twenty-two authentic minstrel banjo songs of the period played on two original Civil War-era 5-string banjos, fiddle, bones, and tambourine. This is the counterpart to Flesher's Minstrel Banjo.

Civil War Guitar Campfire Memories - By Kirk Browne. Instrumental guitar renditions of songs enjoyed by the troops of the Civil War.

Civil War Piano Memories - By Charles Davis. Instrumental piano renditions of Civil War era songs.

Clawhammer Banjo Along The Blueridge - By Bob Flesher.  Selections include 'Yellow Rose of Texas', 'Soldier's Joy', and others. Includes fourteen authentic songs from the Blueridge Mountains, played clawhammer style on two steel string banjos. The CD version has four more songs than does the tape, for a total of eighteen songs. Bob Flesher lends an almost eerie tone to the music by making you feel that if you closed your eyes and clicked your heels together, repeating "There's no place like home," you would find yourself sitting on the porch with Bob and others in another time, enjoying the evening and the music. (cel)

Come Before Winter - By Jim Taylor. There are approximately twenty tunes on this tape, we are told.

Dixie and Other Love Songs (Volume II) - By The 97th Regimental String Band. Selections include 'Dixie', 'Wait for the Wagon', 'Cindy', 'Aura Lea', 'Yellow Rose of Texas', 'Lorena', 'Johnny is My Darling', 'There Is a Tavern In the Town', and more. You will appreciate them when they are at their best, but there are a number of times when they seem to be overcome with awe of themselves, and it hurts the "feel" of the music seriously. (cel)

Echoes of Shiloh, Volume I - By The 8th Regimental Band. Selections include 'Dixie', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Come Dearest, the Daylight is Gone', 'Listen to the Mockingbird', 'Waltz', 'Juanita', 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginny', 'Cheer, Boys, Cheer', 'Rachel's Waltz', 'Summer', 'Hail Columbia', 'Yankee Doodle', 'Sweet Home', 'Marsellaise', 'Bold Soldier', 'Fireman's Polka', and 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'.

The Fall of Richmond - By Jim Taylor. The instrumental music on this tape is traditional Southern Appalachian Mountain music played on hammered dulcimer, banjo, fiddle, and guitar. We are told that this tape contains 19 songs, including 'Dixie' and 'Haste to the Wedding'.

Fife and Drum Music from the American Civil War - By The Camp Chase Fife & Drums, a group featured in the movie 'Gettysburg'.

Front Porch Favorites - By Wayne Erbsen. This collection of 19th century American favorites includes 'Blue-Tail Fly', 'Old Joe Clark', 'Oh Susannah', 'Cripple Creek', and more (a total of seventeen songs).

The Girl I Left Behind Me - By Southern Horizons. A collection mainly of songs popular in early America and during colonial times, selections include 'Road to Boston', 'Liberty', 'Soldier's Joy', 'Road to Lisdoon Varna', and more.

Great Locomotive Chase - By The Captain's Crew.  Train songs from the War Between the States era are done in a southern style.

Hard Times - By Mean Mary & Frank James.  This young brother-sister duet performs period songs on this recording.  Mean Mary sings and also plays several instruments, most notably banjo and fiddle, while her brother Frank accompanies her on guitar.  Mean Mary's voice is low on the musical register and she has a fairly powerful voice, so the first-time listener should not expect to hear high, thin notes come off of this recording. Selections include 'Rose of Alabama', 'Hard Times, Come Again No More', 'Just Before the Battle, Mother', 'Garry Owens', 'Aura Lea', and more. The range of instruments played by these two and their technical abilities are most impressive. (cel)

Haunted Fields - Performed by Sergeant Benjamin Gormley, this is a collection of poems by Benjamin Gormley based on the American Civil War.  Personally, I've been anything but impressed with his work.  Haunted Fields is no exception to having been unimpressed so far.

The Home Front - By Wayne Erbsen. Selections include 'Kingdom Coming', 'Yellow Rose of Texas', 'Cumberland Gap', 'Minstrel Boy', 'Old Dan Tucker', and others.

Homespun Songs of Faith - By Bobby Horton.

