Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Confederate Faces Review

The Faces of the Confederacy review by C.D. Myers of McClatchy-Tribune News Service begins with the story of Capt. Jesse Cunningham McNeill, the soldier who transforms from petulant subordinate officer to daring raider responsible for the capture of a pair of federal generals.

It is fitting that Myers led with McNeill's story, for it exemplifies the many untold and largely forgotten stories of the Civil War period.

Myers adds:
This exceptional companion edition to Coddington's 2004 book, "Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories," reconstructs the lives of 77 Confederate soldiers below the rank of colonel, through engaging narratives complemented by rare carte-de-visite (CDV) portrait photographs.
This review has been widely published online, including the Kansas City Star and The (Columbia, S.C.) State.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Confederate Faces Reviewed by Fort Sumter Historian

Richard W. Hatcher, the historian of the Fort Sumter National Monument, reviewed Faces of the Confederacy for the The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. The complete review is available on the newspaper's website, charleston.net.

Hatcher ends the review by capturing an essential element that drives my interest in these citizen soldiers, "Coddington reveals the human face of a war fought by fathers, husbands, sons and brothers. Their faces provide a compelling and tangible link with some of the men who 'wore the gray.'"

One of the men in gray that likely caught Mr. Hatcher's attention is Capt. Francis Huger Harleston of the First South Carolina Artillery. A member of the Citadel's Class of 1860, Harleston spent most of the war defending Fort Sumter. The young South Carolinian's complete profile appears in Faces of the Confederacy, and is illustrated with a carte de visite portrait from the collection of William A. Turner.

I learned an interesting bit of information about cartes de visite from Mr. Hatcher, who noted, "Twenty-five of them could be purchased for $1, roughly $160 in today's currency." While the carte de visite is recognized for democratizing portrait photography in part by offering more affordable prices compared to earlier formats, clearly a photograph was still an investment.

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