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Campbell Brown's Civil War

With Ewell in the Army of Northern Virginia

414 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 6 halftones, 4 maps

Civil War

  Paperback / 9780807130193 / October 2004

The Civil War writings of G. Campbell Brown—cousin, stepson, and staff officer of famed Confederate General Richard S. Ewell—provide a comprehensive account of the major campaigns in the north Virginia theater. Terry L. Jones has performed an invaluable service by gathering these widely scattered but oft-cited primary sources into a deftly edited volume.

Brown’s memoir details his service under Ewell during the campaigns of First Manassas, the Shenandoah Valley, the Seven Days, Second Manassas, and Gettysburg, and under Joseph E. Johnston at Vicksburg. His correspondence and memoranda form a suspenseful recounting of the Overland Campaign, the siege of Richmond, and a harrowing retreat that ended with the capture of Brown and Ewell at Sayler’s Creek just three days before Robert E. Lee’s surrender. Their subsequent three-month captivity in Fort Warren, Massachusetts, is documented in Brown’s letters.

Leaders such as Ewell, Johnston, Lee (whose daughter Brown tried to marry), “Stonewall” Jackson, and Jubal A. Early come to life in rich anecdotes and occasional critiques of their wartime actions. A southern aristocrat from Tennessee, Brown exhibits a grasp of the nuances of military protocol that is as compelling as his descriptions of battlefield horrors.

Brown’s eagerness to report all he sees—from the quotidian to the bloodcurdling—makes his writings among the finest to come out of the Civil War. Scholars will want copies of this volume at close hand for ready reference, and buffs will treasure the play of a nimble mind over a dire and fascinating time. 

Terry L. Jones is professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the author of Lee's Tigers: The Louisiana Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia, and the editor of The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tiger.

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