Homespun Songs of the C.S.A. - Played, sung, and produced by Bobby Horton. Horton has produced five cassettes of music which covers a tremendous number of songs under the general title Homespun Songs of the CSA. When you listen to the tapes in sequence, you will realize that the South had more important things to do during the War than write good music. Many songs simply recycled the same tunes until you might come to believe that there were only about six melodies known to the South, which of course is not true. Horton is a tremendously talented musician. His work could have benefited by introducing another person's voice to the songs from time to time, and by a lighter touch on some of the audio enhancements added during production. However, the range of music is terrific, the multitude of instruments he plays well is impressive, and his arrangements of many of the songs are quite powerful. (cel) Selections include:

Volume I: 'Everybody's Dixie', 'God Save The South', 'Maryland, My Maryland', 'Rose of Alabama', 'All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight', 'Stonewall Jackson's Way', 'Homespun Dress', 'Battle Cry of Freedom', 'Yellow Rose of Texas', 'Rebel Soldier', 'Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Ridin' A Raid', 'Lorena', ' 'Twas At The Siege of Vicksburg', 'Home, Sweet, Home', 'Oh, I'm A Good Old Rebel', 'Long Ago', and 'Dixie'.

Volume II: 'Wait For The Wagon', 'Virginia Marsellaise', 'Jine the Cavalry', 'Willie Boy', 'Evelina', 'For Bales', 'Stonewall's Requiem', 'Old Abe Lies Sick', 'Cumberland Gap', 'The Young Volunteer', 'John Hunt Morgan Song', 'On The Plains of Manassas', 'The Upidee Song', 'Rock of Ages / On Jordan's Stormy Banks', 'Kennesaw Line', and 'Dixie'.

Volume III:

Volume IV:

Volume V: 'Ye Cavaliers of Dixie', 'The Soldier's Farewell', 'The Cross of the South', 'Old Abe's Lament', 'The North Carolina War Song', 'The Cavalier's Glee', 'The Bowld Sojer Boy', 'Do They Miss Me at Home?', 'The Kentucky Battle Song', 'The Infantry', 'John Harrolson', 'The Soldier's Suit of Grey', 'The South Shall Rise Up Free', 'General Butler', 'The Mother of the Soldier Boy', 'General Forrest, A Confederate', 'Hood's Old Brigade', and 'The Conquered Banner'.

Homespun Songs of the Union - By Bobby Horton.

Volume I:

Volume II:

Volume III:

It's Those Marylanders Again - By The 2nd Maryland Fifes and Drums. Martial music of the Civil War era which is well done, we have been told.

Johnny Whistletrigger: Songs of The Western Border - By Barton, Para, and Dyer. Both period music and modern compositions dressed up as period pieces. The musicianship and singing are generally adequate and sometimes exceptional, but musicianship cannot overcome the reason that most of these songs are unknown today: they are not great music, by and large. This should appeal more to the historian who specializes in the obscure. Selections include 'Marmaduke's Hornpipe', 'Abolitionist Hymn', 'Marais de Cygne', 'Song of the Kansas Immigrants', 'Call to Kansas', 'Invasion of Camp Jackson', 'General Sigel's Grand March', 'I Goes to Fight Mit Sigel', 'Lyon's Funeral March', 'Pat Murphy', 'Battle of Pea Ridge', 'Quantrill Side', 'Prairie Grove', 'Shelby's Mule', 'Knot of Blue and Gray', and others. Their modern composition 'Johnny Whistletrigger' is set to the tune of 'The Pateroller Song'. (cel)

Jubilo - By Dan Homan & Hillar Bergman. Selections include 'Jubilo', 'Dixie', 'Westphalia Waltz', 'Oh Susannah', 'Redwing', and others.

Just Before the Battle - By Jim Morgan. Vocals of songs sung during the War Between the States.

Just Friends - By George Haggerty. We are told this is a 'great relaxed tape by the master of the mountain dulcimer'. Songs include 'McLeod's Reel', 'Dinah', 'Jimmy Allen', and more.

Just Friends Again - By George Haggerty. More dulcimer music, and well done, we have been told.

