The literature of American history : a bibliographical guide, in which the scope, character, and comparative worth of books in selected lists are set forth in brief notes by critics of authority online

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ciates the real meaning of his work and tells in a sim-
ple but graphic way the wonderful story of his life.

A. C. McL.

This essay appeared first in the Atlantic monthly,
67: 721.

TARBELL, IDA M. Life of Abraham Lin-
coln; drawn from original sources and con-
taining many speeches, letters, and telegrams
hitherto unpublished. N. Y.: Doubleday &
McClure ; McClure, Phillips. 1900. 2v. 5.


One of the best of the anecdotal lives of Lincoln . It
is based on original search for new material pertain-
ing to the early life of the President, made for Mc-
Clure's magazine, with great labor and much coopera-
tive assistance. A second series included similar work
on the presidential career of Lincoln. Finally the
whole was enlarged to a complete life by compilations
from published sources. The work is well done in its
kind, is free from sensationalism, is sympathetic with
the noble elements of the character. Its fault is that
of the class, overlaying the important elements with
a mass of trivial details which tend to belittlmg the
subject, and which have no claim to preservation.

J. D. C.

WELLES, GIDEON. Lincoln and Seward.

N. Y. : Sheldon. 1874. [2259

Vigorously written by President Lincoln's Secretary
of the Navy, this volume is authentic, historical, and
successful in refuting the aspersion of Hon. Charles
Francis Adams that Seward was the real President.

Lincoln, Mrs. Nancy (Hanks). HITCH-
COCK, Mrs. CAROLINE (HANKS). Nancy Hanks:
the story of Abraham Lincoln's mother. N. Y. :
Doubleday & McClure; Doubleday, Page.
1899. Net 50c. [2260




An attempt to correct the "injustice" done by
various biographers of Lincoln. The little book con-
tains facsimiles of a will and a marriage bond to
prove the legitimacy of Nancy Hanks and her claims
to a better descent than that sometimes ascribed.

E. E. S.

Livermore, Mrs. Mary Ashton. My story
of the war. Hartford : Worthington. 1888.


Commencing with the first gun at Sumter, Mrs.
Livermore "outlines the progress of events to the
assassination of Lincoln, dwelling upon the work of
the Sanitary Commission as it came under her notice
during a close acquaintanceship with the horrors of
war. Seldom does one meet with so rich an experi-
ence of human nature. The reader must be made of
stern or indifferent stuff who can peruse this book
without having his heart deeply stirred. If an Ameri-
can heart, it must throb with pride at this fresh reve-
lation of heroism the heroism of the forlorn hope in
the face of lingering disease and horrible mutilation.
A marked feature of the work of the Sanitary Com-
mission, in the light of Mrs. Livermore's story, was
the wonderful executive ability of many of its gentle
representatives in the field. Duties pertaining to
half-a-dozen of the great administrative departments
of the army were performed with a mingled intelli-
gence, tact, and force that was simply irresistible.
Before this new power, red-tape, custom of service,
bad roads, want of transportation, as obstacles to
prompt succor of the sick and wounded, were promptly
brushed aside. . . . The practical workings of the sys-
tem of voluntary aid in war-time are thoroughly illus-
trated by a series of anecdotes." Nation, 48: 471.

Logan, Maj.-Oen. John Alexander. The
great conspiracy. N. Y. : Hart. 1886. [2262

In eight preliminary chapters the author sketches
the growth of the contest between the Union and the
States, and in seventeen chapters the history of the
War of the Rebellion. The author keeps himself en-
tirely in the background and mingles the civic with
the military conduct of the war. The book is too par-
tisan and bitter against the Confederates to rank as
history. The matter is derived from Congressional
speeches and reports, but with few references. The
appendix contains a summary of the Lincoln-Douglas
debates, and the report of Judge-Advocate Holt on
conspiracies against the government during the war.

