Friday, December 30, 2011

Wilson: "SOLDIERS OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS: The Confederate Soldiers of Tallapoosa County, Alabama"

[Soldiers of the Southern Cross: The Confederate Soldiers of Tallapoosa County, Alabama by William Gregory Wilson (Author, 2011 2nd ed.). Softcover, maps, photos, notes, appendices, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:165/318. ISBN:978-1-4507-4962-6 $35]

Although Rousseau's Raid went through it in 1864, Tallapoosa County, Alabama did not host any major Civil War battles. In terms of military history, it is far better known as the site of the March 27, 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend. However, the county did contribute greatly to the manpower needs of many Confederate units, and that part of the story is the subject of William G. Wilson's highly informative Soldiers of the Southern Cross. First published in 2002, this new 2011 edition incorporates editorial changes and corrections, as well as new research.

The main text of Soldiers is comprised of 160 pages describing the military contributions of Tallapoosa County men, organized around the companies and regiments that these Alabamians fought for in the eastern and western theaters. A bit of county history background is also provided.  This section is structured more like a reference work than narrative history, a good decision in terms of enhancing the book's utility as a resource for others to use. Unit coverage ranges from a few paragraphs to several dozen pages.  Unlike many other books of this type, the author does not forget artillery and home guard units. Full transcriptions of official reports, letters, and newspaper articles appear in large numbers throughout the text, offering soldier perspectives in their own unedited words.

The bibliography is impressive, listing a large number of archival collections, as well as a suitable range of published primary and secondary source materials.  The text is documented, and it was nice to see the author use footnotes instead of endnotes. Forty-three appendices provide company roster data, mostly in the form of rank, wound, and parole information gleaned from CSRs. I can't speak to the scale of the revisions and additions between the first and second editions, but all Alabama research and genealogy libraries would benefit from adding Soldiers of the Southern Cross to their collections.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Andrew! I just wanted to add copies are available from me [the author] at http://hillabee.net/bookwebpage.htm
    and also on Amazon.com. My email address is gwilson38801@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete

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