Little Rose is Gone - By Jim Taylor. Numbering about twenty songs, this tape is an instrumental collection of traditional fiddle tunes from the War Between the States period.

Marching Along (Volume VI) - By The 97th Regimental String Band.

Minstrel Banjo - By Bob Flesher. One of the finest banjo players today, Bob Flesher's sound of minstrel and clawhammer banjo is well worth the listening. Selections include 'Rose of Alabama', 'De Old Banjo', 'Old Virginny Jig / Grape Vine Reel', 'Coon Hunt Walk-Around / The Bee Gum Reel', 'I'm Gwine Ober De Mountain', 'Wake Nicodemus', 'Origin of De Banjo', 'De History of De World', 'Get Away Gumbo/ Sound Your Horn / De Banjo in De Barnyard', 'Nicodemus Johnson', 'Sugar Cane Dance', 'Walk Jawbone', 'Blue-Tail Fly / Kick Up De Debil On A Holiday', and 'Josephus Orange Blossom'. Bob Flesher's distinctives include playing three rare banjos, one from the late 1850s and the other two from the 1860s; as well as resurrecting long-forgotten but wonderful old songs which he has re-discovered for, 'I'm Gwine Ober De Mountain', 'Wake Nicodemus', 'Origin of De Banjo', 'De History of De World', 'Get Away Gumbo/ Sound Your Horn / De Banjo in De Barnyard', 'Nicodemus Johnson', 'Sugar Cane Dance', 'Walk Jawbone', 'Blue-Tail Fly / Kick Up De Debil On A Holiday', and 'Josephus Orange Blossom'. Bob Flesher's distinctives include playing three rare banjos, one from the late 1850's and the other two from the 1860's; as well as resurrecting long-forgotten but wonderful old songs which he has re-discovered for, 'I'm Gwine Ober De Mountain', 'Wake Nicodemus', 'Origin of De Banjo', 'De History of De World', 'Get Away Gumbo/ Sound Your Horn / De Banjo in De Barnyard', 'Nicodemus Johnson', 'Sugar Cane Dance', 'Walk Jawbone', 'Blue-Tail Fly / K (cel)

The Minstrel Boy - by Hillar Bergman. Traditional instrumental fiddle music, this tape includes 'The Minstrel Boy', 'Rosin the Beau', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Ragtime Anne', 'Gary Owens', and others.

Music of the Confederacy - Played on original brass band instruments, fifes, drums, and chamber orchestra instruments by a variety of groups, vocal selections include 'Lorena' and 'Stonewall Jackson's Way'. Band selections include 'Massa's in the Cold Ground' and 'Mister, Here's Your Mule'. Fife and drum music is taken from the Bruce & Emmett book.

A Nation's Broken Soul - By Dave Mathews. Selections include many songs from the Civil War era, including 'Aura Lea', 'Shenandoah', 'Old Kentucky Home', 'Just Before the Battle, Mother', and others.

Old Dan Tucker - By Joe Ayers & Tuckahoe Music. No one plays much better than Joe Ayers, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who gives you the feel of being in attendance at a minstrel show the way that Joe Ayers does. Selections are from the first minstrel troupe of Daniel Emmett (the commonly-held, lately-disputed author of 'Dixie') and the Virginia Minstrels. The sound on this tape is unique and truly takes you to the period. Songs include 'Old Dan Tucker', 'I'm Gwine Ober De Mountain', 'De Boatman's Dance', 'Lucy Long', 'Dar He Goes! Dat's Him!', 'Turkey In De Straw', 'Old Joe', 'Oh Lud Gals', 'Dandy Jim From Caroline', 'Walk Along John', 'Dan Emmett's Waltz', 'Jordan Is A Hard Road To Trabel', 'Oh Ladies All', and 'Dixie'. (cel)

Old Steamboat & River Songs - By The Captain's Crew. Selections include many never-before recorded songs of the river from the period of the War Between the States.

On the Road to Boston - By Vaughn & Starbuck. This tape with Irish overtones includes 'Rising of the Moon', 'The Girl I Left Behind', 'Blue-Tail Fly', 'Shenandoah', and more.

