“I cannot forget that half-mile square of woodland, lighted brightly by the sun, and littered by the forms of about a thousand dead and wounded men, and by horses, and military equipment. It formed a picture that may always be reproduced with almost absolute fidelity. For it was the first Field of Glory I had seen in my May of life, and the first time that Glory sickened me with its repulsive aspect, and made me suspect it was all a glittering lie.” —Henry Morton Stanley
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the nineteenth-century journalist and explorer now legendary for the comment “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” was already on the road to high adventure in his “May of life.” In 1859 at age eighteen, he arrived at the port of New Orleans, having left behind a harsh upbringing in Wales; he then traveled the Mississippi Valley as the protégé of Henry Hope Stanley, a cotton broker and his adopted namesake, and later served in both the Confederate and Union armies and in the Union navy during the American Civil War.
Stanley recounts some of the details of his childhood torments to contrast them with the freedom he finds in America and his sonlike relationship to Henry Hope Stanley. He eventually moves to the Arkansas frontier, and from there is swept up by the excitement of the war, enlisting with the “Dixie Grays,” 6th Arkansas Infantry. He recalls gripping accounts of the battles of Belmont and Shiloh, his capture by the Union army, the deplorable prison conditions at Camp Douglas, and his ultimate defection to the northern side. His autobiography abruptly breaks off in August 1862, but through notes, an introduction, and an epilogue, Civil War historian Nathaniel Hughes achieves a rounded picture of this phase in Stanley's life, relating it to his career as a whole.
A colorful slice of original Civil War history written by the nineteenth century’s most renowned war correspondent, Sir Henry Morton Stanley, Confederate brings this powerful combination to the attention of many who previously may have overlooked one or the other.
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