Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Book News

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on September 19, 2011

Congratulations to Jimmy Price, who blogs about USCTs at The Sable Arm, on the publication of his new book, The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs by the Sword. It’s a great volume on an action that deserves to be much better known. Everyone knows the story of the 54th Massachusetts, thanks to the 1989 film Glory, but arguably it was at New Market Heights where African American troops proved their courage on a large scale.

In other news, S. Thomas Summers‘ volume of Civil War poetry (some of which has been featured here and here) has been picked for publication by Anaphora Literary Press later this year, or early next. From the press release:

In Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War, poem by poem, Private McGraw, each poem’s speaker, shares with us his journey through the landscapes of the American Civil War. McGraw, a Confederate soldier and racist, steps into the War in order to assure that slavery will exist long enough for him to purchase a slave with hopes that purchase will impress his love, Martha. As McGraw treks through blood and mire, experiencing both triumph and tragedy, he begins to transform into a man of peace and compassion – a man who no longer sees men in shades of black or white.

One of Summers’ poems, “Shards of Night,” deals specifically with Private McGraw’s first encounter with black troops.

Congrats to both these gentlemen on their accomplishment!


9 Responses

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  1. Jimmy Price said, on September 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Thanks Andy! I’m so glad you enjoyed my book!



    • Andy Hall said, on September 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Just arrived today, so haven’t gotten far. But some of the pictures are remarkable. I never saw that one of Milton Holland before.

  2. corkingiron said, on September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Shards of Night. What an amazing poem!

    • Andy Hall said, on September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am

      I’m pretty much a Philistine when it comes to poetry, but I like Summers’ stuff.

  3. corkingiron said, on September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

    “I swear them niggers be men.
    By God, they be men.”

    When one considers the poet’s journey to this conclusion it’s even harder to take issue with TNC’s view that the ACW was many things, but “tragic” was not one of them.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 20, 2011 at 11:34 am

      There’s tragic on the personal level, and tragic on multiple, larger levels — community, nation, world — and what counts as an unrelieved tragedy on one level may not be as part of another. Something as big and complex as the American Civil War should not be reduced down to the something as simplistic as whether Sherman’s men burned your great-great-granddaddy’s barn, or whether or not Lincoln personally harbored ugly stereotypes about African Americans. Nor, frankly, is that conflict as simple as the suffering of Federal prisoners at Andersonville, or the triumph of Sgt. Maj. Fleetwood. It’s all there in the mix.

      The other part of the discussion is that (as Coates would express more eloquently than I can) is that one has to balance 600,000 dead, and untold hundreds of thousands more maimed and traumatized, against slow suffering imposed on millions, over two-and-a-half centuries, of an institution that was eliminated by the war. The armed conflict of 1861-65 is not one that exists in a vacuum; it’s only the most intense, violent and organized part of a larger social, political, economic struggle that has gone on (and continues to go on) throughout our history.

  4. S. Thomas SummersS. Thomas Summers said, on January 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for posting the news of my book to be, Andy. Private McGraw should be on book shelves in a few weeks.

    Best wishes.

  5. S. Thomas Summers said, on January 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Sure thing.

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