Privates To The Front - By Billy Ray Reynolds.

Raise a Ruckus (Volume V) - By The 97th Regimental String Band. Selections include 'Lubly Fan', 'Ring De Banjo', 'Oh Susannah', 'Old Folks at Home', 'Raise a Ruckus', 'Blue-Tail Fly', 'Hard Times, Come Again No More', 'Camptown Races', 'If You've Only Got A Moustache', 'Old Dog Tray', 'Beautiful Dreamer', 'The Glendy Burk', and 'My Old Kentucky Home'. Their style is somewhat uneven; some of the songs have a very strong and authentic feel, while on other songs the 97th Regimental String Band is too 'cute-sy' and seem to be impressed with their own attempts at cleverness and humor. However, when they are good, they are very, very good. When they are bad, they are the Kingston Trio. (cel)

Rebel In The Woods: Civil War Songs From The Western Border (Volume II) - By Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and Bob Dyer.

Rebel Rousers - By Mean Mary & Frank James. Selections include 'Dixie', 'Goober Peas', 'Old Dan Tucker', and more. A duet comprised of a brother and a sister, Mean Mary ably handles the vocals and the two of them have exceptional technical skills with each of the variety of instruments they play. Mean Mary's voice is on the low end of the musical register, and could well be described as throaty and full. (cel)

Roll, Alabama, Roll - By Kent Courtney. Selections include 'Roll, Alabama, Roll', 'Santy Anna', 'Leave Her, Johnny', 'Great Silkie', and others.

Saturday Night At Sea - By The 97th Regimental String Band.

Shades of Blue and Gray - By Dave Mathews. Selections include 'Carry the Colors', 'Atlanta', 'Mule Shoe', 'Road to Gettysburg', and others.

Soldier's Joy - By The 4th Artillery Quadrille Ensemble, this is an instrumental collection.

Something To Remember - By Mean Mary and Frank James. Selections include 'Lorena', 'Ring De Banjo', 'Kingdom Coming', 'Confederate Yankee Doodle', 'Yellow Rose of Texas', and others. Mean Mary's voice is rather striking in that it is not the thin, reedy voice heard on many other female artist's works. Hers is a lower register voice, full and strong, with a pronounced vibrato. From the standpoint of musicianship, both Mary and Frank play a diverse number of instruments with strong technical merit. Given her vocal range and the throaty, full body of her voice, the vocals on this work are far more memorable than those of many other female artists. (cel)

Songs of the Celtic South - Performed by the 12th Louisiana Regimental String Band and Benevolence Society. The focus of this collection is on those songs popular during the period antecedent to and including the War Between the States which had their origins in Celtic songs. The liner notes are necessarily abbreviated, but have much information in their all-too-brief form that helps to explain the history of the songs of our ancestors. The connection between the South and its largely Scots-Irish roots is often neglected, and this recording goes a good way toward bringing our attention to that connection. A former member of the Washington Artillery - 5th Company, Frank Drewry, plays harmonica and sings on this collection. This group gives the strongest flavor of camp music we have heard, reminiscent of the impromptu string bands in the rural South earlier this century. One of its redeeming qualities is that you feel free to sing along with the 12th. Selections include 'Riding a Raid / Bonnie Dundee', 'John Riley', 'Virginia Reel / Cumberland Gap', 'Rosin the Beau', 'Hound Dog Song', 'Green Grows the Laurel', 'Rose of Alabama', 'Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes', 'Old Joe Clark', 'Shady Grove', and 'Auld Lang Syne'. (cel)

Songs of The Civil War - By Cathy Barton, Dave Para, and Bob Dyer.

