Review

This nice review of Vol. I & II was just sent to me. Thought I’d share it.

The Mary­land Cam­paign of Sep­tem­ber 1862 Vol­ume I: South Mountain

Ezra A. Car­man, Edited and Anno­tated by Thomas G. Clemens

2010, Savas Beatie, 576 pp., $37.50

ISBN: 978–1-932714–81-4

Image Cour­tesy of Barnes and Noble

Much has been writ­ten about the Mary­land Cam­paign sur­round­ing the Bat­tle of Anti­etam, but there have always been the clas­sics. As it is with clas­sics, espe­cially clas­sics which were writ­ten right after the war, they run out of print and are quite dif­fi­cult to get your hands on. For the longest time, I had heard of the great nar­ra­tive which Ezra Car­man had writ­ten on the entirety of the Mary­land Cam­paign but was never able to get it. That was, until Thomas G. Clemens and Savas Beatie released the work in an anno­tated fashion.

Ezra Ayres Car­man was born in Oak Tree, New Jer­sey and attended the West­ern Mil­i­tary Acad­emy in Ken­tucky. Dur­ing the Civil War, he fought with New Jer­sey units and faced some of the fiercest fight­ing through­out the war includ­ing the Bat­tle of Anti­etam. After the war, he was appointed to the Anti­etam National Ceme­tery Board of Trustees and the Bat­tle­field Board. Thomas G. Clemens has spent years study­ing the Mary­land Cam­paign and gained his doc­tor­ate at George Mason Uni­ver­sity. He has writ­ten a myr­iad of mag­a­zine arti­cles and has appeared in doc­u­men­taries along with being a licensed tour guide at Anti­etam National Bat­tle­field. Also, he is an instruc­tor at Hager­stown Com­mu­nity Col­lege and also founded the Save His­toric Anti­etam Foundation.

I should make one thing clear about this work. It is not a reprint. So many times when clas­sics are reprinted, that it all they do, but this one is not one of those works. Clemens anno­tates the whole doc­u­ment with mod­ern sourc­ing and exten­sive foot­notes. Pub­lished in two vol­umes, the first deals with the Bat­tle of South Moun­tain and some of the pre­lim­i­nary details of the cam­paign while the sec­ond deals with the Bat­tle of Anti­etam. The anno­ta­tions through­out not only give us an up to date look into the Mary­land Cam­paign with mod­ern sources, but a look into the mind of Car­man as he was writ­ing the work. Clemens tells us who Car­man was more likely to paint in a greater light because of his expe­ri­ences in the war and the pol­i­tick­ing going on between Lin­coln and McClel­lan through­out. While Car­man states that this was not just a bat­tle against armies, but a bat­tle between the high com­mand in Wash­ing­ton, Clemens adds that to tell us that not all was easy for the com­man­ders. One of the aspects of the cam­paign which is largely ignored is the action taken at Harper’s Ferry before the Bat­tle of Anti­etam and here, Car­man places it in his nar­ra­tive. The details of the cap­ture of Union sol­diers at the gar­ri­son is greatly impor­tant to the study of the cam­paign and here, it is given explicit detail through both the nar­ra­tive of Car­man and the anno­ta­tion of Clemens.

The Mary­land Cam­paign of Sep­tem­ber 1862 Vol­ume I: South Moun­tain is a great addi­tion to any Civil War library and is highly rec­om­mended for any reader. The excel­lent map sys­tem used in the book is a great aid to the nar­ra­tive and the anno­ta­tions are sec­ond to none. This is an excel­lent print­ing of this clas­sic and goes to show that there is more to write about when it comes to the Mary­land Cam­paign even if it is through anno­ta­tions. Thomas G. Clemens has done a fan­tas­tic job and has per­formed a labor of love by pour­ing his knowl­edge into this text. Highly recommended!

http://www.gettysburgchronicle.com/book-reviews/the-annotation-of-a-classic

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