E. E. S.

Longstreet, Lt.-Oen. James. From Ma-
nassas to Appomattox. Phil. : Lippincott.
1896. Net $4, subs. [2263

"While . . . General Longstreet's memoirs cover
the whole period of his military career, we find, as we
might expect, that his vindication from aspersion be-
comes the most stimulating part of his book. . . . As the
criticisms upon Longstreet impugn the value of his ser-
vices to his chief, it was natural that he should give the
evidence of Lee's confidence in him as a soldier and his
trust in him as a faithful comrade and friend. The
frank and free correspondence between them seems to
establish this beyond reasonable controversy. . . . The
memoir is a work without which the literature of the

war would be incomplete. The personal views of so
prominent a character are part of the evidence which
cannot be spared. The revelations of his own charac-
ter are a great help in judging of every event in which
h'e had a part. His methods of action and of thought,
his canons of military judgment, his influence upon
officers and men, are all worthy of careful study. . . .
Blunt, careless, sometimes even egotistic," the author
" ' says his say ' with a kind of defiant earnestness
which commands attention and rouses sympathy. The
references in footnotes to the Official records are made
under the name of ' Rebellion record,' which is some-
what misleading. . . . The author's intention is to
refer to the Official records of the Union and Confed-
erate armies published by the Government." J. D.
Cox, in Nation, 62: 146.

Lossing, Benson John. Pictorial history
of the Civil War. Phil.: Childs. Hartford:
Belknap. 1866-9. 3v. [Some eds. called
"Pictorial field-book."]

Same. 3v. Phil.: McKay. $7.50. [2264

Of the first volume the Nation said that it " possesses
substantial claims to remembrance in the lively pic-
tures it presents, both with pen and pencil, of the
actors in our great drama of Civil War, and particu-
larly of those who were instrumental in raising the
standard of rebellion. Mr. Lossing has for the most
part permitted the latter to tell their own story,
drawing liberally for that purpose upon newspapers,
speeches, letters, and every available source of authen-
tic information. ... In no history of the war which
has yet appeared do we remember to have seen the in-
fatuation under which the southern people rushed
into rebellion more clearly or copiously set forth than
in his pages. This constitutes the chief merit of the
work, which will compare favorably with the author's
well-known Field-book of the Revolution. . . . Writ-
ten in a popular style, and in the main complete
and accurate, it reflects too fully the earnest Union
feeling of the author to be classed among the works
which will hereafter be universally referred to for
information concerning the war. Mr. Lossing is a
good hater, and scruples not to call things by their
right names. . . . The pictorial illustrations are nu-
merous and of unequal merit." Of the second volume
the Nation said : " To the labor of compilation neces-
sary in the preparation of this as of the first volume
the author has added that of visiting in person the
battle-fields of the South, and the result is a record
for more than this his history does not pretend to be
that will take a very high, if not the first, rank
among similar chronicles of the rebellion. All things
considered, we incline to give the preference to Har-
per's pictorial history, although in point of fulness, so
far as we have compared the two, Lossing's seems to
be superior." Nation, 2 : 789 and 7: 55.

Lyon, Brig. -Gen. Nathaniel. PECKHAM.
Lt.-Col. JAMES. General Nathaniel Lyon and
Missouri in 1861. N. Y. : Am. News Co. 1866.


A contribution to the history of the effectual efforts
of the Union supporters of St. Louis to prevent the
secession of Missouri, with details of the important
part to that end performed by Capt., afterwards Gen.




Lyon. The book contains valuable material, mostly
of current public and newspaper opinion, but with
official documents of the first few months of the war,
and has the strong convictions of Union partisanship.

G. A. T.

WOODWARD, ASHBEL. Life of General
Nathaniel Lyon. Hartford. 1862. [2266

The leading incidents of the public services of a
capable and brave officer of the regular army, who
was killed in the first year of the "War for the Union,
at the head of a hastily organized army of volunteers.
The story is told by a friend resident in the state of
Lyon's birth, Connecticut, and covers the officer's
career in Indian and the Mexican wars, as well as in
his preparations at St. Louis for resisting movements
for the secession of Missouri. Straightforward and
simple in style, and trustworthy as to its statements
of fact. G. A. T.

McCarthy, Carlton. Detailed minutiae of
soldier life in the Army of Northern Virginia,
1861-5. Richmond: McCarthy. 1882. [2267

A very lively series of sketches of life in the ranks
of the Confederate army in Virginia. The characters
and scenes selected are the amusing and humorous,
mostly; but they have the ring of true experience,
from the enthusiastic enlistment, through the disillu-
sion of hard campaigning, to the despair and surren-
der at Appomattox. Without pretending to be his-
torical narration, the book is so full of the spirit of
the camp and the battle-field, that it may be trusted
as a presentation of the personal side of the southern
soldier's life in the field, done with no little literary
skill. J. D. C.

