The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 113

Book Reviews

offer sympathy and support was a common misconception throughout the Con-
This misconception is explored in Robert E. May's The Union, the Confederacy,
and the Atlantc Rim. Professor Louis Martin Sears, a distinguished diplomatic his-
torian at Purdue University for many years, established an annual lecture series,
and the topic of the Sears Lectures in 1994 was the diplomacy of the Civil War.
In these lectures, May argues that there was no realistic basis for the widespread
Southern expectation that King Cotton would prove indispensable to British tex-
tile mills and would produce diplomatic recognition for the Confederate States
of America. Without recognition, loans and the purchase of munitions from in-
dustrialized European countries would remain limited, and military alliances
with European powers would never develop. Although diplomatic success was
crucial to the survival of the Confederacy, most Southern emissaries were inept
and doomed to failure "as long as the South relied upon a discontented and po-
tentially rebellious labor force, exhausted land and borrowed capital to produce
a single export-crop that was not a scarce material" (p. 113). May's volume is a
stimulating examination of a neglected but important Civil War topic.
Equally revealing on a personal level is the correspondence of Charles and
Henry Trueheart, brothers from a pioneer Galveston family who fought proudly
for four years, primarily in Virginia. The brothers remarked on events discussed
by scholars in The Union, the Confederacy, and the Atlantic Rim (see, for example,
pp. 73 and 183), and they welcomed Confederate legislation to conscript "men
who were willing to remain at home . . . and leave their countrymen to defend
their common liberties and property" (p. 53). The brothers regularly begged for
letters from home, described combat events and life in uniform, related a sur-
prisingly active social calendar, and reflected the attitudes of Southerners from
the heady early months of the Confederacy to the discouragement of impending
defeat. Rich in period detail, Rebel Brothers: The Civil War Letters of the Truehearts is
a welcome addition to any Civil War bookshelf.
Panola College BILL O'NEAL
Rebel Private: Front and Rear. By William A. Fletcher. Introduction by Richard
Wheeler. Afterword by Vallie Fletcher Taylor. (New York: Dutton, 1995. Pp.
223. Acknowledgments, introduction. ISBN 0-52593-992-x. $20.95, cloth.)
"I was on the roof of a two story house putting on the finishing course of shin-
gles," remembered William A. Fletcher, when he heard news of the firing on
Fort Sumter, South Carolina. "[I]t made me very nervous thinking the delay of
completing the roof might cause me to miss a chance to enlist, so I worked and
talked and soon had the roof finished" (p. 4). As events unfolded, Fletcher
could have worked more deliberately. He joined Company F, 5th Texas Infantry,
which became part of John B. Hood's renowned Texas Brigade. Transferred to
Virginia, Fletcher fought in the battles of the Seven Days, Second Manassas,
Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Wounded in the hip and in the
foot, Fletcher concluded that as he "could not walk ten miles" (p. log), he



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.