Ezra A. Carman, Thomas G. Clemens ed.
Savas Beatie, 2017, 328 pgs., $32.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
Ezra A. Carman’s The Maryland Campaign has already proven itself to be the pinnacle of primary sources when it comes to the autumn of 1862. After the first two volume’s publication, the third volume was not even existent in my mind; it was happy with the two. But when I heard that the third volume was coming, helmed by the excellent work of Thomas G. Clemens, I was ready for the conclusion of the series. But this third volume is not just the excellent conclusion to the work at hand, it also contains the errata and extensive notes Mr. Clemens has put into this. In the end, we have an excellent completed work which needs to grace the shelves of all Civil War readers alike.
Ezra Ayres Carman was educated at the Western Military Academy in Kentucky and hailed from New Jersey. During the American Civil War, he fought with many New Jersey units and organizations and was appointed to the Antietam National Cemetery Board of Trustees after the war. Later in life, he was appointed to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894. Thomas G. Clemens, editor and annotator, gained his doctorate at George Mason University. He has published many magazine articles, book reviews, and is a licesened guide at Antietam National Battlefield. He is a retired professor from Hagerstown Community College and is one of the founders of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc.
The third volume of The Maryland Campaign: Shepherdstown Ford and the End of the Campaign, ends the account of the campaign as a whole not only on the military level, but on the political sphere as well before the campaign beings. Not only does Carman handle this subject masterfully, but Clemens offers incredible annotations throughout the text. I appreciate the accounts of Shepherdstown Ford from Carman as many authors I have read from the Civil War period usually end their accounts with the final shots of the major battle. Here, we have the aftermath. The chapter on the results of the campaign, mainly focusing on the losses, was fascinating as well. One of the most interesting chapters of the book was the one about Lincoln, Halleck, and McClellan. Mainly, the interesting part comes in the form that the chapter deals with events before the Maryland Campaign even begins. To see the political dealings before the campaign’s beginning was fascinating and one of the points which many Antietam books seem to gloss over. While this book is considerably shorter than its predecessors, it does not skimp on the informative narrative. This is a well done tie off to the series.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Civil War. Even though it focuses on the Maryland Campaign, this is a primary source which should be in the homes of any Civil War reader. It is one of the books which shows not only the excellent of the primary source, but the painstaking research of the editor which helmed the project. Mr. Clemens should be applauded for the work he put into these works; he should know that it will be greatly appreciated in the years to come.