McClellan, Carswell. The Personal me-
moirs and Military history of U. 8. Grant, ver-
sus the Record of the Army of the Potomac.
Boston: Houghton. 1887. $1.75. [2268

" Colonel McClellan 's book purports to compare the
statements of both Grant and Badeau with the Record
of the Army of the Potomac , but at the outset of his
task he declares his purpose ' to use, with very little
other reference, the work of General Humphreys [ Vir-
ginia campaign of 1864 and 1865, sect. 2215], as em-
bodying substantially the established record, as far as
it shall be necessary to examine it.' Indeed, through-
out the book, when the Record is referred to, it will
be found that a textual quotation from Humphreys
is made, whether the usual marks of quotation are
inserted or not. What is in fact given is therefore a
series of quotations from Grant and Badeau, compared
with others from Humphreys, connected by a running
comment, in which the proof of error in the first two
books is supposed to be complete when their disagree-
ment with the last is exhibited." J. D. Cox, in Nation,
47: 276.

McClellan, Maj.-Gen. George Brinton.
McClellau's own story. N. Y. : Webster. 1887.


This is in substance a revised edition of the Report
on the Army of the Potomac [see next title], " with
considerable additions, a few omissions. . . . The
change in the present edition which is most noticeable

is the attribution to the administration of Mr. Lincoln,
and to the leaders of the Union party (as it was then
called), of a conscious purpose to sacrifice the Army
of the Potomac in order to diminish the personal and
political importance of the general hi command. This
he speaks of as a ' treasonable conspiracy,' and says
that it was to be carried out, ' first, by endeavoring to
force me into premature movements, knowing that a
failure would probably end my military career ; after-
wards, by withholding the means necessary to achieve
success." Gen. McClellan ignores the facts that have
been made known in regard to his own and the Con-
federate forces, and he brings nothing new in his own
defence against the judgment of competent military
critics. " Perhaps the most painful thing in this vol-
ume, to those who once made Gen. McClellan their
idol, is to see the revelation of blinding self-esteem
which it exhibits. The country is ruled by rogues and
incapables. . . . He has no word of recognition for
the military achievements of Grant or Sherman or
Sheridan. Yet the army was devoted to him. . . . For
twenty years friend and foe have alike challenged the
first commander of that army to justify his assertion
that his enemy was multifold his superior in force.
He has answered, and his answer is the silence on this
point which is confession." J. D. Cox, in Nation, 44:
57, 79.

Report on the organization of the Army

of the Potomac, and of its campaigns in Vir-
ginia and Maryland under the command of
Major->General George B. McClellan, from July
26, 1861, to November 7, 1862. Wash.: Govt.
Printing Office. 1864.

Same : Complete report ; with last revi-
sion. N. Y. : Sheldon. 1864. [2270

" The volume before us ... has much more the air
of being addressed to a jury than to the War Depart-
ment at Washington. It is, in short, a letter to the
people of the United States, under cover to the Secre-
tary of War. ... He has omitted many documents
essential to the formation of a just opinion ; and it is
only when we have read these also, in the Report of
the Committee on the Conduct of the War, that we
feel the full weight of the cumulative evidence going
to show the hearty support in men and confidence that
he received from the administration, and, when there
were no more men to be sent, and confidence began
to yield before irresistible facts, the prolonged for-
bearance with which he was still favored. ... He was
an accomplished soldier, but lacked that downright
common sense which is only another name for genius
with its coat off for actual work in hand. . . . The Re-
port is a political manifesto, and not only that, but
an attack on the administration which appointed him
to the command, supported him with all its resources,
and whose only fault it was not sooner to discover his
incapacity to conduct aggressive movements." James
Russell Lowell, in his Political essays.

SWINTON, WILLIAM. McClellan's mili-
tary career reviewed and exposed : the military
policy of the administration set forth and vin-
dicated. Wash. 1864. [2271

Mr. Swinton was War correspondent of the N. Y.




Times, and this work in ten chapters is a revision
of articles published in February, March and April,
1864. It was used as a campaign document for the
Union Congressional Committee in the reelection of
Mr. Lincoln. It is an able and very damaging review
of McClellan's military career, and a defence of the
administration in its relations to him. Its permanent
significance, besides, is its curious contrast to the
treatment of the same subject in his Campaigns of
the Army of the Potomac (1866 and 1882) [sect. 2342].
Substantially contradictory conclusions are supported
in the two works. Their comparison makes an in-
structive study on the relation of conscience to his-
torical writing. Grant and Burnside both charged
Mr. Swinton with dishonorable conduct as a news-
paper correspondent with the army. (Personal me-
moirs of Grant, 2 : 145.) J. D. C.
See, also, sect. 2365.

