Work Title: Civil War Titles
Work Author(s): Alex Moore
Byline: Alex Moore
One of the Goat Awards for the "worst performance by a general in a single battle" is bestowed upon Ambrose E. Burnside by historian H. Donald Winkler for defeat at Fredericksburg. Burnside ordered the taking of Marye's Heights, but it resulted in "ghastly carnage": "We marched up against a shower of shot and shell," said a Union soldier, "and what a horrible sight it was to see men mowed down by the dozens." Burnside fielded 106,000 troops compared to Robert E. Lee's 75,000, but suffered the loss of 12,000 men compared to half that of the Confederates.
Books march into this office daily, but lately Civil War books have been leading the charge. More than 2.5 million men fought during the Civil War; 620,000 died from wounds and disease. Another 500,000 survived, but with scars and amputations. There have been thousands of books written on the subject. Those with interesting titles and topics are the ones that beckon. Civil War Goats and Scapeboats (Cumberland House, 978-1-58182-631-9) is an interesting presentation with its arrangement of significant battles and the generals who received the blame for losing them. Author Winkler nominates ten goats, including Lee for ordering Pickett's Charge.
In More Than a Contest Between Armies (Kent State University Press, 978-0-87338-912-9), James Martin and A. Kristen Foster, both history professors at Marquette University, present twelve essays by different scholars concerning the less explored aspects of the era. Topics include the War Department's manipulation of printing casualty lists at the battle of Fredericksburg and the postwar debate on the punishment of treason. Former Harvard professor Catherine Clinton investigates the seedier side of the War in her essay "'Public Women' and the Confederacy." She discusses white Southern women selling more than their souls "to survive the...