Songs of the Civil War - On this Columbia recording, a number of artists present some extremely good renderings of period songs. The writers of 'Ashokan Farewell', Jay Ungar and Molly Mason with Fiddle Fever, perform 'Ashokan Farewell' (a non-period song) and 'Marching Through Georgia'; Sweet Honey in the Rock performs 'No More Auction Block For Me' (a powerful song) and 'Run, Mourner, Run'; Ronnie Gilbert performs 'Lincoln & Liberty' and 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'; the United States Military Academy Band performs 'Dixie' and 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home'; Kathy Mattea performs a heart-wrenching version of 'The Southern Soldier Boy', 'Somebody's Darling', and 'The Vacant Chair'; John Hartford performs 'Aura Lee' and 'Lorena'; Waylon Jennings performs 'Rebel Soldier' and 'An Old Unreconstructed'; Richie Havens performs 'Follow the Drinking Gourd' and 'Give Us A Flag'; Judy Collins performs 'Battle Hymn of the Republic'; Kate & Anna McGarrigle sweetly perform 'Was My Brother in the Battle?' 'Better Times Are Coming' (with Rufus Wainwright), and 'Hard Times Come Again No More'; Hoyt Axton performs 'Yellow Rose of Texas' and 'Oh, I'm a Good Old Rebel'; and Staff Sergeant Steve Luck plays 'Taps'. This is an exceptional collection of artists, as well as a great collection of songs. (cel)

Songs of the South, Bagpipes and Banjos - By Carl Peterson. This Scots mix of banjo and bagpipes includes 'Lorena', 'Aura Lea', 'Dixie', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', and others.

Southern Mountain Classics - By Wayne Erbsen. Selections include 'Soldier's Joy', 'John Henry', 'Shady Grove', 'Cluck, Old Hen', and twelve more songs.

Southern Soldier Boy - By Wayne Erbsen. Selections include sixteen Civil War songs such as 'Dixie', 'Goober Peas', and 'The Girl I Left Behind'.

Southern Songs of Love and War - Performed by The 12th Louisiana Regimental String Band and Benevolence Society. Arguably the best and most touching selection of recorded music for this period in a single cassette format, it presents what its title promises. This surpasses the group's first recording, Songs of the Celtic South, both in quality of musicianship and emotional impact. Selections include 'Dixie / Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Come Dearest, the Daylight Is Gone', 'The Gal I Left Behind Me', 'Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms', 'Sally Goodin', All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight', 'Arkansas Traveler', 'Lynchburg Town', 'Shenandoah', 'Battle Cry of Freedom', 'Flow Gently, Sweet Afton', 'John Brown's March', 'Lorena', 'Louisiana Gals', 'Battle of Shiloh Hill', 'Turkey in the Straw', and 'Amazing Grace'. Perhaps even more than with the first tape by the 12th, you feel a freedom to sing along with them that you don't necessarily feel with many other artists; the music makes you feel like participating, not just listening.

Tenting on the Old Campground Tonight (Volume IV) - By The 97th Regimental String Band. Selections include 'Hard Tack', 'Tramp, Tramp, Tramp', 'Shiloh's Hill', 'We Are Coming, Father Abraham', 'Maryland! My Maryland!', 'Weeping Sad and Lonely', and more.

Tenting Tonight - Volume II by The 8th Regimental Band. Instrumental selections include the title song, 'Battle Cry of Freedom', 'Swallows Fly Home', 'Red, White and Blue', 'Maryland, My Maryland', 'Lulu is Gone', 'Home Again', 'The Girl I Left Behind Me', 'Colonel Meeker', 'Easter Gallop', 'Kitty Dear', 'Hail to the Chief', 'Here's Your Mule Gallop', 'Lily Bell', 'Goober Peas', 'Auld Lang Syne', and 'Dixie'.

These United States - By Kent Courtney.

A Treasury of Civil War Songs - By Tom Glazer. These twenty-five selections are the most popular of the Civil War period, and include 'Dixie', 'Year of Jubilo', 'Battle Cry of Freedom', and many more.

Voices of Shiloh - By The 52nd Tennessee Regimental Band. Selections include 'Goober Peas', 'Dixie', 'Drummer Boy of Shiloh', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Yellow Rose of Texas', and many more Southern favorites.

We Are A Band of Brothers - By The 2nd Carolina String Band. The second tape in this series (the first being We're Tenting Tonight) includes favorites such as 'Lorena', 'Rose of Alabama', 'Goober Peas', 'The Bonnie Blue Flag', 'Soldier's Joy', and more.