McPherson, Edward. Political history of
the United States during the great Rebellion.
Wash. : Philip and Solomons. 1864. [2272
An ill-arranged but invaluable compilation of ma-
terial illustrative of the history of the United States
during the Civil War. In it will be found summary
accounts of the progress of .secession in the several
rebellious states ; the proceedings of Congress, with
the votes of each House, on all important questions
relating to the Rebellion ; messages, proclamations,
addresses, and other papers of Buchanan and Lin-
coln ; some important diplomatic correspondence ;
letters and papers from members of the cabinet, opin-
ions of the Attorney-General, and decisions of the
courts ; many orders of commanding generals ; legis-
lation of the Confederate States, etc. There is a fair
index. The compiler was for a number of years clerk
of the House of Representatives, and does not con-
ceal his strong Union sympathies; but his presenta-
tion of facts is unbiased. W. MacD.

Mahan, Capt. Alfred Thayer. The Gulf
and inland waters. (The navy in the Civil
War, B.) N. Y. : Scribner. 1883. $1. [2273
The Nation, in a long review, speaks of " the ful-
ness and accuracy that characterize the book." Na-
tion, 37 : 232.

Mahan, Asa. Critical history of the late
American war. N. Y. : Barnes. 1877. [2274
The author was an American clergyman of distinc-
tion, an early President of Oberlin College, later con-
nected with the Wesleyan Methodists of England and
editor of their organ in London. He was author of
books on psychology and ethics. His history of the
Civil War is a sketch for general readers, with criti-
cisms of campaigns, often acute, but also often with-
out access to the full information necessary for clear
judgment. He claimed to have anticipated Sherman's
plan of the " March to the sea," as other civilian
writers have done, but it was without accurate com-
prehension of the problem before that general and
the essential character of his solution of it. The in-
terest in the book is for study of current contempo-
raneous criticism of our great struggle by various
classes of active minds. J. D. C.

Marshall, John A. American Bastile ; a

history of the illegal arrests and imprisonment
of American citizens during the late Civil War.
Phil. : Hartley. 1869. [New ed.] 1883.


A subscription book, " written by order of a Con-
vention of the prisoners of state," and one which had
a large sale. Its purpose is manifest from the title.
The experiences of one hundred prisoners are told,
each separately, and descriptions given of the leading
places of detention. The most prominent of Secre-
tary Stanton's orders for the arrest of disaffected per-
sons are given in the appendix. E. E. S.

Massachusetts, Military Historical Soci-
ety of. Papers, v. 1 : Peninsular campaign of
General McClellan in 1862. Boston. 1881.

Same [New ed.] : Campaigns in Vir-
ginia, 1861-1862. Boston: Houghton. 1895.
$2. [2276

Of the first volume the Nation says : " The nature
of this book is to some extent peculiar. It consists of
papers of unequal length and unequal merit, prepared
either by committees or by single members of the So-
ciety, and read before it at various times between 1876
and 1880. Taken together, they make up a somewhat
fragmentary history or criticism of the entire cam-
paign to which they refer. The first paper, which is
by far the most valuable of the series, was prepared
by a committee consisting of Mr. John C. Ropes, Gen.
F. W. Palfrey, and Capt. W. E. Perkins. It discusses
the general subject of McClellan's plans : What were
his plans ? what were their advantages and defects ?
what authority had he to execute them? and how
much was he interfered with in their execution?
These are fundamental questions which have been
much debated and written upon, but we do not re-
member to have ever seen in print so concise, so
closely reasoned, carefully worded, and thoroughly
conclusive a statement of the subject as is given in
the twenty-five pages here devoted to it. ... The sec-
ond paper treats of the siege of Yorktown, and is
written by Gen. John C. Palfrey, who was an officer of
engineers. It criticises the unnecessary slowness of
McClellan's movements, but does not add much to our
previous knowledge of the subject. . . . The third,
fourth, and fifth papers treat of the battles of the
campaign from Williamsburg to Malvern Hill; they
are written by Gen. F. W. Palfrey, or by committees
of which he was chairman. They are analytical rather
than descriptive, and to a very large extent are taken
up with quotations from official reports in the vain
attempt to reconcile hopelessly conflicting state-
ments." Nation, 33 : 200.

