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Literary notices.


Detailed minutiae of soldier life in the army of Northern Virginia. 1861-65. By Carlton McCarthy, Private Second Company Richmond Howitzers, Cutshaw's Battalion, Second Corps, A. N. V. With illustrations by W. L. Sheppard. Richmond: Carlton McCarthy & Co. We had purposed writing a full review of this admirable book, but have concluded to reserve what we may have to say, and to give now the following extract from the full review of the Richmond Christian Advocate, which is in Brother Lafferty's best vein:

“Of making many books there is no end,” and the “late onpleasantness” is a theme so fruitful that if everything worthy of record were put in print, “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” The present volume is not a philosophical discussion of the right of secession, nor a eulogy of men in high places. It fills a niche that has not been made prominent in our war-literature; and it fills it marvelously well.

The book professes to be a “voice from the ranks.” None but one with Irish blood warming his heart could utter such a “voice.” At one time, its sharp sarcasms and biting satire cut like a razor; and at another, it rings with merriment, and is as full of innocent mirth and healthful enjoyment as Stuart's hilarious laughter; yet, again, in sober tones, it tells us of the march, the bivouac, the battle; then, sinking to tremulous pathos, it speaks of home, and loved ones, and comrades dead on the well-fought field, and its accents are as soft as the mother's kiss, pressed on the cheek of her sleeping infant — as sweet and tender as the lullaby with which she soothed to slumber the cooing babe. Now, there stands before us the new recruit filled with martial zeal and knowledge, and eager to test his mettle by charging alone the entire force of the enemy; then, we see the seasoned veteran, willing to favor the recruit with all the disagreeable duties of the mess — ready at duty's call to bare his breast to the storm of battle, but not ashamed to avail himself of the protection of a friendly tree when the call of duty is not distinct and unmistakable. But nowhere has this voice a sound of bitterness; it utters no syllable which tends to offend any portion of our reunited land, or to tear afresh the wounds which Time has largely healed.

Mr. McCarthy was four years in the army — he speaks therefore from personal knowledge, and testifies only to what he has seen. His character as a Christian gentleman makes his testimony thoroughly reliable. His theme, also, suits the trend of his genius. He is as much in love with his subject as he ever was with [528] his sweetheart. He is an artist; and every sentence shows the skill of his pencil and brush. The volume contains the most life-like and graphic pictures of the private soldier, in all of his relations and circumstances. He who has “been there” will readily recognize the fidelity of the likenesses.

Mr. W. L. Sheppard, who was a lieutenant in the Howitzers, and now ranks as one of the best illustrators in the country, enriches the volume with thirty-one cuts, which are fac-simile reproductions of his original drawings, made especially for this book. They are among his best efforts, and add to his already extended and well-deserved reputation.

He who buys this book will read it; he who reads it will surely wish to buy it. The first proposition is high compliment; the second assertion is higher praise, and can truthfully be affirmed of not one book in a thousand. Altogether, in our candid judgment, this is the best book of its character that we have seen.

By all means, let out readers get this book. But don't commence to read it after dark, unless you have good eye-sight and wish to sit up all night. You will not put it down until the last sentence is read: and then, perhaps with tearful eyes, you will reluctantly close the volume, and recalling their heroism and patriotism, their patient fortitude and cheerful self-denial and suffering, your heart will pay a well-merited tribute to the grandest body of men that ever stood on earthly battlefields — the private soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, unconquered and unconquerable, who, in rags and famine, would gladly have continued the unequal contest, and who only once turned their backs to the foe — when, with a breaking heart, their peerless General was constrained by Providence to surrender them to “overwhelming numbers and resources.”


The life of Major-General George H. Thomas. By Thos. B. Van Horne, U. S. A. New York: Charles Scribner Sons. We have received from the publishers this beautifully gotten up book, and shall take an early opportunity of giving it a careful reading, and a candid review. Meantime we advise our readers to buy this biography of a distinguished soldier, written by the competent pen of his personal friend, who has had ample material for his work.


The bivouac. Published monthly by the Southern Historical Association, of Louisville. Terms $1.50, payable in advance.

We have received two numbers (September and October) of this new candidate for public favor, and most cheerfully place it on our exchange list, and commend it to our friends.

We regret that we find our space too limited for the full review we had intended. We can only say now that the contents are fresh, interesting, and of decided historic value — that the enterprise is one which old Confederates, and lovers of truth generally, ought to patronize — and that we wish it the most abundant success.

We cordially welcome the editors as our co-laborers in the great work of vindicating the truth of Confederate history, and shall hail their complete success with the liveliest satisfaction.

We congratulate the Louisville Association that they are strong enough to sustain an organ of their own.

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