We're Tenting Tonight - By The 2nd Carolina String Band. Selections include 'Dixie', 'Kingdom Coming', 'Old Dan Tucker', 'Cindy', 'The Southern Soldier', and more.

When This Cruel War is Over (Volume III) - By The 8th Regimental Band. Instrumental selections include the title song, 'The Washington Grays', 'Aura Lee', 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', 'Last Rose of Summer', 'The Slumber Polka', 'God Save the South', 'Lorena', 'The Serenade March', and 'Dixie'.

The Wild Mountain Thyme - By Revels. Selections include 34 English and American folk songs from the 18th and 19th centuries, all performed in the style in which they were first sung.

Wizard Oil - By Bob Flesher and Dr. Horsehair's Old Time Minstrels. Selections include 'Buffalo Gals', 'Dixie', 'Rosin the Beau', 'Ring De Banjo', and many other lively tunes. Bob Flesher is one of the premier banjo players of our day.

 

Video Resources

Andersonville - A Ted Turner movie about the horrors of life in Andersonville, the South's infamous prisoner-of-war camp. One viewing leads you to ask why Ted Turner's station has not yet announced a movie called Elmira to present the Union side of the mistreatment of prisoners. When will Mr. Turner tell us the stories of Southern soldiers in threadbare uniforms who froze to death in Northern prisons?

Although it is commented on more than once in the movie, the point is not effectively made in the film that the reason that prisoners were not exchanged by the Union, nor medicines sold to the Confederates for use in the prisoner-of-war camps, is because Grant would not allow it - in spite of his knowledge of the sufferings of the Union soldiers. Explaining his position to General Butler, Grant told him

'It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks...Every man released on parole becomes an active soldier against us at once. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught, they amount to no more than dead men.'

It is undeniable that atrocities were committed by the Confederates (just as there were atrocities committed by the Federals), and that the Union soldiers were mistreated and starved. The mistreatment of prisoners was and is appalling, but the starvation was not a normative policy in the Confederate camps any more than it was a normative policy to starve their own troops in the field; the Confederacy just did not have the ability to overcome the supply problem. The film makes no attempt to even suggest that the Confederate soldiers starved and were mistreated in Federal prisons, too, something which a screen of text could have done at the end of the movie almost as a disclaimer.

The appalling death rate in the camps was as high as 12 percent in Union camps and 15 percent in Confederate camps. The South, so badly under-supplied and outnumbered by the North, held at least 50,000 more Union prisoners than the Union held of Confederate prisoners. The North could readily replace the men captured by the South, but the reverse was not true. 

It also appears that agreements with the makers of the movies were either misunderstood by the reenactors or broken by the film company, depending on who is telling the story.  Reenactors should understand that they are going to be used as tools, saving the film companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in both pay and expense for outfitting men properly.  Furthermore, this is only entertainment, not the real thing, and no one with the film company is probably looking at such a project with the view in mind that their film will be the more accurate portrayal of events from the War.

They are in the business of making money and in the habit of taking great and generous license. If reenactors want to play with them, they should remember who owns the bat, the ball, and all of the gloves. It's their game. This movie is not about history, it's about making something that will sell. (cel)

The Blue And The Gray -

The Civil War - A seven-part series by Ken Burns originally aired on PBS. The music is strong and emotionally charged, and there are many photographs of the period which are of terrific interest to the reenactor or history buff. However, the series, good as it is, is also horribly flawed. Remember whenever you view films about the War that there is almost always a hidden agenda or a strongly biased viewpoint, and this one is no exception. Depicting Stonewall Jackson as an ayatollah-like homicidal maniac is but one of the many deliberate distortions. Time after time, though, it redeems itself with the power of the music and the photos and the many source documents from which they read the thoughts and words of men and women who knew the force of that War. One device that the film makers employed is that of panning over still photographs, almost giving you the sensation of looking over a scene; a most effective means of putting life into the series and removing it from the realms of interesting slide shows. (cel)

