The History Press, 2014, 192 pp., $19.99
Image Courtesy of fltimes.com
During this celebration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, one thing has come into the realm of the studies of the conflict more than any other. The study of the home front and the specific areas and counties of the states which sent soldiers and sailors off to war has been the cause of a recent boom in the study of the conflict and it is well appreciated. In Seneca County and the Civil War, Walter Gable adds to that study and gives the reader an in depth view of the aggregate numbers and some of the stories which the county faced during the war. Gable has provided us not only with the details of the regiments from the war, but the home front and the period of reconstruction for this area of New York state.
Walter Gable is a major historian for Seneca County and has been since August of 2003. He has always been a resident of Seneca County and has taught high school social studies at Mynderse Academy in the Seneca Falls Central School District. He is a graduate of the Romulus Central School District and has obtained his Bachelors and Masters Degree from Syracuse University. In 2000, he was recognized as the Distinguished Social Studies Educator in New York State and received the Seneca Falls Community Service Award in 2013.
The book opens with an analysis on the soldiers of the war. Each chapter is divided into the different regiments which Seneca County took a part of and where they had fought. Each analysis of this regiment also takes a look at the different ranks which the soldiers held from the county and the towns they hailed from along with the losses they sustained at the battlefield. Not only does he analyze the regiments and the towns which bore many of the soldiers, he has a chapter dedicated to those who won the Medal of Honor during the entirety of the war. While not all men won the Medal of Honor, there were those Gable mentions that also fought from the county which are notable mentions. During his analysis on the home front, he makes a statement which is quite true for the people of the country: there is nothing which can aid a local economy like a war. The area of Seneca County boomed with the war efforts to both the farms and the mills of the area. The most touching part of the work, however, was the treatment of the Reconstruction period. These men were almost revered when they came home and the process of setting up the monuments and the Grand Army of the Republic posts is what I felt was special to Gable. His passion in the writing comes out greatly in these passages.
I highly recommend this book to the Civil War scholar who is looking for more information concerning the certain counties or towns which bore great Civil War soldiers from New York. The narrative is flowing and easy to follow and the research which was put into this work is quite good and well founded. The stories of these men and those who remained on the home front should be the pride of Seneca County. I also hope that this is not Walter Gable’s last writing on the American Civil War. Highly Recommended!