Papers, v. 2. The Virginia campaign

of General Pope in 1862. Boston: Houghton.
1886. $2. [2277

Of the second volume, the same journal remarks :
"The ability, the research, the calm historical tone
which characterize these papers, are most admirable.
They treat briefly and clearly the Union side of the
campaign, and the controversies which grew out'of it
in regard to the conduct of Porter, McClellan and
Halleck. . . . Two of the best papers in the volume
are those of Gen. Walcott on Chantilly, . . . and they




constitute perhaps the most important contributions
to the volume." The maps are excellent. Nation,
43: 422.

Papers, v. 10: Critical sketches of some

of the Federal and Confederate commanders;
ed. by Theodore F. Dwight. Boston : Hough-
ton. 1896. $2. [2278

The Nation says that all the papers " are worthy to
be thus collected in a permanent volume. Great free-
dom is allowed the writers, who strongly but candidly
make their estimates, each from his own standpoint,
sometimes with strong contrasts of view and of con-
clusion." Nation, 61 : 63.

Matthews, Franklin. Our navy in time
of war, 1861-98. (Appleton's home reading-
books, division 3, history.) N. Y. : Appleton.
1899. 75c. [2279

A book for young people. "Well adapted to its pur-
pose. Concise and interesting. Devoted mainly to
the combats of the Civil War. E. C.

Maury, Brig. -Gen. Dabney Herndon. Re-
collections of a Virginian in the Mexican, In-
dian and Civil Wars. K Y. : Scribner. 1894.
$1.50. [2280

"General Maury's Recollections are even broader
than his title-page indicates, for some of his pleasant-
est chapters, showing a natural gift for narrative, are
those which tell of his boyhood and his education at
West Point. The sketches of old Virginia plantation
homes in the vicinity of Fredericksburg are admira-
bly done, and make a valuable addition to our mate-
rial for the social history of the South in ante-bellum
times. He has drawn with delicate touch and genial
spirit pen-portraits of comrades in the cadet corps
who became historical characters afterwards. . . . The
book is a pleasing one if we look at it simply as a nar-
rative of the author's varied and adventurous experi-
ence ; but it has a much higher and more permanent
value in helping us to a personal acquaintance with a
considerable group of men who made reputations on
either side in the great Civil War. To know them first
as boys at school, and to see them develop into brave
soldiers, daring Indian fighters, adventurous hunters
of ' big game,' and finally into commanders of armies,
is to give history a real life and power which the
pages of the more systematic historian must lack."
J. D. Cox, in Nation, 58: 415.

Meade, Maj.-Gen. George Gordon. BACHE,
RICHARD MEADE. Life of General George Gor-
don Meade. Phil. : Coates. 1897. $3. [2281

" The intimate history of Meade is limited to a dozen
pages at the beginning and a score at the end of the
volume. We cannot even say that the comments on
the several campaigns represent Meade's views ; for
he is rarely quoted, and the author informs us in the
preface that he does not remember ' ever having asked
him a question about the war, or his ever having
volunteered to speak of it, or having spoken of it to
me.' . . . We find the standpoint of the writer to be
that of a group of the younger officers who surrounded
Gen. Meade, who, starting with the intensest preju-

dices against the men who succeeded McClellan, trans-
ferred the dislike with equal hostility to Grant and
Sheridan, when Meade was superseded." Am. hist.
rev., 3 : 573.

Memminger, Christopher G. CAPERS,
HENRY D. Life and times of C. G. Memmin-
ger. Richmond, Va. : E. Waddey Co. 1893.


Memminger was a resident of South Carolina, op-
posed to Calhoun's nullification movement, for many
years in the state legislature, secession commissioner
to Wrginia in 1860, and three years secretary of the
Confederate treasury. There are interesting details
of the Confederate cabinet and local reconstruction.
The author was chief clerk in the Confederate trea-
sury, and in the appendix has given many valuable
documents and accounts connected with the finances
of the Confederacy. E. E. S.

Mitchel, Maj.-Gen. Ormsby MacKnight.
MacKnight Mitchel, astronomer and general ;
by his son. Boston : Houghton. 1887. $2.


" Ormsby Mitchel's life- ... is an attractive story
from his infancy onward. . . . He graduated [from
West Point] in the class of 1829 with Robert E. Lee
and Joseph E. Johnston, with good standing, and
was retained at the Academy for two years as Assist-
ant Professor of Mathematics. ... In 1836 he was made
Professor of Mathematics and Civil Engineering in
the Cincinnati College, then newly organized. . . .

Online LibraryUnknownThe literature of American history : a bibliographical guide, in which the scope, character, and comparative worth of books in selected lists are set forth in brief notes by critics of authority → online text (page 57 of 145)