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Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander (Civil War America) Paperback – September 22, 1989


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Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander (Civil War America) + Military Memoirs of a Confederate: A Critical Narrative + At the Right Hand of Longstreet: Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer
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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Paperback: 692 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; Fourth Printing edition (September 22, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847220
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Georgia native and West Point graduate Alexander was involved in nearly all of the significant battles in the Eastern theater of the Civil War and came into frequent contact with the highest command of the Army of Northern Virginia, including Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet. His perspective on such personalities and on the events unfolding around him is a most valuable one. Alexander's memoirs lay virtually untouched for some eight decades until rescued by Gallagher, who has done a splendid job of editing: unobtrusive; the annotation not merely a rehash of that which can be readily found in other Civil War sources. An excellent index and illustrations and maps from the original manuscript complement the text. Recommended for Civil War and military history collections. History Book Club selection.
- Jason H. Silverman, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

[A] new landmark in Civil War historiography, one that no historian of the period can afford to ignore."Journal of Southern History"

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Customer Reviews

This is a very well written book and any one will enjoy reading it.
Joseph W
E. Porter Alexander gives us one of the finest memoirs of the Civil War.
sweetmolly
If you enjoy accounts of the civil war this book is a must read!!!!!
Civil war reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
E. Porter Alexander gives us one of the finest memoirs of the Civil War. His prose is lean, lacking the ruffles and flourishes so beloved by the Victorians. He had none of the false modesty that makes such reading tiresome. His book was not intended for a general audience, as were his "Military Memoirs." Hence there is great frankness and frequent passion in his story. He gives honest accounts of his immediate superiors, Longstreet and Lee; and criticizes as well as praises.
Gary Gallagher, a noted historian, is to be thanked for rescuing these papers from oblivion. Alexander was a well born 25-year old West Point graduate when the war began. His career was quickly advanced because of his mental agility and military astuteness. During the Peninsula campaign, he was in reconnaissance. He was one of the first to use hot-air balloons for surveillance of the enemy. This makes for exciting reading. It was relatively easy to get UP in the balloons of the time, but getting Down was a chancy business! He was transferred to Artillery where he remained throughout the war. It was Alexander who laid the artillery charges at Gettysburg on that fateful afternoon of July 3, 1863.
Alexander's prose is never dry, often humorous, and sometimes luminous. Following is his impression of the burning of Richmond, Monday, April 3, 1865: "-It was after sunrise of a bright morning when from the Manchester high grounds we turned to take our last look at the old city for which we had fought so long & so hard. It was a sad, a terrible & a solemn sight. I don't know that any moment in the whole war impressed me more deeply with all its stern realities than this.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
I think that as time goes by, Porter Alexander's personal memoirs, written for his family and thus very candid, will come to be seen as an outstanding work both of historical reminiscence and of 19th century writing. The Introduction, in which Alexander tells of some incidents from his boyhood, is worth the entire book. But, there is more. Alexander worked either as signals officer, ordnance officer or artillery commander for virtually everybody in the Army of Northern Virginia, including Beauregard, J.E. Johnston, Stonewall Jackson, Longstreet, and Lee. He participated in virtually every major battle. He has the rare ability to desribe events in a fresh and modern manner, so that the reader is there with him in the thick of things. I can only imagine the thrill that the editor must have had when he found these papers at UNC in 1989. Alexander apparently wrote a more formal history of the Civil War published in 1907 with which I am not familiar. Although the frontispiece shows an unremarkable face, the writing shows the glowing intelligence and enthusiasm that must have impressed his superiors and led to his being given one responsible assignment after another. By being present, but a generation younger than the ANV leaders, he is able to give both intimate, but also critical pictures of them. This book is indispensible to anyone with an interest in the Civil War in the Eastern Theater. A true classic.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Texan Pilot on January 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the most enjoyable memoirs I've ever read. I disagree with the reviewer who said Alexander tended to bragg about his accomplishments. If anything, I thought this book rather modest. However, Alexander is not shy about sharing his opinions, but this did not impress me as bragging. His vignettes of the leaders he had personnal dealings with are priceless and add a dimension to my impressions of men such as Lee and Longstreet. The book left me wanting to know about Alexander the man. No good biography of him exists to my knowledge. I read one account a number of years ago in 'Civil War Times Illustrated' that stated he had a rather nasty temper. I was unable to form a mental picture of the man from reading his book because the narrative is that of a good-natured fellow teling the openly honest story of his war service. I was left wanting to get to know this person a little better. This is a must read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Collins on September 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
General Alexander's "Military Memoirs" saw great commercial and critical success when it was published shortly after the turn of the century. His children were constantly asking him for more of a "what it was like" memoir, without all the scholarly overtones. To satisfy them, he drafted a 1200 page manuscript while away on a job in Nicaragua. It disappeared over the years, and was only rediscovered about 10 years ago. With some excellent editing to fill in the blanks in the author's memory, "Fighting for the Confederacy" should be required reading for every Civil War enthusiast.
Compared to his other work, this book is much more personal and informal. He includes some great detail on what military service was like in Utah Territory and California immediately before the war. Like his other book though, he is neither a romantic about the Confederacy (or apologetic for that matter), nor sparing of his views of commanders North or South. If you have an interest in the Civil War, but not especially details of the campaigns, this is probably the better book by Alexander-praise indeed. However, the military historian would benefit from this book as well as "Military Memoirs". Highly Recommended.
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