Gettysburg - Starring Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Sam Elliott. Keep telling yourself, 'It's only entertainment...it's only entertainment,' and keep foremost in your thoughts that this is a work of fiction based on fact. In television, they would refer to this as a 'docu-drama,' which means that they have taken a great deal of license in loosely representing a real event. At times, the movie drags along, but the battle scenes may well bring tears to your eyes. This movie was the source of a great deal of controversy within reenacting circles for quite a while, and is truly a movie which could not have been made without the aid of reenactors who volunteered their time and equipment as well as their expertise in executing first person impressions. Lee is poorly represented by Martin Sheen, Chamberlain is given too prominent a role but Daniels' acting is superb; Sam Elliott is there, and that's about all you can say for his role; and Tom Berenger plays an interesting Longstreet. If the movie does nothing else, it should spur you on to read more about the people who fought the battle of Gettysburg so that you may better understand how tilted this version of events and people truly is. (cel)

Gettysburg: In Hell or Glory - By Plan-It Productions.

Gettysburg Reenactment - By Video Post.

Ghosts of Gettysburg - By Greystone Films.

Ghosts of Gettysburg II - By Greystone Films.

Glory - Starring Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington. This romanticized account of the formation and War record of the 54th Massachusetts almost leads you to believe that they were the first Colored troops to see battle. It does overlook the fact that Colored troops were organized and fought against the South at the Siege of Port Hudson, which was the immanent causative factor which led to allowing Colored troops to take active combat roles. However, its historical divergences notwithstanding (such as leading you to believe that they actually made their way into the Confederate fort ultimately at the conclusion of the movie when the actual 54th Massachusetts did not), it is a powerful movie. Pay particular attention to the drills and the uniforms, for those elements of the movie were particularly well done. (cel)

Gone With the Wind - Starring Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, and Butterfly McQueen. Do not rely on this movie for your dress designs if you want your civilian clothing to be accurately styled. As for the military uniforms, remember that this movie is a genuine work of fiction, intended to be highly romantic. However, listen to the background music throughout. Although some of the music tends to be a little schmaltzy, it needs to be heard again and again. Watch the dancing carefully, too, for they did a fine job of presenting the dance steps accurately. When you hear the slaves and servants talk, you will instantly recognize that this movie could not be made today in a society that for the last forty years has not allowed Mark Twain's character 'Nigger Jim' from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to be referred to as anything but 'Old Jim' or 'Jim'. While this is not a movie you would call historically accurate, at least it is not a revisionist history other than the obvious romanticized aspects . (cel)

Ironclads -

Johnny Shiloh - This Disney movie is a sentimental children's movie which lacks much by way of authenticity. However, it is a rather sappy sweet movie aimed at children, and does tell a romantic version of a compelling story, although it goes pretty far afield with its 'artistic license'. Some of the artillery scenes are better than passable, although it is obvious that they use the same two or three pieces of artillery footage repeatedly.

Journey to Shiloh - Starring James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, Harrison Ford, Jan Michael-Vincent, Noah Beery, and Don Stroud.  This is a rather distinctly '70s movie, with a trace element of truth under a boatload of manure.  It is impossible to discuss accuracy with regard to this movie, for it is so seldom close to the truth at any level that it is wearisome to try to dredge up an example.  Its most redeeming feature may lie in seeing James Caan wear a broomstraw-stiff long hair wig throughout the movie.  One could wish that the concussion of an artillery shell that landed within three feet of James Caan would have killed him as it should have, rather than just stunning him for a few hours as the movie portrayed.  The movie is an embarrassment to accuracy and even their own political agenda. (cel)

Murfreesboro Reenactment - By Video Post.

North and South - Starring Patrick Swayze, David Carradine, and Kirstie Alley.  This movie has beautiful scenes of Carradine's movie home which is actually Greenwood Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.  North and South points up why you should not rely upon movies to provide you with an understanding of the War Between the States or social mores and customs, any more than you should learn your politics from bumper stickers or learn all about sex from bathroom stall walls.  The slave quarters, incidentally, were erected at Greenwood Plantation for this movie and remained there until about 1992, when they were finally taken down before they could fall down. (cel)

Wilson Creek Reenactment - By Video Post.

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