Southwestern Historical Quarterly
on the construction of small, shallow-draft vessels designed to protect the rivers
and harbors of the Confederacy.
Katherine Brash Jeter has edited and annotated Carter's correspondence
related to the construction and outfitting of the CSA gunboat Missouri. The let-
ters cover the period from January 28, 1863, to May 5, 1865, less than a month
before Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the trans-Mississippi department.
Carter did not collect the letters he received, but Jeter's annotations enable the
reader to surmise the disposition of matters under consideration.
Carter, a member of the first graduating class of the U.S. Naval Academy,
originally hoped to build two ships simultaneously. His correspondence, howev-
er, provides a case study of the problems inherent in CSA shipbuilding, particu-
larly at interior sites like Shreveport, which was "meagerly equipped" for the
task (p. vii). He and the contractors confronted a lack of technical expertise,
skilled labor, and basic machinery and tools. Bureaucratic wrangling delayed
acquisition of guns and railroad iron, while devalued Confederate currency
made purchases difficult. Local blacksmiths were employed to forge nails,
spikes, and bolts.
Once his gunboat was armed and manned, Carter intended to block Union
Adm. David D. Porter's advance up the Red River toward Shreveport in the
spring of 1864. The Missouri, however, was immobilized by low water.
Meanwhile, the Union land forces were stopped at Mansfield, and Porter was
forced to retire.
Jeter's valuable work not only documents CSA naval deficiencies in the West
but also provides additional context for Nathaniel Banks's Red River expedition.
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor WILLIAM F. HARLOW
Till Freedom Cried Out: Memories of Texas Slave Life. Edited by T. Lindsay Baker and
Julie P. Baker. Illustrated by Kermit Oliver. (College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1997. Pp. xxx+162. List of illustrations, preface, acknowl-
edgments, introduction, commentary, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-89096-
736-9. $29.95, cloth.)
The Federal Writer's Project (a part of the Works Progress Administration)
set out in the late 193os to conduct interviews with former slaves. These oral his-
tories were preserved in the Library of Congress and in various state repositories.
Historians faced a daunting task in digging through the original and edited type-
written interviews until George P. Rawick published his forty-one volume The
American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (1972-1979). Since then the Texas
slave narratives have been used by a number of writers.
In this book T. Lindsay and Julie P. Baker have focused on thirty-two inter-
viewees who experienced life as slaves in Texas, but who subsequently moved to
Oklahoma and were interviewed there. In the commentary section the Bakers
provide background information on the places, individuals, and incidents men-
tioned in the interviews. They also describe the location of all known drafts of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed October 21, 2014.