Monday, December 10, 2007

Briefly - "To Take Charleston: The Civil War on Folly Island"

Pictorial Histories has been publishing noteworthy heavily illustrated books since the late seventies, but their output, at least that segment dealing with the Civil War, appears to have ceased. Over the past few years (as long as I've known of its existence) the website catalog of Civil War books hasn't included any new additions -- in fact, the site doesn't appear to have been updated since 2004.

However, there are some interesting out-of-print volumes to discover or rediscover. I recently picked up James W. Hagy's To Take Charleston: The Civil War on Folly Island [Pictorial Histories, rep. 1997]. It's an oversize 8 1/2 x 11 paperback* that is chock full of maps, illustrations, tables, and photographs in addition to the text narrative.

The book follows the initial Union occupation of Folly Island on through its use as a fortified jumping off point for the assault on Morris Island. The author also includes a long chapter detailing the rigors of camp life on the island. Some information about the Federal units serving there is also included. To Take Charleston is a documented and worthwhile volume to add to the collection of readers interested in the lengthy, difficult coastal operations around Charleston. As of this writing, the few copies I've seen on the secondary market can be obtained inexpensively.

* = The first edition is staple bound with wraps (1993) and the reprint is a better quality adhesive bound paperback (1997). I've read both at different times, and while the page numbers vary (87 vs. 91), the content appears unchanged if memory serves me correctly. Whether the length difference is indeed due to additional content or simply format changes, I cannot say as I don't have current access to the 1st edition.

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