Sallie Brock Putnam. Richmond During the War: Four Years of Personal Observation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996. xxii + 389 pp. $16.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8032-8745-7.
Reviewed by Daniel E. Sutherland (University of Arkansas)
Published on H-CivWar (October, 1997)
This most recent reprint of Sallie Putnam's wartime recollections, first published in 1867, includes a valuable introduction by Prof. Virginia Scharff. Scharff calls Putnam's observations a "remarkable eyewitness account" (p. xiv) of life in the Confederate capital. Putnam is especially good at showing the impact of military affairs on the civilian population. While Scharff believes Putnam speaks in "the muted voice of white Southern femininity," she also praises her as "a careful and critical observer of the historical drama unfolding around her" (p. xvi). Based on a diary and notes Putnam kept during the war, her reflections extend from the secession crisis through the collapse of the Confederacy.
Richmond was just one of the places Fitzgerald Ross visited between June 1863 and April 1864. Ross, British-born but an officer in the Austrian army, was in temporary retirement when he toured the southeastern portion of the Confederacy. He was ardently pro-southern and pro-slavery, yet his observations and judgments are balanced. Ross is at his best when describing military affairs, especially during the Gettysburg campaign. He spent most of his time in Virginia, but visited also in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. He first published his observations in 1865 in Blackwood's Magazine and the following year in book form. This latest volume is a reprint of the 1958 edition.
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Daniel E. Sutherland. Review of Putnam, Sallie Brock, Richmond During the War: Four Years of Personal Observation and
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